Posts Tagged ‘Summer Dress’

Jul. 2012 25

High-Low Dress

Every now and again I feel like I need to make trendier things. I get stuck in the habit of dressing for work and sometimes forget to try something new. I was sitting on my studio floor one day looking through all the fabric I have (I tend to hoard a bit) and I found this African inspired fabric that I had bought a few months back. It has a great brown and white print and had strips of a yellow/green color down each edge. I bought it having no idea what I wanted to use it for. I feel the need to mention that I had just come off of a 3 week break from sewing, which I had taken because of a complete lack of inspiration. So while sitting on the floor I decided I just needed to jump into something. I picked the high-low skirt trend because it’s something I haven’t done before.

As I go through this tutorial, I’m going to tell you what I should have done rather than what I did. I wish I would have cut the skirt a bit differently, so you get to benefit from my mistakes. Also, you’ll need a good amount of fabric, I think I have 2 or 3 yards, and I wish I had had more. Anyways, enough chitchat, on with the tutorials!


1. Take a favorite t-shirt and trace the out, adding 1/2” seam allowance. You may want to bring in the shoulders a little. Trace down to where your natural waist is, plus 1”


2. Sew together at shoulder and side seams

3. Roll neck and armhole seams and use a zigzag or lightning bolt stitch to finish. Set aside

4. Measure your natural waist and subtract 1”. Cut 2 strips of fabric that length by 3” wide. Cut 1 piece of elastic to this length

5. Attach both strips to the top of the dress. Use a zigzag or lightning bolt stitch, that way the seam will still stretch when you wear it.

***If you don’t want a full skirt, use your natural waist instead of your hips for this next step***

6. Take your hips measurement and divide by 6.28. This is your inner radius.

7. To find the front length: Measure from your waist to the length you want and add 1.5”. If you want a band around the edge like I have, don’t add the 1.5”. This is your front length. For the back length, measure from your waist to the low length (about mid-calf) and add 1.5”. Again, if you want a band, don’t add.

8. Add your inner radius times 2 with your front length and back length. This is the totally measurement for your skirt. It’s just a reference really, but it will let you know how much yardage you need.

9. Fold your fabric in half long ways. Now we are going to make reference marks to make our lives easier: Mark the very front of the skirt, measure up the Front Length and mark. Then the radius and mark, then the radius again. Then the back length, mark.

10. From the mark in between the 2 radius marks: make a circle with the inner radius.

11. Measure out about 45 degrees, from the front mark use the front length measurement to make an arch out to the 45 degree point.

12. From that point you are going to make an egg shape and connected to the back length.

13. Attach the skit to the waist band, ruffle in excess. Leave a small opening in the back. Work the elastic through this opening. Once all the way through, sew the ends of the elastic together, then finish attaching the skirt to the bodice.

14. If you wanted a band at the bottom: Cut long strips out 4” wide, sew pieces together to get enough length. Fold strips in half. Attach to hem of skirt, cut off excess or surge.

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May. 2012 23

Tank Top Dress

This tutorial once again combines two of my favorite things in the world: Jersey and Dresses. I originally made this tank top dress because I needed something in a hurry to go under my Easy, Breezy Caftan. I opted for a dark purple because it was the only fabric I had on hand that I had enough of. I had no idea how useful this piece would become! I wear it to work under my suit jacket for a fresh new work outfit, or under a cotton button up for an easy going casual look. After I made the purple one I then went on to make the gold and white, and am working on the maxi version. What can I say; when I find something I love I stick to it!


So you’ll only need enough fabric as it tacks to wrap around yourself once.


1. Take a favorite t-shirt and trace the out, adding 1/2” seam allowance on side and shoulders, ¼” on arm holes.

2. Continue the line down for the hips.

3. Measure out the length you want and add 1”

4. Cut out neck line, leave ¼” seam allowance.

5. Repeat for back side

6. Sew together sides and shoulder seams.

7. This step is optional. I like to sew the shoulder seam allowance towards the back. This just makes sure it stays flat when you are wearing it.

