infinity dress with bandeau top May 22, 2012 – Posted in: Tutorials
Last February when I competed in the So You Think You’re Crafty competition, I made an infinity dress. It was “Go Red for Women” week and I thought a sweet little dress for Valentine’s Day would be perfect. I scoured other tutorials for convertible dresses, but I was confused and frustrated, and decided make my own. My dress had a few mistakes as I was figuring out the best way to make it and upon its completion, it was unwearable for me. I was newly pregnant and the dress accentuated my belly (that we hadn’t told anyone about) and was much shorter than I prefer. Then I discovered the complete lack of modesty in the bust region and lets just say that one the whole, it was better suited for the bedroom than the blog. But since I won the challenge that week, I published my tutorial and went on about my business.
Over the last 15 months, that has been the most popular post on my blog! I’ve been absolutely blown away by the number of views, comments, and pins! The love for my tutorial has been overwhelming, to say the least. And it’s made me even more frustrated by my crap-tastic first dress. Don’t get me wrong, the math and the technique are spot on. But the dress I produced was a flop. And for 15 months it’s eaten at me.
I’ve gotten many comments and emails asking me about the top half of this dress. Many of you, like me, have to wear a bra and have discovered it’s just not possible. I’ve said many times, “Oh, just make a bandeau top for it” and left it at that. Well, I’m proud to say I’ve finally put my money where my mouth is and made a convertible dress with a bandeau style top for full coverage.
And this dress is wearable! I’m so in love with everything about it.
Adding the top piece to this dress has opened all sorts of amazing wearing opportunities for me! Areas that would previously be exposed are now nicely covered and allow a bra to be worn.
It’s so much more comfortable for me to wear this dress, knowing I’m fully covered. And the styles look just as good!
When you see the dress from the front, you don’t notice just how much shows when you turn to the side! I know I didn’t when I made my first one, anyway.
The steps to make this version are exactly like my first one. There’s just one tiny, simple difference.
Ready to make your own? You’ll need to first read my other tutorial as it contains information about how to cut the pieces to your right size.
Sew Like My Mom’s Infinity Dress Tutorial
Now, here’s the trick. The waistband on my other dress was 1 piece I folded in half and sewn to the skirt. For this version I made it 1 layer thick, but taller, so it would come up higher. That’s it! So my “waistband” piece became the bandeau piece. For me it was 30″ wide by 13″ tall.
To sew, gather your 4 pieces. One skirt piece, 2 straps, and the waistband/bandeau piece.
Just as before, cross your straps over each other and pin to the skirt.
Sew the straps on. Then take the bandeau piece and fold it in half and sew down the side. This will be a side seam in the top of the dress.
Leaving the bandeau inside out, pin the bottom of your piece to the skirt/straps and sew all the way around.
When you’re finished, pull the bandeau piece up and your straps will be sandwiched between it and the skirt with the seam on the inside. It’s ready to wear!
Cara May 22, 2012 - 18:09
Lovely! The only reason I haven’t pinned the infinity dress is that I knew I’d never wear it, even as small chested as I am. This I could do!
Athena Grayson May 22, 2012 - 18:35
Lovely! I followed your tutorial for the red dress and figured out something similar on my own, so my second dress (with a slight alteration in the skirt–I was also using stripey material and I made the skirt using panels so it gave a starburst effect) had a much wider waistband that served as the “bandeau.” Worked out great and thanks for the updated tute!
kendascrafts May 22, 2012 - 18:49
Lauren Dack May 22, 2012 - 20:09
I love it! You look beautiful!
Amy May 23, 2012 - 10:30
Thanks for saving the day. I made this dress in navy for summer and was playing with ways I could tie it that weren’t so bare on the sides. I agree, a bra is a must so…? I actually saw a video on youtube about tying these dresses in which the dress had the bandeau. Also saw them yank it way up to make the waistband fit over the bust, but then the dress becomes a baby doll dress, a bit to short for a woman in her 40’s thanks. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this, but as the waistband/bandeau is the last piece to be sewn on this is an easy fix. I shall just cut off the existing band and reapply the taller bandeau. Easy peasey!! And btw: your infinity dress directions are the best I have seen. Thanks for posting it as well as the addition.
