As a California girl, I'm naturally short on winter-ready dresses. And considering how short our "winters" actually are, I'm reluctant to spend too much money on brand-new winter attire.
Using the second picture above as an inspiration, I attempted to make a cute ruffle dress out of three men's thermal/waffle shirts. I purchased the shirts for a total of $10 from my local Goodwill store and used sewing supplies I already had.
Step 1: Materials Needed
Three large or extra large thermal(waffle) men's shirts (at least two have to be of similar color)
Your best-fitting t-shirt or knit top
Your best-fitting pencil skirt
Shoe box top
Basic sewing supplies
--Chalk or fabric marker
Step 2: Create Top
Fold your best-fitting t-shirt in half and place over one of the thermal tops (which should also be folded in half) (see picture). Using chalk or fabric marker, trace around the outer edge of your t-shirt, leaving at least a half inch for seam allowance. Remove t-shirt and carefully cut along the chalk line through the four layers of the thermal fabric.
Try on the thermal top, making sure it is as straight as possible on your shoulders. Using chalk or fabric marker, mark your natural waistline or your belly button on the thermal. Place top on work surface, and draw a straight line using the chalk to represent your waist line. Carefully cut along the chalk line through the two layers of fabric.
Step 3: Create Skirt
Take your best-fitting pencil skirt and place on top of the second thermal top (this is the time to use the odd-colored, nonmatching thermal top).
Using chalk or fabric marker, trace around the sides and top of the pencil skirt, leaving a half an inch for seam allowance. (Note: it is perfectly okay if your skirt is longer than the thermal block of fabric. You can add length at the Ruffle step.)
Remove pencil skirt and carefully cut along the chalk line through the two layers of thermal(waffle) fabric.
If needed, trim either the top or the skirt portion so the waistlines fit together.
Step 4: Create Ruffles and Attach to Skirt
Using the remainder of the first thermal top and the third (matching-colored) thermal top, cut out rectangle pieces using a shoe box top as your pattern. Make enough to cover the entirety of the front and back skirt pieces. In my case, I needed 20 rectangles.
Using a sewing machine and matching thread, hem along the bottom and one side (alternating sides by piece) of each rectangle.
Arrange the ruffles in layers on the base skirt to your liking and pin in place along the tops of the layers only. It is best that no part of the base skirt is seen. (This is also the time to add length to your skirt. You can do this by placing the top of the last ruffle layer at the very bottom of the hem of the base skirt.)
Using your sewing machine, carefully sew on the layers of ruffles to the base skirt.
When finished, cut any loose thread and trim any excess ruffles from the sides of the skirt (see the last picture of the step).
Step 5: Attach Pieces, Sew Up Sides, and Enjoy!
Placing right sides together, attach the front top piece to the front skirt piece at the waistline. When pinning in place, make sure that all layers of fabric are smooth and bunch free. Sew together. Do the same for the back top piece and the back skirt piece.
Everything should be in one piece now. Turn the dress inside-out so the right sides face each other. Pin along the sides, making sure the waistlines and bottom hems match up. It is also crucual that the ruffles (which are now facing inward) are flat and that the bottom of the front ruffle piece matches up and is pinned together with its backside equivalent. You want the final side seams to look like the second picture when finished.
Sew carefully along the side seams. Be careful to leave enough room for the arm holes.
Hem along the arm holes to finish, try on, and enjoy!!