How to Make a Velvet Dress From Scratch Without a Pattern

Alicia Yanson
by Alicia Yanson
10 Materials
4 Hours

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to make a velvet dress. I’ll be recreating the Valfre Alicia dress since it has my name! I also saw an Instagrammer wearing this dress and loved the style.

We’ll start off by making the circle skirt and then move on to the bodice. I'm using a really soft gray velvet to make this DIY velvet dress, and I'll walk you through the process step by step. Let's get started!

Tools and materials:

  • Rotary cutter
  • Velvet fabric
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread
  • Marker or chalk
  • Paper
  • Measuring tape
  • Long-sleeved top that fits
Drawing the circle skirt pattern

1. Draw the circle skirt pattern

Fold your fabric. Then, mark your first measurement, which is your waist measurement divided by Pi π (3.14).

DIY circle skirt pattern

The second measurement is the first measurement plus your desired skirt length. 

Measuring the circle skirt pattern

Put the measuring tape at the corner, where the fabric is folded, and start marking the measurements in a curve shape. 

Using your cat as a fabric weight is optional (her name is Minette!).

Measuring and marking the circle skirt

Repeat the same for the second measurement. 

Tip: We will add ruffles at the bottom, so don’t make the length too long. Also, remember to add seam allowance.

Cut-out of the circle skirt

Use a rotary cutter to cut the fabric. You should now have a half-circle. 

Tip: If you want to add pockets, cut the skirt in the middle. 

Fabric pieces for the ruffles

Measure the bottom part of the skirt, as this will be the measurement you’ll need for the ruffles. Then take that measurement and multiply it by 1.5. Cut two rectangles with that length and a 4-inch width. 

Sewing the ruffles

2. Make the ruffles

Hem the edges of the rectangles by folding them over once. 

Sewing a basting stitch for the ruffles

Now, sew a basting stitch along the other side. Don’t backstitch. 

Pulling on the thread to create gathers

Pull on the thread to gather the fabric until it fits the skirt. Tie a knot on both ends to ensure the ruffles don’t come undone. 

Pinning the ruffle to the circle skirt

Pin the ruffled piece to the skirt, right sides together. Make sure to add plenty of pins and pin the fabric vertically. 

Sewing the ruffle to the circle skirt

Now, sew to secure. Since the pins are vertical, you can sew over them.

Sewing the circle skirt side seams

3. Sew the circle skirt

Sew the two skirt pieces together by the side seams (by about ½ inch). 

Skirt for the DIY Valfre Alicia dress

The skirt is done! 

Using a long-sleeved top to trace the bodice pattern

4. Make the front bodice pattern

Fold your fabric in half and place a long-sleeved shirt that fits you well, on the fold—lower the shirt at the waistline. 

Tracing around the long-sleeved top

Trace around the shirt and add a ½-inch seam allowance. 

For curved parts like the neck and armholes, put your finger on the seam, lift the fabric, and put a mark where your finger is. 

How to make the velvet dress sewing pattern

This is what you should have. Cut out the pattern. 

Dart measurements for the front bodice

5. Sew the darts

Let’s make some darts. The side darts start 1 inch below the armhole, then make a line 1½ inch below that line. 

Draw a 4-inch line between the first two markings, then connect that point to the other markings to form a triangle. 

The bottom darts start 4 inches from the side. Add a marking 1½ inch to the right. These bottom darts will measure 7.5 inches. 

Fold the darts in half, pin on the line, and sew. Make sure to tie a knot with the end of the thread instead of backstitching.

Tracing the back bodice piece

6. Make the back bodice pattern

To make the back piece, use the front piece to make sure they have the same length. Then, trace the back of the same shirt you used for the front piece,

How to make a velvet dress

Overlay the front piece, mark any dart changes, and cut. 

Making the neck hole rounder

Make the neck hole rounder.

Tracing the sleeve pattern

7. Make the sleeve pattern

Trace the sleeves with the fabric on fold and cut two pieces. 

Pinning the bodice pieces at the shoulder seams

8. Sew the bodice

Sew the front and back pieces right sides together at the shoulder seams. 

Pinning the sleeve to the armhole

Fold the sleeves in half to find the middle point. Then, pin it to the center of the armhole. Add pins around the rest of the armhole and sew to secure.

Tip: pin vertically, so the fabric stays in place while sewing.

Sewing the inseam and side seam together

Sew the sleeve inseam and side seam together. 

How to sew a velvet dress

While sewing, fold over the darts, so they face down. Be sure to pivot by the armpit seam. 

Measuring where to attach the skirt

9. Attach the bodice to the skirt

Try on the skirt and top and mark where you want the skirt to be. Mark this all around the top and cut. 

Sewing the bodice to the skirt

Turn the skirt inside out and place the top inside. Align the side seams, pin, then sew along the edge.

Hemming the sleeves

10. Hem the sleeves

Flip the sleeve inside out and hem the cuff by 1 inch. 

Drawing the keyhole detail on the neckline

11. Finish the neckline

Cut out an oval-shaped piece to trace the keyhole, and then cut it. 

Rectangles pieces for the neckline bias

Make two rectangle pieces. 

  • The first one should be 1.5 inches wide and longer than the keyhole circumference. 
  • The second has a 4-inch width and a long enough length to go around the neckline and tie a bow with. Mine was 60 inches. 
Pinning the bias tape to the keyhole

Use the first rectangle as bias tape for the keyhole. Pin it right sides facing, and sew in by ½ inch. Cut any excess fabric off.

Folding over the bias tape

Fold over twice, and sew close to the edge. 

Pinning the bias to the neckline

Next, pin the long rectangle to the neckline’s edge, right sides together. Sew in about ½ inch.

Sewing the ends at an angle to make a bow

Fold the unsewn parts right sides together and sew, making a triangle at the edge. This will be used to make a bow.

Trimming the excess fabric from the seam allowance

Stop sewing when you get to the neckline. Cut the excess fabric and edges diagonally. Then turn the fabric inside out. 

Sewing the neckline of the dress

Sew the neckline to the dress by folding the edge once. 

Sewing a velvet dress

Then, pin and sew as close to the edge as possible.

Tip: To make sure the fabric is sewn evenly, start at the middle of the neckline and sew all the way to the end of the rectangle strip.

Zigzag stitch all the remaining raw edges. 

DIY velvet Valfre Alicia dress

How to make a velvet dress

The Valfre Alicia dress is complete! Simply gorgeous, don’t you think? Let me know what you think of this DIY velvet dress tutorial and the final result in the comments below.

Suggested materials:
  • Rotary cutter
  • Velvet fabric
  • Scissors
See all materials

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