the easy tee swing dress | simple sewing tutorial


Since I plan to spend the entire summer avoiding the waistband of my jeans and wearing comfy dresses instead, I made a new dress. And to do so I revisited an old favorite of mine: the Easy Tee. This dress is made using the free Raglan Easy Tee pattern and I’m excited with the way it turned out. And the fact that making the dress was every bit as easy as making the tee is!

Learn how to make this easy to sew swing dress (perfect for summer!) using a free tee shirt pattern.

I’m calling it a “swing dress” because it isn’t fitted, but honestly there’s not a TON of swing in it, because I only had two yards of this fabric. I plan to make a swing-i-er one soon using three yards, but for now I have an easy to wear, comfy new dress that does a great job hiding what it’s supposed to hide.

Learn how to make this easy to sew swing dress (perfect for summer!) using a free tee shirt pattern.

Here’s how to sew a simple swing dress using the free Easy Tee pattern:

First, download the Raglan Sleeve Easy tee pattern found here and print it out at 100%. Make sure the test box measures exactly 1 inch by 1 inch. Butt the pages together (no overlapping), tape them, and cut out the pattern pieces.

Learn how to make a DIY raglan sweatshirt with this easy to follow sewing tutorial and free pattern in size L.

I used 2 yards of a lightweight cotton spandex knit. You’ll likely want something fairly drapey for this dress, since it’s not at all fitted. 1/2 inch seam allowances are included in the pattern.

I made a few adjustments when cutting out the dress pieces. First, when cutting the bodice pieces I added about 16 inches of length to the pattern, as you can see below. I also tilted the pattern slightly, so the top of the bodice would be a bit more fitted and the lower portion would flare out a bit. If you have plenty of fabric, you can make that flare as wide as you’d like. Since I was working with 2 yards of fabric, I knew I’d have to fit two of these bodice pieces (each cut on the fold) side by side on a piece of 60 inch wide knit.

Learn how to make this easy to sew swing dress (perfect for summer!) using a free tee shirt pattern.

I changed the sleeve slightly as well. First, I cut two sleeves on the fold, instead of 4 sleeve pieces not on the fold. I went with an elbow length, which was right in between the short sleeve and 3/4 sleeve lengths.

Learn how to make this easy to sew swing dress (perfect for summer!) using a free tee shirt pattern.

 

I cut all the pieces using the back neckline so I’d end up with more of a crew neck than a scoop neck. So I ended up with two matching bodice pieces and two matching sleeve pieces. I also held onto all the scraps because I knew I’d need to cut a neckband piece (about 2 inches tall and 22 inches long) and two smaller rectangles to bind the sleeves.

To start sewing, I placed on bodice piece flat on the ground, right side up. Then I laid one sleeve piece on top of it, matching up the raglan seam and sewing together as shown below.

Learn how to make this easy to sew swing dress (perfect for summer!) using a free tee shirt pattern.

 

I repeated with the other sleeve. Then I sewed the other sides of those sleeves to the other bodice piece. (For a few more photos of this process, check out this post).

And this point, it starts to look like a dress:

Learn how to make this easy to sew swing dress (perfect for summer!) using a free tee shirt pattern.

I sewed the side seams, all the way up the underarm and then back down the sides of the dress. When sewing sleeves in like this, I give the fabric a bit of a stretch as I go around the underarm curve, just to make sure the seam won’t pop when I’m wearing it.

Next I tried on the dress and cut the front neckline curve a few inches lower than the back. I also cut a neckbinding piece, about 2 inches tall and 22 inches long (stretch going along the length).

Learn how to make this easy to sew swing dress (perfect for summer!) using a free tee shirt pattern.

I bound the neck the same way I did in this post, and ironed it flat.

Learn how to make this easy to sew swing dress (perfect for summer!) using a free tee shirt pattern.

I finished off the sleeves with a similar binding, but you could just turn them up and hem them with a double needle if you prefer.

Learn how to make this easy to sew swing dress (perfect for summer!) using a free tee shirt pattern.

Learn how to make this easy to sew swing dress (perfect for summer!) using a free tee shirt pattern.

Finally, I hemmed the bottom of the dress by turning up a couple of inches and hemming with a double needle. If you’ve never used a double needle before, don’t be intimidated. Just google it. They’re easy to use and give you a great finish on knit garments. And that’s it – one more reason not to wear jeans this summer.

 

Learn how to make this easy to sew swing dress (perfect for summer!) using a free tee shirt pattern.

Comments

  1. 1

    Trish says

    Fantastic! Thanks for the tutorial – this is a dress I can make even though necklines scare me. Trish

  2. 4

    Darlene Everett says

    Is there some kink of formula for enlarging this terrific pattern. I am doing great at loosing weight but don’t think I will be this small this summer. I always love getting your emails. Thanks for your ideas and directions in every email.

  3. 6

    Justine says

    The dress looks great and I’m definitely going to have a go at making one. By the way can I just say I think your hair looks really fabulous in these photos too. mine is s similar length but I never seem to get it looking that sleek!

  4. 7

    says

    love it! It looks great on you. have made a similar one with the easy tee pattern. I added a little elastic around the waist because mine ended up being baggier there.

  5. 9

    Edna Walker says

    I would either give the dress a hi-lo hem or a shark bite hem to give it a modern edge. Love the fabric!!

  6. 14

    Alana Sayler says

    I am so glad to see you made a dress based off of your easy tee pattern! I just made one and I absolutely love it. I can’t leave a picture tho :(. I will making this up with a lime green knit that I got from fabric.com. Thank you so much for this wonderful pattern, it is so versatile!

    Alana

  7. 17

    says

    I just discovered your blog through Pinterest. I LOVE your dresses, and much prefer them to jeans! Where do you purchase your pretty knit fabrics from? I can’t seem to find any in fabric stores anymore.

  8. 18

    Cheryl says

    I’ve made three of these already, in different versions. Such a great, quick, easy wonderful tutorial/pattern. I buy a lot of cotton/jersey, so this allows me to use it up in a productive way. The dresses can be used in the summer on their own or with a little cardigan, and in the winter with tights and a blazer. Thanks so much! novelgal13

  9. 20

    Estela says

    Muy buena explicación . Pronto compraré la tela para hacerme un vestido.
    Me alegra encontrar ropa de buen gusto para mujeres de talla real .
    Felicitaciones.

  10. 22

    Fiona says

    I was just wondering if you could do a tutorial on a vneck version of the tee or dress. I need a bit of neckline as I am large chested and crew neck just seem to ”çhoke’me.”

  11. 23

    Sandi says

    It is adorable! I believe I too will make it with more swing! Lol first I have to finish my other small projects!

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