10 Easy Party Dress Patterns

Posted by on Apr 24, 2011

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The abundance of free dress patterns is too great an opportunity to let a little thing like experience get in the way. If you’re familiar with a sewing machine and know how to hem (or are willing to learn), making your own unique party dress is a realistic project once you find a simple dress pattern. Novice seamstresses will want to get started by learning how to take proper measurements and how to read easy dress patterns.

Reading Patterns and Measurements
BurdaStyle hosts a photo tutorial of reading patterns, and Sew Mama Sew does the same for measurements. With these skills under your belt, sewbies are ready to choose a pattern and fabric.

Though a pattern says “easy” or even “very easy,” patternmakers often assume that sewers have a general understanding of sewing jargon, which can make for a very overwhelmed newbie.

Fear not, dear friends: The internet is at your service! Pull up your favorite search engine and ask away: “What is a dart?” or “What the heck is a nap if not for sleeping?” Tip: Dummies.com breaks down some of the more common elements of pattern vocabulary.

Rely on the pattern for your fabric choice, and stray at your own risk. For example, if you supply woven fabric like cotton for a pattern that requires jersey knit, expect to have poor draping and structure. Risks like these can cause the dress to stick out at the hips instead of cascading down.

Once you are familiar with fabrics and cuts, ignore the pattern all you want. But for beginner-friendly, easy dress patterns, consider following the recommendations. Newer sewers should also consider choosing stiffer fabrics like satin, which is much easier to sew than flowy, slippery chiffon.

If you’re not confident in choosing fabric color, always go with black. The Little Black Dress is a standby for a reason: It works in casual and formal settings. Also, consider making a test garment of cheap fabric to work out all your mistakes.

Dressmaking Tips
Some other general tips to insure success: use sharp scissors, preferably fabric shears; iron, iron, iron to make straight seams, and, lastly, give yourself time. Most dresses will take about 10-15 hours your first few times around and so break it up into days: one day for cutting and then another for the bodice, another for skirt, and so on. Ranging from very easy dress patterns (almost no assembly required) to easy (the most basic of details and construction design), the party dresses below offer sophistication and variation for the new sewer. They are designed for the novice sewer who wants a skilled result.

Infinity party dress pattern
Infinity Party Dress 
Difficulty Level: Very Easy

One seam and you're done. Too good to be true? The convertible Infinity Dress by Rostitchery impresses not only because of its simple construction but also due to the many, many ways in which you can wear it. Use a fabric with stretch like a polyester knit and remember that cutting this dress short can be a gamble. Stretch material likes to jump and sway, so before making a permanent cut, walk around to make sure that the bottom hem doesn't sway up and reveal the, uh, “good china.” 
Get the free infinity party dress pattern at Rostitchery!
Upcycled ruffles party dress pattern
Upcycled Ruffles Party Dress 
Difficulty Level: Easy 

This dress goes a bit past your average refashioned T-shirt dress, but it's still easy to make. Its shape is feminine and fun, and the ruffles add a summery energy to this otherwise simple dress. 
Head over to How Joyful for the free pattern and tutorial!
Vogue party dress pattern
Very Easy Vogue Party Dress 
Difficulty Level: Easy 

Loose-fitting with a slight flare, this mid-knee or calf length party dress is an excellent start for the sewer with working experience. This pattern works best with georgette or lightweight crepe and is also available in plus sizes, which, sadly, isn't always common. Beware that Vogue patterns, even patterns from the Very Easy Vogue collection as this dress is, still tend to be complex because of the detailing and multitude of pieces.
Get the simple party dress pattern at Vogue!
Classic wrap party dress pattern
Wrap Party Dress 
Difficulty Level: Easy

The classic wrap dress is a modern miracle that looks good on nearly every body type. Fashioned from the Crepe pattern by Colette Patterns, this project is great for a sewer with little experience or the more experienced with little time. A sash that wraps in the back prevents the too-common gap that occurs with dresses tied in the front and includes no difficult closures. Bonus? The pattern has detailed instructions for trying cap sleeves for the first time, if you’re into that sorta thing. 
Get the wrap party dress pattern at Colette Patterns!
Shift party dress pattern
Anda Party Dress 
Difficulty Level: Easy

The Anda Party Dress from BurdaStyle is a free-flowing shift that the beginner sewer can translate into several creative alternatives. As is, the pattern has dropped shoulders, which means the seam line hangs from the shoulder, creating a sleeve. But sewers wanting a challenge may consider a gathered sleeve or eliminating them all together. For the newer sewer, we suggest using stiffer fabrics like silk or a linen. Chiffon or rayon will also work if you’ve got more know-how. 
Get the Anda party dress pattern at BurdaStyle!
Romantic party dress pattern
Vogue Misses/Misses Petite Party 
Dress Difficulty Level: Easy 

While simple can sometimes mean dull, this petite dress shines with subtle variations. The bias cut (the fabric is cut at an angle) creates a romantic and flowy drape. This pattern, like many of Vogue's patterns, is more detailed and therefore the sewer with some experience will more likely want to tackle this one. 
Get the Vogue party dress pattern!
Drawstring halter party dress pattern
Drawstring Halter Party Dress 
Difficulty Level: Easy

Detailed instructions from Bored and Crafty helpfully carry the new sewer through this halter dress pattern. Recycled fabrics — floral pajama pants and gray office uniforms, for instance — help make this the perfect excercise in being fashion eco-friendly. We’re upcycling here, people! Newer sewers should note that this pattern uses darts (a cut in the fabric that helps the fabric drop smoothly over curves like the bust and hip) and a zipper. Threads Magazine offers a thorough breakdown of sewing a zipper. 
Get the free drawstring halter party dress pattern at Bored and Crafty!
Cocktail dress pattern
Muse Cocktail Dress 
Difficulty Level: Easy 

Ready to take the training wheels off? While still easy to sew, this pattern from Butterick offers the opportunity to challenge yourself. A fitted bodice which will require close attention to fit and measurement, a zipper and pleats in the skirt require some technical skill — or at least some patience. These construction details are essential for anyone wanting to stretch themselves with more complicated patterns later on. 
Find more easy dress patterns at Muse.
T-shirt party dress pattern
One Shoulder T-Shirt Dress  
Difficulty Level: Easy 

The great thing about t-shirt dresses—especially the edgier, one-shoulder variety—are their versatility. Pair it with casual flats in the daytime and glam it up with a statement necklace and heels for a night out. As the name suggests, you can sew this dress out of an oversized shirt (two, in this case), thereby saving money on fabric and still achieving great style and maximum comfort.
See Anne Hollabaugh's method for the refashioned t-shirt dress.
Patterned party dress
Anna Marie Horner Socialite Dress 
Difficulty Level: Easy 

This party dress from Pink Chalk Studio is easy to make because it has a limited number of pattern pieces and detailed instructions. A few details like gathers at the yoke (aka the collar), pockets, and optional waist ties and loops keep the pattern from the boring and basic. A luxurious black fabric could elevate this design to full-on chic status. 
Get the simple and chic Anna Marie Horner Socialite dress pattern.

Image credits (from top): Thinkstock, Rostichery.com, Joy Kelley, VoguePatterns.McCall.com, CollettePatterns.com, BurdaStyle.com, VoguePatterns.McCall.com, BoredandCrafty.com, Butterick.McCall.com, WobiSobi.blogspot.com, and Anna Marie Horner

Do you have a favorite party dress pattern? Leave a message in the comments or email us at info@craftFoxes.com.

 



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