Christie @Pathtothehalf May 24, 2012 - 09:00
OMG I love it! I cant wait to try to make one…I am a bit of a novice though, so I am starting with your upcycled t–shirt skirt first!
Jennifer May 27, 2012 - 12:58
Where did you get that pink striped fabric? I’m in love!
Beth June 03, 2012 - 00:04
I just made this today and this is the best tutorial! You did so well at explaining everything! I only changed one thing that may help. I put a small seam at the top of the bandeau and put a peice of elastic in it to help keep it from slipping. Great Job!! I Love it!
Liz June 08, 2012 - 09:16
Hi, I love the dress, I went to JoAnn’s, not the best fabric selection and I’m getting ready to make my first one. I usually make clothes for my girls, but this inspired me to make something for myself. I was wondering also where you got the striped jersey fabric, I’ve been looking for that for a while to make pants for my daughter, but now I’m in love with it for the dress.
Melissa June 11, 2012 - 10:58 – In reply to: Liz
I got the fabric at JoAnn’s! There’s also a blue and white version that I grabbed, too. I know I personally bought all there was at my store, so it’s possible someone was ugly like me at yours!
calce June 16, 2012 - 05:18
Great idea!!!!! I love it!!!
Holly June 27, 2012 - 03:34
Thank you for posting this. I made this today and love it. Though i will make minor alterations to the tube top, it is a great dress. I have 3 kids and am still pretty busty so the added cover up is perfect
Dee June 29, 2012 - 05:01
This is a great tute. Thanks heaps. I am going to make this dress for myself. I love the idea of the bandeau top.
Sanjana July 05, 2012 - 20:56
I love the idea… I’m a little confused as to the length of the bandeau and where you sew. i would greatly appreciate some more details because i am new to sewing 🙂
Meala July 06, 2012 - 09:50
Wow, thanks for this. I have to agree with a lot of others, yours is the best infinity dress tutorial Ive come across so far and THIS was exactly the problem that has kept me from finally sewing the thing together ( I already have the fabric xD) great job 😀 btw, I love your stuff 😉
carolyng July 06, 2012 - 13:13
Awesome! I pinned the red dress and was planning to make it…pleasantly surprised to find your update with the bandeau top! Perfect for me who has no chest at all, everything gapes 🙂
Andrea July 06, 2012 - 17:13
Thank you for this updated tutorial! I was planning to make your red dress for a girls’ weekend in Vegas, but was concerned about the sides (my straps will have to be 13″ wide, so I feel your pain). I have a question about where you got the measurement for the “height” of the bandeau. Is it just from belly to breastbone?
Vivian July 09, 2012 - 13:03
Wow I am just putting together my dress and read this just in time….
I am doing the bandeau idea…. I would like the coverage as well. I will wear the dress more if I am covered…
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS IDEA…..
VIV IS SEWING……
Lyn July 12, 2012 - 22:57
Just made your bandeau version for my daughter in a teal-colored swimsuit fabric. It is stunning! Swimsuit fabric has such great drape. And she’s having so much fun with tying it up in different ways. Thanks so much for a well-written set of directions!
Lyn July 12, 2012 - 23:05
Just wanted to add that I’m thinking of adding clear/colorless straps to the bandeau to ensure that it doesn’t slip…
Suzanne July 14, 2012 - 00:51
You are a genius!!
Jessica July 27, 2012 - 12:49
I’m a very novice sewer but am going to attempt making this for my friend’s wedding dress and myself a bridesmaid dress. A few Questions:
Do you hem this skirt or straps at all?? if so how?
And where did you put the seam on the bandeau? in the back? I missed it somehow. We are both big girls with large chests and modesty is definatly for us!! Plus I don’t want any rolls hanging out! Haha!!
Melissa July 28, 2012 - 10:26 – In reply to: Jessica
No, I don’t hem the straps or skirt.
The seam on the bandeau is on one side, so it runs along under my arm and is the least exposed.
