I think this might be one of the easiest ways to make a empire waist summer dress.
(DISCLAIMER, Honestly, I don't "do" strapless. I like to be more modest. However, I have no problem wearing a strapless with a cardigan. I wanted to add straps, but I haven't since I can't wear it now anyway. This does not work for one's third trimester. It 'could' work, but, for me, it would be longer and require more work for the hem so it would be longer in the front. If you can sew this dress, I am sure you could add some sort of strap if you wished.)
*A sacrificial sheet. I have two identical blue flat sheets. I got them on some great sale years ago and never use them. However, I felt badly about just sending them away. They seemed so"useful" somehow... (A thick sheet will make the skirt more full)
* Enough elastic to go around your upper chest
* Enough fabric to make around 13.5 feet of ruffle (For a full sized sheet)- at the width of your choice. It might seem like a lot, but since the strips are thin, it really doesn't take much.
* Either a pre-made belt/ribbon/sash. I didn't include instructions of how to make on with coordinating fabric, but it would be so easy. I don't think it needs an explanation)
* Optional- fabric flower or some other embellishment.
-Side note- I used a rotary cutter and board for this. Cutting so many strips might have taken a toll on my sanity with plain scissors.
STEP ONE: The bodice
Look for the narrow hem of the sheet (The part of the sheet where your feet go. I used this side since the sheet is more narrow at this point.) It should be the prefect thickness to fit a narrow piece of elastic through. If you are not blessed with a perfect hem, just sew one to fit your elastic (Or buy thinner elastic).
STEP TWO: The length
|To give yourself a better idea of what it will look like, tie some sort of string around the waistline.|
Once you have made up your mind- cut it! I cheated, (after making marks with chalk for the proper length) folded the sheet over a few times and cut it with the rotary- I love shortcuts- even if they are risky.
STEP THREE: Everything is better with ruffles
My way of making a decent ruffle is to multiply the length of the skirt by two. Since my skirt was about 81 inches around, I cut 160 inches of fabric strips (It doesn't have to be a perfect match). CONFESSION- I originally meant this dress to have only one layer of ruffle, but since I cut it too short, I had to add an extra ruffle layer. I am glad that this happened, because I love the double layered ruffle. The second layer is the same length as the first (160 inches).
STEP FOUR: Add an embellishment. I just looked up a fabric flower tutorial (There are so many different styles) and made one out of my leftover scraps. This way the contrasting ruffle has connection to the bodice. You could do whatever you wanted. You could try embroidery, a broach, an artificial flower- anything. Be creative. I attached my flower with a safety pin so I can change it whenever I wish.
Don't forget your belt. This would look like a sack without a belt, sash, ribbon, or whatever you chose to use.
|My note is supposed to say that my model is too thin, so the neckline slipped a little.|
|I am still using a ribbon for the belt.|
|I like this the best.|
So that is it. I am not sure if I am going to save it for the summer or put it on Etsy. I still have at least half of the sheet left....
|Katherine was so surprised at how easy it was.|