Romantic summer dress, {a tutorial}

As promised, here is the tutorial for that gray and yellow dress I posted the other day!

I loooove this dress, it's one of the favorite bits of clothing I've ever made! And what's even better is that it was SO EASY! There were very few "ingredients" and took very little time. Just how I like it. You wanna make one too?

You will need:
  • A dress that fits that you can use as a pattern
  • An oversized T shirt ready to be upcycled
  • A yard or so of coordinating fabric (I actually only used between a 1/2 and 3/4 of a yard, but better to err on the side of too much.)
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Fabric marking pen (not pictured, oops!)
  • Regular sewing crap: sewing machine, coordinating thread, all that jazz. 
    • On that note, make sure you use a BALL POINT needle when sewing with knit fabrics. It will make your life incredibly easier. 

First thing to do is unpick the sleeves from the rest of your shirt. I do this because the sleeves keep their original shape and it's easier to sew back onto your shirt. So unpick those suckers and set them aside.

You should end up with a too big, sleeveless shirt. From this point on my pics start to get a little funky to try and get everything in the frame so bear with me!

Take that dress you already have and turn it inside out. Tuck in those sleeves to that it looks sleeveless. Lay it out on your T shirt (which should be turned inside out as well) and line up the collars perfectly, otherwise your dress will be off center. Smooth it down so there are no wrinkles (obviously this is a "do as I say, not as I do" kind of thing.)

Using the dress as a pattern, trace around the entire dress with a fabric marker. Make sure you trace 5/8" away from the actual dress to allow for seam allowances. Otherwise, you'll end up with a one size too small dress.

Cut out along the lines you just drew.

Grab those sleeves you cut off and line them up next to the cut out dress. The fold lined up with the top of the arm hold, the fold side down by the arm pit. Using the fabric marker, draw a line exactly where the little "point" of your new arm hole is. Don't cut anything!

Take a break and eat your all time favorite food. This is a necessary step, don't try and skip it! Kraft mac and cheese for me (if I've got all beef hot dogs I add those in too!) Oh my gosh so delish. Excuse me for a minute.....

Now back to work. Sew along those yellow lines using a ZIG ZAG stitch, it helps the knit keep it's stretch. On the sleeves, sew directly on the line your drew with the fabric marker. Oh, and make sure you are sewing right sides together.

Pin the sleeves onto the arm holes (right sides together), making sure to line up the two seams in the armpit. Sew all the way around each sleeve, using zig zag again.

Now we can embellish! I ended up using a different coordinating fabric, so don't mind the change. I wanted to add a little bit of length to my dress (5 inches), so I cut two strips of fabric each 11 inches wide (and the whole length of the piece of fabric, so 45 inches or so) to make a ruffle at the bottom of the dress.  Sew the two strips together, right sides together.

Set your machine to a straight stitch at the longest length. Fold your strip in half WRONG sides together. Yeah, wrong sides together. Pin if you so desire (totally skipped it here).

See how the fabric changed? Teehee. Sew a straight stitch with 1/4" seam all the way down (no backstitching!) When you get to the seam from sewing the two strips together, pick the needle up, cut the threads, and start it again. Don't try and sew it all the way across, it will give you hives to try and ruffle all of that.

Aaaand I totally blanked on taking a picture of the ruffling process, so refer to {this} tutorial if you need help with the ruffling process. When you've ruffled, make sure the ruffle is as long as the hem of your dress, and pin it to the hem, right sides together. Sew using a zig zag stitch all the way around.

Your almost done! I love how the two layers of cotton kind of "poof" out instead of drape nicely. Makes me feel fancy. PS I originally was going to leave the sleeves elbow length but at the very last second I chopped them off.

Next I cut three two inch strips form the leftover fabric for the braided collar.

Pin them all down and loosely braid. I left the raw edges because I thought it would look cool after it's washed.

The last picture I took was bad so hopefully this one works! Take the long braid and pin it to the collar of your shirt and then sew right on top. Easy peasy! I love this braided collar, I got the idea from {this} tutorial from Welcome to the gOOd Life.

Then be totally awesome in your used to be a dollar store t shirt, now turned pretty summer dress.

See where I link up {here}.


Candace said...

You are so talented girl! What an adorable dress! I can't wait to get back into cute clothes like that after I'm done with the maternity ones! :)

Kitty said...

Really cute dress, I wish I had a sewing machine. BTW Mac and Cheese w/ hotdogs...is my fav too!

L.A. said...

Super cute dress! I love Mac and cheese too! You should try out this recipe, I think you'll love it.

Ty and Whitty said...

That is so cute I love it and you are so talented. I need some sewing lessons and confidence to try things like this. Thank you for sharing.

A mommy's life...with a touch of YELLOW

Huggs and Kisses xo said...

This is too cute! I showcased it on my blog. Thanks for sharing.

Johanna over at Huggs and Kisses xo


aStarToSteerHerBy said...

I love this! The dress is so cute I would have never guessed it came from a t-shirt. Thanks for the tutorial!

allenaim photography and design said...

SO crafty and beautiful! I'm jealous of your sewing skills!

cookies and cups said...

what a fun tutorial!!

Cecily said...

That's fantastic! Gonna have to try this one for myself - thanks for the great tutorial... following you now!

Today is the last day of my quilt giveaway if you'd like to check it out!

malia said...

featured this on a crafty soiree this week:

Thanks for linking up!

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