Strawberry Summer Day Dress

Summertime, Summertime, Sum, Sum, Summertime.
In honor of Daylight Savings (which my husband hates and would lobby to get rid of)
((Spoken as a true Arizonian))…well, I’ve got sunshine and summertime on my mind.

Are you a summer lover too?
Or is winter more your vibe?—sitting by a fire, reading a good book and crocheting? Lucy wishes it would rain every day. I keep telling her she should live in the PNW when she grows up. It’s totally gorgeous. And totally that vibe.

Weather is a funny thing—like it’s part of our personality. Or rather, our relationship to weather is part of us, in our DNA. A Nature vs Nurture thing? I have a friend that grew up in Portland and never knew what it was like to see so much sunshine till she moved away as a teenager and fell in love with the sun. And then we know people who left sunny southern California this year for the giant green forests of Oregon and love it.
Potato, Potahto.

Whatever your weather language is, I think most of us agree that knit fabric is one of the best ideas ever. I love a good knit. And THIS KNIT IS THE SOFTEST THING AROUND. I’ve said that before. And probably before. But it really is soft!

This is the Backyard Berry knit from my Summer Side fabric collection with Art Gallery Fabrics. There are three knits in this collection, and sixteen quilting cottons. You can browse them on my site here, or check out the AGF lookbook here.

For this dress I used the Summer Day Top pattern (which you can watch a video for here and here). I used the peplum tunic version and added some length to make it into a dress. Voila!

I also added the sleeve cuffs, because that is my favorite look. It’s the version we used on the pattern cover (in picnic plaid fabric).Β  And I smiled at this pic below (from Boden I think??) because it has a similar feel. And with the orange background, totally ties into the whole Summer Side collection!

If you’ve never sewn with knits before, DO NOT STRESS. They’re fun, they’re an adventure, but they’re not scary. I have tons of content here on my site about sewing with knits. And I have detailed videos here and here and here.

The key with knits (in this instance) is to not stretch the fabric as you sew. The nice thing with this pattern is that the bias strip binding for the neckline (when cut out of quilting cotton) will help you avoid that all together. And it looks so stinking cute when you cut the binding from a striped fabric. Watch me sew a neckline binding in this video here.

The downside to using a knit here (or rather, the “make it work” moment I experienced) is that AGF knits are a bit on the heavier side. This is fabulous when sewing a pair of leggings. But I found that it added more bulk and weight around the waistline seam. So I scaled back the width of fabric used for the peplum. And even then, the finished dress felt too “big” to me (it would feel totally different if this was sewn in a rayon fabric). So, I added a simple tie around the waist, and then I loved it!

Like I said, knits are always an adventure. Each one acts and stretches differently than another.Β  For this waistband tie, I simply cut a long strip of fabric, yanked it on the ends so it curled up around itself and that was that! No sewing or finishing anything off, since most knit fabric does not fray at the edges.

Now I want to make more summer clothing from the other knits in the collection…. tanks, a beach coverup, or how about this cute shirt that was tagged to #agfsummersideΒ on Instagram?? Love her energy!

Happy sewing, friends!
> Purchase the Backyard Berry Knit Fabric here
> Grab the Summer Day Top Pattern here
> Sunglasses are from A Beautiful Mess
> Bag is from Target

  1. 1) Sharlyn

    Love the dress!! My husband also hates switching from daylight savings to regular time but he would lobby for us to switch to daylight savings and then stay there instead of switching back to the other way.

    • 2) Dana

      YESSS! I think Daylight Savings worked better back in the day πŸ™‚ I’d love to switch it this weekend, and walk away!

  2. 3) Bdaiss

    Consider me another vote for no more time changes. (And Daylight Savings would be just fine.) I love all the seasons. There’s something about each of them to excite me – long days and camping adventures in the summer, football and grilling out in the fall, sledding, ice skating, and hot cocoa in the winter, and warm weather and the new growth of spring (also the end to the school year and all the activities that brings). I don’t think I could ever live somewhere without 4 distinct seasons. This is such a cute dress! So simple yet so perfect.

    • 4) Dana

      Right?? Totally agree. And thanks Brittany! I do love simple, everyday things.

  3. 5) Martha

    Goodness me! That is the perfect dress! I can not wait to make mine! I’ve been wanting to sew with knits so this will be the perfect place to start. ( after I watch your tutorials) I’m am totally a winter person, cozy knitting, reading and hot coffee but I may be a convert to summer after seeing this cutie!

