Creating Lovely For Less

A DIY summer dress in the scrap fabric spotlight


Style-up a Summer Outfit

With a fashionable pieced together sundress and handbag


Scraps, remnants and outfits that catch the eye

In a time of disposable fashion, piecing fabric scraps together to create clothing is a satisfying experience. For me, it’s therapeutic. Projects need not be elaborate. If you sew regularly, keep an eye out for smaller pieces of material to use as accents and irregular shaped ones you can incorporate in your designs. The dress on this page is made of 3 different fabric pieces. The bag is also fashioned from 3 separate pieces of material, including the lining. Together they make up an eye-catching summer outfit; all for the cost of digging into the scrap fabric bin.


Fitting Pieces Together

In a fashionable way


No patterns were used; available fabrics and their sizes dictated the designs.

Both pieces are easy and require beginner sewing skills. If you know how to sew seams, insert a zipper and attach elastic, you can do it.

Tools Materials & Notions used

Fabric scraps


Piece of 3/8” elastic




Press cloth

Iron and ironing board

Sewing machine


Above: The green base at the bottom of the bag is made with a 13 ½” x 6 ½” rectangle of decorator fabric a cushion covers project.


A Walk in the Park

Enjoying a summer stroll

Outfit Composition

Bodice –scraps of cotton knit from a two piece pant outfit. Skirt –the outer layer is the bottom portion of fabric left over from a flared skirt; the lining was made with another scrap of white fabric.

Handbag –scraps from an earlier bag project; the green base is made from a 13 ½” x 6 ½” remnant from the cushion covers; a random piece of white fabric was used for the lining. The finished bag is about 6” high and 13” wide with straps that are approximately 22” inches long.

Working with scrap fabric, demands using what you have. As a result, I used 4 pattern pieces for the body of the bag. But it can be reduced to a one, two or three-piece pattern.

See instructions on constructing a similar three-piece bag here.


Scrap Fabric Spotlight

A closeup of the handbag made with scraps from another bag project: as the fabric was an oversized floral print, I wanted to position the blooms in certain areas on the bag. That meant cutting into; and bypassing other parts of the design.

As a result, I ended up with a fair amount of off-cuts from the sides of the fabric. See the original tote with the buttoned closure below.

Order of handbag construction

Cut and fuse the fabrics

Make the handles

Mark and attach straps to the front and back

Insert zipper by attaching to front and back panel

Stitch together outer bag panels with zipper open

Piece together lining and attach to wrong side of outer bag.


The Original Handbag