Wearing Daddy's Shirt-FI

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.)

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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.

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I also used a bit of the original hem to create a cute little pocket trimmed with another kitty button.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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All finished!

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Mrs. Willy Wonka-FI

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Time for Project Run & Play Week 2! This week we are going to the movies.  I participated in the first season that this challenge appeared by creating a Shirley Temple dress for a three year old Dinah.

In the interest of combining my spring projects with this season’s challenges I took this opportunity to make a cute outfit for Dinah’s upcoming birthday party.  We are doing a Willy Wonka theme this year since (besides Frozen) that is the girls favorite movie du jour.

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I wanted to make her a Willy Wonka inspired dress without it being too costume-y so she could wear it afterward as just a cute dress.  I also wanted it to be comfortable for her to run and play in during her party.

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I knew my obvious choice would be to create a knit dress.  I used the Flashback Skinny Tee pattern as my base and modified it a bit. I increased the length to fall just above the knee and slightly graded out the sides to the hem to create a slim A-line shape.  I also color blocked the top bodice part of the dress. I made the sleeves short since the end of March around here is quite warm usually.

Since the dress is on the shorter side I wanted to make some shorts to go along with the dress.  I used the Go To Leggings pattern to create some little bike shorts.

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All the fabric I used for this challenge I purchased from Girl Charlee Fabrics.  I have to say this is my new favorite.  The knits were super easy to sew with, they have a great weight and stretch and they were all much more affordable than I originally thought.  Knits at Joann are so expensive and not really the same quality at all.  I’ll definitely be purchasing my knits from Girl Charlee in the future.

So, here’s  a funny thing: every time Dinah sees/wears this dress she says she is ‘Mrs. Willy Wonka.”  I just think that is hilarious and perfect.  So, yes, she is.  Mrs. Willy Wonka. 🙂

P.S. This is what happens when you let the talent eat their chocolate while still in costume.

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Winter Playdate-FI

It is time once again for Project Run & Play! This season is a “favorites” season and the contestants are all previous sew-a-long winners (one of which I will be…hopefully…someday!) and the challenges are all favorite challenges from seasons past.

When they announced all the challenges I was excited to see that I could combine much of my early spring sewing list with all of the challenges.  Right now my life is too crazy to add any random additional sewing, so being able to merge my plans with this season’s challenges was very fortuitous and made it possible for me to participate at all, really.

This week we are to submit a design inspired by Winter.  We are headed to the Great White North(west) aka Colorado later this month for one of my cousin’s wedding.  We don’t have much a “winter” here in Florida, but I knew that the girls would need something warmer for the wedding.  Therefore, this seemed like a perfect way to merge with one of the PR&P challenges.

I knew immediately that I wanted to do something in a light blue velveteen with embroidered snowflakes.  I also knew I wanted the dress silhouettes to be fairly tailored.  That led me to look through the Oliver+S patterns to see what they had.  I saw the Playdate Dress and knew that it was the perfect pattern for my vision.

It has a simple a-line shape with a sweet pleat in the front and at the sleeve.  I also love the traditional style of the yoke. I did change up the yoke some by eliminating the ruffles and flat piping and adding some simple pleats.

Now, here’s a fun story.  Our local Joann’s Fabric is moving to a new (larger) store and around Halloween time stopped reordering inventory.  So, basically that means that our store was decimated throughout all the holidays and actually completely closed sometime around Christmas.  Not that they would have carried anything as fun as velveteen, but I couldn’t even run to our local store to buy thread!  So, I began scouring the internets and actually found some velveteen in a dusty blue color on Amazon of all places.  I took the gamble and ordered it and I just love it.  This fabric is actually a stretch velveteen and it was just beautiful to sew with.  I ordered at the same time a poplin for the yokes, but that fabric was not right AT ALL.  So, that meant  a 40+ minute drive down to a neighboring town.  For the yokes I got a simple white stretch shirting fabric, which was perfect because it was so crisp and fresh in contrast to the soft velveteen.

So, the day that I was going to set out sewing three copies of an Oliver+S “three scissors” pattern I read the post from the ladies over at FrancesSuzanne about their version of the Playdate dress and how detailed and involved the pattern is.  Let’s just say that made me a little nervous.  Oliver+S patterns are usually no joke, but attempting one this complicated (times three!) was daunting.  I set out to do it assembly line style, and I have to say that it didn’t take that long to sew up the actual dresses. What actually took the longest was embroidering the snowflakes onto the dresses. It was a special problem because I couldn’t hoop the fabric without it crushing the pile on the velveteen.  I mean, it may have recovered in the wash, but I didn’t want to risk it.  I did some research and found a method where you hoop tearaway stabilizer and then baste the fabric to the stabilizer. And then I drew the design onto another piece of stabilizer and I basted it on top of all that. So, yeah, that was a ton of extra work.  Especially the picking out of all the stabilizer from the design after I was finished stitching it.  HOWEVER, I got wonderful results and I love the look of the white snowflakes on the bed of dusty blue.  (Edited to add: I completely forgot to credit the snowflake designer.  I found this beautiful design at So September.)

