Wherein I play dress-up

mariacha's picture


I made another thing. Here it is:

Dress on Dummy, Front

It uses a relatively standard pattern for a women's wrap dress, but I got a little silly with the idea and made it out of Taylor's old tshirts.


You might remember from my post on Taylor's shirt that I grew up considering brand-new clothes a luxury. It's a luxury I've indulged more as an adult, but I still only go to buy new clothes a couple times a year. Meanwhile, Taylor shops a lot, especially as he continues to lose weight. In the last year we've thrown about 80% of his clothes into the sewing heap. That means lots of XL and XXL tshirts. With that much fabric, I either needed to make a blanket or a dress. And the dress won.

I've also watched enough women in my family age to know that the time of dressing like a teenager is over. In my early 20s I started watching what women wear as we fill out (especially in the middle) and I've come to two conclusions: 1) Pants are rarely flattering 2) Wrap dresses look good on almost everyone.

Dress on me, Front

What worked:

I misread the instructions and thought I needed fusible lining for the whole dress -- a mistake I only realized when I went seeking 45" fusible lining for the skirt and could only find 22". I had already purchased and cut out the fusible lining for the bodice of the dress, though, so I went ahead and used that. (I used an old sheet for the skirt's lining.)

Fusible lining gives fabrics a stiffness, like a permanent starch, that worked really well for the arms and back of the bodice, giving it nice structure. The front of the bodice... well, I'll get into that in the next section.

Surprising as it might be, I also really like the feel of the tshirt dress. The fact that these are old tshirts means the skirt drapes really nicely, and feels cozy, like old pajamas. Sewing with old fabric also keeps the item from looking too crisp, like construction paper, the way much homemade clothing does.

Dress on Dummy, Back

What didn't work:

The fusible lining worked great for the back of the bodice, but the front is supposed to be drapey and clingy, which is not happening. Next time the front lining will need to be something else, like a very fine linen.

I also went too big. Sewing patterns tend to run quite small, and according to the package measurements, I'm a size 14. But I have a bad habit of not using all the seam allowance they give me, so I probably should know enough to always go down a size, especially with stretchy fabrics. Add to that the fact that my fusible interfacing slightly stretched the material, and I could probably stand to go down to a 12 or 10 in the future.

I'll improve the belt next time too. This belt made from tshirts is too flimsy. I had a hunch I should topstitch it to give it more structure, but when the pattern didn't call for it, I didn't do it.

I also took too much on at once. I finished the dress over the weekend with two 7+ hour days of sewing. I know better than that. When I get tired, I cut corners and make mistakes. Next time I'll impose a hard limit on per-day sewing.

Dress on me, Side 2


I'm going to try this pattern again soon, but not next. Next thing I am going to work on a simple pillow blanket using some Jade Gordon fabric I bought off of Spoonflower. That should only take me a weekend, and be ready while it's still cold outside.





Surprise action shot!

Surprise action shot!

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