My Convertible/Infinity Dress.

So I decided I wanted one of these.

While trying to find a retailer in Vancouver that sells convertible/infinity dresses I somehow wound up finding a tutorial for making one instead. I thought to myself, why not spend a quarter the cash but add a little effort and try making one of these babies? Best. Decision. Ever.

This is my first tutorial so brace yourselves for some wonky extensive instructions and I’ll probably end up repeating myself, so sorry in advance. I would suggest actually checking out the links I added in here and to use my tutorial for little bits of extra info. The other links explains most things (the really important things) better than I do. Here goes nothing.

I was able to make this dress using a few tutorials:

This, This, This & This for the circle skirt

This & This for the dress

I’ve also found this very useful tutorial for a different take on the infinity/convertible with a wider waistband and a two toned look.

The final result is a one seam convertible/infinity dress

—–

Fabric: You’ll want to buy fabric that has at least 40% stretch. Jersey is great for this project but other stretchy materials will do, as long as they drape well and aren’t too bulky when you criss cross the straps onto each other.

I bought 7 meters (7.6 yards) of lycra jersey from the clearance section. Now, 7 meters is  a lot of fabric but the tutorials all said to have straps that were at least 1.5x your height, which equals 9 feet (3m) in my case and I also needed 4 meters for my skirt based on my calculations using this tutorial.

Components: To make this dress you need four pieces:  a circle for the skirt, two straps, and one piece for a “waist” band.

Photo source: http://rowena.typepad.com/rostitchery/infinity-dress.html

1. I had to cut out two half-circles to make my skirt. It’s possible to trace a full circle on one piece of fabric depending on how long you want you skirt to be (see This link for more info). Since I’m muy tall that wasn’t possible for me.

I started off by creating a half circle pattern for my circle skirt. I figured it would be way easier to trace this paper circle onto the fabric then to try to draw a circle directly onto this deceivingly slippery material. My mom had dropped off a bunch of huge 2010 calendars that were extras from her office. I taped a few together to have a big enough sheet of paper to trace my circle. You could probably do this just as easily with a few poster boards taped together.

I traced my circle onto the paper by pinning the end of my measuring tape to the top edge of the paper and rotating it around so that it acted like a compass. Like this (imagine the string is a measuring tape):

Again, this is a great tutorial on how to trace a circle skirt pattern.

Before anything could happen some simple math was required. To know where to trace the waistband circle (that’s the cutout part you see above) you must find X.

X= Waist Measurement ÷ 6.28

6.28 is Pi times 2. We use this calculation because the Circumference= 2r π. If you’re like “wtf, mate?” don’t worry about it, just know that this calculation works.

Moving on, let’s assume that X = 10”. You will now trace a circle using you measuring tape at the 10” mark. There you have it: your waistband hole.

IMPORTANT NOTE! Because Lycra Jersey is so stretchy, the hole I cut out, while the right size for any other fabric, ended up being too big and not fitting snugly at my waist (whish is what you want for this dress), You may want to be very conservative when tracing out and cutting out your waistband circle. maybe trace it to half the size it’s actually supposed to be. It’s much easier to make the hole bigger than it is to make it small

Now you’re ready to trace the actual length of the skirt. BUT because I had already traced an area for my waist and I didn’t want to lose the proper length of my skirt (I wanted it to go from my waist to my knee) I had to do some more math. My skirt length was 32”/82cm, I added the 10” from the waistband and traced my skirt at the 42”/107cm mark. This way the skirt would fall at the right place.

2. Cut out your material for the circle skirt.

3. Cut out the material for your waistband. This should be as long as your waist measurement and about 1.5-2” wide. Fold in half, pin and leave aside.

4. Lay both half circles on top of each other and pin together the side seams.

5. sew the side seams together.

I sewed this dress using a straight stretch stitch and tried not to stretch out the fabric too much while it was going through the machine so that it wouldn’t pucker.

6. Try on your skirt to make sure it fits

This is what happened earlier, my waistband hole was too big and I ended up with this :( ‘Twas a very sad moment in my life. Until I fixed it by taking it in. a lot.


7. Time for the straps. To decide how wide to make your straps, measure from the center of your bust to just under your arm. The suggested length for the straps is 1.5 times your height. Cut out your straps. I used my brother’s snowboard to trace my cutting line. That is until I realized snowboards are curved and so i used a long piece of cardboard as a guide instead.


