You Stole My Heart Dress for the Experienced Sewer




About: I am a teenager who loves to craft.

This Instructable is meant for an experienced sewer. If you are a beginner sewer, I made a MUCH more in depth tutorial here:

Skills you need to know in order to make this dress, with this tutorial:

  • how to draft a basic bodice pattern
  • how to box pleat fabric
  • how to install an invisible zipper

Important notes:

- Always overlock the edges of the fabric, so it won't fray

- Always Iron seams open

Step 1: Things You Will Need

You will need:

  • A T-shirt that fits you closely, but does not stretch much to accommodate your body. Make sure you like the way the armpit area fits for you! That's the most important part!
  • Safety pins
  • Measuring tape
  • Ruler
  • Pattern paper or newspaper + tape
  • Pins
  • Markers (multiple colors help)
  • Scissors

Measurements Needed to Create This Dress

Please look at the picture. Here is the Key:

  • A - Top of T-shirt collar to apex of breasts. (Usually the nipple line)
  • B - Breast Circumfrence (Around the fullest part of breasts)
  • C- Natural waist (Around the smallest part of waist)
  • D- Hips (Around the largest part of your hips)

Step 2: Create a Basic Bodice Piece

Make a basic bodice Piece

Step 3: Creating the Sleeve

1) Measure the armpit area

2) Multiply it by 2

3) Add 4 inches


1) Armpit area = 8 inches

2) 8 X 2 = 16 inches

3) 16 + 4 = 20 inches is my measurement


make a rectangle of [measurement X 3.25 inches]

Example: my measurement is 20 inches I will make a rectangle of 20 X 3.25 inches

Step 4: Designing the Heart

Step A

- Take the Back Bodice piece

- Re-draw the seam allowances

- Measure the space that you will be able to use for the heart

Step B

- Draw out a heart, keeping the measurements in mind. Keep redrawing until you get one you like!

Step 5: Transfer the Heart

Step A

-Trace the heart onto the pattern piece

Step B

- Add seam allowance to the inside of the heart

- Cut out

Step 6: Add a Bit More

Step A

- Get a fresh piece of paper

- Trace the pattern piece

- Extend the bottom most line further to the right

Step B

- Add seam allowance to the top portion of the heart

- Extend the heart's point to the waistline

- Cut out

Step 7: How to Calculate the Skirt Width

I am doing 3 inch box pleats

How to calculate how much to add for your box pleats

1) Width of pleat X 2 = How much fabric to add for every 1 pleat

2) Added Pleat fabric X # of pleats you want = how much extra you will add to waist measurement

Example: My Pleats will be 3 inches in width, with 6 pleats over all

1) [3] X 2 = 6 inches

2) [6 inches] X [6] = 36 inches I will add 36 inches over all, to accommodate for the pleats

Now what?

Take your waist measurement, and add the extra amount needed to create pleats

Example: My waist is 27 inches, I need to add 36 inches, to accommodate my box pleats

27 + 36 = 63 inches The width I will need to make the skirt is 63 inches wide

Now, add your seam allowance

Take the width you just calculated, and add seam allowances X 2

Example: I use 5/8 inch seam allowance, and my skirt width before adding seam allowance is 63 inches

( [5/8] X 2) + [63] = 64.25 My over all skirt width, including seam allowance, will be 64.25 inches!

Step 8: What the Skirt Should Look Like

Please see picture

Calculating the over all skirt length

-Measure the length you want your skirt, starting from the natural waist

- Figure out how large you want the hem to be Then, plug in your numbers into the equation:

(Hem X 2) + Skirt length + Seam allowance = length of skirt

Example: I want my skirt to be 22 inches long, with a 1 inch hem, and my seam allowance is 5/8 inch

([1 inch] X 2) + [22 inch] + [0.625 inch] = 24 and 5/8 inches long!

I am multiplying the hem length by 2, because we will be doing a double fold hem.

So, I will be cutting my skirt out as a 64.25 inch X 24 and 5/8 inch rectangle!

Step 9: The Pieces You Should Have Now

Bodice front = Cut 2 on fold

Bodice back = Cut 4

Not shown:

- Skirt rectangle piece = cut 1

- Sleeve Rectangle Piece = cut 2

Alright! We are finally finished with drafting the pattern! Now lets get to sewing!

Step 10: Supplies Needed to Sew This Dress

Supplies needed to sew the dress are:

  • Non-stretch, medium weight fabric
  • Invisible zipper
  • Shank buttons (The buttons with the nubs, instead of holes)
  • Trimming
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Chalk

Not shown, but still needed:

  • Hand sewing needles
  • Ruler
  • Sewing machine
  • The pattern pieces you created
  • Iron
  • Zipper Foot

Step 11: Cut Out in Fabric

Sleeve Rectangle Pieces: 2

Skirt Pieces: 1

Step 12: Cut Out More

Cut out:

Front Bodice Pieces: 2 on fold

Back Bodice Pieces: 4, not on fold

Step 13: Sew the Back Bodice Pieces Together

Step A

1) Grab 2 back bodice pieces, and line them up with right sides together

Repeat for the other side

2) Sew a normal stitch along the white lines

3) Sew a basting stitch along the blue line


- Do not sew the shoulders. I realize in my photo that the shoulders are sewn, but Do not sew the shoulders. It was a mistake

Step B

- Clip the curves

- Fold it right side out

- Iron

Step 14: Cut Out the Button Loops

Assembling the button loops

- Cut out 4 rectangles, with dimensions of 0.5 X 3 inches

- Fold the strips in half, and sew

- Zigzag the edges too

- Flip the tubes inside out, and Iron

Attaching the button loops

- Seam rip the basting stitches you made

- Fold the button strip over, so it looks like the breast cancer symbol

- Pin the loops in place, sandwiching the loop between the 2 pieces you undid the stitches on

- Sew straight down

Step 15: Making the Back Look Nice

Step A

-Top stitch around the heart on both sides

- Top stitch the upper part of the heart on the other side

- Mark where the buttons will go

Now, the back will be mirrored

Step B

- Overlock the edges of the back bodice pieces together

- Now we can treat it as one piece of fabric

Step C

- Sew the buttons on

Step 16: Sew the Front

Step A

- Sew the neckline of the front bodice pieces together

- Clip the curve

Step B

- Flip right side out and Iron

- Overlock the edges together

- Now we can treat this as one piece of fabric!

Step 17: Sew the Bodice Together

-Place the front and back bodice pieces right sides together

- Sew along the lines shown

- Leave one side open

Step 18: Add Sleeves

-Take your sleeve rectangles

- Iron them in half

-Sew onto the bodice piece

Step 19: Add the Skirt

-Box Pleat the skirt

- Attach it to the bodice, making sure the open ends are on the same side

Step 20: Finishing Up

1) Install invisible zipper.

2) Hem dress

3) Add Trimming to sleeves and waistline

Congratulations! You finished the dress!

I found a great youtube tutorial on installing an invisible zipper with a regular zipper foot:



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    3 Discussions


    2 years ago

    If you have any questions, please post them here! Also, if you created this dress, please post links to your pictures! I love seeing people's creations!


    2 years ago

    Nicely done! The heart detail is so cute!

    1 reply