Three ways with a T-dress

Many years ago, I bought this oversized printed T-top while on holiday in Malaysia. It made a handy mini dress or beach cover-up, which is how I used it for a while. 

But this year when I went to wear it, suddenly these looks from Prada SS11 came to mind and I couldn’t resist seeing if I could make it a bit more city street-friendly – without losing its beach wearability (Prada images from 

Being the commitment-phobe that I am when it comes to altering a garment, I came up with a way to change this top so that it can be worn three different ways. Quite handy as part of a summer holiday wardrobe! 

First of all, here it is as a top. Perfect teamed with shorts and a hat for a day spent doing some casual rambling (the wandering around kind, not the incoherent babbling for which I am probably better known)

You might notice that it’s a bit shorter in this incarnation than it is in the initial photo. That’s because I’ve turned up the hem a bit – but not permanently! Instead, I used press-studs on the inside of the garment, like so:

The press-studs are on the inside of the very edge of the hem and then 23 cm up from the hem, so that when the original hem edge is folded up and snapped into place with the press-studs, an 11 cm hem is created. Of course if you are thinking of doing this yourself, you can decide on your own hem length – any length will be fine as long as the garment is pretty straight (this project won’t work for an A-line or a tapered garment).

Of course I also wanted to be able to keep wearing the mini-dress as, well, a mini-dress, which didn’t require any alteration. For some reason this version kind of makes me think of a day shopping in Rio or Ipanema or somewhere Brazilian. Who knows why as I have never been there!

And now for the slightly tricky part.
I had made a skirt from a small, green, circular batik tablecloth a few years ago but for some reason never wore it. 

It was the perfect candidate to become the ruffly detachable skirt part of a new dress! I cut all around the hem to give me this long, approximately 15cm wide circular strip of fabric.

I then gathered the raw edge (ie the inside part of the circular strip) and attached it to a band. The band is basically a long rectangle about 12 cm wide. This removable “skirt” needs to match up with the garment’s measurements around the hem, so to get the length of the band you will need to measure around the garment’s hem and then add about 2 cm so you have a 1 cm seam allowance.

Before I go any further maybe you should see the end result so you know what I’m rambling on about? This version is a lot more city-friendly, yes? 

Basically you are just making a ruffly mini-skirt that attaches to the inside of the main garment to turn it into a dress. It attaches via another set of press studs, like so (on the inside of the dress and the outer facing part of the skirt band):

So you will have two sets of press studs on the inside of the garment – one to raise the hem so you can wear it as a top, and another to which you can attach the skirt ruffle. I suppose alternatively you could just use a really wide strip of velcro on the inside hem of the garment and a matching strip about 11cm up to take up the hem AND attach the skirt instead of fiddling with press studs? Of course I only thought of that now…

You could do this with any fairly straight, shapeless top – try it with a loose singlet or a big T-shirt. Not too tricky, and you get three garments for the price (or effort!) of one. Yay!