How to Sew a Beautiful Square Neck Dress

Curly Made
by Curly Made
11 Materials
6 Hours

I created this long sleeve square neck dress from material I already had. I started with a digital pattern and adapted it to have a natural waistline and a longer, gathered skirt. I decided on a contrast lining for the bodice.

Tools and materials:

  • Pattern
  • Main fabric 
  • Lining fabric
  • 22" invisible zipper
  • Pins
  • Tape measure
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Scissors
  • Pinking shears or overlocker (optional)
  • Tailor's chalk
  • Sewing machine
Square neck dress pattern

Modifying square neck dress pattern

1. Modify pattern

I made the modifications on the original PDF file for the front using Photoshop, and then printed out the adjusted pattern.

You could certainly do this directly on to the pattern, by cutting it where you want the extra length and taping paper between the cuts. 

I added a couple of inches between the bust dart and the waist on the front and added the same amount to the back. 

Cutting bodice lining

2. Bodice lining

I cut the bodice lining first, because I didn't have a lot of the original fabric and I wanted to test my pattern modifications.

I folded the lining in half and placed the front piece on the fold of the fabric.

Stay stitching

3. Stay stitching

I sewed a line of stitching around the neck edge, to stop it from stretching or puckering.

Bodice darts

4. Bodice darts

I transferred all pattern markings to the fabric, then pinned, ironed and sewed the darts on the front and back. 

Side and shoulder seams

5. Side and shoulder seams

I put the pattern pieces together, right side facing - and at this point I realized I'd made the back too short and had to recut it!

Once I was back on track, I pinned and sewed the side and shoulder seams and tried the bodice on. 

Main bodice

6. Main bodice

As the lining fit me well, I cut and sewed the bodice from the main fabric.

I cut the pattern pieces on the vertical grain of the fabric as normal. However, I think using the horizontal grain would have been better. 

I used pinking shears on the seams after sewing, to stop them from fraying.

Attaching lining

7. Attach lining

I pressed all the seams open, then pinned the lining to the bodice at the neckline, right sides facing, and sewed along the pin line. 


8. Neckline

I made several cuts around the curve of the neckline inside the seam allowance, to help the seam lie flat.

Then I turned the neckline right side out and finger pressed it around the edge.

Sewing skirt

9. Skirt

I cut the skirt from the full width of the fabric as I wanted it to be very full. I sewed 2 rows of long, straight gathering stitches along the top edge and gathered the skirt to fit the bodice.

I pinned the skirt to the bodice at the waist, with right sides facing. I didn't attach it to the bodice lining. In hindsight, I think this was a mistake, so I would suggest that you attach the skirt to the bodice and lining when you make this.

I basted the skirt in place and removed the pins, and pinned the zipper in place before trying on the dress.

Pinned sleeves

10. Sleeves

I cut 2 sleeves to the original pattern and sewed the underarm seams.

I attached them to the bodice, following the pattern instructions to ease them into the armhole without gathering. I basted the sleeve head in place before sewing it.

I trimmed the seam and ran an overlocking stitch around the armhole.

Attaching skirt

11. Attach skirt

I sewed the skirt to the lower edge of the bodice and overlocked the raw edges.

Inserting zipper

12. Insert zipper

I basted the zipper in place and sewed it close to the teeth, using my zipper foot.

Finishing touches

13. Finishing

I decided to make the sleeves narrower at the wrist, so I pinned and sewed a dart shape into them and used my pinking shears to cut off the excess. 

I made a narrow hem at the end of the sleeve by double folding the material to the inside, pressing it and then sewing it close to the edge.

Finishing touches

I folded and pinned the lining to the center back, hiding the zipper tape, and hand stitched it into place.

Lastly I double folded the hem of the skirt and sewed it on the machine.

Long sleeve square neck dress

Long sleeve square neck dress

DIY square neck dress

Although I made some mistakes, I do really like my red square neck dress. I think it would make a great prom dress or even inspiration for a costume. It definitely has a vintage feel to it. 

I’d love to read your feedback - please comment below and let me know what you think!

Suggested materials:
  • Pattern
  • Main fabric
  • Lining fabric
See all materials

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Join the conversation
 1 comment
  • Maria Maria on Dec 12, 2022

    ❤ it!! I really love the dress, it's beautiful. You did an amazing job, just beautiful. I specially love that square neckline. I love it in red and I would love it in black or brown, my favorite colors. Thank you for sharing.👏