It’s October again and I decided to make a costume tutorial. Last time I chose Cruella theme and now it’s Wednesday‘s turn!

Whether you’ve seen the Netflix series Wednesday or not, you have probably seen this dress. It seems to be one of the most popular makes at the moment. The series was published late last year making this the first Halloween after it came out.

The costume designer of the show is the amazing Colleen Atwood. You can read her interview about the costumes here, if you’re interested.

However, this particular dress, seen worn by Jenna Ortega’s character Wednesday at the Rave’N Dance in episode 4, is from Alaïa‘s Fall 2020 collection.

If you do a search on Google or YouTube, you’ll see all the different versions people have been making. There’s organza, satin, lace, tulle, and whatnot. Different lengths. Mood offers a free pattern called The Nightshade Dress. So that’s another option if you don’t feel like drafting the pattern.

My Wednesday Dress

Usually I don’t involve other people in my tutorials but this time I thought it would be fun to make something different. You see, I wouldn’t have had use for this dress myself which meant making it in half scale. So, I decided to find a person who’d like to have a Wednesday costume for Halloween and reached out to the community of international women of Milan. I found Jessica and she agreed to become my model. We ended up doing a little photoshoot around town, too.

The fabrics I used were organza, taffetà, and lining. There was also a 40cm long zipper and 7 little buttons. We decided on making the dress a bit shorter, just under the knees. The synthetic organza created a lot of extra pouf so this was also an adaptation to the material. I think the original Alaïa dress is made in a very fine silk organza or similar.

But let’s start from the pattern!

Wednesday Rave’N Dress Pattern

You’ll need a waist length basic bodice block. It can have either 2 or 4cm of ease along the underarm line depending on how fitted you want the top. The dress will be worn with a belt, so having some extra volume at the waist doesn’t really matter. It’s more about having extra space under the arms or not. You can always start with 4cm and test.

Basically what we’re making is a blouse with dropped shoulders, button placket, collar, and a large yoke at the back that will allow us to cut the upper section on the fold and insert a zipper at the lower section.

It’s because the buttons end at the waist and it would be difficult to put on the dress without any additional opening. The zipper will continue down from the waist.

The Bodice Pattern

Here are the steps.

  1. Eliminate the little back shoulder dart by shortening the shoulder line by 1cm. The rest of the dart will become ease.
  2. Remove the back waist dart, too, as shown: draw a new dart that ends at the armhole. The size is about 2/3 of the original dart. Remove the rest at the side seam. Usually you would also remove part of the volume at the c-back, but in this case we need a straight c-back line. Close the dart and re-draw the waist line.
  3. Rotate the bust dart towards the armhole and the front waist dart towards the side seam. The bust dart will remain hidden underneath the ruffles. The original dress seems to have princess seams, btw.

4. Draw the dropped shoulders. Notice that the new shoulder line is 0,5cm higher at the shoulder tip to create more space. I lengthened the shoulder slope by 3cm. Curve the line down a bit after the shoulder tip. You can adjust the armhole shape once you’ve decided the ruffle placement.

5. Draw the back yoke line. This will coincide with the lowest ruffle, as the idea is to hide the seam under it.

6. Add the button placket. The final width will be 2,5cm and there are two folds. Separate the button placket 1,25cm inward from the c-front line to include the entire placket width. This piece will be made in taffetà.

7. Draw lines where you’d like to place the three rows of ruffles. My version had the first row 6cm below the neckline at the front and 12cm at the c-back. They were about 3-3,5cm apart. Adjust the armhole shape so that it goes with the rest of the line. The last row of ruffles will end up at the edge of the little “sleeve”.

Measure each line, front and back pieces separately, so that you can calculate the ruffle lengths.

Measure also the pattern’s waist. You’ll need the measurement for the skirt pattern. Remember to start measuring at the c-front.

I made the ruffle pieces 12cm high. Add hem allowance twice, as there will be a hem at both edges. The length is target measurement x2. Calculate each of the three pieces and mark a notch where the shoulder line will be.

You don’t really need a pattern at all, because these are straight pieces. I just wrote down the measurements and ripped the strips in organza accordingly.

The Collar

The collar pattern is based on my basic shirt collar. I have a video here if you don’t have my Collar Galore guide. You can enlarge the bodice neckline slightly before drafting the pattern if you don’t like the collar to be very fitted.

After you have the basic shirt collar, make these changes to the collar piece:

The collar stand remains as it is.

The Skirt Pattern

The skirt consists of three tiers. In my version you can’t see the last tier as it remains hidden under the second tier only giving it extra volume. I also made the upper part of the first tier smooth because the organza would’ve created too much pouf.

If you want to make something more similar to the original dress, try making the first tier like the gypsy skirt here.

Anyways. Let’s start by drafting a flared skirt. This is a simplified pattern for lazy people. 😀

Use the bodice waist measurements as the width. The length is just an example. You can use your own measurements if you want a longer dress. The third tier ruffle will be attached at the hem, which gives you the final length of the skirt.

Add 9cm (front) and 10cm (back) of flare at the side seam, and another 10+10cm of volume with the slash & spread method. Re-draw the lines.

Divide the pieces into three sections between the different tiers. I made the first tier 20cm high. The second tier should be 5cm longer than the first one. The third tier ends at the hemline.

Measure the hemline of each tier, front and back separately (they might have the same measurements). You’ll need these to calculate the ruffle lengths.

Trace the first tier pieces. You’ll be left with the other two tiers once you separate the pattern along the second line.

These were my ruffle heights. You can make yours longer or shorter. Add hem and seam allowance. As mentioned earlier, I had to keep the volumes low because the organza created too much pouf. Hence, I only calculated the ruffle lengths x1.6 and 1.7.

