Tutorial: easy summer dress

22.4.11

Hi everyone. I still haven't got round to doing my gold thing. The thing is, because I went away for a few days I kind of lost my motivation. I will finish it eventually! My next update will be the gold thing :|

I wanted to make something floaty with a loose waist... something a little bit like this:



So... this dress will not be fitted. There will be no zippers, darts or anything, so it is definitely easy enough for a beginner. There are pockets in this tutorial but they are easy to do and if you can't be arsed, just ignore that part and move on.

What you need...
This will require a lot of fabric! The bodice on my dress is approx 19 x 15 inches (there are four pieces of fabric for this too so... multiply by four). The fabric required for the top layer of the skirt is 106" x 19" and for the bottom it is 56x15. You will need a bit more fabric if you want to make a ribbon, but if the fabric you're buying is wide, you should be able to just snip a few inches off the bottom (+ you may want a shorter skirt than mine). This dress is lined. I lined mine in the same fabric as I used on the outside (I am using silk from a vintage sari), but you can use different fabric if you like. If you choose to make your inner-skirt the same length and fullness as the outer skirt but in a different fabric, you could end up with a reversible dress (oooh). You will also need a sewing machine and scissors, of course!

What you must do...
For the bodice, you will be cutting on a fold. You do not really need a pattern piece for this, you can just cut straight onto the fabric (although pinning it together in places may be a good idea, up to you).
Cut approximately this shape. The waist should not be narrower than the armhole and should be several inches larger than your actual waist measurement. The waist on my dress was about 38" so I would have cut about 9.5" from the fold (each pattern piece would be 19" across). I cut the neckline quite high so I can cut it according to what looks best when I put it on. I have a tendency of making necklines too low, you see.

You should end up with two identical pieces which look vaguely like this. Now pin one of these pieces to your lining fabric (folded in half once - you do not need to cut on the fold for this) and cut around it so you end up with four identical pieces.

Put each pair together with the wrong sides facing outward. Sew along the shoulders and the sides. You will now have two bodices. At this point you can try them on and fix the neckline.


Sewing the lining to the bodice is the only tricky part, really. It is hard to photograph in such a way that makes it clear what is actually going on haha. The three points at which they must be joined are the neck and armholes. Basically just sew the pieces together, right sides together. In the picture, you can see the shoulder seam from both bodice pieces pressed together. You will sew along this edge so they end up joined together, and do the same for the neck and other armhole.
When you have finished and turn it all inside out, it should look like this. Notice that all of the seams you just sewed are now hidden!
Now cut both skirt layers. You can use the measurements I wrote above, but its up to you. If you are making pockets (oh go on) you will need to cut the outer skirt layer in half. If not, just sew the ends of your big skirt pieces together, creating two circles / loops / tubes!?
For the pockets, fold some fabric and cut this shape out on the fold.
Cut two of them so you have two pockets. They should end up looking like the above.
Place your opened out pocket on one end of one piece of the outer skirt layer (right sides together). Sew down the straight edge. I forgot to photograph this part but sew the other side of the pocket (the other straight edge) to side of the pocket.
I am terrible at drawing diagrams haha but it should look something like this! Do this with both pockets on both halves of the outer skirt so they are all joined together. Now sew up the sides of both skirt pieces from the bottom (the sides in the middle of the diagram should be joined together with the pocket in the middle). When you reach the pocket, leave the opening and continue above the pocket. Sew up the pocket from the fold to the opening. Do this on the other side with the other pocket.
You should now have pockets like this on both sides of the skirt. Sew up the lining skirt in the same way but (obviously) without the pocket. Now set your machine to the longest possible stitch and do one line of stitching along the top of each side of the skirt. Do the same to the lining / bottom layer of the skirt. Take one of the threads and pull it so the fabric bunches up. Make sure each side of the outer skirt is, when gathered, the same length of one side of the bodice so the side seams match up e.g. if your bodice is 19" across, gather your skirt until it is 19". 
The above picture is my gathered lining. Line the edge of the gathered skirt with the bottom edge of the bodice, right sides together. Pin the edges together and sew along the edge, making sure the seams match up. Do this on both sides. With the lining, sew the skirt so the stitching faces the same way as the rest of the lining seams do.
Once you do this, when you turn the whole dress inside out, the skirt attached to the lining should look like this i.e. the same as on the outside.
Hem both outer and lining skirt layers.
Trim and zig zag over all seams (you should be able to get to all of them).
Yay, you are finished. If you want a ribbon, cut a long piece of fabric (mine was approx 40" x 2 1/2"), sew along the whole length, turn it inside out, fold in the ends, stitch over the top and iron.
(this is what I wore today)
Hat: vintage
Glasses, necklace, watch: Asos
Shoes: New Look

BUT add your ribbon, tie up your hair and add tights = instantly ladylike ;D
Easy, yes? I hope this has been helpful!

40 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness this is amazing, and you look gorgeous xx

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  2. Wow this is super impressive! Beautiful dress!

