DixieDIY Patterns – Ballet Dress

Well, I have to admit that I’ve taken note of all the Lady Skater and Moneta knit dresses running around out there. With elbow or 3/4 length sleeves, natural waists, gathered skirts – it’s a great look. But the pattern that really caught my eye is the Ballet Dress by DixieDIY.  
It’s not a new pattern by any means. Dixie first released it in 2011. And she revised it in 2013, to address suggestions from fellow sewists: she lengthened the bodice and skirt, and narrowed the sleeves.

I think the reason I like the look of this pattern best is the neckline. It’s a little higher and rounder than the others, and it balances the longer sleeves and bodice really nicely.

Ok, it also balances my longer skirt nicely…

I’m not planning to wear a short circle skirt any time soon 🙂 but doing a change-up on the skirt was easy. The skirt is simply two 27″ x 44″ rectangles! 
The hard part was matching these crazy thin stripes. I found that the only sensible – if kind of tedious – way to do it was by basting my fabric selvages together before laying out the pattern. I was working with 3 yards of fabric! so I did cut out lengths approximate to the bodice and skirt requirements first.
Not bad!

My fabric is a lightweight cotton/lycra jersey from Fabric.com. With 50% stretch across the width, it was a little tricky to sew. Some sewing notes:

  • I drafted my tissue from the size Medium, but took the curve out of the bodice side seam – I simply dropped the side straight down from armhole edge to the bottom of the bodice. This increased the waist width to 34″ and added just a little ease to the bust.
  • I also added 2 1/2″ to the length of the bodice, front and back.
  • And lowered the back neckline by 1/2″.
  • At 14″, the sleeves are by no means 3/4 length on me, but I decided not to lengthen them. If you want a true 3/4 sleeve, you might want to check this measurement.
  • To keep those stripes lined up, I hand-basted all my seams before sewing them on the machine. Then I used an elastic (lightning) stitch for the seams, followed by a serged finish for the seam allowances.

  • I used the same approach on the waist seam, gathering the skirt and basting it to the bodice before going to the machine. The result is very elastic, but sturdy enough to support the skirt without additional stabilization. I know that some patterns suggest using elastane tape on the waist seam, but I’m allergic to it. I’m glad this worked without it.

  • Also glad I remembered to cut the sleeve hem allowance on an angle to mirror the sleeve. It always amazes me when a pattern doesn’t incorporate this simple detail.

  • Speaking of hems…for this fabric, I serged the edge, turned up a 1 1/4″ hem, and topstitched just inside the serging with a straight stitch. 
  • Instead of using an attached band ‘collar’, I applied binding to the neckline. This is just a piece of cotton/rayon jersey from the stash, cut across the stretch of the fabric.

I love this dress. It fits really well and feels wonderful!

Suddenly it’s Friday – wishing everyone a safe and enjoyable weekend. Ciao! Coco

24 thoughts on “DixieDIY Patterns – Ballet Dress

  1. Thanks, Mary. And the colors…all those years in Latin America, they would fit right in where you are as well. I spent so much time in Phoenix when I was working, loved the art and warm colors. Funny story…the Phoenix airport roads are so confusing, just awful. Very late one night I got mixed up and was well on my way to Tucson before I could get myself turned around and headed back. It's not that far!


  2. Thanks, Debbie. I know what you mean about the weight of the skirt. I was concerned about that, too, especially without any stabilizer in the waist. Using the lightweight jersey worked great, even though it was a bit of a pain to do all that seam basting 🙂


  3. What a cute dress! I like the neckline, too. I really love maxis, how they look good and yet are so comfortable at the same time. Also, love your hair:)


  4. Very nice! I love this style of dress. It looks classy and it is quite possibly one of the most comfortable dress styles I've ever worn…meaning it gets a serious wardrobe workout. I actually tried to make a long sleeve jersey dress very similar to yours (based on one of my own patterns) but the print threw me off a bit and then the jersey was just toooooo heavy for a long gathered skirt like yours (although actually, truth be known, I was just having and impossible-to-please-me day). I really love this look though.


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