You’re Going to Adore This DIY Summer Dress

Jess Dang
by Jess Dang
6 Materials
3 Hours

I’m going to show you how to make this fresh and flowy DIY summer dress with a stunning open back. This DIY summer dress tutorial is perfect for beginners, and you don’t need a DIY summer dress pattern for this, just some measuring tape to measure different areas of your body. Simple, huh? So without further ado, let’s get the show rolling and make a DIY summer dress together!

Tools and materials:

  • Cotton fabric
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk
Sew a DIY summer dress

Create the bust piece

So, I’m starting with the bust piece. I measured the length from my bust to the waistline and the circumference of my bust, too. This was 20 cm (8 inches) and 80 cm (31 inches), respectively. Go ahead and measure yourself and cut your fabric accordingly. I also took off 2 cm (0.8 inches) from the width, so be sure to do the same. 


If you use a different metric system, feel free to convert to inches using this online conversion tool

How to sew a DIY summer dress

Once you have your rectangular piece cut out, you’ll need to create the shape of the bodice itself by measuring and marking certain lines. It’s best to see how I do this on my video tutorial, starting from 1:27 minutes. 

Simple DIY summer dress

When you’re done creating the bust, go ahead and cut out the outline. 

Make a DIY summer dress

Next, fold your front bust piece on the second line from the side, pin this line, and fold over to the next line, as shown. 

How to make a DIY summer dress

Then, draw a curved line as shown. This will create the bust area for the top. The curvature of this line will depend on the size of your actual bust; if it’s small, medium, big. 

DIY summer dress tutorial

Then, sew it in place as shown. Also, repeat this on the second line on the other side of the front bodice. 

DIY summer dress pattern

Now, draw a small triangle starting from the first line on the side. Measure from the top and add a 1 cm (0.4 inches) curve. 

Sew along this curve and repeat this on the other side. 

Finally, connect the front and back pieces, pinning down the edges, and making sure the pieces are right sides facing. 

Make the straps

Cut out two strips of 4cm x 70cm fabric. Fold each side inwards and fold in half. Then sew along the edge of the strap. 

Add the straps, place them in between your bodice pieces, and pin each end to the front and back bodice pieces. 

Sew the bodice

Sew the top of the bodice piece and the bottom side pieces, leaving a gap in the middle. 

Make the skirt

Measure your hip size and the length of the skirt, starting from the under-bust to over the knee. Cut a rectangle- this will be for the front side of the dress. 

At one of the edges of the width, sew a loose seam and make gathers that will fit the bottom of your bodice. 

For the back part of your dress, add another 2 cm (0.8 inches) to the length of your skirt and measure out your hip size again. Then, cut another rectangle piece based on these measurements. 

At one edge of the width line, measure 4 cm (1.6 inches) down and draw a line straight across; this will be for the fold. 

Fold the fabric twice until the edge reaches the line you just drew—pin to secure. 

Sew along the line to create an encasing for the elastic. 

Next, feed through a 1 ½ cm (0.6 inches) elastic through the encasing. 

Then, sew the ends of the elastic.

Layer the front and backside of the skirt, right sides facing, and sew the side seams. 

Finish off the skirt by hemming the bottom. Fold it in twice, pin it all around, and sew. 

Connect the bodice to the skirt

Pin the side seams of the skirt to the side seams of the bodice piece, as shown. Remember to leave the side tails of the bodice loose.

Then, sew all around to secure in place. 

To connect the other part of the bodice to the dress, check my tutorial from 9:39 minutes. 

Modify the back bodice

The last step is to modify the two back tailpieces of the bodice. Start by folding each tail by about an inch. Pin, and sew as shown. 

Repeat the same for the other side. Basically, what you are doing is creating an encasing so that the strap will feed through both tunnels for a lovely open-back design. 

Your DIY summer dress is complete, and it’s absolutely breathtaking, don’t you think? Everything about it is so lovely; it definitely gives off a fun vibe. The back is just gorgeous, too. So what do you think of this elegant yet simple DIY summer dress? Thanks for tuning in. 

Suggested materials:
  • Coton fabric
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
See all materials

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Join the conversation
 1 comment
  • Leslie Leslie on Jun 18, 2021

    Hi Jess, Fabric can make or break a look and you picked lovely fabric for your sun dress. Great job on the making and thank you for sharing your process.