How to Sew Women’s Dress SILHOUETTE With a Slimming Effect

by Picolly

I have prepared a new pattern for women’s dress and two articles with related sewing instructions. This dress has raglan sleeves and a boat neck. Thanks to the dark wedges in the waist area, it has an optically slimming effect. Wedges (triangles) at the waist transition to pockets. So let’s take a look at how to sew the dress SILHOUETTE with a slimming effect.

Sewing pattern

The pattern is constructed in a professional program for clothing pattern development. The boat neck is finished with facing and there’s a decorative gap in the back piece.

Recommended material

Choose thicker elastic material such as laid-in tracksuit fabric with elastane or Ponte Roma.


You can sew this dress with an overlock or a regular sewing machine. I recommend using flexible seams when sewing with a regular sewing machine (narrow zig-zag stitch, three-step straight stitch, etc.) so that the seams don’t tear. I also recommend lowering the foot pressure and reducing bobbin thread tension slightly if your sewing machine allows it. More details can be found here.

You can also check out the second article about this dress, in which I describe  how to sew a simplified version without facings.

Sewing instructions

Prepare all paper pieces…

…and then cut:

Primary fabric (yellow):

  • 1x front piece (cut on fold)
  • 1x back piece (cut on fold) – Don’t cut the gap yet.
  • 2x pocket piece with the opening
  • 1x back piece facing (cut on fold) – Don’t cut the gap yet.
  • 1x front piece facing

Secondary fabric (brown):

  • 2x back side piece (wedge)
  • 2x front side piece (with pocket)

If you use a material where the right side and wrong side are difficult to distinguish, I recommend that you mark the wrong sides of all pieces. It is also a good idea to redraw the large arrow (grainline) from the paper pattern on the back side pieces and to mark the sides of the sleeve pieces that will be connected to the back piece later. If you want to have a decorative gap on your dress, redraw it on the back piece and the facing of the back piece.

Reinforce the pieces

I recommend reinforcing all the parts as shown in the photo below. Use strips of one-sided fusible interfacing. You can reinforce the entire area of the decorative gap, or just the edge (this will save a little material, but it’s more laborious).


Lay the pocket pieces with openings on the front piece (face side to face side). Pin and sew the openings.

Sew up to the true corner of the front piece – “1 cm deep”.

Sew up to the true corner of the front piece – “1 cm deep”.

Prepare the front side piece (with the pocket pouch).

Lay it on the front piece (face side to face side) and sew up to the true corner of the front piece again.

Check the face side of the dress.

On the reverse side, clean the edges of the seam allowances.

Work on the other side of the front piece in the same way.

Iron the seams.

Baste the opening of the pocket piece.

Lay the front side piece over the pocket piece and pin the pocket pouch.

Sew the pocket pouch and pull free thread chains under the loops.

Baste the pocket pouch to the side of the front piece.

Back piece

The procedure is similar for the rear part of the dress. Lay the wedge (back side piece) on top of the back piece (face side to face side), pin both pieces, and sew up to the true corner of the back piece.

Cut the corner of the back piece towards the end of your seam.

Rotate the wedge so you can pin (and sew) its second side to the back piece.

Sew the second side of the wedge and check the face side of the dress and iron the seams. Clean the seam allowances.

Raglan seams

Pin and sew both sleeves to the front piece (face side to face side). Press the seam allowances towards the sleeve pieces.

Pin and sew the back piece to both sleeves and press the seam allowances towards the sleeve pieces.


Let’s prepare the facing. Connect the two pieces by sewing the shorter sides and clean the outer edges of both pieces.

Now pin the back facing to the back piece (face side to face side).

Use a pencil to transfer the decorative gap from the paper piece to the wrong side of the facing. Sew along this line and connect the facing to the back piece.

Cut out your decorative gap (cut about 0,3 cm from the seam).

Pull the facing through the gap.

Pin the facing to the back piece to see what the result will look like.

Then pin the facing to the entire neck opening. You can also baste the neck opening and fold the facing to its final position (inside the dress) to check that everything is where it should be. If everything seems fine, you can sew the facing to the neck opening. You probably won’t be able to sew a small part of the seam above the decorative gap, leave it unfinished for now.

Finish the facing by hand

Close the gap in the neck opening seam by hand (use mattress stitch, for example).

Attach the facing to all four raglan seams.

Side seams & Sleeve seams

Turn the dress inside out and sew the side seam & sleeve seam in one go.

Do the same on the other side of the dress.


Clean remaining cutting edges (bottom hem of the dress & sleeves). Fold the hems 3 cm to the reverse side and topstitch them (with an elastic stitch) to keep them in place.

You did it!

Your dress is ready!

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