Design Fixation: Faith's Fifteen Minute Dress


Faith's Fifteen Minute Dress

I know you've all been waiting with bated breath for the unveiling of my new video... well, the wait is over. I've created a video that shows you how to make a stylish convertible dress in just fifteen minutes. Really. It requires only four seams, and looks deceptively simple before you put it on; the success of the dress lies in the way you wrap the ribbon around your body.

If you're not sewing-inclined or you don't have a sewing machine, I would love to make you a dress! I sell them in my Etsy shop.

I used jersey material for my dress, but most fabrics with some stretch will work. Experiment with different types and colors of ribbon to create even more looks. Below are a few different ways of styling the dress:

This first style is my favorite. I wore it to a wedding and it was very comfortable the whole evening. Position one seam of the dress down your front, with both ribbon ends coming out at the top. Wrap them over your shoulders, cross them, bring to the front, then to the back again and secure with a bow.*

The style on the left can be accomplished by simply tying the ribbon tight at the back (you may want to use a shorter ribbon for this style). I would suggest a strategically placed safety pin in the gap that will be hidden at the front. The skirt at right is done the same way, only lower. And the ribbon is wrapped a couple of times for visual effect.

 For the style at left, the seams will run up the side of the body and your arms will go through the seam gaps on either side. You may want to use a short ribbon for the neck area (tie a bow and tuck it inside the ribbon casing on the back) and a longer one for the empire waist. Same exact directions for the other style, except that one side of the neck ribbon is tucked under the arm.

These process for these last two styles is similar to the first image at the top. For the one on the left, use a shorter ribbon to tie at your neck, and then wrap and tie at the back of the neck. The style on the right is not crossed at the back, creating a slightly different look.

*I would suggest double-knotting your bows... with most styles, an untied bow means that the dress will immediately fall to the ground! Try it, you'll see what I mean.

Hope you've enjoyed this tutorial, feel free to pass it on to your DIY-loving friends. And don't forget to send me pictures of the finished product!

Need another sewing project? Check out my tutorial store, Sewing Fixation, for more fabulous sewing tutorials for all skill levels. Automatic downloads mean that you will be up and running in minutes. 

**Update: My sewing tutorial collection is growing! Check out Faith's 25 Minute Dress here.

For detailed written instructions on how to make the Fifteen Minute Dress, click "Read More" below.

1) Cut two rectangles. Measure or hold fabric up to your body to establish the garment length; it should be about the distance from your armpit to your knees. For the width, measure from the edge of one hip to the other. Add six inches and this is your width. Cut out two rectangles of this size.

2) Stitch the hem (optional). I didn't sew a hem on mine because I prefer a raw edge on jersey. If you'd prefer a hem, fold the raw edge of the shorter side of the fabric over and press. Stitch along the fold with a tight, even stitch. Do the same for both sides.

3) Create a casing for the ribbon. Iron the top of each piece of fabric, pressing the edge over about one inch. Stitch along the folded edge with a tight, even stitch. This creates space for the ribbon to be threaded through. Do this with both rectangles.

4) Put the front and back together. Lay the rectangles flat, with the right (outside) sides facing towards each other. Pin the sides together from the bottom hem up to about six inches short of the top. Stitch the two pieces of fabric together on each side.

5)  Thread the ribbon through the casing. Now, take your ribbon and clip a safety pin onto one end (start with 5 yards of ribbon, and then you can trim it to the correct length later). The safety pin will help you thread the ribbon through the casing. Push the ribbon through the casing on the front of the dress, and continue right on to the back side so that you end up with the two ribbons emerging at the gap on one side of the dress.

And believe it or not, you’re done!

{Design Fixation}




    I think that even though the last dress I made was a bridal gown, I will try your dress...Thanks

  2. I love it. No problem of what to wear at a moment's notice or fifteen minutes! And you make such a great model.

  3. Glad you guys enjoyed the tutorial! It's true, this is a great project for someone who is just learning to sew....

    A bridal gown, Catherine? Wow!! Such patience that must have taken!

  4. Wow! It's so beautiful but so easy! Can't wait to make it.

  5. Thanks! Send me a pic if you end up making it :)

  6. This is just like the Le Sac Dress by American Apparel. But who wants to pay almost $40 for something you can make so easily yourself?! You can check out their website though, for more ways to wear it. They even have a shorter version you can wear as a top or a mini skirt!

  7. How long do you make the ribbon? Definitely plan to try this! Thanks!!

  8. If you want to wear the style in the last image, the ribbon has to be very very long... mine is 14 feet long. I would try wrapping it around you while it's still on the spool, and then cut it after.

    Some of the other styles require less ribbon.

  9. In the first style, how does the middle of the front of the dress stay down (you know, where your cleaveage is? :)

    Thanks for posting this, this is awesome!

  10. It naturally falls like that because the "side" seam is actually on the front. The V neck part is there because the seam stops... leaving a few inches un-sewn at the top.

