Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Monday, August 6, 2012


...I made a dress.  And it is actually for me, not for Ella or Sara Wells.
I pinned this dress on Pintrest earlier this spring, so if you follow me on Pintrest this might look familiar.  Don't feel like you are missing anything if you are not following me on Pintrest.  Following me on Pintrest is about like having me on your friends list on Facebook, I rarely ever update/add new pins.  But that is for another day.  Anyways... Miller's teacher had her version of this dress on one day at school.  Mrs. Jennifer, Miller's teacher, has the best style!!!  So effortless, yet so put together!  When I saw her in this awesome dress I never imagined that she made it.  (Not because I doubted her sewing abilities, but because I just assumed it was from Anthropology or Free People or some other great boutique).  Later that day I found out she made the dress!  And then she told me how easy it was.  I knew I had to make it.

Making this dress is just making a grown up version of t-shirt dress that I have made so many times for Ella.

So, here is what you need:

  • Tank Top of your choice (mine was from Wal-Mart, $3.50. Make sure you try it on first and like the way that the upper portion fits, if it is a little too short, it is ok because it will be cut off).
  • about 2 to 3 yards of fabric
  • Elastic Thread

The best way to figure out the exact amount of fabric you need is very scientific...
Wrap the fabric 2 times around your waist and that is the yardage that you need.   In the original tutorial (here), she suggests wrapping the fabric one and a half times around your waist but warns you may not be able to take a full stride if you make a long version of this dress.  I did not want to take any chances and doubled my waist.  I chose a very light weight fabric that falls very nicely so I did not think the fabric was too bulky when doubled.  If I made a short version of the dress, I think I would only do one and a half times around my waist though.

First Step:
Cut off your tank top to the desired length.
Try the tank on and make sure it is the length you want it (fyi, I wish I had cut mine a little shorter, but it is good enough).  I know you love this picture!  I did it for you :)

Next Step:
Measure and cut the desired length of skirt, plus 4.5 inches (.5 in for seam allowance, 4 inches for hem)

As you can see, cut the fabric on the fold so that you will only have one seam to sew.

Which means you should measure and cut 1/2 of your total desired rib measurement length.  For example I doubled my rib measurement so when cutting on the fold I cut out my true rib measurement.

Then, sew right sides of fabric together and finish the edge.  You will have a long tube.

You are going to sew a gathering stitch all the way around the top of your skirt with elastic thread in the bobbin.
This is what elastic thread looks like.  You can find it on the notions wall.  The great thing about elastic thread is that it gathers on it own and it provides stretch.  If you do not use elastic thread on this dress you will not be able to get the dress over your shoulders without popping the seams.
Do not be afraid, you simply hand-wind the thread around your bobbin.  Set your stitch length to the longest length and sew like normal.  It is important that you put the wrong side of the fabric down so that the elastic thread will be on the inside of the dress.
And start sewing.  The more you sew, the more it will gather.
(If your fabric does not gather up as much as you need to fit onto the tank top, you can spray the gathered stitch with water and then iron.  The wet head will cause the elastic to shrink up.  If it still is not gathered enough simply gather the fabric by hand as you would any other type of gathering.)

Sew the right side of the tank to the right side of the skirt with the elastic thread in the bobbin.
Finish the edges.  If you have a serger, serge the edge.  If not, use a zig zag stitch.  If you are using the zig zag stitch be sure to take the elastic thread out of the bobbin and put regular thread back in.

For the Sash:
Finished, my sash is 80 inches long and 6.5 inches wide.  Using left over fabric I cut out a 81 x 13 inch rectangle (I actually had to piece two pieces of fabric together to get the sash the length I wanted).

Fold right sides together and sew along the short end and down the long side, leaving one end open.

Pull the sash through the opening so that it is now right sides out.

Iron the edges in on the open end and sew close.

(I realize pictures would probably be helpful, so sorry)

And there you have your sash.  Very easy.  I like my dress just as much without as I do with.

The Hem:
I honestly thought getting the hem right was the hardest part of the dress.  I enlisted the help of my sweet husband.  He patiently help me several times to get the hem just right.  I used about a two inch hem (which means I folded the bottom edge up two inches and ironed, folded up 2 inches and again, ironed and then sewed in place).  I like wider hems, but it is a personal preference.
When I made this dress, in late spring, I thought I would make a short version within the next week or two.
Well, that never happened!  Getting to the fabric store in the summer with three young kids is about as likely to happen as rain this summer in Alabama!  But, I am enjoying my very cute, summer dress.  Maybe I will have time to make a short dress for the fall.

Here is the original tutorial.  Sometimes it helps me to read multiple explanations to get a good idea of what to do.  You need to make this dress!  It is about as easy as it gets when sewing for yourself.  People will never believe you when you they find out you made it!

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this! Looks like something that I could pull off. Super cute.