A few months ago, my husband tore one of his favorite shirts. There wasn’t much I could do to save the shirt for him, but I was able to turn it into a dress for the girls.
I know there are hundreds of tutorials out there for turning a men’s dress shirt into a dress, but I’m a pattern kind of girl. I like precision in my sewing (most of the time), so I turned to my pattern stash and ended up in the pages of Carefee Clothes for Girls.
I love the details on this dress. I left the lining and sleeve ruffles unhemmed for a more “carefree” look. The pleat in the back is the original pleat from the shirt. I had imagined that they would wear it with the buttons down the back and the pleat in the front, but Lila had other ideas and since Lila usually doesn’t wear dresses at all, I wasn’t going to be picky about how she was wearing it.
I started knitting this hat back in February. Then the weather got warmer and I lost interest. For some reason, I picked it back up recently and finished it.
The pattern is sort of from the book my husband gave me for Christmas, Weekend Knitting. I say sort of because I changed almost everything about the pattern. I used a different weight yarn, different sized needles, I used only one color and (surprise, surprise) with all of these changes, the hat was WAY to big for my little girl. So, I ended up starting it and ripping it all out the first time. The second time, I stuck with my yarn and needles, but tried to adjust the pattern down so that it would fit. I think I probably went a little bit too far. Hopefully Ruby will get a little bit of wear out of it then she can pass it along to Lila.
My husband has been on my case about our girls needing summer pj’s. Not only is it too warm for their winter pj’s, they have also outgrown them. I refused to buy them any because I have had “plans” to make summer pj’s for months. My response when he mentions that the girls need pajamas is that “it’s on my to-do-list.” Well, last week, he kindly suggested that I move it to the top of my list. So I did.
I made this night-gown for Lila from the winter ’09 Ottobre. The directions did not help me at all, but by this point, I have sewn enough raglan sleeves that I did not need instructions. I used a very lightweight jersey for this gown.
I tried to shorten the sleeves to make it more appropriate for the summer, but my child is so tiny, that the sleeves are still quite long on her. Well, the entire gown is quite long on her, but that just means that it will be a while before she outgrows it. She seems pretty happy with it.
Ruby was also quite pleased with it. I believe her exact words were “Dress! Dress! Ruby dress?” So guess what’s next on my to-do list?
I saw this idea on Skip to My Lou for how to turn a little girl jeans into a skirt. I had a pair of jeans that my girls were too tall for, but now that they are out of diapers, they still fit in the waist (size 12-18 months, mind you). Normally, since it’s summer, I would just keep letting them wear these and call them capris, but they had worn the knees out in these as well.
So here’s what I came up with:
I had to put patches over the holes. Obviously, mine does not have a ruffle. I tried – I even sewed the gathering stitches before I realized that there was not enough fabric in the legs to make a ruffle. I guess that part works better with little girl jeans and not baby jeans because little girl legs are longer.
I love the lace at the bottom. I wasn’t truly happy with the skirt until I added that. I think it makes up for not having a ruffle.
A while back I had cut out the pattern and fabric to make a top for Ruby. It was from the Spring 2010 issue of Ottobre and required shirring along the neckline and sleeves, which I had never done before. A friend of mine had given me some elastic thread that she had leftover from a project. I had planned on doing a little bit of research on shirring before I got started and as if she was reading my mind, I came across this post from Amy Smart. Of course, both of the links she pointed me to said it was SO EASY, so I followed the directions expecting it to be SO EASY, but alas, it was not. I must have gone through a third of the spool of elastic thread before I almost gave up. I searched message boards, blogs, etc. I adjusted my tension on my machine. I wound the thread by hand, first loosely, then tightly and each time my fabric failed to gather.
Finally, I pulled out my old machine. I kind of felt bad, like when you go a long time without calling an old friend and then only call when you need something. But what do you know, with my old machine, shirring really is SO EASY. I really don’t know why it didn’t work on my new machine, but my suspicion is that it has something to do with the automatic tension adjusting that it insists on doing, which 99% of the time I appreciate. But for this project, I’m glad I hung on to my old machine.
Here’s the finished product:
It’s supposed to be a top, but obviously it’s a little big, so for now, it’s a dress and probably next year, it’ll be a top. I love it when things turn out this way. Here’s an up-close shot of the shirring:
I made matching dresses for the girls. I was pretty happy with them, but Lila seems even happier.
I love that girl and I love that smile! I didn’t get any good pictures of Ruby in her dress, but my friend Ryan wants to take some pictures of the girls and I will make sure they have these dresses on for that photo shoot.
I used Simplicity 4610. It is very quick and easy to sew. I first made this dress three years ago for my niece’s 2nd birthday and I remember my sister-in-law telling me that she could still wear it at 3 and a half except the elastic was too tight around her chest. So when sewing these up for my girls, I cut the elastic long and overlapped it so that it fits them now, but as they grow, I can just sneak back in there and let out the elastic. I also took in the straps a good deal, but left the extra fabric tucked under instead of cutting it off so that I can let them out as well.
I finished the skirt to go with the Oliver + S 2+2 blouse. I put the entire outfit on Ruby this morning and could not stop taking pictures. She, of course, obliged me by walking back and forth a million times from our front porch to our fence. As you can see, she has some room to grow into it, which means Lila has lots of room to grow into it.
I have all sorts of plans to make fall/winter clothes for the girls, but so far, this Oliver + S top is the only thing I have managed to finish.
I have the pieces cut to make a pleated skirt to go with it, but for now, it looks so cute with blue jeans. Here’s a view of the back.
I was so pleased with the way these pajamas turned out. (Lila is too, can’t you tell.) And yes, I do plan to make some for Ruby as well. Actually, I plan to make lots of pairs for the fall and winter. I could probably even shorten the pants and shirt sleeves and make summer-time pj’s for them as well. The pattern is by Oliver + S and it is so quick and easy. And can I say that vintage sheets make the best pj fabric ever. It is so soft and comfy, not to mention cheap.
By the way, this was the first project I finished with my new machine! I know I haven’t introduced you yet, but I will soon.