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?
When you purchase through the links on this blog, I may earn a commission. Thank you for your support!

When you purchase through the links on this blog, I may earn a commission. Thank you for your support!

For Daily Posts

Leave a Comment


  1. A.Co wrote:

    THIS IS AMAZING, Jean!! It turned out sooo well, wow.

    I love it as a dress, but I'm a big fan of the peplum top on it's own too. What a super job you did!

    Posted 10.11.13 Reply
  2. Hi Jennine – unfortunately I don't have manufacture or type info, but it was in the home decor section right next to the water resistant materials.

    Posted 7.18.13 Reply

Get the newsletter!

What updates would you like?