How To Sew a Summer Singlet Dress

Repurpose an old singlet and a bit of fabric into a simple summer singlet dress.

This is a pretty easy project that would suit a beginner, though it will be easier if you already have some sewing experience.

You will need:

  • A singlet (I got mine from my local op shop for $2, but any stretchy singlet will do).
  • A rectangular piece of fabric. A lightweight fabric works well, as it doesn’t get too bulky when it’s gathered. The short edge of the rectangle should be the length you want the skirt of your dress to be, and the long edge should be around one and a half to two metres, depending on how gathered you want the skirt to be (I also got the skirt fabric from the op shop for $2).
  • Scissors, pins and thread.
  • A sewing machine – you could do this project by hand, but it would be a BIG job.
  • Trim, such as ricrac braid, but that’s optional.

How To Sew a Summer Singlet Dress

How to make it

  1. Try on the singlet, and mark where you want the waist of the skirt to sit. This could be on your actual waist (the narrowest part), or you could make it higher or lower, depending on taste. Mark this with a pin on both of the side seams.
  2. Take the singlet off and fold it in half. Cut straight across, one centimetre lower than your pin marks. Make this as straight as possible!
    Make your skirt fabric into a tube by sewing the two short edges together, with the right sides together.
  3. Run a gathering stitch around the top of your skirt – this can be done by hand, or by setting your machine to the longest stitch length – and then gather it until it’s a little bigger than your waist measurement, and big enough to slip over your head.

    4. Now comes the trickiest part of the whole shebang: you need to attach the singlet to the gathered edge of your skirt, and to stretch the singlet as you’re sewing. To do this evenly, fold your singlet in half and mark the quarters with pins (one on each side seam, one in the centre front and one in centre back). Do the same with your skirt and mark the quarters with pins. With the right sides together, match up the pins and sew with a zigzag stitch, one centimetre from the edge, stretching the singlet as you move along so that the pins match up.Your singlet dress is now finished, and you can embellish it as you like. I add a pocket, and some ricrac braid on the neck of the singlet.

You can find the full version of this article in Issue #6 of Pip Magazine, which is available here.

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