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How to Turn a Top into a Dress

50 Views· 12/07/23
Sewing with Ani Slattery
Sewing with Ani Slattery
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⁣I did this for my daughter but it can be done with adult clothing too. It works very well with tops that are loose (especially at the bottom) and is a great solution to a too that is too long to wear properly with a skirt, but too short to be worn as a dress. Just add the extra inches of fabric and it will become a nice modest dress!

⁣Details and tips:

1. Measurements: if your scrap fabric is not hemmed at the bottom (like my bedsheet example), add an additional 1" to your measurement to allow for hemming, plus an additional 1/2" seam allowance for sewing the top of it to your shirt. As for the width, the 50-100% you're adding is to allow for gathering. The longer your fabric, the fuller and "poofier" the skirt part will be.

2. Cutting your fabric: your strip of fabric will be very long! It helps to fold it in half (and even in half again) so it fits on your cutting surface. You can use a pencil or chalk to mark it up.

3. Pin and sew: if your fabric has a hem, the "wrong" side should be facing you when you are sewing the two ends together.

4. Mark halfway point: put your mark on the raw edge (not the hemmed edge). The other side of your fabric strip will be the seam that you sewed.

5. Sew running stitch: this is simply a stitch made using the longest stitch length on the sewing machine, through just one layer of fabric. Making it 3/8" from the edge will ensure that this stitch is hidden on the inside of the garment later when you sew the final seam attaching the fabric strip to the bottom of the shirt.

6. Gathering: this can take some practice but it is a very good skill to have and even a beginner can do it with some patience! Take your time and be gentle when pulling the thread and sliding the gathers along so that your thread does not snap. If you need help with this step please leave a comment or message me! I can even make a separate video showing a slower/more detailed explanation of gathering.

7. Pinning fabric and shirt together: lay the shirt (which is right side out) down. The gathered fabric strip should be inside out so that when you slide the end of the shirt into it, you will have the right sides of the shirt and fabric strip touching. If your shirt has a hem at the bottom that is bigger than 1/2", you can pin your fabric a little higher up so that this hem will be hidden on the inside of the garment.

8. Sewing it together: take your time to straighten up your fabrics and make sure the gathers are sitting nicely as you are sewing it all together. Sew 1/2" away from the edge so that your seam is further in than the running stitch you made for the gather. This will ensure that that first stitch does not show through your garment. If your scrap fabric frays at the edges like mine did, I would recommend stitching along the raw edges with a zigzag stitch in order to prevent fraying, preserve the seams and give it a neater, more professional look. If you need help with this let me, I can share a video.

This can all be hand sewn if you do not have a machine! If you are planning to sew it by hand, let me know and I can give you some additional tips that might help.

If there is something specific you'd like to see more in detail, let me know and I will make more focused videos on those techniques.

I hope this was helpful. If you try it out, please show me what you make, I would love to see your creations! And as always let me know if I can help in any way.

May the Lord bless and reward the works of your hands.
~Ani Slattery


Thank you for watching and please let me know what you think of the video, and if you have any requests for what you'd like to see in the future.

Our family has felt a strong call to pursue traditional skills that have been lost in the modern world, and we want to share it with others as much as the Lord will allow. My husband does carpentry, animal husbandry, butchery, writing and publishing. Find his channel here: https://spiritustv.com/@Traditional_Skills

I share traditional handiworks such as sewing and embroidery and I also have a little shop where I sell some of my handmade goods such as aprons, head coverings, embroidered neckties, Catholic embroidery kits and rosary pouches. Or you can follow me on Instagram to see my past or current works.

My shop: https://www.taurusnecrus.com/ani
My Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ave.domina.angelorum

Or contact me for custom sewing requests or to get in touch: ani.slattery@gmail.com

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