Men's T-shirt to Gossip Girl-style Chain & Bead Halter Dress - A.K.A. La Rok's "Navajo Chain Dress"
It's been awhile since this was seen on Blair Lively on Gossip Girl , but this felt so glam I just had to recreate it. (serenalarokfrimgedress.jpg) And better yet? It's made from a men's t-shirt, cut up and sewn into a mini-dress, with just some wooden beads and chain as decoration.</p>
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You Will Need
Prep Your Parts:
Cut sleeves off t-shirt, leaving no part of the sleeve seams. (tee2.jpg)
Cut along shoulder seams to separate front from back.
Cut straight across the back from underarm to underarm and remove the upper back of the tee.
Cut in a gentle curve across the front of the t-shirt at the top in order to get rid of the neck ribbing.
On outside of tee, mark a line about 1" down from the front top.
Measure 1/2" below this line, and draw another line. Finally, draw a line in the center if the two lines you drew.
Mark short lines along the center line. (These will indicate the placement of your beads.) I placed my marks 2.5" apart - and started at the center of the shirt, placing a mark on either side, then moving along the line to each edge.
Mark two dots on either side of each short line you made in the previous step. These will be the holes for the halter-neck tie.
Using a hole punch or an awl, punch a small hole at each dot. (Not at the bead-marking lines!!)
Cut 2 strips 1/2" wide across the back part of the t-shirt that you cut off in Step 3). Cut another strip 3/4" wide.
Pin the 3/4" wide strip to the wrong side of the front, centering it vertically over the holes you punched in the previous step.
Sew this strip to the wrong side of the front (I just followed the lines I drew on the front of the shirt). This will create a casing for the halter-tie.
Sew the ends of the two 1/2" strips together (WRONG sides together). You will have a super-long strip of fabric - so pu-u-ull on it to stretch it out. You'll find it rolls to the WRONG side of the fabric (since it is a knit fabric).
Thread Tie Through
14. Wrap one end of your halter-tie in tape, and thread it into the first punched hole on one side of your tee.
(Going in from the wrong side and coming out the right side.) Then add a bead onto the tie, and thread it into the other hole and into the casing.
Repeat for all the holes in the front of the garment, adding on all your beads and gathering the excess fabric between.
Pull the tie all the way through and out, adjust the length of its ends, and knot ends. (Add an extra bead on each end for decoration if you like.)
Fix the Fit
Try on the shirt now. Tie halter-tie behind your neck, and look at the way the shirt falls on your body. You may have to nip and tuck in certain places to get it to look more "dresslike" and fitted. Pin to indicate where the fixes are needed (like at the side seams).
Sew side seams and cut off excess fabric.
Turn edge of dress that goes around to the back, and stitch down to create a finished edge.
Optional: unpick hem of tee to add a little more length to the dress. (Steam iron it to remove creases, but there may be some creasing that is impossible to remove.)
Optional: If you are concerned about the front coverage, you can always add a back piece that spans your back just under your arms, holding the front halter in place. (Salvaging the back piece from the leftover back of the t-shirt.)
Cut chain into 12" lengths (2 per bead, except for each bead on the sides of the piece, where you will only use one 12" length of chain per bead). Fold lengths in half and add a jumpring in the center.
Add jumprings onto the halter-tie on either side of each bead, so the chains drip down the front of the dress in-between the fabric gathers.
(Note: this dress may or may not be washable, depending on how color-fast your beads are. Check before dunking it in water - and as always, hand-wash your creations!)
Voila! A Gossip-Girl-worthy party dress for a song.