May 2008


A fun and fabulous trend from the runway that works for all “non-model” body shapes! Baby-doll dresses, with their forgiving fit and romantic feel, are the smart choice for balmy summer weather. Flirty, flowy, and feminine, they are a perfect staple for work, weekend, or travel. Wear with flat sandals for day and transform for night with strappy stiletto heels or wedges. For instant effortless style, choose one in a bold, solid color or floral print, like this one from Nicole Miller at Bloomingdale’s. And if you’re feeling extra daring, try a geometric pattern. Best of all, these dresses work wonderfully well with this season’s essential accessories. Try layering with leggings underneath for a not-so-hot day or cinch high above the waist with a funky belt for an edgier look. Baby-doll dresses have surfaced as one of the most prominent fashions in the collections of designers everywhere. Given the emphasis on short hemlines and loosely fitted clothes, it was perhaps inevitable. There’s only one requirement: a great pair of legs.


Let’s begin by folding the paper in half, lengthwise (for symmetry).

At the top of the paper, square a line across from the fold.

From this line, measure along the fold the finished length of the dress.

For example, the finish length of the model photo is 28″.

Square a line from this point across the paper from the fold.

Now along each of these draftlines, measure half the hip or bust measurement plus 6 inches (whichever is larger).

Join each point to create a rectangle. Label ABCD.

From line AB, make a parallel line 9 inches down the fold.

Divide this line into three equal sections and label the second third, point X. Square up from X.

Divide the distance from X to the edge in half. Label point O.

Join a straight line from O to D. (side seam)

Parallel to line AB, draft a line across from fold 1 inch. This will be the foldline for the drawcord casing.

Where it intersect line X, label +. Swing a shallow curve from + to O as shown.

Above point D, place a set-square on the sideseam line (OD) and draw in hemline with a smooth curve blending into the line CD from the 90 degree angle. [see bubble for detail].





For the three tiers, draw two parallel lines from line CD, each 3 inches apart.

Trace off each tier for each layer of the dress. [do this on folded pattern paper].

Add seam and hem allowances. Open the folded paper for the complete pattern piece. Indicate the straight grain parallel to the foldline with a grainline on each pattern piece.

Each pattern piece is cut 2 times and is used for both front and back portions.

  • Stitch up sideseams and hem.
  • Layer 2 tiers together and drop third tier inside by stitching together at armholes before turning right side out.
  • Fold over top edge to create a casing and thread drawcord to create gathered neckline.

This short and sassy mini skirt duo are a whooping 6-8 inches above the knee – true ‘60s style! Fun, flirty and flowing are the prominent themes with these bias-cuts; fabricated here in cotton sateen and checked gingham with a pretty “net” underskirting.










To draft the skirt pattern you will need:

  • Kraft paper (60” long x 30” wide)
  • Tape measure
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Push pin
  • String


1. Measure around your waistline where you normally wear your skirt. (In the photo, this is a hip-hugger style, approx. 2 inches below the natural waist). Record this measurement.

2. Fold along one end of the paper, 2 inches across its width. Open paper flat and draw in foldline with a pencil.

3. At a right angle (90 degrees), draw a second line perpendicular to the first line along the length of the paper. Do this approx. 2 inches from the edge.
4. Where the two lines intersect, label this point X.
5. Use this formula for a circle to determine a compass point to draft your pattern.

Radius #1 = Waist mmt. x 2 divided by 6.28

6. Tie the string to the pencil and measure the length of the string equal to the Radius. Using a push pin secure it at point X. This is a make-shift “compass” to create a circle.
7. Arc a curved line from A radiating from X . Be sure to hold the pencil upright and keep the string taut as you do so.

This is the waistline of the skirt. (If you measure it with a tape measure, it should equal half your waist measurement).

8. Now, make the string 4 inches longer and repeat the last step from B radiating from X. This is the hip yoke portion of the skirt. Measure this line accurately with a tape measure. Record this measurement.

9. Now below this draft, fold the paper across its width. Open paper flat and draw in foldline with a pencil.
At a right angle (90 degrees), draw a second line perpendicular to the first line along the length of the paper. Do this approx. 2 inches from the edge.

Repeat steps 4 to 7 using this formula:

Radius #2 = yokeline mmt. x 2 divided by 6.28

10. Now, make the string 10 inches longer and repeat the last step. This is the flared skirt portion of the mini.
11. Use the same pattern piece but 2 inches longer for the net underskirt. Trace it off on paper.

12. In the center of each pattern piece, draw a line parallel to the foldline you began with. This is the grainline of the pattern. Indicate it with an arrowhead on each end of the line.

13. Add ½ inch seam allowances to all sides of your pattern pieces and label the following cutting directions:

  • Yoke – cut 4 times
  • Skirt Flare – cut 2 times
  • Net Underskirt – cut 2 times