Tag Archives: sewing

Graphic t-shirt dress

Now that Summer has officially left town (this morning’s snow showers should confirm it), I guess I should show you how I made this cute summery dress.  You might make one with long sleeves for your little sweetie and then pair it with some cute leggings, or maybe you can plan ahead for the next warm season.

First, grab a graphic tee you want to convert.

I wanted to make this an envelope shoulder style dress, since Bambina still hates having tight tops pulled over her head.  See the pic below for how I cut the main bodice piece (front and back) and skirt section.

You’ll need some facing along the neckline.  Use the top of the bodice as a guide to cut two pieces that are each about an inch tall.   Fold them in half, and cut one of them more deeply at the center.

Harvest the sleeves from the shirt.  Fold over the shoulder overlap at your desired height.  Lay a sleeve with its top fold aligned with the shoulder fold, under the bodice by at least half an inch.  Trace the edge of the bodice armhole onto the sleeve, including a quarter inch down the side (this little line is critical – it will tell you where to align the bodice when you’re attaching them).  Cut the sleeve leaving a quarter inch seam allowance along the curve of the armhole and then going straight from there.  Copy the curve and the little line to the other side of the sleeve.  Use the first sleeve as a template to make the second.  Make sure you copy your markings as well!

Attach the facing to the bodice.  The more deeply cut piece will be attached to the front.  Turn them right sides together.  Match the top of the shoulders and smooth the facing piece down and towards the center.  Pin in place, and stitch with an 1/8″ seam allowance along the top of the facing.  Trim the excess of the bodice off from above the facing.  Turn the seam right sides out and topstitch the facing down using a 3/8″ seam allowance.  Repeat on the back, except without any trimming (the facing should line up with the top of the back exactly).

Sleeves.  Yeah, attaching sleeves to overlap/envelope shoulders is a pain.  But you can do it.  First we do the back bodice piece.  Right sides together, line up the corner of the armhole  with the end of your mark on one side of the sleeve.  Pin it along the edge until you reach the top edge of the bodice piece.  Now, line up the corner of the armhole of the front bodice piece with the other end of the mark on the sleeve and pin it together.  The overlap will appear as you pin, creating a sleeve – back bodice – front bodice sandwich.  Stitch between the marks.

Close the bodice, front to back.  Fold the bodice right sides together and pin along the sides and the underpart of the sleeves.  Stitch the sides and sleeves in one long seam on each side.  Clip the inner corners of the underarms.

Putting it all together.  Measure across the bottom of the bodice.  Double this measurement and cut this length of 1/4″  elastic.  Pin the ends of the elastic to one side seam of the skirt, and then pin the elastic equally around the top of the skirt in several places.  Attach the elastic to the skirt using a long zigzag stitch, and pulling the elastic taut as you run it and the skirt through your machine.  (Don’t stretch the skirt – just pull the elastic so its length matches the fabric of the skirt.)   Insert the bodice (right side out) into the skirt (inside out) – they will be turned right sides together with the waist of the bodice meeting the elastic edged waist of the skirt.  Pin them together at the waist and stitch around, again using a long zigzag, and making sure they are even as they go through the machine.

Turn it all right side out.  Done!  Admire your work!

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Repurpose! T-shirt into bubble romper


Turn a Goodwill find into a cute little outfit!

Start by harvesting the main part of the shirt.

Shape the crotch/inseam.

We’ll create a solid foundation to attach snaps to later.

Now attach those pieces to the crotch.

Next, use elastic thread to cinch up the legs and create that bubble effect.

This next step will create the stretch around the top.

Now, add some straps to hold it up on her shoulders.

Finally, attach snaps to the crotch.

Tip:  I’d recommend that you switch where the snaps are attached – to the “inside” of the front and the “outside” of the back.  That way, when it’s closed, you don’t see the overlap from the front.  

Aside:  Of course, if I were going to make this again, I’d leave off the snaps entirely and just sew a panel in the crotch.  Why?  Because I HATE snaps.  Actively loathe them.  With my whole heart. Fortunately, with the top being so stretchy, it’s just as easy to pull the romper down from her shoulders for diaper changing.

And now my favorite part!  Put it on your bambina!

New Toy for Kitty

Poor Turkleton.  The bambina keeps getting new stuff… How about something for kitty?

Ok!

Does your favorite feline friend need a new toy?  Here’s how I made this one.

Cut out three of this shape from your favorite medium-weight fabric (I used a heavier quilting cotton).  I’d describe it as saying it’s a peanut shape with slightly pointy ends.

You’ll also need about six inches of rope.  Knot it at both ends.  (Mine was the handle from a shopping bag.  Yay for repurposing!)

You’ll also need a needle and thread, some stuffing, and some catnip.

Go ahead and sew two of the peanuts together, right sides together, from top to bottom with about a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Stitch the third to one of the other two, making sure to overlap the stitching at the top and bottom.

Lay the rope inside the shell with one knotted end slightly sticking out.  Stitch the rope to the edge of the big end of one of the peanut shapes.  Keep the stitching close to the edge, about 1/8″ away.

Stitch the final side seam, leaving an opening that’s a couple inches long.

Turn the toy right side out.  Put some catnip down in the ends and stuff the whole thing.

Slip stitch the opening closed.

Give it to kitty!

I realized after finishing that this would make a great turkey drumstick toy for the bambina to play with.  Just use brown felt and leave off the rope.  Fun toy at Thanksgiving time!

Repurpose! Pants to dress and diaper cover

Hey, bambina, how about a new dress and diaper cover for our trip to the beach?

