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Sew a Cute Summertime Sundress

This summer sundress tutorial was created for Making the World Cuter by our sewing contributor Jennifer Shelton of The Life of Jennifer Dawn.

Hello again, MTWC readers! Happy 4th of July! I hope everyone has a fantastic day celebrating with family and friends! I know I’m excited about getting to spend time with my hubby and little ones on this special holiday! Of course, the kids will be dressed for the occasion. My little boy will be wearing a red, white, and blue necktie onesie and my littlegirlwill be wearing a dress that I sewed from a white seersucker fabric. Want to make your own summertime dress? Here’s how…

Summer Sundress Tutorial

DIY Summertime Sundress


  • 1 yard of fabric (I used a white seersucker.)
  • lace
  • one roll of 1/8 in. elastic
  • basic sewing supplies (pinking shears, thread, pins, scissors…)
  • sewing machine
  • iron and ironing board (Always sewing necessities!)


Summer Dress Tutorial

1. Begin by cutting (or tearing) the pieces of fabric for the dress, as well as, cutting the pieces of elastic and lace you’ll need. I’ve provided you with the dimensions for making a 2T-5T. If you need a bigger or smaller size, you can adjust the dimensions accordingly.

Size 2t=2T Straps: Four-1 1/2 in. by 12 in. pieces; 2T Dress: One-16 in. by 33 1/2 in. piece; 2T Elastic: Three-22 in. pieces; 2T lace: One-33 1/2 in. piece

Size 3t=3T Straps: Four-1 1/2 in. by 12 in. pieces; 3T Dress: One-17 in. by 34 in. piece; 3T Elastic: Three-22 1/2 in. pieces; 3T lace: One-34 in. piece

Size 4t=4T Straps: Four-1 1/2 in. by 13 in. pieces; 4T Dress: One-18 in. by 34 1/2 in. piece; 4T Elastic: Three-23 in. pieces; 4T lace: One-34 1/2 in. piece

Size 5t=5T Straps: Four-1 1/2 in. by 13 in. pieces; 5T Dress: One-18 1/2 in. by 35 in. piece; 5T Elastic: Three-23 1/2 in. pieces; 5T lace: One-35 in. piece

2. To make the straps, fold and press each of the 4 smaller fabric pieces in half to make a crease lengthwise down the middle.

3. Fold each of the shorter ends over 1/4 in. and press.

4. Bring the longer sides in to meet at the middle and press.

Summertime Dress Tutorial5. Fold each strap piece in half again and press a final time.

6. Stitch along the entire perimeter of each strap.

7. Now that you’ve finished with the straps, it is time to move to the main dress piece. Sew a double hem along the two longer sides. (Fold each side over 1/4 in. and then over again another 1/4 in. Pin in place and sew closely along the interior fold.)

8. Place a pin in the top hem of the dress at the middle. Mark the middle of each elastic piece by placing a pin in them as well. This will help you during the next few steps which can be a bit tricky.

Sew a summertime dress9. Place one of the elastic pieces on the wrong side of the dress right under the top hem. Sew forward and back a few stitches to secure it. Pull it tightly so that the middle marker pin in the dress matches up with the middle marker pin in the elastic. Sew straight down the middle of the elastic. You will start to see the dress gather as you sew the elastic to it. Once you reach the middle, you can pull the pins out and pull the elastic tight enough to now match the end of the elastic up with the end of the fabric. Continue sewing the elastic to the dress. Sew slowly! Make sure that the elastic is aligned with the hem and you are sewing through the elastic.

10. Continue doing this for the remaining two pieces of elastic, but instead of sewing the other two elastic pieces directly under the top hem, sew them in place about 1/2 in. down from the previous strip of elastic. You will end up with three elastic strips running parallel to each other which creates a lovely gathered look along the top of the dress.

11. Pin and sew the lace to the bottom right side of the dress. If you need additional help with this step, you can refer to this tutorial.

Other Hem Options:

  • Leave the bottom alone with only the double hem from step 7
  • Add a ruffle instead of lace either with the same fabric or a different colored fabric
  • Trim the bottom with ric rac

12. Pin the two unfinished sides of the dress together making sure that the right sides are together.

DIY Summertime Sundress13. Straight stitch along this unfinished side. Finish the seam off nicely by using or serger, pressing the seam open, or cutting off the excess with pinking shears and zigzag stitching along it.

14. Pin the straps to the inside of the dress and sew them in place. If you sew along the previous stitching that you did for the elastic, these stitches will blend in nicely.

15. Enjoy your finished product!

Now It’s Your Turn!

What are you and/or your kids wearing for the fourth? Do you plan out special outfits for this fun holiday?

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Tiffany is a stay at home mom to four ridiculously cute kids and wife to one smoking hot Mc Dreamy lookalike. She loves remodeling, chocolate chip cookies and sunshine. She is the founder of Making the World Cuter, a site committed to doing just what the title states; Making the world cuter, one kid, DIY, yummy treat or crafty thing at a time.

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