This Easy Breezy Summer Lounge Dress pattern and tutorial will guide you through the steps of how to sew a perfect summer Maxi Dress. This Summer Lounge Dress is perfect for keeping you cool and comfortable on hot summer days.
The free ladies dress pattern can be made knee length or you can add the optional ruffle to make it maxi-length. Even better, there are no buttons, hooks, zippers or special notions needed. It even has pockets!
The Best Summer Lounge Dress Pattern
Who remembers growing up, their mom’s and grandmas wearing “house dresses” like this one? I admit, I’ve never been a jeans or pants person and I too, love to wear casual, comfy dresses around the house. (I bet I have 5 or 6 of these little numbers in my closet. I usually find them at Ross or TJ Maxx for around $15, and I live in them, lol!) Although nowadays these dresses are mostly referred to as leisurewear, loungewear, or patio dresses. (or as I call them, “my comfy dresses.”)
I wanted to make myself a new dress, one that was casual enough to wear around the house but could also look good out and about. (Depending on fabric choices and dress length, of course.)
Why You Need to Make this Summer Dress!
I am so pleased with how this dress turned out. It’s flowy, easy, and just the perfect dress for summer!
Let me assure you – I’ve tested this dress thoroughly! It sleeps wonderfully on the couch, makes me feel glamorous walking to the mailbox, looks beautiful hanging from the hook on the back of my bathroom door.
The dress is also flowy enough to allow the evening breeze to keep you cool while enjoying your favorite red wine sangria as you watch the birds at the feeder on the back patio.
Even better? The flowiness of this dress is sooo flattering! It hides all the lumps and bumps
The best part is, this dress is actually super easy to sew! There are no buttons, hooks, zippers or special notions needed. It even has pockets for all those misc. items that we tend to pick up around the house.
Because of the flowy-ness and way the bodice can be adjusted, the pattern works for many sizes. I’ve drafted and uploaded two pattern sizes for you to print. S/M (which is what I’m wearing) and Lrg/XL.
*Update 2020: I’ve gained at least 20 pounds since sewing this dress (yes, time for my once every 5-yr diet) and it still fits and looks great. It’s definitely snugger in the bust, but all I had to do is loosen the ties for a more generous fit.
When sewing this dress, you’ll notice the dress pieces are not cut on the fold. I overheard a designer on tv say that the reason many garments have this center seam is that the seam helps the item drape better.
Is this true? I don’t really know, but I thought this would be the perfect pattern to try it out on. This dress does drape and fall prettily, but it’s also has a lot of fabric and is very flowy, so I’m not sure if the center seam contributes to that or not.
How Much Fabric is Needed to Sew this Summer Dress?
Be advised, this pattern, with the added ruffle, uses a lot of fabric! The good thing is you can sew the length to whatever you like. The actual dress pattern I provide falls just below the knee, (on me anyway and I am 5’4.) But I give the option of adding the ruffle in the sewing instructions.
You will need 2.75 yards of a 44-inch wide fabric w/ nap for a knee-length dress. You could get away with a bit less on a wider fabric with no nap. If you want to add the bottom ruffle you would need an additional +/- 1.375 yards of fabric. <Every inch over/under 5’4″ add or subtract 3 additional inches of fabric to that 1.375 yards.>)
If you can find a good deal on fabric, definitely add the ruffle – It makes for an amazing dress! The ruffle does add over a yard to the amount of fabric needed.
What Type of Fabric is Recommended for the Summer Lounge Dress Pattern?
The fabric in my version is cotton lawn, other recommended fabrics are:
- cotton lawn
- double gauze
- lightweight polyester/cotton blends
- knits that are not too clingy, heavy, or thick
I’ve already hit Joann’s and found some cut rayon prints for my next version. (I also plan to make my missy a version with my leftover fabric, but it will have to be a knee-length version since I only have about a yard left.)
You can adjust the tie so the bodice is pulled up high.
Or slightly lower. Whatever you are comfortable with and is most flattering to you.
Ready to Sew Free Summer Lounge Dress Pattern?
Visit my shop (here) and add the free maxi dress pattern to your cart and check out. Keep reading for sewing Instructions.
Easy Breezy Summer Lounge Dress Pattern Sewing Instructions
Materials needed to sew this Lounge Dress:
- fabric (2.75 yards of a 44-inch wide fabric w/ nap for a knee-length dress. You could get away with a bit less on a wider fabric with no nap. If you want to add the bottom ruffle you would need an additional +/- 1.375 yards of fabric. <Every inch over/under 5’4″ add or subtract 3 additional inches of fabric>)
- bias tape (or make your own from your extra fabric
- basic sewing supplies
Products used and Recommended:
- My favorite fabric shop for knits: Funkalicious Fabrics and Girl Charlee. My favorite shop for cottons and other fabrics: Fabric.com.
