Last up in our City Park Tee into dress hacking series is a dress with a waist seam and a gathered skirt! Once again, these hacks apply just as well to the Union St. Tee for women! And don’t miss the Straight Tee Dress and the Swing Tee Dress tutorials!
This will be the most complicated hack we’ve done so far, but it’s still really easy, promise!
Step 1: Cut the pattern across the natural waist. On women, it’s more important that this seam line lay on the narrowest part of the torso. Because kids are more cylindrical in shape without as defined curves, this seam is more based on preference. I chose to cut mine below the natural waist but still slightly above the belly button for a longer bodice because this girl hates seams touching her waist (just like her mom). Remember that once you find the spot where you’d like the waist seam to sit, you need to add about a 1/2″ below that for a seam allowance. Err on the side of shorter for the bodice, as the skirt will pull it down slightly.Step 2: Measure around the wearer, right where the waist seam will hit. Divide that number by 4. Measure out by that number from the center line on the pattern at the waist seam and mark that point. Starting at the underarm, cut away the excess pattern at an angle until you reach the marked point on the waist seam. This will ensure that the bodice and waist hug the torso nicely. You could also choose to leave the side seam wider for a straighter dress, but this style works better with a dropped waist dress, so consider lowering the horizontal cut line from step 1 if that is your intention.
Cut two rectangles that measure the entire waist measurement in length and the desired finished length of the skirt portion in height. Remember to add a 1/2″ seam allowance and a hem allowance of your choice to the height of the rectangle. I like a thicker 1.5″ hem for this type of dress as it helps the wider skirt fall nicely and gives it some weight at the hem.
As an example, for my 10 yr old wearer, the 1/4 waist measurement was about 6.25″ and the rectangles were 25″ x 17″.
Step 3: I’ll include a few sewing directions in here since they are different from the pattern. First sew the bodice, neckband, and sleeves as outlined in the pattern. Place your two rectangle pieces right sides together and sew the side seams. Sew a gathering stitch around the top of the skirt, starting and stopping at the side seams. Before you go any further, mark the center front and center back of the skirt and bodice at the waist seam.Step 4: Turn the bodice right sides out and the skirt inside out. Slip the bodice down into the skirt so the waist seams align and are right sides together. Pin the side seams together and then pin the center fronts and center backs together so the skirt and bodice are pinned together in four even sections. Working within each section, pull the bobbin thread on the gathering stitch gently until the skirt is gathered evenly and matches the length of the bodice waist seam. Pin well. Sew the bodice to the skirt using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Step 5: Hem the skirt of the dress and the sleeves.And that’s it! Your gathered skirt dress is finished!
There are lots of ways to customize this dress too. You could scoop out the back neckline for a lower back, make an a-line skirt instead of a gathered skirt, make a pencil skirt with a peplum, or add little details like I did here with these gold pleather shoulder patches! As long as you use a stretch stitch at the waist, you can also use a woven material for the skirt, or overlay the fabric with lace. A lace yoke at the top of the back bodice would also be really cute and eye catching. The possibilities are really endless with a basic knit dress!
I find that more fitted dresses like this work better with thicker knit fabrics with great recovery, such as cotton/spandex, ponte, and liverpool. Rayon and poly blends also look great, they just have more drape and less body.
That wraps up our City Park Tee hacking week! I hope you learned a few new things and gained some confidence when it comes to hacking patterns! You only have to follow a few rules and you can hack any pattern to your liking. The more you do, the more fun it is and the more ideas you get for future hacks! It’s kinda addicting 🙂