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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Infinity Dresses

This week’s Project Run & Play challenge was to remix the Party Dress from The Cottage Home.  I have to admit I struggled with this one.  A pattern like this is very basic and yet very specific.  A basic, lined bodice is pretty much the foundation for almost any garment.  AND I had made dresses almost exactly like this before.  (The girls’ Easter dresses from last spring…I used them for my Signature Look the last time I participated in the sew-along.)  So…what on earth could I do that would adequately “remix” it??  I was thisclose to just skipping the first week.  However, my out-of-the-box thinking, creative-minded husband came to the rescue.  He was looking at the picture of the dress on The Cottage Home’s site and said…what if you did it like one of those infinity dresses?  Eureka!  I loved this idea!

I recently helped a friend figure out the best way to wear one of these dresses for her brother’s wedding, so they have been on my radar.  Apparently they are (were? Am I behind?) all the rage for their simplicity and versatility.  The idea of one for little girls appealed to me for the same reasons.  Although the top did need some tweaking to make it more appropriate for children.  (for example…my girls are not going around strapless!)

What I ended up creating is a simple tank dress made of a two-way stretch jersey that I found at Joann.

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It has a lined bodice and a slightly gathered skirt.

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For interest at the hem I added a band.

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And instead of a normal sash, I gave the dress two loooonnnnggg sash pieces at either side that can be used to wrap around the little one in several different ways to give the dress a new look every time she wears it.

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Except for fighting with the knit, this was a really easy dress to create and I thought I would share a little tutorial with you!  These will be super comfy and fun to wear in the spring/summer (although it is 80+ degrees here this week!).  My girls loved them and didn’t really want to take them off.


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I am so glad that I didn’t skip this week!  I just love these simple dresses and they will be a great addition to their warm weather wardrobe!  I just wanted to share a few more pics from the photoshoot today…Dinah was being a ham and it was cracking us all up.  I promise I did not coach her at all…these poses came straight from her crazy, three-year-old mind.  🙂   Just scroll down for the tutorial…

Infinity Dress Tutorial

Materials Needed:
Stretchy knit fabric (preferably with two-way stretch)
Coordinating thread
Ball point needle for your machine
Walking foot (optional…but I find it helpful)

Step One: Create your pattern, calculate your measurements and make your cuts

The first thing you will want to do is make a tank top pattern if you don’t already have one.  This is super easy…just go dig out a knit tank top that fits your child well, fold it in half and trace.  Don’t forget to leave a bit of room for seam allowances…I did 0.5 inch for this project.  I made the front pieces a bit lower in the neckline than the back, but you could do them the same if you wanted…that is totally a personal preference thing.

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Next you will need figure out how much fabric you will need for your skirt and the hem band.  Here is the formula I used:

((Waist x 1.5) + 1) / 2 = each skirt panel width  (That 1 is added for seam allowance.)

My measurements:
Dinah (4T size):  ((22 x 1.5) + 1) / 2 = (33 + 1) / 2 = 34/2 = 17
Esther (2T size):  ((19 x 1.5) + 1) / 2 = (26 + 1) / 2 = 27/2 = 13.5

For the length, you need to measure how long you want the dress to be.  I did from about 4 inches under the arm to right at the knee.  Take this measurement and add 1 inch.  Next subtract 3 inches (or however big you want your band).  This should be the length of the top panel of the skirt.

My measurements were:
Dinah:  14 + 1 = 15 – 3 = 12
Esther:  10.5 + 1 =11.5 – 2.5 = 9  (I made Esther’s band slightly smaller)

So, to recap my top skirt panels were:
Dinah:  17 x 12 inches
Esther:  13.5 x 9 inches

The band panels should be twice the length you want the bands to be plus 1 inch and as wide as your skirt panels.

My bands were:
Dinah:  17 x 7
Esther:  13.5 x 6

And finally you will need your sash strips.  I just cut two strips for each dress the width of the fabric.  For Dinah’s I did 5 inches and for Esther I did 3 inches.

