How to Add a Mesh Overlay

The Staycation Dress Pattern is one of my absolute favorites. I've been dreaming of making it in mesh ever since I first tested the pattern! But what to wear underneath to really highlight the flow-i-ness of the Staycation?? Cue the Day to Night Dress Pattern! While I didn't want sleeves since I had a vision I wanted to achieve, the Day to Night was the perfect base to hack. Here's how I did it!

Pattern links - (Affiliated) Day to Night and Staycation

Want this mesh? I got mine here! (affiliate link)

*Just a heads up, I made the size XS and graded it to a medium at the hips. Most of my adjustments are based on my measurements. If you use the same steps, you should be able to get similar results! I also used Cupro Pique for my first version, and bamboo spandex for my second. A soft ponte like this one (affiliate) or a cotton spandex are just some options that would work well.

For the fitted underdress, I was dreaming of something simple, strappy, and totally 90s vibes. To create your new neckline, grab your front pattern piece and some tracing paper. Decide how low you want it to go, and how far over you want the straps to be. Make a mark on the fold line. I personally used the low scoop line for my first two, but I plan to try one halfway between the two neckline options.

For your next mark, this is where the neckline will turn into straps. First, you will need to decide how much of a curve you want. I wanted a somewhat low curve, so for my size, I measured up 1 and a half inches and placed a dot in the middle of the original shoulder piece.

I personally wanted the underarm area lowered since I was doing a spaghetti strap dress. You can use the original underarm line, or lower it to your preference. I measured 1. 25 inches down and made a mark. Now connect your dots and finish tracing the sides and bottom of your pattern piece. You have a new front dress pattern piece!

Now for the back. Lay more tracing paper over your back pattern piece. Create a mark at your underarm/side seam. Or if you lowered the bottom of the armscye of your front piece, use that same measurement to lower the back. Now using a straight edge, you are going to mark the center back. I wanted my back to curve slightly, so I made my center mark about an inch lower than the lowest point of my armscye. Using a curved ruler makes creating these new lines so much easier. Finish tracing the sides and hem of your back pattern piece.

Finishing the neck in binding helps create a clean look and creates the straps for you! This part will require a few measurements and a bit of math since every person's measurements will be different. you need to measure

  • The front curve
  • The back curve
  • the underarm curve
  • your strap length

Find the front binding measurement:

Front curve measurement (from fold to strap point) ___ x 2=___ *Make sure you are using a fabric measuring tape and following along the curve.

Now take that measurement and multiply by .9. This is your final width.

Here is what my measurements looked like. Front curve measurement 4 x 2= 8

8 x .9 = 7.2 I rounded this up to 7.25 Binding measurements 1 1/4 (L) by 7 1/4 (W) If you want skinnier binding, you can use a 1 inch length.

Back Binding:

**I cut my back piece on the fold. If you choose to not cut on the fold, make sure you are removing the seam allowance when making your measurements.**

Measure the underarm curve from your front pattern piece. (Mine was 3 7/8) then add the back curve measurements (Mine- 7 1/4) and subtract seam allowance for the sides (and back seam if not cutting on the fold). and multiply by 2

Here is my math in inches:

3.875 (3 7/8in) + 7.25 (7 1/4 in) = 11.125 (11 1/8in) 11.125 - .5 = 10.625 10.625 x 2 =21.25 (21 1/4) 21.25 x .9 = 19.125 *This is your back binding measurement

Now measure from where your straps will start in the front, to the back where they will meet the back of the dress. You may need an extra set of hands for this, and its always better to over estimate than under. if your straps turn out too long, you can remove some length before attaching. Take that measurement and multiply by two. Mine was 13.5. Then add the strap measurement to your back binding measurement for the full width of your binding piece.

13.5 x 2 = 27 27 + 19.125 = 46.125 (46 1/8in)

Final back binding measurement 1 1/4 (L) by 46 1/8 (W) Use 1 inch length for skinnier straps

Now its time for the best part... sewing! Sew up your side seams (and back if needed). For the binding, start with the front. Fold your binding in half widthwise to mark the center with a pin as well as the center of the front of your dress. Match up the center pins with the RIGHT side of the binding facing the WRONG side of the dress. Clip together. Match up the edge of your binding with your strap points, and clip together, stretching to fit. Sew your binding on. Here is a great video if you are unfamiliar with how to sew on binding! You can also use the double fold bias method which is what I did.

Fold your back binding in half to mark the halfway point with a pin. Now take your original strap measurement and measure in for each end, marking with a pin. Place a pin in the center of your back piece, and match the center bias pin to it. Line up each side pin to the strap point. Sew your binding to the back. when folding the binding for top-stitching, don't forget to also fold your straps, top-stitching them at the same time.

To attach your straps, it is helpful to try your dress back on, and line up your straps accordingly. If your fabric is very stretchy with less recovery, it may be helpful to remove an inch or two before attaching. Pin your straps in place and topstitch them down. Hem your dress as usual, and your done! You can wear this dress on its own, or under a mesh dress like the Staycation below.

Let's make the Mesh Staycation now! In both mesh versions, I used a stretch mesh, but they didn't have a very high percentage of stretch. I was still able to sew up the crew neckline with no issues. If your mesh has no stretch at all, you can choose to size up or cut a larger neckline.

The tricky part is the sleeves. I wanted some flow, and a looser sleeve would better accommodate non stretchy fabrics. I opted to create a new flounce sleeve, but in a way that there is no gathering at the armscye!

I used the slash and spread method to prevent the need for gathering. To use this method, use a straight edge to draw lines on your pattern piece. (I copied the original sleeve pattern piece on a piece of tracing paper so I didn't cut up my original. The more flow you want, the more lines you want to draw. Here is what mine looks like.

Now simply cut from the bottom of your pattern piece to the top of each line, but without cutting all the way through. leave about one-quarter-inch left uncut on your lines. Lay your cut pattern piece on top of a new paper to trace. Spread out each line to your desired amount. Lay some weights down to prevent Your strips from moving and trace out your new sleeve!

When cutting out your new sleeves, don't forget to cut on the fold! Sew up your Staycation dress as you normally would! No need to hem your mesh, but you certainly can if you prefer it.

(Written by: Alana Barner)