Here Comes The Sundress Tutorial and Free Pattern

by Destri on June 5, 2014

Free Sewing Pattern and Tutorial for a sweet and easy sundress - Due to the design no closure is needed, making it perfect for beginners!

Hello friends! How’s your summer going?  We still have two days left of school, but we’re already in summer mode.  I am especially excited to have it come this year, which is going to be short lived I’m sure when the temps here in Texas reach the melting point :)

In other news, I have a sewing tutorial for you today!  A super cute dress tutorial to be exact. It’s part of Melissa from ‘ 30 Days Of Sundresses Series.  You have to follow along as the series just kicked off this week – and I’ve seen the guest roster – there’s gonna be some amazing dresses!  She is having a giveaway as part of the series too, so !

Free sundress pattern and tutorial - due to the design no closures are needed so it's perfect for beginners!

So about the dress-I love it!  Pretty yokes on the front and back, with cute little gathered sleeves, and a gathered A-line cut make for a quintessential summer dress. It’s perfect for beginners too as it has no closures and it’s fully lined making it super comfy for the little one.

I have a tutorial and free pattern for a size 4-5 dress – but I am already grading it for 12mo to 12 years, cause it’s too cute for just one size!   Make sure you sign up for the newsletter and I’ll let you know when it is ready to go!

Let’s get to the tutorial!

Girls 4-5 Sundress Tutorial and Pattern


All your sewing stuff :)


Some trim if you want to add to the yoke – I use jumbo ricrac in the tutorial

Fabric Requirements:

You will need 1½ yards for the dress, and 1½ yards for the lining for 45″ width fabric. For 54″ width or more you will need a yard of each

Fabric suggestions:

Lightweight cottons like voile, lawn, batiste, and swiss dot look fabulous with this dress. You can get away with a quilter’s cotton that has a good drape and is on the lighter side.  I like to use a batiste for the lining.

Before you start sewing:

Wash your fabric and lining and press to prepare for sewing.

Printing the pattern and cutting:

These pieces are hand drawn, but accurate.  The letters are not aligned, rather there to help you place the pattern corners in order correctly.

Click here to download patterns in pdf format (or right click and save to your computer, then open)

pattern assembly

Download the pattern to your computer, then open with adobe reader.  Print at 100% (may say none, or actual size) with no scaling. Print the first page to check the 1 inch square. Then print the rest of the pattern pieces and tape at the corners where the letters match without overlapping the edges.  The lines will not come all the way to the edges, you will just align the paper edges. Cut out pattern pieces.

Cut the the pieces on the fold of the fabric. You will cut two dress panels from the main fabric and from the lining each. You will cut one each from the main fabric and lining for the front and back yoke. Make sure you note which is the front yoke and back yoke with the front having one mark, and the back having two.

You will need two 6 x 4½ inch rectangles for the straps cut from the main fabric. If you have very lightweight sheer fabric, you may want to line the straps, and will cut two rectangles of the same size.

Sewing Tutorial:

3/8″ (10mm) seam allowance included and used throughout.

First, lets get some ironing out of the way. We’re going to prepare your dress panels for hemming.  Fold the bottom edge of the main fabric to the wrong side by ¼” and press then by ½” and press.  For the lining panels you will fold them to the wrong side by ½” and press then by ¾” and press.  You will not sew them yet, this will just make it easier to hem at the end.

ss 1Next he yokes. I am going to show you how I like to add the ricrac, so if you’re not adding a trim you can skip a couple steps here.
This step is optional, but I love to use wash away wonder tape to keep my trim on while sewing. Since it’s on a curve and I am using a lightweight cotton lawn I cut the tape into little strips and placed around the outer curve of the yoke.
Or you can pin trim in place and baste it in place.

ss 2
Then simply take the paper backing off and arrange the trim so that it will show on the outside after you have sewn the yoke to the dress. So if you are using jumbo ricrac like I used you can line it up with the raw edge of the outer curve. You will be sewing with 3/8″ seam allowance, so make sure the trim of choice extends past that depth on your edges.

ss 3Now sew a gathering stitch about 1/4″ from the edge across the top of one of the dress panels, starting and stopping two inches from the ends.  Gather the top to make it the same length as the outside curve of the yoke where you’ll sew the two together.

ss 4

On a working surface, turn the yoke right side up, with the outside curve facing away from you. Pin the dress panel to the yoke with right sides of fabric together.  It’s easiest if you let the end corners extend past the edges of the yoke by 1/4″.

ss 5

Distribute the gathers evenly making sure everything is lined up correctly.

ss 6

In this image you can see where I let the corner extend past the yoke a bit – this just makes sewing easier and everything lines up great.

