Once upon a time, we weren’t building a house and I had one baby instead of two. I had time to sew things for other people and sell them.
One of my most popular creations was what I called “The Venus Dress” – a knit jersey dress with two long straps that could be tied around the body in numerous ways for tons of completely different looks. This style of dress is often called an infinity dress or convertible wrap dress.
What made my design unique was that it had a built-in tube top that made it so much easier to wear than the others that were available. It was easier to tie the straps and not worry about body parts peeking out.
This is a great dress for spring – you can get so much wear out of it. It’s also a fabulous design for a bridal party! Every bridesmaid can wear it differently to suit their personal style.
I want to share with you how to make my infinity dress with a built-in tube top today! It’s simple, but you’ll need a lot of fabric and a lot of patience for cutting. Ready?
- 4 yards of 4-way stretch knit jersey (to make it stretch both ways, it should have spandex or lycra in it – this is important so that it doesn’t fray when cut)
- rotary cutter (important!) & cutting mat
- hard edged ruler
- pencil & soft measuring tape
- fabric marker (or I’ve used a sharpie)
- Fold the jersey in half lengthwise and carefully meet the ends & smooth it out. Using a cutting mat beneath the fabric (I slide it along as I go), a hard ruler and rotary cutter, cut off at least an inch from the salvedge edge to get rid of it – you want nice smooth edges. Cut as straight and clean as possible. This will be a finished edge for your straps!
- Cut two pieces in the same manner that are approximately 12″ wide by 60″ long. These will be your straps. Since your fabric is folded, you should only have to make one more cut to create the two pieces.
- To make the skirt, cut a piece of fabric that is the full width of the fabric by about 60″. Fold this piece in half, and then in half again so that you have a square piece.
- From the doubly folded corner, cut a quarter circle that starts about 5″ from the corner as shown. Then, measure from your waist to where you want the skirt to hang and cut another quarter circle that’s that distance below the first small quarter circle, as shown. To make an even curve, I wrap my pen in one end of a string or soft measuring tape, hold the other end of the string at the corner, and draw the curve. The dresses I made always ranged from about 20″ to 25″ for this measurement to make a tea-length dress.
- To cut the tube top out, measure your bust and then subtract 5 inches. Divide this measurement in half. Cut out two squares from the knit jersey that are 24″ long by this measurement wide (the cuts don’t have to be straight – these will be sewn).
- Baste one end of the straps to the skirt waist as shown. Overlap them about 2 inches and ensure that their right sides are against the right side of the skirt. Only sew through one layer of the skirt!
- Place the right sides of the two tube top pieces together, and sew them together along the side seam using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Fold one side down over the other so that you create a tube:
- Slip the tube top over the skirt & straps with its folded edge down and its raw edge lined up with the other raw edges as shown:Match the side seams of the tube top with the sides of the skirt and pin. You may have to pull the tube top to match the skirt opening or vice versa.
- Sew everything together using a 1/2″ seam allowance. I love to use my serger for this seam, or you can use a regular machine and finish with a zigazag stitch.
- All done! Here are some ideas on how you can tie the dress to achieve different looks (click the image to enlarge it):
What’s your favourite look? Ready to sew one?