New pattern: the zero waste Ursa Dress

Hi Everyone, I have another new zero waste pattern: introducing the Ursa Dress.

It’s in my little Etsy shop now; please enjoy 25% off during November.

Ursa is an easy-to-wear dress that slips on over the head. The dress has minimal seams and is designed to show off beautiful fabric while wasting none of it.

It’s designed for 105cm/41″ – 115/45″ wide woven fabrics with drape, such as washed silk, georgette, crepe, viscose, wool challis, tencel, floppy satin, very soft lightweight cottons and linens, and lightweight boiled wool.

In vintage silk (early 1970s?) from the op shop.

It features a cowl neck that flows into a front drape, extended sleeves with underarm gussets and a back split. The fit is loose and comfortable.

The dress comes in twelve sizes, from a 92cm/36″ hip to a 147cm/58″, and can be made in bigger sizes if needed.

Ursa dress in challis
In some sort of drapey wool blend from the op shop (going by the print, circa 80s?).
Ursa dress in drapey wool blend
In a lightweight wool blend.
The dress suits long necklaces like this one and very short necklaces that sit inside the neckline.
Ursa dress in silk georgette from Tessuti
In very lightweight silk crepe de chine from Tessuti.
The Ursa is a great travelling dress in a fine fabric – it rolls up small and slips into a corner of your luggage. This particular dress rolls up small enough to fit in a coffee cup.
Ursa dress in gold satin
In gold satin polyester from Spotlight. Just right for a New Year’s Eve party!
Ursa dress in boiled wool
Northern Hemisphere friends, I didn’t forget you!
Here’s the Ursa dress in boiled wool from Minerva’s Bower. It looks wonderful filling in the front of a coat. I can’t wait for winter again!
Ursa dress with a belt
The dress looks good belted too, in any fabric.
Ursa dress minimalist
It looks very minimalist with the cowl drawn straight across (and pinned with a brooch?). A bit like the clean, uncluttered lines of Jil Sander, I thought.

It’s a fairly quick dress to make. The boiled wool one only took 1.5 hours to cut and machine sew (and then I handsewed the hems later) because there was no need to neaten any seams.

The Ursa dress doesn’t have any pattern pieces to print out and tape together; the pieces are drawn straight onto the fabric according to the written instructions (but you could make a paper pattern if you wanted to). The instructions are in metric and imperial.

Ursa dress sketch


UPDATE: Take a look at Sewing Elle’s Ursa dress here.

PS – If you’re reading this because you’re making an Ursa dress, here’s a video of sewing the gussets in, edited by my 11 year old whiz kid. She told me I’ll never get to 1000 subscribers with content this boring, but I told her that it’s not entertainment.


  1. Martha on December 8, 2020 at 1:38 am

    how lovely. off to shop your etsy shop!

    • lizhaywood on December 8, 2020 at 8:35 am

      Cheers Martha!

  2. Fadanista on December 8, 2020 at 9:59 am

    Another triumph!

    • lizhaywood on December 8, 2020 at 3:19 pm

      Cheers Sue! It could be my new fav dress 🙂

      • Sue Edwards on December 8, 2020 at 9:17 pm

        I learnt so much from watching this…thank you!!

      • lizhaywood on December 9, 2020 at 9:24 am

        Thank you, that’s excellent to hear 🙂

  3. Helen Sampson on December 8, 2020 at 11:07 am

    Tell your 11year old whiz kid that it was totally NOT boring! Loved seeing you sew again – you make it look so easy! And I love the pattern too!

    • lizhaywood on December 8, 2020 at 3:19 pm

      I will tell her!!!!!

  4. Terri Gardner on December 11, 2020 at 3:16 am

    I so like the simplistic elements of this and I really loved the video. I have never done a gusset of any kind-ever! This looks to be another one that will have to be on my make list. Hopefully, this time I will be calm and cool waiting for it to download 🙂

    • lizhaywood on December 11, 2020 at 9:42 am

      Thanks Terri! I think it’s a bit “you”.
      My video editor will be pleased 🙂

  5. Elaine on December 11, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    So lovely to see this delightful dress on a variety of sized models. You all look lovely and so much easier to see if I think something would suit me. I read your blog often Liz and am just fascinated with the zero waste concept. I will get there, one day :O)

    • lizhaywood on December 11, 2020 at 8:10 pm

      Many thanks for reading Elaine. I am lucky to have such obliging models who are all a lot of fun.
      Alas there are very few women of colour in this rural area (and not everyone wants to be a model) however I can still strive for diversity in body shape and age.

  6. Judith on January 22, 2021 at 10:20 am

    I love the idea of zero waste and this dress looks really flattering. I have some drapy but heavy herringbone linen in my stash. Would it work with that? I’m still quite new to sewing and have made mistakes with fabric choices.

    • lizhaywood on January 22, 2021 at 10:40 am

      Hi Judith, thank you. Without feeling and seeing the fabric I can only say it works fine with heavy fabrics but drape is a must – try holding it up in front of the mirror to see if it will drape enough to your liking. Linen gets drapier and softer the more it’s worn and washed.
      Best wishes for your sewing adventures 🙂

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