Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Winter Shirt to Super Cute Sundress Refashion

Summer is, in my opinion, a time for sundresses, because sundresses are like nightgowns, and nightgowns are pajamas. I AM A FAN OF PAJAMAS. My girls agree that summer is a time for dresses, but they're more into the whole princesses-wear-dresses thing, which is where they base their reasoning.

Well, as the girls and I are leaving the country, and more interested in spending our summer spending cash overseas, I decided it was time I pulled out those too-small winter shirts I've been storing - the ones my kids loved too much to part with once they outgrew them - to sew the girls some sundresses out of 'em.

Pillowcase dresses from t-shirts are the easiest dresses to make, I'm certain. I have a couple variations below, and they each took an hour or less to make.

To start, you need a few things -
  • A shirt to cut up - a bit smaller than your kiddo currently wears is just great - I was using size 4T long sleeved shirts, to make size 6-7 girls dresses.
  • Basic sewing/pinning skills - if you can pin fabric together and sew a moderately straight line, this tutorial is for you.
  • fabric for the skirt, optional waist sash, and neck tie - I just pulled a handful of fabric off my shelf, but I don't think I used more than a half yard of fabric total for each dress (my fabric was aprox. 40in wide, and long enough to reach the knee)
  • Colorful bias tape - only half a package for the single layer dress, and 1.5 packs for the two tier w/sash dress)
  • Coordinating thread and a pair of scissors
To Make (and pardon the fact that my photos show me making many dresses at once - hope this isn't confusing):

Step One - cut your shirts! Just cut the sleeves off, and cut a straight line across the front and the back...

Fold over and pin the top (aprox 1/2 in.). Sew the straight line so that there is a little pocket to thread the shoulder strap. 

Step Two - make the thinish shoulder strap

Or better yet - have the kiddos make the shoulder strap!  

Now, I'm not one of those people who measures, or follows a pattern, and if you are... well, this might not be the tute for you. But if you are of the cuts-fabric-willy-nilly persuasion, like me, you're in for a treat, because making a strap is easy. You just cut your fabric into a straightish strip, fold it in half, sew to close it up - the unfinished edge will fray a bit. Or you can do it the hard way and make the inside-out tube, and then spend a million years right-side-inning it (no, that's not the technical term)

I gave my 5-year-old strap-cutting duty. She did a decent, if not slightly wonky, job.

Step Three - Make the skirt

Start by cutting off the bottom edge of the shirt. 

Sew your skirt fabric into a loop, and then top stitch so it's nicer-looking. If you're doing a two-tiered skirt (example picture below) do this for both tiers. 

Pin your skirt to the shirt! Just make sure that when you pin it, the correct sides are together, so that when you sew it, you don't have a big old backwards facing mess (yes, I have done this before). Also, pin it in evenly spaced intervals. I start with one pin at the front, back, and each side, to make sure it's all even, then pin each section, making sure to give an even distribution of gathered fabric.

If you are making the two-tiered skirt, just sandwich both tiers together. It isn't any harder than one tier, I swear.
Then you sew, like so. 

And flip right-side out.

Ta da! You're almost done!

Just weave the strip of fabric you made for the shoulder strap through the front, then around the back, so they tie at the shoulder. We tie ours with a bow in the front, so it doesn't tickle the shoulders as the kiddos play.

And if you want to add a color punch, sew colorful bias tape (mine is the color of the shirt) to the bottom, to finish the edge. 

Step Four - the sash! 

I made the sash the same length as every thing else (aprox 40 inches long) 

I like the sash because it gives the skirt a tailored look. For the two-tiered skirt's sash, I sewed some bias tape around the bottom edge before tacking it to the dress, just because I wanted to break up the busy pattern.

Just try the dress on your kiddo, and tack the sash in a couple spots - the front and sides are good. Then do a few stitches to hold it in place.


And that's all! 

Well, unless you're of the makes-matching-hair-accessories variety - which I am. The buttons and crochet flowers I bought on Etsy (just search hair bow supplies), and glued onto alligator clips.

Annelie is quite a fan of her new summer sundresses, especially the Rapunzel dress. 

But you want to know which dress is her very favorite to play in, because it's soft and comfy and made of her most favorite things?

A cute combo, now size 6/7, from her favorite empire-waist dress when she was 3 (and still cutting her own hair), and her favorite LOVE shirt from when she was 4 (and a princess butterfly)... 

 (she made the shoulder strap using the sleeves of her dress)

My sources say she will be living in these sundresses all summer long, she loves them so much. Gracie's are all in various stages of unfinished, and my sources say she'll be living in hers, too.

So what do you think? Want to make some simple sundresses, too? Have questions? Feel free to ask in the comments!



AbsolutelyKismet said...

Super cute! I don't sew because I've been worried about messing up everything, but I bet I could handle this. :)

DancingMooney ♥ said...

You are an awesome Mom, Marisa.

just sayin. ♥

Laura Pauling said...

So talented! You make it look so easy! I could not do that, I promise!

SewSweetStitches said...

Oh my GOSH look at that pose! Did you guys listen to "Vogue" during this little photo shoot? Adorable!

betty said...

SHUT UP. I haven't been following for... Oh geeze, close to a year, and when I open my reader is see lil' Annelie looking all pretty and... The G-U phrase mamas hate to hear...

I can't believe how gorgeous your little girls are getting! You really are an amazing mom and they're lucky, lucky girls.

I would wish you well, but it's pretty much a known fact you all are living it up over there on the accentful land of far far away ;)

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