Drafting my orange ramie dress (a FREE pattern)
I bought the fabric for this dress already a year ago with a clear image on my mind of what I wanted to do. However, I wanted to draft the pattern myself and it took some time to start the actual drafting. My inspiration were the lovely linen dresses seen on Instagram that I have been drooling after. I realised that the dresses themselves were actually quite simple and what made them special was the amazing photography presenting them.
The fabric I chose was rusty orange ramie fabric from Ompelino. I knew I needed a huge amount of fabric for the wide hem, so I ordered a total of 5 metres. I used it all.
Drafting the pattern
I started from the close-fitting bodice pattern that I had used to make the winter wool dress. I already knew that it fitted but the darts were in the wrong places and I needed a new sleeve.
This time I used Valentina as my pattern drafting program. However, there aren’t that many differences between Valentina and Seamly 2D that I have used previously.
I slashed my pattern at the bust dart position and closed the front shoulder dart. Then I shortened the resulting bust dart a bit to a more proper length. I also added the buttoning placket to the front bodice piece.
The sleeve drafting caused me problems. The last time I had used a two-piece sleeve and now I wanted just a basic one-piece sleeve. However, my drafting resulted in an awful wonky thing that obviously had something wrong with it. I just couldn’t find the mistake. I finally gave up and left the project for a while. Then one evening I took my pattern drafting books once more and went through the draft line by line. Finally, I spotted it! I had calculated the back armscye length wrong. How relieved I was!
I wanted a very full skirt with gathers at the waist. After some thought, I went with a half-circle skirt but drafted the pattern so that the waist was twice my actual waist measurement. And, of course, I needed pockets!
Since I had plenty of fabric and my pattern was sort-of once tested, I ditched the toile phase and cut directly into my fabric. (Yeah, do as I say, not as I actually do!) I cut my skirt 90 cm long and my sleeves to full length.
I tried on the bodice and it fitted pretty well. However, I did let out the side seams and the front darts a tiny bit. That was due to the fact that the size 36 was a bit too small at the waist for me according to the Aldrich size chart that I used as a base. (Yes, I know that I could draft the pattern to my exact measurements but I rather use the standard sizes so that it is easier to scale the pattern in the future.
I wanted a Peter Pan collar, so I drafted one using my front and back pieces as a base. The bottom collar was about 3 mm smaller at the outer edge so that the seam curved neatly under the collar.
This is what the dress looked like at this stage:
Now, I needed to shorten the hem and the sleeves to make this less heavy and better suitable for the summer. I did this in stages, first cutting out 10 cm (4″) and then another 10 cm from the hem.
With the sleeves, I finally decided on 3/4 length, so that I could continue to wear this dress in the autumn. Besides, it has been really cold and rainy in here and the extra warmth is something I currently need.
I made small cuffs with slits so that it would be easier to move my arms. For the hem, I cut about 12 cm wide facing using the skirt pattern as a base and finished the hem with it (I did straighten the hem before sewing the facing on.)
Making the fabric coloured buttons
I wasn’t able to find the buttons in the right shade of orange so I decided to make fabric covered buttons. If you haven’t done these before, here is a little tutorial:
You can buy coverable plastic and metal buttons. I personally prefer metal ones but I do use the plastic ones, too. The buttons come with a template that you can use to cut circular fabric pieces. I measured the circle size from the package and used this green circle stencil to draw circles on a piece of fabric.
The buttons have two parts. There is the smooth outer part with little saw-tooth edge inside to grab the fabric and the lid-part that is snapped on to hold the fabric.
S wanted to help me and here shows how the fabric is carefully wrapped around the outer part:
It would be tempting to use gathering stitches to gather the fabric around the button but, if you do that, you may have difficulty in inserting the lid-part. Doing this just with your fingers is pretty fiddly work but the result should look like this:
When the fabric is neatly wrapped around the button, the lid is snapped on and your button is ready!
The finished dress
With the buttons and buttonholes on, and the side-zipper inserted, I could finally enjoy my new dress!
