Sewing with lining: Convertible Fit & Flare Striped “Dress”


DIY top + skirt, Ann Taylor sandals (this year’s version – 40% off), Warby Parker Evelyn sunglasses c/o
J.Crew bag (30% off sale w/ SUMMERTIME), Kate Spade belt thanks to Wendy

When I first spotted this classic striped material at JoAnn’s for $10 a yard (armed w/ coupon), I yanked it out with joy, then scratched my head for about 15 minutes debating what to make with it. A dress would be adorable (looved SPG’s project), but a skirt might be more versatile. A skirt would be easier, whereas a dress would require a zipper and lining (eek). I ended up settling on a skirt and bought 1.5 yards of material.

90% of the way into skirt making, I realized I had sizeable scraps of fabric left over. I pinned them together into a makeshift bodice, fell in love with the combined look, and didn’t hesitate to switch gears into dress mode. From there, more waves of indecisiveness resulted in the dress evolving towards a two-piece set, and later came the idea to add a peplum hem to the top. When both pieces are worn together as a “dress,” the peplum tucks nicely underneath the fuller skirt.
DIY dress worn 3 ways
I’m a big fan of the “fit & flare” silhouette that’s been plentiful in stores. The fitted torso combined with a fuller skirt is flattering on many body types, if the proportions are right. My challenge when shopping was waistline placement and skirt volume – for shorter ladies, the waist may need to be a little higher (it’s actually a little too high in my photos) to balance out a full skirt, and for those with smaller frames, a too-poofy skirt can easily edge into kiddy territory.
Striped Fit and Flare dresses
Shop Similar:
1) For ladies who are a little taller (although the bodice looks short, so perhaps petite women can pull it off with a simple hem job), a beautiful WHBM option in sizes 00 – 16 regular on sale for over 50% off. I can tell from the video that the fabric has a good weight to it.
2) Forever21 version under $25 – looks like a less structured knit. Reviews say length is good for petites.
3) LOFT strappy version (now 40% off) available in extended petite sizing and regular
4) Modcloth similar style skirt w/ elastic waist, and peplum top – both labeled as “runs small.”

For this skirt, I started off by following steps 1-5 of this elastic-waist skirt tutorial. I then made the front half of the skirt per SGP’s non-elastic waist skirt tutorial, but continued following the elastic-waist tutorial for the back half. I couldn’t get my gathering to look nice and neat like hers, and ended up folding the material into little pleats by hand and securing them down with pins. Because only the back half of the waistband contains elastic, it’s important to make sure that the entire waistband when fully stretched is still wide enough to slip up/down your hips. I also want to note that this fabric was from the home decor section, which is a treasure trove of materials with a little more structure than regular apparel cottons. Many home decor fabrics are thin and light, yet have just enough weight for a full skirt that won’t sag or hang limply. 
For the top, I traced a sheath dresses in my closet (tricky part is to factor in extra space where the darts are – I still can’t get this right) from the neck/shoulders down to the waistline, keeping a sufficient seam allowance to allow for some mistakes. I then cut out identical traced pieces in the striped fabric and in a smooth lining fabric. This was my first time ever working with lining, and this tutorial (plus texts to my skilled friend Ping) was a lifesaver. Even though it was double the work and more, I love the feeling of a lined garment and the neat resulting edges along the neck and arm holes. After adding a zipper to the back, I finished the top by making a peplum hem using the same idea as from SPG’s older tutorial.
My lack of planning and “learning as I go” resulted in a few too many seam-ripping fits and do-overs, and additional trips to the middle-of-nowhere fabric store. I absolutely love the results, but want to disclaim that the time and patience required to make a lined garment can be sizeable (took me ~30+ hours and $25-30 in materials, including inefficiencies). Unfortunately, I’m u
nable to make a detailed tutorial for something like this until learning the proper techniques and practicing a few more times.

DIYflairstripeddress4b Which is your favorite variation of this set? Worn as a top, skirt or dress?
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  1. Cee wrote:


    The WHMB dress (#1) you linked is now $49.98. Code 10781 should work for an additional 30% off until tomorrow.

    My friend has it and it's actually shorter than depicted on the model, so a hem job probably isn't needed. The fabric definitely has good weight.

