How to Make a Summer Dress Out of a Cotton Bed Sheet

8 Materials
3 Hours

I will show you how to make a summer dress, perfect for those hot days! This upcycling tutorial is super fun, as I’ll use an old cotton bed sheet for this DIY. So, grab your tools and materials, and sew a summer dress with me!

Tools and materials:

  • Cotton fabric or bed sheet
  • Sewing machine
  • Measuring tape
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Rotary cutter or scissors
  • Chalk
  • Ruler
Back bodice pattern

Front bodice pattern

1. Make the front and back bodice

The width of the back bodice should be ¼ of your bust measurement + 1cm (0.39”). Mine is 25cm (9.84”). The front pieces should measure ¼ of your bust + 6cm (2.36”). Mine came out to 30cm (11.81”). The length for both front and back pieces is 36cm (14.17”). 

Assembling the bodice

2. Assemble the bodice

Place the two front bodice pieces on top of the back (right sides facing), pin the sides, and sew to secure. 

Summer dress sewing pattern

Measure 15cm (5.90”) down and 5cm (1.96”) across from each corner of the bodice. 

Cutting across the marks

Connect these marks and cut them across. 

Cutting the other side

Place the cut-out piece on the other side and cut.

Placing pins, ready to sew

Fold the whole piece so that both the front edges align. Measure 12cm (4.72”) from the side and mark. Then, place pins along the remaining end, and sew to secure. 

Pinning the edge, ready to sew

Flip the bodice to the center. Fold the unsewn edges, pin, and sew. 

Making a tunnel for the elastic

To make the tunnel for the elastic, fold the top edges over by 2cm (0.78”), pin, and sew. 

Strap pattern

3. Make the strap pattern

Here’s the strap pattern for the DIY summer dress. Cut four of these measuring 50cm x 2.5cm (19.68” x 0.98”), sew them, and turn them to the right side.

Attaching straps and elastic

4. Attach the straps and elastic

Feed the straps through the front bodice tunnels, and pin the edges. Then, cut a 25cm (9.84”) long elastic and feed it through the back piece’s tunnel. Sew all edges to secure the ends of the elastic and straps.  

Making and attaching the sleeves

5. Make and attach the sleeves

Here are three styles of sleeves you can choose for this DIY summer dress. You’ll need two pieces of whatever style you desire. 

Three-quarter length sleeve with a medium puff

I’m going for the three-quarter sleeve with a medium puff, measuring 40cm x 30cm (15.74” x 11.81”). 

Cutting out the armholes

Once you have your sleeve patterns, cut out the armholes like you did on the bodice. Fold both sleeve pieces in half and measure the non-folded edge. Connect the 5cm (1.96”) and 15cm (5.90”) mark, and cut.

How to sew a summer dress

Pinning the raw edges

Pin the raw edges of each sleeve and sew. 

Sewing a tunnel for the elastic

Fold the narrow end of the sleeve’s raw edges by 2cm (0.78”). Pin and sew all around to make a tunnel for the elastic. 

Tip: When folding the edges in, tuck the raw edge inside. Like this, you won’t have to overlock it. 

Feeding elastic through the gap

Feed the elastic through the gaps with a safety pin. Pin the ends and sew. 

Aligning the center seam with the side seam

Align the sleeve’s center seam to the side seam of the bodice and pin. 

Pinning the edges and sewing

Pin the rest of the edges together and sew. 

Making the skirt pattern

6. Make the skirt pattern

Measure the width of your hips and add 20cm (7.87”). Also, add your desired length. My measurement is 117cm (46.06”) wide and 50cm (19.68”) long. 

Pinning the sides, ready to sew

Cut one long piece, pin the sides, and sew.

Making the ruffle

Now, make the ruffle part. Mine is the same width as the skirt and 35cm (13.77”) long. 

Pinning the sides of the ruffle

Cut one long piece, pin the sides, and sew. 

Assembling the DIY summer dress

7. Assemble the DIY summer dress

Sew a basting stitch along the top edge of both the skirt and ruffle piece, and gather the fabric to create small ruffles. The circumference should be the same as the bodice’s bottom edge.

Place the gathered edge of the smaller skirt piece to the bodice’s bottom edge, right sides facing. Ensure the shorter piece is placed outside of the bodice. 

DIY summer dress tutorial

Next, place the longer skirt piece inside the bodice (right sides facing). Align the ruffled edge to the other two layers. 

Tip: Align the seams of all three pieces. 

Pinning through three layers of fabric

Pin through three layers and leave a gap. 

How to make a cute summer dress

DIY easy summer dress tutorial

Feeding elastic through the waist

Cut elastic to your waist measurement and feed it through the gap you left open. Use a safety pin for this step. 

Pinning and sewing the elastic ends

Pin the ends of the elastic and sew. 

Finishing off the sleeves

8. Finish off the sleeves

Fold the end of the sleeves by 2cm (0.78”), pin, and sew. 

Cutting elastic to your arm measurement

Feeding the elastic through the tunnel

Cut a thick elastic to your arm’s measurement and feed it through the tunnel you just created. 

Sewing the ends of the elastic

Sew the ends and repeat on the other sleeve. 

Hemming the dress

9. Hem the dress

Hem the dress with a double fold. 

How to make a summer dress

How to make a summer dress

Here’s the final result! What do you think of this fun and trendy DIY summer dress? I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to make a summer dress, and you now have some inspiration to make your own! Good luck. 

Suggested materials:
  • Cotton fabric or bed sheet
  • Sewing machine
  • Measuring tape
See all materials

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