Paper Bag Dress Tutorial {Delia Creates}

I will be attending Creative Estates this week, plus enjoying the Arizona sun with my family all week along!  In my absence, I thought this might be the perfect opportunity to welcome some amazing guests to Oopsey Daisy!  Today, you are going to fall in love with the incredible Delia from Delia Creates.  Her blog is oozing with inspiration!

Hello! I am so happy to be posting over here on Alison's blog. She is so nice, so talented, and a beauty to boot. She is also a wonderful mother. The thing that clinched my follower-ship to her blog were her amazing mommy school packets. So...I am thrilled that she asked me to guest post.


Today I am going to share a very, very, very, very easy sewing project? Did I say very? Yes...very easy.

It's a tunic style dress that without that belt looks very much like a paper bag. Hence why I named it so. 🙂

You only have to sew two straight lines and then you are finished. Easy.

Let me show you what I mean.

STEP ONE: Buy the right kind of fabric. You want something light, airy, possibly stretchy, and that won't fray if you cut it. A nice thin knit is perfect for this. I happened to find this black shiny stuff in the $5/5 yard bolt bin at Walmart, which was perfect because you need a lot of it. Depending on how tall you are you may need up to 3 1/2 yards.

Note: I am 5'4" and a size 4/6. The measurements I use are for me, so when making your own dress add or subtract length and width as you need.

STEP TWO: Once you get your fabric, get a nice clean wide open space to lay it out on. Fold it in half. My fabric started out at just over 2 1/2 yards. I gave myself this much length with the intent that I would shorten it later. It is always better to have too much than too little.

This step isn't shown but my fabric actually started out 60 inches wide. That was a little too much for me. So, I narrowed it down to about a yard {36 inches}. Most fabrics commonly come in either 45 inches or 60 inches wide. So you will likely need to slim your fabric down as well.

Now don't ditch that extra fabric. Save that piece you just trimmed off to use as a belt for your dress later.

My final piece was approximately 36 inches by 46 inches.

STEP THREE: Use a blouse you like the neckline of and use it as a pattern to cut your neckline for this dress.

Be sure to cut the neckline on the folded side of the fabric.

This dress is meant to be worn over a shirt so you don't need to have the back neckline higher than the front or anything. You can, but it's not necessary. I didn't. 🙂

I also made it a V- neck rather than a scoop neck. Do what you like...

STEP FOUR: Pin, pin, pin.

Pin the neckline to make sure it will stay in place while you are sewing the dress.

Then pin up the sides which you WILL sew. Pin up to about 10 inches from the shoulders {fold side of the fabric}. These will be the arm holes/sleeves. You may decide to give yourself more room or less room. I found 10 inches to be perfect for me.

Then with a tight close zig-zag stitch {works better on knit fabrics than a straight stitch} sew where you have pinned being sure to back stitch at the beginning and the end.

Try it on and adjust the length if you want to. When cutting off length be careful. Because it stretches, the weight of the fabric pulls it down. If you cut too much it could bounce up shorter than you anticipated. Then you'll have to piece some back on this me {shame, shame}. 🙂 So cut off less than you think you need to.

That's it. You can hem raw edges but I thought that might make it look a little bit bulky with the fabric being so lightweight. And it won't fray, so I left it. I did reinforce the neckline with a zig zag stitch but it kind of made the fabric pucker a little bit so I kind of wish I hadn't. *shrug* - you decide.

Slide that bag on, belt it with the extra fabric you cut off earlier or add a different belt of your own. And you're set!

It doesn't take much to accessorize this dress. In fact...with this dress I think less is more.

My favorite tan heels, and my turquoise dangle earrings.

And don't forget that this is not a stand alone dress. You will likely need a slip and an under shirt.

Thank you again Alison for having me! I hope you have a marvelous time at your blogger conference!

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  1. Sandoval Family says

    so cute! I think it would probably also make an excellent maternity dress as well! I think I'll have to make myself a few of these for this summer! Thanks so much!

  2. For real!?! It's BEAUTIFUL, I love it! And the pictures are gorgeous! And the weather looks so nice…we woke up to snow here in Colorado. Soooo not cool.

  3. Delia, you inspired me again. I am going on a treasure hunt at Walmart. So cute and easy

  4. Sawdust and Paperscraps says

    Delia, you would look beautiful IN a paper bag but I like the dress too. Cute, easy and looks pretty comfy to boot!

  5. Thank you for having me Alison! You're the best! Have fun in AZ!

  6. probably will try this tutorial out.

  7. Christie @ A Lemon Squeezy Home says

    Love it! Delia, you are so beautiful! You look great!

  8. Jason and Danielle says

    I love this. You look fancy, but so comfortable. I will definitely need ot make one of these for the summer

  9. casserole says

    Love it! I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


  10. Jessica at Me Sew Crazy says

    gorgeous, would work for me as a maternity style as well! Thank you for sharing!

  11. saffiertje says

    You're so great looking in this dress!!! I have to go to the market this friday to et myself nice fabric for this cute project!!!!
    Thanx for sharing

  12. Sew Bee It Clothier says

    Lovely dress and fun to read tute! Beautiful model, too!



  13. I like it, thanks 😀

  14. I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It’s a very easy
    on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to
    come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme?
    Excellent work!


  1. […] I’m always in need of a simple dress to throw on and I’m going to need a ton of black clothes in the near future so this is kind of perfect. Tutorial here:Paper bag dress […]

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