The skirt has a lot of width to have a bit of a twirl and that makes the dress comfortable to wear. The pockets are hidden in the side seams where they are easy to access.
I am super happy with the sleeve fit, especially after I had so much trouble getting the pattern to work. Finally, the sleeve fits just right without no need for any adjustments.
The back has two small darts at the shoulders and two larger ones at the waist:
This ramie fabric resembles sturdy linen but it will get softer in use. Because ramie is a natural fibre, the dress is breathable and cool.
I think I should give this pattern a name. Hmm… Any good suggestions?
Do it for yourself
If you want to try to make this dress yourself, here is the pattern in size 36.
The pattern is only in size 36 and it has been split into pages. The layout looks something like this (this is the A4 layout, but the letter layout is pretty similar):
Right now I am not into writing long instructions but an experienced sewist surely can figure out the pattern. Here are a few things you need to know:
The pattern has 1,5 cm seam allowance included. I didn’t draw the pocket pattern piece but added notches to the pocket position to help you with the placement. I have marked the shoulder seam point at the sleeve cap and marked the back sleeve cap with two notches. The front bodice has two vertical lines at the centre front. The inner one marks the centre front that is also the button/buttonhole placement line. The outer line is the fold line.
The collar in the pdf pattern is not the exact pattern piece that I used since I originally drew it on a piece of paper. However, it fits the neckline and has the same width and the approximate shape. I didn’t add any markings for the side zipper but mine starts about 5 cm (2″) below my armpit and goes all the way to the point where the pocket starts.
If you make a dress, please send me a picture and tell me what you think about the pattern!
What about you who are not size 36? If you are somewhere between 32 and hmm… 44 and swear that you are going to do some pattern testing and provide me constructive feedback, I can draft a pattern for you. However, I do not want to be doing a lot of work making free patterns for people that I never hear back from, so think before you volunteer! Right now I am not drafting patterns bigger than 44, since I want to get the pattern tested in the smaller sizes first before deviating too far from the original size.
Update: I have drafted the pattern in European sizes 34 to 44. The pattern is now available in the shop with actual instructions!
I hope you enjoyed this post! Thank you for reading and come back soon to see more of my makes! Happy sewing!
This dress is lovely…maybe because of the color I think a good name would be POPPY …the skirt twirls and flares like a poppy
Thanks for the suggestion. In Finnish it would be Unikko, then. Although, I haven’t really decided on any naming policy what comes to my patterns… I might use English names, too.
Your page just popped up in my news feed. You are adorable and this is a dream dress! Can’t wait to look through all of your posts!
Thanks, Jill! Have fun browsing!
What a wonderful dress! It looks amazing! Have someone requested a size 40? (M/L) I would love to have this pattern so that I can ask my kind mother to sew it for me😊
Not yet. Right now I’m so busy sewing masks for everyone as the masks recommendation for public transport came only last week and masks are in great demand. If you want, you can remind me in a few weeks and I can then try to find the pattern and see if I can scale it up. It may be a simple job but I don’t remember exactly how I made the pattern (yeah, should read my own post, probably!).
Woah! This is really interesting! I’ve never heard of ramie before, either…I’ll have to see if I can get my mitts on some. I love the inclusion of shoulder darts, I know they’re out of fashion but without them I always get back neck gape.
Truly beautiful. Well done!
You did an absolutely wonderful & amazing job! Kudos to you! ♥️♥️♥️
I have been searching for any sewing pattern of this dress. Thanks for posting this. Is there a chance you could draft a size 32 for me? Please.
Beautiful work, and the color is fantastic. I actually have a smilar fabric in my stash that I’ve been looking to make into a similar dress. I’m a size 34 and I’d love to test out the pattern and give you some feedback if you’re still looking for assistance!
I’m in the process of scaling the pattern now. If you are still interested, send me email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll reply with the pattern. Do you prefer A4 or letter paper?
I’d like to make this dress, but with the longer skirt length and sleeve (just like a son de flor dress). do I need more than 5 meters of fabric in that case?
Also, can I use any sleeve pattern to add the button and the cuff?
