A DIY Strapless Cocktail Dress Sewing Tutorial Using Neoprene Scuba
No matter where you live, the classic signs of spring are appearing. Flowers are blooming, days are getting warmer, and weddings are filling up the weekends. I, personally, have five to go to this year! With so many weddings coming up, it’s time to figure out what to wear.
Most weddings require cocktail attire. A short or knee length dress with some nice details, a fancier fabric, and that’s fun to dance in. The perfect material to create a structured dress with a simple silhouette is scuba, or neoprene, fabric. Since scuba fabric is thicker, it creates great structure for a bodice and plenty of volume for a skirt. I chose to use this beautiful embossed scuba material to give my strapless fit and flare dress a special finish. Even though the dress pattern is incredibly easy to create and sew, it looks like a chic dress because the fabric is so incredible.
This dress pattern is a great one for a beginner to try. It is essentially four rectangles sewn together. By adding darts and shaping the bodice pieces, it creates a nicely fitted top. To create the voluminous skirt, two basting stitches are added along the top of the skirt rectangles and then pulled to create a sturdy ruffle. Since the scuba is quite stretchy, no zippers are required, and the top and bottom can simply be sewn together and thrown over your head to wear.
If you’re looking for the perfect wedding guest dress, this is it! Check out the sewing tutorial below.
Strapless Scuba Cocktail Dress Sewing Tutorial
Time: 3-4 hours
Lets Get Started!
- Start by measuring around your bust and your waist. With the stretch along the width, cut out two rectangles that are the width of your waist and 30” long. These will be your SKIRT pieces. Again, with the stretch along the width, cut out one rectangle that is your bust measurement divided by 2 along the width and 14” long, as well as one rectangle that is your bust measurement divided by two minus 2” along the width and 12” long. These will be your FRONT and BACK pieces, respectively.
- Take your FRONT and BACK piece and cut the sides so that they taper from the full width across the top, to about 2” less along the bottom as shown in the illustrated instructions.
- Take your FRONT piece and sew darts into it that are about 4” from the top, 1” thick at the edge and taper to a point about 4” away from the edge of the fabric.
- Place your FRONT piece on top of your BACK piece with the right sides of the fabric touching, and sew the sides together. Then fold the top and bottom over about ½” and sew along the edges to hem.
- Take your SKIRT pieces and sew two long basting seams along the top edge about ¼” apart. (Do not back stitch the start or finish of the seams.) Take the loose ends on one side and pull them as you push the fabric away from you. This will create a ruffle. Continue pulling until the width of the fabric along the ruffle is half the width of your waist.
- Place one of your skirt pieces on top of the other with the right sides of the fabric touching, and sew the two sides together.
- Turn the bodice and skirt right side out and pin the bottom edge of the bodice over the ruched seams at the top of the skirt. Sew along the bottom of the bodice to connect it to the skirt. Finish the dress by hemming the bottom of the skirt to your desired length.