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Fun with T-Shirts: Part 2 July 5, 2010

Filed under: sewing — stephres @ 6:55 am
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What to do on a rainy 4th of July? Start cutting up old t-shirts, of course! That’s how Megan and I spent our 4th of July, anyway, between watching movies and eating Tom’s grilled wings. I had been thinking about how to salvage Megan’s old t-shirts that are too short to wear. We decided to turn them into halter tops and she loves them.

For this project you need one or more old t-shirts, elastic and 20 minutes. That’s it!

Start with an old t-shirt. I have to apologize for these pictures; it was so dark and rainy the flash went off for most of them and it really distorts the colors.

Through both layers, cut off the arms.

Just under the collar, make one straight cut through both layers of the shirt.

On just the back, cut a straight line just under the bottom of where the sleeve was.

If you want, you can finish the sides and back. I serged the edge, starting at the top, running down the side, across the back and then back up the other side. You can use a zig zag stitch, or doing nothing at all, really. It’s a personal preference.

Try it on your victim. If it is gaping, you’ll want to make a casing for elastic. Also note if the halter top is too short at this point. Question: does her hair look greenish to you? I think it was starting to look a little green and bought special shampoo the last time we got haircuts and it still looks green to me!

Fold under 1/2 inch and press. Sew, starting at the top side and backstitch and stop at the side seam. Leave a couple of inches and then sew the back. Stop a couple of inches from the other side seam (don’t forget to backstitch) and then start again from the side seam and continue all the way up to the top. Now you have a casing for elastic.

Measure your victim, on the back from armpit to armpit. This is the length to make the elastic. Put a safety-pin in one end of the elastic and run in through the hole you left when you made the casing.

When you get all the elastic in the casing, sew it inside at the beginning end (top to bottom in the casing). When you get to the other side, repeat so that the elastic is secure in both sides. Sew the casing closed at both ends.

I serge the top and fold it over the same way as the sides and back.

That’s it! You can run ribbon through the top casing and tie it around the neck. On a top that was too short, I cut off the bottom of a second shirt and used it as the tie and then used the middle of the shirt to extend the length. On another one, I cut off the bottom of the original shirt and added length from a second shirt. The possibilities are endless! 

Don’t mind the little sourpuss. She was completely finished with pictures at this point and was ready to go into the pool (it had finally stopped raining!).

ps: Happy 4th of July! Don’t you love it when last year’s outfit still fits? I know Tiffani does! 😉 By the way, we need good craft projects for sand dollars. Megan collected about 30 the last time we went to the beach. We finally got the smelly things bleached and ready for crafting (it’s hard when there’s no sun!).


Booster Seat Cover July 3, 2010

Filed under: sewing — stephres @ 2:31 am
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I have never been noted as the most observant mother but I did recently notice that Megan’s booster seat had seen better days.

Florida law recommends all children under 80 pounds and 4’9″ tall be in at least a booster seat. So Megan will probably be in this seat for a little while anyway. I let her pick out some fabric and we experimented until I figured out how to duplicate the seat cover. Basically I cut up the old one and traced it to make a pattern. I did take some measurements so if you have a Graco backless booster you can use them to make one for yourself!

For this project you will need: about a half yard of cover fabric (I used flannel), a half yard of lining fabric (I used an old towel), fleece for padding and 1/4 inch elastic. I used scraps from old projects and it worked out great. I actually made four of these with my fooling around so I hope I have some tips that will save you time and frustration!

I basically drew two intersecting rectangles from the existing cover. I included the measurements below. You can round off the edges to make it more like the existing cover. You can download the measurements here:


The pattern is NOT 100%. You need to draw your own rectangles using those measurements. I had to reduce it to fit on one page so if you use them as-is you will get a teeny tiny booster seat cover!

Cut out the top fabric. To save some time and aggravation, lay the top fabric on top of the lining fabric, right sides together and pin. That way when you cut out the lining fabric they are all pinned together and ready to go. For the lining I decided to use an old ripped beach towel so I could turn it over when we were coming home from the beach. The cover is reversible so use whatever lining you would like!

I added the elastic at this point. You need two pieces 5 1/2″ long for the top and one 18″ long for the middle. Pin the short loops sandwiched in between the cover and lining fabric at each top corner.

Pin the long elastic at the middle of the side piece (the short rectangle). Cut out the lining fabric when you done pinning all the way around. You can baste the elastic into place if you would like.

Cut a rectangle of fleece 11″ by 16 1/2″. Pin this to the middle of the cover on the top.

Sew! Sew 1/4″ around the cover. Start at the side piece that does not have the elastic pinned to it. Leave the side piece open to turn it rightside-out. Sew all around, going over the elastic twice (forward, backstitch and then on again).

Clip your corners and curves. I used pinking shears and just trimmed all the way around.

Turn it rightside-out and press. Be very careful, it will be difficult to pull it through the small home, so don’t rip it! Push out all the corners with a stick or your fingers and press it flat.

Topstitch all the way around, except for the open side. That way if you ripped any of the side stitching on the small rectangle you can get it closed again. The towel unravels quickly if you don’t watch it!

Cut the corners on the open side and tuck in the raw edges. Bring the long piece of elastic around from the other side and tuck in. Stitch the side closed, going over the elastic three times (forward, backstitch and then on again).

To attach, run the elastic on the hooks on the bottom of the booster seat and loop the long piece around the bottom. Look: it’s my helper!

It is reversible, so we can turn it over when we are coming home from the beach.

That’s it! Now I have a little booster seat cover that is reversible, cute and easily washable. Hope you make one too!

ps Some of you might remember the four legged helper who is interested in all sewing projects. Well, Megan got another four legged helper for her birthday who is ten times worse: this one can jump on the table! She has dragged serger thread all throughout the house and knocked pins, patterns and rulers clear off the table! Don’t let this cute face fool you: she is devious!