The quintessential feature of a flowy dress is fabric that blooms, gathers and swirls with the movement of the wearer. In other words, a dress that flows. Sometimes described as “romantic,” in addition to flowing fabric, flowy dresses can be fitted or loose and strapless or with puffed sleeves. Meanwhile, the skirt can be knee length or full length. It’s possible to make an easy, strapless, flowy dress without a pattern by bringing together two pieces of gathered fabric into a dress form and wearing with a wide belt.

Things You'll Need

Acquire approximately 5 yards of fabric, 3 feet of 1 1/2-thick elastic and a spool of matching thread.

Measure the upper part of the chest of the wearer using a soft measuring tape. Make a circle with the tape around the upper chest of the wearer which comes directly below the armpits. This is where the top of the flowy dress will be. Add 1 inch and write down this number.

Wash and dry the fabric to ensure that it does not bleed. Iron flat with a cool iron. Lay the fabric on a flat surface.

Cut two pieces of fabric that are each 1-yard square. Cut two pieces of the same fabric that are each 2-yards wide and 1 1/2-feet long; set them aside.

Pin together two sides of each of the 1-yard squares. If the fabric has a pattern, pair the sides that match to unify the pattern for the dress. Once pinned together, the fabric will measure 1 yard in length by 2-yards wide. Leave 1/2 inch for the seam allowance. Sew using a sewing machine to make seam on the interior of the fabric.

Make a tight baste stitch by hand to gather the long side of what you would like to be the top of the flowy dress. Use the gather to cinch the fabric from the total 2 yards length to the circumference of the upper part of the chest of the wearer plus 1 inch. Use a sewing machine to secure this gather. Remove the loose baste stitch thread.

Cut the elastic into the diameter of the chest measurement plus 1 inch. Pin this piece of elastic in to the inside of the gathered piece using straight pins. Roll the gathered fabric over the elastic. Sew into place using a sewing machine.

Pin the remaining seam on this piece of fabric, leaving a 1/2 inch seam allowance on the inside of the fabric using the straight pins. Use a sewing machine to secure. Keep the fabric turned inside out and set aside.

Pin together from the inside the two pieces of 2 yards by 1 1/2 feet fabric. Secure by sewing the seam on a sewing machine. The total length of this piece will be 4 yards by 1 1/2 feet.

Baste by hand a gather one side of the 4-yard length. The gather should cinch the fabric into 2 yards. Secure this with a sewing machine and remove the basting thread.

Bring together the two pieces of the flowy dress. Match the seam of the ruffle with the seam of the body of the dress, matching the backs of the exterior of the fabric so that the interiors are facing out. Pin the ruffle into place. Secure with a sewing machine.

Pin the hem of the bottom of the skirt ruffle, secure with a sewing machine. Press the dress seams into the dress with a cool iron. Wear the flowyg dress as is or cinch to the wearer’s body with a wide belt.


  • Use ribbons or the remainder fabric to make spaghetti straps or a halter for the flowy dress.

  • Choose fabric that encourages movement, such as chiffon, silk, charmeuse or soft cotton.