Lori July 29, 2012 - 17:02
AHA!! I literally just followed your tutorial of the original infinity, but after wearing it once, I decided that 1) I need to wear a bra, and 2) i was always concerned about skin showing… So… I made myself a little tube top/bra to wear over the top of at least a strapless bra… not quite as “permanent” as your solution, but I felt MUCH more secure in the dress with the 10″ (or so) wide band that can cover at least **that area** and make me feel a lot better while wearing it!
Ashley Cooper July 30, 2012 - 22:35
did this version also take five yards of fabric or do you need more?
Melissa July 31, 2012 - 12:52 – In reply to: Ashley Cooper
It took less because I made the straps a little shorter. But I would still do 5 yards if I made it again.
Isabelle August 02, 2012 - 15:53
Great idea! I think I might alter the infinity dress I just finished this morning to add a bandeau!
Wolfcat August 07, 2012 - 18:18
The wider straps and bandeau top make it more likely to wear as well-especially with a small bolero or linen jacket to make it work for work. 😛
I own one of the skirt variations that has the 2 layers made of silk/rayon and am looking to see if a variation on this pattern will allow a non-knit reversible dress to be made. It wouldn’t be as easy for an inexperienced seamstress, but I think it will be manageable-just take a bit more time and possibly a couple of pieces requiring bias cutting.
Emily August 16, 2012 - 22:06
How did you arrive at 30″ for the bandeau width?
Melissa August 17, 2012 - 13:38 – In reply to: Emily
30″ is my waist measurement for the original waistband in the dress without the bandeau. So I kept the same measurement, I just made a much taller waistband, basically.
Michelle August 22, 2012 - 20:58
I just made this dress and it is awesome! I bought some fabric for $0.50/yd (I Know!) but could only get 2 1/2 yards. The bandeau top let me shorten the straps to 60 inches ( 99 inches was called for) and still get the coverage I needed :?) Thanks for such an amazing tutorial!
sam August 23, 2012 - 13:13
awesome, awesome, awesome! I saw the pattern for the red dress and was bummed because I loved it, but don’t love showing off my top half (and I am not crafty enough to figure out alterations to cover up!). Thank you for posting this – I am so excited to try it out!!!
Christine August 24, 2012 - 09:45
Thank you so much! My daughter needs a dress for her college choir class and a convertible dress is the first thing I thought of since it would give her the most versatility. Of course all the convertible dresses I found are out of our budget and the exposed sides posed a problem and had lost hope. When I found your tutorial, it gave me that hope back. It has all the information we need and instructions we can follow. Thank you again for solving all our issues!!
Lolita September 10, 2012 - 00:43
I made this dress in black as a formal! I extended the skirt, and used a laced material as the bandeau and put cups in the front of the bandeau, this keep my breast from moving around and allowed me to have a sexy evening dress that was inexpensive, 25 bucks, and oh so sexy.
Tracy September 14, 2012 - 22:26
Love it were going to do it for my wedding but I’m going to do two different colors I’ll send pick in 2 years.
Claire September 27, 2012 - 18:51
My mom is making these for my bridesmaids as I type- fabulous tutorial! And for PPs who wondered about fabric cost- you can easily find fabric for cheap. Ours was $5 a yard, making these about $30 a dress. 🙂
Christie September 29, 2012 - 09:31
This tutorial is the best out there for the infinity dress! The math is spot on and the directions were simple enough for beginners. I would love to see a tute for a reversible and fabric selections, jersey vs Lycra or the difference in modal jersey to hear which material works best. Thanks for the pictures. It made a difference in more unfinished projects and happy 18 year old.
Aliy December 03, 2012 - 16:19
As far as fabric, I used an old set of jersey sheets that my parents were going to get rid of. The kind you can buy for like $15 at target. 🙂
Corrina December 23, 2012 - 05:13
My friend showed me to your tutorial, she made the original and as we’re of similar waist size I tried it on. It’s brilliant but I did feel a bit exposed for some of the wraps and the straps felt a bit bulky on my waist at times too. I really like the idea of this taller band and the possibility of shortening the straps is a bonus too. I bought some beautiful deep blue, stretch fabric on sale (£5/m) from a sari fabric stall I’m off to make this my Christmas party dress.
