Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tutorial: Upcycled Dress Made from an Outgrown Shirt & Some Fabric

I've been wanting to make this dress for some time now after Olivia picked out a dress at Kohl's this spring.  She liked the soft t-shirt top and cotton skirt of her new dress, and I thought it would be good for Olivia to have a few extra dresses to wear this summer. 

Olivia in the dress I made for her
using a shirt that was too short for her and
some extra fabric I had on hand.

Recently, Olivia told me that a favorite shirt of hers was too short when she lifted her arms over her head.  The rest of the top fit...it was just too short for her liking.  I had a piece of fabric on hand that was similar in color to Olivia's top.  Asked if she wanted me to make a dress out of the shirt.  "Yes!" she answered.

I'm sure there are more efficient and professional ways to make a dress.  However, this is what I came up with that seemed to work for me.  The only thing that I wish I knew how to do was how to attach the piece of elastic with the curly edge which is around the waist of the Kohl's dress. The Kohl's dress also was made using a serger which I don't have...just a standard sewing machine.

FIRST STEP: GATHER ITEMS YOU NEED


To make the dress, you'll need one shirt and some fabric.  How much?  I have no idea.  That's why the dress from Kohl's is also out - to get an idea how much fabric is needed to make the skirt. 

You'll also need a fabric scissors, pins, sewing machine, thread, bobbin, ruler, an iron, and ironing board.

STEP TWO:  CUT THE FABRIC FOR THE SKIRT


Iron the fabric, and then fold it so the folded edge runs vertically (the fold is on the right side in this picture).  Place a finished dress on top of the fabric, and spread the skirt out so the full width at the bottom is flat.  The edge of the skirt should be touching the folded edge. 

Allow an inch or so on the left side and at the bottom of the fabric; and then cut out so you have a rectangular piece of fabric.

STEP THREE: CUT THE SHIRT


Cut the shirt so that it is about a half inch longer than the shirt on the finished dress.  You could make the top longer or shorter...depending on where your daughter wants the top and skirt to meet. 

If you plan to make the top substantially shorter or keep most of the length, you may want to cut the top first and then the fabric for the skirt so the dress is long enough. (So, reverse steps 2 and 3.)

STEP FOUR:  SEW THE SKIRT


With right sides together, sew the length of the skirt (from waist to knees).  I used about a 1/4" seam.  Press open the seam.

See step six (below) for a tip to make pinning the skirt and shirt together much easier.

STEP FIVE: GATHER THE SKIRT


Using two strands of thread, gather the top of the skirt about a half inch from the top.  Pull the thread when you get to the end a bit.  Adjust the gathering so it looks even.  (Note to self:  Working in the garden before sewing doesn't make for good pictures.)

STEP SIX: PIN TOGETHER THE SHIRT AND SKIRT


Turn the shirt and skirt so the right sides are together.  To pin the skirt to the top, match one side seam of the shirt with the sewn edge of the skirt.  Pin it together.  (Make sure you are pinning the right sides together - you have to kind of lift the skirt and shirt up a bit and then pin it.)

In retrospect, what I would have done back at step four is mark the skirt in four equal parts along the waist.  I also would have marked the shirt in four equal parts along the cut edge.  In this way, the four markings could be matched and pinned. Then, the gathering could be spread out equally within quarters. 

As a side note, the white "fake shirt" that's inside the pink shirt was taken out by a scissors at this point.  Olivia didn't like the feel of it and would have been bothered by it. 

STEP SEVEN: SEW THE SHIRT AND SKIRT TOGETHER


With a 1/2" seam allowance, sew the skirt and shirt together.  Take your time...it's easy for the skirt or shirt to get under the needle.  The last thing you want to do is take out your stitching.  Trust me...I've done that before.  It's not fun...especially with gathered skirts.

STEP EIGHT:  DO SOME IRONING AND HEM THE DRESS


Iron the dress - or just the skirt part - again.  It's probably fine from the last time you ironed...but just in case there's a crease somewhere:  you can flatten it beyond recognition. 

Then, you need to hem the skirt to the desired length. I wanted to hem my daughter's dress 1/2" so I folded it up 1/4" and then ironed it.  Then I folded it again (so 1/2" was turned up).  Pin the hem as you go.  Sew the hem.

Turn the dress inside out....and now you're done. 

It's an easy project...it doesn't take a lot of time...and it's a great way to reuse a shirt and use some fabric for which you haven't yet found a use. 

So that's my first tutorial.  Hopefully it was clear enough through the pictures and/or words.  If not, let me know...perhaps I can better explain what I did.

The finished dress...and a daughter who's happy
she has another outfit to wear.

 


2 comments:

Jill said...

lovely dress and a great tutorial! You explained really clearly!

Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
Hope you have a great week!
Jill @ Creating my way to Success
http://www.jembellish.blogspot.com/

CreationsbyJune said...

I am so glad you posted at Round Tuit! I have a favorite t-shirt that is too short and I have been wanting to do something with it! Now I am going to have to find some fabric to match so I can make this for myself!