I found some gorgeous jersey fabric at a charity shop and decided to make myself a new summer dress. After looking for patterns online and finding none I really liked I made my own simple one. I've gotten lots of compliments on how nice this dress looks from people who have no idea I made it myself.
For the skirt: cut a square 1 meter by 1 meter (or twice how long you want your skirt to be if you want something longer or shorter than mine).
Fold it in half long ways, and then in half short ways to make a square (as shown in diagram - dotted lines are your folds.)
Cut a large quarter circle on the none folded edge, and a smaller circle on the folded edge (the small circle should be only two or three inches from the folded point to where you start cutting - jersey stretches so don't worry if this seems small, plus you can cut it bigger if you need to later). Cutting the larger semi circle as shown will give you shorter sides as mine has - if you want the length even all the way round only cut the bottom left corner, miss the top left and bottom right from the picture left.
Unfold your fabric and you should have a large circle with a centre cut out circle (neaten as required). Put it on to make sure it fits. It should hang on your hips - if its too tight, refold and cut some extra from the small circle; if it's too loose then you'll need to gather it later.
For the top: Fold the rest of your fabric in half and place your vest on top (leave as much room above or below to make the tie round band later if you want one). Cut out the fabric around your vest.
This should give you two pieces similar to the picture left. The vest I used had a neckline the same hight at front and back, but you may want/need to adjust yours by cutting in a lower neckline on the front piece. (I do recommend this if you're going to use bias binding - my dress is a struggle to get on and off as I left the neckline quite high - if yours turns out similar then consider adding a short zip in the back).
Sew your top together where indicated in red - at the top of the straps, and down either side, remembering to leave an arm hole (measure where it should be from your original vest). REMEMBER TO SEW RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER AND THEN TURN RIGHT SIDE OUT!
Constructing the dress: Simply sew the bottom of your top to the small circle of the skirt. REMEMBER TO SEW RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER AND THEN TURN RIGHT SIDE OUT! This is where you may need to gather your skirt if your hole was a bit big.
Finishing: Hem or bias bind any raw edges. Jersey can be left unhemmed as it shouldn't fray, but I would at least do the neck and arm holes for neatness. If you wish, you can not hem the bottom of the skirt so it has a ragged effect.
Optional belt: If you'd like to do the tie side belt I added, take some of your left over material, about 1 meter long (although the length can be longer or shorter as long as it ties round your waist). Fold it in half long ways (right sides together) and sew round the three open edges, leaving a gap for turning right side out. Once turned, seal the gap using a slip stitch. The short ends can be neatened with bias binding if you wish.
Fold your belt in half and sew the centre point to where the right side seam of your top meets the waist seam. I sewed a button over the stitching to make it look neat. When you wear the dress, simply tie the other sides together, or pin them together with a nice broach if you prefer.