Make a Dress From a Bed Sheet!
A few years ago I found a super comfy grey maxi dress at the thrift store for $3. It immediately became a wardrobe MVP. Since I wear it so much I decided I needed another one. It had to be just as comfy as the grey one though. I searched everywhere for the perfect fabric. Then my friend donated to me a truck load of fabric from her stash. Hidden deep inside one of the many bundles was the softest modal jersey knit top sheet. It wasn’t the right size for any of the beds at my house, but it was perfect for a maxi dress
I wanted the new maxi dress to fit like my grey one, with a few exceptions. I wanted to make a thicker neckband and make the sleeves a little longer. Pockets and length would remain the same. Here’s how I made a new maxi dress using my old grey one and a knit sheet.
I did trace each piece of the dress onto tracing paper so I could preserve this forever since garments do stretch out over time. I would suggest you do this too if you really want to preserve your garment. You can get a roll of tracing paper here. This roll will last quite a while.
I layed the sheet on my floor and folded a portion of it over, making sure the stretch would go around and not length wise. I folded the grey maxi dress in half and layed the pocket out and placed some tracing paper under it so I could trace it. Once I had made the pattern piece I would need to cut four of these.
Trace the Dress!
To trace the dress, I tucked the sleeves and the back neck line in so I could trace the front. Once I cut out the front I folded the dress the other way and tucked in the sleeves so I could trace and cut out the back.
For the sleeves I did something I don’t normally do. I traced and cut them on the fold. To do that I layed the sleeve flat on the folded fabric, lined up the fold of the sleeve to the fold of the fabric and traced the sleeve. I made it 1.5 inches longer than the sleeve I was tracing. I only do a sleeve on the fold if I know the fabric is really stretchy. I cut out one sleeve and then used it to cut out the second sleeve.
Put it All Together!
To assemble the dress I started with the pockets. I always place my pockets 8-9 inches below the armpit. I measured on the front and the back pieces where that was and pinned the pockets in place. Then I sewed them to the dress.
Once the pockets were attached I sewed the front and the back together at the shoulder seams. Then I pinned the sleeves in and attached them.
I pinned the front and the back together at the side and sewed from the sleeve down to the pocket. I did a little back stitch before I turned and went around the pocket. Once I had gone around the pocket and was back at the side I did another back stitch and them proceeded down the side the the hem. I did this on both sides.
Once both the sides were sewn I could then do the neck band. I measure the opening of the neck and subtract 15% from that measurement. For reference my neckband was 22 x 2 ¼ inches.
I sewed the short ends together, folded it in half and made quarter point marks on the neck and the band. I matched those up and sewed it on. Before you sew the neckband on, make sure that the neck band stretches a bit to fit the neck opening. This way you won’t have a gaping neck because the band will hold it in.
After I attached the neckband I changed the needle on my machine to a twin needle and did some top stitching on the neckband to hold the seam allowance in place. Then I hemmed my dress and the sleeves.
It was done! I tried it on immediately and it fit me like the other one did! It was such a simple thing to do and took me about 2 hours. Plus, because someone gave me the sheet this was a FREE project.
I now had two super comfy maxi dresses I could stay home or go out in. I absolutely love a dress like this that lets me wear it in so many different ways.
Have you even made something from an item it’s not typically made of? Let me know in the comments how it turned out!
Enjoyed the project?
- Knit sheet
- Tracing paper
- Something to write with
- Coordinating thread
- Tailors Chalk or something to mark with (joann)
- Open area
- A maxi dress for tracing
- Twin needle (joann)
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Very nice tutorial, thank you for sharing. I love maxi dresses and have an old one that Is similar to your grey one that I want to copy and I have one suggestion if you don't mind. If you do a lot of sewing a pattern makes it easier because over time the clothes being copied can stretch and go out of shape. Plus it is easier to copy a pattern than the actual garment. You can buy pattern making paper or you can use craft / brown paper rolls or go to your local copy printing store and they may sell you a roll or partial roll of copy paper that is about 36" wide. I bought mine years ago and I use it for every thing and still have lots left. I also made my own holder to unroll the paper easier. :)
pattern making paper
What a great idea ! I did similar to make a dress but used a knee-length night dress as a pattern ..just made it longer . Didn't have sleeves but extended shoulders & no pockets . If I would have thought of pockets at the time I would have made patch pockets but I like your idea for them better . Had an Aunt that used to add pockets to bought dresses & pants ..she did them the same way as you by undoing the side seams ..👍️