You asked – you got it. The next free pattern from So Sew Easy is an easy dress pattern for a great summer dress with option to shorten for a top. Made in just a few simple steps, I'll hold your hand all the way with this one and show you some tips and tricks along to way to help you sew beautifully with knit fabrics.
Styling options – wear it strapless (it includes an elastic back so won't fall), or with a center halter strap or two straps from the bust or sides. You can also cut this off at hip length and wear it as a top too. It's up to you.
Download your easy dress pattern
The pattern is available to download from my design store account with Payhip. You can tip something for it if you want, but that's not necessary. It’s free, quick, and easy. Add the pattern to your cart, and then checkout – no payment is needed, no address details etc. Then you can download the pattern in a PDF made of 16 separate sheets of paper.
Constructing your PDF pattern.
(Note – these instructions are written assuming you are fairly new to sewing and give plenty of detail. If you have used digital patterns before, or have sewn similar garments, do skip on through and sorry its so long! If you are new to sewing, take your time, and do leave a comment if you have any questions.)
First time you've used a digital pattern? Don’t worry, I’ll show you what to do. Load your printer with regular printer paper, open the PDF file and print. Do not select any of the fancy printing options such as center, scale, fit to page etc. You just want to print it out straight as it is.
If you are worried about printing out at the right size, then just print page 1 first, because this one includes a test box to measure. The box is drawn at 5cm square, so print this one page, measure the box and if it’s 5cm you are good to go. If not, then you might need to check your print settings to see what settings might need to be changed before printing again.
Once you have all 16 pieces, keep them in order. Then set them out from left to right, 4 pieces across in a row and then another 4 underneath, and another 4, and the last 4 on the bottom row. This is how the pieces will be assembled. Each piece comes with a border that overlaps the next piece of paper, so you should cut off or fold over the top and the right-hand side of each piece lining up your cut or fold with the guideline on the printout.
Each piece is numbered so start with 1-4 on the top 5-8 on row two and so on. Overlap your pieces, matching up the pattern lines, and stick them in place with tape. It should look very much like this–>
Once you have your jigsaw completed you can read and note any instructions and directions, and then refer to the sizing chart below and cut out your pattern pieces.
What Size Do I Need?
The dress is made from a stretchy knit fabric and is intended to be skim the body and be fairly fitted. The size I made for myself I am calling the Medium. My measurements are high bust (around the back and over the bust high under the arms) 35.5, Bust 36, Waist 31, Hips/Thigh widest point 39.
The amount of stretch in the fabric will alter the fit and feel of the dress so use this table as a guide only.
To make your own alterations to the pattern, increase or decrease at the center front and center back from the size closest to you above. For the mid-section – increase at the side seam. Always test the fit using the paper pattern pieces, or an inexpensive test fabric before cutting your expensive fabric for this dress. If in doubt or between sizes, make the larger size and adjust for fitting at the side seams during construction.
Adjustments to length. If you want the dress longer, simply add some length to the center back piece at the bottom, and add the same length to the front skirt piece. To shorten and wear as a blouse, remove length from the bottom and chop off at hip length or where required.
Cutting your fabric
All main pieces for the dress are designed to be cut on the fold of the fabric. If you prefer, you can print two copies of the pattern, stick the pieces together opposite each other, to double the pattern pieces and cut on a single layer of fabric. This would be useful if you have a large design and want to see how the design will lie on the finished dress.
- To cut on the fold – fold your fabric along the grainline, just folding over enough to accommodate the size of your pattern piece. Then place the edge of the back pattern piece on the fold of the fabric and hold it in place there. You can use proper pattern weights, pins, or even tins of tuna.
- Take note of the stretch of the fabric and make sure your pattern pieces are lined up the right way. The maximum stretch should go across and around your body not top to bottom.
- Before you cut ANYTHING, make sure that you have enough fabric for all of the pattern pieces. So fold in the other side of the fabric and place the other pieces on the fold too.
- Once everything is laid out, cut out your pattern pieces.
If you need further directions for cutting out your fabric, follow the directions for the Summer Drape Top.
Now you have your fabric cut and ready, we can start to sew your easy dress pattern. Come back for the full step-by-step construction tutorial in Part 2.