Don’t you just love a little black dress? I seem to never have enough of them but this romantic take on a basic fashion staple somehow makes it even better. So, for this week’s fashion DIY, I’m going to give a basic little black dress a total makeover and share each step in detail with you so you can make your own too.
To make this dress you’ll need about 1- 1 1/2 hours of time. You won’t need any fancy tools besides a basic sewing machine and even though I use my beloved serger during steps, I’ll be sure to give other alternatives that I know you’ll love just as much. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
- 1 1/2 yards of black chiffon fabric. Personally, I love this one because the quality is great and it’s inexpensive: Solid Chiffon Fabric Polyester Dress Sheer 58” Wide By the Yard All Colors
- Fabric Scissors
- Sewing Pins
- Tailors Chalk
- Ruler (not pictured)
- Tailor’s Chalk
- Black Thread
- Hand-Sewing Needle
- Basic Sewing Machine (not pictured)
Here’s the specific tools I’ll be using for this tutorial. You can get them on Amazon if you’re missing anything:
Step 1: Cut your chiffon into four 11″ strips
Cut your yard and half of chiffon into 11″ strips lengthwise. These will make up the ruffles of your dress. My dress ended up only needing three tiers but since you’ll have some leftover fabric, it’s best to have an extra strip to work with.
Hem one side of each chiffon strip. I used a serger to create a rolled hem, but you can also create a beautiful narrow hem by following these steps. Do This for all four strips of chiffon.
Step 3: Gather
Now that one side of your chiffon is neat and finished, it’s time to gather the other side to create ruffles on your new dress. Use a hand-sewing needle to make a large running stitch and gather to fit the circumference of your dress skirt.
Step 4: Measure and Mark
Using tailors chalk, measure 6 inch sections up from the bottom of your skirt and mark. These lines will be the guide of your ruffles. Feel free to get creative here. Would you like them diagonal? Vertical? For the purpose of this tutorial, I’ll be marking horizontal, parallel lines but feel free to get creative!
Step 5: Pin Into Place
Once you have measured and decided where you’d like your chiffon ruffles, it’s time to pin them into place. Circle the skirt of your dress and don’t forget to leave enough excess chiffon to sew your strips into a circle around your dress once your done.
tip: For your final tier, pin your chiffon facing the other strips (upside-down) This helps it fall nicely and hides the ugly, raw edge once it’s completed.
Step 5: Sew
Using a basic zigzag stitch, secure your chiffon ruffles into place. Since this basic dress is slightly stretchy, the zigzag helps it continue to stretch once the chiffon is sewn on.
Step 6: How To Make a Simple Sleeve
Using the excess chiffon you have, cut two rectangles that measure 6″ x 17″ These will become those draped sleeves. You will be so surprised how easy this is!
Step 7: Mark the Armhole
Find the bottom center of each armhole by folding your dress in half and marking it with a sewing pin.
Starting from the marked center pin, secure your chiffon into place along the bottom and sides of each armhole.
When your fabric is secured, your top should lay flat like this:
Sew the rectangles into place around each armhole and you are all done. You now have a completely re-done little black dress that is ready for any party, date, or wherever else you’d like to wear it.
I hope you liked this little DIY. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments below!
How I Wear It:
I plan on styling this little black dress over and over again but for today, I loved pairing it with my favorite nude heels, a DIY necklace from an past vacation and my new vegan leather bag