Sew Over It Doris Dress: DIY Fit and Flare Tropical Print Dress

Sew Over It Doris Dress

Hi Everyone,

Today I want to share a dress I actually made a little while back: the new Doris dress by Sew Over It. This dress was made to appear in Issue 6 of Sewing Made Simple and I was compensated for the time spent making this dress, as well as very kindly being provided with the fabric (from Minerva Crafts) and the pattern from Sew Over It.

The fabric is a wonderfully lightweight viscose with a gorgeous tropical print on it. It has a great drape and it didn’t require lining. Perfect fabric for this pattern, with it’s cut on sleeves and panelled skirt. Unfortunately I think this fabric has since sold out, but there are tons of other viscose fabrics to choose from on the Minerva site.

Sew Over It Doris Dress – Side Invisible Zip

The Doris dress itself is a very feminine shape, with a scoop-necked bodice, grown-on sleeves and a 7 panelled fluted skirt. This dress is perfect for summer wear with its body skimming shape, and attached ties (in the version I sewed), means you can get the perfect flattering fit.

Sew Over It Doris Dress

There is a sewalong already up on the Sew Over It website, but I am not sure if they covered alteration of the bodice. In my case I had to do a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) and, as ever, referred to Fit for Real People by Palmer and Alto. Here’s a picture to show you how I essentially did the adjustment, and there are a few more details provided in the review below:

Sew Over It Doris Dress Full Bust Adjustment

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
The Doris Dress is the perfect summer’s day dress. Feminine and romantic, throw it on and you’ll be set for that picnic in the park, day out at the beach, or hey, even a stint at the office. A truly versatile wardrobe staple, the Doris Dress will keep you looking elegant and put-together no matter what you get up to this season.


  • Semi-fitted shape
  • Flattering scooped neck bodice
  • Bust pleats
  • Grown-on sleeves
  • Attached ties which can be used to adjust the waist fit somewhat or fixed back belt option
  • Fluted seven panel skirt in two different length variations
  • Closes with concealed zip in side seam (has optional buttonhole closure at centre front)
  • Finished with facings inside

I made version 1 (with the ties).
Pattern Sizing:
UK sizes 8 – 20

The bodice is designed to be quite close fitting, with only 1 inch of positive ease included in the finished bodice.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, they were. I chose not to finish the edges prior to sewing as I think you run the risk of stretching and distorting edges and I also chose the insert the side invisible zip prior to closing the seam. Both of these are my personal sewing preferences.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I absolutely love the finished dress. The fit and flare shape is very flattering and I love the sleeves and scooped neck. I also like that lengthen/ shorten lines are included on the pattern, as are finished garment measurements. There is nothing to dislike.
Fabric Used:

Beautiful quality printed viscose supplied by Minerva Crafts. This viscose has fantastic drape and feels so light, but is not transparent at all.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

The main alteration that I made was to do a 1 inch Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) to the bodice using the method described in Fit for Real People by Palmer and Alto. I cannot recommend this book highly enough to any home sewist, regardless of size. I used the method described in their book for “fronts with cap, cut-on, or kimono sleeves”. The illustration (above) shows you how I did this alteration. It basically involves cutting the sleeve off and cutting up through the bust apex position to the seam allowance at the armhole, spreading the pattern apart by the required amount, and also lengthening the front bodice to match (in my case I lengthened the front bodice by 1.5 inches). This method also introduces a side seam bust dart.

The other alteration I made was to account for my sway back: I sliced a 1 inch wedge off the centre back of the skirt, tapering to nothing at the sides, and added this wedge back to the lower hem of the skirt.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes, I believe I would sew this dress again. The fit is great for me and it’s so comfortable to wear. Yes, I highly recommend.

If you are looking for a feminine, flattering summer dress with a nostalgic retro vibe then this dress is for you. Make it in crepe or even silk for smarter occasions have a great all round dress.

Have a great week ahead!

Sew Over It Doris Dress



Posted by

By day I work in the exciting world of pharmaceutical regulatory affairs, registering medicines (!), but by night I turn in to a sewing diva, making all manner of clothes in my beautiful sewing space (which you can tour using the link at the top of this blog). I love how sewing and sewing clothes that fit my curvy body continually challenges me. I enjoy working with all different types of fabric, and whilst I don't like to put restrictions on myself and say I won't buy RTW, the truth is that I probably rarely do buy it, preferring the fit of my own me-made clothes. I love to use natural fibres where ever possible and colourful coats are an obsession of mine! Sewing is both my addiction and my therapy. You can contact me at

49 thoughts on “Sew Over It Doris Dress: DIY Fit and Flare Tropical Print Dress

  1. I don’t generally leave comments but have enjoyed your blog for a while and just have to agree the shape and fabric of this one are really lovely on you!

  2. This is a lovely dress on you. I would not normally consider this pattern but your picture of the fba which I would also need is really helpful. Thank you.

  3. Ditto to everything Colleen said. The shape and choice of fabric are delightful and look really lovely on you. Thank you for sharing the tips about the FBA method.

  4. I love this dress on you. It is all that you say it is and more. It says glorious light feminine summer dress – something I’m hanging out for down here in New Zealand winter. I can so see why you would enjoy wearing it. I totally agree about the Fit for Real People book – my bible too. Thank you for sharing your sewing – its inspirational.

  5. This dress is incredibly flattering on you – the neckline, the cut-on sleeves, the shape of the skirt, all of it. You did a wonderful job. Also, thanks for posting photos of your FBA – I do them all the time but did not know that there was an extra cut you had to make if you were making adjustments to a kimono sleeve pattern. I really need to get a copy of that book.

  6. Another beautiful dress, you are making so many lovely things lately! Agree, this is a lovely shape for you, and pretty fabric choice too.

  7. Hi, I read your blog but have never got around to commenting, but I just had to say that you look fabulous in this dress.

    1. Thanks Morgan. I really fancy doing a posh version in a silk georgette or chiffon with a silk slip underneath and lots of tiny buttons and loops in front 🙂

  8. Such a pretty dress on you! You just need a pair of cherry Doc Martins to finish off (that would be my 90s look!)

  9. I was immediately attracted to your photo on PR and commented there. Great dress and fit. As I said there, I haven’t done a FBA on this type of sleeve but will now think about this pattern and of course will need one.

  10. This is lovely on you and super flattering! I am going to have to make some pieces out of this type of fabric. I really like the way it flows over curves but doesn’t cling.

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