In Which a Sheet Becomes a Dress.

Meet Sheet.

I purchased Sheet on Etsy.  I was advised that she had holes and black streaks, but still I found her beautiful and saw her potential.  So to my house she came.  I was nervous to cut Sheet, afraid that my dream of making her into a simple little dress would not go well.  But after a few days of staring at her, I dove in.

Now, the dress that I wanted to make was not very ambitious at all.  In fact, when I get into how I did it, you’ll probably think, “Shouldn’t it be more complicated than that?”  That thought was in the back of my mind throughout this process and thankfully, it worked out.  I’m more of a “let’s make this simple and hope it works” kind of girl.  For this dress, I kind of combined two tutorials I’d seen on the internet.  The first is the pillowcase dress and the second is this skirt.  The only part I got from the skirt tutorial was stretching my elastic as I sewed, but I like to give credit where credit is due.  I mostly followed the pillowcase dress tutorial, only obviously Sheet is a sheet and not a pillowcase.  (Do not attempt the dress with a pillowcase unless you are size 4 or lower, or maybe up to an 8 with no badonkadonk whatsoever.  It will not work and you will feel huge, even though you ARE NOT.)

I cut two rectangles out of Sheet for the two pieces that would become my dress.  I could have just doubled the width and cut out one big rectangle, sewing it closed on one side, but as previously mentioned, Sheet had a few issues that I had to work around.  For the length, just measure the distance from where you’d like the dress to start to where you’d like it to end on your body.  Leave an inch or so extra to sew down the elastic on top (and another inch if you are going to hem the bottom – I cut my rectangles so that the bottom was the hemmed part of the sheet).  For the width, measure around the largest part of your body, add an inch or two (depending on how much wiggle room you want), add ANOTHER inch to that (for seams) and divide that number in half.  This number is the width of each rectangle.

The next thing I did was the elastic part for the empire waist (can I say “empire waist” when I’m referring to a sickeningly simple dress I made out of an old sheet?).  This is the part that I got from the skirt tutorial above.  That tutorial explains what I did better than I and my pictures do.  Basically, I took a piece of elastic and measured around under my chest, cut the elastic to that length, then cut it in half (a piece for each rectangle).  I placed the elastic about 8-1/2″ down from the top of the dress.  If you have a fuller bust, put it down lower (I recommend measuring to be sure).  I found the center of the rectangle of fabric and the center of the elastic, matched them up and pinned.  I stretched each end of elastic and pinned them to the ends of the rectangle, then (keeping the elastic stretched the entire time) placed plenty of pins in the spaces.  The more pins you place, the better chance of the fabric “bunching up” evenly when you’ve sewn the elastic into the fabric.

As the tutorial says, when you are sewing the elastic down, keep it stretched the entire time so that your fabric lies flat.

Next, I sewed the two rectangles together, leaving about a 1/4-inch seam allowance…maybe.  I never measure.  My master seamstress grandmother would probably faint if she were alive to read this.  (I remembered to take this picture after I had started to press open the seam.)

Press, pin and sew the fabric down across the top of the fabric – wide enough for your elastic to go through but not so wide that it has room to flip around in there.

Then sew the other side of the dress closed, STARTING UNDER the opening for the elastic!

Here comes the fun part.  Did you ever make scrunchies in the 90s when they were cool (or were they ever, really?)?  If so, this will harken back to those days.  I took a piece of elastic and measured around my body under my arms, then cut it to that length.  You’re supposed to use a safety pin to pull it through the fabric, but I don’t think there is a single one in my house so I used a jewelry pin backing instead.  Attach it to one end of the elastic and feed it on through, bunching it up and pulling it flat as you go, until you get to the other side.  Make sure the other end of the elastic doesn’t sneak into the dress or you’ll lose it!  Scrunch up/straighten the top of the dress as necessary until it looks even, then sew the elastic together.  Finally, sew the top of the dress closed (where the elastic is).


Doesn’t it give you spring fever?

I was amused to find that my dress perfectly matches a Katie Daisy print that Ryan got me for my birthday.  Gifts from my Etsy favorites are the absolute best and so romantic.

This is the first dress I have ever made.  It isn’t a huge feat, but I feel accomplished and happy.  :o)

Ryan Dunlap - January 30, 2011 - 8:46 pm

You’re awesome, you know that? Happy 7 year (dating) anniversary!

Ashley E. - January 30, 2011 - 8:58 pm

Super cute!!!! I have to make one now!

Jamie Wyckoff | Julia's Poppies Design - January 30, 2011 - 9:48 pm

so cute! i love the print! :)

Holly - January 31, 2011 - 11:59 pm

I’m impressed! Super cute!

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