9. Now its time for the assembly. The key to this to to remember to lay the right sides together.

The point of the waistband is to give your skirt a finished look in case the back is exposed. Though the waistband is rarely seen because it’s often covered up by the straps when they’re tied  there are some styles where the back of the skirt is completely visible.

Source for this instruction step: http://www.rostitchery.com/infinity-dress.html

Turn your skirt inside out–you are going to sew from the INSIDE of the waist–which means you don’t need a free arm on your machine.  overlap the straps 3″-4″…

Photo source: http://rowena.typepad.com/rostitchery/infinity-dress.html

…and align the raw edges with the raw edge of the skirt waist.  then take your waistband and lay it on top of the straps, the raw edges aligned with the skirt and strap edges.  you will have 5 layers of fabric on top of each other.  START SEWING AT THE OVERLAP.  (for now just ignore the fact that only one end of the band is in place).  when you get around to where you started sewing, overlap the band and cut the excess band, then finish sewing.  the band ends will not meet–they will overlap, but they will be hidden by the straps):

this is the one and only seam. (if you made the skirt using one full circle instead of 2 half circles)

Photo source: http://rowena.typepad.com/rostitchery/infinity-dress.html

when the dress is done, it will look like this:

Photo source: http://rowena.typepad.com/rostitchery/infinity-dress.html

10. Rock your new convertible dress!

I still have a ton of left over fabric from 3m of fabric i used for cutting out two 12” x 9′ straps (basically I have 3m/9′ of fabric that went from being 150cm/59” wide to 90cm/35” wide)  I plan on making a LeSac dress for an amiga sometime this week (more on that at a later date).

Peace,

Benny

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58 thoughts on “My Convertible/Infinity Dress.

  1. Mia says:

    Dear Benny. I made one of these last year, yours is much prettier. Nice work!!

    • bennyetienne says:

      Hi Mia. Thanks for the nice words, Though I’m sure your dress was fab. You could always make another one! These dresses are so perfect and easy, I pretty much want to make one in every colour :P

  2. Katie says:

    Now with the straps, do you hem them??? I am needing to make these dresses for my wedding…is there any way you could answer some questions I have about it?? BTW this dress looks great! Awesome job!

    • bennyetienne says:

      Thanks Katie :D . I didn’t hem the straps, because the material is jersey it didn’t fray at the ends so I wasn’t necessary for me. What else would you like to know? Have you checked out the links I included in the post? They really helped me figure everything out.

  3. Katie says:

    Well we made a practice dress and it turned out great…but we are having a problem finding stretchy material that we like. If we were to use a different fabric do you think it would work okay?

  4. mmmbisto says:

    Thank you so much for such a detailled tut! I was eyeing up this dress thinking I could totally pull this off (LOL!) although I’ve only sewn 2 bags and a quilt – no clothes as yet!

    I was about to jump in and buy 2 meters of fabric but now I realise I need to do a little maths first and buy a little more :)

  5. Diane says:

    I came across your blog b/c I am looking to make a convertible dress. This has some great info. I am also tall I am 6′ tall and all the dresses I have seen for sale all look very short. This gives me great hope that I can attempt to make one that is long enough for me. Thanks for all the great tips and keep up the good work. :)

  6. Dais says:

    Thanks for the tut. This helps fill in some blanks from the original site. I look forward to trying this out! Yours looks awesome. =)

  7. Laura says:

    Hi Benny,

    Your tutorial is by far the best I’ve seen. The only question I have is the waistband. I don’t understand where that goes before you so it, or how wide it is supposed to be. Does it naturally scrunch up (rouche) on its own, or do you sew it that way? Will making a tighter fitting waistband be enough or do you have to use elastic?

    Thank you,
    Laura

  8. Holly says:

    Benny: great job! I’m wanting to make a convertible dress, but the original tutorial was a bit confusing…you cleared up most of my questions. The one question I still have is about the waist band. Do you have a picture of how it is suppose to look? Can you give me a few more details on that?

  9. Donna B says:

    Agree with everyone, i wanted to make one but was a little confused by the original tut. THANKS yours looks stunning on!