Emma January 04, 2013 - 07:55
Thank you soooooo much! I’m making a new dress for my 24th birthday and decided on an infinity dress, but they seemed so bra un-friendly and at 38H I definitely need a bra!
Kenz January 14, 2013 - 23:37
I’m not a very experienced sewer, and I’m confused about how to sew the bandeau top on. Can someone explain in more detail and without sewing terms?
Kenz January 18, 2013 - 10:09
Never mind. I reread the tutorial and now I get it. Whoops….
Sewing Nut January 30, 2013 - 06:09
Thanks for this. I’ve avoided making one because I’ve never worked out how you remain modest (for a middle aged mum with boobs) from the side.
I am now really keen to have a go!
Tifany S February 02, 2013 - 15:11
I’ve just found your site, i LOVE this. thank you for sharing. i saw your red dress first and thought “I’d never wear this it would show to much skin’ and then scrolled down to find you’d already considered this!
Lara February 14, 2013 - 14:25
Amazing dress made it today and fits perfectly
i had to gather the skirt slightly cause i cut it a bit too big at the waist but it still worked
brilliant pattern thanks 😀
Elizabeth S March 07, 2013 - 16:19
I love the idea of a bandeau under the straps. I’m always looking for things that would be nursing-friendly as well. Could I cut slits in the bandeau for this purpose? Or circles?
Melissa March 07, 2013 - 22:30 – In reply to: Elizabeth S
Sure! I don’t see why not. You could probably just pull it down, too.
Alison March 08, 2013 - 17:30
Thank you, thank you, thank you for this great tutorial and especially the addition of the bandeau!!! I have a wedding to go to in a week and just put this together in about two hours, with my inexpensive €3/m stretchy fabric! Now I can focus on making the wedding cake… 😉
Michelle March 14, 2013 - 00:30
Have you ever thought about doing a convertible pantsuit/jumper? I’ve seen them on-line I just couldn’t figure out how to make one.
Bobbie March 25, 2013 - 02:27
I just decided to try this even though I don’t own a sewing machine and haven’t sewn anything (successfully) since middle school. I finished the dress in five hours sewing it by hand, and it is ADORABLE! I had been trying to find a modest way to wear an infinity dress because I will be wearing one in a wedding in October and it needs to meet my LDS modesty standards. I am so grateful for this tutorial. I posted links to this and your little red dress tutorials on my post about making my dress because if I can follow your tutorial, ANYONE can! Thanks again! If you’d like to see the dress I made, you can check it out at my blog. http://anxiouslyengaging.blogspot.com/2013/03/how-to-make-modest-infinity-dress-for.html
Heidi April 01, 2013 - 21:50
I really like this version. I wouldn’t be caught dead in the original – too much showing. I have a question. There is a 20 inch difference between my hips and waist. Would this pattern work or would I need to make the waist larger to fit my hips? Thanks for any help you can offer.
Melissa April 02, 2013 - 11:46 – In reply to: Heidi
I would think you could put it on over your head and be just fine!
Leah April 06, 2013 - 23:05
I’ve been wanting to do your little red infinity dress for ages now. But (aside from coordinating time, material, energy, motivation and space!!!! we have three beautiful daughters and so there is not much left for sewing!!!) I wasn’t sure how I would get away from the bra issue. This dress is just as beautiful, far more comfortable AND you look absolutely fabulous in it!!! Thanks for sharing :).
Kori Buford April 08, 2013 - 16:09
I really love this dress but how do you sew the bandeau top on.i looked at the tutorial but did not understand. Thanks!!
Melissa April 09, 2013 - 10:35 – In reply to: Kori Buford
You sew it on like you do the waistband in the main dress tutorial. You put right sides together and sew down the side of the bandeau piece to make a tube. Then turn it inside out and pin the bottom of it around the opening in the dress and sew it on. The straps should be between the bandeau piece and the skirt piece.
Nessa May 13, 2013 - 22:33
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I just made this, floor length for the formal dinner on a cruise I’m taking in two weeks. This was a “test” and I couldn’t be more pleased. The test dress is navy blue, the real dress will be in a stunning red much more expensive spandex/polyester.
