You didn't think I was just going to use the back panel of that tribal dress and toss the rest, did you? Oh no, folks, that's just not how I roll.
While perusing Pinterest for ideas on how to use this fabric, two potential projects kept popping up. One was a print-back-solid-front tank, like the one I showed you on Sunday. The other was a cascading chiffon maxi dress topped with a funky tribal print. I didn't have any chiffon, but I did have this too-large jersey maxi dress.
Looks like it fits okay, right? Trust me...
...it doesn't. The last time I wore it, I spent the whole day tugging it upward to maintain decency. Not good. So it went in the refashion pile, and now it's time for an upgrade!
I began with the tribal print front panel. I picked out the hem surrounding the slit, and peeled back the facings that were stuck down with interfacing.
Then I sewed the slit closed.
And when I pressed the facings back down, the interfacing re-fused! Hooray!
With the slit now closed, I folded the bottom of the fabric upward until the bottom hem just met the underarm edges.
I pinned and stitched the side seams together.
Then I cut open the folded bottom.
I folded over the side seams to create a welted seam, hiding the raw edges inside.
Next, I chopped off the yoke, straight across.
The existing bust darts were taken in for a better fit.
And I hemmed the top edge.
From the sleeves of the old dress, I cut four 14-inch strips about 2 inches wide.
I joined them end-to-end in pairs to create two long strips. The edges were folded into the center and pressed, and then the whole thing was pressed into half length-wise.
Beginning at the underarm edge, I used these strips as a binding on the raw edge, then continued sewing the length of the strip, creating long, skinny straps for my new dress.
Then it was time to do something about the extra girth. I didn't have a matching zipper in my notions box, so I needed the bodice to be big enough to slip on over my head, but I didn't fancy a potato sack dress. A common element of sundresses is a ruched back panel, but I didn't have any elastic thread either. I did, however, have some elastic! First, I would need another seam, symmetric to the old slit, to give me a nice solid anchor to attach the elastic. I picked out the top hem (originally the bottom hem of the dress), and added another small seam/dart thing.
I grabbed some elastic from my notions box. This was salvaged from another refashion many moons ago. I snipped off seven 6-inch pieces.
I pinned the ends of my elastic, evenly spaced, along the old slit seam.
Then I pinned the opposite ends of the elastic to my new symmetric seam.
I gently stretched each strip of elastic and sewed them down with a zig-zag stitch. This was a bit tricky, but I was starting to get the hang of it by the seventh strip.
Here's how it looks from the outside of the bodice.
With my top now fitting correctly, I was able to try it on and measure how long my straps should be. I criss-crossed them and stitched them to the back panel at the appropriate length.
I amputated the black jersey skirt from its stretchy top (hello, sexy tube top! ... kidding).
I stuck the right-side-out bodice into the inside-out skirt and pinned them together. I tried to disperse the extra jersey fabric around the circumference, and I stretched the back panel as I pinned that portion.
Once that was sewn together, I folded the seam allowances upward on the inside of the dress, and top-stitched around the outside.
For the final detail, I snipped off a little rectangle from my scraps, about 5 inches long and 3 inches wide.
I folded it lengthwise and stitched it into a tube.
The seam was pressed outward.
Flipping the tube right-side-out, I tucked in the ends about 1/4 inch and pressed it all flat.
I gathered the front of the bodice using this little strip and sewed it down.
The final product is super cute and comfy, and buckets better than it started out.
The skirt is just the right length to brush the ground when worn with flats and not too short to go with heels (my favorite new bronze strappy wedges).
And I just love how the criss-cross straps sort of frame my tattoos.