  11. I have a 7 year old who loves fashion and loves to sew. I can see her making this in some glittery, fun knits so she can play Fashion Designer! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Oh good, I'm glad kids are getting involved! It's a great project for anyone with basic sewing skills, children included... good luck to her :)

  13. Love this! Trying to make it for a Navy Ball next week. One problem--my sewing machine is eating my fabric! It's getting jammed and fraying my fabric, which leads me to believe I'm not using the right kind of needle. What kind/size did you use? Thanks!

  14. where do i get the link for the tutorial?

  15. It depends on the type of fabric you're using, but here is a helpful link to some information about needle types: Also it may be worth double-checking to see if the machine is threaded correctly, and that the tension is right. Good luck, and have fun at the Navy Ball!

    And in response to the question about the link: if you click on the triangle on the video at the top of the page, it will start playing the video tutorial. If you prefer written instructions, those are at the bottom of the page.

  16. re: where do i get the link for the tutorial?

    thank you...

  17. If you click on the triangle on the video at the top of the page, it will start playing the video tutorial. If you prefer written instructions, those are at in the middle of this page, above the comments.

  18. I would love to make this but I'd feel more comfortable if I could watch the video, but it doesn't show up. Could you maybe post the link again? Oh please!!

  19. Hi Anonymous,

    Here is a link to the video on YouTube:

    And you can also take a peek at the tutorial on Curbly:

  20. Do you sew all the way up the sides? I looked like you didn't so I wasn't sure.

  21. Amazing! So simple!!! Thank you for showing me how to make this dress. I've been trying and finally something turned out how it was ment to... if I can anyone can!!! Super easy! Love this dress on too. thank you!!!

  22. Thanks so much, I'm happy that it turned out well for you!

  23. Awesome! My very first handmade dress :-) My fabric was not quite wide enough for the extra six inches at the hip, so I only took about four. However, due to my royal cleavage and backside, not all variations fall as nicely as they should. But I'm very happy nontheless! Yay me, for not screwing it up :-)

  24. I'm glad your dress turned out well Stephanie!!

  25. Another question in regards to the ribbon... Do you use 2 14 foot pieces or is it one 14 foot piece threaded through both sides? My apologies I haven't sewn in over 16 years and I was a novice at best the last time I used one. Just starting to get back into it again. Thank you so much!

  26. No problem Jennifer! You'll need just one piece of ribbon, and then you'll thread it through the dress.

  27. Totally just made this dress out of a bed sheet! :) i am a very novice sew-er! and i did it! probably more of a dress i wear in the house and round the garen... untill i get a little neater and some better fabric! SUCH a great design!! :D THANK YOU! i shall be sharing this with my mom! xxx

  28. @Pippa_Wood_37 congrats! Great idea to reuse fabric you already have around the house!

  29. I read this page a few days ago after getting a link to it in an email from a sewing website I frequent. I was skeptical... I mean really, if it sounds too good to be true then it must be, right? Anyways, for kicks and giggles after thinking about it I remembered that I had the skirt portion of long dress that I bought from goodwill that has been sitting with the rest of my fabric for the last 2 years. I figured I'd give it a try, worst case I could always just take the seam ripper to it and toss the fabric back on the shelf for another two years (and hey, half the work was done, bottom was already hemmed and sides were already stitched). It worked and I love it! The only thing I can add is that I used a zig-zag stitch on my seams so the thread can stretch with the fabric without popping a seam and I hemmed the side slits at the top. Great tutorial. Keep up the good work!

  30. This is too cute! I've been looking for some ideas for some quick summer dresses and this is a great tutorial. I'll be sewing today!

  31. this is a very organized tutorial. it's also interesting and held my attention. thanks very much for sharing it. i want to try making a dress for my daughter-in-law soon(after she has the baby) using your instructions to show her how easy it can be. i will send a pic and her comments after i make the dress. thanks again. teresa

  32. Thanks Teresa, glad you liked it!

  33. I cannot see the video because it contains music not approved by GEMA in Germany :-(

  34. I am most interested in tackeling the one with the Empire top one... the ribbon is just threaded through at the top of the dress, and seperate peice makes the empire top. Anyways, I was curious as to why I only sew 6 inches from the top of the hem, and if I am not sewing that 6 inches and plan on hemming the bottom of the skirt should I go ahead and hem the sides too? I hope this makes sense! Thanks,

  35. Hello! I know this tutorial is rather old, but do you have any clearer photos of the finished dress? I finished but can't seem to figure out the ribbons. It won't sit right. Fingers crossed you have some!

  36. hello, Can you please make a how to wear video? would be very helpful and I'd be forever grateful!

    1. That's a great idea! I'll have to add that to my to-do list :)

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  39. Can you please tell me where is the «read more» so I could take a peek at the detailed instructions.
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