A whole half a Dress in easy mode. (Or; fiery summer dresses are hot)

Posted by Bree Frost

DISCLAIMER: I made the first (pink) version up before I realized the pattern was no longer available.  Please excuse the slight differences you may or may not notice.

You will Need:

  • Butterick Pattern 6446


  • 2.3m of two reasonably complementary fabrics (or totally contrasting ones, I’m not fussed really.  Just find two prints/colours that work for you).  (I also encourage you to make a bunch of these in more than two colours that can go in multiple combinations. If you do this, remember to think about the most advantageous combos and which side to make each on.)  *END ASIDES*
  • Matching swing thread
  • Contrasting or decorative thread in more than one colour depending on your fancy
  • Buttons.  On one side I used three large buttons, on the other side I used four small ones so use your common sense to decide how many won’t let the opening gape.

Presser feet used:

  • Standard sewing foot (0A)
  • Fancy Stitch Foot (1A)
  • An overlocker is awesome also! (If not, overcast the sleeve hem and French or flat-fell all your seams)

TL: DR (too long: didn’t read)

Take a standard dress pattern, only make half of it, twice.

The Prelude:

Cut out (or trace out) Pieces:

  • #1 Bodice Front (with gathers)
  • #2 Bodice (Without gathers) This will only be used for reference.
  • #3 Bodice Back
  • #4 Skirt Back (not necessarily, see below)
  • #5 Pocket (I forgot pockets, WHY WOULDN’T YOU WANT POCKETS?)
  • #6 Skirt Front (See above)
  • #9 Sleeve

Modification:  Using the un-gathered bodice piece #2, mark out a 12cm facing for the front neckline that starts at the shoulder and includes the side seam and a small part of the waist seam on the narrowest edge.  Mark the grain as mostly horizontal.

Modification:  Even if you do not usually trace patterns out before using them, trace out the back pattern in the correct size on vilene or paper, flip the pattern and line up the centre back marked on the pattern and trace it out again as a mirror image so you have a whole back piece with no back seam. Using a certain amount of made-up-ology and the front bodice piece as a reference, draw a smooth line from the inner shoulder, (doesn’t matter which side), to the opposite side seam under the arm hole. You should know where to finish on the side seam by measuring the height of the side seam on pattern piece #2.  Add 15mm extra to that side seam on the back for buttons.


Modification: Draw a corresponding back facing that mimics the front one very closely.  Also mark the grain line as mostly horizontal.

Modification:  I forgot pockets.  DON’T FORGET POCKETS

Modifications: I didn’t use the official skirt pieces but went ahead and calculated a quarter circle skirt piece each for front and back.  You guys can just use official skirts if you like; It probably doesn’t make that much of a difference.

Modification:  Once all the pieces are cut/traced out, lay them out in a simulation of where they will end up on the garment (mannequins are helpful here) so that it looks like half a dress.  Very carefully work out which side of each piece will give you a left half dress or a right half dress and mark each side accordingly so later on when you make more halves, you know which way up will give you what half.


How to moosh this together:

NOTE: I’m only explaining one half… don’t forget to rinse and repeat in mirror.

First off sew your darts on the back bodice and pleats on the front bodice.  Flat-fell at shoulder and side seam.

Flat-fell seam the sleeve seam.  Ease the sleeve head and pin the bodice at all the appropriate marks.  Sew it on and set aside.

Sew the shoulder of you two facings.  If you did this right, they should be the same width to sew together.  I flat-felled this too but if you’d like to save bulk, pink it (with the eponymous shears) and Iron the seam open.



            Sew your facing to your neck edge, only sewing that edge.

            Overlock the following:

  • The edge just sewn
  • The armhole
  • The sleeve hem
  • The other edge of the facing
  • The waist edge of the bodice
  • The side seam of the skirt together for front and back (rehearse this so you don’t have to unpick overlocking) ALSO, THIS IS WHEN THE POCKET SHOULD GO IN!
  • The waist edge of the skirt
  • The skirt hem

Put your overlocker away, that should be it.            

Press up the sleeve hem and embellish with a fancy stitch that matches the theme of your fabric.  Don’t worry about the other fabric at the moment, you may pair the side you’re working on with something else down the road.


Press the neck seam toward the facing, then topstitch the seam to the facing (leaving the front fabric free) 2mm from the seam.  Fold back and sew the side seams so that you can bag them out then press the facing to its final position and because of your flat stitching it should roll nicely with the seam stitching just to the inside.

At this point I added decorative stitching to my neckline that matched the sleeve hem.

Grab your skirt and double fold the edge of what would have been the side seams and stitch down on both edges independently.

This is the part where I like to hem it because the weight of the bodice isn’t dragging while I’m doing it.  After pressing your hem, you can decide to either blind hem, double turn hem (not great on a serious curve) or decorate with trim or stitching.  I did purty stitching.

Sew your bodice to the skirt, making sure your side seams match and that the lower edge of your bodice and your facing sandwich the skirt piece at the front and back to give a nice finish.

Grab out your buttonhole foot and bang in some even buttonholes, sew on your corresponding buttons (with the machine if they have holes) and admire.

I know this was short and sweet but I thought it was such a good idea and couldn’t wait to share it with you.  I’m going to make so many of these and mix them up all over the place.  You can even confuse your friends by shifting the outer side to the inside when you go to powder your nose.

 Version A:         Version-1a.jpg

Version B:

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