A few weeks ago, SheInside sent me a darling aztec print skirt. I was super excited to receive it because I loved the print, and I knew it would be perfect for summer. Also, I have a deep love for stretchy pencil skirts. So when it arrived and I could barely squeeze my birthing hips through that little tube of fabric, I was bummed. It sat in my room for a few days until I was looking through my sewing inspiration pinterest board and saw this dress from Kendi. I'd been planning to go out and hunt for a good geometric print fabric for the top part of the dress, but it turned out I already owned the perfect fabric!
So I chopped up that pretty little skirt and turned it into a dress.
Also, I have to mention that Philip and Leanne gave me a mat, rotary cutter, and straight edge for my birthday, and it has revolutionized my sewing. Not only are my projects going faster, but it's easy to make patterns with parchment or pattern paper and then my clothes actually fit the first time without a zillion alterations and fittings. It's a miracle. If you don't own those sewing essentials, go get them. Go now.
|dress: made by me (similar) (fabric from this skirt c/o sheinside--if you order it, size up!) // bag: c/o jo totes // sandals: target (similar - on sale!) // watch: burberry // sunglasses: target (similar)|
Step 1. If you're using a skirt, first unpick the side seams, hem, and waistband. Using a tank or tee as your guide, cut a piece of parchment or pattern paper to create the pattern for the bodice of the dress. Fold the paper in half to make sure the sleeves and neckline are symmetrical and straight. Now that you have your pattern piece, use it to cut the bodice of your dress, cutting TWO identical pieces.
*My fabric from the skirt wasn't wide enough to fit around my bust, so I had to add some panels in the sides. If you don't need to do that, skip step 2.*
You should now have two matching pieces, one for the front, one for the back. Cut the neckline to your desired depth on the FRONT piece.
Step 2. To add width on the sides, determine how much extra room you need and then cut two strips of jersey knit, as wide as you need it, and long enough to extend past the waistline and armpit, as seen below. With right sides together, attach them to the FRONT piece with a straight stitch. Trim the seam allowance.
Step 3. With right sides together, sew up the shoulder seams and the sides, as seen below.
Step 4. Next, let's do the sleeves. Cut two sleeves from your fabric, as seen below.
(Not pictured): with right sides together, sew up the short straight sides to make the sleeve. Then with right sides together, insert the sleeve into the armholes of the bodice, pin, and then sew around the armhole with a straight stitch. Repeat with second sleeve.
Step 5. Now that your sleeves are attached, let's finish the neckline. Cut a 2" wide strip of jersey knit that is long enough to reach around the entire neckline. Trim off roughly two inches (so it's 2 inches shorter than the circumference of your neckline), and then sew the short ends together so you have a circle of fabric. Then with right sides together, pin it to your neckline, stretching the jersey knit as you go so it goes all the way around then neckline. Sew with a straight stitch around the neckline.
Tuck the jersey knit fabric inside, and then sew around the neckline again with a wide stitch, as seen below. Then trim the extra jersey knit fabric.
Step 6 (Not pictured). Determine your desired length of sleeve, and then hem the sleeves.
Step 7. Now let's move to the skirt. Measure around your ribcage, just below your bust. Cut TWO identical squares of the lightweight jersey knit fabric with that measurement as the width, and then your desired dress length as the length, as seen below. Both FRONT and BACK piece of the skirt will be as wide across as your entire ribcage measurement, which will allow for gathering.
Sew up the sides. Then do a basting stitch around the entire waistline, and pull the long strings to gather the waist. Gather until the waist opening is the same circumference as the opening on the bottom of your bodice.
With right sides together, pin the gathered skirt to the bodice, as seen below.
Step 8. Cut a piece of elastic about two inches smaller than the measurement of your ribcage (just below your bust). As you sew your bodice to your skirt, place the elastic directly on top of your basting stitch and sew right over the basting stitch, pulling the elastic slightly as you sew. When this seam is done, your bodice and skirt will be attached, and the seam will look like this, with the elastic right on top:
Trim your seam allowance (to avoid a bulky seam right under your bust). Try your dress on and determine your desired length, then hem your dress and you're done!