Hot! the “tie-dye magic” housedress

image from alabama studio website

The Facts:

Fabric: tie-dye souvenir t-shirt circa 1996; extra tie-dye fabric, hand-dyed by me circa 2011
Pattern: alabama studio fitted dress pattern (available in alabama studio + design)
Year: 2012
Notions: none
Time to Complete: 1 hour, for preliminary work. embellishment & handstitching TBD.
First Worn: first weekend of the summer, 2012: june 23
Wear Again: yes
Total Price: priceless.
Challenge Theme: “on holiday”

my blog friends know that i’ve had the pleasure of kitting out and enjoying a new vacation house this year, which my mom and i bought together while she undergoes treatment for cervical cancer.

as i am sure you can imagine, it’s become an incredibly special place. every moment there, even when i am all over dirt and sleeping 15 hours because i overdid it in the garden, is like being on holiday. so i ditched my plan to make a bathing suit or beach dress to indulge in making the ultimate house dress for my new vacation house.

if you haven’t yet checked out natalie chanin’s “alabama studio sewing + design,” and you like sewing with knits, refashioning old knits, or just innovative ways of turning simple fabrics into the ultimate in DIY couture, you are doing yourself a serious disservice. her earlier books were cute and quirky, with a decent pattern or two–this one is practically a bible for wonderful, innovative garments that can be as cookie-cutter or unique as you have the patience for.

for now i’ve skipped most of the elaborate, hand-bound seam finishes, only because i haven’t decided if i want or need them. also, my 15-year-old t-shirt didn’t exactly provide enough fabric for an interesting neck binding.

i love this shirt and decided it was the perfect base to try the fitted dress pattern in the book. when i bought this shirt, and then decided to tie-dye it, i was just entering high school and spending the summer at sleepaway camp. it was the first chance i had to truly express myself and do something weird. i loved the message of the shirt: normal is boring. and i loved it even more when i got such a great spiral pattern on tie-dye day.

my house is in woodstock, NY, tie-dye capital of the world. marriage made in heaven, no?



Devra is a New York-based photographer and sewer who tries to find time to do her day job in between bouts of crazed sewing.


Comments are closed.

  1. You dress looks lovely and super comfy. I hope you make some special memories wearing it.

  2. I can’t believe this! I totally have that same shirt from my class trip to D.C. in 1996! Mine’s a little more worn out, and you can hardly see the letters that spell Washington D.C. at the bottom, but it’s that shirt. I love what you’ve done with it, giving something old new life. :)

  3. Nice and comfy! i like that the tie-dye is not overwhelming. It’s soft and light like the dress looks.

  4. Hi Devra, I love hanging in Woodstock during the week, weekends are just to packed with tourist. Hope you are enjoying the house and that your mom is doing well. Love the comfy dress, perfect woodstock outfit. Now you is a taco on the square.

  5. What a throw back to the 70’s! I love how you added the skirt to your keepsake shirt and how it all came together so well. Your little avatar reminds me of my daughter’s art which she sells on Etsy. Check her out sometime. I think you might like it. Her seller name is Pinkytoast.

  6. Love it, it looks so comfy and so special to re-use a t-shirt with memories. Thank you SO MUCH for the links to Alabama studio….their stuff and ideas are magical, I’d never come across them before but definitely want to try some reverse appliqués like on the website now. Thank you!