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  3. how great! looks so easy, I need to start sewing :p

    I'm following! Would you like to follow back?*

    http://behindcatiseyes.blogspot.com/

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  4. Oh im hopeless with sewing but really fab tutorial and i just gotta say u're super effing cute! having said i cant use a sewing machine i still do some diy, feel free to drop by :)! <3
    thephilosophyofbeatnies.blogspot.com

    xxx

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  5. fabulous !!

    http://theupperfashion.com

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  6. Very cute I love your blog best thing since thinly slice bread,
    http://prettybabyplease.blogspot.com/

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  7. amazing, nice dress !! and you are so pretty :)
    love your blog,
    new follower ^^

    xx

    http://jennplaysguitar.blogspot.com/

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  8. OMG, girl, you're amazing!! <33


    chlebnasmyczy.blogspot.com

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  9. great tutorial, hope I'll have the chance to try it

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  10. i just started following your blog, and its amazing! i too love to make random bits of clothing, and will definitely try this out out soon :)

    http://senoramanera.blogspot.com/

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  11. it looks so easyy, but i'm afraid i won't manage it ID
    i'll be following youu~

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  12. I just discovered your blog thank to lookbook.nu's facebook page and I love it ! I will follow you :)
    I love your looks and your creations & tutorials, you are very talented!!
    Happy Easter :)
    Mimii

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  13. this is such a good tutorial, so easy! even for someone so sewing-ly challenged as me..
    it looks great as well. following! :)

    http://kaydotoh.blogspot.com/ x

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  14. I'm in love with your dresses and everything! Your syle is soooo amazing! I LOVE IT!

    Following you!

    Xoxo,

    http://audreyisgirlofmydreams.blogspot.com

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  15. This is lovely!!!
    I think I'm gonna try to make my own dress; thanks for your helpful tutorial <3

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  16. Amazing Style. You're quite the pretty one too.
    :]

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  17. Bro, I am genuinely in love with your blog! Amazing amazing! And just in time for my summer-time sewing binge!

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  18. Ok. It is decided. I'm going to definitely try my hand at this dress this summer. That dress looks gorgeous on you! I hope I can find nice fabric. :O

    Hope you're doing great! :) Much love from Seattle. <3

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  19. wow. i really love that dress. <3
    Seems like i need to excavate the sewing machine and resew your tutorial. ;)
    Thanks for that!

    http://elegantly-and-wasted.blogspot.com/

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  20. ....aaaand you have a new follower. I am in love!

    <3
    katja

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  21. Nice!! thank you so much for posting DIY things, i love your blog! is awesome !! That dress is perfect.. soon I will be trying to make it! hope I do it as nice as you did

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  22. I just fell in love with your dress ...! The fabric you choose is just amazing, so jealous, I can't find one as beautiful as yours ! But when I will, I'll surely try our tutorial ! :)

    You are very talented, keep doing what you like, we like it too, haha !

    BTW, you really should do a tutorial for a kimono-like jacket (just like Topshop does), pretty sure you would do it perfectly ... :)

    XX !

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  23. This dress is sooo sweet! I like it and will try do it. :-)

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  24. Soooo.... I'm making the dress, and following the tutorial, then I get to the bit where I've sewn the lining the the main bodice at the arm holes and neck line... I can't turn it right way out, haha. It's impossible. Where have I gone wrong? I thought I followed your instructions to the letter...
    Thanks :)
    Alice

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    Replies
    1. Hello!
      Okay, I've just read over that step and I have to say I REALLY didn't explain it very well. Sorry! I will try to help you out:
      1) Sew the necklines of both bodice pieces together, all the way around.
      2) NOW turn it inside out, so it should look how it does in the picture except for the armholes
      3) Keeping it like that, put your hand between both layers of fabric and grab hold of the edge of the fabric at the armhole
      4) Fold the edges (like 1cm or so) of both layers INWARDS so their right sides are together
      5) Starting at the bottom, where the side seam is, sew the edges of the armhole together
      6) Work your way around but you will need to stop at the top and go from the bottom again like this (http://i39.tinypic.com/2052h44.gif)

      I hope that helps / make sense!

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  25. LOVE this! I am definitely going to feature this on a diy idea post on my blog. I will be sure to link back to this post! <3

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  26. Is it possible to know how many yards someone should buy if they want to make this?

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  27. So, I'm making this and loving it, but I must say I wish that instead of just saying "several inches larger than your waist measurement" you had said "around 5 or 6 inches" larger than waist, bust, whatever(or whatever works here). Probably an incredibly stupid newbie mistake for me to make but I thought that adding 4-5 inches to my waist measurement would be enough- and I did not account for my (overly ample) bust, so the top of my dress is considerably snugger than yours but I think it will still work. Have to find another fabric for the bottom lining so that the skirt will be full enough with my pretty pink on pink polka dot fabric! :D Thanks for sharing!! SECSvsPCOS.blogspot.com

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  28. I finished the dress, posted on my blog about it with links back to you! Thanks so much! See my pink polka dot version here: http://secsvspcos.blogspot.com/

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  29. I just recently acquired a sewing machine. I had no experience in making clothing so I tried this dress (seeing it had no tailoring) and I am very surprised to how well mine came out.. I had a few mishaps such as my neck being way to wide (rectified by cutting part of the middle out and having 2 seam lines down the front over my bust) and I accidentally sewed my lining inside out, but I figure that its lining, no one will see it!! Mine is also much longer than yours (just above my knees) because I'm quite tall and I find that short dresses on me can look a lot shorter. Also, I was intending to put pockets on but I forgot so therefore no pockets, I'm not willing to undo parts of seams to put them in either.

    A great tutorial though!

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  30. AWESOME! Thank you for sharing this with us; I will definitely be making one for myself, and maybe my daughter! Cheers!! bridal fabrics

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  31. Love this dress! Quick question, how many yards of fabric did you use to make it? Like how many yards of the inner liner and how many yards of the outer fabric?

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