SS 7

Now sew with a 3/8″ (10mm) seam allowance across the outer curve where pinned making sure to backstitch at the start and end of your stitch.

ss 8

Clip vertically into the seam allowance close to but not through the stitch line.  Press the seam up towards the yoke.

ss 9

Then topstitch right along the edge of the yoke. I like to use a slightly longer stitch length and give it a good steam press after.

Now repeat those steps on the other dress and yoke piece and the lining pieces. So you’ll have four panels when finished.

ss 10

Starting with the front dress and lining panels, place the front dress panel right side up on a working surface, and then place the front lining on top with the right sides together.

ss 11

Pin around the arms and neckline and at the shoulders lining up the raw edges.  Now sew at the arms and neckline with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Do not sew the shoulders yet, leave those open!

ss 12

Press the seams open, turn right side out and press to make all the edges nice and crisp. You can topstitch the neckline if you’d like.  Repeat the same steps to attach the back dress and lining together.

ss 13

Next we’ll work on the shoulder straps. You should have cut two 6 x 4½ inch rectangles.  If you’re using lining you can place two right sides together and then sew with a 3/8″ seam allowance along the 6 inch sides and turn through and press- the picture on the left shows this.

If you are not using a lining for the straps, just turn the 6 inch sides over to the wrong side 1/4″ or less and press, and then over the same amount and pres then sew. The image on the right shows this.

ss 14

Now sew a gathering stitch on both ends about a 1/4″ from the ends and gather both ends tightly.

ss 15

Now you should have two straps gathered and ready to sew.

ss 16

Now I know a lot of you are picture skimmers – but read this bit!  I placed the straps on the outside just to show you how they should be placed on the inside of the panels.

So take the back panel and turn right side out with the lining facing down on the working surface. You will tuck the end of one strap into the shoulder opening with the right side facing up-making the right sides of the outer dress and shoulder straps together.

ss 17

Line up the raw edges and arrange the sides of the straps so they are folded over towards the lining by just a little or line exactly up. Then pin in place.

ss 18

Sew across the top of the shoulder with a 3/8″ seam allowance.

SS 19

In this picture you can see how I had turned the edges to the wrong side just a bit. ss 20

Repeat on the other shoulder and turn right side out.

ss 21

Now you are going to do the same thing, except this time you will place the dress front with the wrong side turned out and lining facing down on a working surface. You will tuck the dress back inside the front with the right sides together and the straps tucked inside the shoulders. Pin and sew.

ss 23

Turn right side out and press well. See how pretty the inside looks? Love enclosed seams!

ss 24

Now all that’s left to do is to sew up the sides and hem the dress.

To sew the sides, with the dress right side out and laying flat, move the outer dress panels to the side and pin up the side of the lining up to the underarm seam.

ss 25

Then turn the dress up opening it up so the right sides are together and pin down the sides of the dress.  Now pin on the opposite sides.  Make sure that the hem you pressed in the beginning is opened at the edges. Sew with a 3/8″ seam allowance, press the seams open, and finish the seams with a zigzag stitch or serger.

Then refresh the folds where you pressed in the beginning with the iron and hem the lining and outer dresses separately. Just start at a side seam and sew right along the innermost folded edge all around the bottom. Press the hems to set after you’ve sewn.

That’s it!

Sundress tutorial with free pdf pattern - no closures make this dress perfect for beginners!

Oh friends, you are going to love this one!  It’s one of those projects you can do over and over!  And like I said, I plan on making this a free pdf pattern with sizes 12mo to 12 years – so keep an eye out for that!

Now make sure to to see the dresses that came before me – there’s some for women!  You won’t want to miss the future line up either!  You can to keep up with the series too.

A big thank you to Melissa for having me!


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