Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tuesday's Tute: Make a Sweater Dress..from thrifted sweaters

I really wanted a new dress for Christmas.  Not a fancy one, but one that would be comfy and could be dressed up or down.  I saw a few sweater dresses and a cream lace dress on pinterest.  Both ideas were keepers.  So I combined them into the sweater dress on the right.  The dress fits nicely and the off set square design, along with the vertical lines in the sweater knits draw the eye down the body.  I know it looks a bit "hippy" on the dress form.  Thankfully my shape is a bit softer than hers. ;)
I'll be wearing my dress with brown tights and boots.  I made a pearl, bead, and lace bracelet to go with it. (another pinterest inspiration that I'll show another day)

Sweaters: I bought 3 and used only two.
T-shirt Pattern (If you need to make the bodice.) The sweater I chosen for the bodice part happened to fit well from the start.
Sewing machine and supplies
Length and hip measurements or a nice fitting knit dress
Lace Trim (optional)


1. Prepare your bodice piece.  I made my bodice empire length, by laying my Fun and Easy Knit Top pattern onto the sweater and cutting the sweater at the empire length line.

2. Cut the remaining sweaters into squares.  My squares were about 7" x 9".  Two sweaters made enough squares for the bottom part of my dress. I wear about a size 10 and didn't want it tight fitting.

 3. Lay out pieces to match the hip width and length you want.  I used a well fitting knit dress as my guide by laying the dress on top of the pieces to check width and length.  The sweater grew in length when finished and put on.  I ended up cutting a few inches off the bottom.  This turned out good, the banded pieces I intended to use at the bottom made the dress taper in at my knees.  When cut off it draped much better. 

Tips for sewing sweater:  lengthen your stitch to about a 4 (0-6 scale), use a knit (ballpoint) needle, loosen the presser foot pressure or use a walking foot. You can find info. on presser foot pressure in your manual.  I used a serger, but you can do this with a regular sewing machine and a 2x2 zigzag stitch.
 4. Sew squares together to make one long strip (top to bottom on the dress)  Repeat as needed.

 5. Sew long strips together. Repeat as needed.

6. Open bodice side about 3" so that you can attach the front and back "skirt" panels.

 7.  Attach front "skirt" panel to the bodice.  Repeat for the back.

8.  Sew up side seams.
9.  If you have a raw cut hemline, zigzag over the hemline.  Be careful to not stretch the hemline as you sew or it will be wavy.

9. I added flat lace trim to the sleeves and hemline of the dress.  I laid the lace under the sweater and zigzagged it on.  I stitch on top of the sweater so that I could keep an eye on the sweater edges and keep them from falling into my machine.

Happy Sewing!


Thank you for commenting. Your comment will be posted after we take a look at it. :)