I found a HUGE shirt at the thrift store the other day. It was 4XLT! So needless to say, there was a lot of fabric to work with. I really liked the print...green palm trees and orange lighthouses. It kind of had a retro/vacation feel to it. So I picked it up, along with another shirt. I paid $2.49 a piece for them. I would have preferred a 99¢ Monday at Value Village, but I'll take what I can get. This is what I came up with...a SUPER comfy summer dress that can be worn with or without a belt.
So the first thing I did was to try it on and get a feel for where I was going to cut. I figured I wanted about a 6" wide waistband, so I placed a pin on the shirt about 3" above my waist. I laid the shirt out flat and cut it straight across where I had pinned (allowing an extra 1/2" for the seam.) Then I cut the collar and band off about 1" above the button. The sleeve seams hung down far enough on my arms that all I had to do was cut them off about 3/4" away from the seams on the sleeve side. This would allow for me to serge the edges, then fold them under and top stitch the armholes. I then laid it out flat again and decided how big the arm openings were going to be. I cut them to size (allowing for seam allowance) and then continued to cut away some of the sides so there wouldn't be so much to gather into the waist band. (Essentially, I opted for a sleeve/bodice one piece combo instead of a set in sleeve. My research tells me its called a magyar sleeve!) The next step was to cut a waistband from the other shirt. No technical stuff here. I just cut it 7" wide. Then I stitched two darts in the front and two darts in the back, along with taking it in on the sides until I got it to fit the way I wanted. I thought that the darts would give it a little more shape, but if you're going to belt it anyway, you could save some time and skip them. Then it was a matter of gathering and stitching the top and bottom to the waistband. This shirt happened to be hemmed straight across with side slits so no further hemming was necessary. To finish the neckline, I used 1/2" bias tape, stitched, then turned to the inside. I then topstitched it into place. I did add an extra button to the waistband, and two more buttons at the bottom of the dress so it wouldn't fly open. All of these buttons were the extras from the shirts. I love that its 100% cotton, comfortable, and easy to make! I will be scouring the thrift stores for more super-sized shirts! Here's my BEFORE shots...
Linking to THESE great parties.
UPDATE: This happened to be the most viewed link for the week at: