Old Shirt Rework

So I figured it was about time to do something for me. I have been doing a lot for me lately actually, just not with my sewing machine. I have been restricting my calories, going to a personal trainer twice a week, doing cardio the other 5 days, and recently ran my first (and second) 5K. Needless to say, my clothes from last summer no longer fit. Our days are getting warm and I need some new clothes! I had two bags of my old summer clothes to donate and then it dawned on me that there was tons of free fabric in there!

My plan is to turn those old clothes into new ones and I decided to start with this shirt.

original shirt

This was my fat shirt. It hid my “twins plus one” tummy and it was huge and shapeless and made me look bigger then I was. It was my go-to, hide my body, comfort shirt last summer. I hate it. Well, hated it. It looks a bit different now!

I decided I wanted a sleeveless top. I got to show off these new arms of course.  So I cut them right off!

sleeves cut off

Then I cut the shirt down the sides…

cut down sides

and pinned off a good two inches on either side and tried it on. It fit in the waist but I realized I needed to cut the shoulder seams and shorten them as well.

cut shoulders

I used another tank top to figure out the shape. I cut along the lines about an inch away in order to include a seam allowance.

using shirt as guide

Then I sewed it up. I tried to make the shirt fitted but the hips bubbled out oddly. Sorry for the blurry photo. It really bothers me but I cant “unmake” the shirt to take a new one!

bubble hips

Instead of ripping the seams, I decided it would look nice If I ruched them. I grabbed a couple of 2 inch strips of ¼” elastic and sewed them to the inside hem while stretching the elastic at the same time.

ruchingruching done

It felt pretty amazing to be able to turn an old shirt I hated into something new that I can enjoy.

finished top

If it ever warms up here again, I will try to remember to add a picture of me wearing my new summer top. Every time I put it on, I will be reminded of not only my new found love of sewing but of why I needed to remake the shirt in the first place!


The Split Pant Incident

Well everything went just fine with the first pairs of pants I made for a couple of months. They went through the wash several times beautifully but one day when I picked up my kids from school, I noticed Maya had split the crotch seam open. It is a good thing she is only three and couldn’t care less! Another few years and she would have been mortified and I would be to blame!

split pants

If you have ever spent any time with a three year old, you understand how it is impossible to get factual information about an event that happened in your absence. They will say the most random things and you never really know the whole truth. After trying for 10 minutes to pry out of her how it happened, I believe she might have fallen and it split then. However, she also told me she was playing, she was sitting, and once that it wasn’t even ripped at all, so who really knows.

I was afraid to sew it back up as is because it might just happen again! I needed to put in some extra material and didn’t know how to go about it until I noticed my yoga pants had extra material sewn in!

yoga pant

It was the perfect solution. Well perfect if you knew how to do it properly!

I fudged it. I figured as long as it looked O.K. from the outside, then it didn’t matter.

First, I cut out a scrap piece of the same fabric.


Then I sewed the top two edges on with a straight stitch and added a zig-zag stitch along the edges.

half way

Next, I cut the scrap to fit the bottom corner and sewed and finished the edges the same way I did the top two. It’s a little rough on the inside.

inside pants messy

As well as the outside.

finished patch sewn up

But you can’t tell I have done a thing to them when she is wearing them. