Sunday, July 20, 2014

Draped Neck Maxi Dress DIY Tutorial

Maxi dresses top my list for summer weather.  I love the comfort / ease associated with them and thought the draped neck might be a good variation from ones I've made in the past.

Difficulty: Easy

Time: ~1.5 - 2 hours

  • ~2 yards knit fabric (56-60" width)
  • Existing sleeveless shirt that fits you well
Due to the length of the post and amount of photos, please see the rest of tutorial after the jump.
This dress is based upon a sleeveless shirt you already have in your closet.  More details here, but essentially this lends your shirt's shape and fit to your new dress. 

1.  To begin, assess how long you'd like your dress as well as how wide your skirt hem needs to be in order to walk comfortably.  The easiest way to do this is to measure the length and hem width of a maxi you already have.  From past projects, I know to use a rectangle 50" long by 56-60" wide (I use the standard width of most knit fabrics) for the total dress.  Always account extra for length!

2.  If you are also using the standard width, simply fold your fabric edge to the fabric center.

3.  Fold your shirt in half and align the fold of the shirt to the fold of the fabric.  You will now cut out 2 panels for your dress - the BACK and the FRONT.

4.  For the BACK panel:

  • Carefully cut along the neckline, shoulder, armholes, and sides.  When cutting, make sure to cut at least a 1/4" away from your shirt to account for seam allowance.
  • For the skirt portion, you will cut diagonally from the corner of your fabric to the corner of your shirt.  This is illustrated by the stick in the picture below.

Line up your shirt with your fabric.

Back panel is essentially your shirt + a diagonal cut down to the hem

 5.  For the FRONT panel:

  • As with the BACK panel, align the folds of the shirt with the fabric AND the shoulder of the shirt 3" down from the top of your fabric.
  • To create the draped neck, you're going to modify the neckline cut into a rectangle (extend 3" from the edge of the shoulder) that then merges with your shirt armhole and sides.  This does not need to be terribly precise as there will be room for adjustment.
  • Then cut diagonally from the shirt edge down to the hem as you did with the skirt portion of the BACK panel.

6.  Now that you have both panels cut out, place the right sides together and sew down from the armhole to the hem.  Try on and make sure the fit is to your liking.

7.  For the shoulders, you're going to align the back shoulder with the rectangular front.  The rectangular edge will allow the center to drape downwards.
Dress with sewn sides

Aligning back shoulder to rectangular edge

Do for both sides and pin in place

8.  For the other side of the shoulder, fold the top edge of your rectangle towards the wrong side until this aligns with the back.  Pin in place.
Folded rectangular edge aligned with the other side of the shoulder

9.  Baste your shoulders together and try on.  If you'd like your drape lower, simply move your front panel downwards until you get your desired outcome.

10.  Once you've determined your drape positioning, remove your basting stitch and sew across.  Trim any excess fabric from the rectangular portion of the front panel.

11.  Finish your edges by folding inward and stitching along the back neckline, armholes, and hem.

That's it!

A closer look at the draped neck

Your finished dress

Since I used a solid fabric, I think a belt adds a little visual contrast and interest

Questions?  Please feel free to ask below or send me an email!


  1. Very pretty color on you! I love the little critter decor in your last pic. :)

    1. Thanks Michelle :) We have tons of critters all over the house!

    2. your work is quite inspiring, creative and beautiful !!!

    3. Thank you, Kreative - that is very kind of you to say :)

  2. Loving the colour! This looks like something I may be able to create so I think I'll try it.. (unless I just fail miserably)

    Vessi :: arts & petite style blog

  3. love it just got a new sewing machine ready to try it now

  4. I can not wait to try it !!!!! So cute !!!!

    1. Thank you and hope it all goes well, Samantha!

  5. Made this dress tonight in around two and a half hours and that's mainly because I cut it too big so had to make some alterations. I'm a complete novice and this is the third dress I've ever made. I love it - my favourite so far! Super easy, super pretty, super flattering! Will definitely be making more! Thanks so much ��

    1. Thanks Jenni! I'm so very happy this turned out well for you - thank you for coming back to share!!

  6. Hi, I made my dress! I used M6886 as a base, though. Thanks for the tut!! Zebra print!!! On my Pinterest page mrsjaig in the "Original J. Govan Designs" folder.

  7. I've always wondered how to do a drape neck. Thanks so much! Can't wait to try it :)

    1. You are so very welcome! Hoping it comes out wonderfully :)

  8. What a fab tutorial thank you :~)
    Going to use this on a blouse I'm making from charity
    (thrift) shop silk scarves.

    1. Thanks Lucy! Hope you find some beautiful scarves to try for this project!

  9. Thank you so much. I like the draping neck line . I would like stitch a dress for me. Thanks a lot

  10. This is lovely! Thanks for sharing this! I'm going to try making it this weekend! Did you sew on your belt as well? Or is it just tied at the back?

    1. Thank you! How did the dressmaking go? The belt is completely separate and tied at the back :)

  11. Your new follower girl..:) I am a beginner..trying hands. Will follow ur ideas.
    Lovely dress color..and easy making idea.

    1. Thanks so much, Monika! Good luck with your projects!

  12. Now that I have read the instructions throughly I'm going to put it to work thank you for the excellent tutorial

  13. Oh my gosh! I have been trying to figure out how to do this with the back of a dress for a special occasion. Your tutorial makes it seem easy! Thanks so much!

  14. Do you have any suggestions for making this a maternity dress?


I'm the type of gal who gets giddy when I receive mail - it's no different with comments! I really appreciate the feedback and love hearing from you :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...