As with the bodice ruffles, you can just write down the measurements and avoid drafting the patterns.

Wednesday Rave’N Dress Pattern Pieces

Here are all the pieces. The bodice:

The collar and button placket are made in taffetà and will need interfacing.

The ruffles will have a seam at the c-back unless you have a really wide organza that allows you to avoid that.

The skirt:

Tiers 2 and 3 will be cut in lining fabric. Only tier 3 can be cut on the fold also at the c-back.

My front and back pieces had the same measurements so I cut each ruffle 4x. If you have a chance to avoid extra seams, cut the pieces twice on the fold.

Sewing the Wednesday Dress

Sewing this dress consisted mainly of hemming and gathering ruffles. I made a video of the whole sewing process, but you can also watch the short videos I sprinkled throughout this article.

I’d say it’s not difficult to sew, just takes a long time. It also comes down to the fabric. I picked a non-slippery organza so it was relatively easy to work with, except for the volume. Organza does tend to have a mind of its own. I was prepared to a more difficult task that it was in the end.

Let’s start from the bodice.

Sewing the Bodice

First, I ripped the ruffle strips and closed the c-back seams opting for the French seam.

Ripping the organza caused the threads to bunch up near the edge and that turned out to be very helpful when hemming the pieces. These ruffles needed a hem at each of the four edges because they would be sewn on top of the bodice.

After having completed the hems I sewed one row of gathering stitches 1cm below the upper edge.

Here are the three ruffles. I gathered them to their target measurement. Remember to mark the shoulder seam positions with a pin before gathering!

Here’s a video of preparing the ruffles.

Then, I sewed the bodice core. These are the pieces:

Here’s the order:

-I closed the front darts using the bobbin thread only as I was working with a sheer fabric.

-Attached the button placket. I had previously interfaced the pieces partially. For once it was easy to top stitch the button placket after folding, because I could see through the organza!

-I attached the back yoke with a French seam.

After this I could close the shoulders and side seams. Here’s a video of the steps above.

I finished the armholes with a bias facing. I cut the 2,5cm wide bias strips in the same organza as the rest of the piece.

Then there was the collar. I interfaced one layer of the collar and the collar stand. First, you sew the collar, turn the right sides out and press flat. Then, you attach it to the collar stand and top stitch the seam flat. I have a collar sewing tutorial here.

Next, I attached the collar to the bodice.

With this, the bodice core was done. Video.

The Bodice Ruffles

As for the ruffles I decided it was a good idea to work on the dressform. I had the pattern and the measuring tape at hand so that I could pin the ruffles, one by one, where they were supposed to go. Pins didn’t seem to be enough to keep the ruffles in place, so I basted them, too!

Here’s the basted result:

I used a small zig zag stitch to attach these, sewing circa 1cm below the upper edge. Then, I removed the basting and gathering stitches.

Finally, I did the buttonholes and sewed the buttons in place. They were 1,2cm buttons which meant that the buttonholes were 1,4cm long, placed vertically along the c-front line. Buttonholes on the right, buttons on the left.

Another video.

Sewing the Wednesday Rave’N Skirt

Sewing the skirt involved less steps, but just as much hemming and gathering as the top! Here’s a quick video.

I started by completing all the various ruffle pieces: four French seams per ruffle and one long narrow hem. Serger finish at the upper edge and one row of gathering stitches.

Then, I prepared the remaining pieces of each tier. The first one was in organza, the other two in lining fabric. Here you can see the first two tiers. The lining is 5cm longer. I finished the hemlines with serger.

Then, I gathered the first two ruffles to match the hemline of the pieces above (=tiers 1 &2), pinned, and sewed in place.

Tier 3 lining was sewn to the seam allowance of tier 2 lining and ruffle. And finally, you attach the third ruffle to its hemline.

I sewed the two skirt pieces together at the waist before attaching them to the bodice. I finished this seam with a serger and edge stitched the seam allowance towards the skirt.

The last thing was to attach the invisible zipper at the c-back.

Dress Reveal

And here is the final look:

We ended up adding a little extra ruffle at the armholes because this organza remained so high up not covering the arms as much. I made them removable.

Now about that photoshoot. We went to a few different locations here in Milan and I wanted to share some pics. Will probably be sharing more on social media…

This is Jessica. Make-up and hair is by Simona Fantò. The jewelry is from a local jewelry atelier Madina Visconti.

Wednesday Prom Dress
DIY Wednesday Rave'N dress

I’m quite happy with the result. It isn’t exactly the same as the original but I think you can recognize the style. It looks really cute on Jessica!

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  1. Mary Katherine Parker Reply

    This is beautiful! Thanks for sharing your techniques!

  2. Marina Dias Reply

    The dress is lovely. Love it and thank you for the tutorial. Is it OK to omit the Armhole dart?

    • Thank you so much. 🙂 If you rotate both darts into the same side seam dart you won’t need the armhole dart. I divided them to avoid one large dart as the fabric is see-through. Although when wearing it with a black top, you can’t see that much.

  3. I’m in awe. You have done a wonderful job on this dress and it looks beautiful on you.
    I’ve always wondered how to sew neat seams on organza fabric and now I know. Thank you.
    How much seam allowance did you use for the yoke and sides of the blouse? Thanks in advance.

    • Thank you so much! 🙂 That’s actually not me in the pictures but I’ll tell Jessica. Yeah, organza can be quite tricky. You can do 1cm or 1,5cm seam allowance, depending on how narrow you want to sew the initial seams (you trim them smaller anyways after sewing). I seem to remember having sewn the first seam at 0,5cm.

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