Sunday, June 30, 2019

I made a dress!

While I know a lot of quilters first learned to sew by making clothing, I was not one of them.  I had a friend in college who figured that since I could make quilts, it would be a cinch to help me make a dress.  Nope.  It was not a good experience for either one of us and since then I avoid making clothing.

Except there was this lovely 2-yard cut of rayon in a pattern called Coral Blush in my Island Batik Ambassadors box that I really wanted to turn into something I could wear.  And then a coworker wore this great dress that had a stretch top and long, flowy skirt.  And I wondered if I could make something similar and use a t-shirt for the top and the rayon for the flowy skirt.  And I made a dress!

I did a google search for making a dress out of a t-shirt and found a few that were what I meant--adding a skirt to an existing t-shirt.  Most were for little girls.  Well, no problem, same concept.  I read several and mostly followed this one for the "Best Dress Ever."  I bought a t-shirt that complimented the Coral Blush fabric and used a strip of Pellon Fusible Featherweight interfacing where I would attach the skirt.  After fusing, I cut off the t-shirt below the interfacing strip.

I followed the tutorials guide for pining pleats and started in the middle, then pinned out to each side.

pleats to the left
I don't have a serger but my machine does have some overlock stitches.  This was my first time using them.  I carefully sewed the pleated skirt fabric to the t-shirt.  Aurifil color 2530 was a great match to my bright pink t-shirt. Then, following the advice of the tutorial, I stitched again adding elastic--I used Dritz 1/4 elastic (not pictured). 

Overlock stitches
Then I just needed to try it on and mark to hem!  I'm not great at keeping a hem straight by this is the kind of loose garment where I figured no one would notice if it's not perfectly straight.  I used Aurifil 2000 for the hem, my favorite neutral thread.

Now, I am not a skinny woman and I'm super chesty so clothes aren't particularly flattering on me.  But I wore my new dress the day I made it to dinner at a friend's house and she was willing to do a photo shoot withe me.  And she handed me the wine to use as a prop!

photo by K Mellnik
I just love the multi-colored fabric in the skirt!  This is not my official June challenge to try something new, but there were a lot of new things for me here: clothes, overlock stitches, and sewing with rayon.  For sewing with rayon, tips I read online included using a brand-new needle and pinning a lot. 

photo by K Mellnik
 Isn't it pretty?! If I ever do it again, I'm going try to add pockets!


  1. Brilliant! I love it and you are so festive with your wine glass on the porch. It is pretty easy to do “in seam pockets”. I have a pair of pants I keep thinking I should do this, but too many other things....

  2. Beautifully done! What a great idea to start with a T-shirt. I've not made garments in a while, mainly cause it got so hard to fit the patterns, they weren't true to size.

  3. It looks great. Well done. I think I might give this a try.

  4. That is a pretty fabric and it turned out wonderfully! I made some clothes as a youngster but it wasn't long before I gave up on it.

  5. I used to make all my clothes, and I made at least a dozen of those dresses over the years. It is easy and fast. But you are right that sewing clothing and quilting are two very different skills and mindset too. Looks great on you!

  6. I love this dress and definitely will try the pattern to make a dress for my granddaughter. I would like to try to make myself one but may need to get some more details from you. Great job and the colors look wonderful on you.