Apparently I owned the winner of the “Least Flattering Pants in the World” Award.  They looked like this.  Even when they were pressed, these linen pants were pretty gnarly.  I mean that in the negative way.  Yep, these pants were not my friend.  Nor were they my figure’s friend.

But they were so soft and lightweight, and just look at the gorgeous texture of the warp and weave!

I couldn’t possibly toss them!  So what could I do?  Harvest the fabric and use them for something else, of course! Harvesting fabric is always the toughest part of a project.  I’m not sure exactly how long they laid around (first on the “Am I really going to wear this again?” shelf in the closest, then in the project basket, then on the kitchen table), just waiting for me to start.  But I’m sure glad I did…

…because look how it turned out!

And the back view…  (Goodness, it’s tough to get a clear photo when holding a squirmy 6 month old!)

I followed this tutorial for the dress (modified it to suit my tastes, of course) and this one for the diaper cover.  I referred to this tutorial a lot for working with the elastic thread.

The brown fabric is from the linen pants, and the red bows are twill tape.

I left the back open for easier on/off, and added three vintage buttons at the top to close it.  I also made it shorter than the tutorial, since the bambina is still a sitter and I didn’t want it to get tangled up under her bum when we’re scooting her around.

Somebody’s excited about her new outfit!

Repurpose! Knee-socks into Baby Leg Warmers

Have you got a baby with cold legs?  Have you got some old knee-socks that you’ve practically walked right through?  You could buy some fancy baby leg warmers for upwards of $10 a pop, or you could make your own!  I loved this project partly because I was able to complete the whole thing with photographs in under one nap (45 minutes).

I have been accused of hoarding socks in the past, and I will admit that I tend to keep them way past their prime.  I can’t help it – I love socks.  Funky, colorful, super-soft, warm… socks are pretty awesome.  And now that I’ve found a use for the ones that  somebody says I need to get rid of, vengeance is mine!

Ok, back to the tutorial.  First, track down some old socks.  Holes in the toes?  Heels threadbare?  No problem.  I found these old cuties buried in my sock drawer and thought, “The bambina would love pink and red argyle leg warmers!”  (Yep, they’re Valentine socks.  Quite possibly my favorite variety.)

Find the place where the leg meets the heel.   If your socks have a different color heel than leg, then you’ve got a super easy job!  If not, look for where the stitches change.  In mine, the stitches of the heel were smoother than the leg.

Your goal is to cut across the top of the heel.

Then, go ahead and cut straight across from there.

Flip it inside out.

Roll the cut edge up (or down, depending on how you have the sock laying in front of you) about 1/2 inch.  Then, flip under the cut edge up to the fold.  You’re effectively creating a roll that is about 1/4 inch that encases the cut edge.  (It was much easier to do it this way than to try to fold 1/4 inch and then fold over another 1/4 inch.  But if your sock makes it easier to do it that more traditional way, then more power to you!)  Pin the roll in place.

Grab some elastic thread.  Yep, you really do want elastic thread.  That will help maintain the stretchiness of the sock.  I found this in the elastic section (not the thread section) of my local fabrics and crafts store.

Cut yourself a piece of elastic that’s about four times the width of the sock (enough to wrap around twice without stretching).  Find a big old needle with an eye big enough to fit the elastic thread through.  (I think this was one I bought for tying quilts.)  Make one stitch through the roll and tie off the end, leaving a couple inches tail.  Use a slip stitch to sew the rolled hem down to the leg.  Pull the elastic taut, but don’t stretch it as you go.  Work your way around the sock, then tie the string to the tail you left at the beginning and trim off the extra.

Turn it right side out and you’re done!  Now, go make the other one!

DIY baby leg warmers!

“I love them, Mamma!”

Also useful as detachable sleeves!

Hey, take my picture, too!

New Ways to Spend My Time

The sewing machine has been in the repair shop for two weeks now, and I must admit, I’m going through serious withdrawals.  Especially since Bambina has started taking some really great naps.  So, I’ve had to find some new ways to spend my time.  Here are a few ways I’ve been spending my time lately…

Embroidered Bambina’s monogram onto her baby quilt.

Embroidered a sleeping dragon onto a Onesie for a friend’s new baby (it’s the year of the dragon!).

Made a simple baby doll for that dragon baby.

Made some magnets for the grandmas for Mother’s Day.  (And a couple for myself.)

And a whole lotta this…

Yep, lots of time doing this.

Did I mention I’ve been working on this?

Ok, I admit, what you see in the pictures is actually 18 months worth of knitting.  I’ve actually only put on about 10 stripes in the last two weeks.  This little knit blanket has been sitting in my project basket untouched for probably 8 months.  Every so often I’d pull it out and add a few more rows, but then once the Bambina came along, I kind of got distracted.  Now that she’s got a decent bedtime and I have a few minutes to just sit in the evening, this little puppy might actually get finished and given away!  (When a friend asked me who I was making it for, I said it would be for the next baby who was born after it was finished.  Since that conversation, not only has she had a baby, and I’ve had a baby, but I know of five other babies who have been born to close friends and family.  Blanket still not finished.  I’m just waiting for the right baby, I guess.)

Another Craft Hope Apron

Apron for Craft Hope

Craft Hope project 17 is up and running, and here’s my contribution…

This little half-apron features a purple ruffle around the edges and a small purple pocket with bright red heart.  It was super easy to make – I think I need to make a few more!

Learn more about Craft Hope.

Pink Floyd sleep sack

Another vintage t-shirt finds new life.  Your baby can see the dark side of the moon in this Pink Floyd sleep sack.

“Long you live and high you fly; smiles you’ll give and tears you’ll cry.  All you touch and all you see  is all your life will ever be.”

This sleep sack is available for your purchase at my Etsy store.

Graphic sleepsacks