8. For the neck and arm holes, fold raw edges ¼” towards wrong side of fabric. Pin and sew using a small zigzag stitch.

9. Hem bottom up 1”

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Jul. 2011 13

Safari Dress

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not that big into labels. I don’t really care who made it as long as it looks good….Well that’s true with one exception. I love Calvin Klein. I can only afford to buy the dresses that come through Marshall’s or TJMaxx, but to be perfectly honest, I own a bunch. They fit perfect, they have super clean lines and they always look classy. What’s not to love? So when Vlad’s mom brought me back some amazing linen fabric from Africa (yes, I’m spoiled), I knew I wanted to do a dress inspired by their summer collection. They have this great shirt dress that I just love:

To go about making this, I opted to combine two patterns that I have: The skirt from Simplicity 6799 and the top from McCalls M5801 (currently out of print). Before I go on, let me make one comment about M5801. The packaging doesn’t do it justice. It makes the pattern look way cheesier than it is with that terrible fabric choice. I actually really liked the pattern because it took into account cup sizes, which I thought was great.

I added an invisible zipper all the way down the front instead of snaps or buttons. I hate the way normal shirt dresses gape in between buttons so I wanted to avoid it. This may be one of the best fitted dresses I’ve made (that’s not stretch). I really love it. They only thing I wish I would have done differently is pay attention where the seams are. The seams on the front don’t exactly match since it was from 2 different patters. If I were to make this again, I’d probably adjust the skirt to match up. Also, this is the first time I’ve worked with linen and I found that I need way more pins than normal because it slides more. The front (where the zipper is) ended up shifting quite a bit, so that doesn’t look great. Otherwise I love this dress, it works great with browns or with black. Definitely a great add to the wardrobe.

Oct. 2010 2

Saturday Dress Redo

OK, so let me start off by saying I’m sorry for being terrible at posting regularly. Quite frankly, I’ve been super busy. I have a top secret sewing project I’ve been working on with my dear friend Heather all summer (I’ll reveal it with pictures after next weekend). On top of that, I’ve been house hunting. I don’t care what they say about it being a buyers market; it’s hard to find what you are looking for. I’m a first time home buyer on a baby budget for the DC area. Maybe I’ll tell you about the “fabulous” houses in our price range later (we saw a house with no walls for starters), but for now…sewing.

So I bought this brown and white dress a few years back because I thought it was super cute (which it was). But honestly, I’m a little to…how do I put this…”blessed” to be wearing a triangle top anything. I always had to wear a tank top under it, which kind of defeats the purpose of an easy breezy dress. Not to mention, it shrunk almost 2 inched the first time I washed it. So I decided to redo it. All I used was the dress and 2 plain white t-shirts (you can just use 1 if you’d like).

To begin:

1. Cut the top portion off. Get ride of it. Or be like me and wear it over your shirt while you’re sewing the project to “be in the spirit”…I never claimed to be normal…moving on

2. Shorten the skirt. Keep the scrapes.

3. I used one of my favorite boat-neck tank tops and traced it for the top. Be mindful that the front and back are different. Also, I cut 2 fronts and 2 backs so my top wouldn’t be see through.

4. Trace the neck piece. Cut the front and the back out of scrape fabric from step 2.

5. On the bottom and top edge of the neck pieces, sew a guide stitch at 1/2″

6. Pin the neck piece to the front/back top pieces. Use your guide stitch to turn the bottom edge under.

7. Top stitch the neck piece in place along the bottom edge.

8. Use the guide stitch to turn under the top edge. Turn under the white fabric to match so you’ll have a clean top edge. Top stitch in place.

9. Sew the front and back pieces together along the shoulder and sides (I surged these edges)

10. Cut some 1″ stripes of the t-shirt fabric.

11. Pin strips to right side of the arm hole.

12. Sew 1/2″ seam around the arm hole

13. Turn seam so that it becomes the new edge, as you are doing this, tuck the raw edge of the 1″ strip under. Now you should have a 1/2″ strip on the inside of your arm hole.

14. Top stitch in place.

15. Sew skirt to top… Pleat as needed for your body.

16. Hem


So cute, so short, so mod. It’s the perfect summer dress. I definitely got more use out of it after I redid it than I ever did prior. Good luck!

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