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.


Leggings, versions 2-4

After seeing what a quick sew leggings can be, I made a few more pairs over the weekend.  I think I have a little problem.   Addiction, even.

I also completed my very first re-fashion, which adds an extra little thrill.  (I mean, as if sewing isn’t thrilling enough…)  First up, a fun striped pair that lived its first life as a dress.  I was just able to squeak out the full pattern (okay, maybe they are a bit short), and used the original hem, which I like.

Adirondack Inspired: Legging Re-fashion

Step 1: find fun fabric you already own

Adirondack Inspired: Legging Re-fashion

Step 2: trace pattern and cut

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Step 3: sew them together, use original hem to save a step.

The final step is to put them on your model and chase her around to take pictures.

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…and she’s done.

The next two pairs were made from leggings that I only wore during pregnancy.  My non-pregnant body prefers jeans and yoga pants.  It seemed fitting to re-fashion them for the baby who was in my belly when I wore them.  And, unlike the garage sale stash of BRIGHT knits that I have, these leggings were a nice, easy-on-the-eyes  gray and brown.

I also decided to try yoga waistbands for these last two.  I cut strips of fabric approximately 18″x4.5″ and then sewed the short sides together.  Then you fold the band in half length wise so one side is the fold and the other side has two raw edges.  You put the band right sides together with the leggings, lining up the 3 raw edges and sew.  I just kind of winged it, and while they work, they are extremely high wasted and a little loose on her belly.  When the mood strikes I will cut the waistbands off and re-sew.  It will be a gratifying project for another day.

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I have to say, I am loving this re-fashioning thing.  Those leggings were not going to be worn again by this mama, and certain parts (the, ahem, back part) were so stretched at the seems that I wouldn’t have given them away, so it was nice to see them transform into something cute!  Plus, it is hard to find knit in Joann’s that isn’t interlock, and the jersey was much nicer for the leggings.  I also scaled down the pattern a smidge, so they aren’t as loose as the striped pair.

And while I could make ten more, I was inspired this weekend for a new project.  It’s something I’ve never tried before, but–good, bad, or ugly–I’ll be sure to share.

Leggings v. 1.0

One of the earlier projects I had bookmarked to make were leggings.  They looked simple enough, and with two little girls in the house, are certainly in-demand enough to make them a worthy sewing endeavor.

But time went on, and not a single pair of leggings were to be made.  Other projects came first, and then I just stuck to what I knew.  I made the same knit dress three times, but in my defense, the tutorial came in the exact three ages I needed.  And look how sweet!  The incredibly detailed tutorial/sewing lesson can be found here.


But this was to be the beginning and end of my sewing with knits…until today.  I was organizing my sewing Pinterest board (what, you don’t do that?) and saw the sweet little leggings I had pinned months and months ago and knew today was the day to try it.  I felt a little under-the-weather (aka like crap), and certainly not up to tackling anything as strenuous as housework, so sewing it was. 

I looked up a few different tutorials, and decided on makeit-loveit’s, because it was only two pattern pieces.  What can I say, it sounded easier and I am all about the lazy.  I do want to try a couple more tutorials and do a little comparison, though.

So I laid out some knit fabric I picked up at a garage sale, and went to work tracing a pair of Old Navy leggings that fit my daughter well.  The fabric is some sort of jersey, and still smells like moth balls, but I’m hoping a few more washes will change that.

I sewed all of the leggings using my machine’s stretch stitch, which is a really tight, slanted ziz-zag.  I was worried this would look funny on the hem, but it sewed up great without any puckering or weirdness.

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When it was time for the elastic casing, the belly to be measured was taking a nap (hence the sewing), so I just pulled up a measuring chart from Old Navy and used their guidelines and it worked perfectly.  The next version will skip the elastic, and just try for a knit waistband.

And once they were all sewn up, and Lily was awake, I couldn’t wait to put her in them.  She was really excited to wear them too, which was cute.  I think she thought we were going ‘bye-bye’ as that’s usually when I change her out of comfy pj’s.  Here’s a cute diapered bum and little toes…

Adirondack Inspired: Sewn Leggings  She’s a little hard to photograph these days…Here she is standing on a chair, as that’s the only way I could get her in front of the window and we were losing daylight.

Adirondack Inspired: Sewn Leggings

check out the hemming….oops, one is the wrong way.

And one last unobstructed shot…  It’s a bit blurry, she was not into standing still.  Models are notoriously high maintenance, you know.

Adirondack Inspired: Sewn Leggings

And that’s that.  I made a pair of leggings.  It still shocks me when I hold them up and think I made these?  I wish I hadn’t waited so long, but I have a feeling I will be making up for lost time as her sister put an order in, too.  Hey, I’ll take the enthusiasm for Mama’s sewing while I can get it…