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Dress & Blouse How-To

Use a lightweight cotton or linen that drapes well. These instructions apply for a dress or a top.





  1. Step 1


    Download and print pattern and instructions for desired style and size. Buy appropriate amount of fabric, as indicated below. For a long-sleeve dress,  you’ll need 3 1/2 yards of 45-inch-wide fabric (or wider).For a short-sleeve dress, you’ll need 2 3/4 yards of 45-inch-wide fabric (or wider). For a long-sleeve shirt, you’ll need 2 3/4 yards of 45-inch-wide fabric (or wider). For a short-sleeve shirt, you’ll need  2 1/4 yards of 45-inch-wide fabric (or wider). Decide on your style and size. Cut out pattern pieces. Lay pattern pieces on fabric. For front and back body pieces, fold fabric selvedge to selvedge, then lay the center fold of  front and back pattern pieces on the folded edges. Pin together and cut fabric pieces out. For the sleeves, open the fabric back up, fold it widthwise, then lay sleeve pattern piece down. Pin together and cut the fabric pieces out. 

  2. Step 2

    Prep neck hem: Fold over top edges of all pieces 3/8 inch and press; fold over 3/8 inch again and press. Unfold. (You'll use pressed lines as guides later.)

  3. Step 3

    Take 1 sleeve and, with right sides facing, sew to front, then back, using a 3/8 inch seam allowance. Sew other sleeve to back, then front. Press seams open.

  4. Step 4

    Sew along sleeve inseam, then down 1 side. Repeat on other side. Press seams open.

  5. Step 5

    Fold over sleeve hem 3/8 inch and press; fold over 3/8 inch again and hem, leaving 1/2-inch opening at inseam.

  6. Step 6

    Using guidelines from step 2, refold fabric to make neck tunnel. Sew, leaving 1/2-inch opening at center front (for ribbon) or center back (for elastic).

  7. Step 7

    Using small safety pin, thread ribbon or elastic through neck and sleeve tunnels. Gather to desired tightness. If using elastic (as we did for sleeves), overlap ends and sew; then sew opening closed. If using ribbon (shown in collars), tie to finish.

  8. Step 8

    Fold bottom hem over 3/8 inch and press; fold over 3/8 inch again and hem.

Martha Stewart Living, April 2013



Reviews (38)

  • carol_j_scott 26 May, 2014

    Looks like fun. Pattern question. "Align the hashmarks..." Does that mean overlay the squares, or abut the squares??

  • Crw 27 Apr, 2014

    keep the following in mind and you will be happy. The fabric you choose is important. It must be light weight and drape well. Think Pima cotton . Also the sleeves are NOT set in sleeves so you sew the body front and back together after attaching the sleeves. The notches on the sleeves are not consistent. For the back, match the notch on the sleeve with the notch on the armhole. For the front the notch does not match up with the front armhole, but the sleeve itself.

  • soapgirl 31 Mar, 2014

    I have been searching for a pattern like this for a very long time.
    The pattern is twenty nine pages. Then you piece it and tape and cut. No big deal. I did that in about 30 minutes.
    After printing, piecing and cutting out the pattern it goes pretty quickly unless you're not familiar with sewing this is when it can get tricky especially if you're not a seasoned seamstress.
    Sew sleeve onto front and back on both sides first. Then sew front and back together. This will save you grief.

  • Rhmomma 12 Jul, 2013

    Made this dress with the mid-sleeve. It was very confusing, but the best way is to sew the side seems and the short arm seem and then find the notches and piece the arm to the body. I did have to flip an arm piece on the pattern to make this work. When finished it makes for a really cute dress that is worth the trouble to figure out once. Best wishes!

  • Flyingjen 10 Jun, 2013

    I am glad that I am not the only one who couldn't figure the sleeves. I'm just pissed I wasted money on buying fabric when I could have bought some very nice yarn and knit a sweater instead. I would have been happier.

  • Charise 23 May, 2013

    Very Cute! Great Pattern and easy to sew! I went down one size and it is a perfect fit.

