Boat Club Dress + Swimsuit Coverup FREE pattern + Tutorial

Today I am beyond excited to be participating in Melly Sews’ Thirty Days of Sundresses. For the entire month of June, Melissa has people creating tutorials and patterns to inspire people to sew their own sundresses this summer! Oh! And she has a giveaway going on HERE that you may want to enter 😉



Let’s get started.

First, you’ll want to click here to download The Boat Club Dress + Swimsuit Coverup. This is a one-size pattern that fits most, sizes small to large.


-1 1/2 yards of 54″-60″ wide knit fabric. This tutorial is made using a knit (found here)

-1 package of 1/4″ knit elastic

-Sewing machine and serger (optional)

-Ballpoint needle (be sure to use a zig zag or stretch stitch when working with knits)

-Coordinating thread

S T E P  O N E

-Paste together pattern pieces and then cut them out of the paper. Cut fabric according to the pattern pieces.

-Also cut one strip of fabric that is 2″ x WOF.

-A 1/2″ seam allowance is used throughout this pattern unless otherwise noted.

S T E P  T W O

Place back bodice pice right side up and the two bodice front pieces right side down. Match the shoulder and side seams and pin in place. Sew along the shoulder seams and the side seams. Be sure to leave the arm hole unsewn. Finish these seams with a serger or zig zag stitch and press to one side.

The Boat Club Dress and Swimsuit Coverup FREE pattern + Tutorial on

S T E P  T H R E E

Take the long 2″ strip and fold it in half wrong sides together lengthwise. Starting at the waist point of the bodice front, pin all raw edges together. Pin up that side, around the neck, and down the other side. Sew in place.


S T E P  F O U R

Finish this raw edge with a serger or zig zag stitch and press the seam allowance towards the wrong side of the fabric.

The Boat Club Dress and Swimsuit Coverup FREE pattern + Tutorial on

S T E P  F I V E

Match the notches on the bodice front pieces and baste these two pieces together.

S T E P  S I X

Take your two skirt pieces and match them up right sides together. Pin and sew the side seams in place. Finish the seams and press toward one side.

The Boat Club Dress and Swimsuit Coverup FREE pattern + Tutorial on

S T E P  S E V E N

Place the bodice inside the skirt with right sides facing. Match the side seams, pin and sew all the way around using a 3/4″ seam allowance. Finish this seam.

The Boat Club Dress and Swimsuit Coverup FREE pattern + Tutorial on

S T E P  E I G H T

Press this seam allowance down towards the skirt and sew a scant 1/4″ seam across the bottom of the seam allowance to create a casing. Leave a 2″ opening along the back of the dress.


S T E P  N I N E

Measure around your waist with your 1/4″ elastic to see how much elastic you need. This measurement is up to you.. I suggest using your measurement minus 2″-3″.

Using a safety pin attached to one end of the elastic, push your elastic through the opening on the casing of the dress. Be careful not to twist your elastic. When you’ve pushed it all the way around, overlap the two pieces of elastic and sew over them using a zig zag stitch. Finish the casing so there is no hole.

S T E P  T E N

Hem the armhole and bottom hem as you’d like OR just leave them raw; you’ve sewn this with a knit, so no raveling involved! Admire your beautiful dress and hop over to the pool and grab yourself a drink with a cute little umbrella straw 😉

The Boat Club Dress and Swimsuit Coverup FREE pattern + Tutorial on

*Note: When you try on your dress, see where the two bodice fronts overlap and pin in place. If you desire, you can stitch in the ditch a tiny seam across the point where they overlap to secure in place.

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37 thoughts on “Boat Club Dress + Swimsuit Coverup FREE pattern + Tutorial

  1. THANK YOU for sharing this!!! This pattern is perfect and I’m adding it to my summer queue today. I have a list of patterns I want to sew up to pack for my vacation next month and this is now one of them. You’re an amazing and talented lady!

  2. Hey Caroline :)) (nice name hihihihi)
    I just spotted your blog and i am suuuperexicted. Your dress patterns are beautiful as well as your style and your other sewing projects. Thank you so much for sharing this one for free! Yay! 🙂 You got such nice fabrics over there.. will your designed fabrics available overseas? We got some Art Gallery fabrics around here but still it would be nice to know if yours will be availabe 🙂 Thanks for your gorgeous blog. Greetings from Germany Caroline 🙂

  3. Love it!! Such an easy and awesome dress.. Maybe I will try to make a maxi out of it 😉
    Btw: I read on instaram that you were searching a name for a new skirt pattern, but I don’t have instagram, so I thought I should post it here (would be awesome to also make a chance to win the pattern)
    What do you think of ‘easy breeze’, ‘easy breezy’? of ‘belle beauty’?
    I’m curious for the new pattern 😉

    1. a maxi would be gorgeous!
      I’m still working on the name + pattern, thanks for the suggestions 😉

  4. Great pattern! I just printed it out, but I don’t think it came out correctly… some borders are missing. Should it be as it is on the pdf? For which size of paper is it prepared? My printer detected A4 and I used no fit to page.



    1. There may not be borders- check the test square and if it is correct you should be good to go. there is also a printing guide.

    1. make sure your pop up blocker is deactivated … it will open in a new tab, i think!

  5. Hi Caroline! Thanks for sharing this pattern! I don’t see any reason why I couldn’t do this with a woven, do you? I have a really cute lightweight summery floral I want to use! If the dress is wide enough with an elastic waist, and I widen the arm holes, do you think I should give it a go?!

    1. yeah! go for it! I think it would work with wovens. you may want to make the arms a tad bigger and then you can use bias tape to close the raw edges around the bodice 🙂

      1. Oooh.. a lightweight woven, bigger armholes and bias around the sleeve end. Brilliant! I’ve got some lightweight cotton I’d love to use for that. Thanks!!

  6. This looks like a great dress! Thanks for sharing your pattern. I look forward to making one for myself!

  7. Hi Caroline, thank you so much for this lovely pattern. I made the dress yesterday for my daughter. (18). I love the pattern, so simple, so nice. I’m sure I make more of them, for myself, the girlfriends of my sons and my daughter wants more of them. This afternoon we’ll make pictures of the first dress. Greetings from the Netherlands.

  8. Hi, I see it says this dress measures 46″ around when finished. Is that 46″ at the bust or the waist? I’m a rather busty girl & ALWAYS have to do an FBA. However, 46″ at the bust would be more help than I usually get from a pattern & only 1″ shy of what I need.

    1. it is basically a large rectangle with a teensy flair in the skirt portion, so it is 46″ wide all the way around. the waist is cinched in with elastic!

  9. Woohoo free pattern! Yay! Thanks, this is a such a cute little cover up (that’s nice enough to wear off the beach, too) and I love the nautical print. Downloading now!

  10. This looks great – I may actually try to turn it into a nursing sundress. It seems perfectly suited. Thank you for the tutorial and pattern.

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