This long-sleeved Armani Dockers shirt was waiting for its hour for a while as well. I really liked the feel of fabric and its texture, the neck line and long sleeves.
I had to be a bit braver than with the previous dress because: a) the neck was too deep and wide; b) I wanted to make something on the front of the dress to bring out the fabric more and “spice it up” since there aren’t any other colours; c) It had some imperfections that I had to hide – i.e. – I had washed it with something not so colourfast and it left stains and d) the design of the bottom of the shirt was short at the front and longer at the back. You see how much I loved the fabric – I had to cut it up to bits.
I couldn’t trust myself to just trace the old shirt on it, so I traced the old Mya’s T-shirt on a piece of paper – body and sleeves separately. Then I cut the sleeves of the polo shirt off.
I cut the seams of the Polo’s shirt’s shoulders off – didn’t want to bother unpicking them. Then I put the paper template (without the neck) on the back of the polo shirt and close to the shoulder, traced it and cut it out, adding 1 cm for the seams.
The front was trickier – because I wanted to make the pin tucks and reduce the size of the neckline. So I didn’t put paper template directly against the shoulder of the shirt but lowered it a bit, making sure that when I connect the front and the back the neck trims will align. I then cut it off horizontally where I thought the bottom of the front will end.
For the sleeves I placed the paper cut out on the sleeve slightly at an angle to the fold of fabric as I needed a bit more material on the top to make pleats. Cuffs of my polo shirt sleeves were ruined so I placed my paper cut-out closer to the top – but if your cuffs are still ok – place the bottom of your paper cut-out to the edge of the cuff – it will save you making cuffs yourself. It would be best to measure the correct length of the sleeve on the child (place your sample T-shirt on your child and measure the length of the sleeve you want on it, then transfer on your paper template) as it would be difficult to adjust the length of the sleeve if you are keeping the cuff.
Then I looked up how to make pin tucks – it was easier than I thought (I have an excellent book I bought recently – “Sew it up” – it’s got answers to any sewing tricks) – you measure and draw vertical lines 1cm for the pin tuck 2 cm for the space between them. This shortens the width of the fabric, so I didn’t cut the front out at this point, just the bottom line – so I don’t have to drag remains of the polo shirt everywhere.
I pinned and sewed them up, then laid out the material and traced and cut out the front of the dress (make sure you keep the buttons on the placket closed at all times, and if you already cut them off – pin the two bits of placket together. I have to say – for some reason the pin tucks had affected the length of the material as well (don’t ask, I’m not an expert) so I had to cut a bit off the back part of the dress to make front and back even length. Next time probably I should not cut the length of the front and just deal with leftover material. I added some yellow ribbon on the front from my craft box (probably saved from some present wrapping). I sew the back and front shoulders together.
I then hemmed the cuffs, pinned both sides of the sleeves to the front and back of the armpits and to the shoulder so I know how much material I have to work with and when start making pleats for the puffed sleeves. When I worked it out I pinned the pleats and the rest of the sleeve and sewed the sleeves to the top of the dress.
Then I sew the sleeves from the cuffs to the armpit and closed the side seams of the top of the dress.
I had to turn the material for the skirt on the wrong side – the good side had colour run stains on it. So I cut the side seams off and the bottom seams as well because of the shirt’s design, sew the seams back again on the good side and done up the hem (I tried to match the stitch of the original hem as it looked nice). I then pinned the sides of the skirt to the sides of the top and also marked with a pin the centre of the material on the front and back of the skirt – this way you know how much material you have to work with on each side. Then I folded some pleats and pinned them on the skirt and to the top. Then re-arranged directions of the pleats and size and amount of them few times to find the best look (turn the dress on the good side to see what it’s going to look like and re-arrange pleats if you don’t like them).
Then the top and skirt was sewn together, same way as in previous post. Make sure you go round twice so it doesn’t come apart easily.
I steam-ironed all the seams, added some buttons and made a decoration from some scrap ribbons.
When Mya was trying it on she spied a ribbon in my box that she liked and she asked for a belt from this ribbon, so I added the belt.
She was quite happy with the outcome, but I think it looks a bit big – maybe because the template T-shirt was not a tight-fit. She’ll grow into it.
Girls’ doll has got an outfit out of that too.
If you are making one – I’d love to see your final pictures in the comments or email them to me and I’ll make a gallery.
Now that Mya has figured out how things work – she went to my bits and bobs box, pulled out these and requested a dress made from them. I’ll see what I can do 🙂 Watch this space.