Sunday, April 14, 2013

Men's T-Shirt to Heavy Metal Halter Dress Tutorial

Sorry this tutorial is SOOO late! I've been a busy bee :) Anyways, I was browsing around a thrift shop the other day and I found this old raggedy KISS t-shirt in a Men's XL. It had holes in it, the fabric was very much worn down and the actual graphic in the front was sideways (which I guess the creators did on purpose). But, than I saw the price tag: $3....I though hmmm, for $3, I really want to make this KISS shirt wearable. Also, during this time, I designed a pattern for a wicked halter, a WEAR if you DARE kind of garment because, it is supposed to be worn without a bra. Even though I know bras are kind of a necessity, I feel sometimes, that they are more like a boobie zoo. Nevertheless, I have decided to share a tutorial on how to make this amazing dress by refashioning a Men's T! Enjoy!

Here's What You'll Need:
  • Men's T-Shirt size XL or Higher
  • 1 Yard of Stretch Fabric (I used a velvet that stretched) or Scraps Equivalent at Least 4 Pieces 31"x11"
  • Sewing Machine or Serger
  • Thread
  • Hand Needle
  • Iron
  • Ironing Board
  • Pattern Paper
  • Ruler
  • Pen or Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Tape Measure
Now Let's Draft Our Pattern!

Step 1: before we start drafting our pattern, we need to take some measurements!:
  • Under Bust: measure right under your boobies!
  • Under Bust to Waist: from your side (where a side seam would go) measure the distance from your under bust ( or in other words, under arm) to your waist.
  • Waist to Hips: from your side measure the distance from your waist to hips.
  • Hip to Legs: from your side, again, measure the distance from your hip to where you roughly want your your dress to end. This might change depending on how long the shirt is.
  • Natural Waist:  measure the smallest part of your torso.
  • Hip: measure the largest part of your torso.
  • Legs: measure around your legs where you originally wanted your dress to end.

Step 2: First we are going to draft the top/halter tie piece of the dress. With your ruler, draw a straight 10" line. Then, mark 4" measuring from one side.

Step 3: Where you made your 4" mark, draw a 30" straight line. From each side of you original 10" line, connect them to the middle line, creating a triangle. This finishes the top pattern piece, cut out and set aside.

Step 4: Next cut a piece of pattern paper about 5" longer then the total length of your dress and fold in half.

Step 5: Grab your list of measurements. On the folded edge, draw a straight line that equals 1/4 of your  under bust measurement. For example, my under bust measurement was 38", so I drew a line that was 9 1/2". Then from that initial line, using your under bust to waist measurement, mark.

Step 6: Where you marked, draw a straight line that equals 1/4 of your waist measurement. My waist measurement was 36" so I drew a line that was 9". From your waist measurement line, use your waist to hip measurement and mark.

Step 7: Where you marked, draw a straight line that equals 1/4" of your hip measurement. Again, from that initial line, measure down using your hips to legs measurement and mark.

Step 8: On that last mark, draw a straight line that equals 1/4 of your leg measurement. Then, using all your markings, draw a basic wiggle dress shape. With all your markings this shouldn't be too hard to just freehand.

Step 9: Next, add 1" on the top of your pattern. If you decide not to use the original hem of the shirt, also add 1" to the bottom. But do not add ANY seam allowance to the side seams. We are working with a knit in which will stretch. We want the end result of this dress to hug our curves, so in this pattern, we are using what is called "negative ease".

Step 10: Open up the pattern from that fold and WALLAH! We have our pattern pieces!

Now is it Time for Cutting, Sewing, and Creating!

Step 11: Lay your shirt flat, matching hems, sleeves, and side seams (if your shirt have side seams). Pin your pattern on the shirt, making sure the graphic doesn't go past your 1" hemline on the top. Cut through all the thickness, the front and the back.

Step 12: Next, take your top/halter tie pattern piece and cut out 4 pieces. 2 for the outside and 2 lining pieces. Please note if you are using scraps: there is a reason this pattern piece leans more toward one side than the other! While cutting out make sure that 1 outside/ lining piece leans towards the left, and 1 outside/lining piece leans towards the right. Now you are left with  front and back pieces, 2 outside top pieces and 2 top lining pieces.

Step 13: Now, I deliberately did not use my serger for this project. I want to let you know, that you do not need a serger to sew a knit! If your sewing machine has a zig-zag stitch, all you need is a ballpoint needle and you can sew a knit! Anyways, grab each outside top piece and pin it to it's adjacent lining piece, right sides together. Using 1/2" seam allowance, stitch around the sides, but not the bottom. This will make a tight upside down V on the top, don't worry, that is supposed to be like that!

Step 14: on the top of each piece cut off the excess horizontally. Turn right side out and use a pencil or pen to push the point out. The fabric will bunch up at the top, but that's for the thick, heavy metal look! After that, press the seams with your iron.

Step 15: Next wrong side together, pin the bottom down and with a straight stitch, baste with a 5" stitch length, leaving long thread tails.

Step 16: Using the tread tails, gather the bottom it's width equals about 5" to 6" depending how much boobie coverage you want. 6" for full coverage, but if you want to be a little risque, a 5" width will probably show a little side boob. After your finished gathering, set your top pieces aside.

Step 17: Next grab your front and back pieces and pin them right sides together. With your Zig-Zag stitch, stitch the sides using about 1/2" seam allowance.

Step 18: Now before proceeding, try the bottom half on inside out. If it isn't as snug as you would like, pinch and pin to the fit you desire and sew accordingly. After that, turn right side out and press the seams.

Step 19: Take the bottom of your dress to the ironing board. All the way around the top (front and back) press down 1/2" toward the wrong side of the fabric. Then, fold over 1/2" more creating. a top hem. Take your hand needle and thread, and slipstitch down. Next on the hem, pin each top/halter tie piece to just the front about 2" away from each side seam. Make sure when you are placing them, the triangular piece leans more toward the inside! Pin them down.

Step 20: Topstitch all the way around the under bust to the back area of the dress, stitching the top/halter ties to the front in the process. 

Step 21: Lastly, make 2 equal pleats in the middle area between the top pieces, until it measures about 1". About 1/2" down, stitch the pleats down on the outside of the front. For decorative purposes, I also stitched two vertical lines parallel to the placement of the top pieces, which is optional.

Now if you used the previous hem, your finished!
But if you didn't, just hem it the same way you did the top!


  1. This is great! I have to try it some time :)

  2. I really like the print you used on the straps. It's awesome but doesn't distract from the overall look of the dress. I may have to make something fun like this for a big event I have coming up.

  3. Thanks! And that Stretch Velvet fabric feels amazing on your chest too! LOL and I look forward to seeing what you create :)