- My Sewing Machine: SINGER 9960 Quantum Stylist, my coverstitch: Janome Cover Pro 1000cpx
- My Serger: Brother 1034D 3 or 4 Thread Serger or you can just use Pinking Shears
- Rotary Cutter
- I love my large ruler and large cutting mat, but you may prefer to start off with a smaller Cutting set
- Dritz Dual Purpose Marking Pen and Fray Check
- Wonder clips (I didn’t use these in the post, but they are just awesome!
- When printing the pattern, first save the pattern to your pc, then open in adobe reader choose auto/landscape and print at actual size.)
- 1/4 inch seam allowance
- Light, flowy fabrics recommended (rayon, knits, voile, cotton lawn, polyester/silk type fabrics)
- Sew as a knee length dress or add optional ruffle
- Transfer pattern markings, shorten or lengthen if needed by cutting at the specified mark and redraw side seam
Lounge Dress Pattern layout guide (not including optional ruffle):
Step 1. Print pattern, tape together and cut out size needed.
Step 2. Cut pattern pieces from fabric
Dress pieces: Fold the fabric so selvages line up, wrong sides together. Cut 4 main dress pieces (not on the fold!!), transferring the pattern markings. 4 pockets, and 4 facings. (Since the fabric is folded, you will be cutting 2 at a time.)
Fabric tie: Cut fabric strip 74 by 5 inches. (you’ll have to piece 2 strips together.)
Bias tape: Cut a 50-inch strip of fabric for sm/med and 60 inches for the lrg/xl on the bias, 1.5 inches long. (It’s ok to sew together a few pieces to get 50 inches. Since you only need a little, I recommend just lining your fabric up on the bias and cutting a few strips and pressing them by hand to make coordinating bias tape. Store bought double fold bias tape works fine too.)
Step 3. Assemble the Summer Lounge Dress.
Line up 2 dress pieces right sides together and sew along the center front seam. Finish this seam and press.
Starting at the “start sewing here” pattern marking, sew the back 2 pieces together (right sides together and finish this seam) along the center seam. This leaves an opening at the top of dress back, where we will later be applying bias tape.
Line up 2 of the facings pieces (right sides together) and sew. (as shown) This is the facing for the front of the dress.
Line the front of the dress and the front facing together. (right sides together) Sew along the top .25 from the edge.
Press the seam up and top stitch along the facing.
Repeat the facing application for the back dress pieces. (The facings should be in two pieces for the back.)
Add bias tape to back pieces:
Cut 2 pieces of bias tape about 7 inches long. Open bias tape and apply tape to the top of the center seam of the back dress piece. Line the bottom of the bias tape up with the pattern marking “start bias tape here.” Pin in place and sew along the 1st fold of the tape.
Fold bias tape around the edge of fabric and sew in place. Repeat this step on the other side of the dress back.
Sew the two sides together as shown below and continue sewing down the back dress piece center seam until you meet up with the original “start sewing here” pattern marking. Finish this seam and press.
Step 4: Adding the pockets and sewing dress together.
Right sides together, line up the top of the pocket with the pocket markings. Sew along the edge of the pocket a scant .25 inches from the edge.
Finish this seam.
Fold pocket open and press.
Line up front and back dress pieces and sew along the sides and around the pockets. Finish this seam and press everything including seam edges around pockets.
Step 5: Adding Bias tape to Armscye.
Apply bias tape around the edges of both arm armscyes.
Step 6: Create Casing.
Finish the edge of the facing by serging or folding the edge over .25 inches. (I tested it both ways in the photo above, just use your preferred method.)
Fold facing over on the seam and press. Trim up any uneven pieces.
Sew along the bottom edge.
Step 7: Make the Fabric tie.
Line the fabric strips up right sides together. Cut the ends of the strip at a slight angle.
Sew the strip together all the way around the edges, leaving a 2-inch gap in the middle.
Flip the fabric strap right side out and press. Sew the opening closed.
Use a safety pin or bodkin to thread the fabric tie through the casing.
If making a knee length dress, hem and you are finished!
Optional Step 8: Adding a bottom ruffle.
Try on the dress, adjust fabric straps and dress to the right place. Measure from bottom seam to the location of the desired hemline. Add one inch for seam allowances and hem.
Cut strips the height of your measurement by 130 inches wide. (For me that was almost 3 full widths of fabric sew together.)
Hem or serge the bottom (1/2 inch hem allowance included in measurement.)
Sew a gathering stitch along the top of the ruffle strip.
Gather fabric, until the ruffle is the same width as the bottom of the dress.
Right sides together, pin raw edge of ruffle to bottom of dress.
Sew along gathering line. Flip fabric right side out and press.
That’s it, you are done! Try on your new dress.
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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.