Sew Retro Perfect Bombshell Dress

with Gretchen Hirsch

Photo of Gretchen Hirsch

Knock 'em dead with a vintage pinup dress that's uniquely yours! Read More…

  1. Class Overview
  2. Meet the Instructor
  3. Ratings & Reviews
  4. Materials
  5. FAQs

Class Description

Knock 'em dead with a vintage pinup dress that's uniquely yours! In "Sew Retro: Perfect Fit Bombshell Dress," retro maven Gretchen Hirsch shows you advanced fit, construction and finishing techniques used by couturiers. It's the perfect course to advance your garment engineering skills. With Gretchen's expert help and sassy point of view, you'll customize the included vintage-style pattern and create an amazing strapless dress that will fit like a dream and knock their socks off! Then you'll be able to tackle anything from a pretty cotton sundress to the wedding gown or prom dress of your dreams. 

*NOTE: This course now features student-led (rather than instructor-led) discussion only. If you have questions, at least one of the many experienced garment sewists in this class will surely have the answer!

See All Lesson Detail

Lesson Plan


Lesson 1. Course Introduction

  • Meet Gretchen Hirsch, sewing enthusiast and blogger, as she shares her passion for sewing fashion by walking you through the steps of creating a dress sculpted to your body.


Lesson 2. Using the Downloadable Pattern

  • See how to print the downloadable BurdaStyle pattern, tape the pattern pieces together, and cut it out, all without leaving home. Learn to cut patterns with and without marked seam allowances.


Lesson 3. Cutting Out the Muslin

  • Gretchen lays out the pattern pieces on muslin to create a mock-up of the bodice. She will also introduce you to the technique of thread tracing.


Lesson 4. Fitting the Muslin Bodice

  • Creating the muslin bodice requires working with inner and outer curves, so there are tricks to clipping and notching the seams, pressing the curves and working to make the mock-up fit.


Lesson 5. Modifications for Larger Busts

  • Just because a woman is a size 10, doesn't mean a size 10 dress pattern will fit properly in the bust. Using the muslin sample, Gretchen will show you how to alter the pattern to fit properly and mold comfortably to your body.


Lesson 6. Making Pattern Adjustments

  • With the muslin mock-up properly fitting your figure, transfer any alterations to the pattern. Learn how to "slash and spread" the paper pattern pieces to reflect the changes.


Lesson 7. Underlining: What, Why & How

  • Cut the dress from the fashion fabric and underlining materials. At the same time, Gretchen explains why this dress needs an underlining and what fabrics work best to add stability and support to your garment.


Lesson 8. Starting the Outer Bodice

  • Using the fashion fabric and the underlining pieces, Gretchen puts the bodice together by sewing the side seams, inserting the bust cups, and engineering the sweetheart neckline.


Lesson 9. Finishing the Outer Bodice

  • Finish the top of the bodice to create the perfect fit while learning some useful hand-sewing techniques central to dressmaking. Finally, add padding to make the bodice sturdy and stable.


Lesson 10. Cutting the Sarong Skirt

  • This pattern has a sarong skirt, but Gretchen shows other skirt styles that could be used. Then follow along while she lays out and marks the pattern pieces of the skirt on the fashion fabric.


Lesson 11. Making the Skirt

  • Learn how to construct the skirt and made sure it fits perfectly before attaching it to the bodice. Gretchen shares techniques on how to fit gathers into a fitted top.


Lesson 12. Adding the Zipper

  • This lesson takes all the intimidation out of sewing a lapped zipper down the back of your garment, with the sewing machine and by hand.


Lesson 13. Adding Boning

  • If you have never inserted boning into a lining before, you will be amazed at how easy it really is. Learn where to put the channels to create the best support and ultimate comfort for your garment.


Lesson 14. Finishing Details

  • Learn all the details that go into making the perfect bombshell dress. Insert the lining to add comfort, create a zipper guard to avoid catching fabric, and add removable straps and a waist stay to keep your dress in place even when dancing.


Lesson 15. Finishing with Hem & Vent

  • Gretchen adds a back vent and professional-looking hem with seam binding and hand sewing. Now put on your bombshell dress and set the world on fire!

"WOW! What an AMAZING class! I just finished my dress and I couldn't be happier. Gretchen takes the student through each process one step at a time. She goes over the tiniest details and teaches the student little tricks to make the garment more flattering. I learned so much more than I thought I would. I learned about finishing seams the 'vintage' way, how to fit a dress for ME (I have scoliosis, so finding a dress at a store was next to impossible), and how to use a muslin before cutting into the fashion fabric. Gretchen is a fantastic teacher who is informative, clever, witty and FUN!!"
- Lauras Threads
Columbia Gorge, Pacific NW

5000+ Students Have Enrolled in this Class

Recently Enrolled

  • sueanne
  • forbesfabfinger
  • MonicaJN
  • bettiefan11
  • Rebeline
  • Robyn Macpherson
  • Olw
  • Chris Pegler
  • Erin England
  • Charlotte VanderHaer

Student Projects

Sew Retro - Bombshell dress by Chance Of Rain
  • Photo of Chance Of Rain
  • by Chance Of Rain
  • Sew Retro - Bombshell dress
Retro Bombshell Dress - course result! by Amanda
  • Photo of Amanda
  • by Amanda
  • Retro Bombshell Dress - course result!
Bombshell Dress by acetylenequeen
  • Photo of acetylenequeen
  • by acetylenequeen
  • Bombshell Dress
tiki tiki tavi by oonaballoona
  • Photo of oonaballoona
  • by oonaballoona
  • tiki tiki tavi

Other Classes You May Enjoy

View All Sewing Classes »


For $29.99 You Get:

  • 15 HD video lessons with anytime, anywhere access
  • Downloadable class materials, including the bombshell dress pattern
  • Hours of close-up instruction
  • Answers from your fellow students in our virtual classroom 
Skill Building
  Closed Captioned
Student-Led Discussions

The Craftsy


  • Watch classes on your own schedule: wherever, whenever you want.
  • Your access never expires.
  • 100% money back guarantee.

Already enrolled?