Self Assembly Required

DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

A new summer staple – the Tie Dress

[Before I get into this post, just a quick plug for the fabric giveaway I’m hosting over on my Instagram. It’s to celebrate hitting 10k followers and also my 1 yr anniversary of blogging on Self Assembly Required! Head over there to enter!]

I came across Charlotte Kan’s Tie Dress a while ago when I was surfing through the Indie Sew website – they collate patterns from lots of different indie designers which is a great way to look at and compare them!

I liked that this pattern was quite relaxed in style but also showed off some shape with the tied panels on the skirt. I put it on that list in my head of patterns to buy in the future if the occasion ever arose…

And the occasion arose! As part of my “capsule wardrobe” idea (I use quotation marks ’cause I don’t think it’s really a capsule wardrobe in the truest sense), one of my staple dress looks was a t-shirt dress. I ideally wanted something that could work as smart-casual and I felt the Tie Dress would do the trick!

The design of the dress is simple. It’s a basic t-shirt style with grown on sleeves that has 2 panels attached to the skirt in the side seam which are tied together in the front at the waist. The idea reminds me of the Kielo wrap dress from Named (see my version here) which I loved. I always think anything that brings me in at the waist is the most flattering since it’s my narrowest part!

Bear in mind it’s a PDF only pattern so be prepared for a day of cutting and sticking if you buy it!

I made mine out of a petrol blue linen jersey that I got from Paris. It’s a lovely fabric and at €20 for 3 metres I think it was pretty reasonable.

The dress was really quick to make. I pretty much kept it as is but I made some changes to the construction to suit my tastes and fabric. 

I switched out the neck binding to a neck facing – easily done by tracing out the neckline of the front and back pieces.

I also added in a waiststay into the back of the dress. 

It’s basically just a length black cotton tape stitched into the side seams that should (theoretically) prevent me from overstretching the back of the dress when I tie it.

I’m a big fan of this dress. I think it’s a flattering silhouette and the tie front keeps it interesting. It reminds me of the Bettine dress from Tilly and the Buttons in terms of shape. They both have a very similar upper half with a more fitted skirt.  

It’s a little sheer across the bum. That’s solely due to my fabric choice. Note to self – must by some good nude underwear to wear with this…

I’d like to try it in a woven fabric like it’s designed for to see if that makes any difference to comfort and fit. As it is, in the jersey, it’s super comfy and wearable. It’s definitely going be worn a lot this summer I can tell!

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  1. I have made the kilo. Any comparison points/ likes or dislikes between the two? Would be interested as you have made both and I was wondering whether to look at this pattern as it is so similar to the kielo ( which I really liked)

    1. I really like both patterns. Despite the similarities in how that they tie to create shape, I’ve found the fits to be really different. The Kielo on me is more fitted and elegant and the Tie Dress is really casual. Both are great for my body shape! But I’d wear them to different events if you know what I mean?

    1. Thanks! Yeah the Kielo has a much longer tie that goes around the waist completely. This one just ties at the front. I love both patterns – I think having the ties just means it will always fit perfectly at your waist without too much fuss!

  2. Congrats on the Insta milestone and blogging anniversary! How amazing what you’ve achieved! And I like how you pick patterns that flatter your body. Lovely dress! Looks very comfortable, and stylish at the same time.

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