Wednesday, June 20, 2012

T-shirt Remake: Dress with Crochet Trim

Here is the crochet trim you saw last week.  After making this dress from an extra large tall man's t-shirt (Goodwill), I decided it needed something more.  This trim gives the dress a more feminine touch.
Making the dress was pretty easy.  This tutorial from Sweet Verbena gives you step-by-step instructions.  I photographed my process of making this dress, but made so many mistakes, I'd rather direct you to a better tutorial and add my finishing touches.
A few differences:
  1. Using a tall size shirt allowed for a bit longer hemline, since I will be wearing it and I'm not quite young enough for the shorter dresses (unlike my model above, who can wear anything!).
  2. I also tried on the t-shirt to find how long I wanted it to be, measuring my top cut down from the top of the shirt the appropriate number of inches.  And to determine how full I wanted the skirt (the fuller the better for me).
  3. I attached elastic below the bust to give it some shape without a belt. (see A)
  4. And, I attached a crochet trim around the top and for a halter-type strap. (see B)

To attach the elastic below the bust, measure the elastic around you as you wear it and place it where you want it sewn.  Pin it to the wrong side all the way around, making sure the folds of the dress fall evenly between your pins. Oh, and pin it evenly, (not like mine which dips a little low on my left side) When you sew, you can use a straight stitch if you stretch the elastic to match the width of the dress as you sew.   
The easiest way to attach the crochet trim is to pin it to the top edge of the dress and sew it before inserting the elastic.  Then, after trying the dress on, you can pin the halter strap and sew it.  Be aware, it will stretch when you wear it.  I wanted mine to actually hold the dress up enough that it wouldn't slip down as I sit and stand in it.  So, I sewed it pretty tight, and must be cautious when I put it on and take it off.

That's it!  Now, the trim I used was crocheted specifically for this dress, but you could substitute with a ruffle made from available fabric, like scraps from this dress or another t-shirt.  That would be very cute!  I also thought of using purchased lace.  But, I chose this trim because I've been wanting to try my hand at making some.
I found a pattern for it from  It's my first attempt at using a chart for crochet, but after a bit of research (including the Japanese terms), I did it!  I simply measured my beginning chain stitch to fit the width of the dress where it was to be attached, then adjusted for the number of stiches needed for the pattern's repeat (which is nicely labled, 16).  I crocheted from row 1 to row 10 (and apparently used it upside-down).  The halter strap is the first three rows of the pattern (including the beginning chain) again, followed by two rows of single crochet.

       From this . . .                  to this . . .                  to this!

This project was my first sewing project in a long time, and I am quite proud.  Now, to get rid of my farmer's tan so I can wear it!