This is one of several items which I reverse engineered for a six week carry-on only trip two years ago. I’d spotted the Norma Kamali All In One Tunic online, but unfortunately, I’d missed the boat and kept getting taunted by “No longer available” store links. Checking again now, the All In One Dress, All In One Gown and All In One Mini are currently available for sale. I don’t remember the Mini being available before, but it looks closest to what I constructed. There is a video which shows some of the ways to wear which, unlike other convertible pieces, will not require a high aptitude in spatial and abstract thinking.
I debated including instructions for the DIY in this post. However, I realised that my implementation includes a modification that I thought was born out of necessity, but actually makes it (near?) identical to one of the items currently for sale. So you’re just going to have to manage with me talking about this top, but not tell you how to do it in detail. The structural components are quite simple, and you should be able to discern them for yourself by looking at the videos and the different angles of the product shots.
I purchased my fabric from l’oiseau fabrics in Canada. Michelle is a delight to buy from, and she was ever so patient with my queries about matching fabrics. I was looking specifically for bamboo jersey, and her range was much better than what I could find elsewhere. Even including shipping, the cost per metre wasn’t much more expensive than what I would have paid in Australia (still online), and the range of colours is magnitudes better than what I can find here. If you’re not looking at the ecological impact of doing this, it’s still a reasonable way to obtain quality jersey.
Of the two metres I purchased of this fabric, over a metre went towards a half-circle skirt, and the remainder went towards this top. The remnants had to be optimised quite a bit to make this work, and the result is the perfect fit. I also thought I was being clever by making the stripes on the sleeves perpendicular to the body, as that was the only orientation that would have given me the right sleeve lengths. However, the official version does the same thing, so not so clever after all.
The key part of this top, is ensuring that the boatneck not only snugly fits around your waist, but also just under your arms / around your upper bust. Depending on how stretchy your fabric is, the circumference may be a few inches smaller than both those measurements, so you should pin and try this part out before cutting the rest of the body.
If I was making this from scratch again, I’d consider making it in something a shade thinner, and possibly a little slinky to more closely match the original. Using this jersey, any ties or knots end up looking more bulky than how they appear in the video. It’s a tough call though, thinner or slinky can show more undesirable lumps and bumps, and may be less warm, if that’s important to you.
I’d also make it longer. A little longer if in a fabric of this weight, or a proper tunic length if using the thinner, more slinky fabric. Longer sleeves in both cases. I would also make it in black, or a less structured print so I can more comfortably use the other ways to wear without making the folds and ties too obvious.
Two years on, I’m still a fan of this top, and it’s held up really well. It’s one of my favourite wardrobe pieces, and an item that usually makes it into my carry-on packing list. It’s also delightfully a warm. I certainly don’t use it in all the ways it can be worn, favouring the regular top and occasional halter over the other styles. But as I mentioned, had I made it in black, or a less structured print, I may have tried wearing it in some of the other ways.
This is definitely a keeper whether you buy it or make it yourself. And the price is quite reasonable even if you only wear two or three of the styles. The gown is really not my preference, but I wouldn’t object to having the mini, tunic or the dress in my wardrobe. The dress length would be an excellent and affordable choice for a versatile LBD, compared with something like the Sacha Drake Ultimate Black Dress which, while more classic in style and just as versatile, is about twice the price.
 Due to some pretty epic postal delays (2 weeks turned out to be about 6), I didn’t receive the fabric I ordered for making my reverse engineered pieces until after I left for our trip, and only ended up making them a few months later.
 Yay sustainable fabric, boo resources needed to ship.