I couldn’t take this shirt to the charity shop because I liked the colour combination and Mya absolutely loves stripes. I didn’t know how I was going to use it as in the past I botched up a few projects, but then I found this tutorial and looked so simple to me. I wasn’t sure if it’d work with Polo shirt, but I thought I’d try and see.
So, here’s a before and after pictures and the full step-by-step tutorial follows if you are interested in making something new for your little girl out of nothing. And if it goes wrong – which is very difficult in this one – it was only an old unloved shirt, so give it a go too!
First – I tried it on Mya just to see how long it was and if the collar looked ridiculous – it was a man’s XL size after all. It was perfect length and collar was fine. Sleeves looked to be good length too (because the length of the sleeve you have when you put it on your child is what it’s going to be). I was not prepared for too much tweaking.
Next – I took her long-sleeved t-shirt that still fits and not too tight on her and laid it out on top of the Polo shirt and traced it, roughly marking the place where you want your ruffled skirt to start (some might prefer it quite low – not as a skirt at all, but just some ruffles, others might want a high waist – depends on preferences and material availability). Sleeves might seem tricky, but just lay child’s shirt over the existing shoulder and sleeve – it doesn’t matter if there’s no shoulder seam on the dress. I didn’t pin it or anything like that – I’m lazy J
Then I added (mentally) about 1cm allowance for the seams and snip, snip, snip! There’s some kind of satisfaction in going through the material with scissors, this crisp, final sound – point of no return J
I pinned the sides together and used a straight stitch on my machine to stitch it up. It would be better to use an over-lock stitching to close up the material and prevent from fraying but I couldn’t be bothered – besides I always get confused what to do when seams meet.
Then I took the remaining bottom part of the T-shirt which I just cut straight horizontally and made the length of the stitch longer on my machine and sew from one seam to another, repeating on the other side. Next thing you need to do is turn the skirt inside out and pin the side seams of the skirt to the side seams of the top (if you don’t have seams on the T-shirt – mark the sides with a pin or pen to know how to align them. Then start gathering your skirt by simply pulling on the top tread of the stitching you’ve just made – it should pull out with a slight effort but not too much otherwise the thread would break. Line it up with the edge of the top part from time to time to make sure it’s getting to the same size, and try to distribute the gathering evenly along the skirt.
When you gathered it to fit the top’s width – pin the top of the dress to the skirt all around, and sew the two together (don’t forget to change the length of the stitch back on your machine). Stay clear of the gathering stitch at least 5mm – you don’t want to see it on the right side of the dress. I advise to go round twice as it would be more difficult to fix the tearing than prevent it.
Then turn your dress on the right side and enjoy the results! Ta-da!
I didn’t like the buttons so I changed them and new buttons were too big to fit the existing button holes, so I just sew the placket closed– child’s head fits comfortably through it without opening up the buttons. I also thought the collar was too plain for a girl’s dress so I found a nice decorative stitch on my machine and went around the outside of the collar. The butterfly on the dress is something I hoarded from an old garment (I can’t even remember from where).
The whole project took me one evening. Mya was one very happy girl in the morning!
If you iron the seams – it would look a bit more professional.
If you are making the dress – I’d love to see the finished result’s picture in my comments.
P.S. – I got blinded with this success (something I started and actually finished and it didn’t look shocking!) so I had a go at a more complicated (but not too much) dress, which I will write about soon.