How To Sew a Simple Turtleneck Sweater Dress

A turtleneck sweater dress is a fashion staple that every girl must have. You can wear it in any season and in any party, be it formal or casual. Sew it for a friend, for your daughter, or even better, for yourself! It’s easy to sew and trendy, fit for any lady, regardless of how young or old you are. At first, I thought that this sewing project was going to be a challenge, but I was dumbfounded at¬†how breezy it is! Read some more and make one yourself with its easy-to-follow tutorial, now!

How To Sew a Simple Turtleneck Sweater Dress

My daughter is the one who originally requested for a turtleneck sweater dress. You see, in their school, they’re a bit strict and would prefer sweaters mainly for their students to wear. I happily obliged, being a supportive sewing expert mother that I am! ūüôā A turtleneck sweater dress is not only for the young ones, it’s great for mothers too who want to get in fashion without overdoing it. Pair it with any fashionable accessory¬†to create your own style. It’s as elegant as a little black dress, only warmer. ūüôā

This turtleneck sweater dress is not as complicated as it seems. One careful note is to pre-wash the fabric to observe any kind of shrinking, and then follow the easy steps below.

What you will need:

  • Rotary Cutter
  • Cutting Mat (optional)
  • Pen
  • Semi-hard Paper
  • Knit Fabric (choose the stretchy kind)
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Ruler
  • Oversized Shirt
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine
  • Measuring Tape

What you will do:

A. Making the patterns

1. For the bodice pattern

1.a. Front

1.a.1. Fold and trace shirt

Take your shirt and fold it lengthwise and then trace the front bodice on your cutting mat with a pen. Extend an inch  for the seam allowance on the front neckline and connect it to the end of the shoulder seam.

1.a.2. Mark where the bottom will start


The mark where the skirt will start will be at the side of the dress, right under your chest. The tutorial is based on a small-framed girl, using 7 inches from the neckline.

1.a.3. Measure widths of the dress


Measure the upper width of the dress from the fold line to the line marking the seam allowance. Double that measurement to get the lower width of the dress at the bottom. Label this side fold and write the measurements.

1.b. Back

1.b.1. Trace neckline and cut

Fold the shirt with the back part facing out and trace from the back neckline going around the shirt. Label this side with fold, too.

Reminder:  Follow the front pattern measurements for the height and width

2. For the sleeves pattern

2.a Trace the sleeves

Trace one of the sleeves on the paper and add half of an inch seam allowance.

2.b Cut out 2 sleeve pieces


Cut out 2 sleeve paper patterns to match each side and don’t forget to label fold on its front.

3. For the turtleneck pattern

3.a Get the height of the turtleneck


Get the height by measuring from the depth of your collar bone up to how high you want it to be. Double that number and add an inch for the top and bottom seam allowances. In the tutorial, we will be using 8 inches for the height.

3.b Get the lid measurement


Find the lid by first measuring from the neckline to the shoulder and then multiplying it by two. Do the same thing for the back part of the turtleneck.

3.c. Get the width of the turtleneck


Add the front and back lid measurements plus an inch for the seam allowances of the sides. The result of this tutorial is 16 inches in width or length.

B. Cutting the fabric

1. Fold fabric horizontally


Fold the fabric by strategically placing the stretch of the fabric horizontally across the body.

2. Mount paper patterns and cut the bodice, sleeves and turtleneck


Mount your bodice pattern over the folded fabric with one labeled fold on top, and then trace the sides with your rotary cutter or scissors. Do the same with the sleeve patterns and turtleneck pattern.

C. Sewing cut outs together

1. Stretch fabric cut outs

Stretch out your front, back, 2 sleeves, and turtleneck cut outs. That makes a total of 5 fabric pieces.

2. Line up back and front pieces


Line up the back and front fabric pieces with the right sides together.

3. Sew shoulder seams with zigzag stitch


Sew the shoulder seams with a zigzag stitch.

4. Find the center of the sleeves


Lay the dress right side up. Then take the sleeves and find its center by folding the right sides together.

5. Pin sleeves to armhole


Pin the sleeves right sides together at the center, at the edge of the armhole.

6. Sew sleeves with a curved hem


Then sew the curved hem to connect the armhole with the sleeves. Do this for both sleeves.

7. Close turtleneck with a zigzag stitch

Fold the turtleneck piece into half by putting the right sides together, and then join the ends with a zigzag stitch.

8. Make a tube

Form a tube by folding the turtleneck crosswise with the wrong sides together. Mark the neck piece into even quarters by folding it in half from the seam. Place the pins at the raw edge to make it seamless and then pin the other fold. Fold the neck piece the other way to make the pins line up in the middle and then pin the new folds.

9. Sew turtleneck to the neckline


Turn the dress inside out and place the neck piece inside the neck hole with the right sides together. Then line up the seam of the neck piece with the center back pin of the dress. Pin all three layers together and match the seams marked with pins of the turtleneck and the pins of the neckline together. Sew along the neckhole with a zigzag stitch.

10. Sew sides of bodice and sleeves


Again, turn the dress inside out. Line up and pin together the edges of the dress and sleeves with the right sides together. Sew them together with a zigzag stitch.

11. Fold bottom seams


Fold up half an inch from the bottom seams of the dress and the sleeves, and then pin.

12. Hem and flaunt!



Hem with a straight stitch and you’re all set to strut your DIY turtleneck sweater dress!

If you want to see the procedure in live action, here’s a video by our good friend¬†Danielle¬†to help us out:

The sewing patterns of this¬†turtleneck sweater dress are easy enough to make, right? All you need to have is an oversized shirt¬†to trace and an hour to spare, then you’re done. You can pair this turtleneck sweater dress with a¬†DIY necklace to match your mood or the event you’ll be attending. This dress is truly a timeless fashion piece for keeps. Hey! What color are you planning to make your turtleneck sweater dress? I’d probably make mine white, what do you think? Tell us by commenting your thoughts in the comment box below. I would love to get some inputs from my fellow sewists, so please, comment away! I’ll be waiting. Thanks!


Would you like to know how to sew a dress out of a t-shirt? Learn how to sew a betty dress out of a plain shirt here!


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1 thoughts on “How To Sew a Simple Turtleneck Sweater Dress

  1. Alekya says:

    Turtle Neck Swearters !!

    My long time favorite and I never even thought about making one for myself. I guess it’s time to try out one today. With such a comprehensive tutorial I don’t think I ll go wrong.

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