Sunday, April 5, 2009

a few tips for starting your dress from a man's shirt

I wanted to share a few tips on how to get started on your dress from a man's shirt. I know you are going to make one because it is so easy to do. I don't sew anything that is hard - someday I will challenge myself more, but for now it's all about getting it done quickly.

When picking a shirt, the bigger the better. The more fabric you have to work with, the easier it will be to cut out. This will also make it so you have enough fabric in the sleeves of the shirt to make new sleeves for the dress.

Taking off the pocket - if there is one, unpick it off. Gently press the area where the pocket was with steam to minimize the holes that might be left. If they are too large, you can always turn it around and put the buttons on the back.

Cutting up the shirt - go right along the side seam and cut. Go along the seam until you reach the collar. Cut off the collar.

Cutting off the sleeves - cut off the sleeves following the seam as close as possible.

This is what you will have - a front and a back panel to use to cut the dress out of.

Now, with the piece of fabric that has the buttons down the middle, fold in half as close to the middle as possible. Iron in between the buttons. Now, pin it together so that it stays in place while you cut out you pattern piece.

Now, here is my homemade pattern piece based on the Simplicity pattern 5695. I have taken view D and added 4 inches to the bottom of the dress. I eliminated adding the ruffle on the bottom that it calls for as well. I also widened it about 1/2 from the middle of the pattern piece down to the hem. But, other than that, I pretty much follow the directions from the pattern.

One last tip - take the sleeves from the shirt that you cut off earlier and cut along the bottom seam to open them up. There should be enough fabric there to get two sleeves for your new little dress.

Since I follow the pattern for the rest of the directions, I can't really qualify this as a tutorial. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. I will help you as much as I can.


Shannon said...

Thanks for this! It sure helped. I made my little one a dress and the pics will be up tomorrow on the site. Thanks for your inspiration :)

(p.s. the buttons are ready if you want one for your blog.)

cindie said...

Thanks for sharing that! Do you sew the button flap down? Also, do you sew the (red) middle part all the way around with elastic?

traci said...

You don't sew the button flap down. The buttons essentially still work, but at the top there is a sewn casing seam so you can't really open the top all the way (or the back in this case since I put the buttons on the back on this one). For the red band around the waist, I sewed a 3 inch wide strip that was just a bit longer than the waist in half width wise forming a tube (I think I used a 1/4 inch seam). I turned it right side in and ironed it. I pinned it against the dress where I wanted it and sewed it all the way around on both the bottom and the top, forming a casing. I left the opening to run elastic at the back of the dress by the buttons. I then ran 3/4 inch elastic until it was the right pull. I sewed the elastic and then with the unfinished ends of the red bands, I tucked them in and ironed it flat and sewed both openings down where they met. I hope that is clear. There may be an easier way to do it, but that worked for me. With all the bunching of the elastic you can barely see the seam in the back.

koala brains said...

Thanks for posting! My husband accidentally tore a button down shirt of his and guess what it's going to be??? :)

Waldeck Dry Goods said...

Thanks for these instructions. Can't wait to try this!

Jess said...

I love love love the plaid. Such a cute Idea... I am on my fourth dress out of a men's shirt. You have started an addiction in me!

Nici said...

I wanted to try this but really didn't know where to start. Now I can get to it. I am a beginner sewer but, I am learning a ton by reading all these cool blogs.
Stop by if you want sometime:

Kim said...

THANK YOU!! I am friend of Dana's and ever since I saw her dresses, I have been on a mad search to find a tutorial. I am NEW, NEW at sewing but have found with great instructions I can make some pretty cute things! :) I WILL be trying this one SOON!!! Thanks again!

Nici said...

The Host is a little like Twilight in that impossible love kind of way but the story and characters are pretty captivating! Just push through the first few chapters. :)

dana said...

Great tips! I still love what you did with this shirt. What a fun idea to pair it with red. So cute.

EveryGoodGift said...

Thanks for the great idea! I can't wait to try this. I sew a lot, but has got to be aesy, I have 6 kids, and very little time to sew. This is going to be sew fun! LOL!