The work starts with preparing a form for half of a dress; cut a form out of a folded paper in order to obtain symmetrical elements. 1. Prepare a form for half of a T-shirt; press your T-shirt with an iron and fold it in half lengthwise; spread it down on a paper so that the material stays not tightened or not gathered; outline your T-shirt (sides, a bottom, arms and a neckline); a shape of an armhole and a front part of a neckline should be copied by densely spiking seams with pins so that there are holes in the paper that determine the shape (if you put a thick material under the paper, pins will be spiked deeper and the holes will be more visible); the width of a bottom of a T-shirt should be equal to ¼ of your hip size – if it is not, widen a bottom. 2. Convert a form for a dress; the dimensions given are pretty universal as far as knitted materials are concerns, but you can modify them to your expectations and needs:
-determine the width of a neckline and divide it in two, a bateau neck fits best when it begins roughly in the middle of an arm (A=13cm); draw a front neckline so as not to deepen the original neckline of a T-shirt, and so as to make it contact with a center line of a dress at a right angle; a back neckline should be slightly shallower than a front neckline (2-3cm) -lengthen a bias of a sleeve to the desired length of a sleeve (A=50cm, as measured from a new neckline) -at a right angle, enter a desired width of a sleeve (C=12cm); a width should equal half of your hand size (half of a circumference of your hand) just where a sleeve ends, increased by 2-4cm -determine the length of a dress and add 5-10cm for pulling a material up, gather and ease it into the waistband; measure the length from the highest point of a shoulder – in the picture, it is the highest point of a neckline in a T-shirt and on a silhouette, it is a curve between a neck and an arm (D=90cm) -determine (at a right angle to its center – a line D) the width at a bottom of a dress – it should be equal to (in case of a fabric) or 1-2cm narrower (in case of a knit) than the width of a bottom of a T-shirt (E=24cm) -draw a side line of a dress (F): start at a right angle to a line C, then turn downward with a fluid arc drawing a bat sleeve shape and connect an arc with a width at the bottom with a straight line (E); If you want to wear a dress loose at the hips, add 1-2cm to the width of a bottom of a T-shirt -mark a place where you want to set a tunnel for a strap, preferably about 508cm below your waist which is below the highest point on a T-shirt (a dotted line G).
3. Cut a form along a line G and draw aside along a line H=3cm which is an allowance for a tunnel for a string; prepare forms of a neckline of a front and a back; copy a strap around a neckline of a front and a back, 6m wide; keep a shape of an arm; sewing of a front and a back must have the same width on a shoulder; these elements should coincide with a shape of a dress – do not cut them off a dress as they will make an additional layer of a material.
4. Copy separately a front (a deeper neckline) and a back (a shallower neckline) including an allowance for a tunnel; if you use a knitted material, prepare a form for cuffs – a rectangle of a width equal to your hand size (half of a circumference of your hand) just where a sleeve ends (I=20cm) and twice the height of a cuff (J=12 cm); if you use a fabric, you will trim sleeves by turning up edges – remember to lengthen sleeves by 1-3cm for turning-up.
5. Fold a material in half lengthwise and arrange forms as in the picture below (a center of a front is in contact with a bend in a material, a back is made of two parts); cut it adding 1cm allowance around each element, and at a bottom of a front and a back add 3cm – a blue outline is a cutting line; cut a sewing of a neckline after fitting of a dress.
Put two parts of a back one on the other so that their right sides are in contact; sew up a center of a back; in case of a knitted material, use a stitch for jersey or a zigzag stitch which ensure elasticity and stretchablity with a knit – first do a trial sewing and choose which stitch is more appropriate to the material; if you sew a fabric, do a regular stitching; if edges frays, do overlock stitching after sewing each seam – an overlock stitching reinforces edges and prevents them from fraying.
Now unfold a back with its right side up and place a front on it so that their right sides are in contact; sew up shoulders and sides together; try on a dress to check whether a neckline suits you; If you change a shape of a neckline, remember to change consequently a form for sewing – its form must be identical to a neckline; line a piece of a material of which you cut out sewing, with a fleece on a left side – select its thickness to the thickness of a material; cut out forms of a sewing of a back and a front and sew them up by shoulders.
Using an overlock machine, overcast a bottom edge of a sewing; this is a seam imitation executed by an overlock machine; the machine will instruct you on what kind of a presser foot you need to install to achieve an optimum seam.
Turn up a dress to a right side and put a sewing to a neckline so that unhemmed edges of a dress and those of a sewing overlap one another, and a layer of fleece remains visible; pin and sew up edges of a neckline
In order to prevent a seam from gathering, after you turn up a sewing into the inside of a dress, make a nick in across allowances, in the corners between a front and a back of a neckline; be careful so as not to cut a seam.
Now turn up a sewing to the inside of a neckline.
Press it with an iron; if a sewing turns up; sew them to allowances on shoulders, or do the stitching around a neckline.
If you sew a fabric (not a knit), turn up edges of sleeves to the inside and sew them all around; ff you sew a knitted material, prepare cuffs; fold a cuff in half and sew up shorter edges together – you will get something like a tunnel; turn up a tunnel half so as to hide a seam inside, between two layers of a material, and unhemmed edges to overlap with each other on one side.
Thus prepared a cuff slide into a sleeve – unhemmed edges of a cuff and a sleeve should be in contact; sew with a presser foot inside a sleeve, gently pulling a cuff – it has a smaller circumference than a sleeve and that is why you have to stretch it during sewing to the appropriate width in order to prevent a tuck (a fold) at the end; a smaller circumference of a cuff results in a sleeve to hug hands and not slide off after pulling it up.
Select a blind stitch, change a presser foot according to the instructions that appear on a display of a machine head; do a trial sewing as this kind of stitch requires high precision; when you become skilled, sew a binding; press an edge of a bottom with an iron.
Now taking advantage of the functions of a machine, embroider a hole, at a back, at the height of an insertion (do you remember a form? You put an allowance for tunnels below the waist); when a hole is cut, turn up a bottom of a dress almost in half; turn up a bottom to the front in order to obtain a folded edge exactly in the middle of a hole – an allowance for a tunnel should be folded in half.
Do a stitching, joining two layers of a dress and forming a tunnel around a front and a back of a dress; press a seam so it does not show up; enter a string to a tunnel through a hole, using a safety pin. You can also form a tunnel by sewing a strap of a material 3cm wide from a bottom, around a front and a back.
A dress is ready! You can wear it loose as an oversize tunic, then turn up sleeves which adds a shapely form and a nonchalance; too thick or stiff string may distort a form – in that case, pull it out of a tunnel; if you prefer to wear a dress pulled up, gathered and eased into the waistband, tighten and tie a string to match it to the waist size.