The little asymmetrical tops and dresses are all the rage for little girls right now. We've seen them everywhere and my daughter's been begging for one. That and a maxi dress, but that's another post for another time. We ended up with an abundance of white tee shirts, there was this end of season sale at Target and I picked up several of them for a dollar each, knowing I'd be embellishing them because there's no way the princess is wearing a plain, boring, white tee!! :) So I grabbed one and an old tee of mine that had become a little dingy, some lace that has been sitting in mu stash for three years, some pink dye and set out to make a fabulous, trendy but age-appropriate, asymmetrical sundress!!!
Hey, did you notice the dress isn't pink? My plan was to dye the dress and lace pink. That plan was tweaked a little by my girl who decided she wanted it to be tie-dyed purple. Lately, she is really into the tie-dye, I'm not sure if she likes the style as much as the actual process. I was going to remove the lace, because I just don't see tie-dye and lace together, but she disagreed and its her dress. I didn't tell her about the fabric flower I was planning to put on the waist, because I felt that a tie-dyed, lace-trimmed, off-the-shoulder dress with a fabric flower was just a bit too much. :)
This was a super easy and fun project so I put together a quick tutorial in case you wanted to make one too!
You'll need two tee shirts, I used on that fits my daughter, and an old one of mine (it was a large and not a fitted tee.)
I used lace trim, that's optional on your part.
1/4" elastic, one inch shorter than the measurement that will follow the neckline (under one arm, across the chest and around the neck.) Goodness, does that even make sense??
1/4" elastic for the shoulder strap (ours was 6" long)
Lay out the child's tee making sure it is flat and the side seams line up. Then cut from the neckline on one side, across the shirt to just under the arm on the other side see the shaky, photoshopped line on the picture below. ;)
Cut off the sleeve, just at the seam and cut off the bottom of the shirt about 2 inches below the waistline. (In the picture, I'd only cut the shirt at just above the hem and it ended up being too long, I had to go back and shorten it after I'd attached the skirt. Lesson learned; do not try and "eyeball" length when your daughter is at preschool!!!) At the exposed arm, fold the fabric under just about 1/4" with a narrow, zig-zag stitch. This finishes the arm and keeps the fabric from stretching out.
To make the skirt, measure from just below your child's waist, where we cut off the top, to the desired length, add an inch for seams. Take the second tee and measure from the bottom going up and cut it. You're measuring from the bottom because then you don't have to hem the dress, its already done. :) Gather the top of the skirt to match the bottom of the bodice.
Now you'll sew the skirt to the bodice. I chose to do it backwards. Normally the seam is on the inside, but I wanted it exposed, to add a little ruffle to the waist. To do this, turn the bodice inside-out and place it inside the skirt so the wrong sides are together and the bottom of the bodice lines up with the top of the skirt and sew in your seam. Be sure to lineup your side seams! My picture for this turned out blurry, I'm sorry!!! (I need to quit taking pictures without my reading glasses!!!) I do have a picture after I sewed the two together. I did a double seam, because I wasn't putting in a top stitch and I wanted to make sure it was secure. The seams are right over my gathering stitch seams, so I eliminated that step of removing them!! :)
Fold the edges of the neckline over towards the outside of the dress about 1/2 an inch. This will form the channel for the elastic to fit through. Pin into place.
Onto the ruffles! Cut strips of fabric from the leftover adult tee ( I cut them 3" wide) and stretch them out gently and ruffle them up using your favourite method. Then pin it to the neckline, using the pins already in the neckline. Be sure you are pinning where the folded over edge meets the tee, not at the fold. Otherwise you won't have a channel for your elastic!! I also pinned in the lace at this point, you can do several tee shirt ruffles or just one. Totally up to you. Once everything is pinned into place, I sewed them down with a narrow zig-zag stitch leaving an opening to insert the elastic. Insert the elastic and close off the stitch.
So here's the point when we had an issue. The strap. Technically, the dress doesn't need a strap, the elastic in the neckline holds up the bodice nicely. My daughter did NOT want a strap. But. . .I felt it was just too mature a look for a 5-year old. She strongly disagreed. I decided to move forward with the dress and come back to the strap. I like giving her choices and a certain amount of control and I wanted to make sure I wasn't fighting a battle that wasn't really necessary. So we set the idea of a strap aside and moved on to the dying. We dyed some additional fabric for the strap.
She loves, loves, loves to tie dye.
So after much thought and a talk with her dad (who was not at all excited about the idea of an off-the-shoulder top, let alone one without a strap!!!) I decided it was indeed a necessary battle. I appreciate that she wants to be on-trend and I'm fine with that, but the strap adds an innocence to the look, and I am all for preserving innocence. I cut two pieces of fabric, 1 1/2" wide by 10" long. With the wrong sides together I sewed a seam about 1/4" from each edge, I wanted the edges exposed, just like the waist. I inserted the elastic and sewed it secure at each end.
Then I attached the strap and the dress was done! I'm pleased with the way it turned out and my daughter is delighted with it. She wasn't thrilled with the idea of the strap at first, but once it was on, she decided that it looked more like more ruffles rather than a strap and she was fine with it. :)
I love the way the lace and the thread on the hem didn't pick up the dye.
I like the exposed edges of the seams on the waist, the little ruffle it adds is fun and I think it works well with the tie-dye.
I hope you enjoy making your own dress! There are tons of options to personalize it, and it comes together quickly. If it wasn't for the dye, this would have been an afternoon project!
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