Instructables

DIY Convertible Dress

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I immediately fell in love with pictures of the Butter by Nadia dress, but at $250, I knew I could DIY it for less. I started seeing the same design being offered by lots of different companies, and figured it must be something great!  This convertible dress can be wrapped in an infinite number of ways to create different style.  I love wearing it on hot summer days as a slinky halter, twisting into something elegant for a wedding, or wrapping it as a skirt for daily wear. In fact, I love this dress so much, I made two - one in a lightweight t-shirt jersey and one in a heavy matte jersey - making them two of the most comfortable garments I own.  Next version: two toned, and with pockets!
 
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Step 1: Layout

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I kind of winged it with the pattern, but I've included a diagram I drew on some scrap paper to help illustrate my intent.  The skirt is a basic circle skirt, and the straps are pleated a bit in the front.  It's very simple, and I would wager to say one size fits a lot of different sizes.

I turned down the top edge of the back half of the skirt to create a finished edge.  The top edge of the front half is sewn to the straps.  The rest of the edges remained unfinished.  Like I said, it's very simple!
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Fantastic job! I have always wanted one of these but was held back by the cost. One question, on the diagram the waist appears to be 11 inches times 2. that sounds pretty small, or do you make it snug due to the jersey fabric?

Also how much yardage did you buy? I realize everyone is different, but a general estimate would be great so I have an idea what to get this weekend :)

Plus do you prefer the heavier or lighter jersey?

Ok I lied that was 3 questions!
scoochmaroo (author)  RollerScrapper3 years ago
Good questions, all. The waist does seem snug, but it is cut on a curve, and it stretches insanely. I may go back and put some elastic in the back waist!

I bought three yards of fabric, which was perfect for the 60" wide purple jersey, but a bit skimpy for the 45" blue jersey. Just means the straps aren't as wide.

I definitely prefer the heavier jersey. It was pricier, but the drape is so much nicer.
Thanks! I will look out for heavy jersey in 60 inch increments! I can't wait to try this even though this is like project number 7 on my list right now!
doodlecraft26 days ago

Amazingly versatile! :)

shanell11 month ago

I made it for a toga party from an old bed sheet. I had to put a zip in because I made the waist band too big. In cotton it hangs differently but I really liked it.

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lisabuckfast2 months ago

Can't wait to try this =)

Royal Jade2 years ago
I'm a bit chesty so I'm just wondering if the dress can be supportive if tied up right? I'm sorry for asking an odd question I would just like to know before I go out and get all the things to make it just to find out that I can't wear it.
Hi Royal Jade, I'm quite chesty too, 38DD, here in South Africa, we have a jelly like self sticking bra which looks like a pair of chicken fillets and these work really well holding my puppies up
scoochmaroo (author)  Royal Jade2 years ago
I have a hard time supporting my little girls in this dress. I think some mods would need to happen to be honest. Maybe some sort of back panel added to it so something could be worn underneath?
I really like ur tutorial!! :)
I'm a bit chesty and I found this that could help girls that have the same issue as me:
www youtube com (slash) user (slash) monifc (question mark) feature (equal mark) watch
'tone2 years ago
I'm a :"newbie to the sewing world and its becase of this dress. thanks for something i can finally understand. but where would you suggest i find apparel fabrics for a decent price
shortone2 years ago
http://www.instructables.com/id/For-the-Diva/

Just thought I'd let you know I included you in my guide! I'm not sure if the pictures are showing up properly because my internet is a little weird, but hopefully I'll figure it out tomorrow :)
goingon2 years ago
wow, thanks for sharing
jharper83 years ago
i love the dress. im experimenting with a non-solid color. how would a floral print look.
Do you think this design would work with a different fabric, like linen, if I were to cut it on the bias?
I'm not the author but I have done a lot of sewing-especially with linen and circle/near-circle skirts. Bias cut fabric might work although you would have to make pattern measurements a bit closer to your actual measurements as it wouldn't stretch as much (don't do the first draft in an expensive fabric). Also, the jersey that I've come across has an allover stretch which bias cut fabric doesn't have so add some leeway to measurements. It's usually recommended that bias seam allowances are cut 1" wide instead of the standard 5/8ths as if they stretch at all in length the seam allowance will narrow considerably...and stitch bias seams with a zigzag or stretch stitch or the thread will break when worn. It's far better to have to take in than to not have enough fabric in the first place. Also, you would have to figure in hems on all edges (linen ravels very, very, badly-and yes, bias cuts do still ravel) and prewash the fabric before cutting. Let the skirt hang for a couple of days (use a skirt hanger) before hemming as bias/non bias edge portions will stretch differently.
This is so great! I wish I had a serger to make it even easier, but I have a regular machine. The steps to this dress are so simple and the only invest is the fabric and small amount of time. Have you tried wearing the dress with some sort of tube top under it? I love the concept of this dress, but I am full busted and would definitely need way more support with and under-wire bra and I'm thinking the tube top would hide it. I am also pretty modest! haha, anyway--great job with the sewing instructions, and there are a lot of other website that have more detailed instructions on cutting a circle skirt, since the cutting part is scary and all that.

