Super-Easy Rectangle Empire-style Dress With Contrast Belt and Side Piece




About: Young in the head in a tired body, wish I had more than 24 hours days and more than one life!

Here it is, a super-easy opera-like empire style dress, made only of rectangles.

I used only leftovers for this one so please be indulgent seeing the result (and for my not-so-great english)

I used my under-chest size (my bra size = EUR100D) as base for the size of my pieces, I wanted it "midshirred". The sizes on the diagram are in cm (as I do use the metric system), I apologize for not converting it but I didn't want to give you crazy numbers as long as I absolutely don't know how to properly count it in inches. I used my size as an example, so you can make it yours easily.

So you can do whatever you want, extra-shirring or less!

For this I used scraps of linen and old elastic bands that needed to be used.

For this project, you will need :

- A piece of fabric that you can wrap yourself in twice, from chest to toes

- Some contrast fabric for the belt and the side piece (if you want)

- Elastic band (wide)

- Sewing machine (but you can do this by hand if you feel like you are a warrior), overlock to make it easier (if it can be)

-needle eventually, PLUS something to slip in the elastic band

- thread according to your fabric color

- room without cats and/or babies wanting all your attention and love

Step 1: Iron Hard!

Step 2: Cut Your Pieces

To make it easy, the fabric being very large at this point, you can fold it (especially if you only have a small kitchen table to work, like I do), following the diagram/pattern, according to the size you choose (ideally yours :) )

You must have 9 pieces of fabric.

Step 3: Prepare the Belt and Sew All the Pieces Together, Exept for the Sleeves

Sew the front and back bodice together on one of the short sides.

Sew the two belt pieces together on one short side. Fold the belt in half and sew it on the long edge, leaving the short sides open. (you have a long belt with a centered seam).

Sew the back lower dress with the front, and the contrast piece with the FRONT part of the dress.

Each time, leave one of the side seams open.

You have now big flat pieces ready to go together!

Step 4: Assembly

Assemble the bodice with the belt.

Then, do the same with the bodice+belt and the skirt part.

You have now a big big plane piece of color-blocks.

Step 5: Elastics Are Your Friends

Now, cut two pieces of elastic band at the size of your bodice's top and of your belt, minus 5 cm (again, sorry about that).

Make a hem ans topstitch your dress according to the seam allowance you chose, leaving a small opening to slip in the elastic band.

Measure from the center of the front and back top of the bodice the future position of your shoulder straps and mark it.

Use a plastic needle for cross stitch or the best tool you have to slip in the elastic! Don't let it go too far by sewing one end at the edge of your fabric piece. Make a knot or sew the other end.

Do the same inside the "tube" of your belt.

Close handstitching or with the machine your top hem.

You can do the bottom hem now.

Step 6: The Sleeves

Make a hem on the long straight edge of the sleeves so you can put, you know what, AN ELASTIC BAND in it (yes they are your friends!) once it's done, slip in an elastic band the lenght you want for your shoulder strap minus 5cm.

Secure it with a stitch.

You can do a little hem on the curvy side, personnaly I just overlocked it.

Step 7: The End...

Sew the side seam from the top to the bottom, passing on the elastics ends to secure it. You have now a giant tube, looking like a strapless dress.

Place your sleeves on your marks and sew it, passing on the stitches of the hem so you can see it less.

Try it out, and enjoy!



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    6 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I think it would help if you included your bra size so others could figure out the size they would need to make.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Absolutely : my bra size is EUR100D. I just edited. Thank you for the feedback!


    2 years ago

    The dress is adorable but I especially like those little sleeves!

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you! The sleeves are SO EASY to make!