How to Sew a Cute Spring and Summer Dress

9 Materials
2 Hours

I made this cute DIY summer dress from just 1.25 yards (1 meter) of polyester jersey. It would look lovely in any lightweight fabric that drapes well, too.

The halter neck dress pattern is very simple to draft - just two curves are needed, for the armholes and neckline.

A serger would make it even faster to sew but if you don't have one, you can finish all your raw edges with a zigzag stitch.

Tools and materials:

  • 1.25 yds (1 m) of 60" (150 cm) wide lightweight fabric
  • Measuring tape
  • Tailor's chalk
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Screwdriver
  • Large safety pin
  • Sewing machine
  • Serger (optional)
Drafting pattern

1. Draft the pattern

I give the measurements for European size 38 - 40, but it's easy to adapt them for any size.

Cut a rectangle of fabric 34 inches (86 cm) wide by 56 inches (140 cm) long.

Fold it in half widthways and in half again. Lay it out with the folded edge towards you.

Measure and mark 7.5 inches (19 cm) from one side along the long open edge and 4 inches (10 cm) down the same side edge. 

Join the marks with a long curve, for the armholes.

Drafting pattern

Mark 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the same side edge along the folded edge and join it to the top of the armhole curve. 

Drafting pattern

Pin the layers of fabric together to prevent them from slipping, and cut along both lines.

Shaping armhole

2. Shape the back armhole

Open out the two pieces of fabric and put one aside for the front.

Refold the back and mark two finger widths from the armhole along the top edge.

Taper from the mark into the lower curve of the armhole and cut along the new line.

Joining the side seams

3. Join the side seams

Open the front and back pieces and place them together, with the right sides facing. 

Pin and sew the side seams and finish the raw edges.

Armholes and neckline

4. Armholes and neckline

Serge or zigzag stitch along the raw edges of the armholes and necklines.

Turn a narrow hem around the armholes and sew it in place.

Armholes and neckline

Fold the front and back necklines into the wrong side by 2 inches (5 cm).

Armholes and neckline

Sew two rows of stitching, one row along the raw edge and the second row approximately half an inch (1.25 cm) from the folded edge.

Strap and belt

5. Strap and belt

Cut two strips of fabric, both 2 inches (5 cm) wide. Cut one 59 inches (150 cm) long to create the halter strap.

Make the other long enough to wrap around your waist and tie in a bow.

Fold the strap in half lengthways with the right sides together.

Sew together along all the open edges, leaving approximately 2 inches (5 cm) open in the middle of the long edge.

Trim the excess fabric at the corners and across the short ends.

Strap and belt

Use a screwdriver or similar tool to push the closed ends through the center opening, to turn the strip right side out.

Sew the opening closed.

Make the belt in the same way, and press both strips.

Inserting the strap

6. Insert the strap

Use a safety pin to thread the strap through both necklines, between the two rows of stitching.

Gather the front and back necklines evenly, and tie the strap over one shoulder.


7. Finishing

Turn up a narrow double hem at the bottom of the dress, and sew in place.

Wrap the belt around the waist of the dress and tie in a bow.

DIY spring summer dress

DIY spring summer dress

DIY spring summer dress 

How long does it take to sew a dress? In this case, about 2 hours!

And then you have a cool, pretty dress for the spring and summer, from just over a yard (1 meter) of fabric.

You could make one in a sheer seersucker to wear as a beach cover-up, or in a silky satin for a night out. It's a versatile and very simple pattern for a halter neck dress.

I hope you enjoy making it - let me know in the comments if you do!

Follow me on TikTok:  @tugbaisler and check out my post on  How to DIY a Cute Twist Hair Band.

Suggested materials:
  • 1.25 yds (1 m) of 60" (150 cm) wide lightweight fabric
  • Measuring tape
  • Tailor's chalk
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