Kristen May 22, 2013 - 05:40
This looks great. Has anyone considered or tried just making it into a shirt & skipping the skirt? Maybe I’m nuts if so tell me but a part of me wonders if you could just make this & just do the bandeau piece and attach the straps and make a cool top.
Magan May 27, 2013 - 00:55
One quick question… Is there a fabric that works best? I’m thinking of making this but want to get fabric that will work well. Thanks!!
Melissa May 27, 2013 - 20:14 – In reply to: Magan
A light weight knit works best. The heavier the weight of the fabric, the heavier the dress will be to wear.
Barnheartbabe June 06, 2013 - 22:30
I used a knit-fabric sheet set (as per a commenter’s sugggestion in the other tutorial) and its great 🙂 I used one of the pillow cases as my bandeau.
I used one of the pillow cases as my bandeau.
Added a narrow fold over hem at the top & threaded thru elastic to help keep it up.
Made bandeau and skirt in navy, straps in royal purple. Looks awesome.
Would make an ideal maternity top, just use the measurement at the level of the bra band as the ‘waist’, shorten the bandeau to cover, and hem to when you need for your bump.
Ana June 16, 2013 - 10:56
Really cool, I also always get irritated when I’m not able to find proper tutorials and just work my own patterns out 🙂
You should try making the bandeau dress with a raised waist line (right under the breasts), it sits much nicer that way. What’s cool about it is that you can always just tuck away the bandeau and it becomes a normal infinity dress again, since it already covers everything up to your breasts. Give it a try! 🙂
Angela July 11, 2013 - 22:04
I love this tutorial! My future MIL and I are making these for my bridesmaids next week, but we’re trying it with a stretch taffeta instead. How much shorter were you able to make the straps when you used the bandeau top? I have 17 yards of fabric for 3 dresses, so I’m hoping that it’s enough! Thanks!
Melissa July 15, 2013 - 09:31 – In reply to: Angela
That should be more than plenty! For the bandeau one with less fabric I had to make a seam in the straps so I wouldn’t recommend doing it that way.
Katie August 03, 2013 - 21:09
This is so perfect was trying to figure out brides maid dresses an ran acrost this gonnrun it by my girls I’m in love.it
mary August 25, 2013 - 21:33
I am in love with this dress. I am considerably bigger than you and was wondering if I made the bandeau top, can I make the straps slightly narrower? my strap would be 17 inches, Yes I have big boobs. lol
Melissa August 25, 2013 - 22:14 – In reply to: mary
I don’t see why not! Making them narrower will also reduce some of the bulk from tying them around you. Great idea!
Torie September 18, 2013 - 00:30
LOVE it!! i was just wanting your opinion on something first I am a plus size woman with very large boobies but want a dress so bad…
1) do you think more material is needed for larger women
2) an empire waist dress always fits my body better to you think this dress could be made like that as well and still be functional?
Thanks again for posting best pattern I have found for this dress!! 😉
Melissa September 18, 2013 - 07:54 – In reply to: Torie
I do think you need more fabric, you’ll really want the length in the straps to get them wrapped properly.
An empire waist would be precious! Go for it!
Jen October 17, 2013 - 16:13
I love your tutorial, it was the most easy to follow of the ones I found online! I just made a dress as a sample of sorts for my bridesmaids dresses and ended up swapping out the waistband for the bandeau and it works so much better this way 🙂 The problem I ran into was that the waist of the skirt ended up much wider than the bandeau so I have a weird gap. I’m not sure if I goofed in measuring the skirt of if the knit stretched too much in sewing. Did you use a double stretch knit or something that was a bit more sturdy?
April January 05, 2014 - 23:21
Has anyone made this with a single sided print fabric? I have my eye on a polka dot lyrca fabric, but the print is only on one side, and I’m not sure how it would work with the straps wrapping around. Do you think the wrong side would show and make it look strange? Melissa, was your stripy fabric printed on both sides?
