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A Dress – Part One

April 5, 2012

As you read this, please know that A) I’m a home sewer.  I don’t work professionally for Singer – but I really wish I did.  B) This is my second time writing a sewing tutorial – so take it easy on me and post any questions you have here and I’ll get back to you!

First I started with two thrifted garments.  (I do so love 50% off days at the Salvation Army.)  This happened to be an oversized black knit dress (brand: Penguin) and an oversized white button up (brand: Gap Factory).  When I say oversized I mean one size bigger.  Much more than that and it would require more sewing and reconstruction.  I like easy.


Shirt Prep

  • (optional) Remove the collar. (That is for, A Dress – Part Two coming soon – you do not have to remove the collar if you aren’t going to make the mods I did.)
  • Remove the sleeves. I just simply cut the sleeves off at the serging line.  I was fortunate in that the serging was already top stitched to the shoulder and that saved me a little time.  If your serged edge is not topstitched to the underside of the shoulder, you will want to do that, but I would suggest waiting a little further on. I’ll mention it below.
  • (optional) remove the pocket with a seam ripper.
  • Try the shirt on and make a pencil mark right at my natural waist – took the shirt off and cut it off right above a button with 1/4″ seam allowance.

  • Put the shirt back on and pinch the material together with the side seam in the middle until the shirt fits right under your arm and make a pencil mark.  Do this down the shirt to the bottom.
  • Sew along the sides connecting your pencil marks.  Serge.  (if you don’t have a serger or are lazy like me, you can clip off the excess leaving 1/4″, press open and top stitch down both sides.
  • Top stitch arm holes if need-be.
  • UPDATED:  I totally forgot to mention putting some darts in so it doesn’t pop open at the arm hole and show off your undergarments. 
  • Stitch the button plaquard closed by setting your needle to stitch right along the very bottom edge (you’ll be thankful when it is time to attach it to the skirt), making sure you aren’t stitching the front of the shirt to the back.

You can see my collar mod here. It looks rather priestly , doesn’t it?
Don’t let that scare you. Once it is on, it gives you (what I refer to as) the “sticky-upy” collar look without all that stupidness in the back…  (p.s. This stupid picture won’t center despite repeated attempts at formatting.  I give up.)

Dress Prep

  • My dress had a wrap belt thingy that buttons (I think I actually did a happy dance in the middle of the thrift store because this was  exactly what  I had in mind.  So, I used my seam ripper to detach it from the top of the dress but left it sewn on under the waist band.
  • Cut the top off the dress, leaving a 1/4″ s.a. above the waist band.

Ever since I got my new phone, I've been too lazy to get the real camera out. Sorry the quality sucks.

The instructions get a little hard to explain here, so bear with me…

  • Turn the skirt inside out and leave the shirt right side out.
  • Turn the shirt upside down and insert it into the waist opening of the dress that is now a skirt.
  • Line the side seams up and stitch.  If you are using a knit material set your stitch length pretty long or use a zig-zag stitch.  Serge (or don’t if you’re lazy like me)
  • Turn it all right side out and with my dress I pulled the belt thingy up and stitched it to the shirt part of the dress on the side seams.
  • If you didn’t have the fortune of using a dress with a built in belt, I strongly suggest wearing a belt with this.  It just looks better.  Plus, if your dress/shirt connection isn’t perfect the belt hides quite a bit.

Updated:  I’m offering a giveaway for everyone that shares this link FROM my Bantam Facebook page.  Check it out here:

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