Sunday, 12 February 2012

The floor length infinity dress

This is me in my floor length infinity dress. 
Put simply this dress is made by sewing together four rectangles. It has a total of three seams and no hems. You cut the jersey to the finished length and the most complicated part is working out the right sizes of the rectangles.

This is the way to make a floor length infinity dress. It differs from a lot of the patterns on the Internet because it gathers on the hip and is an oval skirt rather than a square. The last dress I made, the one you can see in the video was a 400 gm lycra, suitable for dancewear and ice skating costumes. I bought it from Fabric Land at £9.99 a meter.  

The floor length version takes between 7 and 9 meters of fabric, which brings it to about the same price as a dress from the high street. The true beauty of the dress is the flexibility it gives you, something the high street can’t offer. I also find that regardless of how much my size has changed the dress still looks great, and can be easily taken apart and made bigger or smaller.

This dress is stitched using a stretch stitch and a stretch needle. The stitch looks like a sloping zigzag. Your sewing machine stitch book will help you determine the correct stitch. If your not sure, stitch a little on a scrap of Lycra and pull. If it’s the wrong stitch the thread will break.

The rectangles for the skirt.

The width of the rectangle for the skirt is determined by the width of the fabric. The length of the rectangle is the following calculation.

Measurement from bottom of bra to floor.
Times two.

Don’t forget to wear the right shoes when you take this measurement
Waist Measurement minus 5 cm.  Divided by 2

This measurement is needed for the rest of the pattern.

You will need to cut and sew two of these rectangles together to make the skirt. 

The rectangles for the top.


Waist measurement as for the skirt.
Divided by two
Plus 23cm


Your height x 1.5.

You will need to cut two of these rectangles for the top. 

Putting the rectangles together.

Pin the rectangles for the skirt right sides together. Use the selvedge to make life easier. Fold the skirt rectangles in half and mark with a pin. This is the center point. From the centre point mark half the waist measurement on either side.  You can now sew the first seams. Sew from the waist mark to the edge of the rectangle on both sides. Sew the seam line bellow the selvedge using the stretch stitch.  You now have I a whole in the middle of the two rectangles. Try on the skirt, it should fit snugly around your waist, if it feels too loose pinch the sides together and pin, continue the stitching up to the pin. Try on and check again.

Now for the top.

The top has pleats that are very flattering. Place both rectangles, right sides up on a flat surface and mark the following measurements. The two rectangles should mirror each other.

Fold 15 cm of the fabric under the rest of the rectangle.

A     4cm from fold 
B     5cm from fold 
C     6cm from fold 
D     8cm from fold 
E      9cm from fold 
F     10cm from fold 
G    12cm from fold 
H    13cm from fold 
I     14cm from fold


To make the pleats

C matches to A, B is the middle of the pleat         
F matches to D, E is the middle of the pleat
I matches to G, H is the middle of the pleat 

Word of advice
Once you have pined the fabric pleats tack them in place. Life is a lot easier.

And finally

Take the two top rectangles and overlap them at the middle by 2cms. Now we are ready to attach the top to the skirt.

Turn the skirt so the seams are on the outside and put the straps inside the skirt with the pleats at the top. The right side of the straps should be next to the right side of the skirt fabric.

Remember the pin in the middle of the waist? Now match that up to the middle of the top and pin into position, tack the fabric in place.

Now check that if the dress is turned around the right way its right. it’s easy to un-pick and re- tack at this point.

If all is good, stitch together and remove the tacking thread.

Check and cut the length of the dress.

Try on WITH SHOES and mark the hem length. A neighbour or a friend is always good for this. Pin in place

Take off the dress and measure from the waist to the pin. Lay the skirt rectangle out flat and make sure the top straps are out of the way. Measure from the edge of the waist (B) and mark the hem length moving diagonally out from B making a curve.

Repeat for the other side of the dress and cut at the markings.  

Your dress is ready to wear!


  1. Nice one, Chloe. You've almost got me sold on making my own Hawaiian shirt for the 2012 Summer of Love...

    One novice question though... do machines stretch sticth or will I be doing all the stitching by hand and ending up with "Red Red Wine" seive finger-tips!!!

    Let me be the first to officially say... Uber awesome blog, Newman!!! Go Girl!!!


    1. Hi Henry

      I am very excited to hear about the Hawaiian Shirt, even more excited about the Summer of Love!

      Good question regarding the Stretch Stitch, pretty much all machines will do a stretch stitch which will save your fingers, but after you have finished you can still enjoy a glass of "Red Red Wine" if that helps? ?

      Thanks for the kind comments about the blog, I hope you feel the same way in a few posts time.

  2. Well done Chloe, i have a young girl that wants me to show her how to sew, think she'll feel a bit special making something like this!

    1. Hi Vicki,

      Thats a great complement!! please let me know if you would like the instructions in a PDF. I'm really excited to hear more about your projects too. 1000 hours of sewing sounds brilliant. Please keep us all posted with the next project.

      Best C

  3. Looks great Chloe seems very clear well done.

  4. I had an infinity dress made for me by Chloe to wear to a wedding when i was pregnant with my first daughter and it has been a lovely dress to wear. As it's lycra it moulds beautifully round ones 'bump' and has meant I have been able to wear it at varying stages during 2 pregnancies. I've also used it since my babies were born and it still fits - no alteration required! A really versitile design.

  5. Hi Chloe,

    Thanks for putting together these instructions. I was wondering how full your skirt turned out. I saw this version on Pinterest - - and loved the full flowing skirt. Is yours similar?



    1. Hi Nadine
      Sorry for the delay, The skirt turns out pretty full, as the picture you showed me. There are a few picture on the face book page that you can see the dress in full spin! I had tried to have the seams at the front of the dress but by carrying the weight of the skirt at the sides gave a much better silhouette. Looking forward to seeing your dress...

    2. Hi Ordinary Stitcher! I really love the concept of this dress is it possible to send me the PDF version as i can't read the one on your blog very well. I cant wait to make my own and show you pictures!

  6. Thank you for this tutorial!!! I actually plan on making one of these as my wedding gown....going to add a couple of layers of bridal tulle to the skirt, and use a shiny milliskin ivory for the rest of the gown. Also adding a swarovski crystal brooch to the front. You saved me soooo much $$$!!!!

  7. Hi Ordinary Stitcher, thank you for the tutorial on the infinity dress. Your dress turned out beautifully! Could you please send me a pdf of the instructions for the dress? I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much.