Make a Sweet Summer Sundress in any size with this Ruffled Sundress Tutorial!
I’ve had this cute black and white Chevron fabric sitting in my stash for a while now. I only had one yard, so I didn’t think I could make anything for myself. (Actually, I could have squeezed a top out of this since the fabric was around 60 inches wide, but I probably wouldn’t wear a top with chevron stripes running side to side; it is much better suited for my daughter, who would look cute no matter what, lol)
(Looking for more free patterns for little girls? Be sure to check out my free patterns and tutorials page here.)
My little Missy has been requesting a strapless dress.
I’ve tried explaining to her that a strapless dress wouldn’t stay up! I thought this fabric would make a perfect little sundress or tunic top, so I made her the next best thing to strapless and added skinny spaghetti straps.
When I first had her try it on, she resisted a bit because of the straps, but I showed her that I made the top extra tight and she could tuck the straps in when we were at home, but when out and about, she had to keep the straps on to avoid wardrobe malfunctions…
How cute is this outfit? We already had these pink leggings, so I made a shorter, more of a tunic top instead of a dress and used pink fabric for the straps and belt.
The best part of this dress (or top) is that you can make it in any size!
It’s so easy and doesn’t require a pattern!
I totally want one for myself. My only recommendation is that if you are busty, you may want to leave off the ruffle, especially if you use a stiff cotton fabric.
I’m top-heavy, so in a dress for me, I plan to use a slinky jersey or drapey stretch knit. Using fabric that lays close to the body, I could keep the ruffle and just add a few inches to its length so the bottom of the ruffle hits below my bust line, but above the belt/waistline. (I finally made one sans-ruffle here.
Are you ready to make this sundress? You are going to love how simple it is!
Sweet Summer Sundress Tutorial:
- Fabric (1 to 2.5 yards depending on size, length, and width of fabric. I will go into more detail below in the measure and cut section below. The chevron knit fabric I used came from Girl Charlee.)
- Elastic (1/4 to 1/2 inch wide. – Tweens and younger can get away with 1/4 inch, larger sizes should use 1/2 inch)
- scissors, ruler, measuring tape and other basic sewing supplies (ball point needle if sewing w/ knits)
(seam allowance is 1/4 inch unless otherwise noted.)
Step 1: Measure and cut.
Main dress piece:
- Tweens and younger: Measure around the widest part of the chest. Multiply this number by 1.75. This will be the width of the fabric.
- For adults, we don’t necessarily want a ton of fabric (too much fabric will look bulky around the waist…) We just need to make sure we have enough fabric so it doesn’t fit too snugly over the bust line or hips. Measure around the widest part (bust or hip) and multiply this number by 1.55)
If you are using a 60-inch wide piece of fabric, you might be able to get away with one piece. If you need to cut two pieces to get your desired width, add an extra 1/2 inch to account for seam allowances
To calculate length, measure from the armpit to the desired length and add 3/4 inch for hem and seam allowances. (An adult 5′ 4″ and under with a bust/hip measurement less than 40 could get a maxi dress with 2 yards of 60-inch wide fabric.)
Cut out the main dress pieces.
- Tweens and younger: Cut a piece of fabric the same width as the main dress piece by 4.75 inches.
- Adults: You could choose to leave off the ruffle or make it longer by a few inches. (I am 5′ 4″ and would probably cut my ruffle to at least 10 inches and could shorten it later if needed.)
- Tweens and younger: Cut 2 pieces of fabric 1.75 inches by 36 inches.
- Adults: Double the length; you can trim to the desired length later.
- Tweens and younger: Cut a strip of fabric 4 inches by 66 inches ( I pieced together 2 33 inch pieces.)
- Optional: Adults: Decide how wide you want your belt and double that measurement. (If you want a 3 inch wide belt, you will cut your fabric 6 inches wide.) Depending how long you want your tie, you may want to start at around 96 inches – you can always trim it later.
- Measure under your armpit (above the bust line.) Subtract 1 inch from this number and cut your elastic to this length.
Step 2: Assemble the Dress:
Right sides together, sew up the sides of the main dress piece. Finish this seam with a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine, serger or pinking shears.
Create a narrow hem at the bottom of the ruffle by folding over 1/4 inch, press, fold over another 1/4 inch and press again. If you have a serger, you could do a rolled hem, like I did, or leave it raw if sewing with knits.
Sew the ruffle together the same way as the main dress piece.
With the right sides of the fabric facing down, line up the top edges of the main dress piece and ruffle. Sew along the edge using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.
Flip the ruffle over to the right side and press.
To create the casing for a 1/4 inch wide elastic, measure down a scant 1/2 inch and sew a line all the way around the top of the dress, through the ruffle and main dress piece. Leave a 1 to 2-inch gap to insert the elastic. (If you use 1/2 inch elastic, create a 3/4 inch wide casing.)
Thread the elastic through the casing using a safety pin or other tool.
Use a safety pin to hold the elastic together, and try on the dress! Make sure it is not going to fall down, then you can sew the elastic together and sew the casing closed.
Step 3: Adding straps and belt
Fold the strap fabric together, as shown below.
Fold over one more time and sew along the edge.
Fold the straps in half, find the middle, and cut them in half to have four strap pieces.
Try on the dress and mark where you want the straps to be.
Pin the straps in place and sew above and below the elastic.
Do this for all four straps and tie a knot at the end of the straps.
Sew the belt together using the same method (except fold the ends in, instead of tying knots.)
To hold the belt in place, you can make a little belt loop using an embroidery needle and thread. Or try the dress on and pin the belt in place and attach it with a few stitches on each side of the dress.
On my daughter’s dress, I did not add an elasticized waistband, I let the belt cinch the fabric in.
When I make this dress for myself, I will add shirring to help define the waistline. To do this, I will try on the dress and mark where I want the shirring to be.
Hem the bottom of the dress with a 1/4 inch hem, and you are done!
|These were some of the last pictures. I had asked her to sit still while I fiddled with my camera settings. She asked if she could move her toes, I said yes, and she thought it was the funniest thing!|
Let me know if you make one! You can share your pictures and links in my private Facebook sewing group.
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About the Author
Jamie Sanders is a wife and mom of 2, located in the heart of Texas. She founded Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom in 2011 as a place to share creative ideas and family friendly recipes. Her work has been featured on Martha Stewart, Woman’s World, HuffPost, TODAY, Pioneer Woman, HGTV, CNET, Good Housekeeping, Yahoo, Oprah Daily, and Redbook, plus many other publications. To date, she had given away just under a million free pdf sewing patterns.