the perfect "i’m not ready to give up summer!" summer dress

summer seems to be slipping away. kids start school in two weeks, the hot days are less hot, the summer wear i had planned to sew hasn’t been sewn. my mind keeps wandering to fall pencil skirts and the annual halloween costume making. but, i’m not ready to give up summer quite yet and if you aren’t either, here’s the perfect “i’m not ready to give up summer!” summer dress. why is is perfect? it requires little fabric, little planning, no pattern and most importantly… very little time.

being late in the summer i would make this dress in a fabric that can go into fall and be worn with my best friends “legging” and “cardigan”. perhaps you know them too? rayon would be a good choice instead of the summer go-to cotton or anything a little drape-y. if you’re into sewing with knits, that would work well here too. now, grab a measuring tape, some tissue paper, a pencil, a ruler, scissors, etc. and let’s get started!

this is a blouse-y dress with an elasticized waist and neckline. since it is not a form-fitting dress you don’t really have to worry about including extra room in the pattern pieces for seam allowances.

measure your chest over the bust where the neckline will sit. then measure from the neckline over the bust to the waistline and in the back down to the waistline. the total bodice all the way around will be 1.5 times the chest measurement. if you have a large bust, you may want to add a couple inches to the width of the front bodice piece. to make your bodice pieces, start by multiplying your chest/neckline measure by 1.5. on me, my measurement is 32.5″ so 32.5″ x 1.5 = 48.75″. since we need a front and back for the bodice, divide by 2 and round up. the front and back will each be 24.5″ wide. for the height, take the neckline to waist measurement and add 1″. for the back bodice, my measurement is 10″ so i will need a 11″ x 24.5″ pattern piece. for the front i will need a 13″ x 24.5″ pattern piece. then, for the front, curve the edge down at the side seams so that the front and back side seams match up. make sure you allow plenty of room for under your arms. hold the tissue up to your body and make adjustments as needed.

ruffle (optional)
ruffles seem to be everywhere and i thought a little detail would be fun on this dress. make yours as wide or narrow as you want. make multiple rows, make it cascade down the front or leave it off completely. it’s up to you! for this dress, i took the chest measurement we used for the bodice and multiplied it by 2. if you added extra to the bodice width for a larger chest, just make sure to add extra to the ruffle as well. for me, 32.5″ x 2 = 65″. again, since i need a front and back piece, divide by 2 so i need two 32.5″ long rectangles, however wide or narrow you want. so, i guess i really didn’t need to multiply and divide… i’m sure you caught that.

the skirt is just two rectangles. the total width will be about 2 times your waist measurement.  since you need a skirt front and back, just make your pattern piece the length you want (plus a little extra for hemming) by the measurement of your waist. my waist is 28″ so i need a pattern piece 28″ x skirt length cut two times. the total width around the skirt would be 56″

pockets (optional)
in seam pockets are nice but for something different i went with patch pockets. to give a little extra interest, i tapered the sides out slightly but attached the pockets with right angles at the bottom corners so the pocket poufs out slightly at the opening.

so there are your pattern pieces. also needed is bias tape either pre packaged or self made, and 1/4″ elastic.

i apologize for the wordiness and lack of pictures but really this dress is nothing but a bunch of rectangles sewn together and i’ll be back soon to show you how! in the meantime, enjoy the last bits of summer!

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