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If you sent me into a clothing store with $50 to spend, chances are I’d come out with a new dress (or two- depending on the store). I realize that it’s probably more practical to buy separate pieces, but dresses continue to woo me with their ease and promise of a one-piece-outfit.
And I kind of feel like I hit the jackpot when I find an uber-comfy dress (I feel the same way about dressing Piper Jane, incidentally, which is why there are three versions of the jersey JCrew-y dress tutorial). The jersey drop waist dresses that are popping up everywhere this spring are right up my alley (above from Victoria’s Secret, Piperlime, Splendid, Jcrew, Jcrew, Sessun and Anthropologie).
Of course, I needed to try my hand at making one- and the “Upcycled/Repurposed” challenge week at Sew-vivor was the perfect opportunity.
-three men’s XXL tshirts
-RIT dye (mine was navy RIT dye)
-1″ wide elastic (at least 6″ long)
-wide, sturdy ribbon (about a yard)
-sewing supplies and machine
-a stretchy belt
First dye your tshirts (unless you’re wanting to make a white dress). Wash and dry. Next, cut your shirts into three pieces-
A- One piece that includes the bottom 7/8s (or so) of the shirt. Cut the sleeves off and then cut straight across under the collar.B & C- Two pieces that include the bottom 2/3s (or so) of the shirts. Cut a straight line from one arm pit to the other on both shirts.
To determine sizing, lay a strapless dress that fits on top of Piece A. If it has elastic in the top casing (like mine does), stretch out the elastic and mark the edges. Then trace the side edges all the way down (mine was a slight A-line).
Tuck the top edge 2″ under and pin a casing in place around the entire tube. Sew in place (you can tuck the raw edge under if you want it to look a little more clean). Leave a gap of an inch or two for threading your elastic/ribbon top.
Cut 6″ of elastic. Sew to one end of thick, sturdy ribbon. To determine the length of the ribbon, wrap the elastic-plus ribbon around your chest at the place your dress will sit. Pull taut. Hold with your finger and mark.
Try the dress on. The top will be too big. Smooth out the front casing so that the top edge on the front of the dress is completely flat. Move all of the extra fabric to the back of the dress and pinch to find extra fabric. Pin the edges of your ‘pinch.’ Scoot the elastic portion of the ribbon-elastic to the back, in between to the two pins. Gather the extra fabric together until the circumference of the top equals our chest measurement. Sew two vertical lines, securing the casing and making the top edge a perfect fit.
Check your measurements- you should have a much too long top (that makes a bubble/blouson) and a skirt that falls at appropriate dress length. If you need to adjust the bottom length, you can hem the skirt. If you need the top portion to be shorter, you can pin a bit of length in and reattach the top and skirt portions.
If you’re lengths all look good- grab your elastic belt. Cinch around your hips. Slide the dress up until the blouson looks correct and the belt is sitting at the seam between the top and bottom (this takes a little adjusting). And you’re done (unless you now just want to make another one like I do- ha!)!
Ok, your turn, if you had $50 to spend in a clothing store, A- Which store would you go into? and B- What would you spend your $$$ on?