Memories... Like Mom Made!

Memories... Like Mom Made!
Out of dark moments, flowers grow.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mama's Gettin' Crafty! Easy Peasy Dress...

If you haven't already figured it out, I LOVE things that are homemade.

But that doesn't just apply to the kitchen. I love anything that we can make or do ourselves to save a buck, reduce our carbon footprint, or improve our quality of life by lessening the chemicals and preservatives we are exposed to...

Et cetera, et cetera...

Well ever since Leila passed away, I have been desperately trying to find different things to keep myself busy. To keep my mind busy so that I won't dwell on what is tearing me up... But I realized that that is probably not the best way to handle my emotions. So instead I have been reverting back to one of my first loves: sewing. I have always found some kind of rhythmic therapy from the clicking of the sewing machine and the monotony of sending fabric through the machine... And something else I learned... I can cry and still keep a straight line.

Very therapeutic.

So this morning I woke up well before the time I normally do... I ACTUALLY got to take a shower while Landon still slept... Boy that was amazing... Showers are therapeutic too. I tend to save most of my tears for the shower. It's very cleansing, no pun intended.

So this morning, after I took an uninterrupted shower, it seemed that Landon was still very much asleep.

So I decided to give myself a task:

To see what I could come up with in 30 minutes or less using solely items from my "sale or donation" box...

Side note: this box will probably never make it outside my door. I keep digging in it for "materials"...

Okay so I pulled out a very teeny tiny T-shirt that has an awesome blue, silver, and black graphic print on it. I LOVED this shirt in college, but over time the shirt just got shorter and shorter and got to the point where it just looked ridiculously obscene on me...

But I mean, come on! Just check out that awesome bird graphic! It's epic! I really love the screen printing on this shirt... And ironically, birds are very in this season! So it is the perfect time to reinvent this little shirt!

The other shirt was a black cap sleeve shirt I wore once when pregnant with Landon... I had Landon in December of 2008, if that tells you anything... I would have continued to wear it, but honestly the style wasn't all that flattering, and the material was so delicate that it had a little rip in it.

So I cut the top off of the birds shirt... First, I put on the shirt and measured to about 3 inches below the bottom of my bra line. I stuck a pin in it horizontally to mark the point, then took off the shirt and laid it flat on my table.

I then cut at the marked point all the way around the shirt.

Next I took my other shirt. This shirt already had some gathering and serging on it so it pretty much took care of some of the work for me. If you have a shirt that you can utilize that has an empire waistline or already has gathering in it, then you will want to cut your fabric so that you can take advantage of that line. I left about 1/4 inch above the gather line so that I would have something substantial to hold on to while pinning, then after I sewed I trimmed it back.

Ok so after you cut both parts of your dress, put the top shirt inside of the skirt, with the rough edges facing you. This means the bottom of your "skirt" and the shoulders of the "top" will be facing the same direction, and the two cut edges will be facing you.

The top shirt should be right side out, inside of the skirt. The skirt will be inside out. This way the two "right" sides of the dress will be touching, so when you sew your skirt in place and put it on, the skirt will fall over the sewn edge. No lining required!

See how the serged edge is lined up to the cut off shirt edge? This will all be hidden when you get done sewing!

Ok so now is the "tricky" part.

Oh and I want to take a second to apologize for not taking pictures throughout the whole process... But I was more concerned with finishing before Landon woke up rather than making a tutorial... It wasn't until I put on the dress and realized how awesome it was that I went "Dang! This would have been an awesome tutorial!"

Well, I am sure I will do it again, so I will take better pictures then...

Actually it's not hard at all, but it will take a little planning to make it perfect.

Line your two pieces up starting at the seams. Both of my tops had side seams, so it made a congruent line that was easy to keep in tact. Just lay the two side seams flat on top of each other and pin. Then pin the other side the same way.

You will probably have more slack in your skirt garment than in your top. This is where you will need to think ahead. If you want to have definite pleats in your skirt, you can "pleat" the extra fabric. I wanted to gently gather the skirt fabric without having to sew and gather separately (which would be the "correct" way to achieve this, but remember my 30 minute time limit?).

So I started pinning 3 inches away from the side seams and gently "gathered" excess fabric and made a mini pleat. I only had an excess of about 5 inches to allow for, so my pleats were hardly noticeable, but it did make for an easier time of sewing, rather than sitting down at the machine without a plan and whizzing away on the skirt, to then end up with a ton of extra fabric and one GIANT pleat..

Planning is almost always a good way to go...

Anyway, so finish your pinning, then sit down at the machine and start sewing. Sew as close to the original gather line as you can, removing pins as you go.

When you are finished, trim the excess, them turn your dress right side out and try it on!

Now if you have a lot of extra fabric left over from the top or bottom of either shirt, you may want to make a band. I did not have much fabric leftover, so I just threw a belt over the seam line and it made for a nice congruent look.

Gotta love 30 minute projects!


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