Updated on July 26, 2022 by Sarina
A sundress is a loose fitting simple dress which is suitable to be worn in warm weather- it is mostly a sleeveless, casual dress without too many trappings and trimmings found in other types of dresses and not too short and not too long .
There are many ways to sew a sundress, the best of summer dresses. This one here is a sleeveless sundress pattern which is fitting on top, with a gathered elastic waistline
Sundress sewing pattern
Cut out the bodice pattern for the back according to the pattern given below. I am using an underlining for the back and front bodices- which will be sewn as one with the main fabric. You can skip the underlining if you have a suitable fabric. Fold the bodice pieces by half and mark as follows.
Back Bodice pattern
A-B = Shoulder to waist length + 1″ – This is the length of the bodice
A-H = as per table for armhole depth ( at the end of the post) – Bust line
A-C = 3.5″ ( This is the neck width)
A-E = 1/2 of shoulder to shoulder ( Measure from shoulder tip to shoulder tip)
E-F = 3/4″ ( neck width)
Mark straight down from shoulder measure to the bust line at A-H to K
K-L = 1″ Mark diagonally from K to L 1″ Mark the armhole line connecting H-L-F
G-H = 1/4 of bust round + 1.5″ . This is the bustline
A-D = 2″ (This is the back neck depth)
B-I = 1/4 of waist round + 1.5″ (This is the waist line )
J-I = 1″ ( To get a soft curve mark up from I to J 1″)
Front bodice pattern – Sundress
A-B = Shoulder to waist length + 1″
A-H = as per table
A-C = 3.5″
A-E = 1/2 of shoulder to shoulder
E-F = 3/4″
K-L = 1″ Come down straight from E to the bustline G-H at K. Mark 1″ from inside from K to L
L-M =1″ This is a mark made diagonally from L. Mark the armhole line F-M-G
G-H = 1/4 of bust round + 1.5″
C-D = 6″ This is the neck depth – you can take this as per your preference
B-I = 1/4 of waist round + 1.5″
Cut out the front pattern on a piece of paper – that is if you would like to add a small dart on the side bust.Other wise you can skip the following steps and continue cutting the pattern on fabric and forget about darts. In this case ( ie if you do not want darts on either side of bust just give a soft curve upwards (1″) on the waistline as done on the back pattern)
If you want to add darts trace the front pattern on another piece of paper
Cut the dart 3 inches long 3 inches from the side from the armline. Cut out the 1/2 ” dart along with 1/2 inch sewing allowance. Using a tape , tape the dart closed.
Keep this taped bodice pattern on top of the traced pattern
When the dart is closed there is a difference in the pattern – the pattern reduces by 1/2 inch. This has to be compensated . You will have to redraw the armhole line 1/2 inch upwards and 1/2 inch to the sides to compensate for the dart.
Cut out the front pattern piece as per this newly traced front bodice pattern( I have cut the underlining as well)
You have to make the back button opening now
Keep the back lining and back bodice rightsides together. On the lining cloth ( if you are not using lining you will have to use a facing to make the back opening ) Mark 4 inch down the center fold line of the back pattern
Sew a slanting line like in the picture below meeting at a point at the bottom of the line you have drawn
Cut along the middle line ( careful that you do not cut the stitching line)
Ensure that you cut to the very end . Turn the fabric inside out. It will look like this
Mark the dart line the same way you did on the pattern piece. Mark the dart 3 inch down from the armhole . Make the dart 3 inch long.
When you sew the dart Make sure that the tail ends are left out to tie it secure. Read more on sewing darts here. Goes without saying that you have to press the dart for it to lie nicely.
Step 4 Join the shoulder seams of the front and back bodice
Take a piece of fabric 1 inch wide and 3 inch long to make a button loop for the back bodice
Make a thin fabric tube ( follow the tutorial here for making thin fabric tubes )
Take a piece of bias binding strip for binding the neckline. Start the binding from the back , fold the bias binding edge to the inside as in the picture below
Keep the button loop inside the bias binding side edge and pin in place
Bind the whole neckline
You can attach the button as well ( checkout the post on sewing buttons here) on the other side.
Bind the armhole line as well with bias binding
Sew the side seams of the bodice – both sides . Keep the bust dart to the downwards position when sewing the side seams
Cut out the skirt pieces – you need two pieces for back and front skirt piece. Each of the two pieces should have the following dimensions
Width = Measure of Hip round
Length = Measure from your waist to the length you want ; add 1.5 inches for seam allowance and hem turning.
Hem the skirt pieces – just turn under the bottom edges and stitch in piece
Sew the side seams of the skirts to make a tube
Take a piece of elastic the measure of your waist round
Make this into a tube as well by stitching the cut edges together
Mark the two sides of the elastic. Tack it to the side edges of the inside of the skirt ( This is so that you get even gathers)
Stitch the elastic to the inside of the top edges ( some 1 inch from the top )with a zig zag stitch. Stretch the elastic nicely ( as much as it will go)as you sew
Now keep the bodice inside the skirt piece both rightsides together. Stitch in place
Your dress is finished
Armhole depth ( as per your bust measurement )