Tag Archive | reconstructed

Three non-winter dresses

We don’t quite know what to call the season we’re currently experiencing out here in the Pacific Northwest. Our calendars claim that Summer begins tomorrow, but I think we’re at least three months behind. In other words, we’re just now getting our Spring. I think we should adjust our calendars accordingly so that we don’t feel so disappointed when we look outside. At any rate, back when our calendars claimed it was Spring, Rana and I checked her closet for Springtime dresses and found that she had outgrown everything from last year. I’ve already shown one dress that I made for her, so now I’ll show the others I’ve finished.

Please excuse the fuzzy baby head zooming through the photo.

This dress began life as a pair of pillowcases that I rescued from the thrift store for 99 cents a piece. Not too shabby, eh? I’m all about saving myself time, so I kept the original pillowcase hem for the skirt. Despite the stripes, the dress looked too plain once I had finished, so I embellished it with a hand-painted daffodil. See? Sometimes I can paint.

Who else wishes they were in Hawaii?

This was the first of my Hawaiian shirt conversions and at first, it went very, very wrong. I had used Rana’s Easter dress as a template, but… I only traced one side and then just folded the shirt in half and cut. Moral of the story: Trace both sides of your template, just to be sure. I happily went sewing along, thinking it would make a good surprise for Rana when she got home from school. And we were all surprised when we found that this dress was too skinny even to fit Konik, my 18 month old son. Obviously, some alterations were in order. I didn’t want to lose the button placket on the back because that would make more work for me. So I whacked off the top half of the front, took my daughter’s measurement (sometimes I do smart things), and scavenged among the scraps of the original shirt. Lucky for me, when I opened up one of the sleeves on the side seam, it was just the width I needed, and I sewed it right on. You can see the hem of the sleeve now marks the dress’ waistline (through the middle of the trees). How’s that for creative sewing? I was going to put little flutter sleeves on the dress, but Rana preferred the wide straps. I wasn’t going to complain — less work! (Notice a theme, here?)

The taste, the taste, the taste is gonna move ya!!

This dress was fun. How can you not be happy looking at fruit fabric? This was just a small, lonely piece of fabric hanging sadly between placemats and sheets at the thrift store. It needed a better life, so I saved it, too. When I got it home, I found that there were strange black smudges in a couple of places, so I had to get creative with how I cut out the pieces. It all worked out ok, though! The skirt fabric was leftover from a hospital gown I made for a friend a couple years ago (she wanted to have her baby in style, not some faded hospital-issue sack). Once again, Rana was at school while I was sewing, so there was no measuring involved. This dress is ankle length on her and, if not for the citrus fruit and bright colors, would look a little “Texas compound,” but she thinks the length is great. I’ll just be sure never to do her hair up in a bun when she wears this.

Current work in progress is the bright pink dress with the patchwork skirt. I admire the people who can sew without the use of patterns, but I think I’m ready to admit that I am not one of those people. The two pillowcases I hacked up didn’t yield enough fabric to make this into, well, a dress. It’s going to have to be something more akin to a tunic. And, much to Rana’s disgruntlement, it’s going to have to be for Granota. There was simultaneous shrieking and cheering at that announcement. Hopefully, the girls don’t try to reenact the Cinderella shredding-of-the-dress scene whenever Granota wears this.

Tomorrow, I’m going to attempt something cool. I’ll post about it if I get it done in time!

I’m on a roll!

I love days like this where everything comes together as it should and I’m able to get so much done. I didn’t sew any pieces on backwards; I didn’t have to rewind my bobbin two inches from the end of a seam; my seam ripper sat docilely in my tackle box; and best of all, I have tangible results (unlike when I’ve spent hours tacking in facings that no one ever sees)!

My good sewing mojo began yesterday when I was able to knock out a dress for Rana. Coming into this spring, we realized that the girl has been growing like a weed and all of her springtime dresses from last year were scandalously short on her this year (good news for Granota whose dress wardrobe doubled). I planned on making her about five dresses and didn’t want to spend the money on that much new fabric, so I hit the thrift store. I love the thrift store for fabric shopping. It’s a little bit more of a challenge to find nice prints sometimes, but you can’t beat the prices. I came away with two men’s Hawaiian shirts, two orange/yellow striped pillowcases, one plain hot pink pillowcase, one hot pink pillowcase with orange and light pink flowers, a scrap of jersey with a bright fruit print all over it, a butterfly sheet, and a red gingham checked sheet — and spent about ten dollars for all of it! Score!

Up to this week, I had made three dresses: one from the white Hawaiian shirt, one from the two orange striped pillowcases, and one from the fruity jersey (using fabric I already had on hand to make the skirt). And I haven’t taken a photo of a single one of those! Yesterday, I finally got the urge to clear all these thrifted fabrics out of my room. They’ve been draped across the back of my chair and slung over my dress form for months. It’s about time. Loosely following cheytown’s Button-down Shirt Recon (four years and still going strong!), I made Rana a dress from the red Hawaiian shirt. Ok, I used cheytown’s tutorial from memory for the white Hawaiian dress/shirt, too, but it’s also a little different from the “original.” Back to the red dress: Rana loved it and wore it to school today. She was in a funky mood when she got home and consented to pictures only if she could hide her face. Unlike the original, this one buttons in the front and I had to do a little pleating along the back neckline to keep it from dipping down too low.

Men's large shirt becomes a dress for a 5 year old

Today, with all my sewing super powers still in full force, I began another dress using the hot pink pillowcases. I completed the bodice (using an old Simplicity pattern). Rana likes twirly dresses especially, so I am making the skirt in patchwork tiers; I’m making it up as I go along. I’m still in the pinning process on that. If everything keeps going smoothly, I’ll finish it in a couple of days! I sure do like progress.

That's a lot of little squares to sew together. This is why I don't quilt.