Hi there! Jess from The Sewing Rabbit, here. Sometimes its fun to simply sew something nice for YOURSELF. With Mother’s Day around the corner, this is the perfect time to do just that. Treat yourself to an afternoon of kid-free sewing by making a beautiful and easy swing dress. Perfect for date nights, church, or when you simply want to dress up on a casual Summer day. No pattern is needed, simply grab a well fitting tank top and let’s go!
Easy Swing Dress DIY.
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner.
Time Needed: 2 – 3 hours.
● 2 yds. Knit fabric
● *Optional – ½ yd Coordinating Knit fabric
● *Optional – 6” of 2” thick elastic
● Scissors / Rotary Cutter
● Coordinating Thread
● Ball Point Needles
● Basic Sewing Essentials
Step One: Lay your tank top flat on your knit fabric, making sure the stretch of the knit fabric is going from left to right. Cut around your tank top, (1) Front and (1) Back. Stop at your natural waist. Make sure to add seam allowance for the shoulder seams, sides, and bottom hem.
Step Two: *This step is optional if you would like contrasting knit side panels. Using a curved ruler, cut off the side panels of your Front and Back bodice.
Step Three: Use your cut off side panels as pattern pieces, and place them on top of your coordinating knit fabric (making sure it is also stretching from left to right). Add seam allowance, and cut around. Cut (4). Sew the new pattern pieces to the bodice.
Step Four: Place your Front and Back bodice right sides together, pin and sew the shoulder and side seams.
Step Five: Measure the bottom of your bodice. Multiply that number by 2 so that you have the full waist measurement circumference. We are now going to do a little math in order to get our circle skirt pattern.
● Add 2” to your circumference measurement (i.e. 29 + 2 = 31”)
● Divide that number by 6.28. (i.e. 31 / 6.28 = 4.94)
● = Your finished measurement
Step Six: Fold your skirt fabric in half lengthwise, and again in half widthwise – so that you have a 90 degree corner folded angle to work with. From the corner angle, measure out your finished measurement (i.e. 4.94) all around in a quarter circle, and cut. This will be your waist. From your waist, measure out how long you want your skirt to be (i.e. 19”), and cut another quarter circle all around using this measurement.
Step Seven: If you unfold your skirt so that it is simply in half, you will now have something that looks like this. With the waist in the center, and a circle hem all around. If it is fully unfolded it will look like a large donut.
Step Eight: The waist should be ever so slightly larger than the bottom of your bodice. This is good!
Step Nine: Slip the bodice over the top of your skirt, matching up the raw edges, right sides together. Pin the sides, and the front and back.
Step Ten: Sew using a stretch stitch, zig zag stitch or serger, slightly stretching the bodice to match the skirt waist as you sew.
Step Eleven: Finish the neckline and the armsyce with bias tape. Hem the bottom of the skirt. If desired, you can sew a contrasting fabric belt. Simply cut a piece of contrasting knit fabric your waist measurement MINUS 8”W x 5”L. Fold fabric in half right sides together and sew along the long outer edge. Turn fabric right side out and fold in the raw tube side edges ½” and press. Slip elastic into each open side edge, pin and sew.
Step Twelve: Slip belt over dress and you are finished!
Now all you need to do is schedule a date night for Mother’s Day, and you are all set!