Saturday, September 10, 2011

Repurposing again--Tunic to Toddler Dress!

I've been on a "sewing for myself" kick, and I figured it was about time to pull out a repurposing project for the kiddo that I've been meaning to get to.  It was the perfect time for this dress, because the color and style are perfect for fall, but it's a gauzy, lightweight fabric that keeps the girl cool since Oregon's summer has finally started this week.

I started with this short-sleeved tunic that I picked up on Target on clearance for less than five bucks, and basically made it into a smaller version of itself (with a less plunging neckline).

I loved the color, the shimmery gold pinstripes, and the cotton woven trim, and at first I thought I would turn it into a crossover neckline, but once I started measuring, it seemed like the simplest solution was the best one in this case--I just shrunk the dimensions so that it would fit my girl.

I started by taking off the sleeves:

In this case, I was careful!
I used a seam ripper instead of scissors because I knew I wanted to reuse the sleeves (and keep the gathered top intact).

I put the dress on the girl at this point to get the straps and length right, and I wanted to make sure it would fit over her head.  I didn't feel like putting in any closures if I didn't have to!  I did separate the trim pieces from each other (so they cross over, but the neckline pulls open a little further) but I don't think it was necessary.

Seeing it like this, I considered making it a bubble dress, but didn't have quite enough fabric.

Um, Mom, I think you left a few pins in here...
Next was deciding where to cut the armholes, using a dress she currently wears as a template:

I wanted the new dress to be longer than the template.

After the armholes were cut, I sewed the front and back pieces of the dress together (right sides together).

Then I cut the original sleeves down to fit the new armholes, and with the sleeve inside out sewed from the cuff to the armpit, backstitching at each end.

The pins are actually too narrow in this picture--I recommend using a
sleeve from a shirt/dress (non-stretchy) that currently fits as a template.  I had to widen these after she tried it on!
I turned the sleeves right side out and stuck them inside the dress (so that the right sides are together).  Then I pinned the sleeve opening into the dress.   In this case, because the trim sits on top, I attached the sleeves starting where the trim meets the blue fabric at the seam, then sewed around the armpit, then stopped when I reached the trim on the other side.  After partially attaching both sleeves, I switched the thread in my machine to the off-white and topstitched the trim to the gathered part of the sleeves.

OK, I confess--I actually didn't do that.  I just stitched it all the way around, then realized that the trim wasn't sitting on top, so I had to rip out the seam along the trim and reattach with the trim on top.  That's the way I SHOULD have done it :P

See where the trim looks tucked in at the shoulders?  Don't worry, I fixed it :)
Oh, and I hemmed it.  I did remember that part.  I even ironed it under before folding and ironing the hem, so that there aren't raw edges hanging out on the inside--how professional of me!

So here's the part where I show you all the adorable pictures of the girl wearing the finished dress:

Look at me!  My dress is so cute!

Are you still here with that camera?

Uh-uh.  I said no more pictures.

At least when she runs away, I get a shot of the back.

Wait a second, what's that under there?
Yes indeed, I did make a diaper cover out of the leftover fabric!
I couldn't resist using what was left to make this little diaper cover--I looked at this tutorial, but I basically winged it to make the amount of leftover fabric I had work.

I love the repurposed dresses--I get all the credit for making a dress with only about half the work, and I don't have to follow a pattern!


  1. So, the more I see her wear it, the more it reminds me of a renaissance nightshirt--but I'm ok with that!

  2. girl! you are so crazy talented!! you are inspiring me to make and do.


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