Is it me or do all the long-sleeved dresses look the same? Not this one…

Donna Karan warm jersey dress
Donna Karan warm jersey dress

On my hunt for something different for Autumn I came across this gorgeous pleated dress pattern by Donna Karan V1341.

DKNY_dress_pattern V1341

The pattern looks complicated and believe me it was a little, as the main structure of the dress has no side seams…yep you heard right, no side seams. instead the dress is made up of several sections. Making it up was akin to making an origami masterpiece buy hey, I like a challenge!!!

The warm jersey I chose to make it in was definitely the way to go, so soft, warm and cosy to the touch. When made up I felt like I was wearing a hug. Both pattern and fabric were provided by the lovely Lisa at White Tree Fabrics.

Making up the lining

It’s taken me a while to make up the dress as I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how I would construct it. The lining was the simple part and I shortened the nape to waist measurement and adjusted the side width easily.


I’ve used a 2 way stretch jersey lining from eBay to make it up. I chose my own method of sewing and finishing off the edges.


The dress lining has been overlocked largely with the neckline and armhole edges finished with overlocked edges that have been folded over and zigzagged into place. I actually like the style of the lining so much that I’m thinking of making up a dress in ponte fabric! The fit is great too!!!


Making up the dress

I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could alter and construct the actual dress as there are no distinct markings on the pattern apart from a small indication of the waistline. I studied the pattern carefully and pinned it onto Dolly (my mannequin) to get an idea of where I could make some alterations.

Using the waistline marking as a guide, I worked out the height of the waistline across the pattern from the hem and drew the waistline in place. I then measured 1 1/4″ above this line and marked out points across the width of the pattern and drew a line across the pattern to create a new waistline. I then cut the pattern along the original waistline and re-positioned it under the new waistline marking. The nape to waist measurement was reduced successfully.


I spent more time thinking how I should alter the bust width area but then decided to just go with the pattern as it seemed to fit Dolly ok. Once I was happy with the alteration I placed the pattern onto the warm jersey and cut out the pieces.


Points to note:
1) Make nape to waist adjustments as above using the waistline marking.
2) Before cutting out the lining and warm jersey, ensure the stretch is on the horizontal/cross grain and not on the vertical.
3) Although the pattern requires you to insert a concealed zip, I didn’t use one as I found that I could get in and out of the dress easily. You may also want to test this by basting the dress together to test first.
4) There doesn’t seem to be masses of extra ease built into this dress (as in most commercial patterns), so I would use as is by selecting the size closest to your measurements and blending sizes together if required. Also you may wish to make up a toile first to check fit but as I tend t alter straight onto the pattern I normally skip this step.
5) The pleats and tucks can be confusing. I originally basted across the top edges and down the pleats and tucks but ended up unpicking the stitching down the pleats and tucks as this wasn’t required. I found the instructions a little confusing but worked out the construction largely by looking at the coloured dress photos on the pattern sleeve.

After constructing the dress, I finished the edges with the overlocker, folded them over and catch-stitched by hand to create a seam free, clean finish. I don’t like top-stiching but prefer to finish sleeves, hems and necklines by hand.


The hem


The lining was fixed to the inside of the dress at the tops of the shoulders and also down the vertical edge of the front neckline. You may want to invest in either a strapless bra or one with straps that are wide so they don’t show.

Fold fall naturally across the front of the dress but I decided to partly stitch one down to hold the shape in place. This may not have been necessary on a heavier weight jersey.


I do really love this dress and I’m very pleased with the professional finish.




I wore the dress to the office today and felt really stylish in it.


I love the dress so much that I didn’t want to take it off when I got home. I would have quite happily slept in it!



Overall the dress was a challenge to make but I know it’ll be much quicker to make up the next time. Hopefully my pointers will help you on the way if you choose to make up this pattern. So what are you waiting for? Have a go and make one for yourself!

Happy stitching!
Nee Bee x