Hi sew lover

Welcome to today’s tutorial: How to make a straight gown with pleated sleeves as requested by Temitope. Thank you Temitope for downloading TheQEffectz Mobile App and making a request from it. I’m so sorry this is coming 2 days later than the date assigned to you. This is due to circumstances beyond my control.

But it is here and I hope you enjoy the tutorial.

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Now to today’s free tutorial

What is a straight gown?

A straight gown in my technical opinion is a combination of a basic bodice and straight skirt. This could include a partition at the waist line, band or it could be cut straight from top to bottom. Either way, this type of outfit takes the body form of the wearer and exerts elegance in a way that could take breaths away.

It could be made from either stretch or non-stretch fabrics. While the former will not require any form of zipper depending on how the outfit is cut, the latter will always require a zipper regardless of how the outfit is cut.

From our style in question, we can see that the outfit is made from a non-stretch fabric, therefore whatever design we create, we must include zip allowances.

Thus, please note that this tutorial is for both beginners and Intermediates.

  1. Basic Gown Block: As earlier mentioned in HOW TO MAKE A SCUBA DRESS, this is a combination of a basic bodice block and a basic skirt block.

Don’t know how to make a basic bodice block? Please click here

Don’t know how to make a straight skirt block? Please click here

2. Pattern papers

3. Body statistics: The body measurement required in this tutorial are:

  • Shoulder length: This is the distance from one shoulder tip to the other
  • Bust point: This is the distance between the shoulder and the tip of the bust
  • Bust circumference: Place your measuring tape loosely around your bust and measure. Using me as an example, my bust circumference is 38 inches
  • Nape distance: This is the distance between the base of the neck at the back to the waistline.
  • Hip length: This is the distance between your waist to your hip
  • Skirt length. This is the distance between your waist and where you want your skirt to stop.
  • Armhole length: This is the distance between the shoulder and the armpit. This length is derived by simply dividing the bust circumference by 4.

Using me as an example, my bust measurement is 38 inches

38 ÷ 4 = 9.5 inches

4. Pen/Pencils/Markers

5. Eraser

6. Scissors


So because this is a beginner project, we are going to start from the very beginning. All you have to do is follow me one step at the time and you’ll see how to easy drafting out the project can be.

Step 1: Prepare your pattern paper. This should be (1/2 of your hip measurement + 4.5 inches) wide x (your dress length + 2 inches) long.

Using me as an example; my hip measurement is 44 inches

1/2 x 44 inches = 22inches.

22 inches + 4.5 inches = 26.5 inches.

So my pattern paper will be 26.5 inches wide

As for the length. My dress length is 38 inches

38inches + 2 inches(for folding allowance) = 40 inches

So my pattern paper will be 40 inches long

Step 2: We will begin with the bodice part of our gown. So from the top of your pattern paper, measure the nape distance + 1 inch on your pattern paper and mark.

Using me as an example, my nape measurement is 20inches.

20 inches + 1 inch = 21 inches

Label all sides from A-D

Step 3: Measure 3 inches from point A and mark.

Let this new point be AB1

Step 4: Measure 2.5 inches from point AB1 and mark

Let this new point be point AB2

Step 5: Draw a curve from point AB1 to meet point AC as shown below

Step 6: Then from point A, measure your 1/2 of your shoulder length.

Using me as an example, my shoulder length is 19inches

1/2 x 19 inches = 9.5 inches

Let this new point be AB3

Step 7: From point AB3, measure 1 inch downwards and mark. This is your shoulder slope

Then draw a line to connect point AB1 to your shoulder slope

Step 8: Then from point AB1, measure your bust point and add 0.5 inch

Using me as an example, my bust point is 10 inches

10 inches + 0.5 inch = 10.5 inches

This will therefore be our bust level

Step 9: Then from the shoulder slope, measure your armhole length and mark. As already mentioned in the requirement, my armhole length is 9.5 inches

Let this new point be AB4.

Then mark the middle of this length. Let this midpoint be AB5


Step 10: Then from point AB5, measure 0.75inch towards the left and mark.