    • 6) Dana

      Yay! You should definitely try it out! And I love that you’re a winter person. It’s so fun to see the different things that we’re each drawn to. Ironically I’m obsessed with watching movies and shows about cold weather, winter, and snow….because I’m fascinated by it!

  4. 7) Cathy

    OMG!! I TOTALLY LOVE THE DRESS! I have the Summer Day Top Pattern and have used it many times…but I hadn’t thought outside the box like you have. The dress is a fabulous idea! This is just one of the plethora of reasons I LOVE your blog. You ALWAYS lift me up! THANK YOU!

    • 8) Dana

      Hahah. Thanks! And YES. You need to make yours into a dress!! Thanks for the kind words Cathy πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Have fun sewing!

  5. 9) Christel

    How much did you scale back on the skirt fabric to account for the heavier knit fabric? Also, my daughter is very tall and I will add length to the skirt. But can I add length to the bottom of the top part without adjusting the sides? Love the dress – so simple and cute for almost anyone. Thanks! PS your shorts pattern is wonderful – very easy and so comfortable for little ones.

    • 10) Dana

      Oh man, I can’t remember now….since I made this about 6 months ago or so?? Just now getting around to blogging about it πŸ™‚ I started with the normal ratio (or rather that pattern piece that’s included in the pattern) but then once it was cut out and gathered it just looked really big, so I cut a bunch off the side seams. Now if it was a lighter weight knit, it might have worked fine. It just depends on the fabric weight.

  6. 11) michele

    Great Dress!
    Just to clarify: the dress is knit, but the bias strip is NOT knit, but woven? Also, would I be able to use this same method (using a woven binding) when making a knit t shirt?

    • 12) Dana

      Correct. Good thing to verify πŸ™‚ The woven bias strip helps the neckline keep it’s shape, and NOT stretch. And yes, you could use this same method on a knit shirt, as long as the neckline is large enough to fit over your head without needing to stretch. If it’s a normal t-shirt style that will need to stretch, I would use a different method, intended to stretch. You can see that in my Basic Tee tutorial here:

  7. 13) Krista

    Quick question: instead of extending the peplum bottom, could you attach a circle skirt? It might make a cute skater dress.

    • 14) Dana

      Yes totally! And that would be adorable. I made a similar dress that for Clara in this post:
      Maybe I should do that for me too! Just keep in mind that the bodice in this Summer Day Top pattern is a bit “loose” fitting, so if you want something more snug (like a skater dress) you may want to size down or adjust the seams, as needed.

  8. 15) Ruhama

    Love this!!!!! How would I go about longer sleeves?

    • 16) Dana

      Hmmm. You could add longer sleeves, but that would require a different armscye (or armhole) and sleeve. This arm is rather loose and open, so making a long sleeve version of this particular pattern would be very loose and open. You’d just have to play around with it to make it work.

  9. 17) LiEr

    Dana! Such a pretty dress, and boy, I’m ready for summer. It’s been a long winter. Loved the photo of you smiling – 3rd from last, I think (if I counted right). Such a great shot. Happy spring!

    • 18) Dana

      Haha. Thanks! It’s so good to hear from you!! Feels like old times πŸ™‚ And thank you. You are so sweet πŸ™‚

  10. 19) Esther

    Dear Dana,
    Your videos are awesome. I would love to read your blog as well but your pages are very slow and pictures take a long time to load. You could be losing visitors like this. Please consider adding CDN like cloudflare so folks from other countries can also enjoy your lovely tutorials.

  11. 20) Ashley

    How would you alter the fabric length to be maternity friendly?

  12. 21) Poppy

    How much fabric do I need to make a dress for me?
    I’m eleven
    From pops

  13. 22) Hayden Lu

    Hi Dana! I love your YouTube channel! I’m almost 13 years old and I LOVE sewing!! I started sewing about 2 years ago. I really hope you can make a tutorial on how to make a cool crop top (I’m really into those right now). Anyways, I hope you stay safe during this pandemic!!
    -Hayden Lu

  14. 23) Nicola

    Hello! I am an absolute beginner at sewing, and I started by making your zipper pouches. I’m getting good at those now, so I wanted to try this dress but I don’t understand how to buy the pattern. I get an online pattern that I have to print out? I’ll have to tape pages together because it won’t fit on sheets of A4 paper? I’m so confused!
    Thanks for your help!

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