So I’ve been wanting an infinity dress for aaaages, but they are so expensive, and seem to only come in Bridesmaid-ey colours. I decided to have a go at making one myself, but to make it a little easier for myself I started off attempting a top. I love it so much, and it was surprisingly easy, so next week I’m going to attempt a maxi dress!
To start with I did some research. There are loads of blog posts about infinity dresses but I couldn’t find any for an infinity top. I also don’t like the fact that most of these wrap dresses have super low backs which looks great but prevents you from wearing a bra! I hate going braless, so I decided to add a bandeau to my top.
I wanted to make a top out of jersey fabric I could drape nicely, and I found some cheap fabric with a nice pattern on eBay. I thought it would just be good for a practice at under £7 for 2 metres but actually it was pretty nice, heavy feeling fabric that draped beautifully.
I’m planning to use the leftovers to make a cowl neck shirt for placement.
I worked out that I would need two metres for the straps, I took my height multiplied by 1.5 which seemed a common factor during my wrap research.
Then I measured my waist and used that GCSE maths I had forgotten to work out the size of the circle I’d need at the bottom:
Your waist measurement is the circumference of your inner circle. To find the length across the circle (diameter) divide the circumference by 3.142.
I am a UK size 10, my waist is 70cm, so my inner circle needed to be 22cm across (70/3.142). This is the diameter of my inner circle. This turned out a little big due to the stretch of the fabric, next time I’d use closer to 20cm.
Then I measured from my waist to where I wanted the shirt to end, for me this was 25cm, the grey measurement on my diagram. This plus the radius (half the diameter, green measurement) of the inner circle is the radius of your outer circle, or the red measurement on my diagram below.
So basically I needed a circle that had a 36cm radius with a circle cut out that had an 11cm radius.
I made a pattern using baking paper. I attached a pen to a piece of string that was 36cm long and drew a half circle, then shortened the string and drew another half circle using 11cm length. My ‘pattern’ looked like this:
To save time and paper I made a semi circle pattern and cut the circle on a fold.
To get the measurements for your straps, measure from under your armpit where a side seams would sit, to the centre of your chest. For me this was 20cm. Then, as I mentioned above, multiply your height by 1.5 to get the length of your straps. To cut them out in folded the fabric four times so I only had to cut a short distance!
So. At this stage you have your ‘skirt’ which is the circle, and your long ties. Now you need to make your bandeau.
I measured around where I wanted my bandeau to sit just above my bra line, and then used my waist measurement from before. To get the height measure from your waist up to where you want it to sit. For me this meant a piece that was 70cm at the bottom and 35cm tall, with a measurement of 80cm at the top.
I decided not to make the bandeau larger at the fullest point of the bust because it was stretchy and I hoped this would help it stay up. To counter the lack of extra room, I made the diagonal from the smaller waist to the bust go to about halfway up the top (see below). The bandeau is mostly going to be covered by your straps anyway. I also decided not to hem it because this fabric doesn’t fray, and I will mostly tuck it into my bra anyway. If you want it to stay up on its own I suggest making it double height then folding it over and stitching some elastic to the top of the hidden piece.
Lay your skirt right side up and smooth out any creases. Next decide how much of an overlap you want in your straps. I went for about 3/4 inch. Pon your straps together with this overlap, then start pinning them to your skirt. You need to ensure that the straps don’t cover more than half your waist circle, so you may need to gather them a little. Make sure you gather both straps evenly! I pinned the centre and then the two edges and worked my way in.
Once you have this pinned, sew a zigzag line.
Finally, you need to attach the bandeau to your top. This is the confusing bit.
First pick up your skirt and straps by the waist circle, so that your skirt is the correct way up, with the straps falling over the front. Lay this on your surface.
Get your bandeau, right sides together, with the waist (Bottom) at the top and lay it above your skirt.
Now move the skirt inside the bandeau and line them up so that the waist on the bandeau and the waist on the skirt are lined up. Note that due to the stretch in the fabric your skirt waist may seem bigger than your bandeau. This is ok because you can use your bandeau to gather it.
Pin the skirt to the bandeau ensuring any gathering you need is evenly spaced. Sew along this line.