Maybe Matilda: McIntosh Knockoff Dress

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

McIntosh Knockoff Dress

Say hello to my latest summer dress . . . a cute little knockoff of Spool No. 72's McIntosh dress. Here's the original (which would have cost $54 if it weren't sold out):

And here's my version, which rang up at a whopping $4 (really broke the bank with this one):

 Not bad, eh? The top came from a long-sleeved tee I already had (so I'm not counting it toward the cost) and I got the pink cotton on sale at JoAnn for I think $2-3. Toss in some thread and we'll call it an even $4. Search as I might, I couldn't find the sort of coraly-orangey color in the original dress, so I settled for a bright pink.

I wanted my version of this dress to have short sleeves (check!), pockets (check!), and a gathered waist only across the front and back, not the sides--personally, I think those side gathers aren't doing anybody any favors--and I like the slimmer silhouette that this version produces.

This green number was my practice run--and you know, I actually think I like it better than the final draft. The pink skirt above was an A-line shape, but the green one I just cut straight.

 (For this one, I used an old tee that was a hand-me-down from my sister (or is it a hand-me-up, since she's younger?). When she saw these pictures, her response was, "Dude, that's my shirt." She'd better not be expecting to get it back now.)


Want to make one? It was super-duper (luper-buper) easy, and you'll be done in an hour or so!

Click read more below for the tutorial . . . 




Here's what you'll need:
- a tee or tank that fits you well 
- 1.5 to 2 yards of cotton fabric
- a tape measure (optional)
- basic sewing supplies . . . scissors, thread, etc.

First things first--make sure to wash your shirt and fabric before you get started--you don't want it to shrink after you've already sewn it up!

Put the shirt on and mark with a pin where you'd like the skirt to start--I marked right at the waist. Take it off and, making sure your shirt is smooth and flat, cut off the lower part 1/2 inch below your pin.


Using your tape measure, measure your waist right where you want the skirt and shirt to meet (the same spot you pinned in the previous step). If you don't have a tape measure, you could just wrap the fabric around you and mark where it meets. Multiply your measurement by 1.5, then divide that by 2--the number you end up with is how wide you need to cut your cotton fabric for the front and back pieces of the skirt. My waist measurement was 30", so 30 x 1.5 = 45, divided by 2 = 22.5 (secret: I used a calculator for that. Math is so not my forte.), so my front and back skirt pieces each needed to be 22.5" at the waist. If you want your skirt to be poofier, you can just double your waist measurement and go from there. Also measure from your waist to where you want the skirt to end, and add an inch or so (for me, this ended up being about 24").

Here's where you need to decide which skirt you prefer--the a-line (pink skirt above) or straight (green skirt above). My thoughts: although the a-line is roomier and a tad easier to move around in, I think the straight skirt is more flattering, plus the green skirt was about 300% easier to make--just chop a straight line, and the hem is a no-brainer. The a-line requires a little more fancy cutting and the hemming was obnoxious with a capital O. And the rest of the letters capitalized, too. I'll just go ahead and yell it: IT WAS OBNOXIOUS. Personally, I recommend the straight skirt and if I make more of these (yes please!) I'll do the straight skirt every time, but do whichever you like best. The a-line is the one pictured in the steps.

If you want the straight skirt, cut 2 fabric pieces to your measurements from the last step--they'll just be big rectangles (tip: cut from selvage to selvage--this saves you from having to finish an extra edge later. Yessss!).

If you want an a-line skirt, you'll need to start your cut for the panels at the number you ended up with after your little math equation above, but then angle out so you end up with an "A" shape--I folded my fabric in half, made a little cut at the measurement I needed my pieces to be (22.5), then laid an a-line skirt on top of my fabric, lining up the waistline with the fabric edge, scooted it over to where I had snipped, and cut along the shape of the skirt, as shown below, and left about 2 inches below the skirt length (if you're doing an a-line, you can adjust the bottom hem shape later):


If you want pockets (do it! it's great! dresses deserve pockets, too!), layer up 4 pieces of fabric and cut in a big mitten-ish shape around your hand, going all slanty-wise:

Enough cutting! Let's get sewing! Take two pocket pieces and pin them onto the sides of each skirt piece (with the right sides together, if you're using a fabric that has a right or wrong side), starting about 4" down from the waist, pointing in toward the skirt, and make sure that the oval shape is slanting downward (that's important! I did it wrong the first time! It was Obnoxious!).