  • Kirsten Augsburger 19 May, 2013

    cute dress and blouse - and looks great on.

  • Kirsten Augsburger 19 May, 2013

    This dress was made twice by a family member, and it is really cute!

  • Nana K 6 May, 2013

    I started making this today for my daughter who is pregnant.
    Not easy to follow. Sewed up sides and finally got sleeves pinned in.
    Needs more info on pattern and directions.

  • asis1950 1 May, 2013

    And would Martha be caugh out in this? I think NOT! This looks like something from Sewing 101...."Let's sew our first dress" raglan sleeves and all; which happened right after making our first pillowcases.

  • SallyAshus 1 May, 2013

    Confusing and inaccurate! Go buy a Simplicity EZ or a McCalls SewEasy (or watch Martha Pullen!) pattern and use it! This is just a basic raglan-sleeve top, which could be extended into a dress-length. I made several of this ilk for maternity wear some years ago, in the least costly fabrics I could find on the clearance table. Yes, attach the sleeves FIRST, sew the side seams, then do the neck casing, and finally the sleeve and bottom hems. I put patch pockets on a couple of the tops I made.

  • AgathaTwo 1 May, 2013

    This is not a good dress. It is frankly speaking, a muumuu. Very unflattering. Not a good choice for anyone with any sort of bad posture. It also adds several pounds. It also adds several decades.This is not practical for anything, -well, maybe if one is staying in and cleaning the house, and guaranteed not seeing anyone else for that day.

  • cathyrides 25 Apr, 2013

    Love the Peasant blouse/dress pattern, so easy to sew, and fits well!

  • ABCarter 24 Apr, 2013

    So emailing with a few folks about sleeves - the way I eventually got them to work was I stitched front and back panels together FIRST then lined up the marks for sleeves and it made much more sense.

  • Fed Up 23 Apr, 2013

    It took me several long sessions of cutting and taping to assemble the insane pattern, which I justified by telling myself I'd be making loads of these cute dresses and blouses in different fabrics. After a morning cutting the fabric (from the thrift store, thank goodness!) and wrestling with the pieces, I threw everything - paper and fabric - into the trash in a rage. A pattern this carelessly written needs photographs or illustrations. I'll never try a pattern from here again!

  • ABCarter 22 Apr, 2013

    Hi all. I made the dress this weekend & reviewed : I had a lot of problems with the sleeves too but then realized I was attaching them upside down, getting confused over one of the extra triangle hash marks. Also, the yardage requirements are in the online instructions (above) but I found you have to look at both the magazine & the online instructions to make it work.

  • ebessen 15 Apr, 2013

    I wasted over 24.00 dollars on fabric and can not figure out the sleeves. They don't seem to match up correctly. Very disappointed. Ask an experienced sewer to look at it and she couldn't figure it out either.

  • SallyGardens 7 Apr, 2013

    Would someone please tell me how to sew the sleeves on! There has got to be more directions than sew the sleeve to the front and then to the back. Am I missing something?

  • MissOtisRegrets 31 Mar, 2013

    went ahead and assumed a 5/8" seam allowance. Finishing the hem now. I will say, if you're not an experienced sewer (I have 30 years), don't even attempt this. The neck casing was quite tricky with those quirky angles. Also, saying that the longer length is a "dress" is absurd - it's a tunic top at best. You'd need an additional 10 inches of fabric to qualify as a dress in my book.

  • MissOtisRegrets 30 Mar, 2013

    What is the size of the seam allowance? I typically use 5/8, but some patterns use 1/2 or 3/8. It's unfortunate that this was missing so many components before being posted.

  • kf4nfl 30 Mar, 2013

    I am a very experienced seamstress and I could not for the life of me figure out how to attach the sleeves! I confidently trotted to fabric store, excited about this new pattern, and paid $18 for a nice piece of material, hoping to make my Easter dress for tomorrow. I worked and worked with that pattern last night and it never did come into understanding. Needless to say, as much as I love MS, I am pretty steamed to have wasted $18.

