How to Make a Simple Sun Dress

Written by lana m. ulrich
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From year to year, summer fashions may vary as much as the blazing temperatures of July, but one item of clothing remains a staple: the sundress. Sundress styles vary, from those with simple A-lines to tiered skirts, but as most styles are largely uncomplicated, a simple sundress may be constructed at home from a few inexpensive materials. This article will outline the means by which a person with relatively basic sewing abilities can make a smocked sundress in a single afternoon.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Cotton or other lightweight fabric
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Smocking pattern or Pleater
  • Thread to match fabric
  • Sewing machine or needle
  • Water soluble pen

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  1. 1

    Measure the individual for whom the dress is being made. Begin by measuring across the front of the chest. Triple this measurement. Then measure from the collarbone down to the desired length of the dress (for example, if you wish the dress to fall slightly above the knee, then measure to the lower thigh).

  2. 2

    Cut the front and the back of the dress from your chosen fabric to the specific measurements. Then cut four straps, 2 inches by 12 inches long. The length of the straps may vary, however, depending on the height of the girl or woman, so adjust accordingly.

  3. 3

    Measure 1 to 2 inches down from the top of the fabric to mark the beginning of the first pleating row. Then smock the topmost part of the dress, either by following a smocking pattern and sewing by hand, or by using a pleater, a machine that forms pleated fabric by feeding flat fabric through its rollers. Whether or not you choose to smock by hand depends on your level of sewing expertise.

  4. 4

    Fold the smocked panel with the right sides of each piece of fabric together. Carefully align the cut edges, and sew these edges together with a medium-width and-length zigzag stitch. Then turn the panel right-side out, press seam flat, and topstitch the seam allowances in place by stitching 1/4 inch from the seam, thereby marking the center back of your dress.

  5. 5

    To mark where the straps should be placed, measure 4 inches from the center back seam in each direction, and mark these two points with your water-soluble pen. Then measure 8 inches from each marked point toward the centre front of the dress, and mark two more points. Adjust the measurements of the straps accordingly for the size of the wearer.

  6. 6

    Sew the straps on the dress, about 1 inch from the edge of the dress.

  7. 7

    Hem the bottom of the dress to the desired length.

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