Sew the pockets to the skirt edges using a 1/4" seam allowance, then press the pockets out and away from the skirt pieces.

Lay your skirt panels on top of each other, right sides together, and pin along the sides, pinning around the pocket pieces as well. Sew the panels together with a 1/2" seam allowance, going around the pocket pieces as shown in the picture below . . . you'll be sewing along the dashed line. Don't sew straight down over the pockets--you'll sew it shut, and who wants a dumb little faux pocket? Those are the worst!
Finish the side seams with a serger (if you have one . . . I don't) or a zig-zag stitch over the raw edges to make sure they don't fray when you wear/wash your cute new outfit.

Now let's gather along the front and back, shall we? With a pin, mark where you want your gathers to start and stop on both sides of the skirt (you could try your skirt on and mark it, but I just eyeballed it and pinned about 4 inches in from the side seams).
Ummm, ignore my little whoopsy in the middle of my skirt. Remember how a few steps ago, I had you make a little snip where you wanted to start your a-line skirt? I got a little overexcited and totally cut the wrong spot. I felt smart. I had to stitch it back together, and luckily the sash completely covers my little error, but there it is in the pictures for you all to laugh at (although I'd prefer if you kept the laughter to a minimum thankyouverymuch).

Increase your stitch length on your machine as high as you can and sew a straight stitch 1/4" from the edge between your pins--don't backstitch at the beginning and end of your sewing! If you do, you'll feel like a real dummy since you won't be able to gather it in a few minutes, and you and your seam ripper will have to spend some quality time together tearing it out.

Now stuff the shirt inside of the skirt with the skirt inside out and the shirt right side out (so the right sides of the pieces are facing each other) and pin the side seam of the shirt to the side seam of the skirt. 

Carefully carefully, making sure you are not stretching the knit tee, pin the skirt and shirt edges together until you get to your stitching line. Repeat for the other side.

Now gather the fabric until it is the same length as the tee below it (to gather the fabric, gently pull on one of the threads of your gather stitch and slide the fabric along it--it'll ruffle up). Make sure to distribute the ruffly gather evenly along the space, and pin it to the tee. Repeat for the other side.

It'll look kinda sloppy--that's okay. Using a 1/2" seam allowance and starting on a side seam, sew where you've pinned the tee and skirt together, backstitching at the start and end, and being careful when you go over the ruffles--keep it nice and even and straight. 

When you're done with this step and flip your dress right side out to see what you've done, don't panic. It'll look crappy and reminiscent of the awful knit shirt dresses we all wore back in the 90s, remember those? I wish I didn't . . . anyway, that's okay, it will get better, I promise. On my green trial dress, I spent the whole time I was sewing thinking to myself, "Rachel, you idiot, what a waste of fabric!" and I kept hoping I'd be able to salvage my green cotton from this disaster of a dress, and then when it was done, I was shocked by how cute it was. Moral of the story: don't worry, you'll be cuter than this step will make you think.

Let's hem this puppy up. Put the dress on (and try not to have a meltdown when the mirror reveals a terrible  90s outfit) and mark with a pin where you'd like the dress to end. If you did a straight skirt, the hemming is super easy: just fold the hem up about 1/2", iron it, then fold it up again however much you need to to reach your pin mark, iron, pin all the way around, and sew. If you did an a-line skirt, you have my sympathy. This will be terrible and you will hate yourself. 

Get that a-line skirt you used earlier to get the shape from, lay it on top of your dress at the waist, and cut about 2 inches below it, mimicking the shape of the a-line skirt.

Maybe there's a simpler way to hem a curved edge, but I don't know what it is, so my hemming was a mess of ironing and dozens of pins and maybe some tears, and it still didn't come out that well (please don't blow up the pictures to check). It's not perfect, but it's presentable (luckily, the real mess is hiding on the inside). Just do your best to keep the hem even and flat and for goodness' sake, make a straight skirt next time. You can't say I didn't warn you about this; remember when I shouted about how obnoxious it was?