Isn’t math fun?  Or not…okay, here are all the cuts you need…

Cut 2 of each:
front bodice piece
back bodice piece
top skirt panel
hem band
sash strips

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Step Two: Make the bodice

**Note: for all my stitching I used a stretch stitch on my machine, a ball point needle, and a walking foot.  The stretch stitch I used looks like a little lightning bolt.  You could also use a very narrow zigzag stitch.  This just allows your seams to stretch just a bit with the fabric so your stitching doesn’t pop.**

Pin front bodice piece to the back bodice piece at side seams encasing one end of each sash piece at the sides.  Leave about 1 inch on either side of the sash in the seam.  You will have to gather the end of the sash pieces to accomplish this.  Pin together the front and back bodice lining pieces at the side seams, as well.

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Stitch the side seams together on both the bodice and the lining.

Place the bodice and lining right sides together and pin bodice to the lining at the neckline and armholes leaving the top of shoulders open.

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Stitch along neckline and armholes.

Turn the bodice wrong side out and press well.

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Pin the shoulder seams right sides together and stitch.

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Finish the seam as you choose…I just trimmed to a 1/4 inch and did a simple zigzag stitch.  I also hand tacked the seam down at the shoulder, just so it laid nice and flat.

And now the bodice is finished!

Step Three: Make the skirt

Fold hem bands in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and press.

Place raw edge of hem band along bottom of skirt panel, right sides together.  Pin and stitch.  Finish seam and press band down and seam up.  Repeat for the other half of the skirt.

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Pin skirt panels together at side seams, matching the hem band seam lines.  Stitch together and press seams open.

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Near the top edge of the skirt run a gathering stitch.  Pull the bobbin threads to create a slight gather around the top of the skirt.

**And, I apparently was in such a great hurry to finish these up that I totally forgot to take pictures of these final steps.  Hopefully this makes sense and you can figure it out. :/ Sorry!**

Step Four: Finishing it all up!

Pin your skirt and bodice right sides together.  Match up the side seams and adjust your gathering so the skirt panel width matches the bodice.  Finish those seams and press the seam allowance down toward the skirt.

And you are done!  Now you can wrap up those cuties however you wish!

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If you make one of these, I would love to see it!  Add your pictures to my Flickr group!

Summer Shirt Tutorial

Hey everyone!  I am so excited!  Today I am guest posting over at Project Run & Play!  Go there to see this cutie tutorial for summer shirts.

And as a bonus I have a short tutorial here for adapting an existing shorts pattern by adding a gathered cuff.

Gathered Cuff Shorts Adaptation

Make the shorts according to your pattern…EXCEPT do not finish off the hem.

Measure around your child’s leg. Use this formula to cut your cuffs:
Cuff length = Leg + 0.5” (ease) + 1 (seam)

Cut two strips of fabric this length and 4 inches wide.

Fold the cuff piece in half lengthwise. Reopen and fold the raw edges in to the center. Press.

Open cuff piece up all the way, place right sides together and stitch, forming a loop.

Press seam open and press folds again.

Gather the shorts hem.

Sandwich the hem between the layers of the cuff. Pin cuff to shorts, matching the seam to the inseam on the shorts. Adjust gathers as necessary.

Stitch the cuff to the shorts close to edge of the cuff.


Thanks for stopping by!  I’ll post some more pictures of the girls in their outfits, enjoying their popsicles later this weekend.  I know some of you (ahem…grandparents) really only want to see the children. 😉

Pennant Banner

My best friend recently had her second baby, a little girl.  She already has a sweet little boy and her plan was for the children to share a bedroom/nursery.  Which means she needed to add to the existing décor to incorporate the new little girl.  One of the things she wanted was pennant banners with the children’s names.  So she commissioned me to make them.  (Did you know I take commissions?  I do!  If you want me to make something for you all you have to do is send me a note using the handy form on the “Contact Me”  page located up there above my header.)

I love the look of little fabric pennants strung up and they were so easy to make.  I thought I would do a little tutorial in case you wanted to make some of your own.  These are great in children’s bedrooms with their names or you can use them for special celebrations or even to represent your favorite sports team.  They are so cute and can be used anywhere and because they are fabric they can be washed and stored and won’t tear and look all beat up.

Okay, let’s go!

Materials Needed
1 charm pack of your choice
5 inch squares of fabrics of your choice
5 inch square of scrap cardboard or cardstock
Double-fold bias tape (store-bought or homemade)
Heavy weight interfacing
Pinking shears
Sewing Machine

Prep Work – Embellish your squares

Because I was using these to display names, I went ahead and added the letters to my squares before I put anything else together.  If you are leaving your pennants plain you will want to skip this step.

