Thursday, May 2, 2013

Completed: Summer Dress 3 Ways

Next up on the Spring/Summer sewing list: a Summer Tank Dress - 3 ways.

First things first. I got my haircut. My stylist is in Memphis, and I won't be able to go back for a very long time, so it's super super short. I love it. 

The dress. I started with the Renfrew again -- my t-shirt block. I raised the neckline, cut the shirt off right below the bust, and omitted sleeves. Instead of traditional facings, I serged around the neckline and armholes, then just turned them under twice and stitched.

The fabric for the skirt is also knit.

For the skirt, I simply measured about 1.5 times around my waist (which was exactly the amount of fabric I had - whew) and sewed up the side seam. 

On my last summer dress, I gathered the fabric the traditional way before attaching the bodice. I tried that this time, too, but wasn't happy with the results. The waist seam was wavy and weird. 

Enter the Internets. I've seen maxi dress tutorials. Lots of them. But when I saw this one from A Small Snippet, I squealed. She had a secret that made attaching the skirt a breeze -- elastic thread!

It was surprisingly easy. I simply wound the elastic thread around my bobbin, dropped it in, kept regular thread up top, and sewed along the top of the skirt. It gathered beautifully as I went along. I used elastic thread again when I attached the skirt and bodice.

It alleviated the problem of The Wonky Seam, it slid right on without popping any threads. Genius.

(LeAna's tutorial is for attaching a woven-fabric skirt to a store-bought tank. It's adorable.)

The belt can be tied in the front, the back, or omitted entirely. There are endless ways to style it, but let's be honest. I'll wear it with my 14-year-old Birks and call it a day.

My camera remote needs a new battery, so taking pictures was a pain. Daniel generously offered to step in and help get my focus right. 

Every time I finish a new dress, he is the first one to say, "Mommy! That dress is beautiful!" This kid. He kills me.

Pattern: Self-drafted (heavily modified Renfrew).
Fabric: Knit from the Spiritex warehouse sale. (My stack is quickly dwindling.)
Thoughts: I'd make 100 of these and wear them every day this summer.
Next time: There's nothing I'd change about it. Gasp! Has that ever happened before? Next time I'll make a maxi if I've got enough fabric.


  1. I have drooled over her maxi on pinterest 10000 times. I also love that hot pink ruffled maxi skirt she has on her blog. Super cute dress, Martini! Please don't wear the birks though!!! xoxoxoxo

    1. Thanks! Um, the Birks are a staple. If mom hasn't talked me out of them in the past decade, neither can you.

  2. Sp pretty Michelle. I like the tie too. It dresses it up. You look great in everything!

  3. Love this so much! It looks like the perfect summer dress. Like something I would wear every day! Will you make one for me, please? If you keep posting things that are so adorable and well-executed, I might be convinced to conquer my fear of sewing for myself. Your hair is summer-perfect, too! Come back soon and let's do lunch.... Miss you!

    1. There's a pattern that would be perfect for your first big-girl dress. I'm blogging about it soon.


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