A yellow halter swim dress modeled at a pool, from the blog post on how to make a halter dress.

Make a Halter Dress

Let’s make a Halter Dress! Fashion is cyclical and the ’70s are back.

If you were styling in the early 1970s, you might remember the baby tees, tie-dye shirts, peasant blouses, ponchos, capes, bell-bottoms, frayed jeans, maxi dresses, and halter tops?

I wore them all. Some I can do without this time around, yet I do still love the look of a halter. It’s flirty and fun and can have enough coverage if you want it.




Make a Halter Dress Your Way

You can choose an open back or be more modest and cover up. Make the front and back fabric panels wide or scrunch them together.

Pick what you like best. That is the beauty of sewing!

Obviously, a halter dress is perfect for summer. It’s loose, cool, and comfortable!



If you choose a dressy fabric, you can convert it to a year-round option that’s suitable for a special occasion. It would be ideal for a party, wedding, or event.

There are lots of other halter-style sewing patterns available. I hope you find something that inspires you!



A yellow swim dress modeled at a pool, from the blog post on how to make a halter dress.



Halter Dress and Halter Top Pattern Ideas

I chose the McCalls M8093 sewing pattern (below, affiliate link). It is actually for a halter top, but I lengthened it into a short dress. 


McCall’s 8093


I have included more halter-style patterns below, both for blouses and dresses. They have optional details such as full swing skirts, ruffles, floor-length skirts, and fun embellishments.

There is something for every shape and size. I’ve also included buying sources in the text below each photo. (affiliate links) I hope you find a look you are drawn to!


Butterick B6682 | New Look 6552


Simplicity 3823 | Simplicity 8594



Vogue V9259 | Simplicity 8382


Simplicity 8330 | New Look 6372


Simplicity S8869


Sewing Projects for Beginners

If you are new to sewing, choose your dress or blouse pattern and fabric wisely.

Beginner sewists should look for sewing patterns that are labeled “Easy to Sew,” “1-hour”, or “Learn to Sew,” etc. These are typically simpler, with fewer pieces and clear instructions.

Also, consider choosing a solid color fabric instead of a patterned style. This makes it easier because you do not have to match patterns or worry about perfect vertical and horizontal print alignment.


Best Fabrics For a Halter Dress or Top

The range of fabric for a halter dress or blouse is wide open!

I would suggest an opaque fabric unless you are willing to line your piece. It would be difficult to wear a full slip with this style.

Also, I prefer a fabric that drapes well for this look. Material that hangs nicely and has movement will be more flattering.

Of course, you will need to choose based on your body type and personal preferences. Have fun shopping!



For my halter dress, I chose a jersey swimsuit fabric. I can wear it over my swimsuit, on the boat, or at the beach, etc. It can get wet and dries quickly.

If you are new to sewing, do not start with a jersey-style fabric; they can be a little tricky to work with.

Sewing projects are more enjoyable and easier to manage if you select light to medium-weight fabrics. Be sure to look for these more manageable fabrics if you are just learning to sew.

Easier fabrics include cotton, linen, cotton jacquard, silk crepe, silk crepe de chine, and silk tulle.

Consider using lightweight fabrics too. Good ones include chambray, soft cotton, cotton lawn, linen, or midweight fabrics like denim and oxford.



What is Swim Suit Fabric?

Swimwear fabrics are designed to be worn near or in the water. They are most commonly available in nylon, neoprene, polyester, and tricot. These fabrics are quick-drying, colorfast, and have a certain amount of stretch.

In general, natural fibers are not a good choice for swimwear.

Where To Buy Fabrics Online

You can purchase almost everything you need for your project at your local fabric, craft store, or online retailer; Including sewing machines, fabric, sewing patterns, and supplies.

Below are a few well-known online shops, in addition to a few good brick-and-mortar establishments, to help you locate your perfect dress fabric.

Harts Designer Fabric
Hobby Lobby
JoAnn Fabrics
Mood Fabrics

Fabric Stores in Minnesota

Friends! If you live in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis or St. Paul or are just passing through, check out our local Minneapolis and St Paul fabric stores. We’ve got some good ones! CLICK below for more information:

The Sewing Lounge
Treadle Yard Goods
S.R. Harris

Sewing Supplies

Next, assemble or purchase your sewing materials. See below for the essential items you will need and ideas on where you can buy them. (affiliate links in blue)

Sewing Pattern mine is McCall’s 8093

Matching Thread
Notions according to pattern
Sewing Straight Pins HERE
Sewing Scissors or
Rotary Cutter HERE
Sewing Board HERE or
Safe Cutting Surface HERE
Paper Scissors not pictured
Sewing Machine not pictured

How to Prepare Fabric for Sewing

You have your fabric, now let’s pre-wash it and dry or hang dry, as you will do in the future. A clothes dryer may shrink fibers slightly, so it’s better to do before you cut your fabric out to avoid fit problems later.

Sewing With A Patterned or Print Fabric

If you’ve chosen a fabric with a distinct print or pattern, it can be tricky to match the connecting panels together. It requires a bit of time and patience, but it is worth it when your project is ready to wear.

It is near impossible to match everything perfectly on the entire garment, so choose the most dominant and noticeable areas.

My dress fabric was directional, meaning it has a print orientation and distinct graphics. Fortunately, it is subtle, so the mistakes I made will not be as noticeable.

Depending on the style of your piece, you may need to pay special attention to the bodice, the center front, or the hemline, etc., to match up your print design.

Here are some matching techniques to consider if you choose a stripe or pattern fabric.

I hope you are inspired to make a halter dress or blouse this summer. If you do, please let me know in the comment box below. I always enjoy seeing what you create!



Making Pattern Alterations

Remember even though you have selected a pattern, you can adjust it to your preferences!

I left off the buttonholes that the pattern suggested. I hate making buttonholes. 😂 Instead I added a slit where the drawstring can feed through.

First, I decided how long I wanted the opening, then I cut a straight slit in the middle of the panel. I also cut a small piece of fabric for the facing and lined up the opening Vs.

With the right sides of the fabric together I stitched down and around the opening, then turned it to the right side. Wa-La. Then keep following the pattern instructions.



That’s it. It is ready to wear! Bonus: This dress can officially be worn in either direction depending on my mood. 😁 




I hope you are inspired to sew! If you make a halter dress, tag me @bebraveandbloom or use #bebraveandbloominspiration.


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