On to the sash! (This is where I got tired of taking photos for each step--sorry!) Using whatever is left of your fabric, cut as long a piece as you can, at double the width you want your sash to be plus 1" (mine was 9" wide and quite long). Depending on how much fabric you started with, you might not have a long enough piece to give you the sash length you want--that's okay, just cut more than one rectangle and sew the short ends together to join them.

Fold the piece in half lengthwise (right sides together, if that matters for your fabric) and sew across one short end and up the long end with a 1/2" seam allowance. Turn the piece right side out, iron flat, fold the raw ends under on the unsewn short end, and topstitch around the whole thing.

Now put on your 90s dress, tie your sash in a cute bow, and watch it transform into a lust-worthy Spool 72 knockoff! Aren't you glad you saved $50?!

Linking this project up here!

80 comments :

  1. Wow - really pretty - better than the original because it's handmade : )

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  2. Seriously cute! I have several old t-shirts that shrank in the dryer (whoops), but they'd totally work for something like this.

    Love it!

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  3. Gorgeous! Really clever...

    maomaocrafts.blogspot.com

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  4. I think I might try it! You made it seem easy :)
    btw...how the heck do you have time to do a full on tutorial and make these splendid things while having to crochet an unreal amount of things for your shop?!!? I need some of your multitasking dust!!!

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  5. What cute dresses and congrats to you for making them!

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  6. Found you on a link up and just started following you! I LOVEEEEEE this dress :o) I just started sewing, but this is def on my list of things to make! Thanks for the Tutorial
    Heather

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  7. A $4 skirt...that's awesome! And I love the pink paired with the black and white stripes :)

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  8. Hi Rachel,
    Lovely skirt! You left a comment on my blog and I wanted to reply, but you are a no reply blogger! let me know if you want to fix it.

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  9. I can't wait to see what else you will be making! I love sewing! Now can I just send you my t-shirt and fabric and you can whip one of these up for me? Haha.

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  10. These are both great... sewing is NOT one of my talents, I envy those of you who do it so effortlessly!

    http://orangiesattic.blogspot.com/

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  11. awesome. i am in love..and think i will try it!:)

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  12. That's such a cute dress! Pockets and sleeves are great additions.

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  13. Aren't you clever! I've never tried to sew a dress before, but this seems so simple, I might try it. Thanks for this tutorial:)

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  14. Both are super cute, but I think the green one is just slightly better! Great job on both, I never would have been able to figure that out!

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  15. I love it!! I'd seen that dress before and thought maybe I could make it. Thank you for the tutorial!!

    http://inthehammockvintage.blogspot.com

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  16. Rachel!
    You are so cute and so is this dress! I need to make one!

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  17. oh my going to make this for dd.
    would luv for you to add it to our linking party this week.
    http://www.passionatelyartistic.com/2011/03/orange-blossoms-with-linking-party.html
    Thanks
    Maggie

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  18. Love it! And the tutorial is great!

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  19. I'm so returning tho this entry for a good crafting weekend. Thanks!

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  20. What a cute dress! And AWESOME tutorial! :) I would love for you to come link up at our Tutorial Tuesday linky party over at The Little Birdie. :) We have lots of crafters who love upcycling and copycat crafts!

    Here's the link:
    http://littlebirdiebaby.blogspot.com/2011/03/tutorial-tuesday-dressed-up-hand-towels.html

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  21. Very cute dress!! I wish I had sewing talent. =) I think I like the pink one better myself ... But pink is a favourite of mine ;)

    Thanks for stopping my blog and for the lovely comment!! I saw you had a similar headband in your easy list.. I must say, I like yours better!! lol

    I'm now following =)

    Monica
    Ellabellabutterfly.blogspot.com

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  22. nice job! these are such cute dresses.

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  23. They look great! I like both of yours more than the original, I like having sleeves. Great tutorial!

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  24. It looks so good!
    www.mylifeunzipped.blogspot.com

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  25. So pretty! I love the green one! I have never tried a pocket in a skirt so I'm saving this to give it a go. Thanks!

