Wardrobe Capsule – A misshapen dress

Upon (mostly) perfecting the pattern for the misshapen top, I decided to try to make it into a dress.  This top part drapes to the side, so it needs to be wider than you would think.  If you take your normal top pattern that has some generous room at the waist, add about 10″.   It drapes across your body, so it needs extra room.  Unless you want a tight top, then just use a normal top pattern for the width.

The dress looks like this, as a line drawing:

mis-shapen dress measurements

The measurements above fit my body (39B, 32W, 39H at 5’7″ and 145 lbs).

There are six pattern pieces:

  • Top cut on the fold (1)
  • Bands at the arms (2)
  • Waistband – interior and exterior (2)
  • Skirt cut on the fold (1)

mis-shapen dress line drawing

I drafted it to have a doubled-up waistband to try to give a little more tummy control in that area.


To sew this pattern.

  1.  Sew the waistband ends together and the skirt back seam.
  2. Sandwich the skirt top the the waist band seams in between, right sides together.  Serge or zigzag stitch.
  3. Hem the skirt and iron the waistband seam.  You can topstitch here if you want it flat.
  4. Serge the edge of the top seam – don’t serge the seams together.   Mark 15″ from the edge of the fold.  This is your neck opening.  Sew from the edge up to the mark.
  5. Fold under the neck opening seam allowance and topstitch the hem.
  6. Serge the side seam up to the small piece that juts out.  Serge the bottom/side seam.
  7. Take your bands and serge the side seams.  Fold together and attach to the ends of the arms.  If you don’t want bands, just fold under and hem.
  8. Serge the bottom waist hem to the waistband.
  9. All done!

Another version of this pattern, would be to just draw a line from the waist of the top down to make it into a one piece dress.  You need to figure out where it would hit at your hip and have negative ease in that area.  My hip is 39″, so I would want it to be around 35″.  The pattern piece would be 17.5″, as it is cut on the fold.

Let me know if you have any questions on the drafting of this dress.  I suggest sturdy knits.  A ponte like this one would work great for this dress.  I used a heavy poly lycra knit from The Worth Collection that I found at SR Harris in MN.

I would also suggest making a top first, and then going into making the dress.  Once you have the right measurements for the top, you can work on drafting the dress part, which is fairly easy.