top of page
  • Writer's pictureSew Retro

Have you heard of the "Buffet Dress" ?

Nor me ! Until I was introduced to the "Buffet Dress" after watching series 7 of the Great British Sewing Bee episode one, April 2021. I enjoyed it so much that I have done a round up of similar sewing patterns from Indie designers and the big pattern houses in sizes 4 to 28. Newish to gathers ? Scroll down for all the insider tips to create the perfect gather. What fabric is suitable for gathering ? keep scrolling !! and finally I show you how to add tiers to a pattern you already own.

A personal favorite and a joy to sew !

Such a cute dress, and you could add another tier to make it a midi dress using my pattern hack instructions below.

I have seen so many stunning images of this pattern on line !

I have not used this indie pattern company before, I am keen to try them.

Tips for gathering fabric

1. Choose the longest stitch on your sewing machine.

2. Sew two rows of stitches for each piece of fabric you wish to gather.

Some patterns suggest 3 rows but I find 2 enough.

3. Do not secure the stitching at the beginning or end of each gather row.

4. Leave long threads, which make it much easier to pull the threads.Pull the top 2 threads only.

5. Gathering in small sections : its very tempting to wiz along a large piece of fabric making your gathering stitches, but if your thread breaks, when you are gathering the fabric, you will have to pull out the stitches and start again. It's much easy to gather a small section, and puts less strain on the tread, which stops the thread snapping.

6. Secure the gathering by wrapping the thread around a pin until you are ready to sew.

What fabric are suitable for gathering ?

You can gather any fabric, but a stiff fabric like medium or heavy weight denim, will "stick out" and not flow and you would not achieve the relaxed flowing images shown on the patterns above. If you are using one of the patterns from McCalls, Butterick, Vogue, or Burda when you look on the back of your sewing pattern there will be fabric suggestions. McCalls 7969 suggests using, Lawn, Crepe De Chine, Challis or Georgette. However you could use viscose or chambray.

If you gather the fabric in your hands in the fabric shop it will give you an idea as to how it will gather on the sewing machine. The assistants in most fabric shops will be able to guide and help you choose the correct fabric for your project.

Adding a tier to a dress pattern

I am assuming that your pattern is similar to New Look 6262, and that you use a back zip or the pattern does not need a zip opening.

If you are happy with the finished length of the dress trace around the skirt pattern.

Divide the length of the skirt pattern into 3 equal sections as shown and number 1,2 and 3

"When you're making a 3-tiered skirt, the first tier should be about 1.5 times your waist measurement.

That way, you have room to put in gathers . The second tier should be about twice you waist length, and the third one should be about 2.5 your waist length." When you are using these calculations don't forgot that the skirt pattern is cut 2 or cut 1 for the front and 1 for the back, and the calculations are for the whole skirt. for example the first tier would be 1.5 your HALF waist measurement, if your total waist measurement was 60 cm, divide by 2 = 30 cm x 1.5 = 45cm

If your pattern has a gathered waist, as does the New Look 6262,

The first new pattern piece marked 1 will only need 1.5cm seam allowance adding as shown, the gathers are already included in the pattern.

The second pattern piece marked 2 will need 30cm (approx for a uk size 10-12) added to the width as shown and 1.5cm added to the top and bottom pattern piece as shown for seam allowance

The third pattern piece marked 3 will need 60cm add to the width and 1.5cm seam allowance to the top pattern piece only . The waist and hem allowance was included in the original pattern.

Repeat to make the back pattern.

You may need to make a join the the third tier if your fabric is not wide enough.

I suggest an extra 30cm for the 2nd tier and an extra 60cm for the third tier, but you can adjust this amount. But as you go down the dress each tier needs to be wider than the last tier.

3,395 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page