Bringing Sexy Back! – Sewing Pattern Tutorial for a Backless Dress Part 1

backless satin bridesmaid dress copy


Let’s face it backless dresses are pretty darn sexy. You can’t really go wrong showing off a little cheeky back and what better way to do it than with a cute backless dress. I just finished making the above dress using a draping style on my dress form which is usually how I make all my designs and I thought I would show you guys how to make your own dress patterns. This draping technique can be used to make a multitude of designs so feel absolutely free to go your own way with it – no-ones judging!

For Part 2 of this Tutorial clickidy here!

For the final installment click here.

Right let’s get down to business.

What you will need:

– Dress form – ideally one that is the same size as you or very similar. (I will show you a tutorial on how to alter your dress form to your exact size soon – little teaser for you :-))

– Pins of the shiny variety

– Colored ribbons – darker colors the better and the thinner the better 3/8 width is ideal.

– A dress design drawn out or one stored in your brain

Are you sitting comfortably? Well then lets begin….

1. Get your dress form ready for action by pinning some ribbon around the natural waist and make sure its nice a parallel.

dress form sewing room

2. Now we are going to cut our dress form in half – not literally but in ribbon style. We will only be draping our design on one side of the dress form and then doubling up our pattern later for both sides. Find the center point of the neck at the front and back and pin your ribbon in this position then making sure its in the center pin down to the natural waist ribbon.

dress form draping


3. This is where we will be marking out our designs on the dress form. So you can follow my design exactly or if you would like to alter something go for it! We’re going to start with the front then move to the back design next. Grab your ribbon and start marking out the position of the neckline on the front of your dress form by pinning your ribbon at the shoulder first then pin as you go where you would like the neckline to fall. Then mark out the arm hole – this can be relatively rough as we will be smoothing this out at the pattern stage. The basic premise is to get it in the right ball park in terms of shape and position. You should have something like looks like this when your done with the front.


backless dress pattern


4. Before we move onto the back design we need to know where the front stops and the back begins. Measure from the neckline ribbon to the arm hole ribbon on the shoulder where you would like the shoulder seam to lie. Cut a piece of ribbon to size and pin in place. From the bottom of the arm hole to the natural waist use ribbon to mark the side seam. I usually use the same colors to mark the transition from front to back bodice and for the center lines – just personal preference. I actually forgot to take a photo at this stage so I had already marked out my back but pretend you don’t see that and we’re all good!


free sewing pattern


5. Now to bring that sexy back! Start with the neckline and pin ribbon at the shoulder seam matching to the front neckline and pin in place according to your design. My design is to have a tie at the neckline so my markings do not go all the way to the center line at the top. I wanted a completely open back so my next ribbon starts at the side seam and runs to natural waist at the center. You can play around here with the placement of the ribbons to get a shape you like the look of. Just remember not to go to crazy as you will have to sew this together eventually!


backless dress tutorial


That is the hard part of designing over with and complete. Our dress forms are now ready to be draped in the design of our choice. If anything is unclear please ask and I’ll do my best to explain!

The next tutorial will dive straight into draping the muslin on the dress form so get that ready to go!

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