Monday, February 7, 2011

Sewing Attempt....

So it all began with seeing a very cool blog where a woman takes thrift store clothes, and re-designs them into more (in her opinion) stylish clothing.  Hmm..   Then I saw where a mom took a regular, white onsie and sewed on a skirt…. Hmmm  
I should mention here that you probably know my past with sewing is a somewhat tramatic one. My mom is a great seamstress, and tried very hard to teach me.  But somehow I have always hated it. Becuase nothing I make turns out. Right. And it looks home made. Yet, these blogs, and the 10 year hiatus from any sewing made me start thinking.
 Then I was cleaning out my closet. Which was atrocious. I had one huge tub for all clothes that won’t fit hanging up,  (which in theory would keep the floor picked up enough to walk into said closet. In. Theory. ) It wasn't working. :(
 So I bought a tub for each category, (maternity, summer t’s, sweaters, clothes I will never again wear but for sentimental reasons still can’t throw away. – yes, I know this is very, very pathetic but that is one of my tubs-    my wedding dress, etc. Oh, - and I had the brilliant idea to have a ‘not fit’ tub, so I can switch out my current huge clothes with my little clothes in the future! in the hopes I can someday throw this tub away and feel amazing about myself!)

Believe it or not, - this is 'after'. 

And these are the tubs.
At the end I had a whole sack of clothes I really knew I would never wear, and was ready to give to the thrift store, when sudden inspiration struck.....


One of my favorite waffle knit shirts had gotten a little bleach stain on a very noticible place. :(
Instead of giving all these clothes away,- this was my chance to DO something with them!! :)
I dug through all of Felicity's clothes, looking for what would work best...

A shirt of hers that I thought would make a cuter dress.

An inspiration from an Old Navy dress of hers I love... tons of easy peasy looking ruffles.

Looking up close, - the ruffles are just strips of knit gathered and sewn on. No hem, nothing! Surely I could do that!

With my a vision for what it would be, I made the cut.

It may NOT be a good idea to actually try this project on a week when you have been so incredibly tired, so close to getting really sick, so overwhelmed with all that can fills every evening, that on Tuesday when you look and see that once again it is almost mid-night, and you start crying, begging your husband, - PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE lets NOT do this again!!! I have to sleeeeep – When you come home from work tomorrow, (around 7:00 om usually) lets just eat, put the kids to bed and GO TO SLEEP!! I don’t think I can take one more late night!!”
To which he whole heartedly agrees.
That would mean the next day, after running errands, going to the library, building a  lego sea scorpion with your 5 year old, in the late afternoon when you are sooo tired, that your idea of accomplishing something is being awake enough to watch your playing baby and surfing blogs seeing  AMAZING women who come up with AMAZING ideas and are EXTREEMELY productive… 
You decide that you just can’t stand it and ARE GOING to try your idea. -  So on baby’s last nap for the day, (instead of sleeping, cleaning house or working out) you pull out your sewing machine…(du-du-duuuunnn music) and relearn all the basics of how to thread it, how to do different stitches, etc.
   Then after a super of left over soup, (5th straight meal of leftover soup for you and suspicious 5 year old ‘aren’t we going to ever eat anything else?’)  and honey comes home… it is almost kids bedtime and daddy is having a chance to play with them, you think to yourself, - just a few minutes left in the day, - I could wash the dishes, start the mountain of laundry, take a warm bath before bed.. … or,  -‘yah, THIS is the perfect time for starting a possibly impossible, hair pulling, make me want to cry, have never done it before project!’
Becuase that is what I did.

Oh. You also may not want to cut through BOTH sides at once unless you are really really sure they are even, or it will look like this.  :(
Thankfully, - the back was longer than I wanted and I was able to actually fix it easily.

Here I use a jumper she is just growing into (since the shirt is still big) to use as a guide for how long to make the skirt. - I just (more carefully) cut my shirt off at the right height.

There may be a better way to do it, - but this is the way I know to makes gathers... a loose running stitch and pull the bobbin thread tight.

 I wanted the light green shirt to ‘ruffle’ over the skirt so it would look intentional and less home-made so I stitched the front to make a ruffle first. I probably should have marked out a straight line, - but I figured I could ‘eyeball’ it since it was such a short distance on such a little garment.

The front all ruffled. (I think you are suposed to be able to make ruffles while attatching but I don't know how, - so I worked with what I knew)

When you go to do the back, make sure you don’t sew it to the front… Since it is such a little garment. L
Thankfully, - it BARELY caught the edge of the front ruffle, so it was easy to trim off…. Since it’s just a ruffle.

Here is the front.... It actually looks just like I envisioned..... around mid-night. At this point I was dead tired, but my husbands awe and praise at what I had gotten done thus far cheered me up.

Despite the fact that when I decided to take some of the bulk out of the skirt I wasn't careful enough to stretch the knit fabric evenly and it looked like this.. :(  Sooooo, I dug out my seam rippper..... :(

Not bad for not doing any dishes all day.... Hey, - but at least my closet was CLEAN!

The next day I decided to tackle it again.... Oh yes... did I mention the stiching in the back was hideous?
The pucker was fairly centered and almost looked intentional... until the uneven and wild stitching gave away the truth...  :(

Nothing to do but put on more ruffles... Didn't know how much I liked ruffles!

Here is the back... which ironically looks funny in this picture, but held straight up, - it actually looks good.

 I cut out a heart of the waffle knit and after trying to stitch it on the top, and starting to put a hole in the delicate knit I sort of remembered that I think you are suposed to use backing with thin fabric for that reason... So I used iron on easy no sew to attatch it....  I can always go back and hand stitch I guess until I get more practice with TINY details like that on the machine which is much harder than I thought.

Couldn't decide on the hearts, or the flower for the bottom of the dress.... what do you think?

After telling my friend at church about my attempt, she let me borrow some cute dresses she made for her girls out of two sweatshirts and some extra scraps of fabric....

Justice making his best shark face while holding the amazing shark he created out of a lego kit...doing a MUCH better job on his project than mine!!
Ladies, - I know some of you who are sewing masters, who actually can sew a whole dress from a pattern (WOW) and are laughing your heads off at my clumsy attempts.... I don't mind! 
But I did want to share my attempt becuase i LOVE the idea of re-using, and would LOVE to have you show me up....
BTW, - I have been picking up some very very cute printed womans large knit shirts at local thrift stores for 50-75 cents each, - getting soft, cheap fabric for more ideas I have for cute things to make for Felicity...
and this whole project was free, since I had both shirts already...

Part of being a prepared woman is thinking outside the box. - Learning to use what we have, and use it well!

And here are some of the AMAZING blog tutorials that do NOT look home-made and are great ideas to get you really excited.  And yes, some of these have become my favorite sites and you will see other ideas from some of these ladies in later posts about other cool stuff to make.

    Here is a gorgeous dress made from a woman's skirt.

Here is a tunic shirt but could be used as a dress for smaller girls tutorial, very cool.

Here is a mom who used leggings to make a loved tshirt into a cute longsleeved embelished shirt

Here is something I REALLY wish i knew how to do.

I LOVE this technique, - MUCH easier looking than sewing, and yet can look really good... Probablly should have started with this one... - have seen some onsies that look pretty darn cute!!


  1. I love what you have done!! I stink at sewing, always have an idea to make something, but it never looks right! :)

  2. crazy talent. Goodness girl. I think you should do a cloth rose. Those are way trendy now and super cute. Just my two cents.