Thursday, July 26, 2012

Make it new with shirring

Don't hesitate to notice a trend here. As I grow out of my clothes, I've got maternity shirts on my mind.

Before and after.  (Yes, these are the same shirt, but I didn't take them in the same light, silly me.)


Ode to a Hand-Me-Down Maternity Shirt
Oh, maternity shirt from my sister
I'm only going to wear you for a short time
So I'm glad to not spend any more money
But your boat-like boringness
Makes me feel the same when I wear you.
How can I make this pregnancy more exciting?

Well, let's start with that hem.  I unpicked the t-shirt hem. (Painful, but it gave me three more inches, and it was worth it.)

Then I shirred it with elastic thread seven rows.

If you'd like to know more about shirring, go here.  

No reason for the seven, rows, except that if I line up the last row along my pressure foot, then I get seven rows from the first unpicked seam to the bottom of the shirt.

Then the neckline.  I measured to the center of the neck, and then drew five lines about 4 inches long.  The distance between them was about 1/2 inch.  Then I sewed them with elastic thread.

Last of all, the sleeves:  I did NOT want to unpick any more seams, so I cut them off.   Then I sewed three lines about 8 inches long parallel to the edge of the sleeve., centered on the line down from the top of my shoulder.

I discovered that this line isn't along the shoulder seam, but a little more forward.  It was necessary to try the shirt on and put a pin where I wanted my center to be.

Pretty Fun, Huh?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rouching to make the XL t-shirt maternity.

Most of the time innovations and ideas come because of needs.  I have a new need:  clothes that I can wear with an expanding belly.  Yes, I am expecting.  It might not look like much of a belly now, but I remember those sad days of the third trimester when nothing seemed to fit anymore.  This time, I'm preparing ahead of time.

I might have mentioned the plethora of XL t-shirts we have?  Well, this one was destined to be my experiment in making myself a maternity shirt.  Because of the experimental approach, and my lack of energy to do much but get-er-done, I don't have any photos of the process.  Hopefully, this will be understandable anyway.

1.  I created a t-shirt pattern for myself by tracing half of my favorite-fitting t-shirt without the sleeves.  I've done that several times.  See it here or here.    Then I lay that half-pattern over this large t-shirt and traced it again on both sides.  I only traced to my bustline, and let it out as quickly as I could without making it come to points as I mistakenly did here.

2.  I took the cut-off sleeves and trimmed away the part that had connected to the shirt until the sleeves were as long as I wanted them and wide enough to fit in the now-smaller armhole.  I have left the sleeves wider, and made them ruffle at the shoulder before, and that is cute too.  Check it out here.

3.  Then I sewed the sleeves in and sewed up the open parts of the sides.  

The t-shirt now fits, but it is rather boring and balloon-like.  How can I make it cuter? 

Lets start with the sides.  I tried this before here, and rather liked it.  With my elastic thread in my bobbin, I sewed up both sides to my bustline.  Then I sewed up the crest of the sleeve as well.  This is what happened.

The top fits me well, and there's plenty of room around my waist.  Perfect.

Now for the neck.  I'm going to avoid any sewn-on embellishments at the moment because I'm worried about my grabby toddler, but some cute flowers or yo-yos could be fun at the neckline.

I wanted a smaller ribbing around the neck, so I trimmed it, like I did here.  It makes the neck less stretchy, but it looks less casual as well.

Then I took that elastically-threaded bobbin, and sewed a few inches down from the neck, making it into a V-neck.  

It doesn't look much like the shirt it was before.

I love how roomy it is. (I'm actually wearing it as I type this.)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Skirt from an extra large t-shirt

Warning:  we inherited a box full of very large t-shirts, so you're going to see a lot of ways to use a t-shirt. 

I love using t-shirts as the beginning of sewing with knits because there are already finished hems involved, so I don't have to try that out.

First off, I should send a thanks to Corinnea's Chaos for teaching me how to make a yoga-style waistband. What with my expanding waist, the comfort of this waistband is very appealing.  I'm not going to talk about the waistband.  She does such a better job at it than I would.

1.  I took my extra large t-shirt (it might even have been XXL) and laid it out flat.  Must be sure all the seams are lined up:  shoulders, sleeves, hem, etc.

2.  Then I laid my yard stick across the top as high as it could go, and still cut off the neckline.  Then I drew a line.

3.  Then I drew a similar line to cut off the sleeves. I used the sleeves to make the waistband.

It's important to be very gradual with this line, because if you could create not-so-cute little points where your seam ends unless you gradually blend into the side.

Let me show you what I mean.

See the not-cute point on my hip on one side and by my thigh on the other?

I should also mention that when you draw your lines, make sure that both sides are the same.  

4.  Ok, cut along the lines.

5.  Sew the sides, making sure to be gradual enough that you don't have those not-cute points.

6.  Sew the waistband to the top.  If you are in a really big hurry and don't want the comfort of a yoga waistband, then sew a very wide elastic to the top as shown here:

7.  Wear.  A lot, because it's cool and comfortable.  This is tighter than it might have been because I had to go back and redo my not-cute seams (are you tired of the the phrase not-cute yet?).

Even with the seam issue, it still didn't take more than an hour.  I'll bet next time I could do it in 20-30 minutes.  I think I'll make one in black, and pink, and, what other color t-shirts do I have?  Maybe I should stick a ruffle on it and make it a maxi-skirt.