    Posted 7.18.13 Reply
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Hey there! I love the way the fabric stays structured! Can you tell me what type or the manufacturer? I have a huge Joann's here and rather than wandering the aisles for hours can you point me in the right direction? Its a sale week =)


    Posted 7.1.13 Reply
  3. Rains wrote:

    You're a fab seamstress! After reading all the DIY sewing tutorials over the Internet I was convinced that I should get myself a sewing machine and start sewing. When I told my Mom (who attended dressmaking classes herself) of my plan, she quickly dismissed it as a fad: "Buying ready-to-wear clothes is cheaper and consumes less time than making pieces yourself," she said. I can see her reason for it, but whenever I look at your DIYs, I'm convinced that I should try my hands on sewing.

    Posted 7.1.13 Reply
  4. OMG !! Cute dresses .You look also fab,
    That belt is PERFECT with the frock

    Posted 6.20.13 Reply
  5. I love all 3 variations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And the last photo of the close-up shows that you took great detail with the seams and such. Great job, but yea, very time consuming!

    Posted 6.19.13 Reply
  6. Yours shoes looks great. I like it very much. Actually your frock looks so pretty.

    Posted 6.18.13 Reply
  7. sarah wrote:

    OMG this is absolutely amaaazing! Seriously, I'm just in awe! I think both pieces are completely versatile on their own, and look fantastic together as well!

    <3 sarah

    Life By Appointment 

    Posted 6.18.13 Reply
  8. Sammy wrote:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Posted 6.17.13 Reply
  9. Hi Annie – I did try that once and it didn't look right due to the peplum and skirt stripes not coordinating, but it's such an interesting look I'd like to play with it again. Thanks for the idea! And I'm sure you have more skills that you're giving yourself credit for! Speaking of PJ pants, printed pajama-style trousers (for wearing outside the home) have been in style for a while – have you tried your hand at those? : )

    Posted 6.17.13 Reply
  10. Anonymous wrote:

    I have been thinking of making a peplum+skirt=dress combo for months now, but just haven't had the time. It's neat to see one sewn up, & it looks really nice.

    Posted 6.16.13 Reply
  11. All three look good! Striped pieces are so classic and versatile!

    Chunk flower necklaces 7 colors:

    Posted 6.16.13 Reply
  12. Melinda W. wrote:

    i love that this is two pieces! such a good idea!!

    Posted 6.15.13 Reply
  13. I really like the peplum top! I've been looking for something similar but haven't found anything that fits me well. I love the two pieces as a dress too.

    Posted 6.15.13 Reply
  14. Petite-ish wrote:

    You are such a master of the multi-tasking wardrobe pieces and this convertible dress is beautifully executed. It looks amazing on you (my favorite would have to be the dress)! I've also long been a fan of the fit and flare dress, which is one of the reasons why I love anthropologie (they've been turning out figure-flattering fit and flare dresses since the 90s).

    Posted 6.15.13 Reply
  15. Anonymous wrote:

    This is lovely! You are becoming a very talented seamstress. I love your outfit as a "dress" but the versatility of separates is very clever! I enjoy your blog.


    Posted 6.15.13 Reply
  16. Annie wrote:

    You look gorgeous! I dabble in sewing and can handle things like skirts, but the idea of a blouse or anything more fitted than PJ pants makes me sweat, so good for you! It looks fantastic.

    I love it worn both as separates and as a dress. I'm curious, how does it look when they are worn together with the peplum out instead of tucked under? I can imagine them looking either really cute (like when women wear those flouncy tutu-inspired skirts) or just way too much volume. Just wondering!

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  17. Lili wrote:

    I am absolutely in love with the dress! So pretty and classic, the fact that you can also wear it separately as skirt and top is just the cherry on top of the cake!!!

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  18. Sassy T wrote:
    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  19. Van Nguyen wrote:

    I like all 3 three looks and look beautiful styled. Great job on sewing them.

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  20. Brianne wrote:

    WOW, I adore this/these!! I particularly love the versatility of it – 3 styles in one! Great job 🙂

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  21. Mary Ann wrote:

    I think you did a great job, Jean! Linings are fairly simple once you get the hang of it….I think one of the most important tips is good pressing at the seams. 😉 You also did a great job matching up the stripes – love that! I made some costumes last year for a show and I had to match up plaids….that was tiring, hah!

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  22. AlexisB wrote:

    I love it worn as a dress. So cute!! I also love the smooth waistband in front with elasticized waist in back. Brilliant idea.

    You did a great job on both pieces. I think I'm going to have to learn how to sew . . .

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  23. Dice wrote:

    Hi Jean,

    You did a fantastic job! I'm impressed by your sewing skills and that this was your first time creating these garments. I would have never known they were separate pieces if you didn't mention it. I can't decide which piece I like better as they're both cute and so versatile. I love that you added pockets to the skirt!

