Kate Underdown

British summertime is often over before it begins and is more like the revving of an engine… start, stop, start, stop. So this is your call to sew that summer dress and get ahead of any unpredictable heatwaves so you can wear it exactly when the sun peeks through (rather than desperately trying to sew something *when* the sun is out!). We all love an easy project, do we? So with that in mind, I have shortlisted some wonderful dress sewing patterns that are both easy and speedy to sew.

These projects can be sewn in a day (there or thereabouts) meaning you can whip up your dress and wear it for all the summer frolicking you might do. I’ve also considered how easy they might be to fit, so hopefully are patterns you can have instant success with. Now we will keep our fingers crossed that the sun keeps shining…

I love this new pattern from Liesl + Co. It’s simple, elegant and the design details give you something that fits without being boxy. Laureles features a gorgeous (and flattering) square neckline and princess seams deliver gentle shaping. The multiple cup sizes help you achieve a good fit without fiddling about with the pattern. Oh, and it has pockets.

The Sew House Seven Sauvie Sundress has been a big hit since its launch – proving that sometimes the simple things are the best. This mix-and-match sewing pattern gives you plenty of options to play with. The cami-style top is shaped with darts and the bodice has been thoughtfully designed to avoid your bra peeping out. The pattern has instructions to sew bra stays if you want to be extra sure those straps don’t slip.

Matchy Matchy’s patterns are a brilliant discovery. They are straightforward to sew and designed to use offcuts, remnants and scraps of fabric – so they are pretty handy if you have an epic pile of fabric bits you don’t know how to us. The Skipper Dress is ideal for balmy days when you don’t want anything touching your skin. The column-like silhouette achieves a loose, but not boxy fit.

There is no garment breezier than a kaftan and this pattern achieves all there is to love from the style without looking like beachwear. The Aurora Kaftan Dress can be made with short or long sleeves and if you’re not a fan of ruffles, you could leave it off (making it even speedier to sew).

Simplicity is key to speedy sewing and the Sable Dress is just that – but those details make it feel a little bit special. The softly squared neckline gives it a feminine edge and the cinched waist gives it a comfortable structure. The camisole version is lovely too, so it’s a good buy.

If you like your makes to have literal flair, the Fibre Mood Gabby Dress gives you plenty of flare with its central godets. And that’s not the only detail to love, the sleeves are quite something. The two-in-one balloon sleeves have a shorter inner sleeve that pulls the outer sleeve in. It’s such a cool detail that is a fun new technique to sew.

Paradise Patterns’ Hallon Dress is one of our bestselling summer dresses and we can see why. The floaty shape is a great base for so many different fabrics. If you chose something slinky (not an easy sew) it would read ‘occasionwear’ or linen would be a great choice for a breezy summer dress. The low back is a nice little surprise.

Does the idea of floaty summer dresses make you shudder? If your vibe is more minimalist and you love everything the high street brand Cos design, this is the one for you. This Kaftan Dress is a Scandinavian take on the iconic style – and is minimalist by name and nature, The overlapped front creates quite dramatic pleats and looks great in monochrome shades.

You might have noticed that I have a soft spot for square necklines. They open up the face, keep your chest open and cool, but don’t offer the predicament of being too low like a v-neck can. The Viva Dress is the chuck-on dress of the summer. Throw it over your head, style it with sandals, wedges or trainers and you are good to go. The bottom flounce adds a little drama and looks just as good on either hemline.

The Atelier Jupe Lynn Caftan is another one of our bestselling summer styles. It leans to elegance rather than bohemium in its styling and the popover placket gives it an open-yet-covered feel. It is cinched at the waist which gives it a little polish and means you can tie it as loose or tight as you like. If you’ve had your eye on a bold print, this pattern will do it justice!

I wanted to share a bit of an undiscovered gem in this round-up. The Christine Haynes Lottie Dress is something you could wear all summer long and add different accessories to spice it up. If you are not a big dress wear, the tunic is great for layering over jeans or trousers. I could see this becoming a staple sewing pattern in many a makers’ stash.

I’ve saved one of the best for last… if you’ve made it this far you deserve a treat! The Helen’s Closet Reynold Dress ticks all the boxes. It’s loose but not boxy thanks to the side and back shaping, the neckline is cut high enough that you don’t have to fret about flashing and the wide shoulder straps shouldn’t fall about like strappy ones can. It’s a winner!

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