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:
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.
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″…
…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)
when the dress is done, it will look like this:
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).