I was perusing the Top Shop website a while back and came upon this gem:
Instant dress lust. It is the perfect summer dress. Light-weight, knit, easy to wear, would look cute with boots or sandals, and has that cute fringe detail that is kind of the jam right now. Top Shop is asking $56 for it. I kept trying to justify it, considering that there are very few things from Top Shop that are less than a hundred dollars...let alone a dress. So it's technically a deal by Top Shop standards, right? I put it into my shopping cart multiple times, suckered in by the 'free shipping on all orders' and 'no added tax', but I still couldn't bring myself to enter in my credit card number.
Fast forward to the other day when I went to H&M to exchange a skirt for a different size that I had snagged a few days prior. While there, I stumbled upon a black knit maxi dress with spaghetti straps and a waist tie for a mere $12.95! The moment I saw it, I instantly knew this had the potential to be transformed into a version of the little Top Shop number above. And for $12.95?! That's a fraction of the original. SOLD. Done deal.
These are the tools you will need for fringing. (Ok, I didn't actually end up using the seam gauge...but whatever.) The clear ruler comes in handy, and I will tell you why in a bit. But any ruler will do. If you really want to get down to basics, you really just need scissors, a ruler, and something to mark your lines with.
Ok. Here we go. I started off by cutting off about a foot from the bottom because I wanted it to be pretty much the same length as the Top Shop version. If you don't already own a rotary cutter and you want to get into DIY, buy one. I swear by mine. They are kind of pricey and the cutting mat that goes along with it is too...but it's worth it. It makes cutting a straight line the easiest thing you've ever done. Just be careful, I've actually cut the tip of my finger off with it once. No joke.
Next, I measured how long I wanted the actual fringe to be and marked the line all the way around the dress. Then, I made perpendicular lines 1/2 inch apart for the actual fringing. Huh? What? Here:
This is why having a clear ruler is awesome. It makes is really easy to line up the ruler in both directions and to make sure that all of your fringe is exactly 1/2 inch apart. If you aren't careful and aren't lining up your fringe with that perpendicular line, the lines can slowly start to go at an angle and then they wont line up when you get all the way around the dress.
Once you are done making all of your lines, start cutting! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make sure you are only cutting through one layer of the fabric when you do this. I have definitely been cutting things in pervious projects and accidentally cut through too many layers or cut something that wasn't meant to be cut because I wasn't paying attention. This can potentially ruin the entire thing, I don't want that to happen!
Marking the lines and cutting them will take forever. I'm not going to lie, it got real annoying for a minute. Trust me, it will be worth the trouble in the end. Finish cutting all those lines? Yay! But no, you aren't done yet. Now, you need to go back through all of the fringe and pull on each one to stretch it out. This stretching of the knit causes is to curl into more of a tube-like fringe instead of fat, flat chunks of fringe. This is optional, but in my opinion...it looks way better. And if you cut out your fringe kind of jagged or make a mistake, the curling of the fabric will hide all that business. The fringe will also be thinner and made my fringe about an inch longer, so plan for that as well.
I tried to take a photo of stretched-out fringe versus non-stretched out. Stretched on the left, non-stretched on the right. It doesn't translate well in this photo, but it is very obvious in person.
Pretty awesome, no? And honestly, this is one of the easiest DIYs ever. It takes no sewing skills and most people have some scissors and a ruler lying around the house. As long as you can use a ruler and cut in a straight line, you are good to go.
How amazing would this fringe be on a cropped Harley tank or some knit booty shorts? Or on the sleeves of a knit top? Eh? Eh? The possibilities are pretty much endless.
Also, this will only work for knit fabric. Any stretchy, t-shirt type material is a knit. This dress is a cotton blend fabric, I'm not sure how well it would work on polyester or other synthetic fabrics though. I could go into depth about knit vs. woven fabric, but that class in school was really boring for me, so why would I bore you with it as well?
Oh, and what am I gonna do with that foot of knit that I cut off of the bottom? A shredded eternity scarf perhaps? So, a dress and a scarf for a mere 12.95 bones? Not too shabby!