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Monday, March 16, 2015

How to Convert a Dress into a High-Low Tunic

How to convert a dress into a high-low tunic from Craftastical!

Saint Patrick's Day is upon us, and I realized I have very little green in my wardrobe, which is unacceptable. I searched through three stores, not finding anything green that looked good on me, and finally found a cute green dress at the local thrift store in town, AND it was half off day, so the grand total for this dress? $2.50. Only, it was a bit. . . frumpy? Action had to be taken.

Dress before high-low tunic conversion

I decided to modernize it by making it into a high-low tunic. It was actually a lot easier than I was expecting and only took me about 30 minutes. I love any sort of thrift store find (half my wardrobe is from thrift stores or consignment shops), and I love all things upcycled and restyled.

Here's my tutorial, so you can try it too.

First, put on your dress/skirt/extremely long shirt, whatever you are converting. Mark the length of the front hem with a pin exactly in the middle (I would actually use safety pins--one of mine fell out when I took off the dress). Do the same with the back. Obviously, the back is going to be anywhere from 3-4 inches longer to, well, as long as you want. Drama, baby.

Front pin (hard to see with that pattern, but it's there):
Marking the dress hem in the front

Back pin:
marking the dress hem in the back

Next, you're going to cut your hem. Remember to leave 1-2" of seam allowance.

To mark the hemline, lay the garment on its side, with the side seams matched up. This should leave your marking pins on the fold lines for the front and back.

Side seams matching and folded exactly along the front and back:
setting up the hem to be cut

Draw your line for your hem (remember seam allowance). This is probably the trickiest bit. Remember you're going to want to hit the fold at a right angle so you don't create a point, and you're going to want most of the "high-low" movement to happen at the sides, leaving the front and back fairly level.

I used a white fabric pencil to mark my line:
marking the hem line

I used a rotary cutter to make a smooth cut. Fabric scissors will do the same thing though. Cut through both layers of fabric at the same time. Once you've cut your line, try on the garment again before hemming, to make sure you like the line. I realized my cut wasn't curvy enough the first time, and cut a tiny bit more off, after I lined everything back up again.

My finished cut:
the finished cut hem line

Once I had my hem line like I liked it, it was time to iron the hem. Turn up however much you allowed, and iron. You're going to want to finesse this a bit--you've got some curves and that's always a bit tricky to get to iron flat, but most fabrics will adjust if you work them a bit.

Raw edge turned up:
ironing the hem line

Then turn the raw edge under again, making it meet the ironed fold and press.

Raw edge turned under again towards fold:
ironing the hem line

Once that's all done, stitch the hem down. You can use a machine or hand sew. I chose to hand-stitch my hem, but a machine will do the job just as well. Just make sure to ease as you go, since you're sewing curves here.

Hand stitching my hem down with matching thread:
hemming upcycled dress

Then wear your new tunic with pride! I love how mine turned out.

How to upcycle a dress into a high-low tunic from Craftastical!

Also, one of my friends calls this hemline a mullet hem, and I'm pretty sure that wins the internet.

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