Classic Tea Dress – Free sewing patterns


Fabric, 2m (150cm)Lining, 1mConcealed zip, 56cm1.5cm seam allowance used throughout, unless otherwise stated.



Dimensions List

Front bodice: cut one on the fold in fabric and liningBack bodice: cut one pair in fabric and liningSleeve: cut one pairSleeve flounce: cut two in fabric and liningFront skirt: cut one on the foldBack skirt: cut one pair


Download the template, print and following the cutting guide. Stitch darts on the front and back bodices from the base to the points marked on the pattern. Press them towards the centre front and back, and the side darts towards the waistline. Repeat for the lining. Position the front and back bodice right sides together, then match, pin and stitch the shoulder seams. Press open the seam allowance. Repeat for the lining.


Lay the bodice right side up and place the lining on top, right side down. Match the necklines, then pin and sew around them. Clip the seam allowances around the curve, then under-stitch the neckline, stopping 4cm from each centre back edge. Match and pin the side seams, then stitch from the base of the bodice to the underarm sections and press the seam open. Repeat on the lining.


Divide the sleeve flounces into one fabric and one lining. Pin and stitch all of the underarm seams, then press open. Turn one flounce to the right and slide inside the corresponding lining piece, right sides facing. Match the underarm seams, then pin and sew around the base of the flounce with a 5mm seam allowance. Fold the lining inside the fabric flounce, tease out the seams and press flat. Repeat for the other flounce.


Neaten the underarm seam edges, then match, stitch and press open. Sew the flounces to the base of the sleeves, matching the underarm seams. Neaten all of the seam allowances, then press and turn them to the right side. Sew a row of gathering stitches around the head of the sleeves, starting from the front notch and finishing at the back.


Pull up the gathering threads, then place the sleeve into the armhole. Match the side seams to the underarm one of the sleeves, pair the notch in the centre of the sleeve to the end of the shoulder seam, then adjust the gathers to fit the armhole. Pin, stitch and neaten the seam allowances.


Neaten the side edges of the front and back skirt. Place the front skirt over the back pieces. Match the side seams, stitch and press open. Position and pin the skirt to the bodice, pairing the side seams and centre fronts – you may need to clip the waistline curve to enable this. Sew, then neaten the seam allowance and the edges of the centre back bodice on the skirt.


Stitch the centre back seams up to the zip notch. Sew the zip into the back opening using a regular or concealed zipper foot. Fold and press the seam allowance along the two sides of the back opening. Open the seam allowance and, with right sides facing, place the opened zip face down. Match the teeth to the crease line in the seam allowance, then pin. Prepare the zip depending on your chosen zipper foot, and sew.


Leave 3cm of the zip base unstitched, then back-stitch and sew the other side of the zip in place. Thread the zip pull through to the right side at the top of the centre back seam, then close it. Neaten the base of the skirt and complete a 1cm hem. To finish, hand-stitch the top of the zip to the lining.