Seamwork Mesa: Turning a Dress into Tee

I have had a subscription to Seamwork Magazine for a few months now but had not made any of the patterns yet! For $6 a month you can download two of their patterns. This will be my first try! I have to say I also love love love Seamwork Radio. The podcast is completely free but it is really well done and I like to listen to it while at work or sewing. So even if you don’t subscribe, yet, give that a look.

So it has been nearing 100 degrees in St. Louis lately and I needed another summery top I can wear to work. I loved the way the top of the Mesa dress looks, but I don’t like the way sheath dresses fit me. I decided to shorten it into a t-shirt to use with a lightweight clearance hatchi sweater fabric in “eggplant.” (Read: Magenta.) It has a 50% stretch so I felt pretty confident that I could alter the dress pattern and pretty easily get a shirt that fits.


I chose the 3x and as you can see the pattern really dips in between the bust and the waist so it will definitely have shape. In order to make a t-shirt I cut it at the red line above and moved the hemline of the pattern up. That way I could keep the side-seam details up and the shirt would be about 28″ from shoulder seam to bottom hem.


This fabric was my first experience with a knit fabric that curls at the edges. It was a little bit challenging. The instructions are pretty simple and they are written for sewists with or without a serger. (I am without!) First you attach the front and back bodice pieces at the shoulder with a narrow zig-zag stitch.


I’m showing this next bit because I thought it was a little bit challenging having only added sleeves to an outfit once. Once I did it it was like, “Oh, of course!” Next you open the shirt, wrong-side up, so that the neck hole is in the middle of your table and one of the arm holes, that is only attached at the shoulder seam, is facing you. You place the sleeve, right side up, so that the curve of the shoulder is closest to you on top of the shirt and pin.


Then you sew with the narrow zig-zag again. I may have pulled it a little bit because my sleeves puckered at the top. It doesn’t look terrible, but it doesn’t look like any other Mesa sleeves I have seen!


I only folded the shirt in half so it would be easier to see.

At this point you basically have a shirt-shaped sandwich board. Now you sew up the sides starting at the bottom right above that tab and sew up the end of your sleeve. Then I just went ahead and finished the sleeve with my twin needle.IMG_20160612_193407

Here is where I probably didn’t read the directions too closely. I ended up making pointy corners at the side seam split, when the pictures show a curved corner. I am going to go back and fix this because I am just not happy with this.


I have been nervous about neckbands for a while now. That whole stretching them to make them fit seemed like it could go terribly wrong to me. I figured I had to learn sometime. Good news! They are pretty easy to work with! I did get a little sloppy when I was overcast stitching and left myself a 1″hole in the neckline. I had to go back and fix it, but all-in-all it was successful!



Here is it hanging. You can see those little flippy side seam details at the bottom before I rounded the edges.


All in all this came together pretty quickly. Actually I may have rushed it towards the end just to have a shirt to wear to work on Monday. For the most part I like the shape of this. It has more shape than a plain old t-shirt. The neckline is a little to large for me. I would prefer a little more shoulder coverage. I love the sleeve length but I may need to experiment with a different fabric so they shoulder doesn’t pucker like that. I wore it to work this week and it went over pretty well.


Also it is a little snug for a 3x, even with a 50% stretch. If I made this again I would add a couple of inches in the middle, pull in the neckline and then I would probably make it an inch or two shorter.

Also the hem is not uneven it just seems like I cannot get hems even in any of my pictures! Live and learn!


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