A Versatile Little Black Dress

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner


A Versatile Little Black Dress

There’s nothing like a new dress to make you feel special on a night out, and one way to guarantee you won’t turn up to the party wearing the same outfit as someone else, is to sew your own! I chose a simple, classic dress pattern with a bow front.

For a more professional and sophisticated finish, I decided to line my dress and here I share my technique so that you can add a lining to any dress you make too.

By sewing a lining into a dress, you are essentially making two separate dresses which are joined (in this case) at the armholes and waist, and though it does take extra time to sew up (and extra cost for the lining fabric) it can make finishing the dress much easier.

I began by cutting each pattern piece (except the collar) in my main fabric and the bodice and skirt pieces in my lining fabric.

Cutting fabric

Following my pattern directions I sewed the bodice darts in both the main and lining fabrics. Next, I sewed each bodice together at the side seams, leaving the shoulder seams open. With the main bodice right sides out and lining bodice inside out, insert the dress INTO the lining, matching the side seams. Double check that right sides are facing. Pin around the armholes and sew, stopping 3” away from the raw edge of the shoulder seam.

Pinning armholes

Clip the seam allowance around the curve of both armholes and turn the bodice right sides out, as it would be worn with the lining on the inside.

Working on shoulder seams

Working on the shoulder seams, pin the right sides of the lining fabric together and sew, and push the main fabric out of the way. Repeat for the main fabric, sewing together the shoulder seams closed, with right sides facing each other.

Press the remaining raw edges of the armhole to the inside. You can now topstitch around each armhole or handstitch the hole closed.

pressing the remaining raw edges

I then sewed the collar and attached it per the pattern directions.

Next I constructed the skirt in both the main and lining fabrics and basted the two skirts together with long, loose stitches around the waist. With the bodice right sides out and the skirt inside out (with the lining on the outside), I inserted the bodice into the skirt, pinned them around the waist and stitched them together.

For the elasticated waist on my dress, I sewed a loop of elastic to the seam allowance at the waist, sewing through all the layers of lining and main fabrics.

Hem the dress

To finish, I hemmed the dress. Though sewing a lining for this dress took a little more time than if I hadn’t, the results are much more professional and stylish. The dress is extremely comfortable to wear and easy to move in and just the satisfaction of knowing the dress is finished well is enough to get me sewing linings into dresses again and again.

Supply List

Dress pattern (I used Pussy Bow Dress pattern by Salme Patterns)

Fabric and lining (see fabric requirements of packet)

Sewing machine



Hand sewing needle