Thursday, October 7, 2010

Upcycled Dresses plus a Tutorial

Caleb took a long nap this morning, so I spent some time doing a couple of upcycled dresses for Katie. I have been having such a good time looking at all the pics for Celebrate Yellow on Made, that it seems the inspiration has leaked into my own creations. The dress below is my own design. Scroll down for a tutorial.

This plaid one was made using one of my husband's old shirts and I followed the tutorial on Made By Lex for the Shirt Jumper Dress. The shirt I used already had two pockets, so I removed them with a seam ripper and sewed them onto the skirt. Katie loves having a "pockee" like Daddy's.

Little Maxi Dress Tutorial

I know there are a million tutorials in the blogosphere on how to make these little dresses out of a tank top, but I thought I would show you my way.

For this dress, I used one of Katie's old tank tops from this past summer and a vintage pillowcase I found at the Salvation Army.
Measure how long you want the skirt of your dress from the open end of the pillowcase. I went with about 16 inches because I wanted a little longer dress that she can wear for a while.

Take your raw edge and set your sewing machine to the longest stitch and loosest tension for gathering. This is what it looks like on my machine.

Start about 1/4 to 1/2 inch away from the seam on the pillowcase and sew a straight stitch all the way around until you are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch away from the seam. 
Measure how long you want the top of your dress and cut off the bottom.
Find the mid point on the back of the shirt by fold it in half. Mark the mid point.
Gently pull the thread on the top of the skirt to gather.
Turn the top inside out and place skirt inside with right sides facing.

 Line up midpoint mark with pillowcase seam.
Pin really well all the way around, making sure gathers are even and edges are lined up evenly. 

Sew together about 1/4 inch or less below the gathering stitch. Since I am not yet in possession of a serger, I like to go back over the edge with a zig-zag stitch to keep the fabric from unravelling in the washing machine. 

This is what you now have. Kinda cute, but needs a little something. I decided to add a little sash  to this. I'm all about a big bow on the back of a dress. Well, for the seven and under crowd anyway.
Take the remainder of your pillowcase and cut off the original pillowcase seam. Now, cut two 4 inch wide strips horizontally. Cut one strip in half width-wise. The easiest way for me to do this is to fold in half to find the mid-point, mark and cut. You now have one long strip and two short strips. Sew one short strip to each end of the long strip with right sides facing each other. This will allow for the sash to be long enough to tie a bow without having a seam right on the front of the dress.
Fold the long strip in half length-wise with right sides facing. Press with iron. Sew the long sides together. Turn right side out.
Turn the open ends in and press. Top stitch closed.

Pin sash to dress and top stitch evenly with the seam of the shirt to hold it in place on both sides.
Here is what you get! 

It ended up being a little long on her, so I'm calling it the Little Maxi Dress. I'm planning to layer it this fall with a white long sleeved t-shirt.


  1. oh those are so cute! I actually was thinking about doing something similar to that for myself :)

  2. Love the yellow dress... so creative! LOVE the bow on the back, too.

  3. Very pretty.. and such a cute little model!


  4. super cute!!


  5. Fabulous Tutorial! Beautiful work!
    You should come link this up to my Making It With Allie linky Party!

  6. Way to go, girly!! This is just sooo cute and creative! I am happy to be your newest follower and would love to have you as a friend at Frou Frou Decor! Be sure to link up your sweet creations at my weekly party, Fabulous Friday Finds! Hope to see you there!
    ~Terrell @ Frou Frou Decor~

  7. I like the sash. It makes the tank dress more professional. I would make two sash: one likes yours, one in contrast fabric. So my little girl can change as desired.