Pattern Hacks & Modifications

The fully lined sleeveless bodice: Burrito method.

Over the years, I’ve really come to love the look of a sleeveless dress bodice.  I love it even more when there is no top stitching, neck binding, or arm bands – the finished product just looks so simple and classy!

It has been many years since I’ve made a garment where this technique was useful, but when Goober Pea Designs released the Danica Dress (formerly the Drama by George + Ginger), I pulled out the big burrito guns to whip up a couple of dresses for my daughter and to create this step-by-step tutorial for you.  Trust me, you will get A LOT of use out of this method!

In this tutorial, I will be making a Danica in size 12-18m using a 95/5 Cotton/Lycra blend for both the main print and the lining.

The pattern would normally have a button and elastic loop closure however, my daughter is a magician at removing buttons, so I will be putting a snap on the back instead…. She hasn’t managed to remove one of them yet anyway.  If you’d like the button and elastic loop closure, simply follow the instructions in the pattern for the collared dress (but without the collar).  I will make a note below to remind you to put the elastic in too.

Okay… Getting started.

This is a SUPER fast sew and you only need to cut out 4 pieces: One front, one back, one front lining, and one back lining.  You do need to cut a keyhole out of the back main and lining as well.  I used a medium keyhole because my daughter has developed a fear of putting clothes over her head and I want it to go over easily (my many sewing experiments that had neck holes that were too small may be responsible for this new fear, lol!).

1- pieces

The first step is to stitch the front lining to the back lining, right sides together, at the shoulders.  Repeat this step for the main fabric. Press your seams!

2- shoulders stitched

Lay your lining on top of your main fabric, right sides together and pin all the way around the neck hole.  If you are doing the elastic and button closure, make sure you pin your elastic in place following the pattern instructions, first.

Stitch the lining and main fabric together around the whole neck hole.  I like to use my sewing machine instead of my serger for this step because I find it gives a nicer finish. I use a regular straight stitch with a 3.2 stitch length.  Because of the keyhole in the back, there is enough room to pull the dress over the head without stretching making a regular straight stitch sufficient rather than a stretch stitch. Either clip your curves or use your pinking shears to trim the seam allowance like I did.  Be sure to trim the corners at the back keyhole as well.


From the front, reach through the neck hole and pull the lining out.  Press.  You should now have the lining and main fabric wrong sides together as shown. Your neck hole should be completely finished.

4- right side out

Now this is where this method gets it’s “burrito” name. Take one side of the dress and roll it towards the other side.




When you’re mostly rolled up, open up the other side separating the lining from the main fabric at the arm and burrito wrap the opening around the whole dress as shown. Pin carefully, making sure that you don’t catch any of the dress inside the seam.



Stitch/serge the seam closed, removing pins as you go.

9- burrito stitched

Reach inside your burrito and pull the whole dress out as shown. Press the arm seam flat. You now have one side complete :).



Now, roll your dress towards the remaining unfinished arm hole.



Like the first side, open up the arm pieces, separating the lining from the front.  Wrap it like a burrito around the rest of the rolled up dress and pin.



Stitch the arm hole being careful not to catch the rolled up dress in the seam as you sew.

16- burrito serged

Again, pull the dress out of the tube. Press.



Now I like my lining to be fully stitched in the side seam.  While it does create bulky side seams, it helps keep the lining from rolling up inside while wearing the dress.

Lay the dress so that you have the right sides of your lining together and the right sides of your main pieces together.  Fold the lining over the top where the lining and main fabric meet at the arm seams. Pin as shown then stitch the side seams.




Open the dress so that you have right sides out and press well.

22- right sides out

Add your snap or button and hem the bottom.  Then, you’re done!

Thank you for joining me in this fun project! I hope you learned something new 🙂

For more tips and tricks in a newbie-friendly environment, please join my Facebook group Buttons & Bibs.  And if you’ve got an idea for a future blog or tutorial, please feel free to shoot me a message.  Thanks again and have a fantastic day!

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