Sometimes, you just want to make something fun but also easy. This tent dress is one of my go to designs and it was perfect for a thrifted wallhanging. It would also work with a tablecloth.
My disclosure, as always, don’t cut your expensive fabric until you fully understand the process. I like to practice on an old sheet or scrap of fabric first.
- 60″ wide piece of fabric or more
- 2 packages of wide fold bias tape or make your own from the scraps
- Sewing machine
Cut the corners off of your dress to make a full circle. Go ahead and hem your circle now because this takes a while.
Cut an X in the center of your fabric for your bodice. I cut mine 10″x 10″ and checked for fit before cutting any deeper.
Make reinforcement stitches at the end of each X. This keeps the corners from fraying out after multiple washes.
If you are not using store bought bias tape you can use the corner pieces to make 2″ bias strips. I used my rotary blade and my ruler to do this easily. You will need the length for your underarms. Also you need one really long strip to place in the back of your gown that will go over your shoulders as the straps, then down your bust and then cross over to make the ties. I cut and sewed this together with about 2 yards.
Fold pieces in half and sew them onto your underarm sections of the X you cut. Serge, zig-zag or finish the edges as you wish.
The last big part is the front and back neckline. The easiest way to do this is to finish the neckline in the front and the back of the dress with a serger or zig-zag stitch first.
To make the back and front necklines that are also your straps and ties take your really long bias cut strip and sew it together lengthwise. I used a 1/2″ seam allowance, leaving it open in the center to use tube turners to flip it all right-side out. If you have a better tube turning method you can use that. We all have our own special ways to make our magic happen.
Find the center of your finished strap by folding it in half. This is where you can start pinning it to the center back over your finishing stitches. Topstitch it on.
Try your dress on to figure out how much of a strap you will need and mark it. I used a pin to mark mine. This is where it starts to sew onto the front of my bodice.
Sew the front the same as the back.
Reinforce the center of the straps by topstitching the ties in a flat diamond shape.
Last step is to make tiny darts in your bias binding to give each corner and back a professional mitered look. This is always done when making continuous loops and is a great technique to learn.
Enjoy your new dress!
Thank you for reading,
Dream it! Sew it!
Latest posts by Tracy McElfresh (see all)
- Hemming Pants in Sewing Tips in Under a Minute w/ Tracy McElfresh - November 13, 2019
- The Finisher. An Interview with Turisa Porter Turner - November 11, 2019
- Use Your Iron to Save Time in Sewing Tips in Under a Minute w/ Tracy McElfresh - November 6, 2019