DIY Baladi Dress with mandarin collar & placket – part 1: Measure & Cut!

DIY Baladi Dress with mandarin collar and placket


I picked up super cute spandex fabric when I visited the garment district in NYC last year with Mahin, and I knew I had to make a playful baladi dress out of it.


I did a baladi dress tutorial before with a keyhole neckline, but this time I wanted to make one to pair with a Dina style bra.


So in this post and next one, you’ll see how to make this baladi dress with a mandarin collar and placket. Let’s get started!



Check out how to make your own Dina Bra from here!


DIY Baladi Dress with mandarin collar & placket


To make this baladi /saidi dress with mandarin collar & placket, you need:


Stretch fabric – you need 2m (2yd).

Button shirt – We’ll use this as a pattern. If you have one that’s slim fit, that works best. Mine is a loose fit, so you’ll see how I adjust the size later.

Paper to make a pattern with – We’ll make a small pattern for the collar, so you just need small paper like a letter size paper. Any paper will do.

Regular sewing tools




First, we’ll take a few measurements:


Hip measurement – this is the circumference of the largest part of your hips

Bottom of your neck to the largest part of your hips

Bottom of your neck to the floor

Your slit length from the floor


baladi saidi dress measurements


Write these measurements on a piece of paper and have it ready.



<Mandarin collar pattern>


Next we’ll make a pattern for the mandarin collar. A mandarin collar is the small, fitted collar that you see often in Middle Eastern garment. We’ll make it based on your button shirt.


Fold your button shirt in half by lining up the ends of the collar.


Place it on your pattern paper flat, and trace all the way around. The folded section should be a straight line. Mark it “fold”.


How to make a mandarin collar pattern


This is a little too narrow, so at the top edge, add 1/2in (1cm) and connect to the bottom edge.


Finally, add a 1/2in (1cm) seam allowance at all sides except for the folded side.


DIY mandarin collar pattern


And cut along the lines. This is your mandarin collar pattern.



<Cut fabric>


Now take out your fabric and place it on a flat surface. And fold it so that the fold is perpendicular to the direction of stretch.


Fold your button shirt in half so you see half of the back side of your shirt. Place the fold of your shirt against the fold of your fabric.


Trace a button shirt to make a DIY baladi dress


Trace the neckline which is below the collar as best as you can.


Then continue to trace the shoulder line. If your shirt is fitted, simply trace as it is. Mine is very loose, so I moved the shirt over by 1in.


Make a DIY baladi dress pattern


Trace the arm hole and the side.


From the end of the neck line, measure and mark your measurements from the bottom of your neck to hips and to the floor.


At the measurement to the hips, measure ¼ of your hip measurement from the fold.


Shaping custom baladi dress DIY


Connect the line from tracing your shirt with your hip measurement mark with a smooth line. With this measurement, your dress is going to be a little loose fit. If you want more fitted, you can take out 1/2in – 1in or so, if you want looser, you can add 1/2in – 1in.


Then you can take it all the way down to the floor line, and connect it to the fold line.


And from the bottom, measure your slit length.


Many baladi or saidi dresses are straight skirts. But for this one, I wanted a bit more dress like look and a little coverage at the slits, so I gave it a little flare by adding 15 degrees from the top of the slit. And measured the length of the slit along the 15 degree line and connect it to the bottom of the skirt.


Add flare to DIY baladi dress


Add a 1/2in (1cm) seam allowance to all sides except for the fold.


Cut along the line both layers together, and add a notch at the top of the slit. You have the back panel ready.


How to make a baladi dress - back panel


Now we’ll repeat this with the front part of your shirt.


Make sure you trace the neckline below the collar as accurately as you can.


I moved the shirt again to make it more fit, and trace the sides.


Measure the measurements from the bottom of your neck to the hips and the floor from 1.5in (4cm) below the top of the shoulder line.


How to make a baladi dress - front panel


Then the rest is the same. Connect to the hip line, add a flare, add a seam allowance, and cut.


Now you have the front panel.


Next, fold the fabric again, and place one of the shirt sleeves against the fold so that the shoulder side is on the fold of the fabric.


Trace the sleeve about half way, and the style of sleeves is very different from here, so just mark the length of the sleeve, and connect with a straight line.


How to make a baladi dress - sleeves


Mark the halfway point on the fold and add a 1/2in (1cm) seam allowance all the way around.


How to make DIY saidi dress sleeves


Cut along the lines. Add a notch at the fold to indicate the mid point, and also cut along the fold to the halfway mark from the end of the sleeve.


How to make DIY baladi dress sleeves


Repeat this one more time to make another sleeve.


How to make DIY saidi dress long sleeves


Okay, 2 more things to go!


Trace the mandarin collar pattern twice against the fold, and cut. If you’re using fabric with stripes or other patterns, be aware of which way you’re cutting the fabric. Generally speaking, stripes go vertically for baladi dresses.


DIY Mandarin Collar


How to make a Mandarin Collar for baladi saidi dress


And finally cut a rectangle panel for the placket. The placket is the overlapping section at the neckline of this dress. This rectangle should be 5 1/2in by 15in (14cm by 38cm). This makes a 14in (35.5cm) opening at the neckline. And the placket will be 1in (2.5cm) wide.


On the wrong side of the rectangle panel, mark these lines. (centre, 1/2in from centre, 1/2in from bottom, 1/2in triangle at centre) These will come in handy when we sew. And cut along the 2 lines at the bottom.


Free placket pattern


Now you have all parts of the baladi dress ready. Here is a good place to call it a day. In my next video which will come out next week, I’ll show you how to assemble all pieces together.


If you liked what you saw so far, please share this post with your dancer friends!


And if you’re curious about the Dina style bra I’m wearing under the baladi dress, I have a brand new course on making a Dina Bra from scratch. If you’re curious, learn more here.


Dina Bra from scratch

Click on the image to check out the Dina Bra from Scratch premium course!


Thanks for reading, and keep sparkling!


P.S. Pin this image for a future reminder 🙂

DIY Baladi Dress Saidi Dress with mandarin collar and placket pt 1


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  6 comments for “DIY Baladi Dress with mandarin collar & placket – part 1: Measure & Cut!

  1. Leah
    April 14, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    It is a super cute dress. Thank you for sharing!

    • Mao
      April 14, 2017 at 5:54 pm

      Thanks, Leah! My pleasure 😀

  2. Mai
    April 14, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    Nice dress! Liked how you used a shirt to help draft it.

    • Mao
      April 17, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      Thank you! Glad you liked it, Mai! 😀

  3. Atinuke
    April 18, 2017 at 1:54 am

    So lovely! Thanks for sharing this.

    • Mao
      April 21, 2017 at 11:47 am

      Thank YOU, Atinuke! 😀

Comments are closed.