31 Days · Color · Sewing · Style

31 Days of Color: Red – A Different Kind of Shirt Dress

this is a red shirt

This is a shirt.

I mistakenly bought it as a dress. I found it at an estate sale over the summer, imagining it as a quick throw-on kind of dress with ankle boots and a denim jacket. When you go to estate sales, you don’t usually get to try on clothes. You just hold it up and say, “Yep, looks good,” even when the tag says it’s going to be too big.

It wasn’t until I got home and googled it that I realized this QVC beauty is in fact a tunic blouse, not a dress (not finding the link right now). And as such, WAY TOO SHORT.

I decided I needed to add some sort of waistband to add length without looking weird.

I found this elastic on Etsy.

etsy elastic

And this is what I love about Etsy. It came wrapped in a map! How awesome! And I happened to see the name of my street on the map – although from a different city in California. Did she do that on purpose? Just coincidence? Either way, how fun! (And I ended up reusing the map as a cover to my most recent journal. Double win!)

red elastic waistband

I measured my waist, added a few inches (I wanted the waist a little less structured) and measured the elastic, adding 3 more inches for overlap.

red elastic waistband

I sewed a square and an X on the overlapped section. I then used a zigzag stitch on both edges of the elastic to make sure it stayed flat.

DIY Shirt to Dress

Next I put my stretchy shirt OVER my cutting mat (with the cutting mat between the front and back of the shirt). I used a straight edge and rotary cutter to carefully cut along one of the white stripes.

DIY Shirt to Dress

I turned the two pieces inside out to attach to the elastic.

DIY Shirt to Dress

I needed to gather the edges of the top and bottom in order to make it fit to the elastic, so I loosened the tension on my sewing machine and ran a long straight stitch along each edge. I used a different color thread (dark blue for the top stitch and light blue for the bobbin) to make it easier to see.

gathering fabric

I then tied the like colored strings together and pulled the light blue (inside) thread to gather the fabric.


The light blue (bobbin) thread acts as a drawstring to pull the fabric into gathers.


I marked the two side seams and middles of the front and back to make 4 points at which to attach the elastic. I then used red thread to sew the fabric to the elastic.


Here’s how it looked with just the top part sewn. I repeated the steps and attached the bottom as well.


And here it is, my shirt that was too short to be a dress is now a real dress.


Red is one of my favorite colors (although not in the top spot quite yet).

As I’ve been reading up on color, I’ve found it so interesting that people in some parts of the world attribute characteristics to color differently than others. For example, in the US, red is often associated with anger, love, and passion, but in China, as well as some other Asian countries, it is the color of happiness. It reminds me of the fact that pink (basically light red) used to be the color associated with baby boys because red was seen as such a strong color, but now pink is for baby girls. I wonder what causes these shifts, and if they happen quickly or over long periods of time. I’m reading The Tipping Point (finally – it’s been on my list for years), so this kind of cultural change has been on my mind this week.

And anyway, red make ME happy. I guess that’s all that matters.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

small button

This post is part of a 31 day series. Find all the posts in this series here.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —


8 thoughts on “31 Days of Color: Red – A Different Kind of Shirt Dress

  1. There are roughly-universal associations with color and emotion, too, though. This is fun series I’m looking forward to following along with. I love color!

Leave a Reply to nicole Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s