Wandering through IKEA a couple weeks ago I stopped in at the as-is section, and pulled out a natural colored cotton/linen curtain with an amazing geometric screenprint. It looked like a perfect dress fabric, and one panel would be more than enough to play around with. A little further down in the bin I found a coordinating natural and black woven striped cotton runner, that ended up being slightly short for my kitchen table, and I though could be a perfect contrast panel for my dress. I love a good IKEA hack, and this one was no exception! I put the curtain and runner together and ended up designing an easy-fitting drop waist sundress with a contrast panel in the front (and pockets, of course.)
Because of the basic shape and easy fit, the dress was pretty simple to put together. I thought it would be a fun project to share for 30 Days of Sundresses this year! I loved participating last year, and sharing my Texas Summer Dress, and I still wear it all the time. (I’m wearing it right now, actually!) 30 Days of Sundresses is such a fun collection of simple DIY ideas from some of my favorite seamstresses. You can find all of the tutorials featured daily at MellySews. And also go ahead and enter this weeks 30 Days giveaway!
In the last year I’ve purged most everything from my closet that I didn’t love or wear often. I’ve been trying to be more thoughtful about what I add back in. I love the fabric of this dress (despite it’s origins in the clearance bin and it’s former life as a window covering.) The shape feels versatile, that I’ll be able to wear around town with sandals to the park with my kids. Or dressed up a little bit to go out. The drop waist feels especially feminine to me, and gives the skirt a fun short proportion, even though it is knee length. The sleeve cuffs tie into the striped bodice, and I love the look.
This tutorial is a basic outline of the construction I used. I don’t mention seam allowance or finishes, because those will depend on your pattern. I draped the dress on my dress form, and drafted my own pattern, but for ease of sharing, I’ve included instructions for modifying an existing pattern that you like.
To make your own, you’ll need a cotton runner and a curtain.
Or just some great contrast fabric, about 1 yard of the first, and 2.5 yards of the second.
Also, a bodice pattern that you like. The scout tee would be perfect to use as a base here.
1. Measure from your desired neckline to your hip, add 1″ and cut your runner to that length.
2. Measure your hip circumference and make sure when you cut the bodice pieces, the bottom will fit well over your hips. Use this tutorial as a guide, if needed.
3. Measure from your shoulder to your hip, and cut out the BACK and SLEEVE pattern pieces, adding the necessary inches to the bottom of the back to ensure the drop-waist length.
4. Cut out a big rectangle around the FRONT bodice piece, not on the fold, with the lengthened bottom. Don’t yet cut the neckline and arm scye detail.
5. Measure from the top of the front bodice rectangle to the neckline (from your measurement in step 1.) put right sides together, and stitch the runner piece to the bodice piece. Repeat on the other side. You should have a boxy outline of a front bodice, with the contrast fabric down the center. Lay your front bodice pattern piece on the this, and cut around the shoulder and arm detail. You can cut the neckline, too, or leave it straight, like I did.
6. From this point, you’ll basically follow basic bodice construction. Sew shoulders, then add sleeves, then sew down each side.
7 . For the skirt, double your hip circumference measurement for width, and measure from your hip to your knee for length. Cut two pieces.
8. Cut widely around your open hand to make a basic pocket pattern, and cut 4. Lay them on the top edge of the skirt width, about 1″ from the top, right sides together as shown, and stitch along the straight edge. Repeat on all four sides.
9. With right sides together, match up the pockets, and sew the side seams, staying close to the edge of the pocket.
10. Sew two rows of basting stitches and gather the skirt to the circumference of the bodice.
11. Tuck the bodice inside the skirt, with right sides together, and sew together.
12. Measure the width of the flat sleeve edge, double it, add 1″ and cut a piece of contrast fabric that length and 4″ wide. Fold in half widthwise to make a loop, and stitch together. Then fold in half lengthwise, leaving two raw edges. Tuck the folded edge into the sleeve, and stitch the three raw edges together, (1) of the sleeve and (2) of the cuff. Fold the cuff up onto the outside of the sleeve and tack in place.