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Aren’t they beautiful??

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The dresses AND my girls!  I just love the way these look on them. The velveteen is the perfect weight for a winter dress and the girls love how soft it is.  I also love the color…to me it is the perfect representation of the winter sky.

Okay, now that all the talky-talky is done, here are the gratuitous shots of the three cutest girlies.

See you next week for movie week!  I’ll be sewing for Dinah’s birthday party and the one of the girls’ favorite movies.  And if you get a chance, click over to see all the other submissions for our winter inspired challenge. Lots of talented sewing peeps out there!

Little Things-FI

I hope you and your families had a wonderful Christmas!  We certainly did…we had all the family here and had a wonderful couple of days of food, presents, and time spent with families. And only one trip to the emergency room (Esther got her eye stabbed by her sister’s fondue fork…just a scratch and she is totally fine…could have been so much worse).

I did hardly any sewing for Christmas this year.  The one thing that I completed was a stocking for little Miriam.

I didn’t even make Christmas pajamas this year.  I had the fabric all purchased was totally going to do it, but then the weather changed to be way colder and the short sleeve shirts and pants were no longer going to be acceptable.  So, off to the mall we went to purchase matching fleece jammies…2 days before Christmas.  It was a miracle we found some, but we did!

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So, now that it is the new year folks are doing round up posts or posting lists what their plans for the next year are.  I thought I would take this opportunity to do a round up of several little things I sewed last year, but never actually posted about.

I had several friends welcome new babies last year so I whipped up some cute little baby gifts.

The first was for my fellow Doctor Who watching friend.  She recently moved away, but she would come over and watch new episodes with me while Christian was working.  So, a gift for her newest little boy was a no brainer.  I made a couple Doctor Who themed shirts.  For one I bought a TARDIS embroidery design and stitched it onto a onesie with my favorite Doctor’s (Ten) favorite saying…Allons-y!  And then I used a freezer paper stencil and fabric paint to make another shirt declaring that “Bowties are cool” as per Eleven.

The other two ladies that I made something for were both having their first little girls after each having two boys, so I felt something cute and girly was definitely in order.  My favorite simple dress to make right now is the Geranium Dress from Made by Rae.  It has the cutest silhouette and is very simple to whip up quickly.  I made one alteration that made the sewing time even quicker.  I used the pleated skirt pattern piece, but instead of pleating I simply gathered where the pleats would be.  So, I still get the streamlined sides of the dress, but it still has the cute girly-ness of the gathers.  I have to say, this is probably my favorite way to make this dress.

For the yellow one I also used some piping along the bottom of the bodice just to give it a touch more visual interest.  I also used a snap for the closure instead of buttons because this dress was for a smaller baby and I just hate having to fasten real buttons on the backs of tiny babies.  It is just so difficult until they can sit up better on their own.

For the pink one, I decided to make a tunic and include some bloomer shorts.  I actually made the tunic out of two fat quarters.  I had *just* enough to squeeze out a 12-18 month size.  For the shorts I just used one of my self drafted baby bloomer/shorts patterns.  This friend also uses cloth diapers and I knew she would need the extra room for all the fluff. 🙂

I, of course, also had a baby this year and I wanted to make the girls something special for their big sister presents.  They love being mamas to their dolls and animals and as Miriam’s arrival was approaching they were ramping up their pretend play in this area.  So, it seemed like a good time to make them their own little carriers.  Dinah refused to be photographed this day, so I just have Esther here.  But Dinah’s is identical, except hers has a D on the pocket.  I used the pattern from Oliver + S’s Little Things to Sew and they really came together so nicely.  I always love their patterns, they are so well written and I usually learn a new trick or two.  This book is so great and has lots of sweet projects to try.  The one change I made to their carriers is that instead of fitting the carrier on them and then placing the velcro, I simply placed a very long strip of velcro on the straps so the carrier can be adjustable.  Now they can wear their babies for way longer!

Later on I sewed up one more quick Geranium…this time for my own Miriam.  She was “black and white Dorothy” riding on her tornado (stroller) for Halloween.  I used a simple black and white gingham and left it unadorned for Halloween.  After the trick-or-treating I spiced it up a bit by adding lime green buttons on the back and a cute little lime green and white striped bow on the front.  Too cute!

The final project I’m sharing today was I think one of my very few pieces of “selfish sewing” from last year.  With the baby and diaper carrying days approaching I knew I wanted to have a larger wallet instead of a purse.  Basically something that could hold everything of importance, including my phone, and would become a clutch when I didn’t have cause to carry the larger diaper bag.  I scoured the interwebs looking for just the right thing and found the Necessary Clutch Wallet Pattern at Emmaline.  It is such a great pattern and for as fussy as it looks, really didn’t take that long to make.  For this I followed the pattern straight up, but I think for future wallets I would add a panel of the stiff interfacing to the front and the back of the wallet as well, just to help it be a bit more rigid.  I did make this with Joann’s home dec weight fabric and I know that helped with stiffness as well.  I just love this wallet.  It is light weight, but has slots for all my cards and several sections.  There is a zippered center pocket as well as two flat pockets behind each card holder.

