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Friday, August 12, 2011

UpCycled Rockstar Dress Tutorial

My sister's husband recently put out a solo album when he was in between bands. He had some shirts made up and most of them got sold. When I was helping my sister clean out her house to move we found one shirt left- it is a Youth Small. She said she had given all of my nephews shirts already, but didn't have one that would fit Marley. 

So I decided to make a dress out of it. And lucky you I decided to make a tutorial for the dress. This would work with any old t-shirt or just plain fabric too. My older sister suggested I make her daughter a dress with their high school's logo on it for her to wear to football games- not a bad idea!

And not that my brother in law needs a shout out- but he is a really good musician- check out his solo project- John Nolan and his new band- Taking Back Sunday.

Without further ado:

The Rockstar Dress Tutorial
This is my first tutorial and my first pattern I made up (at least the first one I have shared with anyone else)- so take it easy on me!!

Materials Required:

Old t-shirt with graphic that fits the measurements you want (I used a youth large for my 2 yr old niece) OR 1/2 yard knit or jersey fabric for the main panel
1/4 yard fabric for top panel and straps- I would recommend using a knit for ease of putting the dress on
If you don't want to make your own bias tape you need about 2.5 yards bias tape for straps/ties.
1" elastic for top casing- I used 20"
Spray Starch (I use magic sizing)
Buttons for embellishment

 Let's Get Started, We need a few measurements:
Chest measurement right under the armpits- (My niece's was 19"- she is 2 1/2)
From top of garment where you would want ties to be in the back- (I wanted mine at 5")
How long your straps need to be to cross over in the back (I wanted mine 9 3/4") (These could have been made longer to be a little less tight).

Then we want to cut our fabric out:
My measurements were as follows in the graphic-

Top Panel:
For the top panel I took the measurement I wanted the finished chest to measure- 19"- added 1 1/2"- then divided it by two to get 10 1/4"at the top.
I wanted my top part to be 4" tall- enough for seam allowance and for a 1" elastic casing at the top.
I added an inch to the measurement at the bottom part of the top panel, centered it, and cut down at an angle to 11 1/4" at the bottom.

Main Panel:
 At the top I made it 11 1/4" to match up with the bottom part of the top panel.
I measured 14" at the bottom of the dress, centered it and cut on the angle. I used my rotary cutter to make all of these cuts.
If you want your dress to have more flare to it make it a larger measurement.

Straps and Ties:
I used the tutorial for making bias tape on Sew, Mama, Sew to make my bias tape. I wanted my straps and ties to match my fabric. If you want you can use pre-made bias tape. I needed 85" of bias tape for the ties and the straps.

Let's Start Sewing:

Place right side of top panel and main panel together- pin and sew together. I don't have a serger but I used the serger-like stitch on my machine- or you can use a zig-zag stitch. Do this for front and back panels.

Press seam down on both pieces.

Using a ruler (or a hem maker thingy- you can tell I am an expert seamstress right??) measure down 1 1/4" from the top of the top panel. Fold over to make casing- spray with spray starch and iron.

Top of both front and back panels should look like this now.

Now Let's Make Some Straps:

Using spray starch iron your 1 1/2" strips down to 3/4"- like pictured above.
Ignore my horrible nail polish. :)

It should look like this at this point.

Measure how long you want your straps to be including room for sewing them on to top panel- multiply it by two and add on 1/2" seam allowance. I wanted my straps to be 9 3/4" so I cut each length to be 20". Fold over on each other lengthwise so you have a 3/4" by 10" strip- fold under 1/4" on both sides- as pictured above.
Sew down both sides of the strap- make two straps.

Fold up the casing you had pressed earlier and position your straps where you want them. Sew them on being careful to just sew through the part of the casing that will be inside the dress. I used a zig-zag stitch.

Do the same with the back panel of the dress. Position the straps where you would like them. I would check to make sure they will lay right before you sew them on.

Your dress will be looking like this now- getting close!

Let's Make Some Ties:
I decided to make some ties because this is just a simple a-line dress and I thought they would give it some shape. You probably don't need the ties if you don't want them.

Fold your bias tape over and stitch so that the ties are 3/8" wide. I made each of my ties 23" long. I cut the end off with pinking shears.

Once you have your ties made pin front and back panel of dress right sides together. Some things to check before you sew:
Check that your straps don't have twists in them.
Make sure you have your ties pinned where you want them (I placed mine 5" below finished top) and make sure they are on the right side of the garment.
Make sure you have your casing that was pressed earlier pinned up (like in bottom photo).

Sew down both sides using either a serger stitch or a zigzag stitch.
Press both seams.

Time for the elastic casing:

Pin casing down based off of where you pressed it earlier. Make sure and make a mark where you want to stop and start- leaving about 2 inches to insert your elastic. Sew all the way around.

Cut elastic and use a safety pin to thread it through the hole. Pin in place and try on to make sure it fits accurately.

Sew elastic in two places, using a zigzag stitch.

Close casing and sew the area that you used to insert elastic. You are almost done!!

I wanted a little bit of flair so I sewed some cute buttons on the top where the straps were. I love how the bright green pops against the black and gray. The perfect touches for a little rockstar!!

At this point you will need to hem the dress. The way mine worked out I used the hem of the t-shirt for the dress hem so I didn't have to hem it. But hem it if you need to or you can add extra bias tape to make a border at the bottom!

And there you have your very own RockStar Dress. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask me about them. If you make a dress from this tutorial I would love for you to link up and let me know so I can see it. I will probably make a few more of these for my niece and her friends, it was pretty easy and cute!

Thanks for stopping by!

Linking Up:



The Girl Creative

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Melanie said...

Looks like a great tutorial, Zoe! Very fun idea, and super-cute model, too. :)

Sarah said...

Neat idea! Like the result. Good idea for using cool t-shirts that are being worn.

Sarah said...


Anonymous said...

Great job! I like the coordinating hair bow too!

Kellie said...

What a perfectly wonderful way to use an ol' t-shirt! And she obviously loves it!

lauryn said...

SOOOO darling.
thanks for sharing!
i am pinning this to save for a day when i have kiddies.
{love} lauryn @ lovenotesbylauryn.blogspot.com

Erin of HomeSavvyAtoZ.com said...

Aw! This dress is beautiful and your tutorial is so thorough!

I am a new follower and would love for you to link up at my Savvy HomeMade blog party at http://www.homesavvyatoz.com/2011/08/14/blog-party-3/

I look forward to blogging with you!

Jessica at Me Sew Crazy said...

cute dress, and cute photos! your little girl is darling in it :)

Amanda @ The Little Giggler said...

What a cute dress!! Thanks for sharing. I'm a new follower :)

Amanda @ www.thelittlegiggler.blogspot.com

Robin said...

I love this. Simple and adorable what a great tutorial! Thanks for lining up to upcycled awesome!

Camille Nolan Photography said...

great tutorial and adorable end result Zoe!!

Seaweed and Raine said...

Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing it. I don't have a daughter (2 boys live here) but I do have some little nieces... perfect! :)

Erin of HomeSavvyAtoZ.com said...

Thank you so much for linking your super cute dress up at Savvy HomeMade Monday. I hope you will party again tomorrow!

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