How to Sew a Romantic Tiered Dress Out of an Old Bedsheet

Alicia Yanson
by Alicia Yanson
11 Materials
6 Hours

In this tutorial, I'll be showing you how to sew a tiered dress, including how to create a DIY tiered dress pattern. This romantic cottagecore dress is tiered and flounced, with a tie at the back and puff sleeves. I actually made it out of an old bedsheet I got at the thrift store!

It's not quick DIY, but the results were exactly what I wanted.

Tools and materials:

  • Bedsheet or fabric
  • Lining
  • Elastic
  • Scissors
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Sewing machine
  • Marking chalk
  • Paper
  • Pins
  • Needle and thread
  • Iron
DIY tiered dress sewing pattern

1. DIY tiered dress sewing pattern

Lay out the sheet on a flat surface. Measure, mark, and cut the skirt tiers into rectangles in these sizes:

  • First tier: 45 x 13 inches (114cm x 33cm)
  • Second tier: 67.5 x 13 inches (172cm x 33cm)
  • Third tier: 100 x 7.5 inches (254cm x 19cm)
How to make a tiered dress sewing pattern

Measure, mark, and cut a paper pattern in these measurements for the sleeves:

  • Height: 12 inches
  • Width 18 inches
  • Edge: 7.5 inches on the bottom 

Make a curve from the edge to the top.

Making the sleeves for the DIY tiered dress

Once you have the pattern, place it on top of the fabric and cut one sleeve. Use the fabric pattern to cut the second sleeve.

Making the bodice pieces for the pattern

2. Cut the bodice

I used a bodice pattern I made previously for a DIY corset thrift flip, which was drafted using a top that fit me well. I adjusted the pattern to my waistline and made the neckline straight. You can use a blouse that fits you well as an alternative.

Cut out the bodice pieces, mirror the pieces, and cut out the same in the lining. 

Making the back ties for the DIY tiered dress

3. Make the back

For the back, I traced a tie I already had on the back of a dress I own. If you don't have one to hand, trace the side piece of the corset pattern and elongate it to a rounded rectangle, as pictured. Add ½ inch seam allowance. Cut 4 of these pieces.

Sewing the bodice pieces together

4. Sew the bodice front

Place the side pieces to the front, right sides together. Pin in place and sew. Repeat this step for the lining.

Pinning the bodice ready to sew

Lay the lining and main fabric right sides together, pin and sew only the top seam of the center front. Flip so the seam is hidden inside.

Sewing the back ties of the dress

5. Sew the back

Place the back tie pieces right sides together, but only pin and sew the “ribbon” section. Thin out and snip small slashes in the seam allowance on the curved end to make it easier to lay flat.

Now, flip it inside out, using a BBQ skewer or another long pointy object to get the right side on the outside. Iron all the pieces.

Pinning the bodice side seams to the ties

6. Sew the back ties to the bodice

Now lay the back pieces on the front, and sew the side seams together. The bodice is done!

Pinning the puff sleeves to the armholes

7. Make the puff sleeves

Fold the sleeves right sides together and sew the inner seam or the shortest part of the sleeve. Pin the bottom of the sleeve to the arm hole, leaving a 1½ inch (3.8cm) seam allowance for the casing. It will overlap.

Pinning the casing for the sleeve elastic

8. Make the casing

Fold the edge of the sleeve twice so it is about ¾ of an inch. Pin in place and sew, leaving the ends open to thread the elastic through.

Also, make a casing for the hem of the sleeve around ¼ of an inch.

Inserting the elastic into the casing

9. Insert the elastic

Measure and cut the amount of elastic you need for your shoulders; I used 15 inches (38cm) and the width was ½ inch. For the sleeve hem, I measured a length that fit well around my arm, then halved the elastic to make it a ¼ inch wide.

Use a large safety pin to pull the elastic through the casing. Try it on to adjust the elastic as needed. Mark with pins, and then sew everything in place.

How to make a tiered dress

10. Make the skirt tiers

Fold the fabric with the right side facing in and sew the side seam to make a loop. Repeat for the other two tiers.

On each tier top, sew a basting stitch to gather the fabric. For the first tier, you only need to add a basting stitch to the front because we'll add elastic to the back.

Hem the bottom of the third tier with a skinny double hem.

Gathering the fabric to create tiers

11. Gather the fabric

Gather the fabric by pulling the basting stitches, so that it makes soft folds. On the first tier leave the back straight and ungathered for the elastic.

Sewing the bodice to the first skirt tier

12. Assemble the DIY tiered dress

Flip the first tier to the right side. Sew it to the bodice. 

Making the casing for the back elastic

To make the casing for the back elastic, cut a long strip of fabric about 1 inch wide and as long as the back. Pin it to the back. Sew the edge at ¼ inch. Fold it up and then fold it in twice to create a casing. Sew as close as possible to the edge.

Insert the elastic through the opening until it reaches the other end. Pin it and sew it down.

Attaching the second and third skirt tiers

For the second and third tier skirts, put them right sides in, and adjust the ruffles so that they are perfect. Pin in place and then sew.

How to sew a tiered dress

How to sew a tiered dress tutorial

When you put on this dress, with the puff sleeves, back with the bow, and soft gathered skirts, you’ll feel so summery and romantic. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to sew a tiered dress let me know what you think of this DIY tiered dress in the comments.

Suggested materials:
  • Bedsheet or fabric
  • Lining
  • Elastic
See all materials

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