Nautical Shift Dress DIY
Time: ~2 hours
Pattern: Make your own from an existing shift dress!
- Fabric (I used 100% cotton - I think from Joann's, 60" wide, 2 yards) - your best fabric types will have a little bit of drape like a soft cotton, knit, or silky. Stiffer fabrics will have more of a tent-like shape.
- Existing shift dress - it's best to match the sleeve length of your existing dress to your desired end result. Sleeveless, full sleeve, cap sleeve, etc. This will make a difference in your armscye (armhole) shape. I did not do this and thus had to tweak my armscye - more on that later.
- Bias tape (optional)
1. Turn your existing shift dress inside out.
2. Fold in half and tuck in the sleeves. Align the fold of your dress to the fold of your fabric.
3. Using your dress as a guide, cut the fabric. Make sure to leave extra length for the hem. Hold off on the neckline for the moment.
4. For the neckline, you can see in the picture below that the back is higher than the front. To cut the back, simply follow the dress. To cut the front, tuck the back inwards before cutting (similar to what was done with the sleeves).
5. Repeat steps 2-4 for your 2nd panel. You will then have both a front panel and back panel.
6. With the right sides of the fabric facing each other, sew the shoulders together and then down each side. Note: If unsure of fit, first baste these using a long stitch, try on the dress, and then make any adjustments (example: slimming a side, making the neckline deeper, etc.)
7. If your shift dress is sleeveless, skip to step 16.
8. To make a simple cap sleeve, you're going to cut out 2 ovals approximately 9 x 10". The easiest way to do this is to draw a 9" line and intersect it at the middle with a 10" line. Using the resulting 4 points, connect them with curved lines as shown below:
9. Fold your ovals in half length-wise to make a taco-esque shape.
11. Align the center of your curved side with the shoulder seam. Pin in place.
What the other side looks like:
12. Attach the sleeve. I tend to start at the center and then go down each side to prevent any misalignments, but please note that my method of sewing is trial and error - I have not taken any sewing classes.
13. The attached sleeve should look like the below:
14. For the parts of the armscye NOT connected to the sleeve, simply fold and stitch down:
Sorry about the fuzzy pic, but hopefully you can see the line of stitching.
15. Iron the sleeve. It should look like this:
17. Hem to your desired length, iron your seams, and you're finished!
Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!
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