Friday, June 20, 2008

Farm Girl Cute

For those who read my Katie's Calamities blog, here is the sewing tutorial I promised weeks ago. I worked very, very hard ( Pffft! ) on this so, I hope that y'all gain some enjoyment and knowledge from this.

For this particular project, I fished deep into the briny depths of my very illustrious, Goodwill bag and produced 2 items to make-over. First, I dug out these cute short-alls. Super cute, but lo, they were missing a clasp, as you can see in the picture below.

Next, I pulled out a once uber adorable little tube dress ( I am assuming that is what it's called ) and lo again, this little cutie patudie had lost it's stretch. All of the elastic in the top had come out in the wash.

So, I took out my trusty scissors and hacked away the straps and ironed out the wrinkles. Next I folded the dress in half top to bottom, then cut the whole thing in half. Producing two tubes with one raw and one finished edge. I then opened the side seam of each piece, making two long strips.

In this next step I laid the strips wrong sides together, making sure that the hemmed edges laid on top of each other. I stitched these two pieces together, making one fairly long strip of fabric. This will be the ruffle of the dress.

In order to make a dress from shorts you need to do a little trimming. I wanted to keep the pockets in tact for this dress so I cut off the bottom/crotch portion of the shorts but left the pockets as you can see. If you aren't in dire need of pockets I would recommend that you just whack those little buggers right off and avoid all the hassle that they bring. I sewed them to them to the body of the dress twice and to the ruffle once. might think ahead and just pin them out of the way. You might think that I would have thought of that before hand, especially after sewing them into other parts of the dress several times and cursing like a fish monger. But I digress.......

(READ: I did not need to iron the hem up as it is in this picture, I did it for a better visual)

For this next step we move back to the ruffle. The easiest way to make ruffles is to use a basting stitch. In order to do this the super easy way, you must set your sewing machine stitch length to it's longest length, for me this was 4. Start stitching on the raw edge of the fabric strip. We are not doubling the fabric, stitch only a single layer of the ruffle. Stitch about a quarter of an inch from the edge, all the way around. When you are done leave a long piece of thread attached to the ruffle. You will then firmly grasp the cloth in one hand and the thread in the other and GENTLY pull the thread making the fabric gather. Do this all along the edge you just stitched. You may have to gather till you reach mid point in the fabric then switch to the other end. Just remember not to pull on the thread too hard or it will break.

Next we need to close our ruffle circle. This is as simple as it sounds. Place the two ends, wrong sides together and zip across the edge. After you have gathered and stitched your circle, turn it right side out. Now we need to divide this circle into quarters with stick pins, this is not a precision division, just eyeball it.

Grab your shorts and turn them wrong side out. Carefully place the gathered ruffle inside of the shorts, as in the picture below, (with the ruffle inside the shorts) the right sides of the fabric will be together. Now this is the hardest part of the whole ordeal, pinning the ruffle so that it gathers evenly around the edge of the skirt. This is where the pins we placed at quarter intervals come in. Using those pins, attach the ruffle to the shorts, then adjust the ruffle so that it fits the inside profile of the shorts. Gently adjusting the gathering as needed. I suggest inserting pins from the raw edge down into the fabric and letting them stick out. This makes it much easier to remove them when you are actually stitching.

Now you are ready to stitch down the ruffle. If you have saved the pockets of the shorts be sure to watch out for them, it is a real pain to remove stitches at this point. Make sure that you take a seam allowance big enough to hide the basting stitches from the gathering process, it is no fun to try and pull these out later. Be sure to watch your fingers closely! Do NOT turn your head to yell at fighting children. Do NOT look away to see whose shoes the dog is eating, as this will result in dire injuries to your little fingers. Trust me on this one!

Be sure to take breaks often so as not to wear yourself out. I had a lovely assistant bring me a little sugar boost. Doesn't it look lip-smackity-de'lishioso?? Try not to get too involved with the snacking or think that you could totally stitch that seam one handed. Because if you do you will have issues like this......... daughter thought it was fancy butt stitching. Bwahahaha! Well it was pretty fancy alright, that little slip made a huge pucker right on the behind of the dress. NOT a good thing. So, lesson learned, don't snack and sew.

After you have the ruffle attached, ahem.... properly, turn the whole get-up right side out. Since I had a missing clasp on one shoulder strap, I needed to rectify that. I decided to make buttonholes in the straps. Aren't I just a Mrs. Smarty Pants?! I hear that you can purchase replacement hooks for over-alls, but I didn't want to make a special trip to town when I could just use what I had available.

Here is the finished product. My daughter thinks I am THE coolest Mommy in the whole world because I made her one cute dress out of garbage. Who'da thunk??

Hopefully, you enjoyed this farm girl re-do. Hopefully, I didn't confound the day-lights outta ya. ;P

Do you have a Farm Girl "re-do" up your sleeves? Leave us a comment, we would love to see what your working on.

Happy Stitchin'!


farm suite said...

I have seen this dress on the princess and am SO IMPRESSED. It looks really good on. Very boutique-y. And recycling is hot. Good job, great tutorial, can't wait to try my hand.

Want to add for anyone else that is new to sewing: doing a tshirt for the top and fabric for an attached skirt might be easier, since there are no pockets to tangle with.

Misty said...

i did not know you girls were doing this! you are adorably fun!

Chickie Momma said...

I'm betting I'll be better off with the t-shirt skirt thing. I'm VERY new to sewing. So new that I'm still just THINKING about being new at it!

Anonymous said...

i love it! I saw a pattern that was similar, just haven't found the recycleables i need yet!