NOTE ABOUT MEASUREMENTS:
- They don't even matter that much. They're just there to help you / so you can see exactly what I did. The only thing I measured before cutting / sewing was the collar. Everything else was just estimation.
- Basically, all you need is the general shape and a general idea of what size you are. If you think you're around my size, follow my measurements! If you're not sure you can use a shirt / dress you own for reference.
- This dress is not super fitted! There's a bit o waist going on but it's not tight, there are no darts or princess seams or whatever. You'll have to make the waist area smaller / pleats deeper if you want something more fitted.
What you will need...
- About 3m of fabric (mine is from FabricTreasury on Etsy)
- Iron on interfacing. Whatever weight, depending on how stiff you want your collar to be. My local fabric store only had one kind so I just used it on both sides of the fabric. I got 1m and had tonnes left over. May as well get 1m though. Interfacing is useful haha.
- Invisible zipper
- Two buttons. There are more in that photo because I wasn't sure what I was gonna make at that point, but in this tutorial I'm only using them on the sleeves.
- Sewing machine!
What to do...
Collar Piece (1)
Cut four of these shapes from your fabric and interfacing. Make sure you have two pieces for each side! Iron on the interfacing.
Optional: add a border at this point so it gets properly sewn in. I used the border on the fabric I had, but you could do anything really. Etsy has tonnes of great lace / trim-y things. I think it makes it look more interesting. But yeah, up to you!
Right sides together, sew two pieces together along the yellow line (about 1cm from the edge).
Clip the corners and turn both sides inside out. Using your closed scissors (or something) to make sure the corners are pushed out all the way. Iron flat.
Collar Piece 2.
Cut two of these pieces out and iron interfacing onto both. This is what will make your collar stand up. On the inside of both pieces, use a pencil to mark where your fold will be on both sides (the yellow line). 1.5cm from the edge, I guess? Iron the fold along the line. Both sides should be exactly the same size.
Pin one of the pieces to the collar, folded edge against the unsewn part of the collar, like in the picture above. Make sure you get that curve in. Sew through all layers of fabric, like 1mm in from the folded edge. Repeat with the other piece. Make sure the two sides line up exactly!
Now that you're done, your collar should be able to stand up like this! If you pin it together, obviously haha. I actually closed up the bottom on sewing autopilot but... don't do that. Leave it open. I unpicked it. Aaanyway. This is the point I start to get excited because it's starting to look like an actual item of clothing hoho.
Cut out one piece following the outside (solid) line only, with the curved neckline. Then cut two pieces - essentially the same as the first piece except cut in half and straight across at the top (the dotted line).
Right sides together, sew the back pieces to the front piece along the sides ('a' on the diagram) and the shoulders ('f').
Sew the collar to the top! Essentially do the same as when you were sewing your collar piece 1 to 2 - make sure both folded edges meet up perfectly when you sew through all layers of fabric. The neck edge of the top should now be enclosed in the collar. You will probably have a couple of cm extra at the back of the shirt. Just trim it. The end bits of Collar Piece 2 should stay open for the time being (you'll sew them up when you put the zipper in).
Do a couple of pleats on the waistline of the front piece. No need to be super specific, as long as they're in the same place / the same size. Make 'em as deep as you want. It's not a big deal.
Cut two sleeve pieces. Fold each piece in half lengthways (right sides together) and sew along the side edge until you reach the yellow dotted line. At that point, separate the edges and hem them by rolling them over once (only a little) and sewing.
Because I used a border on my collar, I added another little bit to the bottom of the sleeves. Whether you do this or not, you should add interfacing because you'll be putting a button + buttonhole in. So yeah. Just hem.
Sew the sleeves into the armholes. Basically just line up the seam on the sleeve with the side seam of the top and sew all around the armhole, right sides together. If you have a little extra fabric at the shoulders, like I did, just do one or two little pleats at the top. It'll look like you planned it haha. Once again, to add a little more of my border, I sewed it all around the bottom. Up to you if you want to do that. You should now have something which looks like a nice, wearable shirt. I mean, if you wanted to you could just add a shorter zipper or some buttons up the back and make it a shirt. BUT I'm making a dress, so on we go.
3. TURNING IT INTO A DRESS
Get yerself some more fabric for a skirt. It doesn't matter how much fabric you use as long as it's enough to reach around the whole of the bodice. But I used about 2m and gathered it. I do that by setting my machine to the longest possible stitch, sewing all along the edge, taking hold of the bottom thread and pushing the fabric along it gently. Kinda like a draw string. Once you've gathered it all (or not), sew that edge of the skirt all the way along the bottom edge of the top, right sides together.
Then you'll need to install your zipper. I am terrible at putting zippers in, so I used this page. Make sure the zip goes right up to the very top. At this point you can fold over the raw edges at the back of the collar, and just fold the top of the zip over. Make sure everything is all nice n' neat.
Finally, sew up the back of the skirt up to the bottom of the zipper, and hem. And you're done!