Easy Tiered Summer Dress Patterns (Beginner Sewing)

Hello, sunshine! Follow along and be inspired with these easy tiered dress patterns for beginner sewing.

A simple DIY summer dress made with a mix of printed fabric using McCalls M8090 sewing pattern, modeled on a mannequin.

I’ve gathered many simple, easy, tiered summer dress patterns for beginners ready for summer sewing!

I hope you find joy and satisfaction in creating something with your own two hands.

Why you will love these styles

You’ll adore sewing tiered dress styles because they offer a blend of creativity and ease.

Add a fresh twist to your wardrobe using one of the pattern ideas below, available in a traditional or digital pattern.

Picture yourself in a lovely dress that fits just right, thanks to a custom dress bodice and sash ties. Plus, adjusting the finished length is a breeze, and placement of the side seams allows you to tailor it perfectly to your figure.

The beauty of sewing these dresses lies in the details, from the fabric choice and soft gathering stitches to the swing of the skirt!

If there is a season for the dress, it has to be summer. There is no better time to wear a flowy dress than in the warm or hot weather.

My dress pattern choice is loose and comfortable, but I have included other style ideas of different lengths, below that are more fitted too.

Some have feminine vibes and others include contemporary style details. There are sleeveless option patterns, as well as long and short sleeve styles.

See more sewing project ideas or no-sew projects here.

Mixing Patterns

I have been drawn to fabric my entire life. A mix of prints, patterns, or funky color combinations in clothing intrigues me, and I would love to make more clothes like this. 

This is one way the “be brave” mantra comes into play for me. My goal is to challenge myself and you to do the creative things you feel in your heart. What is your heart calling you to do?

My good friend and fellow creative, Ruth, came along to assist me in selecting and pairing fabrics. It is always helpful to get another perspective. She marched me into the quilting fabric section at JoAnn Fabrics.

I had never gone into THAT section for apparel fabric. The selection is quite large and diverse, so you need to hunt.

It was fun getting outside of my usual sandbox. We chose quite gentle and quiet prints, so it was a good first step for a new mixologist.

Sew a Dress that you Love

A tiered skirt is a dream and so fun to float in! There is nothing more feminine! Some of the dress patterns below also incorporate tiers or rows of fabric, overlapping layers, or flounces.

What styles do you feel most comfortable in?

You may want to look in your closet or try various styles before choosing a sewing pattern. Of course, you can challenge yourself with a different look or something new, but be sure to give it some thought.

Consider the features you like to wear, whether long sleeves or short sleeves, long dress or short, fitted bodice and waist or loose-fitting, pockets, splits, ruffles, etc. The choices are all yours!

It is incredibly comfortable and hides everything – so this style works for many body types. The tiers are Ah-mazing to wear!

Doon’t forget to add a cute hat! These are all super cute: wide-brim straw hat, bucket hat, and ponytail hat.

Sewing a Summer tiered dress pattern, McCalls M8090 with a Singer Sewing Machine.

Sewing for Beginners

If you are new to sewing, choose your dress pattern and fabric wisely. Beginner sewists should select a sewing pattern labeled “Easy to Sew,” “1-hour”, or “Learn to Sew,” etc.

Also, consider starting with a solid color fabric. This will make it much easier to succeed!

And of course, if you’d rather purchase, target dresses are always cute and affordable too!

Beginner Dress Patterns

To begin, pick a sewing pattern design. My DIY dress is McCalls M8090. (affiliate link)

Below are a few good patterns for tiered dresses and some of the best summer dress styles that I found on Amazon. These styles have tiers and ruffles.

Today’s picks emphasize feminine fashion. I do not dress this way often, so it is a fun variation! Here’s another summer style variation to check out: a halter dress!

You can purchase traditional sewing patterns (some vendors offer free shipping) or buy digital download PDF patterns. If they offer a digital sewing pattern, you can print it at home or at your local copy shop on a larger-format printer. You can then tape the patterns together.

Tiered styles have a few more pattern pieces than simpler silhouettes, but I think you will find them to be fairly easy sewing patterns to work with. Check the garment views to see if you are comfortable with the level of complexity.

These patterns include a fabric requirement chart, detailed instructions with an easy-cutting guide (or cutting chart), and uncomplicated step-by-step instructions to assist you.

I hope you find a look you are drawn to; there is something girlie for every shape and size here. There are also buying sources in the text below each photo of the tiered dress patterns. (affiliate links below)

Perfect peasant dress pattern, McCall’s M8090    |    Wrap summer dress pattern Simplicity 1872

Tiered skirts, Simplicity 1110    |    Maxi dress Vogue V9251

Best Fabric for Dresses

For my smock dress, I chose three medium-weight quilting cotton prints.

Light- to medium-weight fabrics make sewing projects more enjoyable and easier to manage. If you are just learning how to sew clothes, be sure to look for these fabric types.

You will also discover that sewing with quilting cotton is incredibly easy. It’s easy to cut and press and doesn’t slip and slide. Cotton, in general, is a great fabric if you are new to sewing or just dipping your toe in for the first time.

