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Fun with T-shirts June 6, 2009

Filed under: sewing — stephres @ 8:16 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I am not normally a recon kind of girl, but I love how easy t-shirt dresses come together. Also, I was disappointed in the lack of sports wear for little girls. It seems the stores have overpriced cheerleading outfits for toddler and then unisex shirts for kids. Megan needs a girl shirt to cheer her team! Plus this way I can customize it for her extra-long frame.

I usually start with the biggest men’s t-shirt I can find on sale:

Then I fold it in half, making sure I center the design. I usually cut off the sleeves at this point to make it easier to line up:

You can use a pattern, or cut up an existing shirt. I love using Carla’s raglan pattern for this project, available at youcanmakethis.com. Pin the pattern in place.

If I am making an a-line shape, I place the ruler at an angle coming away from the side and then cut with a rotary cutter. Today I am making a gathered skirt so I fold up the pattern to just below where the graphic on the t ends. Cut out and repeat for the back.

This is what I have so far:

Now I cut off the sleeves if I haven’t already:

Now I have the sleeve from the raglan pattern but I am going to shorten it up because I am going to used the hem from the existing sleeve and I like the look of the cap sleeve with these little dresses. Just make sure you mark where you lining it up so it’s even on both sides!

Here is the sleeve cut out:

 

Here are all four pieces ready to go:

 

Sew them together. I usually pin because those edges like to curl! Serge or zig zag stitch the edges. I topstitch for a neat look.

 

This is what it looks like all sewed together.

 

I have experiemented with different sleeve options and I really like elastic in the sleeves. The hem on the existing shirt makes a perfect casing for 1/4 inch elastic. I just measured Megan’s arm loosely for the length of elastic. Insert it in and tack at both sides.

 

Here is what I have so far:

 

Sew the sides, starting with the edge of the sleeves. If the bottom doesn’t perfectly line up I just trim it so it’s even. I make a rectangle out of the remaining t-shirt and run a long gathering stitch around. Then I pin the rectangle to the bodice, pick at the gathering stitches and sew into place.

 

Sew in the collar, this is the most stressful part for me. Just take it slow and be careful and you’ll be fine:

 

You make have noticed I used the existing hem whenever possible. It takes some practice to sew knit hems perfectly straight and I tend to cheat whenever possible. Another way to cheat is to do a lettuce hem. Set your machine on a narrow zig zag and pull the edge tight from front and back while sewing around the edge. I go around twice for a nice thick hem:

 

Here are some more examples, I hoped you enjoyed it! Megan wears these over jeans and as nightgowns too.

 

 

 

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A Quick Sweater Reconstruction March 4, 2009

Filed under: sewing — stephres @ 8:51 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I can’t believe this is a year old! I attempted my first reconstruction last year and wrote a little tutorial about it. It was a little hard to find because apparently Teresa did not find it helpful enough to bookmark (insert snooty here), but I thought I would share it anyway. I cannot just envision what I want to do and start cutting and sewing to make it happen, so this worked perfectly for me because it was half pattern/half winging it. Also, if you are prone to shrinking your sweaters, it is a great way to get use out of them (providing you have a smaller person to wear them).

So I took a sweater that was too short for me and a t-shirt pattern:

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I laid the pattern on top of the sweater and trimmed the sides. I left it long because Megan is cursed, er I mean blessed with a long-waist like me and extra length is always appreciated. Also, I didn’t have to worry about hemming the bottom of the sweater. This will give you a tunic sized top or a dress if your little one is very little.

I sewed the sides back together (and serged). I took the sleeves and wrapped the pattern around and trimmed. You are going to want to wrap the sleeve pattern around the sleeve as best you can and pin and then cut. You can make them longish or shortish, whichever you prefer. I left them longish for my monkey-armed kid.

And then I sewed the sleeves back on. Be careful to match the seams and don’t pull too much or it will be bunchy. I serged the seam. Voila! A little girl sweater!

When you are picking a sweater, I found the slight v-neck style gives the best result and looked like it fit the kid, as opposed to being too big and gaping around the neck. I asked a friend if it looked hand-made (my fear with recons) but she assured me it looks like I bought it from Gap (yay!). And since I made it roomy and long, it still fits her this winter!