See How I Made This Gorgeous Summer Meadow Dress With Applique

by Loepsie
8 Materials
3 Hours

I recently saw this Oscar de la Renta dress that I absolutely fell in love with. What I didn’t love, though, was the $6,000 price tag on it. So instead, I decided to use that dress as inspiration and to create a homemade dress based on the style. It didn’t turn out exactly the same, but I’m not a huge fan of recreating things exactly, anyway. All in all, I’m quite happy with the look of my dress, so keep reading to see how I made it.

Tools and materials:

  • Linen fabric
  • Appliques
  • Old bedsheet
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing machine
Linen summer dress
Make the pattern

Before using my material, I wanted to make sure I had the right shape. So I grabbed an old bedsheet and made a mockup of the dress. I measured across my chest and figured out the way I wanted the material to drape. I realized in doing this, that I wasn’t going to be able to do it all in one piece, and that I was going to have to make a front and a back because I needed more seams. I folded over the fabric and marked the center back, and cut it there, then added some darts.

Floral linen summer dress
Transfer the pattern

Once I was satisfied with the mock-up, I traced the pattern onto some pattern paper and cut it out. I then transferred the pattern onto the fabric by pinning the pieces to the fabric and cutting the fabric around the pattern. 

Easy linen summer dress
Pin together the bodice

I pinned together the fabric pieces for the bodice and tried it on to make sure I was happy with the fit. I added the darts as needed, without worrying about how they might look. If the darts ended up looking weird, I knew I could just cover them with one of the patches. Once I was happy with the way it looked and fit, I sewed it all together, then ironed the fabric flat. I also made and attached straps to the bodice, by folding and stitching rectangles of fabric.

Linen summer dress with applique
Make and add the skirt

After comparing the inspiration photo to skirts in my closet, I came to the conclusion that the skirt of the dress was not a full circle skirt, but it also didn’t look like a half-circle. So I decided to make it a ¾ circle. I measured and drew the skirt out on my fabric then cut it out, before pinning and sewing it to the bodice. I then added the zipper and was ready to finish the seams. 

How to hand-finish seams
Hand-finish seams

Because of the way this dress was made, I had to finish the seams by hand. I like to do this by taking the bottom piece of fabric from the seam and trimming it down to about half what it was before. Then I take the top piece of fabric from the seam and fold it onto the bottom piece. Next, I stitch along the edge, where it meets the dress. For the sewing part, I pick up one individual fiber from the dress and take my needle through the seam. Then I repeat this process all the way through, leaving me with an almost invisible seam. 

Linen summer dress with patches
Add the applique

The last thing I had to do was to add the applique. I took the patches and pinned them where I wanted them along the bodice of my dress. I chose to keep most of the patches on the top because I didn’t think their stiffness would work well with the flowy part of the dress. Once I was satisfied with their placement, I ironed on the ones that needed to be ironed and sewed the others into place. 

DIY linen dress with patches

I’m quite happy with the way this dress turned out! It came out very different than the inspiration dress, and I didn’t get the fit quite right, but I do think it’s a great dress. It’s perfect for summer, with the airiness of the linen material and the fact that it’s sleeveless. I do actually want to add more patches, so I’m going to have to order some new ones. What do you think? Would you wear this dress? Let me know in the comments! 

Suggested materials:
  • Linen fabric
  • Appliques
  • Old bedsheet
See all materials

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Join the conversation
2 of 23 comments
  • Adrienne Adrienne on Mar 11, 2023

    Love it! You should learn how to sew a “French Seam” to avoid all that handwork you do and the bulk it creates on lightweight fabrics. It looks much more professional as well. Great on sheer fabrics and very easy to do

  • Anne Anne on Mar 12, 2023

    You did a great job 👏👏👏👏👏💐