How to Make a Summer Dress From Scratch in 8 Simple Steps

Made By Deola
by Made By Deola
7 Materials
2 Hours

Summer dresses are the best option for those hot, sticky days. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to make a summer dress that fits you right in all the right places. So, follow along to see how you can make your own summer dress sewing pattern without buying one. Let’s go!

Tools and materials:

  • 2m cotton fabric (2.18 yards)
  • Good-fitting dress
  • Matching thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Chalk
  • Scissors
  • Pins
Tracing a dress for the summer dress sewing pattern

1. Make the summer dress sewing pattern

You have two options to make the dress; the first is to place an existing dress flat on your fabric and trace out the front and back.

DIY summer dress sewing pattern

The second option is to fold the fabric four times and place the folded dress on the fold. 

Pin the dress to the fabric and trace the dress starting at the back neckline. Also, leave a little seam allowance when tracing. 

Stop a few inches above the bottom edge of the DIY summer dress and fold the edge inward. Then, trace. You’ll already have those few inches of length from the ruffles.

Adding seam allowance

Add seam allowance to the shoulder. 

Cutting out the summer dress sewing pattern

Then, cut out your summer dress sewing pattern. 

Cutting out the front neckline

2. Adjust the front neckline

The dress I’m working off has a 2” lower neckline in front, So I’ll work off that. Fold the front piece in half, measure 2” down, and draw a curve from that point to the top. Pin and cut the fabric. 

Making the ruffle pattern

3. Make the ruffles

The ruffles will be twice the dress’ width. For me, the front and back pieces measure 22” long, making 44” in total. So, my ruffles will be 88”. The width is around 15” with 2” for seam allowance. 

Assembling the DIY summer dress

4. Assemble the DIY summer dress

Place both front and back pieces right sides facing and pin the shoulders and sides. Sew to secure. 

Sewing a gathering stitch on the ruffles

5. Prep the ruffles

Hem the ruffles on one side with a double fold. Then, sew a gathering stitch on the other side. Pull on the gathering stitch’ thread and create the ruffles to size. 

Sewing the short ends of the ruffle together

Sew the short ends of the ruffle piece together to make a loop. 

Pinning the ruffles to the bottom of the dress

6. Attach the ruffles

Pin the ruffles to the bottom of the dress. Match the side seams and ensure the edges are right sides facing. Then, sew all the way around. 

Making neck facing for the dress

7. Make the facing

Trace out the front and back neckline on a folded piece of fabric. Ensure that your trace out the shoulder seams, too. 

Cutting out the neck facing

The length of the facing should be 2.5” all around. Draw a curved line to connect the 2.5” markings. Then, cut along the lines. 

Repeat the same for the back neckline and the armhole area

Sewing the neck facing

8. Assemble and attach the facing

Sew the neck facing pieces together at the shoulder seams. 

Pinning the neck facing to the dress

With both the dress and facing piece right sides touching, align the shoulder seams accordingly, pin, and sew. 

Understitching and topstitching

Understitch the facing in place, and topstitch on the seam allowance. Then, flip the facing inside and tack it down. 

Attaching the armhole facings

Repeat the same process for the armholes; sewing the short ends, pinning the facing around the armhole, and stitching it in place with an understitch and topstitch. 

How to make a summer dress

How to make a summer dress

Here’s the final result! I added belt loops and a belt to cinch in the waist, but this is optional.

I hope you found this tutorial on how to sew a summer dress helpful and that you now have the inspiration to sew a summer dress of your own! Thanks for joining me and good luck.

Suggested materials:
  • 2m cotton fabric (2.18 yards)
  • Good-fitting dress
  • Matching thread
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