The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

Hands on your hips!

I just caught up on my Project Runways and was delighted to see last week’s episode where one team chose Military as one of their themes.

So cool!

It really is a big trend right now. I was inspired to do this dress a few weeks ago by many looks I saw while window shopping at the mall.

The pockets are perfect for my glasses!

I like my glasses

I wanted it to be softer and more childlike for my daughter and I feel like I achieved that.

I just had to share a tutorial with you all (of course!) which I think should do well in an adult size as well. I just think if I were to make this for myself, I would add a waistband. That seems to always help with the look on adults, in my opinion anyways.

Look! Pockets!

There are a few “hindsight” things I will share in the tutorial that would make it easier for those who choose to try and create the look.

The Back

What you will need for the dress:

-A Knit Fabric (make sure you have enough so it all can be cut with the stretch horizontal)
-Coordinating Extra Wide Double Fold Bias Tape (you can make your own too; I almost used another knit, but I couldn’t find one that coordinated well enough)
-6 Coordinating Buttons

Creating the Pattern:

Need: Paper, Pencil, Marker, Ruler, Childs T-Shirt, & possibly Tape

1. I started off by taking one of my daughter’s t-shirts. I folded it in half across and then folded it up to about where I wanted the top of the dress to be. I placed it on paper and drew around it with a pencil.

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

2. I then went over it with a marker and added where the fold would be.

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

3. Then I created another piece the same size, but dipped the neck down for the front of the dress. Just make sure to make the neck hole big enough for the little one’s head to go through, but even if you don’t, you can always re-cut it at the end.

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

4. For the bottom, start by making the top of it as wide as the top piece would be.

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

5. Then draw lines straight down to how long you want it.

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

6. Draw a straight line to the left on the left side (I did 2.5″). Do the same on the right side. Now draw a line from the ends of the top to where you just added on the sides. This creates an a-line. The larger the size, the further out you want to go and vice-versa.

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

7. Choose a size for the middle panel and draw that (mine was 4 inches). Then the pockets, and the sides.

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

**IN hindsight, I would have created another pattern piece to make the back piece one whole piece instead of cutting it all up like the front.

8. Create pockets. Just make sure they are the same width as the two panels they will go on (with the extra added at the top for gathering) and shorter.

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

Cutting the Fabric:

1. Make sure to cut all of your pieces so that the fabric stretches horizontally. This is very important! Place your top pieces on the fabric fold and cut them out.

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

2. Then cut out the bottom pieces and pockets, making sure to add the 1/4″ seam allowance to the sides that will be sewn together. These are all the pieces you should have:

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial
the front

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial
the back
(but again, in hindsight, I think I would have just made the bottom part all 1 piece for the back)

Preparing the Pockets:

1. Take the pockets and baste along the top, then gather it in until it’s the same width as the rest of the panel.

2. Then take your bias tape and open it up. Place the top of the pocket inside of it (right side up) and sew it to the back side of the bias tape only.

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

3. Then fold over the front of the bias tape to the front of the pocket piece and sew in place.

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

4. Pin the pockets (right side up) onto the panels (also right side up) they will go onto.

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial


Sewing the Bottom:

1. Start sewing all of your pieces together from one side to another. I started with the left front side. Pin the triangle piece to the pocket piece, right sides facing. Sew together and finish raw edges seams if you like.

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

2. Keep doing this with all the pieces until they are all sewn together.

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

3. Repeat for the back if you did yours in pieces too.

Putting it All Together:

1. Take the front top piece and the front bottom piece. Pin together, right sides facing each other.

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

2. Sew together and finish raw edges if you like.

3. Repeat for the back top and bottom as well.

4. Pin the front piece to the back piece, right sides facing.

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

5. Sew together down the sides, leaving enough room for the armhole. I always like to leave mine a decent size. Sew together at the top shoulders as well. Finish raw seams if you like then turn the dress right side out.

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

6. Sew on three strips of bias tape to the middle front top. **Again, in hindsight, I recommend you do this before sewing it all together. IT would be way easier.

Finishing Touches:

1. To finish the raw edges around the neck, arms, and bottom, you could do a few things. You could turn it in and sew it down with a double needle which would give you the look like professional knit shirts in the store usually have. You could serge the edges or v-stitch over them. You could add a fabric band, or do it this way: Cut strips of fabric about 1 inch wide and long enough to go around the neck and arm holes, again making sure the stretch is going the same way as the length of the strip (horizontal).

2. Pin one piece around the neck hole, right sides facing. When it comes to the place where then connect, turn one side over a little.

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

Then pin the other side over it and cut off excess.

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

2. Sew around, close to the edges.

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

3. Turn up and inward. Sew in place and trim to make it look nice and neat on the inside.

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

4. Repeat for the arm holes.

5. For the bottom, I just serged it then folded it up towards the inside and sewed it in place.

6. OPTIONAL: I also added a little bit of shirring to the back to help bring it in a bit because it was a little big. But, since it stretches out, my daughter will be able to wear it for a while.

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial

7. Sew on the buttons

The Military Bias Dress Tutorial
We salute all of you who make one!!!!


Here’s looking at you!

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  1. says

    Oh my goodness that is one adorable dress! I can not wait to make it for my girls. Of course we are an AF family so I will have to go with blue! Thank you so much for putting this together.

  2. says

    What a fantastic tutorial. So well thought through and executed. I can’t even sew and I you’ve given me the confidence to think that I could make this baby!! Nice!!

    Love the aviators. Made me chuckle. x

  3. says

    I love it! It’s by far my favorite out of all of the dresses you’ve made. Does your daughter just LOVE wearing dresses mommy makes for her?

  4. says

    I love this. I have never been inspired to make something where I had to use an existing garment as the pattern until now. I am totally going to try this. Awesome!

  5. says

    Very thorough tutorial! You have such a great eye for fashion! Have you thought of trying out for project runway???

    Stop by my blog to enter my first linky and post this cute outfit, ok???


  6. says

    Absolutely great dress! Love that it the design uses one of the child’s own garments to ensure a nice fit. I’ve included it in this week’s Tutorial Thursday showcase.

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