by Lauren Irving
Ah, the sack dress. You remember them. Those baggy shapeless, sleeveless sacks with straight sides that dove to the floor – and just about everyone wore one with a white t-shirt. If you were feeling kind of sexy, yours might have had strings that tied in the back. Ten years ago it was a wardrobe staple. Now it’s a “What was I thinking and why is it still in my closet?” Somehow this dress escaped my last closet purge. Call it the allure of linen. I could donate this dress to charity, but why not give it a second chance as my new spring purse?
- MC: One long, straight sack dress. 20” wide x 45” long (armpit to hem measurement) or about 1 1/4 yds. of 42” wide fabric, which will yield approximately 110 yds of 1/2” fabric yarn. Look for mid-weight cotton or cotton blends. This dress was a 50% cotton/50% linen blend.
- CC1: One silk or satin slip or blouse for lining, or about 1/2 yd of lining fabric.
- US P / 10.0 mm crochet hook
- Yarn needle
- Seam ripper
- Cutting implements to cut up the dress (scissors and a ruler or a rotary cutter, plastic ruler and cutting mat with a grid)
- Washable marking pen/pencil (a regular #2 pencil may also work, for darker fabrics use 1/4” paper tape)
- Sewing thread to match the lining and sack fabric
- Sharp sewing needle
- Sewing Machine (optional)
- Iron (optional)
9” wide x 6.5” high x 4.5” deep
7 dc / 4.5 rows = 4”
The raw edges of the strips will fray. This can be very messy when you are working on your sack. If you do not want a frayed look to your sack or you do not want to deal with the mess, you will need to use 5 yds. of fabric cut into 2” strips. Sew each strip together. Press the strip in half and then fold and press each raw edge to the center press line. Using a bias tape maker can help you do this faster. Roll into a ball.
Beginning ch 2 counts as 1st dc.
The body of the sack is worked in the round; use a stitch marker in the first stitch of each round and do not turn at the end of each round.
The flap and strap of the sack are worked in rows. Turn at the end of each row.
- Remove the seams, hem and facings of the dress using a seam ripper. Use an iron to press out any creases.
- Using your cutting implements, cut the front and back of the dress into 1/2” strips from the hem to the shoulders.
- To join the strips of fabric using one of the following methods:
- Sew the strips together on a sewing machine. Roll into a ball.
- Cut a small vertical slit into each end of every strip. Insert strip B 1” into a slit in strip A. Pull the long tail of strip B through the slit of strip B. Pull tight and repeat (see photo). Roll into a ball.
With MC, ch 12.
Rnd 1: skip first three chs from hook (counts as 1st dc), dc in back loop only of each of next 8 ch, 5 dc in last ch, working in the free loops on the opposite side of the foundation chain, dc in each of the next 8 ch, 4 dc in the last ch, sl st in 3rd ch of beg ch-3 to join. (26 dc)
Rnd 2: ch 2, 2 dc in next dc, dc in each of next 8 dc, 2 dc in next dc, (dc in next dc, 2 dc in next dc) twice, dc in each of next 8 dc, 2 dc in next dc, dc in next dc, 2 dc in next dc, sl st in 2nd ch of beg ch-2 to join. (32 dc)
Rnd 3: ch 2, dc in same st as sl st, dc in each of next 9 dc, 2 dc in next dc, (dc in each of next 2 dc, 2 dc in next dc) twice, dc in each of next 9 dc, (2 dc in next dc, dc in each of next 2 dc) twice, sl st in 2nd ch of beg ch-2 to join. (38)
Rnd 4: ch 2, dc in each dc around, sl st in 2nd ch of beg ch-2 to join. (38 dc)
Rnd 5: ch 2, dc2tog over next 2 sts, dc in each of next 9 dc, dc2tog over next 2 sts, dc in each of next 6 dc, dc2tog over next 2 sts, dc in each of next 9 dc, dc2tog over next 2 sts, dc in each of next 5 dc, sl st in 2nd ch of beg ch-2 to join. (34 dc)
Rnds 6 & 7: Repeat Rnd 4. (34 dc)
Rnd 8: ch 2, dc2tog over next 2 sts, dc in each of next 5 dc, (dc2tog over next 2 sts, dc in each of next 3 dc) twice, dc2tog over next 2 sts, dc in each of next 5 dc, dc2tog over next 2 sts, dc in each of next 3 dc, dc2tog over next 2 sts, dc in each of next 2 dc, sl st in 2nd ch of beg ch-2 to join. (28 dc)
Rnd 9: Repeat Rnd 4. (28 dc)
Do not fasten off; continue to flap.
Row 1: ch 2, dc in each of next 8 dc, turn. (9 dc)
Row 2: ch 2, dc in each st across, turn. (9)
Row 3: ch 2, 2 dc in next dc, dc in each of next 5 dc, 2 dc in next dc, dc in next dc, turn. (11)
Row 4: ch 2, 2 dc in next dc, dc in each of next 7 dc, 2 dc in next dc, dc in next dc, turn. (13)
Row 5: ch 2, (dc2tog over next 2 sts, dc in next dc) four times, turn. (9)
Row 6: ch 1, sc in first dc, sc2tog over next 2 sts, ch 2, sk 2 dc, sc2tog over next 2 sts, sc in next dc twice, turn. (7 sc)
Row 7: 7 dc in ch-2 sp. (7 dc)
Fasten off and weave in the yarn ends. Tack the yarn ends down with a sharp needle and matching thread.
Row 1: with RS facing and flap to the back, join yarn in 2nd st from beginning of flap on right side , ch 1, sc in same st as joining, sc in each of next 2 sts, turn. (3 sc)
Rows 2-37: ch 1, sc in each st across, turn.
Join strap to opposite side of sack with sl st. Fasten off and weave in the yarn ends. Tack the yarn ends down with a sharp needle and matching thread.
Alternately, you may sew the strap to the sack with a sharp needle and matching thread.
Making the Button
Cut a circle from your lining fabric that is 6” in diameter. Roll or crush a scrap of the lining fabric into a 1” ball. (Rolling will make a firm button; crushing will make a soft button.) Enclose the ball in the circle of lining fabric. Using matching thread, pinch fabric together and wrap thread around the “tail” of the button 10-20 times (to create the shank) and sew it closed. Weave the tail into the center front of the sack to align the button with the buttonhole in the flap. From the inside of the sack, sew the tail of the button to the inside of the bag to secure.
Lining your Sack
If you are using a slip or blouse, turn it inside out and lay it on a flat surface. Pin it together so it doesn’t shift while you trace and cut your lining. Lay your finished sack down on top of the lining fabric. Using a marking pen, trace around the body of the sack. This is your sewing line. Draw a straight line on the lining fabric across the opening of the sack. This is your fold line. Measure and draw a line 5/8” from your sewing line and 1” from your fold line. This is your cutting line.
Cut out your lining along the cutting line. With the right sides of the lining together, sew along the sewing line using either a sewing machine or sew by hand using a backstitch. Do not sew the fold line along the opening of the bag.
Fold down both sides of the fabric of the opening along the fold line toward the wrong side of the fabric. Press the opening. Place the lining inside the sack. Using a sewing needle and matching thread, sew the lining to the inside of the sack using a hemming stitch.