Redress to spend less

This year I decided not to buy my girl any new dresses. I might not have made a full buying stop, like Vivian Westwood keeps saying, but I can at least attempt not to buy any dresses, as there is nobody to pass them on to within the family. It so happened that my husband wore a few tees out, so¬†I wanted to see if I could make dresses from those. I’ll share you my attempts, I made 3 different ones.

First up is a T-shirt that I only have vague memories buying. But it is a nice shirt, there is only a small hole near the pocket.

This Tshirt had only minor damage after years of wearing.

With the help of a dress that fits her neatly now I just went and cut. I wanted to conserve the hemline as it has a nice pressed seam, and a label. The width of the T-shirt is only just enough so I made sure not to cut anything off the hemline. You can do this by stiching the new sideseam over the sideseam and than off the fabric all together about 2 cm or so before the end of the fabric/hemline.

Cut out of a basic dress-shape.

After stitching the side seams, front fabrics together, only 1 stitch was needed to insert elastic into.

Some elastic in the waistline, to create a bit of shape.

I added an extra part of the purple fabric to the, lets say ribbons, at the shoulders. When she decides to wear it I can cut them off at exactly the right length.

The final result!

 

Now the second is actually a shirt. We bought it at a store (Zara…) and after one wear it shrunk. I wont say what store it was from (Zara) but it was a bit of a disappointment. Anyhow, all the more reason to upcycle it into a nice dress!

This picture is photoshopped! I didnt have a decent picture…

When I cut it in pieces it became clear the whole shirt was a-symmetric. I decided to use it and again use the hem of the garment as the hem-line of the dress. Make sure you stitch close the closure in the front of the garment. It might otherwise be a bit too sexy!

The hem will be a hem still.

I covered elastic in the fabric for the neckline. Make sure there is enough length in the elastic so it will go over your kids head easily. (Kids heads are in comparison to adults very big!) Please also make sure the elastic is not too narrow as it might than turn into a choking hazard. Ad a tunnel at the top of the dress, where it can go trough. Fasten it at least on one side so that is will not rotate whilst wearing or washing.

Elastic band/neckline.

I stole the idea for the shape from many dresses and tops now in store. This is a refreshing neckline for a dress as well as easy to do yourself.

She still hasnt worn this one…

Last but not least, two T-shirts that I changed into two tops, or two dresses, or a top and a dress. However you like it.

These T-shirts were special to us, one was bought on a trip to Australia a long time ago. The other one was my design, at the very least a few 100 pieces sold back in the days. Unfortunately after many years the elastic in the neckline gave in, and did not look good anymore. The print still does, and because these two prints matched, not in subject but in technique, I decided to combine them.

The girl looking at you comes from Australia!

Now the idea for this dress comes from a top that I originally bought for my son, in a size suitable for 4-5 year old. But I than dressed my daughter in it, who was at the time nearly 2 and wore the same top as a dress. I think it might be funny to dress both of them up in the same garment, only styled slightly different.

Bought as a top, worn as a dress now converted into a pattern.

Because it was difficult fitting these patterns together on the panels of the tees I had to make 2 patterns of that original top. This was also needed because I wanted to do a cut and sew. A diagonal line trough the pattern. I dislike seeing a garment in store where the front has all the goodies and the back is 1 layer of single coloured fabric, so I decided to make the back interesting too.

This is what I posted in order to get feetback about what to use for finish.

A short survey amongst friends on Facebook and Instagram helped me deciding on the binding…

Front and back of the two one of a kind, tops!

I hope you liked these ideas, there is a lot more you can do with old clothing than just trow them out! Have fun with it!

The final pieces together… Which do you like the best?

A new baby-gym.

I¬†learnt a lesson on buying cheap. It is this; we bought a baby-gym, the cheapest. And, well, after a few lovely babies playing in it, I still don’t really like it.¬†Now I¬†made him a new one, at lot prettier! Yey for me! It should also work better for him now that he is bigger. Yey for him!

baby gym, mind the bow-ties!

So, the old baby gym has sides. I wont do that as this is what made the thing too small too soon. I will use the sides of this playing-pen instead so he has all the room he wants. I will first make the overhead-part of the gym, with different kind of loops that hold the toys. Than I will make two bow-ties to knot it too the pen in a novel way. I will explain this, and how I adjusted the bow-tie pattern, in the end of the blog.

not a nice view

What you need for a start, arguably the most important part, is a nice piece of fabric. I tried to match it with a quilt my grandma made from old pieces of fabric. This quilt is always in the bottom of the paying pen.

grandma-made quilt and blanket, sister in law made Amigurumi (mirror/pig/cow).

 

While I was doing this, I also kept an eye out for complementing and colourful scraps of fabric to use for the loops that, when finished, hold the toys. This is like with any other baby gym. I obviously made these beforehand so I could stitch them into the seam when finishing the entire thing.

Fabric in pieces…

 

Now this is were you can start to be creative, but only as far as safety allows. I do not want to make a list that is pretty much the same on any kids toy. Probably the two most important rules to follow are: do not create loops that can scoop up heads/legs/hands.¬†The baby won’t be able to get out as the child doesn’t understand these things yet. Last but not least, make sure everything is fastened. If you can not guarantee it is really very sturdy, do not use it. I am talking about things like buttons/bells etc. This might make it look very pretty, but you never know when they can reach them and swallow them the wrong way. If it is anything I have learned, it is that kids can be unpredictable. Okay, I am going to stop here. Please know the safety of this baby-gym is entirely up to you, eveybody is¬†responsible for¬†their own¬†creations!

Make sure the loops are attatched really well, if the baby pulls them from the fabric it is tedious to get them back in place.

As you can see from the pictures I also put in some elastic, these parts I like the best. It means a kid can reach for a toy, can drop it, but it will always stay close at hand, to drool over it again! But make sure the fabric surrounding the elastic is wide, so getting entangled in it is difficult. I also added two stings of fabric that are more like cord. These should not pose a risk when they are not knotted. And I need make sure when I add a toy to knot it tightly at the top of the baby gym and not lower, so it does not create a loop. Please note that these things are definetely not on a safe-for-babies list. But I took some liberty here.

While I am sure the main bar could work without anything in it, I had a piece of foam left from some packing we received. You could also try filling it with fabric, or rolled-up paper.

Now for the bow-ties! I took a quick look at http://www.tie-a-tie.net/bowtie/ in order to find how to tie a bow-tie. It has a nice clear description. Even better, it has a pattern! If the pictures I have here inspire you to also close you baby gym with a real (!) bowtie, head to this page: http://www.tie-a-tie.net/make-a-bow-tie/ and download it form them like I did.

back of bow-tie

 

Now the pattern has a part that speaks about inches. On a regular bow-tie this is the collar of the shirt you make the bow-tie for. Naturally I make the bow-tie for a wooden-bar rather than a neck. So this part should only be as long as the wooden-bar is thick. Now, make one pattern part like the tutorial on the aforementioned website, and one part you make in two, with seem-allowance. This way you can neatly stitch the fabric-bar into the bow-tie!

happy chappy

He seems to be happy with the product of today! I sure think his play-pen looks better than before and he can have fun with this one from now on, as he can crawl and turn himself over as much as he wants. I am sure, though that at one point also this new product will no longer be interesting to him!