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Pattern Hack: Sew an Easy Strapless Sundress

5 min read

Over the Christmas break, I did a little sewing pattern for myself and converted the Summer Breeze dress into a fast little strapless number. I remember my mum wearing these when I was little. They always looked so fresh & cool on a hot day. A strapless sundress pattern is the perfect piece for the approaching hot weather as they are a great way to combine both style and comfort.

Not only that, but a good strapless dress sewing pattern can offer you an outfit that can be dressed up with heels and bold jewellery, or dressed down with sandals and a sunhat.

Remaking an old dress into a strapless dress lets you take something once forgotten and revitalise it into something new and fashionable. There are several ways on how to make a dress strapless, but this simple strapless sundress pattern is a quick, easy way to turn your old pieces from drab to fab.

Sewing Patterns - pattern hack for strapless dress by Pattern Emporium

This strapless dress tutorial pattern hack outlines how to convert the Pattern Emporium Summer Breeze Dress into a simple summer strapless dress with elastic at the waist & neckline. 

The waistline on this strapless dress tutorial pattern hack sits lower than the Summer Breeze Dress: either on the natural waist, the lower waist or the hips.

DISCLAIMER: I have only made one in my size so far from this strapless sundress pattern. But if you make one, I'd love to add your pics to this pattern hack.

So let’s get started and I’ll show you how to make a dress strapless in just a few easy steps! 


For this strapless dress sewing pattern you will need:  

  • The Summer Breeze Dress pattern
  • fabric & thread
  • 20mm (3/4") elastic for the top opening
  • 12mm (1/2") elastic for the waist
  • safety pin or bodkin to thread elastic

We will be following the main strapless dress tutorial for the skirt (page 16) and the elastic waist pattern hack (page 25) to join skirt & bodice. 


To begin the strapless dress tutorial, you need to measure yourself as outlined in the pattern. The main thing you need to remember is that the skirt needs to fit over your hips. So, with that taken care of, let’s see how to make a dress strapless with this sundress pattern!


1. BODICE WIDTH: Eliminate the centre front/back seam (1.5cm or 1") as you'll now be cutting this on the fold. 

Summer Breeze Strapless elastic dress pattern hack by Pattern Emporium Sewing patterns

2. BODICE LENGTH: Decide if you want to wear the elastic waist of your dress on your natural waistline or a bit lower on your lower waist or hips.

  • Waistline on natural waist: reduce the length of the bodice pattern piece by 2.5cm (1").
  • Waistline on hips: leave the length as it is.

Note: if you'd like your dress more gathered than mine as shown in the strapless dress tutorial, just add extra width evenly to both the skirt & bodice pattern pieces.


1. Fold your fabric in half. Lay the long edge (centre front/back) along the fold. Cut 2.

strapless summer dress pattern hack by Pattern Emporium

2. Cut out the skirt as per the strapless dress sewing pattern. If you want to eliminate the centre back seam, do so. 


1. With right sides together, sew the long edges of the bodice together to form a tube. Overlock along top & bottom.

strapless summer dress pattern hack by Pattern Emporium

2. Turn & iron top edge under 3cm (1 1/4").

3. Starting at the back, straight stitch around folded edge to make the elastic casing.

4. Leave a small gap (3-4cm or 1 1/2") at the back so you can insert the elastic.

The width of your elastic is 20mm (3/4") so make your stitching width approximately 25mm (1").

Note: you could also sew a row along the top edge, close to the fold for your strapless dress sewing pattern. This might stop your elastic from twisting when you take your dress off. Just make sure you allow an extra few mms in width. I chose not to because I preferred it without as my fabric was fine.

strapless summer dress pattern hack by Pattern Emporium sewing


1. Before continuing with the strapless dress tutorial, you need to determine the elastic length needed. To do this, place the 20mm (3/4") elastic around your body to determine how long it needs to be: under your arms but above your bust.

Find a comfortable position & length & add 2cm seam allowance. 

2. Insert elastic through the casing.

Pattern Hack convert to strapless summer dress by Pattern Emporium sewing patterns

3. Pin elastic closed with a safety pin & try the top section on. Tighten the elastic if required. 

Convert dress to strapless dress - pattern hack by Pattern Emporium sewing patterns

4. Remove bodice. I recommend waiting until you've added your waist elastic before you secure elastic & close the gap.



You will need page 16 in the Summer Breeze Pattern

Turn to page 16 in the pattern & follow Steps 16-19.



You will need pages 18 in the Summer Breeze Pattern

Then turn to page 18 in the pattern & follow Steps 24-29.

REMEMBER to leave a gap to insert the elastic.

NOTE: At Step 26 is says to try it on. I waited until I'd inserted the waist elastic before trying it on.



You will need pages 25 in the Summer Breeze Pattern

Turn to page 25 in the pattern & follow Step 1.

Before you secure & close the gap to complete the strapless dress pattern tutorial, try the dress on to check waist elastic, bust elastic & dress length.



You will need pages 21 in the Summer Breeze Pattern

Once you're happy with the fit from the strapless sundress pattern, you can complete the hem. This is outlined on page 21, Steps 44-47.

Then congratulations! You have completed the steps needed to create your very own strapless sundress pattern.



For an extra feature for this strapless dress tutorial you can add a drawstring element to the strapless sundress pattern. To add a mock drawstring at the waist and/or the bust, follow Steps 2-6 on page 25.

NOTES: There is always room for improvement or modification of this strapless dress sewing pattern to better suit your needs.

For example,if you wear your dress a few times and decide the bodice is a bit too long or you'd prefer to have the waist sit a little higher than you originally chose, simply: remove the elastic at the top of the dress, unpick the row of stitching & repeat steps 6-10.

I shared a little video in the Pattern Emporium Facebook group that you can view here. Check it out to see how to make a dress strapless for yourself.

Now It’s Your Turn

Now we’ve completed the strapless dress tutorial, it’s your turn to begin your own project. For more great ideas and sewing patterns, take a look at our Pattern Emporium collections or contact us with any questions or queries you have, and we will be more than happy to assist.