Black and White Bargello Swirl Dress

Bargello swirl quilt turned into a dress

This dress is another one that I made a few years ago, so I don’t have as many progress pictures as I’d like. I’ll try my best to explain the process, but if you have any questions, please ask.

I am in love with bargello quilts.

The way it forms a wave throughout is just beautiful! As I’m searching Pinterest, which I do often for inspiration, I came across these circle bargello designs. I knew immediately I had to make a black and white one.

I went to Joann’s and found six fabrics in shades from white to grey to black.

I really played around with how wide I wanted each fabric and the length. I ended up cutting each fabric 1 1/2″ tall by the width of the fabric. I sewed a set of 18 strips together. Three sets of six strips.

After sewing the 18 strips, I then sewed the bottom one to the top, forming a loop.

I have a 10 degree wedge ruler that I love and used for this skirt. I calculated the waist circumference that I would need and decided the widest part of my skirt section needed to be 5” making the narrowest 1.5”.

I cut a 5” strip off each loop of strips and unpicked one of the seams so it would lay flat.

Then I placed my wedge ruler along the bottom edge and cut along the sides.

The next 5” section, I unpicked a seam one fabric down from the previous one, and so on. Giving you the bargello effect.

See all my practice runs drawn out underneath? 😉

You’ll need 36 sections total.

Sew them together along the sides.

Pin it to the backing fabric, wrong sides together and quilt. I chose to just do a wavy line across each row.

Next, I made double fold bias tape from one of the fabrics and sewed it to the bottom of the circle skirt.

Moving on to the bodice.

I have a basic bodice that I like, so I modified it by adding princess seams with piping the same fabric as the underside of the skirt to give it a little pop of color.

I divided the bottom of the bodice into thirds and drew a curved line from the bottom to the midpoint on one of the armholes.

Fold your pattern piece in half and cut along the line you drew.

Add seam allowance and you have princess seams.

To make the piping, I just took my bias tape and using a zipper foot, sewed it over the cording.

Place your piping along the princess cut seam aligning the raw edges. It should be main bodice right side up, piping, and then outer bodice piece right side down. Sew right next to the piping.

I wanted to back of the bodice to have a scoop back. I took my pattern piece and drew a line from the shoulder seam to about 3” above the bottom of the pattern piece.

Cut that piece out and throw it away.

In order to add princess seams to the back, I just took one of the side pieces from the front bodice, laid it over the back and traced it.

Cut that piece out and add seam allowance. Sew the same way as the front bodice.

Sew your bodice together like you normally would.

I really wanted this skirt to be full so I added a pettiskirt.

I like to get those 6” rolls of tulle from Hobby Lobby. They’re really the perfect length when I sew them together for a pettiskirt. You may need to add or subtract layers depending on the overall length you’re wanting. 

I made three layers for this dress. The first layer is about 1.5 times my daughter’s waist measurement. The second layer is 1.5 times that and the third is 1.5 times the middle layer.

Let’s just say the waist measurement is 25”.

That times 1.5 is 37.5”.
37.5” times 1.5 = 56.25
56.25 times 1.5 = 84.375
A lot of times I’ll round my numbers just so it’s easier. My pettiskirt layers look like this:
Layer 1: 38”
Layer 2: 56”
Layer 3: 84”

Sew together along the short edge making one large loop. Do this for each of the layers.

Start with the largest one and sew a gathering stitch along the top.

Gather it until it’s the same size as the second layer. Pin and sew them together.

Now, take the second layer (with the third attached) and sew a gathering stitch along the top. Gather until it’s the same size as the first layer.

Pin and sew together.

Sew a gathering stitch along the top of the first layer.

Set this aside and repeat two more times.

Once you have all three pettiskirts finished, gather each one until it’s the length of the waist.

Now it’s time to attach everything!

Place your bodice right side out with the bottom edge up.

Next pin the skirt, right side down onto the bodice.

Finally, pin all the pettiskirts to the skirt piece.

Sew it all together.


Now you have a stunning, one of a kind bargello swirl dress!

DIY bargello quilt dress

Bargello circle quilt turned into a dress

DIY bargello circle quilt dress

DIY quilt dress

What do you think of turning quilts into clothing?  Have you ever tried it?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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