DIY Tiered Dress

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Let me just start off by saying, if I can make this tiered dress, so can you. 

The video has a lot of great visuals, but I wanted to provide specific measurements and more detailed instructions here. 

For best results, follow along with the video and reference this post.

To begin, I found this tablecloth at the thrift store for under €5.00. I am 5'2" and this was enough fabric for me to make a floor-length dress that had a lined bodice, straps, and three tiers. 

Let's begin with the bodice. First, you'll want to take some measurements. 

    The first measurement is at the widest part of your bodice. I wanted my bodice to be super tight (so I wouldn't have to wear a bra) so I took a deep breath in and then measured when I had left half of it out. My measurement came out to 82 cm. 

    Next, I measured how long I wanted the bodice to be by placing my measuring tape approximately where I wanted the bodice to begin and end. That measurement was 15 cm. If you're confused at all by this part, I highly recommend watching The Essential's Club's video that linked in the bio of my video. 

    To make the front and back of the bodice, I divided my bust measurement by 1/2, leaving me with 41cm. I marked out a rectangle on the fabric that was 41cm x 15cm. 

    Time to measure again. I took the measuring tape to see how far apart I wanted my straps to be, which came out to 24cm. I subtracted that from the length (41cm) and got 17. 17 divided by 2 is 8.5. So on both sides of the top 8.5cm in I made a mark. Then on each side, I measured 5cm from the top. Once you have done that, connect the marks to make a trapezoid. 

    Quick change up to figure out our straps. Eyeball how thick you want your straps to be (mine were about 6cm each. You can make them extra long, as we will shorten them to the perfect length later. Once you get them cut and sewn, flip them right sides out.

    Cut out the trapezoid and sew along the top with the straps sandwiched in the middle right at the edges of the top of the trapezoid. Flip to reveal your front bust piece. 

    To make the back, it is almost the same BUT you are going to make one piece for left and one for right, extending each piece at least 5cm past the middle (so at least 25.5cm for me). I repeated the process and flipped them right sides out. 

    Now to make the first tier. Use this formula:

The circumference of the last tier x 1.5 = the circumference of the next tier. 

    My bodice was 82cm, BUT I used a measurement of 72 instead because I was a bit worried about running out of fabric (I literally had just enough). So 72x1.5 = 108 for my first tier's circumference.

    To find the length, you'll want to put on your bodice and measure from the bottom to where you want the skirt to fall (I made mine floor length). I got a measurement of 98cm and divided it by 3 (for 3 tiers). That comes out to 32.666666666, but I used 32.7 because... well, because. 

    I did each tier in 2 pieces, so I marked out the front half of the first tier which came to 54cm x 32.7cm. For the back, I divided 54 by 2 to get 27 and added 5 cm (just like with the bodice), and got 32cm. 

    I then sewed the two back sides to the front along the sides, leaving the back open for my zipper. I then created a temporary basting stitch at the top of the tier and bunched it up to make ruffles. Once I liked how they looked, I pined them and sewed them into place while joining this tier and the bodice. 

    Now it's time to try it on. I pulled the fabric together and adjusted it to the fit I wanted and marked it. I then folded it back on each side and sewed it up. 

    Using the video I linked, I put the zipper in and then released the basting stitch I had. Since my zipper ended midway through the first tier, I  joined the remaining part with an invisible stitch by hand. 

    Okay, home stretch, and the hard parts are over! Since the last tier was 108cm, the next tier came out to 162cm. I then divided that by 2 to get 81cm for the front and back panels. I sewed up each side to create a big loop. I repeated the basting stitch at the top, ruffled, pinned, and sewed it. 

    The last tier came out to 243cm, then (you guessed it) divided by two to get 121.5 for the front and back pieces. I repeated the process on this tier and sewed it up. 

    I then put the dress on (and was amazed that it looked this good) the back was about 5cm longer than the front just because of how it fell naturally on my body. I marked where I wanted it to end (with some help from my obliging fiancé) and hemmed it up. 

    As I went along I overlocked most of my seams, but if you haven't done that or have some left, now is the time to do that. 

    And voilà! A perfect tiered dress! 

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