Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thursday's Crafting: Making a Maxi Dress out of a Sheet

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to have a sewing project per month. Some months I make more than one thing, other months I just don't have the time. I want to sew more, but not always just clothes. So my challenge this year is to find one thing to sew per month, and it doesn't always have to be clothes.

But this month I chose to make a dress for myself. I get a daily email from All Free Sewing that highlights different sewing projects. One those projects just recently was on dresses, and they had a link to Running With Scissors with a tutorial on how to make a maxi dress out of a sheet. I was so excited! At the end of the summer last year I had started making myself dresses since my daughter's closet was pretty full. So when I ran into this cute little dress, I was super excited!

Basically, I got the idea from Running With Scissors, but since she didn't have the steps I needed to make the dress, I kind of looked at what she did and adjusted. So I made a quick stop at the local Goodwill, grabbed a pretty sheet (and a pillowcase to make a daughter a matching pillowcase dress!) and a long slip. Since the sheet was a little light in color and fabric, I wanted to make sure I had a slip on underneath that would keep the dress modest. I got home, washed the fabrics, and got to cutting and sewing!

Basic steps (sorry, no pictures beyond the final shot):

Maxi Dress Out of a Sheet NOTE: I did make some mistakes on this dress, so read through my steps first before you begin. The mistakes weren't deal breakers, the dress looks fine. I would just do it differently next time. 

1. Measure the length around the top of your bust (A), the spot respectfully below your bust (B), the length between (A) and (B), which will be (C), and the length from top to bottom (D).

2. Measure sheet for length of dress (D) and decide whether to cut or fold and sew. I had a good 3 feet of length on the bottom of my sheet, so instead of cutting and then having to make a straight hem, I folded the bottom of the sheet up under the dress and sewed it, making sure that the dress still fit measurement (D). I just did one long running stitch. NOTE: Step 2 and 3, follow the directions on Running with Scissors. I made it hard on myself trying to do something different. 

3. Stretch the slip as far as you can. Make sure that it measure enough to cover the top of your bust (A). Pin the top of the slip to the top of the dress. You MUST stretch the elastic of the slip as you pin it. This takes time and patience, but you don't want to get the dress on and then have the material rip because the slip is stretching, but the dress material is not. Sew the two together using a straight stitch.

4. At this point, I had a slip with a sheet sewn around the top and extra material hanging off. I wanted to make sure the dress was slightly fitted just below my bust, so I cut the extra material at the top of the dress to fit measurements A, B, and C. Then I sewed the side seam together.

And then I was done. I added a pretty little ribbon to the dress, but it wasn't necessary. The only problem was I had a little poof of extra material on the side that really is only noticeable if you are looking for it, but that's about it. Next time I will sure pre-cut my dress in 3 parts into an A-Frame type dress.

Here's my final shot:

UPDATE: Here's another one I did. It took a LOT of trial and error, but I managed to make some sleeves. I need to add some darting as well. The belt is just a piece of elastic. Later I cut a fake white flower and glued it to a pin and pinned it to the belt. It make a perfect little fit!

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