  10. Dais says:

    I did it! I did it! And, shock of shocks, I actually like how it looks on me!! =) And you were right about being cautious not to cut the middle too big…it’s very easy to do! I stretched the waist band a bit when stitching it all together, and that helped. Very cool tute and dress!

  11. rowena___. says:

    well done! i’m glad you liked my instructions. if you would please, i’d appreciate it if you would edit your post to reflect which portions of the instructions were copied from my blog and which were your own. and a link to the original blog post would be welcome too, as all my material is copyrighted and requires crediting when posted elsewhere. thank you, and enjoy your dress!

    • bennyetienne says:

      Hey Rowena,

      I’ve revised the post, please let me know if there is anything else you’d like me to change. And thanks so much for your super helpful tutorial. Cheers!

      • Amanda says:

        Hi Benny!

        Are you in Vancouver?

        Any chance you’d like to do some type of barter? I don’t have a sewing machine but would love one of those dresses – tho’ with wider pieces so that I could have half sleeves….

        If you’re interested, drop me a line. I’m at Adobeson@live.ca

        Cheers.

  12. Shelley says:

    Thanks for making a full tutorial! Your dress looks absolutely amazing.

  13. Jennifer says:

    Hi,
    This dress looks fantastic,
    Im making 8 of these for my bridesmaids, but am unclear on a couple of points
    1) what width is the band? does is show or just used to neaten the insides?
    2) I understand that the fabric needs to be streatch, but would it work with a 1 way stretch satin
    3) Whats the best way of heming the skirt and the straps is you are using a stretch satin?
    Thanks

    Jennifer

  14. DJinny says:

    Wow! good job!!!!!!!
    Fits you so well too!
    xx

  15. Sylphise Duclerne says:

    Girl u did a GREAT job..I love your results

  16. Lauren says:

    Thank you very much for the thorough tutorial! The dress looks stunning on you!

  17. pixiedust says:

    thanks for the detailed tutorial. i’m planning to make a floor length one. would the circle technique work for that? i can’t imagine how much fabric i’ll need if i use the circle technique. i don’t want to use an a-line pattern simply because i don’t know how to.

    • Beckie says:

      I just made a floor length dress. I did not use the circle because that would be too much fabric gathered around the ankle. I used a rectangular piece of fabric that I took in some at the waist.
      What I did was took general measurements of a dress I already owned and liked the fit of. If you use a rectangular piece of fabric, you can pleat the material when you sew the “band,” or angle each side into your waist.
      I believe the measurement of the the waist was 15 to 20 inches smaller than the hem.
      I did it without a pattern, just using logic and common sense.

  18. Tori says:

    How does the skirt clear for hips or shoulders? This is what I am struggling with and it may be a really silly question. I didn’t want to make the skirt opening (1 piece fabric skirt) too large because I have heard of the problems…. but I know it will no clear my chest or shoulders or my hips!!

    Any hel[ or suggestions?

  19. Love this How-To. Thanks! I also write for a wordpress site, The Runway Diaries. While researching for a post, I came across a great Interactive How-To-Style photo tutorial on styling the infinity dress.. Go to http://www.VintageOrigin.com and click on “how to style” in the upper left hand corner, in the menu bar. You can’t miss it. Anyway it has front and back photos on a mannequin, so you can’t get lost! Hope this adds to your blog!

    Happy Posting,

    The Runway Diaries

  20. Louisa Guerirem says:

    Hi, i have made a rough version of this dress for a wededing i am going to. though it best to test it out before doing it on the nice fabric. i just have 2 questions.
    1. does the waist band go on the inside or outside of the straps?
    2. do you hem the straps and bottom of the circle skirt?

    please someone let me know. xx

    • bennyetienne says:

      The waistband goes behind the straps, so the waistband is covered by the straps. The waistband’s main purpose is really just to give your skirt waist a finished edge. Most of the time it hardly makes a difference because the wrapping styles tend to cover that part of the skirt. I did not have to hem either the straps of the skirt because I used a stretchy knit jersey that doesn’t fray to no hemming was necessary. Just cut as straight and as cleaning as possible! Hope this helps.

  21. I love the way you wrapped it! Mine is fine, but not wrapped as well. http://dollardressfriday.wordpress.com/2011/03/25/week-twenty-six/

  22. [...] BEST PART is that I found a tutorial on wordpress which gives a very good breakdown on the steps for making your [...]

