Dec 2, 2010

Vintage Sheet Dress

Today's tutorial is from the talented Amy of  Diary of a quilter.  Not only does she make amazing stuff, but she is super nice too!  So enjoy her tutorial!

I've been collecting vintage sheets for a little while now.  I went through them recently and realized, it was time to actually DO something with them. Last summer I planned to make skirts and dresses and quilts. Instead, we moved. SO HAPPY not to be doing that again this summer. So this year, I sew!
The new dress came from this sheet, which I really love.  It's funny because I found a flat sheet and a fitted sheet in this pattern and different times and locations. (Isn't it funny how often you find repeats of patterns when looking for vintage sheets? If you've been collecting a while, you know what I mean. Not as much variety 20+ years ago. Which is not necessarily bad. Okay, I'm waffling. . .) 

Anyway, I loved that bright pink edge. Then I had the brilliant idea to make that the bottom edge of the dress. No hemming required! I know, I'm a genius. (That, plus I'm lazy. I love shortcuts!)
I used this much of the sheet (I think it was probably a Queen size originally.) I measured and cut the finished length. For the width, I doubled the finish measurement. I hemmed the top edge and sewed one seam up the back. All I had left was the shirring (gathering the bodice).
I've wanted to try shirring every since I watched Heather Ross make it look so easy onMartha. (You can watch the video at this link too!)  Sandi Henderson also has a greattutorial.  The secret is elastic sewing thread. It's pretty snazzy. I found it at a chain sewing store.
And here are the end results.  It takes a little bit of time to sew all those seams, but I basically finished this dress in one evening. My daughter wore it to church on Sunday and played in it all day. Perfect for a warm, sunny spring day.  The fabric is so soft and durable - I also love the thought that because it's a blend, I won't need to iron it. I will probably make more. Especially considering the fact that the whole dress (elastic thread included) cost less than $6. Nice.

Another great tutorial to add to the archives, thanks Amy.


Angie said...

My machine has a setting for smocking. Do I still use the elastic thread and put my machine on this setting? Or regular thread on the smocking setting?

I've made myself and daughter several sun dresses like this but have always bought the material already smocked at the top. I'd love to do it myself!

Amy, a redeemed sheep said...

What a super great idea!

amy smart said...

Angie - Sorry I'm not super helpful on the technical details of this one. I just followed Heather Ross's tutorial on Martha. Someone at a sewing machine shop could probably help you on that question. (My machine is a dinosaur so I'm so not helpful with fancy options!) Good luck!

Peta said...

Have just found your site and I love your tutorial on how to machine with shearing elastic but my machine can't handle it so i hand sew the elasticated rows, which are really relaxing to do while viewing t.v.
hugs peta x