How to Make a Native American Dress

By Ruth O'Neil

Things Needed

  • Suede fabric
  • Scissors
  • Dinner plate
  • Chalk/pencil
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Measuring tape
  • Turquoise beads

A Native American dress is a popular choice for costumes for adults and children. Making the dress portion of a Native American costume is the easy part. Decorating the dress to personalize it and make it beautiful, is the fun part of making a Native American dress. You can adjust this basic pattern to make it bigger or smaller. You can also add whatever Native American decorations you want to make your costume unique. For quick decorating, use a hot glue gun to glue on beads.

Cut 3 yards of suede. Lay the fabric out on a large, flat surface, such as a dining room table. Fold the fabric in half so that the length now measures 1½ yards.

Cut the fabric in half to give you two 1½-yard lengths.

Lay the fabric, with right sides together, and match up all the edges. Use a large dinner plate as a guide and set it at the top end of the fabric, in the middle to cut out a hold for your head. Arrange the plate so that half of it covers that fabric and use a pencil or chalk to draw around the plate to make a cutting line. Cut out the hole.

Thread your sewing machine with thread that matches your fabric.

Put pins to hold the fabric in place at the shoulder seams. Sew straight across both shoulder seams.

Spread out the fabric again, with right sides together. Measure down from the top of the shoulder seam about 8 inches to form the armhole. Do this on both sides of the dress and mark with the pencil or chalk. Use pins to hold the fabric together down the remainder of the side seam.

Sew down both of the side seams to form the main portion of the Native American dress. Turn the dress right side out.

Make fringes at the bottom of the dress by cutting 4 inches up the fabric in ½-inch segments. Do this all the way around the bottom of the dress. Remember you do not need to stay-stitch any of the fringes because suede does not unravel.

Cut a strip of suede to make a belt. Measure around your waist and cut a length of suede that measures your wait plus 4 inches long and 2 inches wide. Sew tiny turquoise beads on the belt to make it more decorative.

Sew beads around the neckline to finish your Native American dress.

Tip

When laying your fabric together make sure the nap of the fabric is going in the same direction. Otherwise, your Native American dress might look like it is actually two different colors.

Adjust your fabric lengths for different size dresses. Buy a little more fabric for taller women and a little less fabric for little girls.