How to make a saloon dress

Written by jennifer elrod
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How to make a saloon dress
Bring the Wild West to life as a saloon girl. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Saloon girls worked in the western United States during the 1800s. Their duties ranged from dancing to keeping gentlemen at the bar buying drinks. Part of their appeal was their flirtatious saloon dresses. With tight corsets and scrunched-up skirts, saloon girls dressed to be noticed. Today, women wear saloon dresses for costume balls and Halloween parties. If you want to make your own saloon dress, you can do it in no time. By using a few pieces of clothing, you can quickly sew together a saloon dress that will get you noticed.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Tissue paper
  • Calculator
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • 2 yd fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Zipper
  • Sewing pins
  • Corset
  • Several bows

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  1. 1

    Create a circle skirt pattern on a piece of tissue paper. According to, you measure around your waist, then add 2 for seams. Divide by 3.14, then by 2 to get the radius of the circle.

  2. 2

    Fold your tissue paper into fourths. First fold it horizontally, then vertically. Measure out from the folded corner to the inside of the fabric, down to the radius you calculated.

  3. 3

    Come down and mark where you want the bottom of your skirt to fall. Add another 4 inches because you are going to scrunch up the bottom a bit later on.

  4. 4

    Cut along the lines of the paper. This should give you a perfect circle pattern. Trace this pattern onto your piece of fabric. Cut out the lines on your fabric to create a perfect circle.

  5. 5

    Cut a line down from the inside of the circle toward the outside, but don't cut all the way across. This is where you sew in your zipper. Fold down edges of the skirt and hold in place with sewing pins. Sew a hem stitch along the edges, then remove the pins.

  6. 6

    Pin the corset to the waist of the skirt. Sew a stitch around the edges to create a dress. Be careful to not stitch the back of the dress up. The zipper on the skirt and the corset need to remain open. This allows you to slip the dress on.

  7. 7

    Pin on small bows around the lower middle of the skirt. Pick up the edge of the skirt, directly underneath the bow, and bring it up to the bow. Sew the bunched-up skirt fabric to hold it in place. Sew on the bow, then remove the pins. The bow should hide the stitching underneath.

  8. 8

    Complete your look by slipping on a pair of black fishnet stockings, a garter belt and a pair of black ankle boots. A choker and black gloves are optional.

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