Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Ill-Fitted Dress to Super Cute Outfit

Hello, and thanks for visiting us! This week we are focusing on how to save money on kids’ clothes. One of the ways I save my family money is by refashioning clothes we no longer wear. The cute outfit above came to be after I found a knit dress (similar to this) in my closet and realized the shoulders had become stretched out of shape. The fabric was still in great shape so I decided to use it to make something for my kids. Initially my plan was to make something for my son. However, after going through my daughter’s clothes I found a pair of green pants that were too short, but matched the fabric - these two things were meant to be an outfit!

First the old dress: I apologize that there aren’t any pictures of the deconstruction process. I have refashioned my kids’ clothes many times, but this is my first adult to child transformation. As you can imagine, I had a few learning experiences and I didn’t want to complicate the process further with photography. However, I do plan on doing this more often and will take pictures next time.

Let’s get started:

  1. I made a novice mistake of ripping all the seams out of the dress first. Don’t make the same mistake. Instead choose the pattern and do a trial layout to see if there will be enough fabric. I chose Simplicity 1473, View C.  I didn’t have enough of the striped fabric for the entire pattern. However, I found a matching blue knit in my stash that I used for the hood and bindings.

  1. Once you’ve figured out if the pattern works, decide what seams can stay. This will help save time later. For instance, leave the hem so you don’t have to do this step later (as long as it is the correct length). Remove any unneeded seams, probably the side seams and sleeves. Andrea’s Notebook has a link to a video on how to use a seam ripper if this is something new to you.

  1. Trace/cut out the pattern. The pattern I used had two pattern pieces that were cut on the fold which I needed to avoid. I traced these pattern pieces out twice and taped them together, as shown below.

  1. Cut out the pattern pieces from the fabric. I had a couple of things to consider when cutting out the fabric - 1) Matching those stripes. I found this tutorial by Grainline to be useful 2) To get the most out of a fabric it can be helpful to cut it in a single layer.

  1. If you find yourself short of fabric on a pattern piece, don’t freak out yet, there are a couple of things you can do:
    1. Patch together fabric to create the size needed. This works well for solid colors, and is a little bit more complicated with designs that need to be matched. Once the seam is pressed it is pretty hard to notice. For instance, for this shirt I had to piece together the fabric for the back piece, but who notices a seam down the middle?
    1. Do you have coordinating fabric that can used to create the size needed?
    2. Can the seam allowance be reduced enough to make it work?

  1. Put the pattern together as instructed. That’s it!

Now it’s time for the too-short pants! The pants are from Hanna Andersson and I love how they fit my daughter, except for the length. I was toying with the idea of either making these pants into shorts or capris, but with the shirt I made, I decided the capris would be best. I can always turn them into shorts later!

Here’s how I did it:

  1. Have the child try on the pants and turn up the cuffs to the desired length and mark/pin them. Ensure the fold is even all the way around using a seam gauge.

  1. Decide on the length and width of the strap for the faux hem strap. This strap will need to be sewn to the wrong side of the pants, how far up depends on you. I measured from the ditch of the hem on the wrong side to about 1 inch above the hem on the right side, then added an extra ½ inch (to account for the turn of fabric and going over the flat-felled seams) and added ⅜” for seam allowance. The total length that I cut out was 4 ½”.  For the width I wanted the faux strap to cover the seam plus two seam allowances of ⅜”. My total width that I cut out was 2 inches. All summed up I cut two strips that measured 4 ½” x 2” out of the blue knit I had used on the shirt above.

  1. Depending on the fabric being used, ensure the proper needle and thread are loaded up and that the sewing machine is set properly. I used a ballpoint needle and a walking foot for the straps.

  1. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise, matching raw edges, pin in place. Stitch one short side and the raw edge of the long side. Leave one short side unsewn.

  1. Turn this very small fabric tube right side out and press.

  1. Change over the thread, needle, foot and settings for the pants. I used a topstitching foot with a #90 universal needle.

  1. Don’t attach the straps yet, learn from me! Time to sew the fold in place. Sewing in the ditch, go all the way around the hem. By doing this the stitches will be invisible. Don’t try to sew on the old hem, that is a lot of strain for a sewing machine and the stitches will be visible. To sew over the side seams use a bumper tool to help keep the foot flat - you can see me using mine in the picture below. By keeping the foot flat it helps ensure you don’t have skipped stitches. There is a great video that discusses it here. The only thing I do differently is to use the tool on both sides of the seam.


  1. Now that the new hem in sewn in place it is time to add the flare. Pin/hold the raw edge of the faux strap to the wrong side of the pants. Also make note that you probably want the strap to be on the outside seam. Stitch the strap in place, being careful not to extend the stitching too far, that way the strap can hide the stitch line on the right side of the fabric. I made my strap long enough to be able to stitch in the ditch again.

  1. Fold the strap to the right side of the pants. Sew on button at the end of strap to keep in place.

  1. If you choose to, slip-stitch the strap to the pants. I only stitched the right side of the pants and strap together. By doing this it will help keep everything secure and ensure your little one doesn’t get the strap caught on something!

  1. Repeat steps 7-10 on the other leg and you are all done!

I hope this tutorial inspires you to rummage into that pile of old clothes and make something new!

Written by: Shawna

No comments:

Post a Comment