Tuesday, December 3, 2013

From Daddy's Old Shirts to Christmas Dresses

A while back, a few of my friends posted a picture of a little girl's dress made out of an old shirt.  I really thought that I would log that away until I had more time...like next year.  But then, the idea stuck in my head.

Coincidentally, my husband was cleaning out his closet and was going to throw a few white shirts out because they were a bit grungy or stained.  So I thought, eh, why not?

So here are the results of my destroying two old shirts to make two new (and hopefully cute) Christmas dresses for my girls.

Here is one of the shirts I started with:

Before cutting up the shirt, I took a look at how some other moms did it.  While my dresses are based on a tutorial I found over at MADE (http://www.danamadeit.com/2008/07/tutorial-the-shirt-dress.html), I have embellished and changed things up a bit.  Mainly because these are winter dresses - not summer - and because I wanted to.

So...remember that pattern I JUST used for the girls' Christmas pajamas?  Well, here it is again.

For this project I used the long shirt you see on the right.  I lengthened both the shirt and the sleeves to make a long-sleeved dress.  However, the main part of the bodice was kept in tact.

So here's the pattern laid out on the shirt.

Instead of folding the shirt in half, I cut out one side and then flipped the pattern over to the cut out the other half of the dress.  I did this mainly because I couldn't get the shirt to lie flat with the buttons in the middle.

As you can see, I left the bottom portion of the shirt uncut as I wanted to adjust the length for each daughter individually.

Next, I cut off the sleeves of the shirt.    The sleeves on this one were particularly stained, so I had to be careful what part I used.  I'm not sure what my husband did to them, but they were not pretty.

Anyways, because of the staining, I decided to use a contrast fabric for the actual sleeve and the shirt for a ruffled cuff.

Sorry I didn't take pics of this, but I used the pattern piece for  the sleeves and cut them out of the contrast fabric.  To get the correct length for the sleeves, I measure each girl's arm.

For the ruffled cuff at the bottom of the sleeve, I measured the width of the sleeve at the wrist and cut the cuff to that length.

I made a casing and inserted elastic in between the cuff and the main body of the sleeve to really give it that ruffled look.

The waistband is a strip of contrast fabric folded in half and sewn on top of the shirt.  I made 2 elastic casings and inserted 1/4" elastic into the casings.  The elastic was cut to 1" longer than the measurement of the girls' waists.

The last thing I put on was the contrast ruffle at the bottom.  I measured each girl and cut the shirt straight across so that the shirt ended at the knees.  Then, I cut 2 ruffle pieces that were double the width of the dress by 6 1/2".

I hemmed the bottom first, then gathered the top of the ruffle with a gathering stitch.  It was sewn on to the main body of the dress and presto!  A ruffle.

For a more finished look, I top stitched at the shirt/ruffle seam and added a double-stitched hem at the bottom.

And here's the finished product!  H's is a 2T and E's a 4T.

The one thing I did NOT see coming (I'm not sure why, guess I didn't think about it), was that the dresses are a bit see-through.  This is why men should wear undershirts, right? :)

So, after the dresses were finished I decided to make slips to go underneath.  I could have made attached slips, but since the elastic was already in the waist, that seemed a bit to difficult.  Besides, a detached slip can be used with other dresses as well.

Lucky for me, I had extra white lining fabric sitting at the bottom of my fabric stash.  Sweet.

I took out the trusty pattern again and used the top for a basic A-line skirt.  I folded down the bodice portion of the pattern and only used the bottom.

Since these are just slips, they did\n't need to be that long.  I only really wanted them to be under the white shirt part of the dress, not necessarily the ruffle.

I cut a front and a back for each slip and sewed the side seams.

Here they are with the side seams sewn (not that you can see it in the picture).

And here's my little "helper".

Next it was off to the ironing board.  I pressed and pinned a narrow hem at the bottom and pressed and pinned an elastic casing at the top.

Then it was back to the machine, sew the hem, and sew the casing while making sure to leave a space open for the elastic to go through.

Again, I cut the elastic to 1" longer than the girls' waist measurements. 
I only had 1/2" elastic left, but I would have used 1/4" if I had my choice.

Then I sewed the two ends of the elastic together and closed up the opening in the casing.

And there's my easy-peasy slip.

Phew!  Done!

Well? What do you think?  Are they ready for Christmas?

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