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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Up-Cycled T-Shirt Dress

We decided to clean out our closets for the Goodwill. Mr. NoNo was doing a great job and he got rid of a lot of old t-shirts and sweaters that he doesn't wear anymore. Unfortunately, Miss NoNo got very upset that he was getting rid of his Hawaii t-shirt (that he has had since our honeymoon!). She was nearly crying (!) and she told him that he needed to keep it because she thought it was her favorite shirt. But, since he really didn't want it anymore, I told her that I would make it into something that SHE could wear. That way, SHE would be able to keep her favorite t-shirt!! :)

And...we made the "Up-Cycled T-Shirt Dress".

Lay the t-shirt out and use a dress (or nightgown!) that fits a little bit loose for your "pattern". Fold the pattern in half and lay it right against the middle of the XL t-shirt. If you have a design on the front of the "old" t-shirt that you want to be centered, now is the time to make sure that the design is on the center of your fold.

Fold the original t-shirt in half (both your pattern and the t-shirt should be folded vertically in half with the folds of each laying together). Cut around the pattern, leaving some space between the pattern and your cut for a seam allowance - I used 1/2". Make sure to omit the sleeves at this point - your pieces should look like parts of a tank dress.

You should now have two pieces that, when unfolded, are the back and the front halves of the new dress. Lay down the dress pieces against one of the remaining t-shirt pieces to cut the sleeves out. (To do this, I laid the newly cut pieces down and traced where the "sleeve" ended; then I put the pattern over all of that, lining up the cut "sleeve" and the pattern; I traced around the sleeve on the pattern - my pattern was ruffled on the edge, so I added a little bit extra to make up for the ruffled portion; cut it out, leaving room for a seam allowance.) You should have four sleeve pieces. Line them up to make sure that all pieces are about the same size (so that the sleeves look even once you sew them on).

Pin the front and back pieces together along the sides and along the shoulders. Cut out the neck more - you should need to do this to make sure it fits over your daughter's head (trust me - - I didn't check and I had to cut the neck once, then re-cut again (!) to get it want to only have to sew the neckline hem ONE time - lol). Pin around the neckline hem (I used about 1/4" hem).

Sew along the shoulder hems, the side hems and the neckline hem. Next, pin two sleeve pieces together and then sew to make a sleeve (open at both ends). Do the same to the other sleeve and then pin the sleeve pieces on to the dress body. Sew the sleeves onto the dress body - you want to put the sleeves inside of the arm holes - with the dress turned inside out. Once you sew the seam, you will flip the dress right side out and pull the sleeves out and your hem is perfectly hidden. (FYI - my sleeves did not fit perfectly flush to the dress body. Fortunately, since the pieces were the same size, I was able to fold the sleeves (like little pleats) in the same areas on both sides of the dress - - adding a little extra omph! that wouldn't have been there don't worry if it's not a perfect fit, it will still come out good!). Trim the bottom hemline so that it is the same length in the front and the back.

At this point, I decided to not hem the sleeves or the bottom of the new dress. Since it was t-shirt material, I pulled the "hems" taut until they started to curl up. To do that: I just grabbed two parts of the hem a couple of inches apart, pulled and pulled again (but not so hard that you rip the shirt) - the material will start to curl up around the cut edge.

There was a large paint splatter on one part of the new dress (from an old painting job that Mr. NoNo did). Since I couldn't cut that part out without ruining the dress - or making it waaaaay too short, I decided to make a little flower with an extra strip of fabric and just sew that over the paint stain.

Here is Miss NoNo in her dress to check the fit (before I "finished" the hems). Obviously, she loves it!!
What do you think?? If you try it out, let me know - - I would love to see how everyone works their old tees into new, comfy dresses for the little ones! :)

More later!! :)