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valentine dress

Added Feb 13, 2008

by elegantmusings

Virginia, Virgin...






Dress created from the Lydia tshirt pattern.

Lydia Tshirt Modifications: I was inspired by a cute top I spotted in the Anthropologie catalog. The shirring along the neckline really caught my eye! I decided to convert the Lydia tshirt into a loose-fit dress; something that I could just toss on and not really have to think about. I chose a pretty, lightweight (and very drapey!) red jersey to make it up in. I referenced the instructions for turning the pattern into a v-neck dress; mostly for making sure I was extending the length of the pattern correctly. I based the length off of one of my favorite dresses (a cute, cotton Libertine for Target frock). I followed the directions for lengthening the pattern, and then struck out on my own for the remainder of the changes. The neckline is scooped out quite a bit; I didn’t measure how deep I cut—I just eyeballed it knowing what I am comfortable wearing. The center front edge I extended 3 1/2” out, to allow for the shirring. The back I also scooped the neckline, making sure I cute the shoulder to match the adjusted front shoulder. I measured in 2” from the center back edge, and slashed the pattern completely down the length, and spread 2”. While you could just add the additional measurement onto the CB, I felt that it would be best to spread the extra material along the neckline. After I made these changes, I made sure I smoothed all the curves. To do the shirring, (it looks like the gathering before doing English style smocking), I ran five rows of gathering stitches along the front edge. I started these approximately 5” from the CF, and spaced them roughly 3/8” – 1/2” apart. You could do more rows of smocking if you’d like (next time I want to try 7-11 rows of gathers). I gathered up all the threads at once, pulling the fabric up to about 5” of shirring. I pulled the top threads to the wrong side of the fabric and tied each off securely. I repeated these steps for the two rows of back shirring. For the neckline binding, I followed the instructions given in an article ( from Threads magazine (Oct./Nov. 2007 issue). I cut two long strips of the jersey on the bias, stitched each piece to the front and back necklines (right sides together). After that I stitched the shoulder seams together, continuing the line of stitching along the bias-binding seams at the shoulder (I also stabilized the dress shoulder seams with a small strip of lightweight, mesh lace). I graded the neckline/binding seam to 1/4” all around, turned the binding to the inside, pinned along the “ditch” (seam) on the right side, and stitched-in-the-ditch along the right side. I then trimmed the excess binding along the wrong side. The sleeves were hemmed, and then flat-set into the armholes prior to sewing the side seams. This allowed for greater control over the ease of the sleeve cap, and I just stretched the armhole and cap as I stitched over areas where there was more cap fabric than armhole. I then pinned the side seams, including the sleeves, together and stitched. Trimmed the seam, and turned the hem up and did a double row of stitching. It was a really easy project; taking about 4 hours to complete (not including cutting time; I tend to be very slow and methodical when cutting stretch knits!). I think it would have gone faster had I not adjusted several design features as I went along (so I ended up taking out a few things). There are lots of variations you could do with this basic idea—my head is already swimming with possibilities! I want to try doing some decorative smocking stitches along the shirring on the front; perhaps in a contrasting color. The sleeves could be shortened, made to puffed cap-sleeves, bell sleeves, etc. Different fabric colors or patterns could be combined (I’m dreaming up a solid/pattern combination!). I really love the easy wearability of this dress; I just “test drove” it, and have to say it is the nicest dress I’ve ever worn! I basically “forgot” about it, since there was nothing to make sure stayed put, cinched or didn’t cling! lol.

If anyone is interested, I’d be happy to do a photo tutorial on how to do the shirring on jersey!!

Material Notes

lightweight red jersey (blend); purchased on the sale table.




Credits (Sew a Figure Flattering Tee) (how to adjust the tshirt pattern into a dress)

17 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • Shrek_2_01_large

    Dec 31, 2010, 06.12 PMby lisbeth-s


  • Tabani_large

    Jun 6, 2009, 02.26 AMby toril

    well! this one is just adorable!

  • Missing

    Jan 25, 2009, 02.39 AMby pagez

    I LOVE that dress. When you say that you used jersey from the sale table – that’s not Joann’s fabric is it? How many yards of fabric did you use? And are you still going to do the tutorial. I would love to see it as well. Thanks for sharing (:

  • P1010562_-_copy_large

    May 9, 2008, 06.13 AMby kess

    what the lace at the bottom? is it a slip or did you add it yourself? i love it! love it love it love it

  • Efb472bd8e296043cd7cfd0eb765f2c56f8d3034_large

    Mar 4, 2008, 09.08 AMby lilo

    LOVE it!

    I like your frame (at the right) for hanging up jewelery (I’m also past by the number of jewelery one can manage in a drawer, but i simply tensed some copperline between two nails on the side of my closet)

  • 3089dde84de34122eeb09bc5b5846a4524e40ed8_large

    Feb 20, 2008, 04.21 PMby awatermullen

    I just LOVE this dress. If I give you my address can I have it? haha.

  • Grossmama_anastasia_2_1994_large

    Feb 20, 2008, 03.03 PMby staticstasy

    ooo! cool! ;)

  • 2524db725099893cd423c59616e83a50ef77f3e2_large

    Feb 18, 2008, 08.04 AMby gunstreetgirl

    reconsidering that this used to be the ‘Lydia’-shirt I think you should submit this as an entirely new pattern. It’s so well done!

  • Dec-avatar_large

    Feb 14, 2008, 03.32 PMby elegantmusings

    staticstasy: its actually one of my vintage slips peeking out a bit (intentionally) at the hem! :)

  • Grossmama_anastasia_2_1994_large

    Feb 14, 2008, 02.21 PMby staticstasy

    wow thats a great dress! i love the lace at the bottom… what is it? is it on the dress?

  • Dec-avatar_large

    Feb 14, 2008, 02.11 PMby elegantmusings

    thanks for the nice comments!!! :) I’ll be working on a little tutorial for smocking on jersey, since it seems to be a popular request! ;)

  • 7c30f6418f01dc532834a62c338538b3e026cd7a_large

    Feb 14, 2008, 05.22 AMby lybu

    Lovely. I like this idea.

  • 7c30f6418f01dc532834a62c338538b3e026cd7a_large

    Feb 14, 2008, 05.21 AMby lybu

    Lovely. I like your idea to make the neck line that way.

  • 512e90b1e56182f8e311e9b064ffa71a6f1082a6_large

    Feb 14, 2008, 03.34 AMby fashion1

    great job! love the neckline!

  • Emilykate_large

    Feb 13, 2008, 06.36 PMby emilykate

    Yes yes yet a how to on the smocking you did PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE! Your dress is beautiful. Such a great colour!

  • 32f43ca31ede4eebe4ff12b8fbdfb7595969b30c_large

    Feb 13, 2008, 04.47 PMby wendyxo

    Very nice. I like the neck line.

  • 1286d2a312dfd1adfc97864562202d9c9ed3c66f_large

    Feb 13, 2008, 10.43 AMby franfaircloth

    I LOVE this! How did you do the smocking at the neckline?

    • This is a question
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