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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Old Navy Shirt-Dress


This has to be my favorite dress, HANDS DOWN! I bought this Old Navy shirt at Goodwill on half-price Saturday for $2 with this design swirling in my mind as I pulled the hanger off the rod. Of course I simply ignored it for nearly two months as I ran about in a Home school, Cub Scout, Lego birthday flurry.



When I saw the rows and rows of fabric 40% off at the Joanns sale last week I suddenly remembered the darling dress I had filed away in that dusty files of my brain. After less than $4 in ruffle fabric, and of course 2 hours of walking the isles and child taming, Emmalee and I sailed proudly out the automatic doors into the great, newly wonderful world. We now had a purpose. I really never could have imagined that this dress would come together as well or as easily as it did. I put this baby together in no time and it turned out so dainty and sweet. The bliss of making a dress from an already existing shirt is that you have next to no hemming. I do have a ruffler foot for my sewing machine, so that made the ruffling job WAY faster, but this is still so easy to do. I know you can do it too. I will show you how. But first, one more picture of Emmie! How about the back view.



Aren't you proud of me! I am, and I will tell you why. I remembered to take a BEFORE shot! Write that down, for the record... So here is the shirt, $2 off the rack at Goodwill. Loved this fabric. Kind of silky. It was made in Shri Lanka :0) Also for the record, while we are record keeping, this idea is a COPY-CAT from my favorite idea ever, HERE from Dana at Made!


I started out by cutting my ruffle fabric. I wanted the ruffles to be 3", give or take, so I cut the fabric 6"-I got 1/4 yd of each, cut it in half, sewed it together long wise, and marked them every 1/8 portion (you do this by folding the fabric in half-mark, fold in half again-mark mark, fold in half again-mark mark mark mark). Then I cut three strips off the bottom of the shirt- 2 1/2". I made the strips shorter so that each ruffle would overlap the next. Finally, I marked the shirt strips into 1/8th portions, on the top of the strip and the bottom. I guess when I finally took this picture I had already ran my ruffles through the ruffler foot on my sewing machine. If you have one, I ran it on the 6 at about 4-if you catch my drift. Back before the ruffler foot, I would set a straight stitch to the longest stitch possible, sew a line(you are supposed to do two, but I am too lazy, not to mention too cheep to waste the thread), then pull gently on the bottom thread to gather. Just pull, then push the gathered part down the line, then pull some more. I don't know why I am doing this, I feel terrible at writing directions :0) When you too realize this you can just refer to the link mentioned above :0)) that is my double chin emoticon


I am sure the professional seamstresses out there are crying, but I simply sewed the bottom ruffle to the bottom hem. I did a zigzag stitch over the top edge of the ruffle to keep it from fraying. Had I done it the right way, I would have serged the ruffle before putting it on or sewn it to the strip right sides together, then serged. But that is what I am here for, to make you feel better about the way you do things-not the wrong way first :0)


The next step, sew your next ruffle-from the bottom up-on top of the first shirt strip, with the next shirt strip on top-right side of the ruffle to the right side of the strip.


And it should look something like this when you are finished. Keep up the good work! The good thing is, if you didn't get the strip or the ruffle the right side where it needed to be, it won't matter too much until the last ruffle :0}


Another ruffle...


And here is the last one. You turn the whole top of the shirt inside-out,stick the ruffle piece inside, right-side out, and the last ruffle, and sew all three pieces together at once. When I was finished I had to call the kids over to see this! We all voted that dad should wear this to work on Monday! He would be simply rufflicous! Doesn't it just scream Structural Engineer?


