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Tropical Dream Ruffle Midi Dress

Often my dressmaking process starts with a shape or pattern and then I find a fabric to fit with it. But when I saw this Kern Palms Viscose Dobby by Lady McElroy, nothing on my plans list seemed right. I’m not usually one for pattern hacking, but I felt that this beautiful print on this lovely textured fabric demanded something special. I knew I wanted something feminine but still soft and comfortable. The Heidi Day Dress by The Wearable Studio was a perfect jumping off point for me to create my tropical dream ruffle midi dress.

Pattern & Modifications

The Heidi Day Dress comes as a free pattern with an email subscription to The Wearable Studio, a fairly new pattern company based in Australia. It’s a simple, strappy shift dress with bust darts and back pleats that conceal waist ties.The best part? It’s drafted for a C cup! No FBA this time! 

Transforming this wardrobe basic into a swishy, romantic dream dress was easier than I thought. I added a tie strap detail by simply cutting 4 instead of 2 strap pieces. I stitched one end closed on each piece, and attached the pieces as instructed. It actually made it a bit easier. Since the tie straps are adjustable, it eliminated a fitting step.

For the ruffle, I cut two pieces 25 centimeters in length by 145 centimeters wide. For the width measurement, I simply doubled the width of the hem, which happened to be the width of the fabric. I removed about 8 centimeters from the original hem, then gathered the two rectangles and hemmed the dressed using a narrow roll foot.  I only regret not cutting the piece a bit longer. I would have loved the proportions of the bodice above the waist ties and the ruffle to be a bit more similar, but I’m still very happy with it overall. 


This fabric is a dream to wear. It’s so light and beautiful. It’s also very delicate. Despite using a microtex needle, I still experienced quite a bit of snagging. I would also recommend stabilizing the edges. When the cut edges stretched it caused threads to run up the fabric, distorting the print. Aside from those issues, it sewed up beautifully. It wasn’t too shifty or slippery but I starched the fabric beforehand and used my walking foot for extra stability. The texture is so lovely, but I’m sad that it catches on everything.  

Make Breakdown

Pattern: The Wearable Studio Heidi Day Dress (FREE in email subscription!)

Size: 16

Fabric & Notions: 2.5 Meters Lady McElroy Leaf Viscose Dobby.

Fabric Notes: Lightweight, steady, beautiful textured weave. Easy to work with, but snags easily. 

Design Modifications: Lengthen straps for ties, added hem ruffle.

Fit Alterations: Contoured dart tips for better fit.

Difficulty: Confident Beginner

Future Plans: Yes! I’d love to try one in a more structured linen.

I love wearing this dress! I feel so sassy, yet still very comfortable. The colors and print of the fabric combined with the feminine details of the pattern make this such a beautifully versatile dress! Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

Brianna @astitchacrossthesea

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