I used my handy embroidery machine to appliqué a little white oval and to stitch the letters onto my squares.  You can add your letters/decoration however you choose.  I’m not going to include appliqué instructions in my tutorial…you can find dozens with a simple Google search.  But I will show you how I set everything up.

For the record, my appliqués were about 1” x 2”.

  1. Find the center on your piece of fabric.
  2. Measure down about 2 inches from the center and mark with an X.  This should be the center of your design.
  3. Add your letter!

Make the Pennants

  1. Select which squares from your charm pack you would like to use.  You will need two for each pennant: one for the front and one for the back.
  2. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, attach the heavy weight interfacing to your fabric squares.
  3. Make a triangle template.  (I just used the cardboard backing from my charm pack.)  Find the center on the bottom side and draw straight lines from that center point to each of the top corners.  Cut off the sides forming your triangle.
  4. Place your new template on top of each “front” square and trace.  You should only really need to trace the sides of the triangle.
  5. Don’t cut yet!!
  6. Stack your front and back squares wrong sides together.  You can pin if you want to, but I didn’t think it was necessary.
  7. Top stitch along the lines you drew earlier.  I used a triple stitch in a contrasting thread to make it stand out a bit more.
  8. When you get to the tip of your triangle, leave the needle down and lift the presser foot to rotate your square.
  9. Now, take your pinking shears and trim about a 1/4 inch away from your stitching line.
  10. Yay! Pennants are done!

Make the Banner

  1. Line up or measure out your pennants to determine how much double-fold bias tape you will need.  I left about 8 inches of free space on either side to allow room for hanging.
  2. Pin your triangles with the top edge sandwiched in the fold of the bias tape.  Go ahead and pin all the triangles you will be using on that strip of bias tape.
  3. Finish your bias tape ends.  Sorry, I don’t have a picture of this, but here is a good tutorial on how to do this.  Just use the part about finishing the ends.
  4. Stich close to the open edge all the way across the bias tape.
  5. Now your banner is finished!
  6. One last thing I did was add a tiny bias tape bow to the girl banner, just to add some interest.  I simply finished a scrap of tape as before and stitched the open edge closed.  Then I tied it into a sweet little bow.


And there you go…cute fabric pennants to string up in your child’s room, your living room or your next tailgate.


I just made a new Flickr pool and I would love to see your creations!  Upload away!

AND…I just hit 100 “Likes” on Facebook.  I think it is giveaway time again!  Stay tuned for details about that later this week.  If you won, what would you like me to make for you?

Tablet Case 2.0-2

So, a million years ago I promised a tutorial for my tablet case.  I did actually complete it and I even had it tested by five wonderful ladies.  They sent me wonderful reports with info on their experiences with the tutorial.  And then those reports just sat there.  I’ve been so busy with work stuff (is it surprising that Easter is a busy time in the church?) and then I got sucked into the fun of Project Run & Play.  So, I still haven’t updated my original tutorial after the testing.   However, I really want to get this tutorial up and out so here it is!


This tutorial is for a fabric tablet/e-reader case with removable boards so the case is completely washable.

It stands up at two heights so you can prop your device up on a table or counter.


And I have included a size table to fit just about any tablet/e-reader on the market.

******Download the complete tutorial here.  Tablet Case Tutorial******

If you should have any questions while making your lovely case, please feel free to email me at sewinharmony (at) gmail (dot) com.  I am always glad to help!  I would also love to see your creations.  If you make a case, please add your pictures to my Flickr Pool!

***UPDATE***  I have added a few new devices to this tutorial.  I now have the measurements for the following devices:
Samsung Tab 10.1
Samsung Tab 7.0
Nook Color
Kindle Fire
Kindle Fire HD
Kindle Touch
Kindle Paperwhite
Lenovo IdeaTab
Pandigital Star
Asus Transformer 10.1
Nexus 7

****UPDATE AGAIN**** There are now so many devices on the market that I simply cannot keep up with all the requests for personalized measurements.  However, I have created a handy-dandy Google Drive spreadsheet where you can input your own measurements to get the correct calculations for your own device.  You can view the calculator here: Sew in Harmony Tablet Case Measurement Calculator.