One of the things I treasure about my summers is that I suddenly have the time to do little crafty projects that are impossible when the semester is in full swing. I have a fairly extensive list of refashioning projects that I’d like to complete before the baby arrives and I was excited to get started by creating a dress to wear to my first baby shower.
Click for the how-to narrative after the jump!
The most common problem I’ve had with ready-to-wear maternity dresses thus far has been the length. They’re just too short. I had also been hankering for a bright yellow or orange dress to wear to my shower and was having trouble finding one that fit the bill, even on eBay.
- I lack the superb seamstressing skills of Jess from What I Wore, so refashioning an already existing garment seemed more feasible.
- The risk of my limited sewing skills meant that the original garment needed to be reasonably priced so that a potential screw up wouldn’t devastate me.
- The dress had to be jersey so it could drape well and keep growing with me.
- If I could figure out something that could be worn post-preggers too, more power to me.
I reasoned that the best way to solve the length issue was to refashion an existing maxi dress. It’s hard to thrift non-polyester maxi dresses, at least in our local thrift stores, but I pounced on this halter style dress with an x-back from Forever 21. (Actually, I also bought one in purple to keep as a long dress.)
First, using one of my long-enough jersey dresses as a guide, I marked and cut a new length (adding a little extra to accommodate a hem). I cut the discarded tube of fabric open along the bias seam and then cut that long piece of fabric in half to form two equal ~13″x40″ pieces of fabric. One side of each fabric piece had the original hem, so I just hemmed the raw side.
Then I started working on the top. First I cut the x-straps in half, uncrossed them, and then re-sewed them to form a standard tank-style top. Again, I used an existing jersey dress as a guide for about how long the straps should be. None of this business is seen in the final dress, but I wanted something more close-fitting beneath all the drape. Plus, the original maxi dress had sewn-in cups for added shape and those seemed worth keeping.
The real transformation happened when I took the hemmed remnants from the former length of the dress and turned them into the fluttery top. This was a lot of trial, error, and trying-all-while-full of pins. I ran a loose stitch down one short end of each rectangle and pulled to gather slightly. Then, I pinned the gathered edge of both rectangles, overlapping, just under the bust seam of the existing dress and sewed into place. The far edge of each rectangle began by the dress’s side-seam.
More trial-and-error pinning occurred as I tried to figure out how loose to make these “sleeves.” Once I decided, I cut the excess length off the rectangles and then pinned and sewed them into place just like I had the front. This was probably the trickiest part since I had to be careful not to accidentally sew any other part of the dress into place. The finished back looked like this:
As a final touch for extra security, I tacked the drapey overlay in place at the shoulder of the straps.
And ta-da! A long-enough, bright-enough maternity-enough dress just for me.