  23. Lisa E says:

    I was planning to make the dress more body-hugging, or at least not as flowy. Do you have any suggestion on how to make the skirt part of the dress?

    Thank you!

  24. Jillian Danae says:

    So, I’m loving the dress, but I gotta ask…how do the straps hold up?? Are the girls constantly in danger of falling out or pulling a Janet?? I mean, after an hour of wear time, is that fabric sliding all over the place? Say I want to dance at a wedding, do I need to watch juuuust how high I hold up my arms?? Thanks!!!

    • bennyetienne says:

      Girl, I’m a DD so that’s definitely an issue I took into consideration when I wore this dress to a wedding anniversary party. With that in mind, here’s what I recommend:

      1 – Wear a really supportive strapless bra (depending on the style you plan to wear, some styles require you to go bra-less)

      2 – When you’re done wrapping the straps around, don’t just tie the straps once, do a double knot. I learnt that one the hard way.

      3 – Be prepare to receive mucho compliments on your dress and practice saying, “thank you, I made it myself.”

    • Gemma says:

      Somewhere on the Internet I found a tutorial for a higher waist band to help keep the girls under control and make bra wearing easier to hide.

  25. [...] das Kleid in der Taille zu weit wird. Daher lieber das Loch zu klein schneiden und nachschneiden. Hier kann man gut sehen, was ich [...]

  26. Anonymous says:

    You are awesome! This is exactly what I was looking for! I’m getting married in 6 weeks and this is the kind of dress I wanted for my two “maids of honor”. (I couldn’t choose just one). I love the way this dress works with any body type and really is something they can wear again, never having to have it look like the same dress. We’re going fabric shopping today! Thanks so much for posting such a detailed instructional.

    • bennyetienne says:

      I’m glad the tut helped, I’m sure your maids of honour will look great. Best of luck on your big day!

  27. Lulu says:

    How can I make the skirt longer? I want it to my feet. I can’t seem to find out how to do so… thanks so much for the info.

  28. Autumn says:

    Where did you find you rmaterial! I am having a hard time finding some…

  29. Anonymous says:

    Hi Benny, great idea! I have a skirt I made last summer so I’m going to use that as a starting point and add the straps. It’s for a beach wedding so it’ll be awesome.

  30. Monique says:

    That second picture almost looks like a corset with a tee shirt under. How did you get that? I like it!

  31. [...] Tallerthanthou also lays it out nicely, although some of the photos are of the dark and cave like variety. She also provides links to some other sites that have tutorials on the various steps. [...]

  32. Eunice says:

    Hello,

    First off, thanks so much for your tutorial for the infinity dress. I made my first version of the infinity dress last night. I followed your instructions and it came out nice… but I couldn’t fit it through my hips or shoulders! I then widened the middle circle by 1 inch and started again – this time, it fits through after a little struggle, but once it’s on, the waistband is a little loose (the waistband sits on my waist). I used a 100% polyester stretchy material, but sewing the waistband onto the inner circle using a running stitch made it not stretchy (at least at that part). What should I do? Should I have used my hip measurement instead of my waist?

    Thanks!

    Eunice

  33. […] my mom with amazing step by step photos and Benny from tallthanthou, both of these sites have clear directions for cutting and sewing the skirt […]

  34. Cindy says:

    I am wondering did u hem the skirt and straps?

  35. Ashleigh says:

    You look amazing! What a fabulous job and thanks for a super tutorial :)

  36. clothes says:

    very nice site good looking your site thanks for sharing information good color i enjoy this blog.

  37. […] the stretch. The circle skirt is a very popular DIY project, and I mainly use Cut Out + Keep, Taller Than Thou, and Knuckle Salad for tips and […]

  38. Mira Musank says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial; it’s really helpful when I make this high-low circle skirt dress: http://www.fafafoom.com/2014/02/14/high-low-circle-skirt-dress-diy-fashion/

    Really, really thank you =D

    • bennyetienne says:

      Hi Mira, I’m glad my tutorial was helpful. I checked out your post, you did an amazing job! That dress is killer :)

  39. Eva says:

    Thanks for making this tutorial! I think I’m going to use it very soon to make a dress, and if that turns out to be a succes I’ll make a longer, wider one for my ballroom dancing.

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