Pattern Manipulation Technique : Sew a Bias Tube Dress from Tank Top Pattern

I want you to watch the video tutorial first because then you will see what a dress cut on a bias does. The above dress is made in my size, with my hips being the widest measurement and without adding extra ease. My daughter who’s several sizes smaller than me can wear it and it drapes around her body. Here’s a photo of me wearing it :


It’s comfortable to wear and when I walk , the dress doesn’t try to inch up between my legs 🙂 If this tube style was cut on a straight grain, I probably couldn’t walk at all. There will be no ease for taking a step unless a slit is added.

This pattern is quite fun to make. By elongating and chopping up a tank top pattern, you just have to cut one piece to make this dress.  It also amazes me that there are no side seams. The seams spiral down from the back armhole around the body all the way to the hem.

I read about this technique in this book : ” Pattern Making (Portfolio Skills, Fashion & Textiles) ” which you can get from Amazon from my affiliates link. It’s on page 206.

Things to consider before making this :

  • Fabric – this will work with lighter fabric ( chiffon, silk crepe ). Prints that will do well : horizontal or vertical lines, plaids ; one directional also okay. I’m not sure what fabric I am using as I got them from an overstock shop. The maxi dress uses around 3.5 meters, while the top about 2.5 meters. I tried this with a cotton fabric ( like those use for quilting ). It doesn’t drape as nicely.
  • Pattern – the pattern should be straight on the sides, no darts. Also consider the neck hole . If it is cut too wide, the fabric will naturally fall and give it a mini cowl effect. You can see it on the maxi dress. I just consider that to be a design element and not a mistake 🙂  :

bias tube maxi dress by

  • Sewing – you have to be gentle to the cut edges, if you pull too hard, the fabric will get pulled out of shape. I use French seams to sew up the dress and bias binding for the neck and arm holes. Make sure the shoulder seams are all facing the back when bias binding so that the seam is not twisted. I threw the dress into the washer and hang them dry for a day before hemming the dress. I read that clothings cut on a bias need some time to ease into shape.

Think that’s about it. If you have work with sewing bias cuts , please share your experience. I am so in a learning mode on this subject !