I love a maxi dress with an uneven hemline. They look great when you move and see a flash of leg. This Handkerchief Hem Maxi – FREE SEWING PATTERN is an loose fitting throw-on-over-a-swimsuit type of dress.

I imagined it first in a grey marl jersey with an orange trim (and I may yet make it in these fabrics) but I got distracted by this black and white print and ended up going with the hot pink trim instead. This dress is really easy to make but it does take quite a lot of fabric – between 2.5 – 3 metres. I think for this pretty swishy dress I would use a satin finish bias binding to keep the elegant swishy feel.


I haven’t done a full tutorial but here are the basic step-by-step instructions. If you are not familiar with sewing opposing curves – have a quick look at this tutorial first. Or this one. It isn’t difficult but could be very confusing when faced with non matching pieces of fabric if you are not expecting it!

1 Sew in the darts

On the FRONT BODICE, fold the fabric along the pink dashed line and sew in the dart from the red dot along the black dashed lines to the edge

2 Attach sleeves

Line up the blue dots on the FRONT BODICE and one of the SLEEVES with right sides together. Sew down to the green dot – the shapes do not match – you will have to gently ease the fabric round to make the cut edges align with each other. Do the same with the other sleeve and the other side of the FRONT BODICE.

With right sides together, align the yellow dot on the BACK BODICE with the yellow dot on one of the SLEEVES. Sew from yellow dot to green – again the curves don’t match – just ease the fabric round until the cut edges line up. Repeat with the other side

All 4 pieces of fabric (FRONT BODICE, BACK BODICE & 2 SLEEVES) should be joined

3 Join the sides 

Line up the BACK BODICE and the FRONT BODICE with right sides together. (The sleeves will be folded along the original FOLD line). Sew the sides of the BODICE and along the under sides of the SLEEVES all the way from the purple dot to the orange dot

3 Attach the skirt

With right sides together, sew the FRONT SKIRT to the FRONT BODICE. (Again you will have to ease the curve of the skirt along the straight line of the BODICE). Repeat for the BACK SKIRT onto the BACK BODICE.

4 Sew the sides of the skirt

With right sides together sew up the sides of the skirt.

5 Finish the skirt hem with a contrasting bias binding so that it shows on the outside – see how to do it here.

6 Finish the neckline and armholes with hidden bias binding.