Let this new point be AB6

Step 11: Using your french curve ruler, connect point AB3, AB6 and AB4

Step 12: At the bust level(AC1) measure (1/4 of the bust measurement + 2 inches seam allowance)

Using me as an example, my bust measurement is 38 inches

1/4 x 38 inches = 9.5 inches

9.5 inches + 2 inches  = 11.5 inches

Step 13: Re-measure your nape measurement or measure inch upwards from line CD

Let this new point be C1

Step 13: From C1, measure (1/4 of your waist measurement + 1inch for dart + 1.5inches for seam allowance)

Using me as example, my waist measurement is 34 inches

1/4 x 34 inches = 8.5 inches

8.5 inches + 1 inch + 1.5 inches = 11 inches

Step 14: Extend the armhole circumference and join point AC2 to C2

Step 15: Then from the bust level, measure 1 inch downwards and mark.

Step 16: At this new level, measure 4.75 inch from line AC and mark.

Step 17: Extend the dart point to the bottom of the bodice and measure 0.5 inch from both sides of the point.

Step 18: Then join the lines to create dart

Step 19: Then mirror your front piece to the other side of your pattern paper to create the back piece. However make the following changes.

  • Measure 1.5 inch from line BD for zip allowance. At the waist line, slant your zip allowance 0.5 inch in.
  • The neckline of the back piece should be 1.5 inches
  • The dart should begin at the bust level and not 1 inch below the bust level


So with our bodice now complete, we will move to the straight skirt part of our gown

Step 20: Measure your hip height from point C.

Using me as an example, my hip height measurement is 10 inches

Let the new point be E

Step 21:Measure your skirt length from point C

Step 22: From point C and point E, measure (1/4 of your waist measurement + 1 inch + 1.5 inches) and (1/4 of your hip measurement + 1.5 inches) respectively.

Using me as an example, my hip measurement is 44 inches

1/4 x 44 inches = 11 inches

11 inches + 1.5 inches = 12.5 inches



Step 23: Repeat step 22 on the other side and mark

Step 24: Using your hip curve ruler, join the waist point to the hip point.

Then using theory of thumb, draw a slant line from the hip level to the bottom of your pattern

Step 25: Also using your hip curve ruler, make a waist slope as shown below

Step 26: Mirror your dart lines on the bodice of your pattern to the skirt. Ensure it is 5-7 inches long.

Step 27: Measure 7 inches from the bottom of the back piece and mark

This will be where your slit will start from.

So when you cut your pattern pieces on your fabric, the front pieces will look like these.

And your back pieces will look like these

Step 28: To draw the sleeves, I will have to move away from flat pattern-making and illustrate with a piece of paper since it involves pleating

Cut out (2 x your armhole circumference) x 15 inches long fabric

Step 29: Box pleat the fabric pieces. Your box pleats should be about 3-5 inches wide

Step 30: Get a bias strip and stitch it to the ends of the pleats.

Step 31: Then trace your armhole at the widest end of your pleats as shown

Step 32: Slash and your sleeve will look like this

Step 33: Cut out 2 cuff bands. These should be 11 inches wide x Cuff length.

Additional drafting tips:

A. Placket: You can see from our style in question that there is a placket running from the top of the bodice to the waist. Therefore to cut out the length of your placket, measure the length of the centre-front of your front piece from the neckline to the waist

To cut out the width of the placket, measure the width of your centre front neckline

When done your placket will look like this

B: Pockets: You will also notice that our gown has pockets by the side. This means will have to adjust the lower front piece(skirt) for pockets.

So at both sides of the skirt front piece, measure 4.5 inches and mark

Then measure 8 inches towards the hip region and mark

Then draw a line to join these two points.

The shaded part is where you slash off and replace with a pocket piece. See here to learn how to attach pockets to tight fitted pants or skirts or download TheQEffectz Mobile App from Google Playstore to download the tutorial straight to your mobile devices.

So that’s it!.

#phew I hope this was detailed enough and that the tutorial was easy to understand. Please feel free to drop any questions you have about it on the comment box and I’ll respond to it.

So till next time on more free tutorials, kisses!

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”- John 10:10

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