Thursday, August 9, 2012

How to make a simple sundress

 Way back in May when my sewing was hit and miss with the morning sickness and all I needed was a super easy project. So I made a quick and easy sundress, with every intention of sharing easy ways ANYONE can make a quick pattern and whip up a sundress. Well now it August... what happened? Still the length can be made to any length you want so it can be made long and then on colder fall days you can throw a cardi on or a shirt underneath and you are good to go.
 The dress is a simple bodice and simple skirt with a button closure in the back.
A nice quick and easy project that can be done in less than an hour, and really so easy even a beginner can give it a go.
 The best thing is that there isn't really a "wrong" way to make the dress so it's easy to work through it and end up with a lovely dress for any age.
 To make the pattern for the bodice you will take a few quick measurements. I typically make a paper pattern then if it turns out just right you have one to use over and over.
You will want to measure the chest at the widest part, add 1.5 inches to that measurement which is seam allowance and wiggle room. Then divide in half. That will be the width of the bottom of the bodice. So for example if the chest measurement is 20 inches then add the extra width and it will be 21.5 inches divide that in half and the bodice width will be 10 3/4 inches.

Next you want to know the armpit depth to get that measure from the top of the shoulder to under the middle of the armpit, keep in mind how far down you go is the depth of the arm hole so allow for some extra room, and add in seam allowance at the shoulder height.

Then measure across the neck so you know how wide to make the neck opening.

Lastly determine how tall you want the bodice to be like where on the chest you want it to end. That will be the over all height of the bodice.

Sound like a lot? It's not too bad, the basic shape of the bodice piece should look like the one above. You can fold the bodice piece in half to check that you are even on both sides.

You will cut two for the front and two for the back. Then I cut the back pieces in half.

Now for the skirt piece you have options. A gathered skirt is super easy with very little measuring, take the bottom bodice measurement and multiply it by 2 so for the earlier example it would be 10 3/4 inches X 2, so 21.5 inches for the width and then the length should be your desired length (from chest to length) plus 2 inches.
Cut 2 of those.

Now let's sew.
 This is the "fast forward" version of sewing since I for some reason took very few pictures... Anyway sew a front and back pieces right sides together at the shoulder. Do this for both sets of front and back so you have to matching bodice pieces. Then with right sides together match the two bodice pieces together so the front matches the front and back matches the back. (as shown above) Then sew the two together along the black dotted lines.

*Just a note you can have fun with the bodice lines, I made the bottom edge curved on this one for something different.
 Then turn the bodice right sides out and match up the under arm piece so the inside and outside match up. Then sew the seam so the underarm seam is sewn with the seam on the inside.

 Now for the skirt pieces sew the front and back at the side seams so you have a large tube. The in the middle back cut a slit down an inch or so and then fold the edges under twice to the back side and sew in place.
 Then you want to gather the top edge of the skirt piece. Sew right sides together so the bodice and skirt match up at the side seams and center back. Then sew them together. You will also want to add a little elastic loop to the back for the closure.

Lastly add a button for the other side of the back and hem the bottom of the skirt.

Want some other options?
Try adding pockets:
Inseam Pockets
Sewn on Pockets

Or add some ruffles

 That's all there is to it, a simple basic sundress in less than an hour.
 Sundresses are great to carry into cooler weather as well with a few layer options
 And with the button closure super easy to slip in and out of.


  1. this is gorgeous Shauna! I hope you are having a great Summer so far, missed seeing you around :). I hope to take a mini break myself soon here. We shall see :).

    Pretty please add this into SewSet when you get a chance! You know I adore your stuff!

    Thank you so much again, you are awesome!

  2. The fabric IS gorgeous! Love this dress too.

  3. Such a cute dress, thanks for the how-to :)

  4. Love it! Simple and adorable. Sure to be worn over and over =)

  5. Thanks for the tips on making a pattern. Your dress is awesome! :)


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