What Are the Different Types of Dresses?

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Today, we are going to answer a question that I know I have googled many times myself: What Are The Different Types Of Dresses? There are so many different types of dresses, like a sweater dress, a strapless dress, a smock dress, a denim dress, a pencil dress, a peplum dress or even an asymmetrical dress that it can be hard to keep track of them all! But, if you really want to expand your sewing skills, knowing the different types of dresses and having a few tips in mind is what every sewist needs to know because dresses are a definite must. While a little black dress is a must-have we need to remember that other dress styles are just a great way to show your style and personality – even if you’re not planning on wearing them and are just looking to sew them for a friend. Dresses can be made from a variety of fabrics, so you can really experiment with different looks to figure out the perfect dress. And, they’re relatively easy to sew – even if you’ve never sewn before! One of the great things about sewing your own dresses is that you can choose any level of difficulty you want. If you are a beginner, there are plenty of easy dress patterns that you can start with. We would recommend starting with a simple A-line dress or a shift dress. These types of dresses are usually very forgiving and don’t require a lot of fitting.

It doesn’t matter if your body shape is an hourglass figure or just looking for a flattering style of dress. If you are looking for long sleeve, sleeveless dress, or a loose-fitting dress we are here to help your figure out and explain the different dress styles. If you are looking for a more challenging project, you can try sewing a fitted dress, black dress, tube dress or a kimono dress with more intricate details. Just remember to take your time and read the instructions carefully before getting started. Check out our 10 Free Dress Patterns for Women.

What Are the Different Types of Dresses?

There are so many more dresses out there than just the “little black dress” or the ballgown. Seriously, there are variations that get you any silhouette or shape. These are just a few of my personal favorites, but there really are so many different types and styles of dresses out there. It’s one of the things I love most about sewing – there’s always something new to sew!

A-Line

One of the most popular types of dresses is the A-line dress. This type of dress is fitted at the waist and then flares out at the bottom, creating an A-shape. This type of dress is flattering on many different body types and can be dressed up or down, making it a versatile option for your wardrobe. Beyond the simple A-line dress, there are several versions of the A-line and I decided to explore a couple of those, because I love the A-line so much!

Tent Dress

Tent dresses are loose-fitting, A-line dresses that get their name from their tent-like shape. They are typically made from lightweight fabrics like cotton or linen and are perfect for warm weather. Tent dresses are also easy to sew, so they’re a great option for any body type and goes well with knee high boots.

Trapeze Dress

Trapeze dresses are loose-fitting, A-line dresses that get their name from their trapeze-like shape. They are typically made from lightweight fabrics like cotton or linen and are perfect for warm weather. Trapeze dresses are also easy to sew, so they’re a fantastic option for beginner sewists. I made this trapeze dress and it’s become a staple in my wardrobe,.

Sundress

Sundresses are loose-fitting, A-line dresses that are typically made from lightweight fabrics like cotton or linen. They are perfect for warm weather and can be either casual or dressy. Sundresses are also easy to sew, so they’re an awesome option for beginners, too.

Shift Dress

Another popular type of dress is the shift dress. Shift dresses are simple dresses that fall straight down from the shoulders. They are often made from lightweight fabrics like cotton or linen and are perfect for warm weather. Shift dresses are also easy to sew, so they’re a great option for beginner sewists. There’s a lot of forgiveness in the fabrics typically used when making shift dresses and your measurements don’t have to be perfectly exact (although accuracy is always best). Making a shift dress is a lot of fun, particularly if you have a fun fabric to give a roll.

Sheath Dress

Sheath dresses are close-fitting dresses that fall straight down from the shoulders, so they are not like shift dresses because of the more fitted shape. Unlike the t shirt dress that is loose fitting, this dress is form-fitting at every point of your body which will show off your figure. A sheath dress is typically made from heavier fabrics like wool or tweed and can be worn for both casual and formal occasions. 

Bodycon Dress

A variation of sheath dresses, bodycon dresses are tight-fitting dresses that hug the body. They are typically made from stretchy fabrics like Lycra or spandex and are often worn as clubwear or for special occasions. In my opinion, these are slightly more difficult to make both because of the nature of sewing stretchy fabrics (this can be a serious challenge for anyone who is not used to sewing on stretch) and because of the need for significant accuracy in your measurements of your body. 