    If you were making these to sell, I would purchase it without hesitation! =)

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  24. An Nicole wrote:

    You did an amazing job! I could never do that! I love the peplum top.


    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  25. Wow! You did a great job. I'm sure it was hard work but I'd say the results are well worth it!

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  26. Joules wrote:

    Wow, this is super impressive! I can't decide which I like better–top or dress. I like them both for different reasons. The pleating on the skirt looks really well done, but the peplum top looks totally chic too. Would love a tutorial once you're feeling up to making one!

    Style by Joules

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  27. What a brilliant way to make it a dress, yet a top and a skirt as well.

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  28. Anita wrote:

    OMG! I love these looks! I'd have to say my fav is the peplum top. I am uber impressed with your mad sewing skills, but after that awesome scalloped skirt tut, I should have known. 🙂

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  29. Kelsey wrote:

    I love this silhouette, but I'm 5'10" and most dresses sold in stores have too short of a torso for me. Maybe I'll just have to use your set as inspiration and sew my own!

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  30. Anonymous wrote:

    The center photo is my favorite. That belt is PERFECT with the 'dress'.

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  31. woww.. this is such cute dress.. gorgeous!

    Maybe you have time to see my new Outfit post: A Tulle Tale

    You are welcome to visit my First Blog Sale hosted on Facebook page. I'm selling New Items at one-third price as on websites For Indian Residents Only.

    Participate in my International Giveaway Each winner can choose her jewelry from Persunmall


    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  32. I like it as a top and dress the best. The picture of you in the skirt for some reason it looks too poofy, but it doesn't look too poofy as a dress. The overall fabric is very "Rugby" – I love it!

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  33. Elle wrote:

    This two-piece set looks so perfect on you…uh, can I trade my second born for one of these? 🙂

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  34. Jenny Lin wrote:

    The fit is perfect on you! you are an inspiration…I am going to buy a sewing machine!

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  35. mingming wrote:

    Love it! I never would've thought they were separates if you hadn't mentioned it. It's so clever! Provides so many more options to wear!

    I think a seam ripper is pretty much a major part of every sewing adventure for me. I always manage to sew things together with the wrong side facing out…

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  36. Oh my god, a great idea! So it's a top and a skirt and both together a dress? I love it (:

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  37. Rachelle wrote:

    You look adorable in this outfit, love the sandals.


    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  38. Jen wrote:

    I love that you included pockets! For anyone who isn't quite so skilled with a needle, ASOS has a similar skirt on sale:

    Unfortunately, I can't pull off the look without looking about 10-year-old, but maybe one of you will be luckier!

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  39. m wrote:

    amazing! all three looks are great.

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  40. You look so sweet and chic 😉

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  41. Karen wrote:

    Wow, that is seriously amazing! I was skimming for the brand of the dress before I realized you made that! Amazing job!

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  42. Yuen Lim wrote:

    That is gorgeous! 3 things for the price of 1 piece of material – bargain (:

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  43. This is so cute, Jean! I wish my sewing skills allowed me to make clothing. I'm still in the early stages of just sewing little throw pillows and aprons!

    I really like how convertible your outfit is. Especially love the look of the dress since you can add a cute belt (like you did above) to the look. The cute red purse added such a great pop of color.

    Absolutely adore your outfit!


    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  44. I simply don't know which look I love better. I'm just stunned by your sewing skills and that this was your first attempt at making this garment. It's fabulous!! I'm inspired to make my own two piece set. Genius!


    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  45. Jessy wrote:

    I love the pieces both separately and combined, Jean! They're super cute and versatile. I can't wait to see you wear them separately again in future posts.

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  46. wow, all three looks are fantastic, but i LOVE them together as a dress.

    Posted 6.14.13 Reply
  47. I can't believe you made that! It looks incredible. All of the tutorials you've linked and posted really make me want to get a sewing machine asap.

    I like it best as a dress but that just because I'm partial to dresses 🙂

    Posted 6.13.13 Reply
  48. Olyvia wrote:

    Where is that building behind you? It looks like a house of giants! But makes for a perfect photo backdrop with the whimsical style of your outfit! Love it!

    Posted 6.13.13 Reply
  49. Suzie Q wrote:

    I love the fit and flare striped dress trend. Your idea for the separate peplum top and skirt is ingenius! It makes it so much more versatile to wear as separate on-trend pieces, including the paired together dress. The final products turned out beautifully!

    Suzie Q

    Posted 6.13.13 Reply
  50. DSK Steph wrote:

    Beautiful! 🙂

    Posted 6.13.13 Reply

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