Annoucement: I recently made a biggggg mistake and managed to delete all of my blog photos. I am working to get them all back up asap. Please bear with me, and if you have any questions on tutorials, please feel free to email me and I will try to help you out as best as I can...Thanks!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bustle Back Dress Pattern

Okay, here is the pattern for the bustle back hatler dress.

Don't forget there's still time to enter to win one.

This pattern should fit a size 3t.  I have read that you can go up two sizes and down up to two sizes by adding/subtracting 3/8" per size to the cutting lines, but never tested it so... do want you want with that info.  This is a pretty simple pattern with an easy fit so I am sure it won't be too difficult to size up or down.  I am  still trying to figure out how to change the sizes of the pattern pieces with CAD, so I haven't drafted any other sizes yet, but feel free to contact me if you need help. 

Download the pattern here
I used one yard for the main fabric and 1/2 yd for the bustle ruffles. 

Update:  Some people are having trouble downloading. I think the problem has been corrected, but if you are unable to download/print the pattern, email me and I will email you the file directly.

Seam allowance is 1/2" unless otherwise specified.

Cut out all the pattern pieces

Finish the bottom edge of the bustle panel (zig zag, overcast, or serge ~ I did a rolled hem here, but this part isn't going to show so you really don't need to...I just wanted to try out my rolled hem foot...)

Using a fabric marker (my favorite is the disappearing kind because you don't have to wash the fabric to get rid of them and as long as you haven't washed it yet, you can iron the fabric to get your line to show up again if needed)
draw four lines across the bustle panel at each of the small circles to mark where you will sew the ruffles.  (please ignore all the lines I took me a while to figure out I was supposed to meaure from the top instead of the bottom.)

Run a basting stitch 1/2" across the top of each of the bustle ruffles (back stitch at the starting point and at the end do NOT backstitch, leave a few inches of thread so you can use it to gather the ruffles) 

Pull the bobbin thread and gather the ruffles so that they are the same width as the bustle panel.

Starting from the bottom, pin the ruffles across the bustle panel so that the gathering stitch is directly on top of the line you drew. 
Stitch in place.

Pin the sides of the ruffles down and stitch them to the sides of the bustle panel stopping at the bottom small circle.

With the WRONG side of the side back facing the RIGHT side of the bustle, pin and stitch along the sides once again stopping at the bottom small circle.

Trim the side seams down to about 1/4" and finish the edges however you like.  Press the seam toward the back.

With RS facing, and stitch dress ruffles together and finish edges.

Press to one side and trim the little points that stick out.

Run a gathering stitch same as earlier 3/8" from the top of dress ruffle and  then fold it in half with short sides meeting up and finger press the center point.

Pin the center point to the front center of the dress matching raw edges and RS facing

Pin the ends to the center back on either side, making sure the ruffle doesn't become twisted.

Gather the ruffle until it fits the bottom edges of the front and side back.  Pin in place; stitch.  Trim seam to 1/4" and finish.  Press seam up.

Topstitch about 1/8" above the seam.

Pin the top of the side back to the top of the bustle and baste at 3/8"

  1. Sew 2 bias strips together same as for the dress ruffle. 
  2. Fold it in half long sides together and press.  Then fold the raw edges in to meet the center, leaving one side a little wider than the other.

Repeat step 2 with the remaining two bias strips.

Note: I find using spray starch on my bias strips makes them easier to work with.

Open one of the shorter bias strips and pin it RS facing to the top of the back of the dress.  Stitch in place using a 1/2" seam.  The bias strip will be longer than the back, just trim the excess, but leave about 1/2" extra on either side.

Trim the seams to 1/8"

Fold the bias tape over to the inside, pin and stitch as close to the bottom of the bias tape as possible.

Cut a piece of 1/4" elastic 8" long and run it through the bias tape.  Tack one edge once it is about 1/8" inside the bias tape using a zig zag stitch.  Then, tack the other end of the elastic the same way on the other side.

Stitch your bias tape in place in the armholes the same way you did for the back folding the edge that meets the back under about 1/2" and make sure it covers the edge of the back bias tape.

Run a gathering stitch along the neckline at 3/8" between the small circles and gather the neckline.  It should measure about 9".

Take the longer piece of bias tape (the one you sewed together) and fold it in half to find the center; finger press the center; line it up with the center front of the neckline.  Stitch it in place the same way you did all the other bias tape and stitch the folded edges together.

And you are done.