T-Shirt Dress

T-shirt dresses are simple, casual dresses that look like oversized T-shirts. They are typically made from lightweight fabrics like cotton jersey and can be worn for both casual and dressy occasions. T-shirt dresses are also easy to sew, so they can be a great option for beginner sewists, but just take care not to stretch the fabric while sewing. I have made a t-shirt dress previously and the only challenge I recall is the fabric trying to stretch on me. 

Mermaid Dress

Mermaid dresses are fitted dresses that flare out at the bottom, creating a mermaid-like shape. The mermaid dress is typically made from heavier fabrics like satin or taffeta and are often worn for special occasions. The mermaid silhouette dress gets its name for flowing to make it like you have a flowing tail due to the way the dress is made.

Midi Dress (AKA Tea Length Dress)

Midi dresses fall somewhere between the knee and ankle and are a popular choice for both casual and formal occasions. A midi dress can be made from a variety of different fabrics and often have either a fitted or A-line silhouette. This makes the midi dress a great possibility to be a cute cocktail dress for those evenings out on the town

Mini Dress

When it comes to types of dresses the mini dresses are short, above-the-knee dress type that are typically worn for dressy occasions. They can be made from a variety of different fabrics and often have either a fitted or A-line silhouette. Many like to have a little black dress in this dress style to provide the ideal dress for those black tie event nights.

Pinafore Dress

When it comes to types of dresses pinafore dresses are sleeveless dresses that have straps that go over the shoulders and crisscross in the back. a pinafore dress is typically made from lightweight fabrics like cotton or linen and are perfect for warm weather. Pinafore dresses are also moderately easy to sew, so they’re a great option for second or third-time sewists with a project or two under their belts. I personally love making pinafore dresses and I love the way they look!

Jumper Dress

Jumper dresses are sleeveless dresses that have a bodice and skirt attached. They are typically made from heavyweight fabrics like wool or tweed and can be worn for both casual and formal occasions. Jumper dresses are can be a denim dress as well, since the fit and style works well for denim.

Empire Dress

Empire dresses are fitted at the bust and then flow out from the waist. They are typically made from lightweight fabrics like cotton or linen and are perfect for warm weather. Empire dresses are also easy to sew, so they’re a great option for beginner sewists. This is also a popular dress for formalwear because it is so versatile and can be dressed up super easily.

Dolman Dress

Dolman dresses are sleeveless dresses that have an asymmetrical hemline. They are typically made from heavyweight fabrics like wool or tweed and can be worn for both casual and formal occasions. Dolman dresses are also easy to sew, so they’re a great option for beginner sewists.

Flapper Dress

Flapper dresses are short, loose-fitting dresses that were popular in the 1920s. They are typically made from lightweight fabrics like silk or rayon and are often worn for dressy occasions. These days, they’re made with light, flowing fabrics like linen or cotton and can be a really fun “ruffled” dress. I made this flapper dress and it was so easy to sew, I definitely think they’re a great option for beginner sewists looking to get into ruffles.

Tunic Dress

Tunic dresses are loose-fitting, tunic-style dresses that fall somewhere between the knee and ankle. Just to give you an idea, this cute tunic top is the shape and style, the dress would just be longer. They are typically made from lightweight fabrics like cotton or linen and can be worn for both casual and formal occasions. Tunic dresses are also easy to sew, so make for a great project for beginner sewists.

Trumpet Dress

Trumpet dresses are fitted at the top and then flare out at the bottom, creating a trumpet-like shape. And while similar to the mermaid style dress, the silhouette is quite different. They are typically made from heavier fabrics like satin or taffeta and are often worn for special occasions.

Column Dress

Column dresses are fitted dresses that fall straight down from the shoulder to the hem. They are typically made from heavyweight fabrics like satin or taffeta and are often worn for special occasions.

Strapless Dress

Strapless dresses are dresses that do not have straps or sleeves. They are typically made from lightweight fabrics like cotton or linen and are perfect for warm weather. This would be considered a waist dress as well, even though it is strapless. Strapless dresses are also easy to sew, so they’re a great option for beginner sewists. This cute strapless shirred maxi dress is one of my favorites.

Halter Dress

Halter dresses are sleeveless dresses that have a strap that goes around the neck. They are typically made from lightweight fabrics like cotton or linen and are perfect for warm weather. Halter dresses are also easy to sew, so they’re a great option for beginner sewists.

One Shoulder Dress

One shoulder dresses are sleeveless dresses that have a strap or sleeve on one shoulder. This shoulder dress is typically made from lightweight fabrics like cotton or linen and are perfect for warm weather. One shoulder dresses are also fun to sew, so they’re a great option for those that have an hourglass figure.

