UPcycled: old dress to new dress

There’s a great little  thrift shop here in Charlottesville that’s located in the back of a baptist church- When you walk in, you are handed a plastic grocery bag.  It’s only $2 to fill the bag, which pretty much feels like you’re stealing.  I actually felt guilty stuffing my bag and then handing over a couple of bucks to the nice old church lady (who was so sweet- she kept bringing me little kid’s clothes to see if I liked them).  I wouldn’t say this place had the greatest selection of clothing, but I was really looking for things to repurpose anyway- I found a bunch of old vintage dresses that had some interesting prints (but not such interesting style).  This one in particular caught my eye:

Ain’t she purty???  I liked the stripes a lot, the fabric is nice and thin, and it moves easily.

It was really had to part with those sleeves…. but I decided to hack it up and just use the skirt. 

Basically, I cut off the skirt and attached it to a black T-shirt that I had.  I tried on the shirt, pulled the skirt up to where I thought the waist should be (I opted for a high-waisted dress here).  I marked where I thought the two should come together, then cut the bottom half of the shirt off.  I then did two rows of gathered stitches on the top edge of the skirt.  I stuffed the shirt into the skirt and lined up the raw edges (you end up sewing the right sides together).  I used my serger to keep the seam nice and neat inside.  Then, I pulled the shirt back out to reveal my new and improved dress.  No hemming required.

I had to make a little belt out of the top part of the old dress, because the seam where the shirt and skirt meet looked a little bumpy.  I put a couple of buttons (taken from the shoulder of the old dress) off to the side and sewed a couple of buttonholes.  Caroline suggested that maybe I add a couple more buttons to the other side so it looks symmetrical- what do you think?  I kind of like it off center, but maybe it would look better?  Do the buttons to the side look intentional or does it look like I need to adjust my belt? 

I’m very happy with my thrifty find, and my new dress.  It’s comfortable and it was pretty much free.  And I’m all about free these days!  Amen!


Easy, Breezy, Ellery…

I love a good naptime sewing project.  Rifling through my box of scraps, I found the start of a shirt that I had tossed aside a few months back.  It’s just 2 panels sewn together, with an elastic casing at the top.  I had some leftover bias tape from here, so I cut it in half and sewed the two ends to the front, and added a couple of buttons.  Voila!  A new flowy, flowery halter for my little darlin’.

I’m such a fan of this fabric.  I love all the green in it, and the little orangeish-red dots in the center of the flowers.  The halter straps are made from this.  Both fabrics are from designer, Heather Bailey.

My kids were really good to me and slept a bit longer.  Long enough for me to make a second attempt at sewing pants for E.  My first try involved using MADE’s kid pants tutorial… they ended up being too tight and short on her, so today I drafted a quick pattern from an existing pair of pants.  I’m so happy I did because they actually fit perfectly, and she didn’t cry for mercy when I put them on her. 

I knew I wanted to give the girl some highwaters, or “cropped” pants as they call ’em these days…  I love how they look on her.  Love her little ankles, and her new neon pink shoes that her friend Caroline gave her (she actually calls this little girl “Friend Caroline” so as not to confuse her with her Aunt Caroline.  ha). 

Want a glimpse into of Ellery’s greatest talents?  Okay!  Here ya go:

Rifling through the fridge!  Hope she finds something good…

 Seriously, Ellery… tomatoes?  Who’s child are you?

I’m kidding.  This kid would eat tomatoes at every meal if I let her.

Now, if only she’d ask her Mommy for a napkin!



Hi all, its Caroline!  After a long hiatus (due to a hellish math class) I am back and ready to contribute to the blog.  Erin did such a great job holding it down, and I must compliment her on how far she has come with her sewing- she only started a little over a year ago!

Even though I have been crafting very little over the past few months, I am always collecting bits of inspiration from websites, bloggers, and clothing catalogues.  My list of “things to try” is a mile long, and who knows if I will ever get to much of it.  But I did manage to piece together an applique design that was inspired by this season’s MiniBoden collection. 

Ta da!  Not bad for a knock-off ay?  I bought a bunch of these organic onesies at the H&M outlet store during my last visit to Los Angeles.  The long sleeves were $4.95 and the short sleeves were $3.95!  I can’t wait to go back and load up again!  An appliqued onesie makes a unique (eh-hem) gift for a baby, like this little guy:

I made this next one a while back about an hour before the birthday party for a one-year-old pal named Kenji.  See how simple?

My copy-cat seagull was not as simple or quick, but I learned a lot in the process.  Next time I would consider stabilizing the jersey fabric before sewing, perhaps like this:

I don’t know.  It was a labor of love, worth it for such an adorable nephew!

Now, get to work boy!


This little girl of mine…

Well, my first-born turned 3 last week.  Where did the time go?  It’s hard to find any baby left in her- but it’s there when she wakes up in the middle of the night, when she clings to my leg in public, and when she steals her brother’s milk bottle and hides in her room to drink the rest…  These days you can  usually find her playing outside in her favorite new dress-up outfit (a $7 thrifted fairy costume- score!).  She reminds me often that her name is not Ellery, but “Tinkerbell”.  Duh!

I made her a couple of birthday skirts while she and Grant took a monster nap last week.  Using my new serger cut the time significantly- I’m so glad I caved and got one!  It’s a great machine for the money (I don’t feel like I broke the bank), and since I mostly sew clothing- I know I’ll get a lot of use out of it.

I’m really digging this Amy Butler fabric.

This one was made with some clearance fabric from Jo-ann.  It’s a good weight blue cotton.  I made both of these skirts a tad longer than I would normally, with the hope that she can rock them next year too.

I used some Anna Maria again.  Like I said, it makes a perfect pocket!

My girl is almost all-good for spring and summer on the skirt front.  They are so quick to make, and easy for her to pull on or off.  And she really needs that for all her outfit changes these days….

Or, should I say Tinkerbell?