I'm a huge fan of re-purposing clothing. When an item from my wardrobe gets tired and I find myself not wearing it, I think about ways that I can reuse it. A sexy silk top can easily be turned into a sassy pillow. A skirt that has seen better days can be hacked into a cute top for one of my girls. A sweater that has accidentally been shrunk (hubbbby!) can be chopped down into a pair of cute toddler legwarmers and a matching vest. I love bringing new life to something that might otherwise be headed to dumpsville, so when my friend Kate approached me asking for my expertise, I was PUMPED!
During their annual spring cleaning, both Kate and hubby Marc decided to pare down the items in their closet. They decided to make a pile of items that haven't worn in over a year. To Marc's shock he had over 20 dress shirts alone that had gone unworn! (Way more than Kate's 12!) Since most of Marc's dress shirts were in great condition she felt bad throwing them out and was wondering if there was a way to re-purpose them. I practically jumped all over her!
The Solution: The Perfect Summer Dress
Make one! Here's how:
I wanted the button part of the sleeve to be at the top so I positioned it the way I wanted and ironed it flat. Since this is going to be a cap sleeve, I cut it at a sharp angle to allow for the shoulder to move properly. I matched both sleeves to be sure they were symmetrical.
With right sides in, center the bottom of the sleeve onto the center of the armpit on the dress and sew up to the top of the dress in the front. Return to the arm pit and sew up to the top of the dress in the back. Repeat for the other sleeve. (Notice that the sleeve is much longer than the dress itself. I wanted to have a wide mouthed dress, but didn't want it slipping off at the shoulder so I kept the sleeves "separate" from the dress at the top... see below)
Sew a channel in the neckline (front and back) of the dress and insert elastic. I used 1/4" elastic in the back and a braided "baby elastic" in the front to make sure that most of the gathering would happen in the back. This will help to make sure the dress looks form fitted even if it is a bit big for it's owner... which means clothes that fit longer!
I added a belt (tutorial next!) and some cowgirl boots to sassy it up a little. I would have had my lovely daughter model it, but she's laying down with a headache :( There are so many ways to vary the "shirt dress" that I bet all 20 of Kate's dresses will be different! This will definitely work for an adult dress too! Either use a bigger shirt or show those sexy legs!!! No matter which dress you try, send me pics- I LOVE hearing from you guys!!!