It’s been a while since I’ve posted any fashion DIYs, so today I want to show you how to make a really simple jersey dress. You don’t need a pattern and because it’s made with stretchy jersey, it’s easy to fit to your unique body shape. This dress is really versatile. Throw it on as it is on a hot day, add heels and a belt to dress it up or add tights and a cardigan for cooler weather. All you need is a piece of stretchy jersey twice the length of the dress you want, plus few inches extra to allow for a hem.
Start by measuring how long you want the dress to be, from the shoulder to the hem. I want mine to be 99 cm (39”), which finishes just above my knees. Multiply this number by 2 then add 5 cm (2”) for hems, in my case equalling 203 cm (80”). Next you need your hip measurement (or, if your bust or stomach is bigger than your hips, use that measurement – you need to measure the widest part of your torso). Measure around the widest part of your hips/bottom and then add 7.5 cm (3”) for ease and seams. You can always take the dress in if it’s too loose, but you can’t make it bigger if it’s too tight so it’s important to allow some ease. My hip measurement is 95 cm (37 1/2”) plus 7.5 cm (3”) equals 102.5 cm (40 1/2”). Now divide this figure by two. In my case it is 51.25 cm (20 1/4”). So you should have two numbers, the length (203 cm for me) and the width (51.25 cm for me). Cut your piece of fabric to these dimensions making sure that the stretch goes across the width of the piece.
Fold the rectangle in half and pin down the sides, leaving a gap of 23 cm (9”) from the folded edge (diagram above). Sew 6 mm (1/4”) from the edge with either an overlocker or with a shallow zig-zag stitch on your normal sewing machine. The folded edge will form the shoulders of the dress. Mark the centre of the fold and 10 cm (4”) either side. Draw a shallow arc (about 2.5 cm (1”) deep) for the back neck. Cut through both layers.
Draw a deeper arc to form the front neck – about a further 7.5 cm (3”) down and cut through one layer only.
Try on the dress, keeping it inside out as this makes it easier to pin the alterations. It will probably look a bit like a shapeless sack, so pin it in around the waist, bust and hips if needed. Take a look at the armholes, too, pinning if they need to be sewn up a little higher.
Take the dress off, lay it flat and make sure the alterations are pinned evenly on both sides.
If you are taking it in around the bust and are using an overlocker, make a little snip in the side at the base of the armhole so you sew it more easily. Sew the alterations, trimming off any excess fabric. Try the dress on again, making sure you are happy with the fit. I also shortened mine slightly.
Trim off some of the armhole so the fabric extends only 1 cm (3/8”) beyond the seam – this will form the hem of the armholes.
Fold the hem towards the inside of the dress, pin and stitch in place using a shallow zig-zag stitch, which will stretch more than a straight stitch.
Around the neck edge, fold over just a few millimeters (1/8”) towards the inside and stitch, again using a shallow zig-zag stitch.
Pin up the hem of the dress by 2.5 cm (1”). Or if you want it very neat, overlock the raw edge first, then pin it up. Stitch with a shallow zig-zag stitch. Gently iron the seams and hems flat and your dress is finished! The stretchy fabric makes it super comfy and I love to pair mine with a belt to create a bit more waist definition. I’ll try to post some proper outfit photos of the dress soon!
© 2012, Angela. All rights reserved. On reposting any images contained herein you must provide link to original post. Please don’t repost entire posts without my permission.