Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ready for the Easter Parade

I purchased this dress on clearance at Costco for $6.97 (If the price ends in a 7, the item is on clearance!)  The fabric was a delicately soft lightweight knit - perfect for Arizona's HOT summers, but when I got home and tried it on I realized that I looked absolutely AWFUL wearing it.  In despair I shoved it into the back of my closet.  I was planning on throwing it into the next pile of charity donations until I came across the New Dress A Day blog.

Yes, that is a bag on my head.  I would not be caught dead in this dress!
This author, Marisa, is just into her second year of making over $1 clothing items found at flea markets.  She turns them into cute, totally wearable, current fashions that she wears to work, out with friends, and even to a wedding!  I figured, if she can be creative, so can I!

With a package of elastic and some 1 1/2" wide black ribbon, I can make this CUTE!  I CAN! I CAN!!!      *scroll to the very bottom of the post to see the AFTER*

I decided that the first thing this dress needed was a trim.  I spread it out on my cutting mat and removed the top of the dress cutting just below the arm holes.

A rotary cutter made this sooooo easy.
Next, I labeled the front of the dress with pins.  This dress has pockets that face toward the front, and I didn't want to get finished and realize I'd put the details on the back.  :)

Looks a little like an ink blot test.  Don't you think?
Fold over and pin a casing, leaving a space open through which to feed the elastic.

Stitch down the casing.  Pull the fabric tightly to sew loose, flexible stitches if you don't have a machine designed for sewing knits.

Thread through the elastic and stitch the ends together.  Sew the hole that you left in the casing closed.  Adjust the gathers of fabric so that they are even. 

I always pin one end to the garment while I'm threading through the other end.

Snip a hole in the front of the waist casing.  I chose a spot over the right hip.  This is for the ribbon to pass through.  Since this fabric is knit, it is not necessary to finish the edges of the hole. 

Use the same method as above and feed the ribbon through the casing on the outside of the elastic. 

In goes the ribbon.
Trim the ends of the ribbon on the diagonal so that they do not fray. 

You are DONE!  The finished skirt is slightly longer that the original dress, but I do not mind the extra few inches.  It really isn't much because the casing uses up the majority of the extra fabric.  The pockets sit lower now (low on my hips), but it really doesn't bother me.

The super-busy pattern is so much more manageable now that it is only half of the outfit.  Next, I'll show you how I re-did some t-shirts to make a top to go with my new skirt!

 I began the top of this outfit with some Internet research.

I had to take a picture of the juxtaposition of the ultra-modern technology sitting behind the technology from the middle of last century!
I knew that I had seen a tutorial somewhere, on some blog about how to make a ruffled flower on  a shirt.  Alas, I searched and searched and didn't find what I was looking for.  I did find lots of other great stuff.  (Sigh, projects for another day!)  So, in the absence of what I knew was out there just beyond my reach, I decided to wing it and make it up as I went along.  Here we go.....

I laid out the t-shirt ($4 at Walmart) and freehand drew a circular pattern across the left shoulder. 

You are getting sleeeepy!
I old-school measured the diameters of the circles by tracing along the edges of the circles with a flexible measuring tape, and I recorded the lengths on paper so I wouldn't forget them.  I added 1/2" to the lengths to accommodate a finished edge on the ends of the ruffles.

Measure twice, cut once!

First, I cut off the band at the bottom of the other shirt.  Then, I cut strips off of that shirt starting at the bottom.  I used my rotary cutter ruler to determine the width of the strips.

In hindsight, I should have purchased a larger sized shirt for this!
I sewed some of the strips together to make longer strips to go on the outer circles.  Then, I ran a gathered stitch along one edge of the strips.  I folded the leading edge of the strips over slightly at this time.  Next, I gathered the strips and adjusted the lengths to match the measurements I'd taken earlier.

Gather and adjust.

I pinned the gathered edge of the strips to the lines on the other shirt and sewed down the strips.  I pinned one ruffle at a time beginning with the largest circle.  Be careful not to sew over anything you don't want sewn!  I sewed first with a straight stitch and then again with a zigzag stitch to make the sewing more stable.  Finally, pin down the edges of the ruffles along the color and stitch closely to the edge.  This tacks down the edges of your ruffles and gives the piece a finished look. 

Sew first with a straight stitch and then with a zigzag.
I can't make ANYTHING without having to use the seam ripper at least once!

I had to pull on the outside edges of the smaller ruffles to get them to lay flatter.
I still had to fill in the hole in the center of the ruffles.  I thought about several different things to accomplish this, but I decided to go with a twisted flower of sorts.  I took the leftover band from the bottom of the t-shirt and began twisting it and hand-stitching it into a circle.  I made it large enough to cover the raw edges of the smallest ruffle. 

Twist and stitch!

Finally I hand sewed the twisted circle onto the shirt.  I went around the outside edge and then I took several stitches through the middle to keep it from puffing up and looking odd.

Stitches through the middle.


For under $20 (and a few  hours) I have a completely cute new outfit to wear on Easter Sunday.  Hooray!

I don't have any pictures of me wearing the finished outfit because right now I'm feeling a little under the weather.  I'll update this post on Sunday AFTER church!  See you then!

I am linking these and other great linky parties.  To see a complete list, like Quilt Story, click here!



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Well, Wednesday's "a little under the weather" turned into Thursday's Strep Throat!  That is why Sunday's "after church" update became Monday afternoon's.  I did go to church yesterday for a little while,  (I am the choir director and as such was in charge of the meeting's special musical numbers.)  but I was beat by the time I got home.  O.K. no more blathering.....Here is the dress............(plus a helper in her flowered headband). 

Ta da!

I did get lots of compliments while I was wearing this outfit.  It was cool and comfortable even while conducting the music.  It's a keeper!  Thanks for stopping by!
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