Saturday, 2 May 2015

The shirt dress

So after posting a dress out of a old shirt that I made on facebook a lot of people commented so I thought I'd share the process.  The idea came from seeing a similar picture on the page below.

So I started off with a mans shirt - this idea works great for recycling as all the parts of a shirt that wear and look old like neck and sleeves you cut off leaving behind perfectly good fabric.  As I'm quite tall (5ft8")  I would wear mine as a tunic rather than a full dress so you want to ensure the shirt you choose is a size that means it is as long as you want it.  If its too long that's easy as you just turn it up but too short is harder to fix!

For this you will need a shirt, a measuring tape, pins, thread, scissors and a sewing machine/needle.  A machine will make it a lot quicker but there is no reason why you can't do this by hand.

Step by Step

  1. Put the shirt on inside out and either in front of a mirror or with someone else doing it for you pin the sides so that it is roughly the fit you want.  Work out on you where you want the arm holes to be and mark.  At the point where you want to start the arms stop pinning.
  2. Now take off the shirt and lay it flat.  Measure the sides where you have marked your arms - ensure they are the same on each side and adjust accordingly.  
  3. Mark an arch around your arms and the neck.  Cut along this mark - sometimes it helps to fold the shirt in half once you have cut the first arm hole to ensure your markings match.  If you choose to leave some sleeve on your dress then just arch your scissors out towards the shoulder to include this.  
  4. Your neck can be cut however you choose - I went for a high neck that was quite round this time but if you want a square neck just cut it in that shape.  You should now have something like this

  5. Now you have the shape you want put the shirt back on and adjust the pins along the sides.  It can be as loose or as fitted as you want - just remember you can always add a belt later to change up the effect!
  6. Now stitch a straight line stitch along the line of the pins ensuring you remove them as you go.  Cut away the old shirt seam leaving you enough spaces to bind the raw edges.
     7.  You now need to bind up all the raw edges.  I use an over locker but you can use a simple zig zag stitch along every edge that could fray leaving a neat finish like below

     8.   Fold this edge over to the inside of the shirt and switch your machine to a straight line stitch.  Work out how far from the edge you want your stitching to show and match your fabric to this line on your machine.  It won't be more than a centimeter as the stitch needs to hold the fold in place.  Ensure you are consistent all around the arms and neck as this stitch will show on your finished product.

     9.   Now trim all loose threads and try your finished product on.

So there you have it - the first picture is made by minimizing sleeves and using a smaller sized shirt that creates a shorter tunic style top.  The second is more of a dress made from a bigger sized shirt, with a square neck and a small sleeve left on.  Both shirts cost me nothing - just make sure you check before you cut up someone in your households best shirt cause you love the fabric!  

Happy sewing and share your pictures! I'd love to see how you get on!