How to Make a Hillbilly Dress

Patchwork Dresses from Pre-loved T-shirts

I make these quaint 'frowns' (a cross between a frock and a gown) to use just to lounge around in, or even sleep in.  They are a great way of utilizing those favorite old t-shirts that you just can't bear to throw away, or ones that you buy in the thrift store.

How to Make a Hillbilly Dress

Each hillbilly dress or 'frown' will take  between four and five t-shirts; choose the colors you like, and one especially nice top or t-shirt for the bodice of the dress.

All measurements are subject to your discretion, and based on what you have available for fabric.

These instructions presume that you have some experience with making your own clothes using a sewing machine or serger because I'll be using some common terms that you will need to know.

Cut the bodice of your nicest t-shirt in a curve...

Cut the bottom of the bodice in a curve; this allows the gathers of the skirt part to fall properly, and also give your bosom somewhere to go. 

I generally start the curve about 3-4" below the armhole, which is the perfect measurement on me.  Use your discretion; if you have a larger bust size, allow more.

The skirt should be a little bigger than the bodice

The skirt part should be at least four to six inches bigger around than the measurement of the bodice, to allow for gathering to fit. 

This part is cut straight across.

Join the rest of the t-shirts cut into squares or rectangles...patchwork fashion...

The rest of the t-shirts, as well as the bottom of the bodice are all cut into strips about six to eight inches deep.  I use a serger to sew them all into patchwork, but a zig zag stitch on a regular machine will work too. 

Aim for a tube that is larger than the bottom of the skirt section, so you can gather it.

As I don't have room for two machines, I use hand sewing to gather the fabric of the skirt to the size of the bodice and the ruffle to the skirt. 

You can do this, or use the largest stitch size on your straight stitch sewing machine, sometimes called a basting stitch. 

Embellish your hillbilly dress with some hand made paper beads...

All the rest of the pieces are sewn together on the serger, or overlock machine, but you could use a zig zag stitch for a similar technique. 

I'll bet you'll like making these so much that you'll have several - they even make great gardening gear - make a couple of big pockets for the front and keep your plant labels and a pen, or some string for tying in the tomatoes.

Add jewelry for more spice...

Or, spice it up with some jewelry and wear it out to a barbeque or garden party.  Made out of more dressy fabric, these could even be made for a hillbilly wedding; why not?

Later; with all the interest in camouflage these days I found a couple of camo tank tops - a skirt of patches in the same colors, and voila! 

Lyrics from the song, Jackie Blue, by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils;

Ooh-hoo, Jackie Blue
Lives her life from inside of a room
Hides that smile when she's wearin' a frown
Ooh Jackie, you're not so down

You like your life in a free-form style
You'll take an inch but you'd love a mile
There never seems to be quite enough
Floating around to fill your lovin' cup

Ooh-hoo, Jackie Blue
What's a game, girl, if you never lose
Ask a winner and you'll prob'bly find
Ooh Jackie, they've lost at sometime

Don't try to tell me that you're not aware
Of what you're doing and that you don't care
You say it's easy, just a natural thing
Like playing music but you never sing

Ooh-hoo, Jackie Blue
Making wishes that never come true
Going places where you've never been
Ooh Jackie, you're going again

Ooh-hoo, Jackie Blue
Lives a dream that can never come true
Making love is like siftin' through sand
Ooh Jackie, it slips through your hand

Every day, in your indigo eyes
I watch the sun set but I don't see it rise
Moonlight and stars in your strawberry wine
You'd take the world but you won't take the time

Ooh-hoo, Jackie Blue
Lives her life from inside of a room
Makes you think that her life is a drag
Ooh Jackie, what fun you have had

Ooh Jackie, ooh Jackie
Ooh Jackie, ooh Jackie
Hey hey hey hey

"Jackie Blue" was written by Lee, Larry M. / Cash, Steve.

Read more: Ozark Mountain Daredevils - Jackie Blue Lyrics | MetroLyrics

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