I didn’t use all the five metres of fabric for my dress. What you can do is to print out the pattern and spread them out on the floor like they would be on fabric. That makes it easy to estimate the amount of fabric you need. You can use another sleeve as long as the armscyes of the bodices don’t differ too much. If the sleeves have puffs they are easier to adjust. Just make a sleeve toile to check it out!
Thank you! My fabric arrived yesterday so i’ll start the process soon.
Hi again! I simply love this dress and I asked you a month ago if it is possible to do the pattern in size 40. You asked me to remind you and ask again so here I go😊 Is it possible to convert the pattern into a 40 size? Kind regards Trine
Hi, Trine! I’m in the process of scaling the pattern now. Can you send me email to email@example.com and I’ll send the pattern to you by mail. Do you prefer A4 or letter sized print-at-home pattern?
I also have wanted a Son de flor dress for AGES, and this is the first pattern I have found that resembles them! Sadly I would end up needing a 42.
Hi! I absolutely adore this dress, and I’d be interested in making it myself in a silk I’ve got lying around. I am somewhere in between a size 40 and 42. Do you have the pattern scaled up? Thank you for the instructions regardless! If you don’t have any larger patterns, I’ll have fun fitting it to my own measurements:) Kindest regards, Johanne
im a 14/16 in US sizes so would this dress still work? if not how would i make the pattern bigger? also i only have about 2.7 meters of fabric but it is stretchy and i would like to make the sleeves and skirt a bit shorter so would that work?
sorry for being so clueless i dont sew many clothes often and i get very confused by written directions.
Hi! The pattern hasn’t yet been tested for other sizes exept mine and, as the possible errors multiply when going further and further away from the original size, I hesitate to recommend this dress pattern. However, if you really want a similr dress I would find a dress patter with a basic bodice with sleeves that fits you. (You even may already have one!) Then draw the collar just as I did and make a half circle skirt but use a waist size that is twice your actual waist to allow for the gatherings at the waist. 2,7 m of fabric may be not enough for a skirt this twirly but you can make a simple rectangular gathered skirt or and A-line skirt, too. Good luck!
Hi! Im interested in recreating this pattern, but i’m not sure how much I should scale back since idk what the measurements you used to size a 36 are. My measurements are 32-25-35 but i fit anywhere from a 2 to an 8 depending on the brand :/
In US sizes. I guess the UK equivalents should be 32-38?
My bust is 34” and my waist is 28”, so take out an inch and adjust the waist a bit.
Printing and assemble instructions please? Thank you so much for sharing.
Hi, Jessica! There’s only what there’s on my blog post. This is not a commercial pattern, just something I drafted for myself and decided to post for other people’s benefit. For those that need instructions, there are numerous commercial patterns available. If I ever get this thing tested and proper instructions written up, I will be charging people money, 😉
Hi there! Question regarding the skirt hem: are the two lengths in the pattern referring to the full length that you had in the first draft and the shorter final length?
Hi, I am so happy I found this pattern! i am a size 36 so the posted pattern should work just great. One quick question though: I downloaded the pattern as a PDF and would like to print it at the right setting:
Should I tell the printer to print at True Size(100%) or to Scale to Fit? There is no 10 by 10cm block to check and it automatically prints Scale to Fit unless I change the settings.
Print at 100 %. Never scale to fit as it distorts the pattern.
Myrna Lee Parker
I LOVE IT!! at first I was a little bit lost, but, I read and re-read it, sometimes 3 times, but I would be like, ohhhh ok, I got it, awesome tutorial! can I use cotton? I’m unemployed and have tons of cotton left, I know, ugh, but I’m still going to try. my measurements are just like yours, so. I’ll let u know! thank you for sharing
Of course, you can use cotton, or thin wool, viscose, silk or blends. As long as the fabric is not too thick and suits for garments, go for it!
Hi!!!!! Thank you so muchhh! I have been searching for a pattern like this! Finally I found it.
By the way, do you have, by any chance, the size 34? I would really appreciate it! <3 <3