As you shop, consider lightweight fabrics, such as chambray, soft cotton, cotton lawn, linen, or medium-weight fabrics like denim and oxford. There are so many lovely options for dress fabrics.

A DIY Summer Dress made with McCalls Pattern M8090 tiered dress pattern with mixed prints. Modeled by woman outside surrounded by greenery and flowers.

What is Quilters Fabric?

Can I use quilter fabric? Yes, you can indeed use quilting cotton, even for apparel fabric.

Quilting cotton tends to be stiffer than apparel cotton. It is usually not as soft and does have a stiffer drape. Quilting cotton works best for casual and structured garments and is perfect for a little girl’s dress.

The best quilting fabric brands start with high-quality greige (gray) goods. Premium greige fabrics have a minimum thread count of 60 by 60, and most have thread counts higher than 60 square.

A higher thread count creates a silkier feel, less breakdown when washed, a more extended fabric life, and better print clarity.

Most large chain stores carry quilting cotton produced from less expensive materials. Premium brands are worth looking into because they offer higher quality than their less expensive counterparts but for not much more.

You can typically find better quality cotton for apparel in smaller fabric stores and online.

Prepare to Sew

I recommend pre-washing your fabric and drying it as you will do in the future. A dryer may shrink the fibers slightly, but it’s better to do it before investing your hard work than after.

Whatever fabric type you choose, try to hang dry your garments after they are done to extend their life.

A DIY Summer Dress made with McCalls Pattern M8090 tiered dress patterns with mixed prints. Modeled by woman outside surrounded by greenery and flowers.

Buying Fabric

You can purchase almost everything you need for any tiered dress pattern at your local fabric, craft store, or online retailer, including sewing machines, fabric, sewing patterns, and supplies.

Here are a few well-known online shops and also a few good brick-and-mortar establishments to help you locate your perfect dress fabric:

Harts Designer Fabric
Hobby Lobby
JoAnn Fabrics
Mood Fabrics

Minnesota peeps! If you are in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis or St. Paul or just passing through, check out our local Minneapolis fabric stores and our St Paul fabric stores! CLICK below for more information:

The Sewing Lounge
Treadle Yard Goods
S.R. Harris

Sewing supplies for a simple summer dress made with McCalls M8090 tiered dress patterns.

Sewing Supplies

Assemble or purchase your sewing materials to prepare. See below for the essential items you will need and ideas on where you can buy them (affiliate links in blue)

Sewing Pattern mine is McCalls M8090
Dress Fabric
Matching Thread
Notions* see below
Sewing Straight Pins
Sewing scissors or
Rotary Cutter Olfa cutter is my favorite!
Cutting Mat Olfa mat or
Safe Cutting Surface
Paper Scissors
Sewing Machine

*Notions will vary depending on the sewing pattern you select. For example, they may include fusible interfacing, bias tape, a zipper, hook and eye, or buttons, etc.

A simple DIY summer dress made with a mix of printed fabric using McCalls M8090 tiered dress patterns, modeled on a mannequin.

Sewing with a Pattern or Print

Matching the connecting panels together can be tricky if you choose a fabric with a distinct print or pattern. Be patient; it will be worth it when your dress is ready to wear!

It is nearly impossible to match everything perfectly on the garment; instead, choose to align the most dominant and noticeable areas.

My dress fabric was not directional, meaning it did not have a particular print orientation or distinct graphics. The prints are smaller, so I was not concerned about the pattern connecting from panel to panel.

Depending on the style of dress you choose, you may need to pay special attention to the bodice, the center front, the hemline, etc., to match up your print design.

Here are some matching techniques to consider if you choose a stripe or pattern fabric.

DIY tiered dress patterns - this one was made with McCalls Pattern M8090 with mixed prints. Modeled by woman outside surrounded by greenery and flowers.

More Cute Clothes to Sew

All sewing projects
New patterns for wrap skirts
Sleeveless top patterns
Patterns for skirt sets
Midi skirt pattern
Layered skirt patterns
Easy wrap skirt patterns

Cute wrap skirt
Long skirt sewing patterns

Halter dress pattern
Crossbody bag
Sew a blouse
Free patterns for hobo bag

Be sure to check out these tiered dress patterns and make yourself an easy-breezy dress to finish off in August. Please let me know if you make one in the comment box below. I love to see what you create!

Enjoy the warm weather!

10 comments on “Easy Tiered Summer Dress Patterns (Beginner Sewing)

  1. It looks like you added a 3rd tier not pictured in the pattern . Did you make the 3rd tier longer or the 2nd shorter?

  2. I’ve almost finished mine in a green daisy print rayon. I might try another in different colours like yours, so cute.

  3. Love the more “girlie” look. I plan on using the inspiration to have something similar tailored right here in Vietnam.

    1. Hi Nancy! It does not. I guessed! According to my receipt, it looks like I purchased 1.25 yards of each of the 3 fabrics. I did have some leftover, but I prefer to be safe. Please get a second opinion based on your pattern, fabric, and size though! Good luck and keep me posted!

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