Thanks for inspiration, not sure if I would make it soon due to the support issues with the top, but the convertible aspect is so enticing. ^_^
tube top or bustier, depending on how formal/sensuous you can be where you're wearing it.

I'm planning to apply this pattern to some summer dresses/skirts for my 13-year old daughter, but we can stitch up the front V neckline after scaling it to her waist and height to allow for modesty as well as convertibility.
btan3 years ago
One word.....WOW.
Keep up the good work!
gmsmg3 years ago
I think you look GREAT. Just a male from IL. keep up the great work
oortcloud3 years ago
Scooch *always* does beautiful work.
Is it 24 inches there on the top line? So that means the skirt is 24 inches long. Wow, i think i just got that. But your drawing in the right corner, is that the top of the dress?
tbrady23 years ago
Great tute! I made one a couple years ago, and made it with a 12" waistband (like a tube top). that took care of the raw edge, +gave me a little extra coverage. Maybe "jaleesarenee" could use stretch lace for that part.
Not fair, why is women get all the great outfits to wear? Now, I'm a straight male but even I see that this would be fun.
You could always go for utility kilts, stylish and fun to wear, from what I've been told. I know several straight men who love to wear them.
Just wear what you want. Except for at work (where they have power over you that is real) just tell everyone else to bite you and growl if they give you a problem :-)
scoochmaroo (author)  javajunkie19763 years ago
I totally agree. I wish Western society didn't dictate such stringent dress codes on men. (Obv everyone is free to wear whatever they want, etc etc). I remember seeing a parachute/tent type thing at the RenFest when I was a kid that could turn into just about anything, including a number of garments. That was pretty awesome. I tried to make one, but it was long before I had the mad sewing skills I learned in grad school (meaning: it was a disASter)
dia3 years ago
Thanks for breaking this down into such a simple tutorial. I whipped one together in an afternoon for a wedding I'm attending this weekend. Picked up 3y of a lycra blend.

Besides fitting perfectly and being ultra fun to make: it fits their DIY Crafty wedding theme perfectly.
pizzidave3 years ago
Very nice! Looks like you had fun modeling too!!
sarahk13103 years ago
You should post a youtube video on how to convert to and from each style!
picklet3 years ago
Hey, looks brilliant! This dress could even be made so that it could be used as a built-in baby sling. And perfect for nursing! Well done!
kellimaier3 years ago
I would love to have about five of these!

I have seen this type of dress on larger women with a large bust. But I am a size 6-8 woman with a large bust...should I go for the 60 inch fabric and let it just...drape?
pedleyfigg3 years ago
I have to say that although it is nicely made there have been instructions on how to make this style of dress floating about the net for a considerable while.
Thanks for posting this, I think I'll try it. Do you have a suggestion for a longer length; and, also, help for those of us who sadly sag in the front?
Aswa3 years ago
Thank you SO MUCH!
I fell in love with that same dress and thought it was brutally overpriced.
Great job!
lesizz3 years ago
I clicked on this one just to get a better look at the nice babe wearing the dress.
But while I'm here -- really nice dress, compliments you nicely. Great color choice.
This is giving me the courage to make my own wedding dress! Please post any variations! I'm might try adding lace to mine. Thanks for this AWESOME DIY!!!!

aholmes23 years ago
Love it. I have made a few of these myself. So simple and your time and materials are not worth $250 when it's all said and done. Fantastic. You look great.
Supernewby3 years ago
Gorgeous! Time to break out my sewing machine again.
I love this! It looks so good on... that first photo is fantastic... it really captures the dress... of course the smile goes a long way too!
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