the ballerina dress (an anthropologie knock off)


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This last two weeks has been a whirlwind. Mostly an Everything Bag Sewing whirlwind, but with some next-year-possibilities thrown in the mix. Oh and we were away for the weekend (a church retreat in Estes Park!). Anyhow, the Ballerina Dress tutorial was backburner-ed for a bit there. Good news- now it’s done!

To make one of these gems, you’ll need-

-4 yards of black chiffon
-2 yards of light pink chiffon
-1 yard of dark jersey (or a men’s XL t-shirt)
-a fitted black tank
-patterned/printed tulle optional (I bought a yard, but had a bunch leftover, so probably half a yard?)
-thick black elastic (to match the diameter of your waist
-sewing supplies

*NOTE- So sorry about the picture quality, y’all! This entire dress was made at night. In the winter. Again, sorry!

Cut your pieces.

You’ll need-
-two 20″ x 60″ rectangles of black chiffon
-two 20″ x 60″ rectangles of pink chiffon
-three 8″ x 60″ rectangles of black chiffon
-two 3″ x 60 rectangles of black chiffon

To make the base, sew a 20″ long tube of jersey. My shirt’s sleeves cut into the 20″, so my tube is a little bit A-line at the top.

Stitch a basting stitch along the top edge of both 3″ chiffon strips. Gather both down to match the length of one 8″ x 60″ rectangle. Sew this ruffle in place along the bottom edge of the 8″ x 60″ rectangle.

Match the bottom edge of the ruffled 8″ x 60″ rectangle with the bottom edge of your jersey tube. Pin in place around the perimeter of the tube, pleating evenly as you go. Sew in place.

Repeat with the other two 8″ x 60″ rectangles, placing each one with a few inches of overlap with the layer beneath it to create a tiered effect.

Sew the two 20″ x 60″ rectangles of black chiffon together, along the 20″ edge. Also, sew the other 20″ edge together, creating a tube. Turn right side in. Repeat with the pink chiffon.

Sew a basting stitch (the longest stitch length) along the top edge of the black chiffon tube. Gather down to waist sized. Repeat with pink chiffon tube.

Layer the jersey tube, then the gathered pink chiffon tube, then the gathered black chiffon tube.

Measure your waist at it’s narrowest place. Subtract a couple of inches and sew, right sides together, into a tube of elastic. Flip the elastic waistband inside out and pin along the outside of the layered tubes, matching the top side of the waistband with the top edge of the layered tubes. The waistband is narrower than the tubes, so pin the back and the front, the two side edges, and then keep matching the middle point of the elastic with the middle point of the layers. Sew along the top edge, making your dress’s bottom half.

To make the top, start with your tank (mine was a stretch-y, spandex blend). Layer the patterned tulle on top of the tank, pin in place, and cut to match, leaving about 1/2″ perimeter (except at the bottom- the finished top length is 11″ from shoulder to waist, so you’ll only need 12″ max).

Turn the tulle right sides facing each other and sew up the straight side edges (not along the sleeve openings) and along the straight shoulder edges (not along the neck hole).

Turn right side in and layer your black tank inside the tulle ‘shell.’ Match the side seams and pin in place. Also match the top seams and pin in place. Sew along these straight edges (again, leave the sleeve holes and neck hole open).

Trim the raw edges of tulle at the neck hole and sleeve openings to match the black tank exactly. Also trim the bottom edge until it is 12″ from the shoulder to the bottom edge.


Slide the right side in top into an upside down, inside out skirt. Pin the bottom edge of the top (both layers- make sure they’re matched exactly) to the top edge of the elastic waistband. Sew in place along the entire tube. Reinforce with another line of stitching if you please (I did- I don’t know if it’s necessary).

Turn entire dress right side in, add a belt, and wear out on the town (or to a fabulous wedding). Lo-ove.

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  1. I’m terrified of sewing most clothes but this is so beautiful and you make it look so easy that I may give it a go. Plus I just love Anthropologie!

  2. Hi – I would love to make this dress. Question — is the black fitted tank for the pattern on top? Or are you sewing it on top of the tank? I am not quite understanding this part. Thanks

    1. Hey Kelley! You just sew the tulle ‘shell’ onto the black fitted tank.
      And if you make it, send pictures my way!!! 🙂

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  4. What size does the 20″ long tube of jersey fit? I’m not quite understanding that part. Is the 20″ from waist to hem and you make it as wide as you need it to go around? Sorry to be so dense.

    1. Hey Becky- not dense at all. The 20″ is from waist to hem. 60″ is a nice circumference to gather up to make a fluffy skirt (just gather it down to your waist size). Unless you are really short, I think this length of dress will fit you (I’m 5’8″ for reference).
      Hope this helps!

  5. So gorgeous!! Question though… since you’re just sewing the tulle up the sides and leaving the neck and arm holes un-sewn, do you have any issues with fraying? Also do you think this would work the same with lace? Thanks!!

    1. Sonia- tulle doesn’t fray at all… not sure about lace, though, I LOVE that idea. 🙂 If I did it, I’d probably finish off the arm and neck holes first. 🙂

  6. Did you prewash your chiffon? What kind of needle did you use? I have a wedding in three days and bought my chiffon this morning. Hoping I have a black T to use or will need to make another trip to JoAnn’s. Thanks!

    1. Hey Lynn- so fun!
      Nope, didn’t prewash my chiffon. 🙂 Send me a pic when you’re done- I’d love to see it.

    1. Hey Amanda- I used non-fray chiffon (the link to the shop where I ordered it is in the post). Hope that helps!

  7. Hey there Kirstin, would love to try and make this dress. But I have a question, I’m an English size 14 would the quantities of fabric needed be a the same as you’ve suggested. Thanks so much for your help with that 🙂

    1. Hmmmm, Tanya, honestly I don’t know! I had some fabric leftover, so it might be enough. However, I might order more just in case (that way, if you have excess, you can make something else?). 🙂 Sorry that’s not more helpful!

  8. Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. I’m definitely going to give it a go. Be prepared for more questions from me about this project lol xx

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