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Family Picture T-Shirt Re-design

Every year around this time we prepare for taking our family picture. You know, the one that will be featured on our yearly Christmas Card! We pick a color and try to find tops to fit the bill. This year we chose navy blue so I went out to the stores to see what I could find. Let me tell you, there is almost nothing for a toddler girl in navy blue, especially mostly solid navy blue! So after two stores I decided it was time for a DIY. I bought the softest, biggest shirt I could find and decided to try to use the Maggie Mae pattern to create something my little girl could wear. T-Shirt Remake: Before

I used just the top yolk piece to cut a boatneck style top and then cut off the existing sleeves at the very bottom to add since the rest of us all had long sleeves. Then I cut the bottom off the shirt to gather to the yolk. It didn’t matter how wide the original shirt was since I wanted a gathered look. I just kept the factory hems on the sleeves and the shirt bottom.

T-shirt remake: cutting out

I used some scraps to create a neck “ribbing” to give it a finished look. It went together in no time!

T-Shirt Remake: Finished

She was comfy and cute. Here’s the best pic to show off the shirt:

T-Shirt Remake: On the Model

And here’s the Christmas Card Pic!
The Winner

A big thanks to Michelle Kaufman for taking our photos again this year. Always a great job! Check her out: Photography by Michelle

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4XL Shirt to Fabulous Maternity Shirt

Yay! Another post! Those of you who follow me on Facebook saw a sneak preview of this project there a few weeks back. I don’t have any better pictures for you, but wanted to show you how easy it was to go from this to that:

I have to say that my inspiration for taking on such a project came from many directions. I had been refashioning t-shirts before I was pregnant, making them more girl-friendly, etc. Then I found and was inspired by all the ways clothing could be altered for maternity. I purchased a dress pattern before I was pregnant, Vogue 8553 and always thought it was very cute:

The largest size my pattern comes in is a 12 and I needed a little bit more room than that for *ahem* things…so I added some room in the bust area. The style of the pattern was conducive to such alterations due to the loose, gathered fit, shaped by the neckline yoke. One thing i did, which I notated on the pattern for next time, is that though it was smart to add room in the bust, I will not need to alter the neckline yoke. I ended up adding a bit to those pattern pieces too just to be safe but it resulted in a slightly wider neckline than I desired. NOT AT ALL a big deal, just something to note for next time. 🙂

I cut my pieces as frugally as possible from my 4XL shirt, trying to preserve as much of the bottom of the shirt for belly coverage, put it together and tried it on. Perfect! I cut the bottom from as much of the t-shirt pattern in Burda 7825 as possible and attached it to the top portion. I sewed down that seam about 3/8″ from the stitching line to make a casing, inserted some 1/4″elastic and VOILA! A $5 maternity shirt (the shirts were only $2.50, but I ran out of fabric to finish the neckline yoke and had to go back and buy another).

Since the success of this piece, I have also made a purple tank using the Sorbetto pattern from Colette Patterns as my base. Basically, I cut the pieces from the armpit up, incorporating the center fold and then just left the t-shirt bottom uncut. I also used two $2.50 t-shirts for this pattern, so from the second shirt I cut a band for the bottom, stretched it to fit the blousey top and added some tuxedo ruffles on either side of the center fold. It’s a little sack-like, but very comfortable with only 6 weeks left to go.

It’s been so fun to transform these shirts and gain some maternity wear for $5 a piece! I’ll show you one more maternity dress I made for some weddings this spring and then I can’t wait to show you some nursing tank tutorials I’ve found – you won’t believe how simple and practical they are!

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Weddings and Races

Well, I’ve been a busy  bee, but I haven’t been blogging so you’ll get an eye-full today! If you’ve been following me on facebook, you have seen some of this, but there is some new info too so I hope you’ll enjoy reading too.  

I am finishing up my last (non-family) wedding and it has been a lot of fun! The bride’s name is Crystal and she has one bridesmaid, her sister Lizette. Lizette is not in town so I have worked with her long distance to make her dress. I was able to take her measurements in December myself so that was a big help. Then I made a muslin of the dress and Crystal mailed it to her. I received the dress back in the small USPS flat rate box! 🙂 With some written instructions and promises of pictures in my email inbox. This worked out perfectly!! Being able to see the dress on her along with notes from another seamstress allowed me to adjust the pattern and create the finished product very simply! You can see it below. All that is left is to secure the straps and install the zipper. This will allow for minor take ins/outs after the final fitting May 10th (The wedding is the 15th!!). I hope she will allow me to take pictures of her in it so you can see it on a person!     

Crystal’s dress is covered in a beautiful ivory lace. Unfortunately I did not get a “before” picture, but we modified the design of the back from all buttons and loop to a keyhole. It buttons at the top with a hook and eye and 3 buttons/loops, opens in the center back, and concludes at the waist with corset loops and a satin insert I made from the fabric removed from the hem.  I really love what it adds to the dress! For the bustle, we decided on a french bustle, but upon installing the ribbon and loops, I realized it would be easier if the layers were separate, so I bustled them independently.     

In between working on those dresses, I snuck in some personal projects. Desiring to have some fun with t-shirt makeovers again (Click here to read about my first try at it), I asked for a Large shirt at the last 5k I ran a few weekends ago. I came home that afternoon and made it into a tank top! Here are the results:     



After the picture, I did even more to it. There was a saying on the sleeve, which I cut around and sewed to the front left. I also added some elastic gathers at the waistline in the back to give it some more shape. I loved doing it so much, I decided to find some knits to play with! Lo and behold, sent me an email that they had some knits on sale for $1.95 a yard!! I found 2 for t-shirts and 3 moisture wicking fabrics I plan to make running tanks out of for this summer. After a quick search on Burda Style’s website, I found Sadie. You can get the pattern too by clicking the pattern pic below:


On my friday lunch hour, I cut out and started sewing the first Tank. I figured I would make it exactly the first time and then start playing around with style after I see what I’m working with. Here is the first tank: 

oops…it’s a little crooked on the dress form…

My assessment is that it is a little too short and too tight. I like the smaller armhole, but I fear the fabric might rub my arm too much while I am running and present a problem. Yesterday I was shopping in some outlets and got a really great tank at Tilly’s. I think I may use that as a pattern the next go-round…it has some lace on the back, so I was thinking of finding some sports mesh to give it the same sort of style. The fit is long and loose. On another, I was thinking of an empire waistline and some gathers….I have a few yards… 🙂  

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T-shirt Makeover

Well, in case you were wondering, I did win the chocolate spa basket and am awaiting it’s arrival! YAY!

But to the purpose for this post…T-shirt Makeover! For various important and fun reasons, we all acquire men’s style t-shirts. We wear them dutifully for the event but then later, they turn into painting shirts, sleep shirts, or dust rags. But thanks to Debbie, I was inspired to turn my friend’s t-shirt into a girl-style t-shirt and it didn’t take too long! Here’s what we started with: a shirt ordered 2 sizes too big (as recommended)…

And here are the results so far! 🙂 Just need to shorten it a bit and find a way to finish the neckline.

I used a shirt she already had for a pattern, but borrowed the sleeve from Butterick 4198.

I really recommend you give it a try! And if it doesn’t work out on the first try…well, at least you’ve gained a dust rag! 🙂