Big Buttons Dress Tutorial

I love doing custom orders. Custom orders are a lot of work, but gives me different challenges, and a chance to expand different variations and patterns of work.
I was recently asked to make a modification of this dress. Her request was to keep the big buttons, add “rolled up sleeves”, and big pockets. Before I made one for her, I made one sample to make sure if the patterns work. It ended up this dress was pretty simple, and can be adjusted in different sizes very very easily.
Although I added darts for the previous dress, the dresses above a very simple, no curves, all straight line dress. I’m terrible at explaining things, but I’m gonna try… here you go!

Here is a brief how-to to make this dress.
You need measurements of your:
♥ shoulder to shoulder measurement (16″ for me)
♥ from your shoulder to the top of the bust measurement (mine was 9″)
♥ desired length of the dress (in this case, I made it for 34″)

♥ About 1.50m of fabric
♥ covered button kit
♥ invisible zipper

1. Top panels
♥ Take your shoulder to shoulder measurement (mine is about 16″), and add 3″ each side. So the total width of the top front panel is about 23″.
♥ The length of your top front panel is the measurement of your shoulder to the top of your bust.
♥ Now your have a rectangle fabric, 23″ ×9″. Cut two (one for front, and one for back)
♥ Adjust the neckline, you can make it like boat neck, or round neck.

2. Skirt panels
♥ Take the length of your shoulder to shoulder measurement (16″), and multiply it by 1.5. In my case, this is 24″. This becomes the width of your skirt panels, front and back.
♥ The length of your skirt panels should be (your desired length of the dress) – (length of your top panel). In this case, 34-9=25.
♥ Now you have a rectangle fabric, 24″ ×25″.
♥ Gather the top of this skirt panel fabric, and shorten it (gather) so it becomes your shoulder to shoulder measurement (16″). Then sew this into the top panel, leave 3″ both sides for the sleeve.

3. Pockets, roll up sleeves etc.
This is your preference. Make many different variations!

4. Zipper should be added to the back middle, and I would cut the back top and skirt panels 0.5″ longer so it has extra seem allowance for installing zipper.

I know this is very brief and I skipped many processes, so please feel free to ask any questions! Please link to this post if you make a dress from this tutorial;) Happy sewing♥


  1. Thank you for the tutorial! It's a beautiful dress! I can't wait to have a go!!


  2. lunatepetal says:

    very cute!

  3. i think the tutorial is too hard for me.. but i love the dress… 🙂 do you think you will put it in your shop:)

  4. littlecottondresses says:

    Love the simple chic dress – thanks for the tutorial!

  5. Anonymous says:

    At last, I found this post once again. You have few [url=]useful tips[/url] for my school project. This time, I won't forget to bookmark it. 🙂

  6. the guilty hyena says:

    they look good especially the shoulder arms

    @ The GUILTY HYENA †

  7. sulovessew says:

    thanks for sharing such a great tutorial, what kind of fabric will be suitable? I normally work with quilting cotton but i realize how wrinkly they tend to get.

  8. such cute dresses!!

  9. vivatveritas says:

    thanks all for your comment!

    > jo
    sorry it's too hard – perhaps i'll make more detail post with step by step instruction.

    > sulovessew
    in the photos, i used medium weight cotton fabric. i would recommend using light weight – to medium weight cotton or linen, and avoid thick fabric:)

  10. Im just getting into this kind of thing – the tutorial is so helpful, thankyou!



  11. thanks, this is a great dress, will definitely try it out!

  12. vivatveritas says:

    hi lucie and atia, thanks for your comment! i'm looking forward to seeing your version of the dress:)

  13. Anonymous says:

    I love this type of dress and I've been trying to figure out a pattern for one, so thank you! Do you have any tips on making the sleeves?

    Claire x

  14. vivatveritas says:

    hi claire, hmmm tips on making sleeves, it's pretty simple, because you dont have to put a separate sleeve.the sleeves are connected to the front panel.

    good luck making! let me know if you have any questions:)

    • This is so adorable! I’m a little confused on the sleeves though too (I’m a beginner lol). Would you be able to explain to me what you mean by “leave 3 inches for the sleeves” when you’re sewing the top panel to the dress part? I’m sure you’ve explained it properly and I’m just confused. And also, in your above comment reply, are you saying that the sides of the panels (the 3 inches on each side) actually become the sleeves? Or do we make the sleeves out of entirely different pieces of fabric and sew them on? Sorry if those are ridiculous questions… just learning and love this dress : ) Great job!

      • Hi! Thank you for your comments. I’m sorry that this tutorial is a bit confusing. I’ve written this a while ago..I should post a step by step instructions with pictures! I’ts in my to-blog list:)
        Anyway, there are no separate pieces for sleeves. Sleeves are similar to kimono or raglan sleeves, and it is connected to the front panel. I hope this makes sense..I will work on the instruction photos soon.

  15. Do your measurements include seam allowances?

  16. vivatveritas says:

    J.S., no, it does not include seam allowance.

  17. Ainsley says:

    super duper cute! i love this dress!

  18. Liza A. says:

    I just came thru this post, had no idea why I didn't read the post 🙁 hmm…the dresses looks very me =) simple and comfortable. Had to try this!! Thank you for the instructions and i love the navy blue dress 🙂

  19. Love this dress! I’m adding your link today to Sewing Tutorials Library. You have such a beautiful sense of style, such an inspiration!

  20. Hello, I have been contemplating on attempting this for a while now, and I was just wondering what type of fabric would be best for this project?

    Thank you,
    I am really excited to make this.

    • Hi Cassie! Thank you for your comment! In the photo, I used cotton blend. It was a medium weight. I have not tried to make this dress in lighter or heavier fabric yet, so I can’t make any suggestion for those. I think nice medium weight cotton or linen would be nice!

  21. dedeyez says:

    Do you think you will ever post a detailed tutorial with pics? I’m a beginner seamstress and that would really help me out a lot. Thanks!

    • Hi, I’m sorry I’ve been meaning to do it but never got to it. This tutorial was written two years ago and I lost motivation..

  22. If I was turning this pattern into a maternity pattern would I just add extra length in the front panel?

  23. Ohhhh and width??

  24. Just saw this on Buzz Feed and it’d be awesome if there was a step by step tutorial. 🙂 Thanks!

  25. Is this dress suitable for a beginning sewer

    • I think so as it involves mostly straight sewing; however, please note the instructions are pretty minimal as I did not do step-by-step instructions.


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