You know sometimes how you look about and everyone seems to be wearing the same thing, the same styles, the same colors? That’s especially true on a small island where there are only a few places you can buy clothes anyway, so it’s no wonder everyone has the same pieces. So I set out to make myself a dress. Something I could wear to dinner, or if I had to go somewhere smart, or heaven-forbid, ever get a job!
I was really liking the Simple Shrug pattern and wanted to see if I could incorporate the idea into a dress because I think it gives a really flattering look by having the fabric fall from the bust, making the waist look smaller – or at least I hope so! I’m very rectangular through the waist, so anything that draws attention to the bust is a plus for me.
The Cross My Heart Dress – This dress has crossover pleated drapes from the shoulders that are caught into the side seams just under the arms. It creates a modest v-neckline and frames the face, hanging loose from the bust to emphasize the smaller waist. It’s certainly unique! I’ll never come across another one like it – unless some of you sew it and then visit the Cayman Islands. That would make my day!
Plus, it’s a very quick and simple sew. Bonus!
- Quick and easy to sew
- Figure skimming fit
- Pleated crossover drapes from the shoulders
- Longer length – pick your own skirt length
- Center back seam to help get a nice fit
- Short sleeves
- Sizes 29- 41 bust, 33-45 inch hips
- For knit fabrics only – I used a ITY knit (Read more about different types of knit fabrics here.)
- Fabric needed for all sizes – 2 yards
How to sew your ‘Cross My Heart’ free easy dress pattern
1/2 inch seam allowances throughout unless stated otherwise.
Cut out your pattern pieces on a double layer of fabric, with the front on the fold.
Turn a narrow 1/4 inch hem on the top and bottom curved edges of the front drapes and stitch close to the edge. Press. Set aside.
Optional – add a piece of tricot interfacing to the center front to reinforce the V at the neckline.
Add a 1/4 inch snip at center front and then turn a narrow hem up each side of the center front and stitch close to the edge. Press.
Join the center back seam. Turn down the back neckline in a smooth curve and stitch. Press.
Add the front drapes to the shoulders. Line up the inside seamed edges, then line up the outer edge of the drape 1/2 inch inside the outer edge of the shoulder. This 1/2 inch is the seam allowance where the sleeve will be sewn.
Create 3 even pleats in the fabric and pin them in place.
Place the dress back over the front, RST, and match the shoulders. Repin through all layers and pleats. Stitch through all layers. Reduce the bulk in the seam by trimming the pleated layer. Press the completed seam towards the back.
Repeat for the other shoulder.
Match the center top of the sleeve with the shoulder seam. Ease in sleeve, pin, and stitch. Take care NOT to catch the fabric from the front drape in the sleeve seam allowance. It should only be caught at the shoulder seam. Repeat for the other side.
Take the front drapes across the front of the dress, taking care not to twist them, and pin into the side seams matching the top of the drape at the point under the arm.
Baste the drapes into the side seam of the dress front, within the seam allowance.
Pin the side seams and check for fit. Make alterations as necessary.
Pin and stitch side seams. Press.
Finish the bottom of the sleeves – twin needle finish is optional. You may also simply turn in a 1/2-inch hem and stitch.
Check for length and finish the bottom hemline with your favorite finish.
Give the dress a final press and it’s ready to wear.
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