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Curtain to Dress Upcycle

After a couple months of traveling & not spending my weekends at home, I was truly exhausted! With a free weekend spent at home I decided to not make many plans for myself and sit at home & sew. I truly am an old lady trapped in a 23 year old’s body.


While most of my refashions start with a dated, thrifted piece, this curtain came from my own arsenal of fabric that no longer had a purpose. In its prime, I used it in an apartment during college & when moving out I put it in a box and it never made it to the new apartment. After finding it years later, while it no longer fit my décor, it is still a beautiful pattern that I could make use of. 

This grey & white curtain is in a canvas material (great for blackout as that was its initial purpose) which I decided to make a dress out of. I currently feel most confident in a tighter fit top with a flowy skirt portion so I thought a halter top into a circle skirt would be a great addition to my closet.


I began this project with the skirt portion as it uses the most fabric. The method I used is a circle skirt which is a flowy style that when fully laid out, creates a circle.  To start this I went to this Circle Skirt Calculator to determine what I would need to cut out. With a 31” waist, & wanting a 19” skirt, the calculator told me I would have to cut a 4.15” radius (r) & 23.93” length (l). I then folded my curtain over twice, into quarters. From the corner with both folds, I marked out the quarter circle with my radius & length as shown in the picture below. 


With the skirt now cut out, I moved onto hemming the bottom. I did this by folding it over twice, pinning it in place and doing a straight stitch. I pressed this hem flat and set the skirt aside. 



Now moving onto the top portion, I laid a dress I like over my material to mark out my bust piece. Just working with the general triangle shape, I added ½” to the top point and 1” to each side point to account for seam allowance and a dart & marked it out with a water soluble pen . To have 2 outer pieces & 2 lining pieces- I cut 4 total of this triangle. 

To account for the fact that boobs are not flat, I next added darts to these triangles. I did this by folding each one over at the top point straight down & pinned it in place. I then marked 4” from the bottom and ½” out, to end up with a 1” dart. I did a straight stitch between these two points. Note, you should never backstitch when making a dart as it will completely mess it up (I have definitely made this mistake before!!). 



Moving on to the straps- I decided to go with a halter style. Truthfully this decision came from not wanting to have to deal with attaching them to the back. To make straps that were long enough to be able to tie around my neck I cut out 2, 1” x 24” pieces. I quickly learned my canvas material was too thick to do a loop turn method and had to change my strategy. I then folded each side half way to the center, folded the whole strip in half & did a straight stitch down the whole thing. Unfortunately, the stitching can be seen this way but at least I had straps.  

Next, I took my new strap and sandwiched it between 2 bodice pieces facing right sides together and pinned it in place. I sewed around the two sides, leaving the bottom open & back stitched across the strap portion to add extra security. I repeated these steps for the other side of the bodice. With that complete I pulled them right sides out & pressed it flat. 


To complete the top, I cut out a piece to cover my rib area, connecting the breast pieces to the skirt. I marked out a rectangle-like piece with a width of 16”, 4” side pieces sloping up to a 5 1/2” point. 




With that cut out, I took my breast pieces & pinned them to this rib piece from each end, right sides together. I folded the center piece over twice to finish that off & sewed straight across the whole width. 


My next focus was on the back panel. I cut out 1 actual rectangle – 16” x 4” cut this out from the already hemmed bottom of the curtain to skip that step. I attached this portion to the front piece by then right sides together & straight stitching down the 2 sides. 

I now had the top and bottom pieces complete and all I had left was to attach the two & adding a zipper! To accomplish this I cut open the back panel straight down the middle & the skirt as well. I pinned these two right sides together and sewed straight across. Once I had the dress altogether, I went back and zig zag stitched any raw edges to prevent fraying. 


For the final step I added my invisible zipper. Sadly I did not have any white or grey ones in my sewing supplies stash & ended up using this pink invisible zipper. While it was frustrating to not have it blend in, the pop of color was not the absolute worst. If you do not know how to add a zipper I recommend following a YouTube tutorial like this one, to see how it’s done- it’s not as intimidating as it may seem! In the same motion I closed off the rest of the skirt. 


My dress was now complete! Thank you all for following along- please comment any questions you may have. I plan on wearing this on my upcoming vacation so stay tuned for more pictures!!