Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday Tip O' The Day

So...bet you all gave up on my "Tuesday Tip O' The Day" posts, huh? Yes, I've been pretty busy lately and haven't done much blogging. However, this was something I thought might be useful to my readers, especially ones with little girls.

How many times has your little one had a cute shirt like this...

Or this...I mean, could the picture on this shirt BE any cuter?
But then they get a stain like this:
Or both a hole (top arrow) AND a stain (bottom arrow) like this:
There's plenty of wear left in both of these shirts, so I don't want to throw them away! What to do?

With these helpful tools, a sewing machine, and a little bit of time, you can make the shirts a usuable part of your little girl's wardrobe again!

First you need to decide where to cut the shirt off at. In this case, I went slightly below the stain, which will end up in the seam allowance...

Using a rotary cutter and a clear ruler, I cut the shirt off. (Note, while you can use scissors, a rotary cutter makes a nice, clean cut REALLY fast!)

Since the stain was lower on this shirt, I just cut it off leaving enough space so that the embroidered design wouldn't be affected .

After the cut.

Now, why would I cut the shirts off? So I could make them into dresses!! For the green shirt, I chose this plaid flannel fabric, which coordinated pretty well. It was also on sale, so for the 1/2 yard I needed, I paid just $1.75.

I folded the fabric in half, matching the short edges. Using my sewing machine, I sewed a seam along the short edge of the fabric.

Then I pressed the seam open with my iron so it would lay flat.

Then I sewed a long running stitch along the top edge of the fabric. I set the sewing machine up to sew the longest, most loose stitch possible.

Holding one end of the thread, I gently pulled the other end of the thread tight to gather the material. I did this until the gathered area was approximately the same size as the cut edge of the shirt
. Pinning RIGHT sides together, I pinned the cut edge of the shirt to the gathered edge of the skirt.

This is before sewing the bottom hem of the skirt.

The finished "new" dress!

The fabric I bought for the melon colored shirt was a little more fancy (and a little more expensive, but still on sale - I paid $2.50 for 1/2 yard). I think the fabric type is called Moleskin. Super soft and easy to work with. I decided to get a bit more sophisticated with this one, so I created pleats approximately every 2 inches along the top edge of the fabric. Then I ran a stitch along the top to keep the pleats in place while I continued working.

Here is a view of the "right" side of the fabric with the pleats pinned.

Since the Moleskin fabric is a little heavier and the pleats leave less room for sewing errors, I used a piece of twill tape to keep the cut edge of the shirt from getting stretched out. I sewed this on the "wrong" side of the fabric with a straight stitch.

Here is the shirt with the twill tape sewn in place.

At this point, my camera battery died, so I don't have any more "in progress" pictures. *sigh*
Anyway, after sewing on the twill tape, I pinned the pleated edge of the skirt to the cut edge of the shirt (RIGHT sides together) and sewed a seam. Then I folded the bottom of the skirt up once (approximately 1/2 inch) then again to create a 3/4" bottom hem.
Here's the finished dress.

You could use this idea as I did, to get more use out of a stained shirt, or to create a "new" dress for your little girl. The total cost for these two "new" dresses was $5.34. The shirts used for these projects were 4T. I used 1/2 yard of 45" wide fabric for each one, plus a little less than a yard of twill tape for the melon/brown one. Depending on the size of your child, you might need more or less fabric.


Destini said...

Very cute! what a great idea! :)

Melany said...

Way to be resourceful! This is cute.

Devin said...


These are fantastic. One thing I do not do is sew, so I felt a little confused reading, not knowing all the technical terms...but your result was amazing! I so wish you could sit down with me and give me a lesson--that's amazing what you did! The dresses are so super cute!

12-arrows said...

Ok so Julie can you be my personal seamstress? OMGosh girl you have to be one of the most creative individuals I've ever met! Its so awesome how God gives you ideas and you are able to make them happen! Way to go GIRL! Adorable! cute! much more functional!

(seems like the tee shirt body shrinks up before the sleeves do so this is definitely a way you can get alot more use out of a tee)

Julie said...

Oh, I so can't take credit for this idea - I saw it a while back on another blog. I only WISH I was a seamstress...some of the stuff I've seen other people do makes my projects look like kindergarten art. HA!

I'm sorta like Martha Stewart - I find cute or useful ideas that others have come up with, and I try them and share them. :)

amanda said...

awesome idea. I might have to get myself a little girl... thankfully the boys never stain any of their clothes... right.

what a clever idea! you really should post a picture while its being worn, I bet its even cuter then! super duper work!

La Familia Garcia said...

That is sooo cool!! haha...but like amanda said...any ideas for boys?

Amanda said...

I love this tutorial and just may try it when I get a few moments without the kids.