Friday, November 15, 2013

How to Sew a Cape Dress - Sewing the Dress Together

I always consider cutting out the dress pieces as the worse part. After it is cut out, all the decision making of what size, style is done. To me, the sewing is the fun part as the dress emerges from a pile of fabric.

First I sew up the darts (if using) in the bodice and cape.


Then I sew the bodice front and back together at the shoulder seams and do the same with the cape front and back. I like to hem the sides of the cape at this point.

Next I sew the bodice and the cape together at the neckline. I don't use any facings, which makes assembling so much easier. But sewing the cape and bodice together does take some different thinking. Typically when sewing, the fabric pieces are put together with the right sides of the fabric together so that when the seam is turned, all the seams will be inside.

But when sewing a bodice and cape together, place the right side of the cape against the wrong side of the bodice. When the seam is turned, the raw edge will be between the bodice and cape and will be hidden in the neckline.

Next I trim and clip the seam allowance at the neckline to allow it to turn smoothly, and stitch the seam allowance down against the bodice. This makes a smooth neckline with no visible stitching on the cape.


 Using a basting stitch, I baste the cape to the bodice at the waistline and in the back where the zipper will be inserted.


Sometimes I have had trouble with my cape gaping. I have found that if I pull the corner of the cape just slightly into the waistline, it helps with the gaps.


Next I finish the sleeves, stitching up the arm seam and finishing the cuffs however I chose for this dress. You can wait until the sleeves are sewn into the dress to finish them but I find it much easier to work with the sleeve before it is attached to the dress. On this dress, I made a simple pleated cuff.

Next I stitch the side seams of the bodice and insert the sleeves. I like to stitch my sleeves with double seams (just stitching twice around the arm hole) since sleeves tend to be a stress point that I have to mend often if not reinforced.

It is beginning to look like a dress! Almost done!

Next I sew the side seams of the skirt, inserting pockets if desired. Prepare the skirt to be attached to the bodice, with pleats, gathers, or however.


 For this skirt, since I wasn't using a skirt pattern, I pinned the skirt to the bodice at the side seam and center back and front. Then I measured even pleats in the front and back to pull in the fullness of the fabric.

After I was satisfied with the way the pleats looked, I stitched the skirt to the bodice. This is another spot I like to double stitch to avoid mending it later.

Next I insert the zipper. I like to use invisible zippers because then if my stitches are wocky, no one can see it.

Hem the skirt and it is all done!

And the final result.

Just in case you are curious...this photo was taken months ago. Right now I could never zip up this dress.

This is what I'm looking like today at 32 weeks!

How To Sew a Cape Dress
Part One - Finding a Pattern
Part Two - Cutting Out the Dress


  1. Thanks for the tutorial, and congratulations! :)

  2. You look beautiful! Blue is a great color for you.

  3. When you are pregnant, do you just take your normal cape pattern and adjust it, or do you use a special maternity pattern? Also, (and I hope this doesn't sound like a silly question), but are there special cape dresses for nursing mothers?

    1. For my maternity pattern, I took a maternity dress pattern and adjusted it for a cape. Basically it is a basic bodice, obviously wider and with higher waist line. I then attach a double skirt to the bodice.

      For nursing, I add a zipper to the bodice under the cape. I should have showed this step but I was trying to keep it uncomplicated as possible.

      No question is silly. If this didn't make sense, please ask more!

    2. Double skirt to bodice meaning two fabric layers?? I should have asked to see it when I saw you last - but didn't!
      Also, is the top connected to the back at the zipper in the back?? It looks like a top and a skirt from the front, but a dress from the back.

    3. Yes, two layers of fabric, one short and one long, all sewed into the bodice. It is really a dress, just looks like two separate pieces.

      You'll have to examine it the next time I see you - though I'm hoping I'll have a baby for you to coo over instead!

  4. You look radiant and beautiful! Congratulations to you and your family.

  5. thanks gina for the pictures love it :) lets sew again some day ~holly

  6. You did it! I was beginning to think you'd given up on the idea. :)

    Your sewing looks neat and lovely & you explained things well. Great job!

  7. 32 weeks...will you be having a Christmas or New Year baby? I had a Christmas one with my present ever!

    1. I'm due the first week of January - so maybe I can go early and hit the holidays! I won't complain!

  8. Thank-you so much for doing this post! It has helped me SO much!


I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!


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