Monday, June 27, 2011

Fourth of July Upcycle


I bought these 3 t-shirts waaaay back in April (I think) and I've had this project on the back burner ever since. I more or less knew I wanted a skirt-top combo for Lilah, but between life and my first disastrous experience with sewing knits, the shirts just kept moving back to the bottom of the pile.
But, the 4th of July is approaching quickly and there is no way these shirts are going to spend another whole year at the bottom of my "to do" stack!
So, let's upcycle!

First grab some t-shirts.
I knew I wanted a 2 tier skirt, so I cut off 2 4 1/2 inch wide strips off the bottom of my shirt. A bonus is that you can use the hem of the shirt as the hem of your skirt. One less step!
Then, I decided I wanted more of an A-line shape to the skirt, so I trimmed off the side seams at an angle. The top band can either be the same measurement as the wearer's waist, or in this case, I added a waistband with elastic, so the measurement wasn't exact.
Then, using a pair of Lilah's shorts as a guide, I cut out a front and back, the shorts will be attached at the waist to the skirt. I also cut a 3 inch waistband from the blue shirt.

I decided to use the red shirt for her shirt, so using an existing shirt as a guide, I cut 
a front and back. Again, I kept the hem of the shirt at the bottom.

Now, the fun part; sewing it toghether!
Stitch the side seams of the two skirt pieces together.
Run a gathering stitch at the top of the lower band, pin the two together and stitch them.
And when you flip it right side out, it's a skirt! Yay!
Next, assemble the shorts and waistband. 
For the shorts, sew the center front seams together, then the sides, and lastly the crotch seam, then add a small hem. Sew the two waistband pieces together so you have a 3 inch wide circle by your waist measurement.
Now, you have these 3 pieces, put the shorts inside the skirt, right side (shorts) to wrong side (skirt) and baste them together at the waist.
Then, pin and sew on your waistband. You now have a skort!
Now, you'll fold over your waistband 1/4-1/2 and inch and press. Then fold over again, enclosing the raw edges, press again and pin in place leaving and opening to insert your elastic.
***Please note, you do not have to use elastic, you can size your waistband to your child's waist, similar to the yoga skirt, and it will fit just fine. My kids are skinny and I like elastic in everything in order to help their bottoms stay on.***

Once you have threaded your elastic through the casing, sew the ends together and sew the opening closed.
And you have a cute 4th of July skort!

Now, let's do the top.
First, sew your shoulder seams together. Now, I am having a really hard time with bias binding on the necks of my knit shirts (still working through that) so I decided to turn the edges of my neckline in and make a casing in the neck.
And I threaded 1/4 inch elastic through the casing. This doesn't have to be tight, just enough to have some gather and hold the neck shape.
I hadn't decided up until this moment what I was doing with the arms/sleeves on this shirt, but I had done another dress earlier using a crescent shaped "flutter" sleeve and fell in love with it, so I used it again here. Basically you need 2 strips of fabric longer than the armhole measurement, for gathering, with one edge straight and one curved. It's fun to experiment with different curves as you get slightly different shapes. But you could also use bias binding on the armholes, or make another casing with elastic. There's no right or wrong.
Gather the curved edge of the sleeve, pin around the armhole and sew in place. This was a good time for me to fix the little uneven piece on my shoulder seams. (oops!) Once you've sewn in your sleeves, stitch the side seams, turn right side out and---
Tell me those sleeves aren't adorable!
Now, you could easily stop here. That is a cute outfit!
But I have developed a fondness for applique lately, so I added some stars to my shirt.
All you need for the stars is some fabric, Heat Bond or a similar material.
Iron the "glue"side to the wrong side of your fabric, trace a star onto the paper, cut it out, peel the backing away and iron onto your shirt.
Like so. I also stitched around the edges of the stars.
And you're done!
A fun new outfit for the 4th of July! And some practice sewing with knits, and upcycling, and creating your own pattern. Wow, there are 4 really good reasons to try something like this!
 Plus, there's always this reason!

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