Anna, Studio

I heart: My halfway handmade dress

A halfway handmade dress
A halfway handmade dress

Hello, tall girls! I am not letting you in on a secret when I admit I have many a top that fittet well – and was long enough – in the shop. After the first wash it has shrunk so much in lenght that it was not wearable any more. Usually after this happens they just hang out in their drawer until the day I decide to donate them. Unless I decide to make them into a dress as I did this time. That’s why this is halfway handmade. And shh, let the seamstress tell you: skirts are way easier to make than tops. So if you are new to sewing this might be a project for you!
Love heart dress
Love heart dress


You’ll need:

tank top
bi-stretch fabric (about 1×1,40m)
pattern for a pencil skirt
– I used this Burda wrap effect pencil skirt

How to
I started out by making the skirt. I had bought the pattern with the march 2013 issue of Burda Style the skirt is also available for download here. Since this is a plus size pattern I used the smallest size without adding seam allowance. Also I skipped the zipper in the back and made the back part one piece, allowing me to alter on the sides only later. If you are using a pattern you already own, make the skirt leaving it open at the top part where you will join top and skirt. I loved the wrap effect the Burda skirt has, it makes it a little more playful, while still being sensual, which worked great with my big bubbles fabric. Such a shame that I do not remember where that fabric came from. It’s because I had it for ages, literally.

Making the skirt is a piece of cake, it took me under an hour to go from scratch to skirt. Might also be because I once again ditched making a proper hem. Could not decide on the lenght and this won’t run in any case.

Make a love heart top
Make a love heart top

Trace a love heart shape on the top and cut it out. Cut a slightly bigger (including seam allowance) heart shape from the skirt fabric and place it inside the top, under the heart opening. Sew around the smaller heart shape on top of the heart inside, be careful not to sew the tops back and front together. I went around twice with the sewing machine and at some points added some stitches as details to a) secure the heart and b) for the fun of it. After all this is a super comfortable summer daydress with a sexy edge. I lived in it from the day I made it onto chillier times (=now).

Once you made the heart – or whatever shape you desire – join skirt and top. Start with opening the seam on the top. Then we have a few possibilities. I will present you two: find your natural waist – the part where your middle is the slimmest. Put on the top, mark your waistline, take off the top, sew on the skirt. If you want the skirt to be more of a hip hugger, try on the top and skirt and find your perfect hip seam line. In either case place the fabrics right side on right side and sew them together at the edge.

I wanted to be able to have both options so I joined the upper and lower part at the end of the top, enabling me to wear the dress with the skirt starting either at waistline or lower. I guess, you could always do that, too…

a fun daydress
a fun daydress

So, was this easy or what? This is also easy peasily customizable: Instead of a heart you could make a star, a flower, a diamond shape. Or something more intricate like an animal? A flower? I see endless possibilities! There are many alternatives for the skirt part as well. Think circle skirt, mini and maxi skirt and all lengths in between. And for fall and winter a sweater instead of a tank top will not only do but be great. Any more ideas? The sewing machine is calling my name. I will be back ~Anna~

Note: Thanks to Hettys grandparents to let us take pictures in their garden and especially to her grandpa for the hint to photograph in the front yard (first photo above)!!!

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