Top summer dress sewing patterns for beginners

This post first appeared as a guest post on the Penguin and Pear dressmaking blog. I throughly recommend that you check it out!

Now that the sun is finally present a little more, and as the holiday season really gets underway, it is the perfect time to put together a cute summer dress. If you are a more experienced sewer looking for a quick make, or a beginner looking for a pattern that is easy to understand and assemble then this is the top 5 for you! Plenty of these have found their way on to my dressmaking Pinterest board as there are so many awesome variations already out there for inspiration!

Bettine dress from Tilly and the Buttons
Definitely one for beginners. This dress has no fastenings like buttons or zips, and minimal pattern pieces with no darts. It features customisable sleeve cuff options, a tulip skirt, optional pockets and an elasticated waistband. This is a pattern that looks different depending on your fabric choice: I dressed mine up with John Kaldor fabric (and altered the neckline), but I have seen some beautiful chambray versions that are perfect for daytime barbecues. I find Tilly’s patterns the most beginner friendly; each element is clearly explained if you are new to the skill. More experienced sewers could put this together in half a day.

Top 5 summer dress sewing patterns for beginners

Anna dress from By Hand London
This dress is clearly a favourite amongst the sewing community…there are lots of posts from bloggers who have made Anna dresses. I think this is because it a flattering pattern for most body shapes, and you don’t have to worry too much about fitting sleeves or at the hips due to the design. You can make knee or maxi length versions, and it suits cottons and rayons, which are perfect for summer. You do need to insert a zip and pleats, but again being an indie pattern there is a lot of info on how to do this.

Top 5 summer dress sewing patterns for beginners

Betty dress from Sew Over It
The Betty is dress is great for summer with its sleeveless V back and full circle skirt…definite 50s vibes going on here! This dress feels cool and light to wear, especially if you make it in cotton. You can also buy add on packs with different necklines and sleeves (if you’re adventurous!…with the right fabric choice it’s a great one for a wedding (I used Italian silk chiffon and it was beautiful). Key skills are minimal – inserting a zip and having the patience to hem a full circle skirt! Again, fitting is easy as it isn’t tight around the hips, and you can add a belt to cinch in the waist if needed. The all in one facing takes a little bit of thinking through for beginners, but is doable.
Top 5 summer dress sewing patterns for beginners

Wren by Colette
Here’s one for knit fabrics…a faux wrap dress. This is another quick sew due to the beauty of working with knit fabrics and not having to finish seams. The key skills for beginners here will be sewing elastic (though there are easier alternatives on the Colette blog if you prefer). I had only worked with knit fabrics once and managed this in less than a day, and I have to say it is also really comfortable too.Top 5 summer dress sewing patterns for beginners

No Pattern Maxi Dress
One of the wonderful things about sewing is that you can make clothes that fit you how you like…in my case this meant making a maxi dress that fit my 5ft frame (I spent years searching in shops and never found one that fit). The beauty of this no pattern dress is that it only has two elasticated channels so doesn’t need fastenings or fitting…just a couple of rectangles based on your measurements. I experimented with adding channel casings, though you could easily use a Bettine style waist instead. If you prefer straps you could also easily sew pretty much anything on. Perfect for a speedy sew or for a beginner.

Head on over to for more details on how to make the no pattern maxi dress, or if you want to see more detailed reviews of these patterns. Feel free to share your makes in the comments too! What are your favourite patterns for summer sewing?

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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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