How to Sew Tube Dresses

by Tracie Harris

Many fashion sewing projects involve exact measurements, complicated measurements, linings, darts or other seams. The tube dress only requires the maker to sew four straight seams. The dress is a great first sewing project because of its simplicity. This is not a pattern that requires an exact fit. The dress can also be customized to the maker's wishes. Pockets, ribbons, lace, embroidery or a belt can all be added after finishing the basic dress for an individualized look.

Items you will need

  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Safety pin
  • Measuring tape
  • 1-inch elastic
  • Needle
  • Thread

Preparing to Sew

Step 1

Measure your bust and hip. Add 4 inches to this measurement for a snug fitting dress, 7 inches for a medium fit and 10 inches for a loose fitting tube dress. Decide on a length for the dress.

Step 2

Divide the largest measurement (either the hip or the bust) in half.

Step 3

Cut two pieces of fabric to this width and to the desired length.

Step 4

Turn the fabric so that the front of both pieces face each other. Pin the long seams of the fabric together using straight pins starting 2 inches from the top. Also pin the hem (if desired).

Sewing the Tube Dress

Step 1

Sew the long sides of the fabric together.

Step 2

Hem the dress.

Step 3

Turn over the loose fabric at the top of the dress and pin it down.

Putting in the Elastic

Step 1

Measure your upper chest (the area directly under your arms). Subtract 4 inches from this measurement.

Step 2

Cut a piece of elastic using this measurement. Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic.

Step 3

Feed the elastic through the pinned top of the dress.

Step 4

Remove the safety pin and hand sew the two ends of the elastic together.

Step 5

Stitch the top piece of the dress down. Remove all the pins from the dress and iron the seams.


  • Fabric with a slight amount of stretch is best for this project.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images

About the Author

Tracie Harris lives in Atlanta and has been writing lifestyle articles since 2008. W.W. Norton is publishing her work in "The Seagull Guide" due out in 2011. Her writing has also appeared in "The Historian" and The Good Cook. Harris is a former social studies teacher. She holds a B.A. in history and secondary education from Agnes Scott College.