Everyone needs a go-to summer dress. This is mine. A simple t-shirt dress is easy, comfy, and perfect for dressing up or dressing down. We’re on vacation this week, so I brought it along and plan to wear it with my j.crew chambray baseball cap and sandals, but it’s also so easy to dress up with a pair of booties, a statement necklace, and a jacket like I did here (and wore to church last week). 
The best part about it is that they’re so easy to make. A few cuts, a couple of seams, and you have a new dress. I love a basic bright color, like the red I chose, but a striped or polka dot or some other print would be amazing as well. The super easy tutorial is at the bottom of this post!
pictures by sara walk
handmade dress
hinge booties (on sale during nordstrom’s anniversary sale!)
similar necklace, on sale!



  • 1 1/2 to 2 yards (depending on your size) stretchy knit 
  • matching thread
1. Take your fabric and fold both sides in toward the middle so they (almost) touch, as shown. Now both outside edges should be folded edges. First, cut the FRONT of the dress. Use a tank top and a pencil skirt as a pattern, folding them in half and laying them on the folded edge. Cut around them, adding a 1/2″ seam allowance. Repeat for the BACK of the dress, making the neckline a few inches higher. Next, cut out 2 SLEEVES, and a NECKLINE LINING front and back (cut the scoop of the lining exactly as you did the necklines on the FRONT and BACK, but making them 2″ shorter in width so they have to be stretched when attached to the dress). 
2. Next, take the FRONT and BACK pieces and, with right sides together, sew them together at the shoulders. 
3. Now attach the sleeves. Line up the top of the SLEEVE with the shoulder seam of the dress (right sides together), and then pin them together, Then sew a straight stitch along the sleeve, attaching it to the dress. Repeat for the second sleeve. 
4. Once both sleeves are attached, sew the FRONT and BACK (right sides together) together from the end of the sleeve to the bottom of the dress.
5. Take your two NECKLINE LINING pieces and, with right sides together, sew them together at the ends. They should now form a circle. 
6. Place the NECKLINE LINING on the dress with right sides together, matching up the side seams of the LINING with the shoulder seams of the dress. Then streeeetch the LINING and pin it in place evenly along the dress neckline. Sew around the entire neckline with a straight stitch. Then trim the seam allowance and tuck the LINING inside the dress and iron in place. 
7. Sew with a straight wide stitch around the entire neckline, securing the lining in place. Then try on the dress and determine your desired sleeve and dress length, then hem. And you’re done!
  • Beautiful statement necklace and fantastic shoes!

  • Your dress turned out super cute! It looks like something I could actually make πŸ™‚

    Kristina does the Internets

  • Would your fabric be cotton interlock? Looks a nice weight and some of the different knits confuse me when ordering online.

  • This does it, I need to get a sewing machine! Or maybe I can talk my mom into making this when I go home for a visit this weekend? Fingers crossed she's up for sewing!

  • Love this! Super cool and light for summer! You could wear it to the OC Fair! Are you going? I live in Costa Mesa near you! Ps…you inspire me to learn how to use my sewing machine better! Lol.
    – Valerie at πŸ™‚

  • Love this look! You are so talented!

    The Style Storm
    <3, Christina

  • Casual things always look really good on you. Very chic !

  • This is super cute but maybe needs a slip underneath?

  • This is super cute and looks relatively easy! But my problem is I'm not a great seamstress and have trouble with the sleeve area! Thanks for all of your tutorials!

  • love this tutorial!! this might be a dumb question, but how do you do your sleeves? do you just cut around a favorite t-shirt?

    • Yes, turn the tee inside out and lay it down flat on your parchment paper. Draw around it the best you can and then cut out the paper along your drawn lines (adjusting and smoothing as needed). Then use that as the pattern piece to cut your actual fabric!

      Good luck πŸ™‚

  • I love this! Thank you!

  • Beautiful, beautiful. I started to comment on everything I love, but that just it. I love it all. I super want those booties. They'd be a great almost year-round piece for my wardrobe. πŸ™‚