Reach for the lightweight fabrics and get cracking with these beach-ready me-mades. We’ve rounded up our pick of the best summer sewing patterns for you, from culottes to caftans.
Main image: Closet Case Patterns, Charlie Caftan. Article updated 30th July 2018.
Some of these patterns are new out this year, and others are among our team favourites… let us know what you’re sewing for summer #simplysewingmag.
1. Tilly and the Buttons: Stevie Tunic
Stevie is an easy-fitting modern tunic that’s a breeze to sew and wear this summer. Sew it as a top or above-the-knee dress using light to medium weight fabrics, such as gorgeous linens. With no darts, zips or set-in sleeves, it’s a great project for sewing newbies, or a satisfying speedy sew for more experienced stitchers.
This brand new pattern is available in paper and PDF formats, in sizes ranging from a UK 6-20, from shop.tillyandthebuttons.com
2. Style Arc: Ariana Dress
Style Arc’s sun dress with a fitted shaped bodice and full skirt has a laid-back ’90s vibe.
The Ariana Dress sewing pattern was released earlier this year, and is the perfect 90s-inspired strappy sun dress. It features a button through front, fitted bodice with a shirred back panel (which makes fitting easier), and a full skirt that will skim over your hips. If you don’t fancy having elastic in the back and you’re a confident sewist, you could re-draft this to have a plain back. Add the optional patch pockets and you have the perfect dress for summer picnics, trips to the beach or evening drinks. We’d recommend trying this pattern in cotton lawn or viscose as you’ll want some drape to the skirt.
We’ve spied some great versions of this dress popping up on Instagram, and we’ve fallen in love with @seammachine’s version using Anna Maria Horner’s ‘Helios’ print fabric, which is covered with flying Pegasus.
Available as PDF or printed pattern, sizes 4-30 (AUS) / 8-34 (UK). Shop the pattern at: www.stylearc.com
3. Closet Case Patterns: Charlie Caftan
This on-trend caftan is both elegant and relaxed all at the same time. Imagine wearing this by the poolside, cocktail in hand as the sun sets, or slipping into it after work for a drink in the garden!
The dramatic kimono sleeves make a real statement and will flatter most body shapes. We think this would look spectacular made up in a bold-print, bright viscose or even a cotton for a more structured look, which would benefit the pleats in the front.
4. Seamwork: Amber Dress
The Amber dress is new from Seamwork, with two different skirt variations: a sweet, three-tiered version and a clean-lined A-line (you can download the A-line too when you buy the original).
We love the simple shape of this dress, and how the wide straps let you wear a normal bra! The top itself has two darts to add some shape, but it is less fitted than other similar dresses. Make this in a light to medium weight woven fabric, like chambray or shirting cotton, and you’ll have a comfortable dress for hot days.
The skirt tiers make it possible to do some colour blocking or stash busting. We think this would look amazing sewn up with vintage sheet fabric in pastel shades.
PDF pattern, sizes 0 – 26, includes an instruction book with different technical drawings of the larger sizes. Shop the pattern at www.seamwork.com
5. Simply Sewing: The Lola Dress
We couldn’t resist including one of our own here! We just love The Lola Dress pattern from issue 44 – make yours with simple spaghetti straps or elegant off-the-shoulder sleeves, and pick a drapey cotton, viscose or crepe for maximum swish-factor.
This pattern comes in UK sizes 6 to 20 and is available with printed copies of issue 44 of Simply Sewing magazine. UK sewists, head over to our online store, or if you’re overseas you can buy the issue here.
6. Sew Over It: Lucia top
This quick and easy jersey top pattern has a delightful flirty frill along the top. It’s perfect to make ahead of a holiday, or for a weekend date night.
We recommend using a soft viscose jersey that will not only feel amazing, but will make the ruffles extra drapey. Sewing with this sort of slippery jersey can be a little fiddly as it likes to move about a lot, but go slowly, don’t let it stretch by hanging off the machine as you sew with it and you will be fine. Remember to always use a stretch needle, and practice on some scraps before jumping in!
The version Lisa Comfort is wearing here looks classy in navy polka dot fabric, but this top could look equally gorgeous in a tropical jungle print or a bright solid colour. You could even sew the ruffle in a contrast fabric.
Available as a PDF for £7.50. Shop the pattern at: sewoverit.co.uk
7. Helen’s Closet: Winslow Culottes
Make these swishy culottes as full length palazzo pants, as shorts or anywhere in between for an effortless, summer look. Your fabric choice can create a real impact with these versatile culottes: we think making the full length version in plain black viscose will create a sleek and elegant look, whereas using a light denim or cotton twill on the shorter lengths will make a more relaxed but structured look.
Available as a PDF download for US $14 at helenscloset.ca
Not sure if culottes are your thing? Take a look at 500+ and counting versions of this pattern on Instagram #winslowculottes and you’ll see how adaptable and wearable these are on all sorts of body shapes and in all kinds of style. Pair your Winslow Culottes with a simple, but classic True/Bias Ogden Cami, or the Sew Over It’s Silk Cami Top.
8. Victory Patterns: Simone Top and Dress
Sew a summer staple with extra wow factor with this versatile pattern – add a contrasting placket and tab detail with pleats to create fullness. We love the fitted neckline, opening at the front and secured with a hook and eye. The back features a contrasting racer-cut yoke. Make it as a dress with asymmetrical hemline or try it as a tank top.
9. Butterick Waverly Bag
This simple pattern from Butterick can be made up into a myriad of different looks by just switching up the fabric. Choose navy and cream or red for a classic nautical vibe, or tropical prints in cotton twill or canvas for your new go-to beach bag. Versions C & D in the pattern are big enough to carry everything you’d need for a day at the beach.
Available as a printed pattern for £8.99 at www.sewingquarter.com
10. Simply Sewing: patternless Beach Cover-up
Save a spot in your suitcase for Jennifer Mills’ self-drafted cover-up for boho beach style, as seen in Simply Sewing issue 43. This project is great for beginners looking for a laid-back summer make – we’ve included all the instructions you need to draft your own pattern to fit your body in the magazine.
Opt for a lightweight fabric and sew a simple drawstring waist to add shape. We’ve sewn ours in Persephone B Liberty Tana Lawn from www.alicecaroline.co.uk.
Share your summer makes with us
What’s on your sewing table this summer? Have we missed out your favourite summer pattern in this post? Tell us about it! There’s nothing we love more than a sneaky peek at your me-mades, so make our day and tag us with your photos on social media #simplysewingmag.