Next step, cut off the sleeves and collar-top-of-shirt portion. I just used my ruler and rotary cutter and cut them straight off! Then I straightened up the sides so they angled up. There really was not one speck of science to it. I was simply aiming for straight sides I could sew together to make one tube-ish shape. I did just that, sewed up the sides to make the shirt a sleeveless tube. This is when I serged the ruffles, when I could serge the sides at the same time. I also sewed the buttoned part closed so it would not catch when I began the SHIRRING! Shirring is an obsession of mine. If you can't add chocolate chips or cheese to it, SHIR IT! The lady at Joanns and I had a show down over whether it is called shirring or smocking. Call it what you want. I call it shirring! HERE is the tutorial I used to figure out how to do it. Like any true art form, you just have to try it, and fail, to figure out the right way to do it ;0}


This is me shirring. I realized just now that the photo is sideways. Due to the fact I think it looks kind of cool, and laZiness, I am leaving it. I like that it shows the shirring right side up. Shirring-easiest thing ever. Wrap elastic thread, by hand-not stretched, in your bobbin, and sew. End of story.


Here is what you are left with. While shirring I realized I wanted different buttons on the dress, so I snipped them all off. I also decided that the pocket I had decided to leave on would look bulky and not shir evenly compared to the rest of the dress, so I picked it off also.


After a bag-making break induced by my guilt-trip laden daughter, I came back and used my pattern to cut out the sleeves to the proper size. I used the dress pattern to cut the arm holes and the collar shape. You might want to pre-wash the dress before doing this step due to the elastic thread shrinking when laundered, I of course didn't have a load of clothes this color and simply skipped that step. Still turns out fine, just might be smaller, but stretches easily. Anywho, note for simplicity pattern 5695 that I like to use: I think the back of the dress is too high and I stare at it the whole time my girl is wearing the top I made, not shirred, because there is a bubble right at the base of her neck. I recommend cutting the back to have the same curve as the front. The first dress I did, I did not, but it was shirred and it hides it. After the botched top, I cut my cardstock pattern I had made so it was fixed. All of that was to say, trim the back about an inch lower:0) Next, I slipped elastic into the sleeve's hem, already there, and attached the sleeves to the dress. Isn't she cute?


Final steps, sew on a piece of bias tape around the collar, run elastic through, Sew on new buttons. Oh, go back and un-pick the front, down towards the bottom button, so you can re-sew on the tag, cause it is cute. That was a last minute mind change.

Here is that adorable dress. I took 20 pictures of Emmalee in it and got a whole 3 of her face before she whipped around. That would mean all the rest are of her back or too blurry from the swoop-around to use. Here are some anyway. One day when I am rich and famous I will buy a better camera. Maybe I should just find a less energetic model :0)





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41 comments:

  1. Wow, what a great job! Thanks so much for linking up on Craft Schooling Sunday and good luck with the new blog, just watch out, it's addicting, on the other hand your family benefits from all your crafting! Hope to see you again next week!

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  2. This is very, very cool. I never did shirring before, but always wanted to, and your remark about how easy it is made me think I could try it one day :-)
    The dress looks so professional, and I love how you documented the whole transformation process, you´re my hero.

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  3. Amazing! Very beautiful! What a great way to reuse fabric.
    http://www.orchidlanedesigns.com

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  4. How darling! I'm impressed with the smocking. VERY impressed.

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  5. CUTE! She is a doll too, what a fun dress

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  6. Oh My Goodness!!!!! I have all boys but my mom has custody of my niece. We may be giving this baby a try this summer! So super cute. Your little girl is a great model!

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  7. Definitely my favorite shirt to little girl dress makeover ever!! Love it!

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  8. This is wonderful! Love the ruffles and shirring. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Very, very cute! I've seen quite a few shirt dresses, but I think this is the best! Wonderful tutorial. I'm now following.

    http://mmtncrfts.blogspot.com

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  10. WOW!! I've never seen something like this before. Genious...and adorable. Great work.

    Tenny @ My Crafty Life.
    http://createwithtenny.blogspot.com

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  11. That turned out SO great!! I love it. It looks like it came that way! Thanks for sharing at 'Look at me, I'm SO Crafty!' at Fun to Craft.

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  12. Wow! That's great! You are so talented!

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  13. What kind of a lucky little girl gets to wear such a posh dress? This is so totally darling! You are an excellent designer and I'm happy that you shared the project on the Boardwalk Bragfest!

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  14. You did a great job - it doesn't even look the same!

    Thanks for linking at Lucky Star Lane!

