Hi there! My name is Nastasia. I am a mother of four, 3 girls and 1 boy, and I love to sew! My husband and I were both born and raised here in Las Vegas, NV and are now raising our own warm weather loving kids here.
I’m so excited to share this Rowan tiered dress tutorial with you! I love versatile basic patterns like the Rowan bodysuit and tee. It comes with several variations and the possibilities seem endless for adjustments and hacks of my own. I’ve been loving tiered dresses lately, so I of course love how this turned out!
This is a simple hack of adding gathered tiers, and the end results are fabulous. Although there’s a bit of math involved, don’t be discouraged! The adjustments are easy and it’s a quick sew. It’s also very forgiving since we are gathering the tiers. So if your measurements and cuts aren’t exact, your dress will still turn out great!
Here we go!
First adjust the bodice of the pattern. I cut 1/4” (6mm) below the “lengthen or shorten here” line, so it would sit at about my waist and have my desired 1/4” (6mm) seam allowance. You may choose your own desired bodice length and seam allowance. I chose to make the crew neckline and 3/4 sleeves, but you may choose any sleeve and neckline combination from the pattern!
Construct the bodice following the pattern directions. Do not hem the bottom.
Next you’ll determine the measurements of the 3 tiers.
- For the Length: Measure from your waist, or where your bodice ends, to the desired length of your dress. Divide that measurement by 3. Now add seam allowances to each tier. I added 1/2” (1.2cm) total to the 1st and 2nd tiers so i could stitch 1/4” (6mm) on both the top and bottom. I added 3/4”(1.8cm) to the 3rd tier so I could have a 1/4” (6mm) top seam allowance and 1/2” (1.2cm) bottom hem.
- For the Width: Measure your waist, or finished bottom of the bodice, and multiply by 1.5 for the 1st tier. Take that measurement and multiply by 1.5 for the 2nd tier. Then take that measurement and multiply by 1.5 again for the 3rd tier. You may add 1/2” (1.2cm) or desired seam allowance to the width measurements.
Refer to the graphic above to help you with your calculations and cutting of the tiers. Remember this is not an exact science, so if your tiers vary slightly from the measurements it will be fine.
Cut rectangles of your fabric Length by Width, according to your previous calculations.
Sew the short (length) sides of the rectangles right sides together. You may sew multiple pieces together to achieve the width you need and will form one continuous loop for each tier. You will now have 3 loops.
Gather each loop. You may sew two gathering/basting stitches at the top raw edge and pull the bobbin threads to gather. Alternatively, if you have a serger you may follow your machine’s instructions to gather, and adjust the gathers by pulling the two needle threads.
Now we will assemble the dress!
Adjust the gathers of the 1st tier to match the waist/bottom of the bodice.
Pin/clip the gathered 1st tier to the bodice waist right sides together.
Note: I chose to line up the seam of my tiers with my side bodice seams. When there was more than one seam I adjusted it to be in the back, or line up with the bodice seams so they weren’t as noticeable. The gathers help conceal the seams of the tiers.
Sew or serge the waist together.
Note: You may stabilize the waist/bodice seam by sewing clear elastic to the seam allowance only. Sew to the side that rests against the bodice and not the body. This is especially helpful when using heavier weight knits, to give the waist seam more strength.
Adjust the gathers of the 2nd tier to match the bottom of the 1st tier. Pin/clip right sides together and sew/serge.
Adjust the gathers of the 3rd tier to match the bottom of the 2nd tier. Pin/clip right sides together and sew/serge.
Hem the bottom of your dress by turning the desired amount and top stitching using a zig zag stitch, twin needle, or cover stitch machine. I hemmed my sleeves at this time too.
I decided on a midi length for mine. But a maxi or shorter version would be really pretty as well. You could play around with the number of tiers and sizes, cut the bodice shorter for an empire waist, or even make the gathers more full if you want. Once again my mind is racing with all the things I can do with this Rowan pattern. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I can’t wait to see what you sew up!
Much love and happy sewing!
// LOOKING FOR MORE ROWAN POSTS? //
- Inspiration and ideas for sewing your Rowan
- Rowan Pattern tester Roundup
- Rowan Curve Pattern Tester Roundup
- How to stabilise fabric with tissue paper
- How to lengthen or shorten the pattern
- How to sew a V neck on knit fabric
- How to insert a neck back with a regular sewing machine
- How to sew a snap crotch bodysuit
- Pattern Hack: How to Add Ruffle Shoulders
- Pattern Hack: Rowan maxi dress variation
- Pattern Hack: Scoop neckline variation
- Pattern Hack: Bodycon Dress
- Pattern Hack: 3 Ways to Sew Ringer Tee
- Pattern Hack: Tiered Gathered Dress (this post!)
We’d love to see what you’re creating from the Rowan bodysuit and tee pattern or the Rowan Curve bodysuit and tee pattern! Don’t forget to tag your creations #MNRowan and @megannielsenpatterns to share what you’ve been working on, and check out what everyone else is up to!