Valentine’s Day is one of the few holidays where you can get really glamorous with your outfit. Most of the time where I live, a fancy dress can be a little overkill since people tend to be very casual. Valentine’s Day, however, feels special enough to wear something beautiful and elegant without any judgment or question, so I decided a new dress was in order!
Since the velvet and off the shoulder trends are so popular right now, the simple solution was to pair them together. The two trends are bold on their own, so a simple silhouette is all it takes to create a really stunning look. This three piece pattern consists of two large rectangles, one for the front of your body and one for the back which make up the bodice of the dress; and a third smaller rectangle is used to create the off the shoulder sleeves.
This project is great for even a beginner, so gather up your supplies, take your measurements, and get started with this fold over off the shoulder velvet dress sewing tutorial.
1. Start by collecting all of your materials. Then take a measuring tape and measure around your bust, waist, and hips (at the largest place), as well as from your armpit to your belly button, and from your armpit to your knees. These measurements will be used to create the bodice pieces of the dress. Also measure around your shoulders. This measurement will be used to create the off the shoulder sleeve piece of the dress.
2. Following the visual instructions above in step 2, cut out your pattern pieces from the stretch velvet. For the measurement that is ½ your hips or bust, take whichever is larger. You will have a FRONT and BACK for the body of the dress, and a SLEEVE for the off the shoulder portion of the dress. Once you have cut out the FRONT and BACK rectangles, you can use the measurements from each part of your body to create a fitted shape. I suggest that you pin these measurements and proceed to step 3 before cutting the fabric. You can always try on the dress, readjust the fit, and then cut around the silhouette.
3. To assemble your dress, start by laying the FRONT and BACK on top of one another with the right sides of the fabric (velvet sides) touching. Line them up and pin along the long sides. Sew the sides of the bodice together about ¼ inch from the edge of the fabric. At this point, try on the dress inside out. It should fit snugly as a tube top dress (should stay up on its own). If you need to tighten it, pin along your body where it needs to be tightened and sew again, or complete this adjustment process using a dress form as shown below.
4. To complete the bodice, hem the top of the dress so it has a nice, clean edge, and hem the bottom of the dress to the desired length.
6. Fold the edges inward and pin together so that there are 4 layers of fabric pinned together and you can no longer see any un-hemmed edges. Sew along this folded, bottom edge of the fabric so that your have a tube of fabric that is completely velvet inside and out.
7. To attach the SLEEVES to the bodice, line up the rectangular SLEEVES tube so that the seam is in the middle of the back of the dress. Pin the SLEEVES on to the outside of the dress, leaving about 5-6 inches of fabric on the bodice not attached to the SLEEVES on the two ends where your armpits are (see visual instructions above for clarity). Sew along the front and back of the bodice where the SLEEVES overlaps to connect them.
To wear your dress, pull it on over your head and put your arms through the holes. Then, fold the sleeves down about 4 inches.