Monday, June 9, 2014

The Little Red Skater Dress-Sewing DIY

I made this dark red/almost maroon skater dress with a sort of sweetheart neckline out of a soft knit fabric I found at Joann's for only $6/yard (plus that 50% off coupon yay!). I lined the top part of the dress since the fabric was a little see-through. The neckline was inspired by a dress a saw from Forever 21's website, and I loosely based the method for sewing the dress again off of Annika Victoria's circle skirt video. This dress only needs about 1 1/2 yards of a stretchy knit fabric, matching thread, and a few hours!
Inspiration from the black Forever 21 dress in the middle. Other Dresses are from ModCloth/F21.
To make the top of the dress, I traced the shape of another knit dress that I like the fit of onto a piece of paper. From there, I free-handed the neckline (I went for a curvy v-neck/sweetheart neckline that reminds me of one of those fancy brackets now that I think about it } ). I added a little extra width because I made the front in two pieces so I would end up with a seam down the middle (just for aesthetics!).
After cutting out the pattern, I cut two pieces from the fabric (pre-washed) with it and sewed them together down the middle. The knit fabric I was using looked basically the same on both sides, so I didn't bother with trying to be consistent about which side was which, only with the grain of the fabric.
Using the new front piece, I pinned it face down onto the fabric, traced it, then cut around it to make the lining piece. This made it really easy to just carry over to the sewing machine to sew around the edges, excluding the bottom so you can turn it right side out. NOTE: I used white thread because I hadn't gone to the store yet to get matching thread and I already had the fabric and really wanted to start, but you really shouldn't do this.
For the back and its lining, I lightly traced the front piece onto the fabric (folded in half). I didn't have a specific idea in mind when I did this, but I ended up just drawing a deep V for something a little simpler than the front. Again, I pinned, cut, and then sewed along the all the edges except for the bottom.
Red thread has yet to be obtained at this point.
To complete the top, all that was left was to pin the front and back right sides together and then connect the shoulders and sides, making adjustments for fit before moving on.
For the circle skirt, I mostly just used an old knit circle skirt that I made to trace out the shape. (Annika's video shows very well how to make a circle skirt! I essentially did the same thing.)
I hemmed around the edge of the skirt by folding it in about a quarter of an inch as I sewed around (no pinning). Since it's knit, you don't need to fold it in twice (or at all if you're feeling lazy) because the fabric won't fray! I ironed the edges flat after to finish it off.

To make the waistband, I cut out two long rectangles from the fabric (they were about 5 in. x 20 in.). I folded them in half and sewed straight down the longest edge.
Progress check, these are the main components!
You're going to want two pieces about the length of the bottom of the shirt (one for the back and one for the front), and the rest can be used to make the tie for the back. I didn't bother turning the waist part around because I left lazy, but it actually worked in the end since it made the waist band wider than the tie which is helpful when it comes to putting everything together.
 For the ties, I added a diagonal seam at the ends, turned them out, iron them, and then finished it by top stitching the edge where the seams are.
Make the waistband by laying one waist piece down, then placing the two ties down on top of the first band with the edges lines up, and then sandwiching the other band on top. The ties should be centered vertically on the waistband with a little gap above and below it for seam allowances. Sew down the sides to connect the pieces.
Attach the band to the top by laying the shirt right side out inside the waistband (still wrong side out). Pin around the bottom edge of the shirt, making sure the side seams are matched up. In the middle picture you can see that I did this backwards! I didn't realize this until I finished sewing around and had to undo the entire thing :(, so I recommend not doing that.
Lastly, attach the skirt to the bottom of the waistband by laying the shirt right side out inside the skirt (right sides facing together). Pin the skirt evenly around the edges, starting with the side seams, them the middle of the front and back, and then the mid-points between those four pins. Sew around the edges, making sure to not let the band get in the way! (Same goes for the previous part.) This is where having slightly smaller ties helps out a lot.
Turn everything right side out and that's it!


  1. Oh my goodness!!!!!! *____*
    I can't believe you made this using some help from my tutorial. This is SO GOOD!!
    And I freaking love the sweetheart-neckline you used, definitely inspiring me for my next dresses! (ps thanks for putting up steps of what you did, very helpful :D)
    Gawsh, it's so so pretty!

    1. omgomgomgomgomg no thank YOU!!! I'm so obsessed with all of your sewing stuffs and I've been dying to make my own dress for the longest time since I've found your blog!

    2. owwwwhhhh, you ;___;
      Wait - Please don't tell me this is the first dress you've ever made?!?!!! BUT IT'S SO PROFESSIONAL!!

    3. Not the first piece of clothing, but yet my first dress! Annika I'm so flattered ahhh! This means so much to me!

  2. Looks awesome! Great fit. I made a black one with a lace layer on top. Thanks for the tuts, Annika! I'll also post a pic of mine on my blog for y'all to see soon too :)

    1. Ohhh, I'd really love to see it! Please send me a link when you do :D