Monday, May 14, 2012

Shirt(s) to Dress-Widget Size

So I decided that I better use up some of the 'Garage Sale Stash' that I've been collecting since last August, (another project from the 'Garage Sale Stash' is this tank-top). I'm sure I only spent around $0.50 on a this strapless Jr's shirt with a wide band of shirring across the chest area. I figured it would make a decent skirt for Widget, but the shirred band (Shirring=lines of elastic thread running parallel across a garment, normally done in multiple rows) was too wide for a waist band for the her little in the Craft Graveyard it sat, until a couple of days ago!

I came up with this great idea (awhile ago) to use the strapless Jr's top as a dress for Widget...I mean, I've done it before. But instead of just adding ribbon straps, I thought I'd make something that she can wear on it's own (not layer...because let's face it, who wants to layer knits while living in Puerto Rico???).

Here's what I did to make a Upcycled Junior's Shirt into a Little Girls Dress:
What you'll need:
1 T-shirt or tank-top to fit your child
1 strapless Jr's top or skirt (shirring detailing prefered to make it easier to get the final dress on and off)   
Sewing Machine & Thread (matching thread is also nice)
Scissors and Pinking Shears (optional)
Time...but not a lot of time, I promise
So grab your shirt(s), then cut open the first two inches of the side seams on the Jr's shirt (which I will now call your 'new skirt'). Turn the edges under along this cut, then stitch in place.
You will be using these new slits to go around the arm's eye of the t-shirt. Make sure to clip the same distance on both sides of your 'new skirt'-it helped me to use the shirring lines as a guide, clipping only to the fourth line from the top (for instance).
Then slip the t-shirt info the 'new skirt'. Line up your side seams and slits for the sleeves. I also tucked the edge of the sleeve area on the 'new skirt' under again-to make sure it matched the t-shirt sleeve-then pinned everything like crazy so it stayed in place during sewing.
Front pinned & back...
I used a zigzag stitch all the way around the shirt to secure the 'new skirt'. I zigzagged over the first row of shirring which gave me a guide straight across the fabric. I also, stitched around the arms/sleeves with the zigzag making sure to stay on the 'new skirt' fabric only...t-shirts can be temperamental if you put a needle through them (alone)...leaving big gaping holes or all other nonsense.
After everything was sewn together, I flipped the 'new skirt' up over the top part of the t-shirt and clipped the bottom part of the t-shirt off with pinking shears. I did this for two reasons: (1) the 'new skirt' fabric is super clingy and it climbed the t-shirt underneath (meaning it didn't lay flat), and (2) I didn't want the extra layers of having a long t-shirt under the dress (which is why I chose to sew the dress this way in the first place). You could serge the t-shirt when cutting it short, or zigzag/hem the edge with your sewing machine...I do not have a serger, so that was out of the question, and I'm kinda lazy - pinking shears was the quickest option. And it has held up great during play and in the wash...that makes this dress a SUCCESS!
And she loves it, too! (and yes, those are little fish on her leggings-since there are many different colors of fish on a white background, the leggings go with nearly everything in Widget's closet).
This makes a great summer dress that is short enough to play on the play ground without getting in the way, but long enough to cover the little butt that likes to wear brightly colored underwear under light colored leggings. It's a Win/Win situation, really...No craft fail here!
Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy! And this tutorial could be used to turn plain t-shirts into a fun baby doll style shirt for the older girls, or turn a strapless shirt into a modest shirt for the teens. There are so many possibilities.

Things to think about:
This project works best if the t-shirt fits your child.
The t-shirt and strapless shirt/skirt should be really close to the same width (this makes the process a whole lot easier)-but you could always use a larger strapless shirt/skirt and cut it down to fit your child as well.
The length of the final dress is directly related to the length of the strapless shirt/skirt and where you want it to sit on your child.
I needed to slit the shirt to go around the sleeves so that the front of the purple shirt covered my daughter's chest. Older girls may not need to have the front of the 'new skirt' to be quite so high on their t-shirts, adjust placement accordingly.

 And, do you see those awesome shoes of Widget's? I painted them with glitter! That tutorial will be posted tomorrow :)

Now isn't it fun to upcycling clothing? Happy Sewing!

The Southern Institute
Let Birds Fly

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