Easy sewing : strapless dress

This is a sewing tutorial to make a very easy strapless beach dress “sarong style” for girls.

This tutorial can also be used to make a skirt or a tunic, you’ll just need to change the length / width measurements.

The dress is quite simple : two layers of fabric attached together at the top with an elastic holding the dress up.

The genesis of this strapless girl dress is here and another dress can be seen there. You’ll see, on these articles, pictures of the finished dresses.

tutos de la robe paréo fillette



We need

  • Two coordinated fabrics: cottons, voiles, …
  • Elastic (I used a 2cm wide elastic)
  • Optional: ribbons, buttons, … as embellishments



Measure bust, waist and hips and retain only the largest measurement.

Width = above largest measurement + 15 cm (6 inches)

To give more fullness to the dress simply add more than 15cm/6 inches.

Length = underarm-knee length + 2 cm (3/4″)  + elastic width (2cm in my case)


Example for Petite Chérie:

The hip measurement is the greatest with 71 cm, so :

Width = 86 cm (71cm+15cm)

her underarm-knee length is 56 cm, so :

Lenght = 59 cm (56cm + 2cm + 2cm)

We cut

Mea culpa :  I’m really bad with drawings, I hope it will stilll be clear enough. But I assure you, it’s quite simple.

We cut on the fold :  through a double layer of fabric.


For the upper fabric, we don’t need to calculate the length of the diagonal edge, simply connect the 2 points.

strapless dress free pattern

We sew

Step 1

Create a tube : Fold the lower fabric right sides together, aligning the edges. Stitch with a seam allowance of 1 cm.

Finish the seam and press it open. This is the center back seam.

strapless dress tutorial

Step 2

Finish the raw side edges of the upper fabric, by turning under 1cm.

sarong dress tutorial

Step 3

Attach together the upper and lower fabric pieces by  sewing them together at the upper edges :

  • Right side of lower fabric facing wrong side of upper fabric.
  •  AND aligning the center back seam of the lower fabric with the center of the upper fabric.

Sew using a seam allowance of 0.5 cm, or you can just serge them together as I did.


Sewing tutorial


Step 4

Create an elastic casing at the top of the dress. Don’t forget to leave an opening large enough to thread the elastic !

Slide the elastic in place, adjust its length.


Step 5

Hem with a narrow hem (1cm) the 2 lower edges separately.

On my DD’s dresses I started hemming the upper fabric with a 1cm seam allowance, I then did a slightly deeper hem (1,5cm) on the lower fabric.

Step 6

Attach your embellishments (button, ribbon) to the center front of the dress and you’re done !


Flowery strapless girl dress

After a first test of the strapless girl dress, “sarong style”  (see here), Petite Chérie loving it, I did a second one for her.

The dress is still very simple and quick to sew so that it’s fine with me that Petite Chérie loves it!

The tutorial for this easy sarong / strapless dress is here:  Easy sewing : strapless dress !

For this dress

I used a fuchsia cotton fabric as the bottom fabric and a flower printed cotton from Lecien for the top fabric.

For embellishments : a small ribbon and a fuchsia flower.

I didn’t have matching thread for the pink fabric to sew the hem. So, since the seam would be inevitably be seen, I decided to test a “leaf” decorative stitch on my beloved sewing machine (Janome DC4030) with a iridescent green thread. I told myself that it would remind the leaves on the print … In the end it is not truly ugly, but I think I would have preferred a matching thread that would have gone unnoticed.



 The tutorial for this easy sarong / strapless dress is here:  Easy sewing : strapless dress !


Girl sarong dress

This is a fast and easy summer dress I’ve made for my 7 years old (at the time) daughter.
She always wants to wear my sarongs on the beach but always complains that they don’t stay put, that she can’t tie a good knot, etc…

So I imagined this fast and easy dress which is made with two layers of cotton which are gathered together at the top with an elastic. Really fast and easy.

She loves to wear this sarong style dress and not only at the beach !

Edited 17/09/2012 : She started out growing the dress (in length) so she now wears it as a tunic.

For this dress

I’ve used a white cotton voile as the under layer and a “pear” Japanese printed cotton by Kokka, as the top layer.

Then I thought that something was missing at the center front to remind of the knot in a sarong. I dug in my stash and added a little white lace piece and a blue button to echo the color of the print.

I have a second dress which is almost finished, I shall show it to you soon.


My @# for this project

Yep I do a lot of these careless mistakes, and this one was really really stupid !

Of course, I washed my fabric before starting cutting…. And with these fabrics was the one for the second dress which is a deep fushia… Yes, you got it, the printed “pear” cotton which is suppose to have a white background now has a pink tint ! I told you this one was stupid !


The tutorial for this easy and fast strapless “sarong” dress can be find HERE





Le tutoriel : couture facile : robe paréo !

Sunhat – Free pattern

The step by step construction tutorial, with pictures, for this hat is on my French blog : Chapeau d’été



HotPatterns : Sunny Side Up Sunhat

This is a free pattern from HotPatterns that you can download here.

“Protect your gorgeous face and precious skin from the sun this Summer with our fabulously flattering sunhat! This is designed for fabrics with a little body, like denim, drill, canvas or home-dec materials, but you can also use lighter weight fabrics with a canvas interlining.
Chic bucket-style hat has an oval crown, high tapered sides and a shaped brim with a center back, baseball-cap style cut-out. Contrast binding finishes the brim edge and a contrast band and tie means you can adjust the hat to fit you perfectly.
This sunhat has a soft, slightly relaxed silhouette.”

Pattern Sizing:
On size (adult)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes but this is not for total beginners (it’s rated advanced beginner by Hot Patterns), the instructions are minimal and the drawings aren’t very detailed.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The style, I love it, very retro-chic.
I love the large brim for sun protection.

Fabric Used:
White linen for main fabric.
Printed cotton voile for lining and white cotton voile for underlining it.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I didn’t use self fabric to make the bias binding, I had some already made that was close enough.
I didn’t interline the hat with canvas thinking the linen was stiff enough, but if I had to do it again I would use a canvas, I find my hat a little too “relaxed”
I did underline the lining as I used cotton voile and it was really too thin.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I might sew it again but in this case I would take 1-1,5cm off the hight of the sides, I find it just a little to high for my head.
I would definitely use canvas to interline.

I just love the style of this hat ! And with a free pattern that’s a treat !

Free hat pattern

Yes I do steal my daughters balloons...


Free sunhat pattern

Sunny side up sunhat - HotPatterns

Sunhat sewing pattern

What do you mean, it fits the balloon better ???!!!