Melissa January 06, 2014 - 00:52 – In reply to: April
Yes it’s on both sides. I think a single sided print would show and look weird. 🙁
April January 06, 2014 - 01:19
I was afraid you would say that 🙁 Block colour it is then! 🙂
Mandi January 08, 2014 - 12:51
I am so excited about your tutorial. I am mid pregnancy and stuck with one black dress (not fun to look like you are always going to a funeral when you are pregnant). There are not alot of options out there, for maternity dresses, that are affordable and have some color. SOOOO, I am very excited. Thank you! I am wondering how to convert it for a full belly. Do I need to add more gather to the top of the skirt so it will have enough fabric? I was planning on raising the waist and worried about getting enough length could I make the skirt in two half-moon pieces? I would love to know if anybody has some suggestions.
Jewlie February 23, 2014 - 01:26
Ok… so I’m a really really new sewer.. meaning I’ve been reading and thinking about it and I took the plunge yesterday and bought fabric and a machine! 🙂
I’m supposed to get a dress like this for my bffs wedding in October and all the sellers have these dresses priced $50 – $150 ow!
Trying to keep a low budget.
Anywho, so I’m making one right now 🙂 it took me about 2 hours to straighten out all the fabric and get it cut. I’m making a mini version for my daughter to wear as her birthday dress. The only issue I’m having is I didn’t realize how heavy the fabric was that we picked out. 🙁 but so far I’ve got everything pinned and lined up ready to sew in the morning after I figure out my machine 🙂 I think I’m going to definitely do some practice stitches first!
Thanks so much for the walk through!
Leanne March 15, 2014 - 13:03
How long is the skirt on this pink and white striped version?
Karin March 25, 2014 - 21:19
I’ve never made one of these before but if the sides were too bare with the red dress, couldn’t you just make the straps much wider so that they not only overlapped in the front but also wrapped around the sides more? Or would that just make way too much fabric going over your shoulders? Just wondering out loud.
Anne Thompson April 09, 2014 - 16:24
I love the Infinity Dress pattern…for my dolls and am really glad you updated the dress with the bandeau. I will now make one for me!
Emily June 20, 2014 - 21:44
Where did you put the seam on the bandeau when you sewed it to the skirt? On the side under the arm? I know in the other you just put it in the front since it wouldn’t show.
Melissa June 21, 2014 - 00:51 – In reply to: Emily
Yes, I put it on the side under the arm. It doesn’t matter which side, but I wouldn’t do it in the front since it would show.
Flor June 27, 2014 - 17:41
This is awesome! I’ve been wanting to make one of these for a while, but as a larger girl I can’t go bra-less! Thanks for the easy to follow tutorial!
Question – did you use elastic thread for this? None of the tutorials mention it at all, but while I can see stretchy knit fabric going over my hips or chest, I’m not so sure about the seam/waistband area…
Melissa June 27, 2014 - 18:09 – In reply to: Flor
No, I didn’t use elastic thread, but you certainly can if you think getting in or out of the dress would be difficult without it!
Lori August 18, 2014 - 13:35
Fantastic tutorial! I have loved these dresses since I bought one a few years ago but I think the bandeau is a great alteration! I always use a 95% polyester 5% spandex knit fabric…it stretches without being bulky or so thin it’s see through when you wrap it. If you buy one it’s usually made of a blend of polyester and spandex.
Jaimey September 21, 2014 - 02:16
I haven’t read the other comments but I am thinking about making this and wonder about the straps… I don’t have the 136″ I need from the fabric I have and want to use, will it matter so much if I use less? Does it HAVE to be 2x my 5’8+” height? What does it effect if I go shorter? Thanks!!
Melissa September 22, 2014 - 11:42 – In reply to: Jaimey
No it doesn’t have to be that long, but you might want it. I would suggest taking some yarn at 2x your height, and tying it to safety pins and pinning it to you where the straps would start. Then “tie” yourself in some of the styles you like the best and would be most interested in wearing. Is your string too long for those styles? By how much? Cut it off if it is, then untie yourself and measure it and you’ll know you NEED at least that much fabric for successful straps. Does that make sense? Happy sewing!
Karen November 02, 2014 - 00:04
This is wonderful, thank you so much for posting! I lengthened the skirt and shortened the width of the bandeau to turn it into an empire waistline and it worked great!
Pam August 14, 2015 - 00:48
This is a wonderful tutorial! Thanks!