June 4, 2012

REpurpose: DRESS to TUNIC Top

I want to share an easy REpurpose where I made a dress that did not fit me right into a Tunic top that I now love!

Sometimes I just don't like the way a dress fits. Like this one was just not roomy enough through my hips. So I pulled it up and moved my hip ease to my waist. Much better. But how could I make it stay? I needed to define my waistline, so that it would stay in position when I wear it. And now it was just too short for me to be a dress. So it became a top. A Tunic, if you will.
Here was my process:

This dress was actually totally straight with no waistline (I do not have a picture of it plain, but you can imagine.) What I did was mark it while wearing it. I pulled it up to where I liked it, then I marked it with chalk (actually I use soap chips - I like the way they mark better) exactly where I would wear a belt. Then I took it off and just basted a straight line on top of my chalk line. This is the pic here.

I turned it inside out, because I am now going to make a casing for elastic to define my waistline.

I chose thread to match the original topstitching thread on the dress. This is a trick to keeping everything looking professional. I am going to be sewing from the inside, so my matching thread needs to go in my bobbin. Because that is what will show on the outside. With me so far?

I used 1-inch wide single fold bias tape to make my casing. It doesn't matter the color because it's on the inside. I started stiching at a side seam and just stitched down one side of the bias tape, centering the tape on my marked basting line.

I stitched that edge all the way around, keeping the tape centered on my basting line.

When I got to where I started, I cut the tape 1-inch longer than the beginning. I turned it under 1/2-inch and overlapped the raw edge by 1/2-inch. Then I backstitched it down.

Then I stitched the other side in the same manner. That folded edge is now the opening to thread my elastic through. Remove your basting stitch marking now.

Here is what the outside looks like before elastic is in there. Nice.

I used 1/2-inch elastic and cut a comfortable amount for my waist, plus 1 inch. I put a pin in one end and threaded the pinned end through the casing. All the way around until you come out the opening. Be sure not to let your other elastic end go through.

Bring both ends of elastic together so you can join them with a stitch.

I overlapped them by one inch and zigzagged several times over the two layers. Now let it all go inside the casing. You can stitch the opening closed at the side seam now.

Turn it inside out and marvel at how pretty it looks with your new elastic casing waistline.

Try it on. See how much nicer it fits. And the waistline you marked is now perfect and it will stay where you want it when you wear it!

You can wear it several ways.

With different belts and a slip extender (which is really just a longer skirt to wear underneath dresses that are too short for your taste.) It looks like you added a ruffle - cute!

  Or with leggings. The possibilities are great - have fun with it!

Do you have dress sitting in your closet that you would wear if you could REpurpose it to a Tunic top?

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