ZW Gather Dress by Birgitta Helmersson

This is an oversized dress with a dropped shoulder, gathered skirt, side pockets and full length button placket with buttons and button holes. Can be worn as a dress or an open jacket. The skirt seam is designed to sit over the bust. Lengths of bodice and skirt are easily adjustable to your preference. The width of the garment is variable depending on the fabric width you use. Comes with 2 simple hack options, one of which does not require buttons or button holes.


Please note: This PDF sewing pattern uses zero waste pattern cutting and comprises of instructions to draw shapes directly onto your fabric. With the exception of some templates, there are no large pattern pieces to print out. 

Available sizes: 

Suitable for a bust measurement of up to 156cm / 61″.

This is an oversized ONE SIZE style that comes with 2 size options, a size ONE and a size TWO. The download includes both files. Choose which layout to use based on your size and fabric width.



Advanced beginner.


Ideal in a woven linen or cotton with a weight of approx 150-200gsm. Choose something with a bit of drape and something that is not too thick as the gathers can add a lot of fullness.

Fabric requirements:

Size One

Recommended Widths: 125cm – 155cm / 49 – 61 inches

Yardage required: 260cm / 102 1/4 inches ( approx 2.85 yards)

Size Two

Recommended Widths: 110cm – 145cm / 43 – 57 inches

Yardage required: 394.5cm / 155 1/2 inches



  • Matching thread
  • 9 x approx. 12mm buttons
  • Optional: lightweight fusible interfacing for the neck band (only recommended for very fine fabrics)

Zero Waste Method

Zero waste pattern cutting is a bit like a puzzle. It is a method of pattern drafting where you utilise a length of fabric end to end by strategically planning your pattern pieces so that everything is used. This pattern does not require printing of large pattern pieces, instead you draw your pattern pieces directly onto your fabric with the aid of a cutting plan and templates. We love working with this method for 3 reasons:

1. More flexibility: This method allows for easy changes such as using different fabric widths and making simple fit and design changes yourself. Using patterns that fit into a zero waste square or rectangular block is a very efficient way to work. It means that it is easier to patchwork together remnants or use left over fabrics you already have lying around.

2. An easy way to learn to self draft your own patterns : Working this way will help you to start building a toolbox of skills, and you will learn an alternative method of self drafting your own sewing patterns, which are super easy for beginners to understand.

3. Less fabric and paper waste: Without having to print full scale paper patterns for all pieces you save on a lot of paper, and you will have little to no fabric waste during the cutting and sewing process!

Handy resources

Explore other makes on insta #zwbelljacket

Inverted Box Pleat

Sewing the body and sleeve

Patch pockets

Sewing the lining

Sewing the collar

Attaching the collar

Hand stitching the collar

Bagging out hems


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