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  26. thanks for the tutorial! super cute!!
    this style of dress is one of my favorites!

    caitimae.blogspot.com

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  27. So cute! And I have all that stuff in my stash and since I have vowed not to buy anymore fabric until I use the stash this is great! Vowed to make it TODAY, and then I saw the "Bungalow Boutique" on the sidebar. Could it be? I live in Heber, and one of my great friends is a crafter/worker there. You've got great talent in many areas (obviously). Thanks for the inspiration. All of it!

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  28. Ok I have got to make this! It's so stinking cute and looks comfy! Thanks for the great tute girl!

    Meet Virginia Design

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  29. So cute! I'm going to have to try this one. Total beginner at sewing but I guess I gotta start somewhere!

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  30. I love it! I'm determined to make/upcycle more of my wardrobe and this year wear more dresses. Thanks for the tutorial! I'm a new follower, stop by sometime, domesticdeadline.blogspot.com

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  31. That is super cute! I love the way it came out! Visiting from Blue Cricket Design and I am a new follower!
    Have a great week!
    Michelle
    www.delicateconstruction.blogspot.com

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  32. This is amazing! And you made a tutorial! Can I feature this on my blog? www.fastdaze.blogspot.com

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  33. This is way cute. I might just have to try this.

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  34. ADORABLE!!! Glad you shared this at HOH! I think I might like the green cut better too but they are both fabulous!

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  35. Too cute! Thank you so much for sharing your tutorial!

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  36. So, so, sew cute! Oh, reading back through your posts makes me think even more that it would be great if I could sew. Oh, the money that I could save on my dresses....

    Congratulations for your accomplishments. 8^)

    (I followed your blog, too.)

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  37. this is fantastic! i could make one of these for every day of the week!

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  38. ADORABLE!!!!! Thanks so much for linking up to my Wardrobe Challenge! I can't wait to try this!

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  39. Such a cute skirt! Thanks for the tutorial, I am going to make one this weekend :)

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  40. Beautiful! Thanks for posting a tutorial, I can't wait to make one.

    Stopping by from TT&J weekend party.

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  41. THIS IS AMAZING! I need one for spring! if only i could sew....dang it! Cute blog girl, i lovvvvvve it.

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  42. Very cute. It's something I could wear to work, so it's on my list of projects! Thanks for the tutorial!

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  43. This tutorial is amazing. Thank you for sharing! I love your version too!

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  44. How great! Thanks for sharing. I think I might do this with all the T-shirts that I feel are too short, but love too much to toss.

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  45. Yay! Great job with this! You totally hit it on the nose!

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  46. What a great idea! I can sew home decor but I haven't attempted to sew any clothes. This is definitely going to be my first try, love it!

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  47. I love the colors you picked and the a line skirt. Thanks for the warning about hemming. :) Did you use any interfacing on your sash?

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  48. I thought your work was so awesome, I had to show it off!!!

    http://www.mesewcrazy.com/2011/03/sew-crazy-favorite-features.html

    Thanks so much for the inspiration!

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  49. This is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! Well done :)

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  50. Oh my gosh!!! I love it! (I like the green one a bit better too...works for those of us with a little too much in the hip department :D) I'm so glad I found your blog..now I can't remember how I did...but Thank you to whoever's link I followed! :D

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  51. I found the link to your blog via Passionately Artistic through their Spring Break Linking Party.

    Wow! I love your work! Thanks for sharing.

    You can find me at www.kristinanicoleblog.blogspot.com
    to say hello! :)

    xo,
    Kristina-Nicole

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  52. Rachel--this dress is simply amazing! I am going to make one soon because it's simple AND flattering for people like me who have hips! You did such a great job.

    I included your dress in a roundup of fun DIY summer dresses--here's the link if you're interested:

    http://twogirlsbeingcrafty.blogspot.com/2011/04/linky-love-diy-dresses-edition.html

    I'm also your newest follower because I just loove your blog and your style.

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  53. So I just made one of my own. I LOVE it. Thank you so much for these instructions!!

