The Oh So Comfy Knit Sweater Dress Tutorial…


With the new Anthropology catalog having been released, we have all gotten a new infusion of inspiration! One of the things I loooooooooooved, was the assortment of knit dresses they featured! I mean, is there anything more comfy than a knit dress?! It is basically a larger, more comfy, sweater!

This got me thinking, if knit fabric is so easy to work with…why not sweater fabric? I went to check it out at the store, and found that it has just as much ‘stretchy give’ as knit does, and would be just as easy to work with!

I give you, the super easy sweater dress…



It can be dressed up or down, which makes it perfect for the holidays. And the best part – there is no pattern needed to make this dress! Have an old shirt that fits great? That is all you will need to get you going on your way to stylish sweater dress goodness!

The important thing to remember when working with the sweater fabric, is to know which way your fabric stretches. Giving it a slight stretch from left to right, and then again from up to down, so you can figure out which way your ‘give’ is. You are going to want to make sure when cutting your fabric that you cut it with the stretch going from right to left – so it stretches when being put on. If you cut it so that the stretch goes up and down, that does nobody any good, and you won’t be able to get your dress on!

I also had to line my dress with an additional basic knit fabric because my sweater material was see-through. This is optional, as a slip would work just as well.

Let’s get started…

I used 2 yards of sweater knit fabric to make this dress…and it could have been a MAXI if I wanted it to be, had so much left over!

Taking my knit shirt that I know fits great (not too tight, but not loose either), I laid it on top of my fabric on the fold and cut around for my bodice pattern. I gave myself a 1″ seam allowance to work with – so I would have room for mistake.

Getting the great boat neck look is simple, just don’t cut down your front neckline – keep it exactly the same as your back! And for the cap sleeve? Simply cut out about 1 – 2″ from the original shoulder sleeve seam and cut down at a diagonal. Easy peasy – right?

As I said before, I had to line my dress – so I cut the same out of my knit fabric as I did out of my sweater fabric.

With right sides together, a sewed at both shoulder seams, as well as ONE side seam.

At this point I tried it on, pinning the side onto my body. I wanted to ensure a proper bodice fit. Alter side or shoulder seams if needed now. I repeated this for both my sweater fabric, and my lining.

Once I had it fitting exactly the way I wanted, I took my sweater bodice and my knit lining bodice and placed them right sides together (one inside the other), and matched up the shoulder seams. Pinning the neck together, I zig zag stitched together.

I then turned the knit lining inside the sweater bodice and pressed the neckline. I edge stitched around the neckline for a nice finished look. (I was concerned that by doing a straight stitch it would remove the ‘give’ around the neckline, but by using a very wide stitch, it didn’t seem to effect the stretch).

After that, I serged (or zig zag stitch) the armhole seams, as well as the one open side seam. Then, turning the armhole seams in towards the wrong side, I sewed them down – once again using a wide straight stitch.

At this point I tried my bodice on again, pinning the open side seam closed. I wanted to decide where I wanted my skirt waist to start for the dress.

I cut off all that extra fabric beneath my hand.

I don’t know why I am showing you this first picture here…perhaps to show off my nice serged side seams…lol. I forget why. But either way – you will have now noticed that working with sweater fabric is a MESS. Take a quick vacuum break. Lol.

Moving on…cut out a large rectangle for your skirt. I didn’t know how long I would want my dress to be initially, so I just used the remaining fabric that I had after cutting out the bodice. Once again, be sure your sweater fabric is stretchy from right to left! My stretch was from one selvage edge to the other, so I just made that the entire width of my skirt.

I put four inverted box pleats in the top of the skirt and baste stitched them to secure. Two of them will be in the front of the skirt, and two in the back. With the box pleats in place, my skirt is now the exact same width as the bottom of my bodice.

Place the top of the skirt right sides together with the bottom of your bodice, matching up the raw edges. Pin and sew together. Serge or zig zag seam, press seam upwards towards bodice, and edge stitch in place.

Now fold your dress right sides together matching up that side seam. Stitch together and Serge or zig zag stitch seam.

Decide how long or short you want your dress to be and hem! You are now finished and have an absolutely adorable, and utterly comfortable sweater dress to last you from Fall to Spring!

The best part? No unbuttoning the top of your pants after that big holiday meal! HA!

Why this old thing? Yes, yes, I made it. No….stop!

Do…go on…

I think a nice chunky necklace is in order!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and until next time…

Happy Sewing!


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Jess

Jess Abbott the Sewing Rabbit is the founder and creative director behind the me sew crazy blog, as well as SewSet.com, 5 & 10 Designs, GNO Events, and co-editor of STYLO. She resides in Virginia Beach with her husband and 3 children.
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Comments

  1. says

    Oh, that’s so excellent! Thank you for this tutorial! I’ve been seeing some gorgeous wool jersey online that I desperately wanted, but I couldn’t find good knit pattern to use. A sweater dress is in my future!

  2. says

    Oh, I appreciate your view of simple style…I have not clue about styles, and I hardly ever shop..I have been wanting a simple dress, that I coud make w/o the pattern purchase and fussing. was even thinkin of taking a dress design class, just moments before catching your tutorial here. But I think that is not for me..I sew a bit more than the class takes in on my account, so alot of relearning wud hav taken place. Instead, I got an awesome sewing lesson ! One that I bookmarked, at least until I can get to the store for some yummy fabric sweater knit ! I am so happy I found you Jessica. If you ever get more for women, in the way of dresses, I’ll be there……. eeeee :D

  3. says

    Iam looking for the right color…all dark out there; any tips on online sweater knit fabric in an awesome light color? Sometime I see fabric that perhaps I dont see how it will work…Maybe that class would be a good idea….. :)

    • says

      Hmmm…I actually have no idea! I happened to stumble across this knit at my local fabric store. I would probably try fabric.com first, or a plain old google search. But it would be tricky because you don’t know exactly what you are getting. I am sorry I cant be of more help here!!! Yikes! Of course there is always plain old interlock knit for the Summer…

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