I needed to make a dress inexpensively and fast. Thus was born: How to make a dress quickly and easily when all you have is just enough fabric for the skirt part (and that has to be pieced together) and an inexpensive pattern.
1st: Go to the thrift store and get a couple of nice pullover, knit or stretch knit shirts that you like. Make sure they go down to at least and inch or so above your pelvic bones. Wash it.
Step 1: The Fabric Preparation.
Get your pattern (something super simple) and set it aside. Sew the fabric scraps together lengthwise with the grain (knitwise). For this, I sewed 3 strips of floral print stretch knit fabric that were 36 inches long, together for the front and I sewed 2 pieces together for the back.
Step 2: Adjusting the Pattern
Cut out the front and back pieces of your dress pattern (they will pretty much be identical on the simpler patterns). Cut off the top part of the dress pattern 2 inches or so above where the waist line is marked. There should be a line to make an adjustment to shorten the dress at the waistline for a short waisted person. I cut mine off at that point.
Step 3: Sewing the Skirt Pieces
Take the pieced fabric, fold it in half and lay your pattern onto it making sure that your arrows go with the grain of the knitting and that your piecework seams match up evenly. Cut out your skirt pieces and sew the side seams. Use a contrasting fabric marker to mark the side seams for future reference.
Step 4: The Shirt Preparation
Take the washed shirt and turn it inside out. Using a seam ripper, rip open the bottom seam (or the shirt's hemmed edge).
Step 5: Pinning the Skirt to the Shirt
Turn the skirt right side out. With the shirt still inside out, place the skirt inside of the shirt making sure to match up the side seams of the skirt (remember your fabric marker markings?) to the side seams of the shirt. Pin the side seams of the shirt and the skirt together. Then making sure to open up and lay flat all other seams of the skirt, pin to the shirt.
Note: if you have a seam running up the exact middle of either side of skirt, place it to the backside of the shirt. Mine has a seam running up the middle of the back and 2 seams (just over my ilea) running up the front.
Step 6: Sew the Skirt to the Shirt
There is a very good reason for why I have pinned the skirt to the shirt with the pins being on the shirt side: We are using the fold line where the shirt was previously hemmed as our sewing line. This will ensure that we have a very neat seam.
So, sew the skirt to the shirt on the fold line as shown in the picture.
Step 7: Hem the Dress
This sounds very difficult for some people. You can do this a few different ways. You can handsew the hem or you can machine stitch the seam. The last way is to use a nifty little product called fraycheck and glue the rough edge so it won't unravel in the wash (however, if you're partial to the frayed edge look, just throw your dress into the wash a few times and you will have some nice frayed edges).
I put mine up on the sewing machine and selected what my booklet calls the hem stitch and did it that way. You can use any kind of stitch you want for your hem.
Step 8: Finishing the Dress
Nothing really to this step:
Try it on, make sure it's all nice and cozy, then, take it off and stick it on a hanger (or wear it for the rest of the day).
Sorry, all I've got right now is the hanger photo because I wanted to get this posted really quick like. As soon as I get a pic of me in it, I'll be happy to post it up. (By the way, I loved how it looked!)
Time involved: about 2 hours because I'm a slow poke!!!
Step 9: Wearing the Dress! YAY!!
Just what the title says!