The Amish make most of their own clothing. Women typically don long dresses, usually constructed of a mid-weight gauze or cotton fabric in light, neutral shades such as eggshell, ivory or white. Because Amish women perform various tasks throughout the day (from tending the yard to caring for children to heavy housework), the fabric used for an Amish dress should be breathable and never constricting. Keep this in mind when making your own Amish dress.
Take measurements of whomever will wear the dress. Measure around the neck, from the nape of the neck to the back of the waist, the bust, waist and length of the person. Measure the arms also since most Amish dresses have long sleeves.
Implement measurements to create your pattern. Lay out your fabric and softly mark the material with a pencil to get an idea of where to cut the pattern. Starting at the nape of the neck, hold your measuring tape until you reach what would be the hemline of the dress and mark it. Do the same for the waistline (marking the waist on either side) and bust, allowing an extra 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch for a comfortable dress. Repeat to create the front pattern. Sew the two together to create the base of the dress.
If desired, add closures to the Amish dress. Apply buttons to the dress as the pattern is being made or after. Because buttons need a bit of extra room, loosely attach one during the pattern process to be sure it fits whomever will wear the dress comfortably.
Create sleeves by using the leftover fabric and marking the length of the arm. Create two strips of fabric that can be sewn together to create one sleeve. After each sleeve is completed, attach them to the dress at either armhole.
Create an appropriate neckline for the dress. If you want to create a higher neckline, use the neck measurements to create a collar. This can be done in the same fabric as the dress, or leftover material from a prior Amish dress.
Things You'll Need:
- Measuring tape
- Fabric in your select material and color
- Sewing machine
- Buttons (optional)
If you aren't able to take measurements before buying fabric, buy at least 6 feet of fabric for the average woman. You can work with 4 feet of fabric if making a dress for a child.
- If you aren't able to take measurements before buying fabric, buy at least 6 feet of fabric for the average woman. You can work with 4 feet of fabric if making a dress for a child.
Samantha Cabrera is a freelance editor and writer, covering fashion and beauty. She currently serves as the Fashion Director of Papierdoll.net, and writes Style-television.com, a blog of b5 media. Cabrera also serves as the National Women's Fashion Examiner for Examiner.com and has written for About.com and Bride.ca. Cabrera is a native Texan and attended the University of Houston.