Project Run & Play’s challenge for week 3 this season is “Repurposing.” We are to design a look where the majority of the materials are recycled or upcycled. The last time this challenge rolled around I took the simple route and upcycled several of my old tshirts into nightgowns for Dinah.
This time I needed to keep things simple again. It was really out of necessity: I have a short timeline due to our trip to Colorado later this week and the planned larger projects for Weeks 1 and 4.
Christian recently cleaned out his closet and passed on some old Polo shirts to me for this very purpose. One of them was a light pink color and I thought it would be perfect for a little dress for our Bear. (Since Dinah got last week’s look and Miriam will get next week’s.)
I created a simple shirt dress, utilizing the original collar, sleeves and hem.
I let her choose her own buttons for the dress and she choose these little white buttons with kitty faces on them. Of course. Not what I would have chosen, but they are actually really subtle and look cute on her dress.
I also used a bit of the original hem to create a cute little pocket trimmed with another kitty button.
It was a really easy transformation and I thought I would share a small tutorial to show how I did it. You can catch that after the jump.
Daddy’s Shirt Tutorial
First you need to start with a men’s Polo Shirt. This is a size Large shirt and I was able to make a 3T sized dress out of this. I could probably make a tunic length top for Dinah (size 5-6).
Okay, now get out those scissors and cut that shirt up. I cut off the collar and sleeves and cut the shirt front from the back a the side seams and shoulders.
You will need a pattern for a tshirt or other knit dress. I used the Flashback Skinny Tee pattern and modified it by lengthening it and grading the sides out to the hem to make an a-line dress. Place your pattern on your laid out shirt front. Notice how I am using the existing hem? Make sure your pattern bottom is lining up nicely with that hem. Trace the pattern onto the shirt and then flip the pattern and trace the other side. You will want to repeat this for the back dress piece as well.
Do the same with the sleeves…line up the bottom of the pattern with the existing hem and trace. Do you see the gap at the fold line? This was created because the existing hem is actually on a bit of an angle, but that was fine for my purposes because I wanted a slight puff at the top of the sleeves.
Now you’ll also need to cut out your faux button placket. The best thing to do is to measure your buttons and decide what size works best for you. I used two 5/8″ buttons, so I made my placket 3 x 3.5 inches.
You will also need a binding strip for the neckline. I just roughly measured around the neckline of the dress and cut the strip that length and 1 inch wide. I didn’t worry about cutting on the bias or anything because this type of knit used for polo shirts actually stretches pretty well in all directions.
Alright, let’s get sewing!
Place your front and back dress pieces right sides together and sew together at the shoulder seams. (You’ll want to use whatever seam allowance your pattern calls for.) Finish your seams (if desired) and press toward the back of the dress.
Gather the top 4 or so inches of each of your sleeves and pin them to your armholes. Sew the sleeves to the dress, finish the seams and press seam allowances toward the sleeve.
Next you will need to make your faux placket. Stitch right sides together with a 1/2″ seam. Turn right side out and center the seam along the back. Press. Tuck one end under 1/4″ and press well. The top edge will be finished by the neck binding.
Find the center of your dress front and center your placket at the top along the neckline. Place the raw edge of the placket along the raw edge of the neckline. Pin in place and topstitch it down.
Beginning just to the side of your placket start pinning your collar to the neckline. Baste this in place.
Sew your neck binding ends together with a 1/4″ seam. Press the seam allowances open. Fold the band in half lengthwise and press to find the center. Unfold and fold up one side to the center line and press well.
Center the seam at the back of the dress and pin the raw edge of the neck binding to the neckline, right sides facing, stretching slightly to fit. Stitch the binding to the dress using an 1/4″ seam.
Fold the binding up over the seam to the inside of the dress and press well. Pin the binding down and stitch it to the dress close to the edge. I marked the edges of the placket with pins and this is where I started and stopped sewing. I didn’t want a line going across my placket top. You can choose to just stitch right across there. It is really just a personal preference.
With your neckline done all that remains is stitching up your side seams. Pin your sides together matching up hem edges and the sleeve seams and sew together. Finish the seam as desired and press toward the back of the dress.