Cocktail Dress

Cocktail dresses are short, dressy dresses that are typically worn to parties or other formal occasions. They can be made from a variety of different fabrics and often have either a fitted or A-line silhouette.

Apron Dress

Apron dresses are sleeveless dresses that have a bodice and skirt attached. They are typically made from heavyweight fabrics like wool or tweed and can be worn for both casual and formal occasions. Apron dresses are also easy to sew, so they’re a great option for beginner sewists.

Wrap Dress

Wrap dresses are a type of dress that wraps around the body and fastens at the side or front. A wrap dress is very flattering on many different body types and can be adjusted to fit your figure perfectly. Wrap dresses are simple to sew and work well for someone that might not have the best measurement accuracy, so they’re a great option for a person just learning to sew. I made this easy wrap dress in just a few minutes that made me feel like a million dollars!

Pouf Dress

Pouf dresses are sleeveless dresses that have a lot of fabric in the skirt, which gives them a puffy appearance. While a pouf dress can be worn for casual and formal occasions which makes it a great dress style to have in your closet. It typically leans to more formal and is usually worn as a evening wear like a prom dress, quinceañera dress, or even a wedding dress. Pouf dresses depending on the fit and flare can be easy to sew, so they’re a great option for those just learning.

Slip Dress

Slip dresses are sleeveless dresses that are typically made from lightweight fabrics like silk or satin. A slip dress is designed to be worn under other garments, such as sweaters or jackets, and can also be worn on their own. Slip dresses are also easy to sew, so they’re a great option for beginner sewists. I have made a couple that I really love, both this simple slip dress and this spaghetti strap dress that is a fast work-up.

Ballgown

If you’re looking for a more formal dress, you may want to consider a ballgown. Ballgowns are usually very full skirts with a fitted bodice. They are often made from luxurious fabrics like satin or silk and are perfect for special occasions. If you’re not sure how to sew a ballgown, don’t worry! We have a tutorial that will walk you through the process.

Maxi

Finally, we have maxi dresses. Maxi dresses are long, flowing dresses that are usually made from lightweight fabrics like cotton or chiffon. These can fit most body shapes. They can be worn year-round and are perfect for both casual and formal occasions. If you need some help sewing a maxi dress, we have a basic maxi dress tutorial that will walk you through the process.

If you love a good maxi dress but want to do a fun twist on the classic, check out the tutorial for a tiered maxi dress (trust me, it’s fun). 

So there you have it! I did my best to cover as many types of dresses that I could I am sure there are still a few I missed like a balloon dress or a ball gown dress but maybe I will update with those types of dresses in the future. These are just a few of the different types of dresses that you can wear or sew. With so many options, there’s sure to be a dress that’s perfect for you and your body shape. 

If you do sew and you’re looking for some fun and easy dress patterns to try out, I gathered some of my favorites:

While I can’t cover every single dress type like a corset dress, a baby doll dress, a drop waist dress, or a skater dress, I tried to cover as many of the types of dresses I could to give you insight into the majority of them. There are plenty of other great tutorials on our website if you need some help getting started with your next project. And as always, feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need some assistance. We’re always happy to help! Happy sewing!

What Do I Need to Know If I want to Sew A Dress?

Before you start sewing any type of dress, like an empire waist dress, blazer dress or a simple shirt dress it is important to know your measurements. Once you know the types of dresses and your measurements, you can choose a pattern that is the right size for you. There are a few different ways that you can take your own body measurements. You can either use a measuring tape or you can trace around your body on a piece of paper (a big piece of paper). If you are using a measuring tape, be sure to measure the fullest part of your bust, your natural waist, and your hips. Once you have these measurements, you can use them to choose the right size of the pattern for you.

You will also need to decide what type of fabric you want to use. There are many different types of fabrics that can be used for different types of dresses, so it is important to do some research before making your final decision.

Sewing Supplies You’ll Need:

What are some of your favorite types of dresses to wear or to sew? Let us know in the comments below! And be sure to share this blog post with your friends if you found it helpful so they can learn about the different types of dresses. So pick out your dress and get sewing today!

If you liked learning what are the different types of dresses, make sure to pin it to your favorite Pinterest board or share it with friends on social media. If you decide to make a baby doll dress, a shirt dress or a different dress on your own, make certain that you take a picture afterward and tag us on social media as we love seeing the fabrics and color choices that people use!

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