Val Backless Maxi Dress Tutorial
The Val pattern is a stunning scoop-shaped open-back maxi dress with two adjustable ties and flattering princess seams. By following the curves of your body, these seams elongate your silhouette and create a figure slimming effect. We’ve added two front slits for a touch of sexy and ease of movement.
The secret to sewing princess seams that lie perfectly flat is to carefully transfer your notches, perfectly match them and clip along the curves after they’re stitched together.
Effortlessly chic, the Val dress is a perfect beginner sewing pattern that would look beautiful in any linen fabric. Use these style lines to add some color-blocking and create a unique dress that’s guaranteed to turn heads!
For our sample US size 6 pictured in this tutorial we used 3 yards of IL042 909 FS Premier Finish Medium Weight Linen
For other sizes, please refer to the yardage table in the PDF pattern to determine the required amount of fabric.
Matching sewing thread
Scissors, pins, ruler, chalk, measuring tape, fabric marker, seam ripper, needle, sewing machine
You can access the multi-sized printable PDF pattern by following this link HERE. All seam allowances are included and are 3/8” unless otherwise specified. The model is wearing US size 6.
Remember to transfer all the notches onto your fabric.
Note: Prewash your fabric and tumble dry it until it is still slightly moist, dry at room temperature. Iron the fabric so it is easier to work with.
1. To start, finish the long side raw edges of all of your panels, front and back, using your preferred method (serge or zigzag).
2. Take your front panels and pin side panels to the center panel right sides together and matching the notches.
3. Stitch the pinned edges at a 3/8” (1 cm) seam allowance stopping at the notches indicating the beginning of the slits. Remember to backstitch at the beginning and the end of each seam. Press the seams open and the slits seam allowance 3/8” to the wrong side.
4. Topstitch the edges around the slits to keep them in place.
Before assembling the back panels, you need to sew the back ties that will be inserted into the seam.
5. Pin the two rectangles right sides together and stitch along the edges at a 3/8” seam allowance leaving one short end open. Trim the seam down to ¼” and clip the corners. Finish the raw edges of your open end using your preferred method.
6. Turn the fabric right side and press. Topstitch along the sewn edges 1/8” from the edge.
7. Repeat for the other tie.
8. Now pin the back panels right sides together matching the notches, just like you did during the front construction in step #2. Insert the serged/zigzagged ends of your back ties into the seam between the notches and pin to secure.
9. Stitch the pinned edges at a 3/8” (1 cm) seam allowance. Remember to backstitch at the beginning and the end of each seam. Press the seams open.
10. Pin the front and back bodices right sides together at the shoulders and stitch at a 3/8” seam allowance. Finish the raw edges together and press towards the back.
11. Bind the front neckline and the back opening following the instructions in this this step-by-step tutorial.
12. Pin and stitch the side seams at a 3/8” (1 cm) seam allowance. Press the seams open.
13. Bind the armholes using the same technique.
14. Hem the bottom edge of the dress. Fold the fabric twice to the wrong side (first 3/8”, then another 1/2″), press, pin and edgestitch.
15. Give your finished dress a good last press and you are all done!
We love seeing what you make! Don’t forget to share your pictures and tag your creations with #FabricsStoreValPattern hashtag.
Where do I find instructions on how to download a pattern?
Hi Diane, The pattern can be downloaded at this link:
Simply log in or create and account, then click the download button.
For more information about our free patterns please see our Help Center here:
Any thoughts on how I could make this work as a maternity dress? My niece loves the pattern – and she is struggling to find things she likes 🙂
I don’t have a serger. I really want this dress to last a long time. Are there alternate directions to finish the edges for those of us with old 1960s Singer machines, please?
You may like to look through this list of alternative seam finishes:
I chose size 8/10 and just tried the dress on(no Neckline/Arm line attached yet). I noticed, that it’s ok around the hips, but the bodice is too big(about one size). How can I adjust it?
Hello, You can pinch out any excess into your side seams, and blend that into the nicely fitting hip area.
Hello! Thank you so much for this pattern. I’m looking forward to sewing it.
If you want to add inches (I’m 5’11”) where is the best place?
Before the flare at the bottom?
For a dress, it’s best to add length in two places, approx. 3/4 inch (2 cm) below the bust and 3 inches (7 cm) below the hip. Split the amount based upon how much length you need to add to the bodice — might be as little as 1/2″ or as much as an inch or more if you are long-waisted. Add the additional length you need at the “below the hip” line. True the lines to match the original flare at the bottom of the dress.
Thank you so much, JJ!
Hello Rachel, You can use the guidance provided by JJ, but sometimes our bodies don’t always need the extra below the bust or the hip depending on our body shape. If the bodice is fitting you correctly you can add length to the skirt only. You can do this on the Val dress just above the slits.
Anyone built in a bra to this pattern?
Hello, I need help with this pattern. I have assembled the dress and the back side panel armhole is huge on me. I wonder if you have a suggestion as to how I can fix this. Thank you very much, Darcie
I’m Lauren, the In-house seamstress and fit expert. I’d be happy to help out, please look out for an email from me.
What is the best way to lay out and cut pattern pieces to optimize fabric and have enough fabric to cut bias strip pieces? I see no information on cutting layout.
I’d recommend laying your largest pieces on the fabric first, paying close attention to their grain. Then fitting the smaller pattern pieces in between. If you’d like more assistance, please send us an email and I’d be happy to help further. Ask@fabrics-store.com
I am excited to start making this dress!
I am a beginner and a bit confused about the bias neckline. On the patter layout it shows to cut the neck and arm bias strips straight down (in line with the other fabric pieces) but on the pattern pieces themselves, in instructs to cut at a diagonal – which is correct?
I just want to make sure I have enough fabric. Thanks!
Hello! We recommend cutting your fabric on the diagonal, which in fabric speak is called the ‘bias’. I think the pattern layout you are referring to is just the way the pattern pieces will need to be arranged when they come printed out on your A4/letter-sized paper. I wouldn’t use this layout as a guide for laying your pattern pieces on your fabric.
Still available, just d/l it today.
Hello, how do I access this pattern, I would love to make this dress?
Still available, just d/l it today.
Will the pattern be uploaded again? Looks like it’s gone, but would love to make this one!
Still available, just d/l it today.