Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Easy Refashion DIY Tutorial: Dress --> Separates

When my t-shirt dress shrank from slightly above the knee to slightly below my butt, I groaned at my laundering (in)capabilities.  Too long to be a shirt, too short to be a dress, I decided to chop it in half to create a tee for me and a skirt for E - whee! Sorry for cheesy rhyming, but I couldn't resist.  Our current bedtime story rotation consists of Dr. Seuss books.

Dress --> Tee + Toddler Skirt
Difficulty: Easy

Time: ~1 hr


  • Existing dress
  • Elastic for waistband
  • Optional - serger, twin needle

What I did:
1.) Try on your dress and mark how long you'd like your shirt to be.  Add on ~1" to allow for hemming.

2.) Cut your dress at your desired length (marked in Step 1).

3.) Skirt - We'll start with the elastic waistband.  To join your elastic ends together, I typically sew and backstitch 2 rows of zigzags.

 4.) If you have a serger,  go ahead and serge your elastic band to the waist of your skirt.  This prevents your elastic band from flipping around in the casing.

ALTERNATIVELY, for regular sewing machines, fold the waist over the elastic band to create a casing and stitch along the bottom.  To prevent elastic flipping, you can stitch / backstitch / stitch with matching thread along the side seams to hold it in place.  I usually go 3 forward, 3 back, and 3 forward to secure.  Go ahead and skip to Step 8.

5.) Fold the elastic waist over into the skirt interior.  Add a few pins to keep it in place.

 6.) Sew along the bottom to anchor and hide your elastic.

7.) Finished skirt:

8.) For the top, all you have to do is hem it!  I folded the hem inwards and then used a twin needle and navy blue thread to sew along the navy stripe.

9.) Iron the seams of both garments and you're finished!

P.S.  Today is the last day to enter the $1000 gift card giveaway from Vaseline Spray and Go Moisturizer.  All you have to do is leave a comment on the review post here.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Brocade Peplum Top DIY & Skirt Donation Pt. 2

I made this top a couple of months ago with ambitions of hand-beading it a la this dress on Pinterest, but then started to feel a bit lazy and started wearing it sans beading.  Fail, maybe someday...

Brocade Top DIY
J. Crew Inspired Pleated Skirt DIY (tutorial here)

Brocade details

Skirt Donation Part 2
It took me longer than I thought (Pt. 1 here), but I finally finished the skirts I had planned for Skirting the Issue (sorry IG peeps for re-posting here) and found a local foster closet (Agape Villages if you're in Nor Cal) for the donation.  If you would like to get involved, please check the list provided by Simple Simon & Co in the link above or your local charities.  If you don't sew, I know mine is also accepting school supply donations for the upcoming school year.
Don't worry, I ironed before dropping them off :)

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Racerback Maxi Dress DIY

The last maxi dress of my maxi sewing obsession.  This one features twisted straps in the front and a racerback.

Material:  Stretchy knit from Michael Levine, 2 yards

Difficulty: Easy, all serger construction

Time: ~3 hours

Pattern: Bodice front from Simplicity 3503 view C, drafted bodice back by using a racer back bra as a template and then matched up the strap placement with bodice front, self-drafted skirt (just a rectangle)

Racerback Maxi Dress DIY

Twisted Strap Detail

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mommy & Me Striped Maxi DIYs

I'm having a bit of a maxi moment.  They are sooo comfortable that I've sewn 3 back to back.  I made a shorter version (so she doesn't trip) for my 22-month old daughter, E.  We had fun taking pictures together under the direction of my 4-year old son, V :)

Machines: Regular sewing machine w/ twin needle for gathering and serger for all other construction.

Materials: 2 yards of jersey for me, about 1/2 for E

Difficulty: Easy

Dress Pattern: Modified and lined bodice from McCall's M5893, self-drafted skirt


The kids love taking their father's iPad

Her hair is long enough to be braided now!

Striped Maxi DIY

I took a Twitter / Instagram poll on vertical vs. horizontal stripes for the bodice and was surprised to see  that the opinions were equally divided.  I ultimately went for vertical since it was different.  Thank you to everyone who weighed in!

Interested in entering an easy giveaway?  Check out this post for a chance to win a $1000 gift card via Vaseline® Spray & Go Moisturizer!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bright Paisley Dress DIY & Skirt Donation

I'm a rather predictable person.  Stick me in a fabric store and I automatically gravitate towards nautical / classical prints like stripes, paisleys, and florals.  Similarly, you can expect that I will overuse my favorite McCall's M5972 bodice and self-draft a skirt with some kind of pleated detail.  For this dress, I decided to tone down the bold print a little with a narrower silhouette than my typical fit-and-flare.  Using three box pleats in the center, I was able straighten the hip flare while still masking my ever-present mommy pouch (flat tummy mommies - please share your secrets!).  I added cap sleeves to make it a tiny bit more demure for the office.

Fabric: Joann's, 2 yards, home decor, 54", 100% polyester.  Sooo, technically, this is outdoor fabric and I wouldn't really recommend it for apparel purposes because it is quite stiff.  However, I  really loved the print and noted that it was washable, so figured it'd be ok for my purposes.

Pattern: McCall's M5972 bodice w/ narrowed frame (using this method), cap sleeves (using this tutorial), and self-drafted skirt 

Difficulty: Easy / Intermediate

Time: ~3.5 hrs

Bright Paisley Dress DIY
Talbots Sandals (good eye, Gigi!)
F21 Necklace & J. Crew bracelet (not that you can really see them)

Box Pleat Detail

To those who sew out there, I saw this tweet from Tailor Made Blog and thought it would be great to share and drum up some sewing for those in need (focus is on girls in foster care):
I will be whipping up some skirts this weekend!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Easy Shift Dress DIY Tutorial

As mentioned before, I really love the ease of a shift dress.  The fact that it's a relatively simple sewing project is a plus!  To make your own, please check out the steps after the jump (it's rather picture-heavy).

Nautical Shift Dress DIY

Difficulty: Easy

Time: ~2 hours

Pattern:  Make your own from an existing shift dress!

  • Fabric (I used 100% cotton - I think from Joann's, 60" wide, 2 yards) - your best fabric types will have a little bit of drape like a soft cotton, knit, or silky.  Stiffer fabrics will have more of a tent-like shape.
  • Existing shift dress - it's best to match the sleeve length of your existing dress to your desired end result.  Sleeveless, full sleeve, cap sleeve, etc.  This will make a difference in your armscye (armhole) shape.  I did not do this and thus had to tweak my armscye - more on that later.
  • Bias tape (optional)


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