  • richlady39 27 Mar, 2013

    Thanks for the offcr, however, I am not about to print out 29 pages of a pattern. I'm sure I can find something similar in a regular pattern.

  • MSLO Moderator 25 Mar, 2013

    The instructions (step 2) are now correct.

  • ebessen 23 Mar, 2013

    I am a beginner and I am a bit confused on how the sleeves fit together. They don't seem to fit the notches if they are right side of the pattern facing. Can someone explain to me how to assemble the sleeves.

  • Jaylah54 22 Mar, 2013

    The comment left by "tmpbp " is spot-on. There IS a typo in step #2 of the instructions. It SHOULD read:

    "Prep neck hem: Fold over top edges of all pieces 3/8 inch and press; fold over 3/8 inch again and press. Unfold. (You'll use pressed lines as guides later.)"

    It is correct in the magazine, but not here.

    The point is that you are making a 3/8" self-casing for the neck elastic/ribbon. (You'd have a hard time getting a 1/4" elastic/ribbon through a 1/4" casing.)

  • Lifehandmade 18 Mar, 2013

    I too have tried to print this with out the Don't worry.....and does print on my pdf. And I see that the yardage is going to be posted. Thank you, I thought I was really missing something. Now if we can just get the pattern to print with out the extra copy written on it that would be fabulous. Looking forward to making these shirts to wear as I go through radiation for breast cancer. They seem like they would be light and comfortable and won't irritate my skin by rubbing. Thank you!

  • nicekid 18 Mar, 2013

    All the pattern pieces for the Dress and Blouse in the April issue of Living say "don't worry this text won't appear on your pdf printout" but it does.

  • tmpbp 18 Mar, 2013

    I loved the dress. The assembly of the pattern was fine, although I found it to be missing some information. The requirements for the yardage needed to make the dress or shirt, as well as the measurement breakdown for the sizes were missing. The sleeves are not marked as to where they attach to the front or the back. I think #2 in the printed directions has a typo. I sew quite often and these were not an issue for me, but for someone just learning to sew they may have difficulty. Thank you

  • MSLO Moderator 18 Mar, 2013

    This information will be posted:

    For 44/45-inch width fabric:
    Long-sleeve dress: 3 1/2 yds
    Short-sleeve dress: 2 3/4 yds
    Long-sleeve shirt: 2 3/4 yds
    Short-sleeve shirt 2 1/4 yds

  • ebessen 17 Mar, 2013

    Does anyone know the yardage to make a small blouse? I can't find it on the pattern.

  • kejsh 15 Mar, 2013

    Somebody at Martha Stewart please fix this problem, there aren't any yardage requirements on the pattern.

  • Teresa K 15 Mar, 2013

    It says the yardage is included on the pattern but I cannot find it anywhere. Can someone please provide the yardage for each size and length?

  • garygirl 15 Mar, 2013

    I cannot seem to download the pattern - when I save as a PDF, i only get 2 BLANK PAGES. ??? I'm a graphic designer on a MAC with latest software, so I'm really puzzled. Any help available?

  • patti608g 15 Mar, 2013

    I love this pattern and I am going to make this today. Thank you, Martha, for your generous gift. I saw you in Chattanooga in 2011 at the Women's Expo and you were wearing a beautiful coral blouse very similar to this pattern. You were simply Stunning in it!

  • Liznyc9 14 Mar, 2013

    I am confused, too! You are not alone!

  • Liznyc9 14 Mar, 2013

    I'm confused, too! You are not alone!

  • ANNIEds 14 Mar, 2013

    I did not note the needed yardage either.
    2 yards will only give you enough for the top. I'm finding that matching the sleeves to the front are a bit puzzling. I always thought the "side darts or triangle marks" can be used as a guide for pinning. I thought I was an experienced sewer......maybe I'm just getting old?

  • megrpoo 14 Mar, 2013

    Am I missing the fabric yardage/sizes on the pattern? I can't find them.