Easy dress pattern for summer – and it’s free!

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.

Easy Summer Dress.  Free multi-size pattern and step by step photo tutorial from So Sew Easy.

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.

Easy Summer Dress.  Free multi-size pattern and step by step photo tutorial from So Sew Easy.

Download your easy dress pattern

The pattern is available to download for free from my design account with Craftsy.  If you don’t already have an account, you will need to sign up to download, but don’t worry.  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.

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Download the Easy Summer Dress pattern

Download your Easy Summer Dress pattern pieces here.

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 which overlaps the next piece of paper, so you should cut off or fold over the top and the right hand side on 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 in place with tape. It should look very much like this–>

Easy Summer Dress. Free multi-size pattern and step by step photo tutorial from So Sew Easy.

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.

Bust Waist Hips
Small 32-34 27-29 35-37
Medium 35-36 30-31 38-40
Large 37-39 32-34 40-43

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.

Easy dress pattern - the Easy Summer Dress.  Free multi-size pattern and step by step photo tutorial from So Sew Easy.
Authored by: Deby at So Sew Easy

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39 Responses to Easy dress pattern for summer – and it’s free!

  1. Marian says:

    Hi, I would love to make this Easy Summer Dress and I have a beautiful Leopard print fabric that will be perfect. Only thing is that it is a cotton. Is there anyway I can make this dress with a cotton? I am a beginner 🙂
    Thank you
    Kind Regards

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      I would not recommend using cotton with this pattern. I am not saying it is impossible, but it is an advanced project. use jersey knit if you want the same look.

  2. Loved this pattern 🙁 unfortunately it fits only from underbust down ….. I have read through the instructions and I don’ t see anything on how to increase the cup size … seems this would fit only a b or c cup 🙁 I need a DD-DDD cup …. the rest fit perfect under the breast and downwards ( I shortened it to make a thigh length shirt)
    I’m afraid if I increase the W piece and the cup rectangle that I would have to make rest bigger to get everything to sew together correctly but then I would loose the parts that fit me nicely 🙁

    • Yes, I agree, this style is really designed for the smaller bust. What you could try, is to gather the cups on the side more, to give them more volume without increasing the width across the front. Or create the band in two pieces with a center seam, and gather it there too. Basically you’ll need to try adding more height and gathering it in, rather than more width I think. You could also tray adding some width, but gathering under the bust to make it fit the yoke part. But making a full bust adjustment is something I’ve never had to worry about personally. I hope it works out for you.

  3. Jill says:

    Deby, love this pattern too. Just finished your Easy Wrap Dress. Summer is coming and I’m thinking maxi dress every time I look at it. Your opinion? Extend the skirt potion all the way down? I know you’ve done a maxi skirt, so perhaps use that as a guide? Thank you!

    • Wow, yes, I think that would be great. I might take you up on that idea. I would say because the skirt is completely straight below the hips, you might find it too narrow to walk comfortably if you made it full length. I would still keep it low volume to be slimming, rather than add a lot of gathers and volume at the waist. Take a look at this article on how to draft a maxi skirt from your measurements, and use the idea there to work out how to increase the skirt width at the bottom to make walking easier. And please do share a photo when you are done.

      • Jill says:

        Thanks Deby. Of course I’d be honoured to share this ‘idea’ with you! I would think a very lightweight stretch would work. Too heavy and it might start to pull down the bodice correct? I know when I brought home my 2.5 meters of medium weight stretchy last I was so surprised with the weight of it! Wishing us luck!

  4. Debbie says:

    Deby I love your patterns and the clear way you explain things. I have been sewing for many years and am about to teach one of my daughters. I will be using your tutorials to help her learn. Thanks for sharing your passion.

    • Deby Coles says:

      Hi Debbie, thanks for dropping in. I’m glad you’ve been able to find some useful things on the site, and am so glad to hear your daughter has an interest in learning to sew. I wish I had given it a try year ago.

  5. maria barker says:

    Very excited to have found this Web site and looking forward to trying the Wrap dress pattern

  6. mez says:

    Hi deby thanks for the pattern I’ve made two of these dresses perfect for the cruise I am going in next week easy to pack

    • Deby Coles says:

      That’s great Mez. I hope you have a lovely time, and thanks for dropping in to let me know you’ve been sewing with one of my patterns. If you get a chance, perhaps you would load the completed project into Craftsy and link it to the pattern so we can all see what you’ve sewn.

  7. Susan Price says:

    How much fabric is required please?

    • Deby Coles says:

      It depends on the size Susan and how long you want to make it. As a rough guide, you will need enough to wrap around you with the stretch running around your body, and the length would be from say, your shoulder to your knee. I hope this helps.

  8. Pam says:

    Thanks for sharing the pattern, Deby! The dress looks fabulous on you! Way too cold over here at the moment to be thinking of Summer dresses.

  9. Chelsea says:

    Deby, you are #1 this month on our Pattern Party. Congrats! See you next month.

    Stop by and get a feature button! Thanks for linking up!

    • Deby Coles says:

      Yay – thanks very much for the party and for taking the time to drop over and leave a comment. It’s much appreciated. I’ll be visiting you now….

  10. Karen says:

    Thankyou, so pleased.

  11. Jennifer says:

    Thanks so much for stopping by and linking this up with the DIY Sunday Showcase! Jen @ PinkWhen

  12. Chelsea says:

    Deby, this turned out great. So simple and so comfy! Thanks for always linking up to our Pattern Party! I love seeing all your best projects!

  13. Rosey says:

    This would take you right into a nice summer dinner too, wouldn’t it? I like it! Visiting today from Sincerely Paula’s weekend hop.

  14. handimom says:

    Thank you for this great free pattern! I think I will make this as a long dress, “chankle length” 🙂 Not sure if the “fairly fitted” look will look good on my short, overweight body type though! May add a bit to the skirt to give it more fullness, because gathers would definitely not look right with that beautiful bodice. I know what you’re thinking – I could just lose weight instead! Either way, I’ll send pics when it’s done.

  15. Jodi S says:

    pinned fpr when i get the courage to try. stopping from domesblissity 🙂

  16. jewelweedchronicles says:

    Wow! What a great pattern!

  17. that looks fantastic! I have lots of fabric that would look great in this. Pinning

  18. BeBetsy says:

    What a great pattern! and free… great post.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to share this post on BeBetsy BRAG ABOUT IT Tuesday. Hope to see you again BeBetsy Link and Hop Sharon and Denise

  19. Carole says:

    Yet another brilliant pattern many thanks for being so generous with the free patterns and sharing your expertise it is much appreciated

  20. eviv says:

    lovely work,as always,thanks for sharing,eviv

  21. Linda@With A Blast says:

    Lovely pattern, Deby! And I love the fabric you used 🙂 Thank you for sharing this at the WEDNESDAYS ADORNED FROM ABOVE Blog Hop !

  22. Tina says:

    What a great looking dress. Will be giving this a try.

  23. Great pattern! Perfect for the summer! Thank you for sharing at MOnday Funday!

  24. Hannah Elizabeth Smith says:

    another free pattern! you are so generous. Can’t wait to get started on it xxx

  25. MammaNene (@mamma_nene) says:

    Lovely pattern, Deby!
    We had today for the first time some more degree than the 10-15° C we had lately, so maybe I can think about sewing one of these…
    Thanks for sharing 🙂


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