Friday, August 20, 2010

Tutorial: Ladies Shirt turned Little Girl Ruffle-Bum Shirt

A friend of mine’s daughter is having her first birthday party on Saturday. We didn’t think about this when planning our August budget, and somehow I’ve been over spending a bit this month anyways, so I needed to find a free way to make her a special gift. I played with a few ideas, but really only have girl prints in home-decor fabric… meaning a bag would really be the only option. I was looking at cute clothing online, and remembered the box that has been sitting in my room for 5 months now, full of clothes I’m certain I will never fit in. It’s just sitting there, waiting for me to take it to a consignment store and Goodwill (just like the two bags that have been sitting by my front door since December, full of clothes that now need to be rewashed because they’re once again covered in pet hair).
I went digging through the box and came up with several cute pieces that are made of fun, girly fabrics.
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For Hannah’s gift, I used what was my absolute favorite long sleeved shirt, that sadly shrunk a bit over time, making it on the verge of too small before a baby, and most definitely too small post baby.
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It’s a nice, stretchy knit and I thought it would be fun to make another shirt from it. I grabbed a onesie of Jace’s that’s size 12-18 month (Hannah’s size) and used it as a pattern. I lined it up along the hem of the shirt, that way I wouldn’t have to re-hem Hanna’s shirt. Using my rotary cutter, I just cut along the outside of the onesie. Super easy. I used the same idea with the sleeves, and lined up the sleeve of another one of Jace’s shirts with the hem of the sleeve. The sleeve in the original shirt had gotten tight on my arms, so I figured using the lower portion would make for a nice, somewhat loose fitting sleeve for Hannah. Once again, yay for not having to hem!
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I cut little snips around the neckline, then folded and pinned it in, and used a zig-zag stitch so it would still be able to stretch well when Hannah’s mom puts it over her head.
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Then I sewed a 5/8 inch seam along the top and sides, leaving the arm holes open. When I went to pin the sleeves in, I realized I hadn’t measured to make sure the sleeve size matched the hole size. Thankfully, the sleeve was bigger, so I pinned some pleats in and ended up with cute capped sleeves. I couldn’t have been happier!
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When sewing the neckline I accidentally did it with the wrong side out, so I had a hem that wouldn’t have been super noticeable as being inside out, but wasn’t ok on a birthday gift.
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So what better way to cover up a mistake on the back than by adding ruffles? Out came two more shirts that are made of a stretchy knit—one pink the other white—and I cut long strips from the backs to make ruffles.
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I seriously LOVE a ruffle-bum on a little girl! I made the ruffles by stitching a long, loose stitch and then pulling on the thread and ruffling until it was the right length for the width of the shirt, then pinned and sewed it on. Don’t forget to reset the stitch setting on your machine!
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The front then needed a little embellishment, so I cut a few more strips from the shirts I made the ruffles from, did the same stitching and ruffling technique, and then just started rolling and stitching as I went. I made the three flowers different sizes by using three different widths of ruffles. I then sewed the flowers how I wanted them onto a piece of pink felt, and then sewed that onto the shirt like a corsage.
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Ta-da! The finished product! I’m super, super happy with how it turned out!
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I needed to make sure it was proportionally correct, so Jace just had to model it for me this morning (even though he’s only 6 months old and too small for the shirt). (Nolan said it’s ok if I do this now, but once he’s a year old I can’t keep using him to model girl stuff.) I can’t even begin to tell you just how much I LOVE the ruffles! My favorite part of the whole shirt is the part used to cover up a mistake.
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Now I think I may need to make a headband to go with it…


  1. Jill, that is such a cute idea and actually I think Jace likes pink. He has such a happy smile. :-)

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