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The Bomba: A Creative and Fun Summer Wardrobe Option

There is nothing better than finding a great summer dress pattern and Chut Charlotte doesn’t disappoint with the Bomba! 

This is a really easy, fun pattern to sew.  It pieces together really easily and there are numerous design options.  The Bomba can be sewn as a top or dress with several back options to choose from. It is very easy to lengthen depending on whether you want to make the top, midi dress or maxi dress. I really like this style as it can be worn as a casual top or sundress, as a bathing suit cover-up or dressed up for a date night simply by changing your accessories.  This makes it a great option for travel. 

The back of the dress can be sewn in several ways depending on the style you are looking for or your preference for coverage and the need to wear a bra. I wear a lightweight bandeau bra under my dress and it works really well.  

For this dress I chose the high back option with the centre spilt.   This option allows you to choose how to style the dress simply by moving where you tie the bow.  The dress can be worn with the tie in the back as you see in my pictures, or it can be tied on either shoulder.   If you would like to have a bow on each shoulder you simply have to make 2-100cm ties instead of the suggested 200cm tie and weave it through the front and back. If you want a thin tie, then you can create a tie from bias binding.     I think these would make fun options as well. 

Another option would be to have the split and the bow at the front.   If you want this option I would suggest using two front pattern pieces so that it sits lower on your back and when you turn the bow to the front it sits lower on your chest.    There is lots of ease to the garment because of the gathering created by the tie so as long as you are using sizes based on your bust measurement you are good to go.

I chose to create my own bias binding for the armholes.   This is easily done by cutting 2 inch strips of fabric at a 45 degree angle.  Iron a fold down the centre of the each strip, open it back up, then iron each side edge in towards the centre fold.   As you only need shorter pieces to bind the armholes it is easier to cut individual strips without having to join them.   I like the effect of using bias binding created from the fabric, I think it looks polished and professional.  It also matches the fabric casing for the back slit.  That being said, it is fun to use a contrasting binding to add a pop of colour or interest to your make.  That’s when you can use purchased bias binding for a quick and easy solution.   If you want the casing around the back slit to match then simply iron you bias binding flat and cut a 10cm by 7cm piece for each side.   It is these simply choices that add to the creative options for you when designing your Bomba. 

To create a maxi dress, simply have to add length to bottom of the dress.   The pattern piece for the midi dress is slightly curved so I simply squared off the bottom just above the curve then added the extra length.  The pattern instructions suggested adding 50 cm to the bottom of the midi dress, as I am 6 feet and always need to add additional length I simply measured from the bottom of the arm hole to my ankle to determine the length I needed.   

I added a high slit on each side to create a break in the line of the fabric and add summer fun to the drape of the dress.  I chose where I wanted the top of the slit to be and finished sewing the side seam at that point.   I overlocked each edge of the remaining side seam, pressed 1cm towards the back and topstitched the edges down.    This would be another place that you could add contrasting bias binding to tie it in with the armholes.  If you use contrasting binging on the armholes, side slit and the ties the design element is based on three and will create a very balanced design aspect for the entire dress. 

The pattern offers two choices for finishing the top edge of the front and back.   You can create a bias trim finish or you can chose a wider front and back casing like I did.  I added a 3mm topstitch to my neckline so that the top gather laid flat.  If you don’t add this additional topstitch you will get a more rounded neckline gather which if also a nice option.

This pattern comes with an open back option as well as an ungathered option with trim. The back pattern is cut much lower and there is an adorable ruffle that can be added along as well. I didn’t choose this option for two reasons. As much as I was very much drawn to the open back design it was too low for me to be able to wear a bandeau bra with it. I toyed with the idea of raising the curve to begin at the arm syce so that I could wear a bra, but needed to make the dress first to see how much I would need to raise the height of the dress by. This is an option that I think I would still like to try to create in a top version first. I absolutely love the idea of the ruffle and would definitely add this to any open back version I create. As the ruffle is gathered the adjusting the length of it (as well as the elastic that runs across the back) will be based on how much I shorten the curve of the open back. Both gathering and elastic will allow me to play around with it without having to worry too much about being exact. There is even a “Misses” version is you want to make a matching dress for someone younger.

Chut Charlotte is an online PDF French pattern company that is now offering their patterns with English translations.  The instructions in English are well written and easy to follow. The diagrams are clear and give additional information where needed, especially if you are a novice sewist.   I recommend trying their patterns.  They offer classic chic styling at very reasonable prices. 


After all…. There is Sew Much To Design


Happy Summer Sewing,

Lou Sheffer


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