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  54. I just came over from Craftaholics anonymous, and holy cow, I wish I had more time today to read all the fun stuff on your blog! I'll have to do that soon!!! I'm a new follower :)

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  55. That is wonderful and I do what to copy it.

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  56. I love this look and I have just the right old t-shirt, now to get up the nerve to try to make it!

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  57. Maybe this is a silly question, but how do you get it on without a zipper? Do I need to make it w/stretchable fabric?

    Great job and I love your ideas!

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  58. Rach! Love this. I just finished making my own! Thanks for the tutorial (I must admit, I am a little slow. It took me forever to finally figure out how to add the t-shirt onto the skirt and do the ruffles...but I finally clued in).

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  59. Great job! Love your creativity and thriftyness! I found your blog on mombloggersin the followers section. I am now a follower love it if you would check out my blog and follow back! I have a crafty blog too, with some nutrition, and fitness, etc thrown in! It is at www.apronsandapples.blogspot.com

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  60. I love your style. Thanks for stopping by my blog too! I'm your newest follower. I can't wait to try this. Thanks for taking the time to make this nice tutorial.

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  61. I made this dress! Here's a link to see how mine turned out. Thanks again for this tutorial!

    http://tharshesews.blogspot.com/2011/06/second-dress-for-summer-of-no-pants.html

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  62. I am making this today and I'll post a link to your tutorial.thanks !

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  63. I love this! Thank you for your creativity!

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  64. Great blog and tutorials! I'm going to have to try this one post-pregnancy :)

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  65. That's soooo adorable! I'll be linking tomorrow!
    www.sewhomegrown.com

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  66. I love how you were able to put this idea together. I wonder if you think a circle skirt could work with this pattern?
    Cana
    http://lavendardragonfly.blogspot.com/

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  67. coming over from ucreate. i seriously bought this dress and ended up taking it back because it didn't fit quite right. but i LOVED it! and i honestly like your green one best too! now if only i was talented enough to sew me one...... i'm pinning this anyways so when i do sew i can try it out! thanks for the tutorial!

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  68. I love the pink one, but wonder if it would still look as pretty if it was mid-calf or longer? What do you think, Rachel?

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  69. Deborah--I think that would be so pretty! You might have to add a slit/vent in the back so you have enough room to walk . . . I'm not sure. But I think it would be so pretty in a longer length!

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  70. Thank you Rachel. I do like the green one, too. I was wondering too, if I can make a skirt instead of the dress. Something to think about. =)

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  71. AND what's even better is you do NOT have to be a fabulous seamstress NOR do you have to exactly follow the rules (oops!) to end up with a SUPER CUTE DRESS!!! I am so PROUD of myself!!! I bought a cheap t-shirt from a big-box discount store with the initials W-M... yellow, orange, pink, and white stripes... and made an orange skirt. It's very appropriate for this Easter weekend :-) Well, and spring/summer in general. I'm SO HAPPY! Thank you, Rachel, for inspiring the cuteness!!!

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  72. I just bought a striped tshirt on clearance at Old Navy with the plans to make this dress! Wish me luck!

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  73. I am really tall (slightly over 6') and have issues with shirts shrinking length wise. I've kept them in hopes that I could use them for something else. Well hello something else! Thank you! I loved the original dress, but like you the price and the fact that it was sold out made it a no go. Thank you for this tutorial. This is the perfect "congrats to myself for losing 50lbs" present. My 2 year old even asked for this dress so I think I will make her one first. :D

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  74. Just found your blog through something Pinterest related. I'm just starting to get more into sewing and crocheting, more as in just getting started is the best way to word it. This dress is so cute, and I will definitely be making this for myself. Thanks for the tutorials. Your blog is so awesome.

    Jessica

    http://shelovesdeeply.blogspot.com

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  75. Hi, love the dress. do you know if there is a pattern for this dress. I do better with step by step written instructions. I don't free hand very well. Thanks
    Linda
    http://fadandfashion.kitsylane.com

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  76. I love your posts. Great sense of humor. Still, while this looks cute on you, I wouldn't attempt this dress on a bet!

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Thanks for commenting!