How to Make an Elastic Sundress

Written by melyssa holik
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How to Make an Elastic Sundress
An elastic sundress is an easy garment to make and to wear. (Pretty Child image by Mary Beth Granger from

A simple sundress is an easy addition to a summer wardrobe. Sewing it requires minimal time and because it uses elastic, it's an easy fit on any body type. It's appropriate for children or adults. The length can range from a mini skirt to ankle length or anywhere in between. Add straps or a halter tie, or leave it strapless. Once the basic structure of the dress is formed, it can be altered or embellished to suit your style.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Lightweight fabric
  • Elastic thread
  • Regular cotton
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Ribbons, beads or buttons (optional)

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  1. 1

    Measure the person who will be wearing the dress at the waist, bust and hips. Take the largest of the three measurements and divide it in half to get the width of the dress. Add four to five inches to give the garment some looseness and to leave room for the seam allowance.

  2. 2

    Measure the wearer, starting at her armpit and measuring down the front of her body, stopping at the desired dress length. Add two inches for the hem.

  3. 3

    Cut two pieces of fabric using the length and width measurements from Steps 1 and 2.

  4. 4

    Thread the sewing machine with regular thread. Place the pieces of fabric with the "right" sides together and sew along the length one inch from both edges. Sew through both pieces to create a tube.

  5. 5

    Fold the top edge of the tube down one inch and iron the fold to create a crease. Sew along the fold, one-half inch from the edge to secure the folded flap. Repeat this process on the bottom of the tube.

  6. 6

    Have the wearer try on the partially finished dress. Check to make sure it's not tool small; it probably still will be very loose around the top. Mark at least four inches down from the top of the garment to indicate where you will sew the elastic. Larger busts require the elastic section to extend further down the dress. Make sure you can see this mark on the inside of the dress.

  7. 7

    Have the wearer remove the dress. Thread the sewing machine with the elastic thread in the lower bobbin and regular thread on top.

  8. 8

    Turn the garment inside out and sew through one layer of fabric starting one-fourth inch from the top. Sew a line of elastic thread all the way around the tube and stop. Repeat this step, sewing lines of elastic thread spaced one-fourth inch apart until you reach the end mark.

  1. 1

    Sew two pieces of ribbon in place from front to back to create straps (although the dress can be left strapless). Or sew a ribbon only to the front to create a halter tie.

  2. 2

    Sew ribbon or lace to the lower hem, or sew ribbons in stripes along the bottom.

  3. 3

    Add buttons or beads where the straps attach or throughout the dress for extra embellishment.

Tips and warnings

  • Remember that the "right" side refers to the side of the fabric that will show on the outside. The "wrong" side refers to the side of the fabric that will be inside the garment.

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