Last December, I was sure I had accounted for all holiday celebrations. I like to wear something nice for Xmas and NYE, even if I am celebrating it at home. I had a polka-dotted Aubépine assigned for Xmas and a silver sequined Kenedy ready for NYE. A few days before leaving to visit my in-laws in Massachusetts, I learned that my favorite club in Boston was having a NYEE celebration, and I could not miss it.
That left me one dress short. I was going to have to find a pattern, get some fabric, and sew a dress in a couple of days before the trip. Lucky me, I had already been introduced to the amazing (and have I mentioned FREE?) Vera Top by Forget-Me-Not Patterns. An easy hack and a few hours later, I had the perfect LBD to celebrate the night before NYE.
The Vera by Forget-me-not Patterns is a pattern for a knit top with two options of sleeves, two options of cuffs, and a V-neck. You can finish the sleeves with narrow or wide cuffs for a bishop style, or leave the cuffs out, and you have beautiful bell sleeves. The top is fitted at the bust with some shaping at the side seams and a mild high-low hemline.
All Forget-me-not patterns are designed for an averagely curvy figure with a B-cup bust and a height of 5’6” (168cm). I had already sewn this top using a size 44 and grading to a 42 at the hip, so I kept the same sizes for the hacked dress.
I was able to get some black stretch velvet with gold stars in glitter from Joann as soon as I realized I would need another dress. The fabric is nice, but it leaves a trail of glitter wherever I go. This fabric is no longer available, but you can find a similar one in this black with silver glitter stars (the fabric I originally wanted but that was not available when I wanted it. Oh, woe is me).
This is the easiest hack possible, and it works with any T-shirt pattern that requires knit fabric. All you are doing is adding length to the Vera pattern and deciding on what kind of a silhouette you want.
If you add length and keep the same hip width, you will have a straight dress.
If you want an A-line dress like mine, add the desired length. Then, add some width at the hem—your hem must be wider than the hip measurement for the A shape to appear. You will draw a new side by connecting a point from the widest point of the hip to the hem. You will have to square that corner. I’ll explain how in a bit.
Dress with a Full Skirt
If you want to add a full skirt to your T-shirt pattern, it will be a little more complicated, but you can do this! You will use the spread-and-slash technique.
- Copy the original pattern.
- Draw a line perpendicular to the center front and center back about two inches below the bust.
- You will draw lines that are parallel to the center back every couple of inches (okay, so this is not the most precise method. It allows for lots of variations. If this is your first time using this technique, go with a line every 3-4 inches.)
4. Cut through each line all the way until the perpendicular line. This is the slash part.
5. Place a large piece of paper under the pattern. With the center front and back properly secured, spread each cut by 1-1.5”. Tape the pieces of paper securely as you go.
6. Connect each piece to create a new hem.
You have a very swishy dress!
Drafting the Hem
If you added inches to the hem, you will have to square the corners. This guarantees that your hem will not end up pointy. This is how you do it:
- Draw a straight line starting from the bottom of the center front hem.
- Measure a half inch above from this line. Mark that point.
- Draw a line starting from the half inch mark, parallel to the line below.
- Starting from the middle of the hem, create a curve that will connect to the side seam.
- Make sure that the angle created by the new hem is a 90-degree one.
Rock That Goth Party Dress!
You can use this method with any T-shirt pattern. I have used the Plantain to create quite a few dresses, and this is how I did it. What makes this dress special is really the fabric choice, so go wild. Animal print, sequins, velvet—as long as you are working with a stretchy knit, you will succeed. Happy holidays!