Welcome to you dear readers!
For the anecdote, my husband is totally a fan of your site and consults weekly it with passion. A few days ago, he transfers me your contest proposed article. And here I am totally delighted with your proposal, I created this dress especially for the contest. I present you my dress project and I hope that it will make you dream and take you into your creative universe. It's your turn, let’s go !
Step 1: Create Your Own Pattern
First of all first step: creating your own pattern. And yes, here it is not a question of using a ready-made pattern but rather to create it yourself from A to Z!
The dress is actually made in two parts: the basic dress is a very simple dress on which the additional customization is fixed. You can of course stop at the basic dress with a pretty plain or patterned fabric.
You choose a t-shirt or a sleeveless top that you like. I suggest you take a simple sleeveless top in two pieces: a front piece called « front » and a rear piece called « back ».
You put the t-shirt flat and you trace the shapes on a thin paper. So you trace two pieces: the "front" and the "back".
Trick: you can trace only the half of the shapes, and then use your pattern with the symmetry (see photos below).
Make sure the height of the top between the shoulder and the bottom are really the same between the "front" and the "back".
To bring more finishes to the dress, I suggest you here to make facings.
What are facings? Here it is quite simple, you trace a strip of 6-7 cm wide on all ends of the clothing. You will have 4 facings: front neckline, back neckline, front armhole, and back armhole.
You created the pattern of the upper part of your dress: congratulations!
Step 2: Choose Your Fabrics
It’s time to choose your fabrics.
Trick: To ensure compliance with the size of your original t-shirt, choose a fabric with the same elasticity. If you chose a t-shirt with stretch fabric (like jersey) and your fabric isn’t stretch (like a 100% cotton), you will not be able to put on your dress!
I propose you for my dress a plain fabric for the basic dress, and a dozen of fabric which have different colors and different textures for customization. Up to you to carry on your imagination ...
Step 3: Cut Your Fabric for the Basic Dress
Here the step of cutting the fabric.
You just create your own pattern on paper, it is now carving it in your fabric. Locate the pattern with pins on your fabric, trace the shapes around with a chalk. Cut the fabric around the tracing to a centimeter from the edge for seam allowances.
Trick: instead of a chalk you can use a water washable marker, it is much more convenient!
For the « front » and the « back », you cut the pattern in the fabric fold if you drew a half-pattern.
For neckline facings (front and back), you also cut the pattern in the fabric fold if you drew half-pattern.
For armhole facings (front and back), you cut two pieces at the same time (not in the fabric fold): right and left.
Now that all your upper parts are ready, but what do we do for the bottom of the dress?
Easy : you go to cut a full circle of fabric.
Fold your fabric in four, you have a square of about 70 cm (be careful about your fabric width if it’s less than 140 cm). Measure the bottom of your t-shirt: the front + the back. You get, for example 88 cm. You plot in the corner of your square (which is the center of your fabric unfolded) a curve (a quarter circle) whose the length will be 22 cm (22 x 4 = 88; total length divided by 4).
Then, you draw a quarter circle with your mesureing tape using the maximum of your fabric.
Trick: It is better to cut a piece of fabric bigger in the beginning, then you can always rectify.
Once your two quarter circles are drawn, you can cut, leaving 1cm seam allowance.
Finally all your parts are ready!
Bonus: If you own an Overlock machine, you can overlock all your pieces to win edges finishes.
Step 4: Assemble Your Basic Dress
Here now the great time to sew your basic dress.
You place face to face the "front" and "back », you sew both the shoulders seams.
Do the same thing with neckline facings and armholes facings (only seam above the shoulders).
Then you place the neckline facings face to face on the « front » and on the « back » sewn together, and sew.
Same for armhole facings. And finally you close a lateral side between the « front » and the « back »..
You assemble the top of the skirt to the t-shirt bottom by waist sewing. You have a basic dress almost complete.
If you want to stop here, you can directly go to finishes step at the end of this article.
If you want to customize your dress, I suggest you leave the dress open (on the other lateral side) which will facilitate the sewing of customizations. It will be easier to manipulate the fabric in the sewing machine.
This is the result!
Step 5: Prepare Your Customization
Now that your basic dress is complete, let’s go to the customization! Let’s your creativity take you away: bubbles, squares, triangles, bow ties, flowers ... create your own patterns and have fun!
Here I chose the circles, which is not the simplest form sewing. I chose to make circles 4 cm to 12 cm in diameter. I simply made templates in PowerPoint, printed, cut, glued on cardboard to strengthen them.
Now let’s cut: cut your custom shapes in different fabrics that you have chosen. Cut whatever you want, up to you to adjust the quantities of customizations you want!
Trick: use a water washable marker to trace all your templates!
Bonus: for large bubbles, I preferred to overlock pieces to improve finishes.
Step 6: Welcome to Your Imagination !
Create your custom dress that will only be realized by you.
I filed my bubbles ascending order me to simplify the « puzzle ». Then I started to place and pin the larger bubbles at the waist of the dress. I applied the bubbles with a straight stitch.
Trick: for smaller bubbles, I used a zig zag stitch to apply and integrate better finishes (prevents fraying).
I proceed step by step by adding bubbles mixing colors and textures, ones above the others.
Finally here is the result!
Step 7: Finishing Details
Still some finishing details to make your dress perfect.
Hem the bottom edge of the skirt. To learn how to make a hem, many tutorials already exist on the web!
Trick: If you have an Overlock machine, make a rolled hem.
Sew an invisible zipper on the lateral side to finish your dress. Once the zipper sewn, finish closing the lateral side of the dress with a straight stitch.
To learn how to sew an invisible zipper, many tutorials are also available on the web!
Bonus: You can make a finish stitching on the neckline and armholes to press the facing inside.
Step 8: Final Model
And now some photos of the final model!
Up to you to sew your cutomized dress! I hope you enjoyed my article!