Friday, April 30, 2010

Making a child's dress out of a T-Shirt

Okay, so this is similar to the last one, except that this time instead of using a large men's button down shirt, I'm using a girl's t-shirt.  And this one is easier!  This is a girl's shirt I bought on clearance after Halloween.  I bought it for myself but the long sleeves were too restrictive for me.  Instead of getting rid of it I decided to make my daughter a dress out of it since I liked the design on it.  To begin with I just cut up the sides and sewed them back together in the shape I wanted: a simple A-line dress style as seen here.  

Next I cut off the bottom in two segments.  The first cut was to make it the right length for my little girl (which I determined by trying it on her and eye-balling it).  Then I cut the bottom 2" off of this in order to make a ruffle border for the bottom on the dress.  

Since the circumference of this "loop" of fabric is longer than the circumference of the bottom on the dress, I used my sewing machine to put a long stitch through it and gather it up in order to make it fit the bottom of the dress.  This is not a particularly full ruffle since it was not dramatically longer than the bottom of the dress.

After I attached the ruffle, I then tried the dress on my daughter again to determine how much the arm holes needed to taken in.  The neck-hole was too big for her, so I cut the seams at the shoulder and cut off the additional length I wanted removed (in this case I cut shoulder seam and then chopped off an additional 1" or so).

 Once I did this, I could have just sewed the shoulder seams back together, but I decided instead to cut some strips out of the sleeves I cut off in the beginning and use those to make ties for the shoulders.  This makes the shoulders adjustable, and makes for cute little bows!  I had to gather the top of the arms pieces a little bit to make it fit the ties evenly since I didn't measure anything when I cut the strips and they were pretty narrow.  You can see this in the picture.  I kind of liked the effect.  Now all that is left is putting the dress on your little girl.  My daughter really likes it and hasn't wanted to take it off!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Making a dress out of a shirt Tutorial

I thought I would share with you how I made a dress for my daughter out of one of her daddy's old shirts.  I want to start by saying I didn't come up with this idea entirely on my own.  Lots of crafty ladies have been transforming old clothes into new clothes well before me!  I'm not going to use a lot of detail because it's simple and I want to keep it that way!

To start, find an old button down shirt made with fabric that you love and cut out a shape kind of like this.  Cut off the sleeves and save those to make straps for the dress later.  Cut the shirt up the side seams as well.  Measure your child to figure out just how wide and long you need it to be.

The back of the shirt will be the front of the dress and the front of the shirt will be the back of the dress, so the buttons will run up the back as you see in my picture.  Make sure you cut the top of the dress close to a button so that you'll have a top button for your dress!  The shirt I used had a "yoke" across the back shoulders, which I included and is why the chest area of this dress has fabric going the opposite direction.  I didn't draw the yoke in this picture.

Use fabric from the sleeves you cut off and cut out two shapes kind of like thisWhere you see the dotted line is where you'll make a casing for elastic.  Measure your child to determine the length for the straps and the elastic.  Use a narrow hem to finish the raw curved edge, then thread your elastic through the casing, letting the fabric ruffle up!  (You could also just sew on some ribbons that you could tie or simple cloth straps without a ruffle or elastic if you want to keep it really simple)

I pinned one end of the straps into the fabric between the two sections of the yoke (this part of the shirt is double-layered), but if you don't have a yoke or don't want to mess with it, you can attach the straps last.

Sew the dress up the side seams to the underarm. Use a narrow hem to finish the top of the back, underarms, and top of the front.  If you sewed one end of your straps into the front section, you just need to attach them to the back, if not, attach the straps to both the front and back.

I decided to add a little strip of pleated ribbon to the top of the chest between the sleeves.  This is, of course, optional.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

For my Eleanor

I had some time this week to sew some things besides aprons, so I decided to make my daughter a cute little shorts set.  The top was made from a remnant I picked up that I thought was cute and some solid pink cotton (with a little stretch to it) for the shorts.  The shorts are just simple elastic waist ones.  The top has tucked pleats around the neckline and a couple buttons sewn on for decoration.  It fastens with a button in the back.  I like the way the top bells out.  If I were to lengthen it, it could easily be a cute dress, especially if I added some cute capped sleeves to it!  And as you can see, it's quite comfortable for her to wear.  So much so that she could fall asleep in it while wandering through a store with her Grammie.