There’s nothing like stepping out into the Summer sun and feeling the deep heat radiate on to your shoulders. I may be one of the only crazy ones, but I love feeling the wall of humid heat here in Houston hit me as I leave the house. Maybe it’s the stark contrast to the frozen air conditioned spaces that we confine ourselves to, or maybe it’s just that the heat relaxes me into a sense of vacation, but I love it just the same.
Having spent at least a month in Houston’s sweltering heat, I’ve been longing for flowing lace tops, airy skirts, and breathable fabrics in general. The perfect fabric to combat the warmth is seersucker. With it’s light texture, it never sticks to you and is thin enough that you can feel a breeze right through the fibers. I picked up some fabric and got right to work on this perfect Summer dress.
Flowy, airy, and light, this dress begs to be worn all summer long to picnics, outdoor concerts, and trips to the beach. I love the off the shoulder silhouette that’s been so popular this season, helping to even out swimsuit tans with a flirty flounce on your shoulders. The ruffled top is incredibly simple to achieve by sewing the elastic on while stretching it out, making the overall construction of the dress easy, breezy… just like the dress! I hope you enjoy this lovely little dress just as much as I do!
If you don’t feel like committing to sewing, I’ve listed out a few similar dresses for sale below.
Seersucker Off the Shoulder Summer Dress Tutorial
3 yards of Seersucker Fabric cut into 3 1 yard pieces
1.5 yards of 1/4″ wide elastic
1. Take two 1 yard x the width of the fabric (about 43″) pieces of fabric and lay them pattern side facing inwards on top of one another. Fold them in half following the lines of the seersucker pattern. Cut the half bell shape as shown in the picture below from both pieces of fabric to make the BODY pieces. Make sure that the top of the bell is a little larger than half of your bust measurement.
Unfold your BODY pieces and fold and pin the hem down at the top and the bottom of both BODY pieces 1/4″ and sew along the line of pins.
2. To make the RUFFLE pieces, take the last yard of fabric and cut 2 strips that are 1 foot wide x the width of the fabric (about 43″) against the seersucker pattern. Fold each strip in half against the seersucker pattern with the pattern side facing inwards, and pin the long side 1/4″ from the edge of the fabric. Sew each of these pieces along the line of pins with a straight stitch.
Turn the two RUFFLE pieces inside out and pin again along the long sides 1/4″ from the edge of the fabric. Sew along the line of pins with a straight stitch to create nice edges.
3. Take your elastic and tie it around your shoulders. Measure it out to fit when it is barely stretching and cut the excess off. Cut this piece of elastic in half. Take each elastic half and pin them 1″ from the short edge of your RUFFLE pieces and 1/4″ from the long edge. To create the ruffle effect, place the end of the elastic pinned to your fabric in the sewing machine and pull on the elastic to tighten it. While you are still pulling, start to sew a straight stitch. You will notice as the elastic goes through the machine, the portion that has already been sewn pulls the fabric together and creates a ruffle. Sew and continue to pull the elastic tight until you reach the end of the elastic. Trim off any extra fabric from each side of the elastic. Repeat on the other RUFFLE piece.
4. To connect the RUFFLE pieces to the BODY, line up the elastic on the RUFFLE with the top of the BODY piece, and center them. What you will do is start by sewing in the middle of the RUFFLE piece, again pulling the elastic tight as you sew the RUFFLE to the BODY. Once you get to a point that is 5″ from the end of the ruffle piece, stop sewing. Repeat this step starting in the middle of the RUFFLE again and sewing in the other direction. Repeat with the other RUFFLE on the back BODY piece.
5. The last step is to sew the front and back together. Align the BODY pieces with the pattern side in and pin along the sides of the body 1/4″ from the edge of the fabric. Flip the RUFFLE pieces up and pin them along the short edges 1/4″ from the edge of the fabric. Sew along all four lines of pins.
Turn the dress right side out and throw it over your head to try it on for size! You may need to adjust the sleeves depending on how tight you want them to be. If the ruffle piece is too loose, flip it upward again and sew along both short sides at 1/4″ intervals until it fits when turned right-side out.