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Lazy linen dress tutorial – no pattern needed

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Learn to make your own cute linen dress with this simple tutorial. This is probably the easiest dress you’ll ever sew – even if you’re a beginner, this dress can be ready to wear in less than one hour. And it has pockets!

Lazy linen dress tutorial

I’m a super lazy sewist, as you may see for yourself, but I’m so proud of this dress. 

It turned out really nice and I just love its simple and minimalist look!

This pull-on dress is so effortlessly stylish and comfortable to wear – not too loose, not too tight, a summer must-have. 

It features a boat neckline, long sleeves, side pockets, and a relaxed fit for everyday use. 

Linen tunic dress tutorial for beginners

diy sewing frayed edges linen dress tutorial

The method used in this tutorial is probably the quickest way to get a dress done. Not only this dress does not have darts, nor zippers, buttons, or any other fasteners, as a matter of fact – but I also left the edges raw.

Linen is a strong, durable fabric, easy to care and breathable – a great choice for making a summer dress. You can stop the fabric from fraying too much – just sew all the way around the raw edges with a simple straight stitch or a narrow zigzag.

The intentionally raw hem highlights the casual nature of this lovely linen tunic dress.

I would recommend you stitch up a quick muslin to make sure your dress will fit as you would like.

See this linen dress in action:

DIY linen tunic dress tutorial - no pattern needed

How much fabric do you need to make this dress?

I got away with 2 yards of linen for my 33” long dress – but I had to scramble a bit for the back pattern piece, I did not have enough fabric. So I would recommend at least 2.5 yards to 3.5 yards, depending on your desired dress length.

Sewing supplies – Frayed edges linen dress tutorial

So, here’s how to make this easy linen tunic dress.

Step 1 – trace the front pattern directly onto the fabric

First, fold your fabric in half and trace a rectangle with the following dimensions – the short edge is 1/4 of (your hip + 4 inches) measurement, and the long edge the total length of the dress (from the shoulder to hem).

Note: If you have a top hourglass figure, use your bust measurement instead of hip measurement.

My hip measurement is 36”, so the short edge of my rectangle is (36+4): 4 = 10”. I wanted my dress to be 33” long, so the long edge is 33”. My dress falls just above the knee.

Why did I use these measurements?

This tunic dress is straight, with no curves at the waist or hip – starting right below the underarm, all the way to the hem, the width of the front panel is 36”+4”=40” for me. The back panel is 40” as well. 

So I added 8 inches in total for ease and comfort. If you want your dress to fit more closely or to be a little roomier you can add to your hip measurement only 2.5”, or 5” respectively.

Important: You have to take into account the wearing ease – you’ll need to move, sit, maybe climb the stairs in this tunic dress.

Now you need a woven top that fits you well to trace the neckline and the sleeves. Fold the top in half and lay it on top of your folded fabric piece.

First, trace the front neckline and extend the neck point at the shoulder to account for the seam allowance. 

To make a boatneck, you need to widen the neckline, as shown below.

Now let’s trace the sleeve. For my dress, I extended 18″ from the shoulder seam as shown below.

Notice how the shoulder line is slanted.

You’ll have to measure your desired sleeve length.

Use the same woven top as before to trace the underarm seam – make it roomier than your regular sleeve, be generous. You’ll stop tracing the sleeve pattern when you reach the edge of the initial rectangle.

trace the pattern

Cut the front pattern piece.

front pattern piece, lazy linen dress tutorial

Step 2 – cut the back pattern piece and the pockets

The back pattern piece will be exactly the same as the front piece, except for the neckline.

To avoid a gaping neckline, you have to raise the neckline 1/2” at the center back.

Cut 4 pockets – you need mirrored pattern pieces, so simply fold the fabric in half before cutting. 

pocket pattern, sewing pins

Step 2 – start sewing the dress

Sew the shoulder seam, then the side seams. Stop sewing about 3 inches below the underarm seam.

You’ll get a flat and even seam in the underarm if you just treat the seam from the sleeve hem to the hemline as a continuous seam.

sewing machine, linen dress tutorial

Stitch all around the neckline to prevent distortion and stop the fabric from fraying excessively as well.

Now you need to try out the dress and see where you should set the pockets. Place your hands where you would normally reach for a pocket and use a pencil to mark the point where the top of the pocket will sit.

Take one of the pocket pieces and pin it, right sides together, on your dress, matching the edges.

Repeat with the other pocket piece, and make sure the pockets are symmetrical on both sides.

sewing pockets to linen tunic dress

Press the seams flat with the pocket open and topstitch it 1/4” along the pocket edge.

Now place the right sides of your dress together, with the pocket pieces turned away. Pin the side seams together and around the pocket pieces, and stitch everything in place, following along the curve of the pocket.

linen tunic dress with raw edges and pockets

Step 3 – stitch around the raw edges

Use a straight stitch and a small seam allowance to hem the sleeves and the bottom of the dress.

Then distress the raw edges – just grab a thread or two at one time with your fingers. Go slowly and carefully so that you do not go too far and pull too much thread off the fabric.

linen tunic dress with raw edges, sewing tutorial

The dress is now finished and ready to wear! You can add a belt, a sash, or maybe embroidery to jazz it up.

Later on, if you decide you want to change it into a smart casual dress, you can simply finish the neckline with bias tape or a facing, because that staystitching line helps the neckline keep its shape.

Lazy linen dress tutorial

Versatile dresses for the win!

Did you find this linen dress tutorial helpful? I’d like to hear what you think of it! And I would LOVE to see pictures if you give this pattern a try.

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