Making a Tiered Dress for Plus-Sized Women

So, I have this dress that I love because it is all flowy and makes me feel feminine. I found it in Arizona when my sugar plum and I went to celebrate his mom’s 80th birthday. Arizona, unlike Oregon, has tons of cute dresses everywhere. Oregon has things like flannels and hunting vests. I’m kidding…kinda.

The dress was washed with something purple last time so it is dingy now. Anyone know how to get the dingy out?

I looked online for the brand and couldn’t find anything like this dress so I decided to make one.

I chose five different fabrics. One for the top part, one for the lining and three for the ruffles. I wanted three ruffles instead of four because I didn’t want it to be as long as the original dress.

I started by folding the top of the dress in half and tracing it. One thing that I noticed was the front and the back are exactly the same. Usually the back is wider than the front and the front is lower but this dress is exactly the same. I traced it and left a seam allowance of a little over a quarter inch on the shoulders and the bottom. The dress is getting baggy on me because I have lost thirty pounds since I bought it so I didn’t leave a seam allowance on the sides. I didn’t have any butcher paper so I used a paper grocery bag.

Trace the top

I used the cut out pattern to cut out four pieces of fabric on the fold, two for the outer front and back and two for the lining front and back.


cutting my fabric

Next, I measured the width and length of each ruffle. I measured the bottom of each ruffle because the top would have been gathered. I came up 7″ by 66″, 8″ by 90″ and 9″ by 140″. GREAT DROOLING MONKEYS! That’s a lot of fabric! I cut them out. I had to sew some of them together to get the entire length.

I should have sewed the outter all together and the inner all together and then connected them but I was chatting away with my honey bunches of O’s and sewed the front outter and liner together and then the back the same way and then sewed them all together. Oh well. I top stitched around the neck.

Sewing lining to outside

Next, I made the belt casing. I measured it at an inch and a half wide by 52″ but I cut it out at 3″ by 52″ because the back part has elastic in it and the only elastic I had was one and a half inches. I wanted the casing to be wide enough to fit it. I cut a 20″ piece of elastic. I cut two pieces out, one in the witchy fabric and one in black and sewed them together front sides facing. I turned it inside out and ironed it.

belt or elastic casing

Now, I had a little dilemma. The original dress has the elastic in the back and it seemed to be separate from the ties in the front like the casing might have been separate. I did not want to go through all that so I sewed the ties to each end of the elastic and threaded it all through the casing. I know. I know. It probably wasnt how it is supposed to be done but it worked.

Sew the ties to each side of the elastic

My next dilemna was that the original dress had button holes so the ties could come out of the casing but that would have required more forethought than I had given it so I just sewed the ends nicely together and kept a little hole for the ties.

Sew top and bottom, leaving a space for ties

Then I sewed the casing to the top part.

finished top part of the dress

Next, I sewed all the tiers into loops. Then, I used the longest length on my sewing machine (5) and sewed all the way around the top. I pulled the bottom string and slid the fabric down to make it ruffle. Do this very carefully so you do not break the thread. My mom taught me to sew three loose lines and pull the bottom three threads to make a ruffle but I’m lazy so I didn’t. I would have regretted not doing that if the thread would have broken.

Make the ruffles

I pinned the first ruffle to the bottom of the casing, right sides facing and ruffled side on top. Then I sewed the other ruffles onto the dress.

I tried it on before I hemmed it and decided two things. The top was too big under the armpits so I took it in about an inch on each side in a V shape. And I didn’t like the length. It would have been perfect but I had to hem it and it would have hit just below my knee which would have made me look more squatty than I already am.

I added 225″ of tulle to the bottom. Tulle is a witch to work with. The feed dogs want to tear it all up so I had to make sure the fabric side was down when I sewed the tulle ruffle onto the bottom ruffle. I top stitched it but from the bottom. I guess that isn’t really a top stitch but it served the purpose of a top stitch. One good thing about tulle is that you don’t have to hem it because it doesn’t shred on the edge.

Finished Tier Dress

I really should have showed it to you while it was on me. This photo just does not do it justice. I’m just really camera shy.

Published by dragonlion64

I love to craft. I sew, crochet, do duct tape crafts and recently, I bought a Cricut and I'm using it quite a bit. I get an idea in my head and I have to try it.

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