DIY This Valentino-Inspired Rainbow Dress
The Debrief: Somewhere over the rainbow... there's a great dress just a waitin'
Resort Fashion has got us in the mood for some summer colour in our wardrobes after a winter of black. We can just imagine strolling to the pub after work in this Valentino number – we love the multi-coloured stripe and cute collar.
We love it so much in fact that we rustled up a DIY to make our own version. Wear with tights and a jacket now, and when the weather eventually warms, dare to bare your legs and arms.
A LBD, we used a black midi dress from H&M’s Basic’s Range, at £14.99
5 x 12 metre (longest point 60 cm, so check the fabrics width) polyester stretch fabric – we got ours from our local fabric shop, but you can by this cheaply in a variety of colours on eBay
Corresponding coloured threads. Gutermann is a great quality brand for threads, and has all the colours of the rainbow to choose from. Don’t worry about matching perfectly, as you’ll only see specks of the thread, just choose the closest match you can find
A sewing machine. We realise you may not want to splash out on a big fancy machine, so eBay has some great mini machines, like this one for £14.50 that will suit your DIY needs
A biro pen
3 sheets of A3 paper
1. Lay your dress flat on a work surface and gather your materials.
2. Looking at the bottom right of your dress, imagine a horizontal line from the bottom hem of your dress to the side seam. Lay a piece of your A3 plain paper across this to create a triangle of fabric, it can be as big or as small as you like. This will create the first section of your stripe motif before you add other fabric.
3. When you’re happy with the size of the triangle the paper creates, we’re going to make a template for our next stripe. We made our stripes all 2.5 inches wide.
4. To make the pattern template for the stripe, measure 2.5 inches from the paper’s edge, all the way along until you hit the bottom seam and at the top, the side seam.
5. Once you’ve drawn this out, cut it out with your scissors. We made this template without seam allowance for sewing, we’ll add that in later.
6. Place your first template down on the dress in its correct position, you may even want to pin it down while you’re measuring the other sections to stop the paper moving.
7. Take your A3 paper and, starting directly next to the top of the last stripe, again measure 2.5 inches in width from seam to seam, cut out and pin on the dress. As you move up the dress your stripes will get longer in length.
8. Continue this method for the number of stripes you’re using – we needed 5 stripes as we had five colours of fabric, but you could do as many as you like. You can also make them thicker or thiner, but the technique remains the same.
9. You can now place your fabric in lines on the dress to see which colours you’d like to lie next to one another, play around until you’re happy with the order.
10. It’s now time to unpin the paper templates from the dress and place them on the fabric to cut out, adding seam allowance first. We started from the bottom with our smallest stripe, the yellow.
11. Placing the template onto the yellow fabric, we measured 1.5 cm from the edge of our template, all the way around, for seam allowance. We then pinned this down with our fabric pins.
12. Once we had this marked out, we cut the shape out with fabric scissors and placed this to one side.
13. We repeated step 10 and 11 with all our coloured stripes, adding seam allowance, cutting the shapes out, then pinning the seam allowance down to make a hem.
14. Starting with the yellow stripe at the bottom, we layed it upon our fabric in the correct position (it’s easy to know where the stripe fits, as it touches the bottom and side seam.)
15. One pin at a time, and with our hands inside the dress to ensure we weren’t pinning through two layers, we removed the pin from the seam allowance hem and secured it again, this time going into then back out of the dress.
16. To sew the first section in place, we threaded our sewing machine with yellow thread (remember you will need to change your thread colour when sewing each striped section!) and set our machine to a central straight stitch, in our case a ‘Number 4’.
17. Placing the front of the dress into the machine, ensure you’re only sewing on one layer, not onto the back as well! Sew a straight stitich about 3 or 4mm into the seam allowance, to ensure you catch it and sew it down.
Sew all the way around the edges, and when you come to the end, finish by pressing down the ‘reverse stitch’ on your machine to go back over the line at the last 1-2 cm, just to finish off. Cut off the thread neatly, and remove from the machine.
18. We then repeated steps 14-17, with each striped section, pinning it in place, then sewing down. *Remember* change the colour of your thread when sewing down each section!!!
19. Once each section is sewed in place, iron the dress flat, as some of the hems tend to curl slightly once sewed. Ironing will give you nice neat straight stripes.
For the striped collar
1. Place a piece of paper, folded at the sides if needed, inside the dress’s neck.
2. Trace the outline of the neck’s curve, and make a mark where each shoulder seam hits. This will help you get a template of the dress from which to make your collar.
3. Remove the piece of paper, and cut around the lines you’ve made, so you have a copy of the neck of the dress.
4. Place this onto a new piece of paper, and using the neckline as a guide, on one side only, draw a rounded colllar that meets in the centre of the neck. We did this freehand, it may taake a few gos but play with the shape, even hold it up to your neck, or if you have another dress with a collar you like, trace that shape. We made our collar about 8 inches long.
5. Cut out around the shape of your drawn collar, fold it into the middle of the collar, and over to the other side, trace where the edges hit and this will give you an identical shape of the other side.
6. We decided to use two of our fabrics colours, the blue and the pink, to make a striped collar to fit with the dress. You could do one solid colour or as many stripes of colour as you like.
7. We measured our collar in half, making a mark all the way around the curve, to create a template for our two fabrics. We cut these shapes out, again, like with our dress, seam allowance will need to be added.
8. We layed these templates onto our fabric, and adding 1.5cm to sew a hem, we cut the shapes out.
9. We folded over our hem and used our pins to secure it for sewing. It’s a little trickier to pin with a curved piece of fabric, be sure to turn the fabric over to check your shape is still intact.
10. As the hem was trickier, we sewed this down seperately on all our four collar pieces, again using a straight stitch all the way around and remembering to use the right colour thread!
11. We then pinned the finished pink pieces on top of our blue and sewed these down, going over the line of stitch we’d just made.
12. We positioned and pinned our new collar onto the top of the dress, and tracing the line of stitch on the blue fabric, sewed this in place.
Congrats, you just made yourself a new dress!
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