I made a lot of changes to this pattern after making my dress, so please let me know if anything needs to be corrected or if you have any questions.
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Jennifer Smith said...

Very easy to read & understand, even for me!LOL

Jennifer Smith said...

But Im still hoping my number gets pulled to win the dress!:)

A.Vang said...

Oh gosh you are wonderful! I can't wait to give this a try!!!

Remation said...

i loved the dress wen a sow it in burdastyle project ..

i wold love to make one to my girls .. but the link to the pattern did not work with me *SAD*

April said...

@Remation I checked the link and it is working for me. If you send me your email (you are
listed as no reply and I cannot access your profile to see if you have a blog) I will email you the file.

Denise said...

I just tried to download the pattern as well and it gives me an error. Any suggestions?

Denise (

Laura said...

same for me, couldn't download the pattern : ( adorable dress though!!

Megan said...

so cute. great job.


Laura said...

saw your comment, my email is thank you!!

Anonymous said...

This is really beautiful! I love love love the ruffles! I have two little girls this would be perfect for, thanks for sharing!

Its Sew For You said...

Beautiful! i need one for my daughter ;)

I'd love it if you'd check out my Party on Tuesdays:

Carrian said...

That's awesome!!! I love it~!

Jenna @ Copy Cat Corner said...

Bookmarking this one to make once Little Bean gets a little bigger.

Thanks for linking at Sugar Bee Crafts, visiting from and a friend of RocknRegalia!

Lesli said...

Thanks for sharing that! I love it!

Hi - it's Lesli from Put A Little Umbrella In Your Drink! I love your blog. So you have been awarded The Stylish Blogger Award by me! Check it out!

Kendra said...

wow! thank you for the pattern. I will be making this for my little one for sure!

Shannon said...

That's gorgeous! Thanks for showing us how its done and sharing a pattern!

Sharon said...

I love it! I went out and bought the fabric for it today. I hope to make it today.

scrapmania said...

Excellent tutorial! I was very happy because now I can make it to the birthday party of my daughter, so I finish I will send a photo for your enjoyment. Thank you!

Amanda said...

So sorry for the link -- I didn't mean to put that in there!!! I was going to tell you I featured you on Today's Top 20!! So sorry!! :)

Dominique @ Craft Couture said...

Love this. Would love it if you came and linked up to Craft Couture Monday :)...

Ellie said...

I LOVE this dress. I've been wanting to make a bustle back dress for a while and this is so cute.

Ellie said...

I LOVE this! Its PERFECT for you to Link up at my Linky PAR-TAY,

Whassup Wednesday!!!

And I have a party button you can grab so your friends can come too:)



redheadedmemeof3 said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE this dress and want to make it for my 2 grandbabies but i cant get the pattern to print...

Saundra said...

This is so cute. Thanks for the pattern. I plan to make this for my 3-yr old grand daughter!!

Dominique @ Craft Couture said...

Thanks for linking up! I love this & I featured you today!

Amanda said...

Thanks for linking up at Today's Top 20! This is on my list of as soon as I can have a girl I will totally make this! :)


Sharon said...

I love this dress! I made a size 1 for my daughter and it turned out just beutiful! Thank you for sharing!


Remation said...


thank you so much the link worked with me now ~<3
i'll print it tomorrow inshallah

thank you again ..

Tracibub said...

Thanks SO much for the pattern! I can't wait to make this dress, one for each of my girls! :)

JamieS said...

So pretty! I really want to try this for my daughter!

Aubrey Rose said...

I am in love with this dress! I cannot wait to make it - I know my 3 year old will never want to take it off!

I am having trouble downloading the pattern (am sure it's my computer and not your pattern) and also having trouble finding your email address. Is it possible you can email it to me? mlex55 *at* yahoo

Thank you and I promise to send photos when I finish it :)

Aubrey Rose said...

I got the pattern to download. Hoooray! Thank you for sharing you pattern and tute!

Mari Angeles Iglesias said...

I was pretty dress, and very funny with all the frills.

Greetings from Granada, Spain, from

sarah said...

hello, i just happened upon this posting and i am curious to know if you have a flickr group of photos for this dress or a collection of pictures showcasing dresses others have made from your tutorial?? i would love to see their combinations for fabrics as well.

Gigi said...

I'm still having problems downloading the pattern. Can you email me?

April said...

Gigi you're listed as a no-reply blogger, can you send me your email and I will send you the pattern.

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