Women’s Shirt to Toddler Dress

Wow, I’m pretty sure  that this title is the first time I’ve referred to my baby as a toddler.  Sigh.

Anyway, on to this week’s new sewing challenge!  Over the weekend, I went with a friend to do some out-of-town errands.  Which, when you live in the Adirondacks, means driving an hour-and-a-half for a doctor’s appointment.   But there was a Chipotle and a Target next door, so that was a bonus.

I also had to pop in an Old Navy for some returns.  Target had been full of clearanced clothing items, so I browsed around Old Navy to see if I could find some fun knit fabric to use for a sewing project.  While there, I saw this dress.sweater
I loved the preppy vibe, and those stripes.

Then I found a blue and white striped sweater-type-shirt on clearance for $3.99, and I decided to take it home and  see what I could do.  I remembered this tutorial from MADE where Dana tutorialed how to turn a big sweater into a little one.


After tracing a dress that fit my daughter pretty well, I cut out the dress and then the sleeves.  I was nervous about getting the sleeve shape right, and it was the first time I sewed them set-in style, but it seemed to work so I’ll roll with it.  Then I removed the neck binding and sewed it on my new little dress.  This went…mmm….okay.  I’ve bound a neckline with knit before (for this dress), but never when the neck is already a circle.  If anyone has some tips and tricks for this, I’d love to hear them!

I didn’t have to hem the bottom, since I used the shirts original hemline (love that!), so it was just a quick hem of the sleeves and I was done.  The dress was simple and cute as is, but I did love that red heart on the original dress, so I did a quick applique of simple felt.  I really loved the dress without any embellishment, and will probably see if I can take off the heart after Valentines Day.


And, the final verdict is…


Cute, but then again, she makes anything cute.  The heart was a bit kindergarten-cut-out, though.  I didn’t realize how big it was until it was on her little body.  So I cut it down a bit and sewed it back on, this time using a buttonhole stitch.



Oh yes, much better.  Right Lily?

Her strut says yes.


Twinkle, twinkle little skirt

I wanted to sew a few items to give away as Christmas presents this year, but I was hesitant to give clothes to my little nieces.   Handmade or not, clothes are still clothes, and not toys. I settled on little sparkly dress-up skirts for two of them, a nice little hybrid of clothes meets toy for two dress-up-loving girls.

I walked around JoAnn’s a bit for some inspiration and found this gray sparkly fabric in a bin of leftover Halloween fabrics.

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I loved it. I’m not sure what a fabric like this is called–it kind of looked like tulle, but the raw edges frayed. Since this meant it would need to be hemmed, I grabbed some soft pink ribbon to try a new hemming technique.

The skirts came together pretty fast.  It was the first time I bound a raw edge in a ribbon, but I followed these directions from Prudent Baby.  Easy, easy!  Really, I love this method.  At first, I pinned the ribbon to the wrong (non sparkly) side.

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But it was hard to pin it tight enough to the fabric, and my final hem came out kind of wonky and ripply, even after a good pressing.  Not that the little girls would have noticed, of course.  So in the end, I just sewed without pinning, and that actually turned out to be the best ‘method.’  Yay for laziness!

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look mom, no pins!

Next, I had to finish the top of the skirt.  I just zig-zagged the top, since this fabric doesn’t really like to be ironed.  Then I just lined up the elastic, folded the fabric over for my measurement, and pinned.  With one of the skirts, I was able to use the selvedge end and skip the zig-zag step.  I love when those things happen.

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Then I just had to sew down the casing , and slide the elastic back in (it comes out before you sew, it’s just a measuring device at this point).  I pinned the elastic at the edges, then stretched and let go to get nice even gathers.  Then I just sewed up a side seem, finishing the skirt and closing up the elastic in one pass.  And voila, one gift done.

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Serious cuteness.

I haven’t heard back to hear how much ‘fairy dust’ the skirts leave behind.  There were sparkles everywhere after this project.  Oops.  I don’t think the girls will mind, though!

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my pants, now with more sparkle

I do love a project like this.  Comes together quick, and the reward was big!  Happy sewing.