2021 is shaping up to be its own unique year, but hopes are high that we’ll soon be back to outdoor parties, weddings, and – word is – even proms! The Oleander Dress is the perfect new pattern for any and all of the above. Try a versatile crepe for a garden reception or up the elegance in a gorgeous jacquard or brocade!
Purchase Materials Used Below:
- 3 yards Mood Exclusive August Rush Stretch Polyester Crepe
- 1 yard Premium Suzie Creole Pink Polyester 4-Ply Crepe
- 1/2 yard Super White Hot Rolling Nonwoven Fusible Interfacing
- 2-3 yards Montana Grape Petersham Grosgrain Ribbon – 1″
- 1 572 Natural 24″ Invisible Zipper
- MDF246 – The Oleander Dress Sewing Pattern (free download below!)
All seam allowances are 1/2″ unless otherwise stated. See chart below for sizing specifications. Note, this specific pattern is available up to a size 30.
Begin by interfacing the outer layer of your upper bodice so it’s a bit more supportive than a flexible crepe. For extra support, you could also add some bra cups to your lining layer.
Attach your side front panels to the center front, lining up your notches. Add on your side back at the side seams, followed by the center back. Press open all your seams and repeat with your lining.
Attach the back panels of your lower bodice to the front at the side seam and press the seams open. Repeat with your lining.
Since this floral crepe is a bit heavier than the solid I used for the top, I chose not to interface this layer, but you absolutely could if using a lighter weight fabric.
Attach the upper bodice to the lower bodice. I recommend pressing the seam allowance down and top-stitching as well.
Cut your ribbon into 4 equally sized pieces measuring at least 18″ long.
Pin one at each princess seam along the top edge of your bodice and staystitch in place.
Face to face, pin and sew your main bodice to the lining along the top edge, sewing the ribbons in between both layers as you do. Clip the seam allowance along the curves, turn right side out, and press.
Set your pockets into the side seams of your skirt before attaching your skirt at the side seams.
If you’ve never sewn in-seam pockets, check out this tutorial here!
Once the back panels of your skirt are attached to the front, create and pin your pleats following the guide on your pattern. Stay-stitch in place with your pockets pressed toward the front.
Attach your bodice to your skirt by sewing the outer layer along the waistline, like below.
Insert your invisible zipper along the center back seam before closing up the remainder of the seam.
Fold the raw edges of your bodice lining inward and slip-stitch along the zipper and waistline of your bodice.
Lastly, finish off your skirt with a 1″ hem!
In the materials listed, there is no indication of a zipper, but in the construction, it mentions a zipper. Can you clarify the length of the zipper needed for this garment?
Hi, Michelle! I recommend a 24″ invisible zipper. 🙂
You hit this one out of the park! I love this design!
Please could you tell me if seams allowances are included ?
Good morning! Yes, a 1/2″ seam allowance is already included 🙂
Hi it’s beautiful. I like your style. Can you guve me piece of advice. I like your dress. But i would like it in cotton fabrics for summer. Do you think it’s possible? Thks
Hi, there! Of course – this would be gorgeous in some casual summer fabrics. My recommendation for a cotton option would be cotton sateen. You could also use linen, which is very breathable and perfect for summer. If you’d like something more complex, you could also do a cotton version with a lace overlay! 🙂
Courtney!! THANK YOU for relieving my sewing pandemic paralysis. Your designs are amazing and they are getting me back into the flow xo
Ah, I love that, thank you!! I can’t take all the credit though – the patterns come together as a total team effort! 🙂
this is so cute and adorable !
i’d like to try sewing it !
THANK YOU !!
Are the straps just for decoration?
Hi, Red! The straps help keep the dress up, but if you add some extra stability like boning to the bodice, you may be able to make it strapless. 🙂
Could the skirt part of this pattern be used as just…well, a skirt on its own?
Yes, it certainly could! You’d just need to turn the lower bodice pieces into a waistband or draft your own. You could also check out our Romulea Skirt! 🙂
For the pockets do we line them up so they’re together with the panel at the top? There are no markings to indicate where on the panel the pocket will sit on the seam.
Hi, Christina! Yes, the top edge of the pockets should align with the waistline and attach to the seam. 🙂
first off can i just say Pockets! A dress that is not just an oversized shirt with Pockets! thank you! second, if i made this dress with a stretcher fabric would i be able to omit the zipper? zippers and me do not get along, so if i could use a stretcher fabric and maybe give it an extra little bit of material to where i could get away with out using a zipper that would be awesome.
Hi, Marie! Yes, I think you could probably omit the zipper with a stretchier fabric. Just be sure the skirt fabric is also a bit stretchy, and sew the waist seam with a stretch stitch so you don’t pop anything when putting it on or off. 🙂
Love this! Do you think it would be possible to add a lining to the skirt? Or would that interfere with the pleats too much?
Hi Abigail! It is possible to add a lining to the skirt, but I suggest making it either close-fitting or an A-line skirt, instead of pleated, in order to cut down on bulk. 🙂
Just in general, what difficulty would you say this is? Its a lovely pattern but I’m a bit nervous to start and not be able to finish
Hi! I would say this pattern is best for an advanced beginner/intermediate level sewist. 😀
Would it be possible to make this dress without the pleats in the skirt?
Hi Lauren! Yes, it’s definitely possible. You can gather the skirt to the waistband, or slash the skirt pieces for less volume. 😀
I’m pretty new to sewing and fabric characteristics. When I’m looking for fabric for this dress, what kind of weight/drape do I need? Could a simple calico work, or would that be too stiff? Thank you for the beautiful free pattern and any help you can give. 🙂
Hi Vee! I think a calico would work for a more casual version of this pattern. 😀
Hello would you say this is an easy, intermediate, or advanced pattern?
Hi! I would say that this is somewhere between beginner and intermediate. It helps to have some background in sewing, but the techniques used are pretty straightforward. 😀
Zipper question: in the supply list it says a 9 inch zipper, in the comments it says a 24 inch zipper is recommended. Could I please double check this? I am new to sewing and wanted to make sure I order the correct one. Thanks so much for this pattern! It is much appreciated. Looking forward to trying it!
Hi Kacee! I recommend a 24″ zipper. Thank you for spotting that! Happy sewing 🙂
I finished it, and I love it in a size 22, but the amount of adjustment I had to do is crazy.
Had to add two darts at the bust taking away 3 cm each and had to add waist seams for shape.
Would be so much appreciated of you could add approximate cup size for the patterns I run into this issue a lot.
Just grading a B up doesn’t work for larger sizes. Back with isn’t available in the pattern either, that would make adjustments easier too!
Just wondering how much extra fabric would I need for the 20-30 sizes? I’ve been burned by not getting enough fabric before 🙁
Hi Abigail, I recommend 5 yards. 🙂