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  15. AMAZING!!@@@@@$%%w#$^w%$wq& I am featuring this at somedaycrafts.blogspot.com. Grab my "featured" button.

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  16. You win the show down!!! :) 3 years ago I took a clothes making class at our local college for fun. We discussed the whole shirring/smocking controversy and found an answer!!!

    Smocking is when you hand sew the fabric together (and it does not have much give) for decoration. Shiring (is the faux Smocking) is when you simply sew straight lines across the fabric with elastic.

    I have done both and shirring is better for a fitted garment whereas smocking is better to add decoration

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  17. Wow, what an adorable dress...but even cuter are those fat knees! Beautifully created.

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  18. Oh my goodness, how beautiful! And your daughter is adorable :)

    Thank you for linking this to A Little Craft Therapy, with Life in the Pitts.

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  19. Wowzers...this is a-ma-zing!! What a transformation!

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  20. All of these dress shirt dresses are amazing! I wish I had the confidence to give it a try.

    Thanks for linking up with Sugar & Spice.

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  21. Amazing, love the shirring touch. Great job!

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  22. I am just astonished at how boutique and beautiful this is - and from a basic shirt...oh my. Amazing creativity & talent!

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  23. Oh my word! That is absolutely TOO adorable! I saw it the other day but didn't comment until Lanie Ree reminded me to check out the project above mine at creative therapy! And I'm so glad it's this project because it is definitely getting bookmarked for future use. Thanks for the great tute!

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  24. Really really cool! I am filing this away in my brain!

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  25. That is just too cute! Great job! :)

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  26. This is AMAZING! You are so incredibly talented. Thanks for linking up so I could find you and your cute projects!!!
    -Erika
    {www.misscraftypants.com}

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  27. What a great way to make a cute shirt last longer! Love it. Thanks for linking up!

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  28. What an adorable dress! You did a beautiful job!
    ~ Vida
    Thankfulplace.wordpress.com

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  29. Thank you for joining my hodgepodge party! I love it! I hope you will join again.
    ~Gay~
    itsahodgepodgelife.blogspot.com

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  30. Oh my, how adorable! You are super clever - I would have never thought that shirt could be such a cute dress! Thanks for linking up to Be Inspired last week.

    Chelsea

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  31. Very cute--what a precious girl and what an amazing dress! Thanks so much for linking up!

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  32. well, now didn't you just make that look as simple as pie!
    I'm curious- besides just being fun to do this, what makes somebody buy a shirt and turn it into a dress for the little ones? (cause this is not the first one I've seen)...is it that much cheaper than fabric by the yard? most of the sewing is done already?
    I think it is great- you mentioned no science was used in the making of this dress...but you forgot all the talent! The fact that you thought this up in your head- just blows my mind! I must not think like that.

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  33. You've been featured! Come grab your button and wear it with pride!

    Kristi
    Punkin Seed Productions

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  34. My son has this ON shirt.. he wears it all the time.. ;)
    Your dress turned out too precious!! :)

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  35. Hi! I wanted to let you know that I featured this tutorial on my blog today. I realize that this has been featured in several places, but I am just so impressed - I had to show it off!
    Here's the link:
    http://sweeteuropeandreams.blogspot.com/2010/05/all-things-dreamy-linky-party-3.html

    I'm working on an I've Been Featured button - I'll post it within the next few days if you would like to use it.
    Kudos on your creativity!
    -diane

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  36. This dress is adorable! I love the color combo!!!

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  37. Adorable dress!! Thanks for linking @Creative Itch's "Sew Cute Tuesday"!

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  38. Thank you for contributing this to http://www.FineCraftGuild.com's DIY Tutorial Linky Party.

    It's beautiful and well presented.

    If you have a new & equally wonderful tutorial you wish to share with us this week, come on over. We just opened a new linky party for this week's greatest talented artisans out there! (and you are one of them ;-0)

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  39. I am in love with your blog! Great idea! I've only just discovered the wonders of elastic thread- can't wait to play with it.

    I LOVE the way that you talk about not doing things the "right" way. If it works, it works. LOL

    I'm lazy, too. I know the rules- I choose to break them. :-)


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