Okay, I think that is everything.  The only thing remaining is the baby wrap that I made out of gauze and a square of quilting cotton the day before the baby came because I needed something to do. 🙂  However, it is really hard to get a picture of oneself wearing a baby in a wrap, so you will have to content yourself with this picture of Dinah trying it out for me.

I hope your New Year is starting out bright!  I am looking forward to what is in store for us too!  Coming up…Project Run & Play starts in two weeks!  Eek!  Get sewing!

Dorothy and Glinda-FI

Once upon a time, a little girl named Dorothy lived a simple life in Kansas.

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She dreamed of visiting far off lands…

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lands beyond the rainbow.

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One fateful day a terrible storm came…

It’s a twister!

The tornado took Dorothy and her little house to a strange land called Oz.

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Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.

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Now, I *know* we aren’t in Kansas anymore.

Once there she discovered that her house landed on a wicked witch, freeing the peaceful Munchkinland people from her tyranny.

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Glinda, the good witch, took the wicked witch’s magical ruby slippers…

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and gave them to Dorothy.  The shoes would protect her as she traveled to the Emerald City to meet the Wizard.  Dorothy hoped the Wizard could help her to return home.

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Glinda told Dorothy to simply follow the yellow brick road and it would lead her to the Wizard.

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And thus began Dorothy’s adventures in Oz.


And there she discovered there really is no place like home.

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So, I realize Halloween was last week and I am totally behind the game.  BUT I still wanted to share the awesome costumes I made the girls this year.

Earlier this year I introduced the girls to the Wizard of Oz and they started immediately planning costumes for Halloween this year.  I hear lots of people talk about their kids not deciding their costumes until the week of Halloween and that it drives them nuts.  Well, mine seem to have memories like steel traps and once they decided on Dorothy and Glinda, there was no mind-changing.

Not that I minded!  These costumes were perfect for my girls.  Dinah was really excited about being Dorothy (because she loves to be the main character) and Esther loves any excuse to put on something pink and sparkly and poofy.

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For Dinah I drafted my own dress pattern based on the traditional costume from the movie.  It was really easy to make and my only problem with this was my own user error.  Somehow the bodice ended up 3 inches too small!  Of course, this was discovered only after I had already attached the skirt.  Sooo, I had some doctoring to do which included adding panels on the side of the bodice and cutting into the skirt some.  The result is a slight puffiness in the hips, but unless you were a real seamstress looking really closely it isn’t super noticeable.  And it is fine for a costume for a 4 year old.

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I also made her a coordinating blouse.  For this I used the Five and Ten Designs bodice pattern (size 6…it runs pretty small) and drafted a giant puff sleeve based on another random sleeve pattern I had lying around.

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I bound the neck and arms with white bias strips trimmed with blue ric-rac.  And put an invisible zipper in the back (so much faster than a million button holes and more practical for dress up).

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Esther’s Glinda dress was also based off the Five and Ten Designs bodice (size 2…that size runs a little big).  I narrowed the shoulder seams and created a sweetheart neckline.  The sleeves are a single layer of organza with elastic in the hem. I trimmed the bodice front along the waist and neckline with some sequin trim that I got at Joann.  I also made a couple sliver butterflies to attach to her dress (like movie Glinda), but they were really fragile and they both lost one of their wings.  Sad.

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The skirt is one layer of satin with boning in the hem to create a hoop skirt.  That is topped with 3 layers of organza.  In order to get maximum “fluffiness” I understitched the top layer of organza.  Basically this means that I lifted up that first layer or organza up and stitched it to the bodice close to the seam.  Doing this made that layer stand out a bit from the other skirt layers and made more the dress a bit more poofy looking.

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Glinda has a couple of props that I needed to make.  Her crown and wand.  For the crown I just went simple and cheap.  I just got posterboard, glued it together and lightly spray painted it with metallic silver.  When that was dry I used glitter glue (awesome stuff) and some gems to decorate it.  For the wand, I had Christian glue a wooden star from Michael’s to a dowel rod and then he used that same metallic paint to spray paint it.  I then bedazzled it a bit so it looked more like movie Glinda’s wand.

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For trick or treating last week our whole family dressed up as the Wizard of Oz crew.  (I’m the lion.)  It was really fun!


And in case you were wondering about Miriam, she was “Black and White Dorothy” and she rode along with us in her tornado (aka stroller).  For her dress I just whipped my new favorite, the Geranium dress, out of some black and white gingham.  I’ll probably be trimming it with some color to make it more interesting.  I’ll share it with you all a later date…I’ve been making Geraniums up a storm and have a few in my backlog to share.


Hope you all had a fun Halloween!  Looking forward to the Thanksgiving season, as I truly have much to be thankful for!

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