Little Black Dress and a Crochet Applique Tutorial


I bought my first crochet applique for this t-shirt I made a couple weeks ago and I got hooked!

So I bought a few more and added an applique to this simple raglan sleeve knit dress and now I’m going to show you how you can use them on your next project!
Raglan Sleeve Knit Dress w/ Crochet Back
This is basic a raglan sleeve dress but you could always add appliques to patterns with set in sleeve or anything else. I’m using good ol’ plain black cotton jersey for this project.


These types appliques come in all shapes and sizes, some are meant specifically to be front or back yokes but it’s really up to you how you use them.


I started with my unassembled cut out pieces. It’s much easier to add an applique before everything is stitched together.


I’m using my applique as a back detail like the other shirt. Lay the piece out flat, right side facing up, and arrange the applique on top. One of the problems with appliques is you may have to adapt your pattern to fit your applique and change your neckline. If this were a set-in-sleeve dress I’d just line up the top ends of the applique with the shoulder line. In this case I’m letting it stretch over the raw edge (arrow in the pic above) and I’ll cut it off later when I assemble the dress.


Pin around the outer edge of the applique.


Using matching thread and a small zig zag stitch, sew around the perimeter of the applique. You need to use a zig zag stitch because knit fabric is stretchy and it. Even if you use these appliques on a woven fabric I’d still recommend zig zagging because it serves as a seam finish to prevent fraying


Now cut out the fabric from behind the applique. I cut big chunks out first, then went back and cut very close to the stitching.


Before sewing the pattern pieces together you have to attach any collar or neck finishing to the front. Since my dress has raglan sleeves I sewed the sleeves to the front and added my collar. Because you now don’t need a collar for the back you’ll have to adjust the length of your collar accordingly to only fit the front.


After the collar I assembled the rest of the dress.


I didn’t fully have a plan for this dress when I began. I started with a basic raglan shirt block and adjusted the sleeves, neckline, and length. Lastly I added elastic to the waist by creating a tube using leftover fabric on the inside of the dress and inserting some 1″ elastic. Not too bad for just winging it! In fact, I’m really quite satisfied with it! Who doesn’t love making a dress in less than a day that fits and looks good?


If you want to buy some appliques of your own check out this Etsy shop.


AND I’m including an applique in a giveaway next week, along with some ruffle elastic and other goodies so stick around for that! Hope you liked the tute!

  • This is so simple but so pretty! Thanks for the tutorial

  • Oh I love this!

  • Cool! I really love the applique!

  • What a gorgeous blouse! I have a crochet applique that I didn’t know what the heck to use it for. Now I do. Thank you.

    • Thank you! I really like the appliques, especially for summer and they can make an otherwise plain garment special.

  • Great tutorial! i love this effect, and dress is fab! I just need to get over my fear of knits!

    • Thanks! I love sewing knits. Jersey is way easier to work with than, say, some silks like charmeuse or even crepes.

  • Brilliant! You have definitely inspired me to sew with knits! I love the applique! You really sew a lot Dixie! You’re an inspiration.


    • Aww, thank you Nothy! Knits are just so quick and easy to sew and so rewarding afterwards!

  • Great tutorial – I love the finished dress!

  • that’s really lovely – well done. and thanks for the tutorial!

  • You’re amazing! What a fantastic job and you made it so fast.

    • Aww, thanks! Yeah, it was a surprisingly easy dress. It would have been even faster if I had used a finished pattern rather than altering one.

  • Jessica

    Great dress Dixie! I’m probably love sewing with knits as much as you and I love this dress! I certainly hope you put the pattern up on here, I would make soo many. (Jersey dresses are almost all I wear) Great job!

    • Thanks Jessica! Hmm, Maybe I could make a pattern. If not I’ll try to do a tutorial on how I altered the original block. That might be easier.

  • This is so, so cute! Love it! 😀

  • Oh my goodness. I absolutely love your dress. Thanks so much for the tutorial! That Etsy shop has great appliques! How fun.

  • Its so cute! Looks like the kind of thing that will get LOTS of wear!

    • for real! i’ve already worn it two days in a row

  • Nice — I agree, you’ll get sooo much use from this. And I love that last pic and the look on your face — so cute! 🙂

    • haha, I was trying not to laugh at justin who was taking pictures of me at the time.

  • Great dress and thanks for the tutorial. That looks like a great comfy summer outfit!

  • I love the dress, such a great combination of pretty and comfy! I also recently bought a bunch of appliques from the same shop – possibly after you linked it the last time?! They are crazy cheap! I’m still thinking about what to make with them…

  • Beautiful!!

  • Amy

    I love the black on black look, and that you added it in the back. The front is all “oh, I’m just a simple little black dress” and then you turn around and POW, it’s fancy.

  • Ooooh… this is so pretty on you! Thanks for the tutorial – I’m pinning it to remind myself to try out!

    • thanks for pinning! 😉

  • LOVE this dress, Dixie!!! It’s perfect for summer, casual, yet able to be snazzed up in a heartbeat.

  • Wow.. you amaze me.. pretty dress and I love your shoes too.

  • This is so helpful, and far too lovely for words. You look amazing in these photos, and I can’t wait to do this to a summer version of your Ballet Dress.