Apr 15, 2011

woman's blouse to little girl's dress tutorial

Here's the little toot I promised you. I found this blouse at Goodwill and thought the pretty little marigolds would make a nice summer dress for a girl. Don't ask what possessed me to think I could convert it all by myself while I'm still learning to sew, but I took a shot at it and it turned out pretty okay. Since each project of this kind will be individual, this tutorial won't offer measurements, but be more for inspiration.

This was the blouse, it was very large, that's what got me thinking about using it, it was a nice big piece of fabric.

First I took out the darts. Ugh - sorry about the shabby sweatshirt I'm wearing! My husband keeps threatening to throw it away, and it probably is about time!


Then I folded it in half and eyeballing it, chopped off the top and an angled section at the side to give it the shape of the dress I wanted.

This is what it looked like after I did that. I could see it had the basic A-line shape I wanted.

I folded it in half and cut new armholes.


Then I turned it wrong side out and matched up the pieces.

I sewed seams up the sides. Here's the nice thing about up-cycling, you can take advantage of finished parts of the garment to save work: the bottom hem is the original from the blouse. Less work = good.

Then I made a 1/4 inch fold, then a 1/2 inch fold at the neckline (for both front and back), which I pressed and sewed. This will be the casing for your elastic.


I cut a 7 1/2 inch length of 1/4 inch elastic. I had used this size in a previous dress, so knew it would work good for this similar design.

Pull the elastic through the casing until the back end is flush with the end of the casing. Sew the elastic at the end to fix it in place. The tweezers were for fishing the elastic out after I pulled too far!

Then continue pulling your elastic through and sew it on the other end as well. Do this for the other neckline also.

I just happened to have the perfect color double fold bias tape on hand. I measured it and cut two 36 inch pieces (again, a measurement I remember using from a previous project.)

Open up the bias tape and hem all four end pieces.

Open your garment sideways so that the armhole is in front of you. Fold a piece of bias tape in half and pin this halfway point to the middle of your armhole, where your side seam is.

Tucking the tape over the edge of your garment, pin it all the way up both sides of the armhole.

Sew the bias tape on the inside edge first, and then again on the outside edge to finish the look.


And that's really all there is to it. I left the original buttons down the front to add a little interest, though they aren't used (the dress slips over the head and ties above each arm). I could have replaced the buttons with something more fun, but it's a pretty simple dress with a busy pattern, I thought it didn't need much else. Except of course, a flower.

I made a little blossom out of orange material and attached a little flower pixie to the center. It can be used as a pin on the dress or a clip for the hair.

And there you go - a thrift store blouse turned into a summer dress. I guess the lesson to take from this is to keep your eye open for material in all it's forms. If it's a nice fabric, think creatively to see how you could use it in another way. Also, don't be afraid to "wing it"; as you can see, I made this using common sense and knowledge used from past projects - it wasn't too hard!

BTW, this dress will be sold in my shop, Lil Lula.

4 comments:

cartroy said...

yay!!! love your tutorial! great pix, easy to follow instruction, and creative use of previously worn garments. more tutorials, please!! :)

Laura @ live.laugh.photograph said...

this turned out great! i especially LOVE the flower! nice touch :)

kirstin & jordan said...

love this! the little dress is going to be such a hit this summer!

Susan said...

The dress turned out really cute! I love the colors! I have a tutorial of a blouse to dress also. I sent the finished dress down to Kim for Olivia to wear. You can check it out if you want to. http://secondchancesbysusan.blogspot.com/search/label/dress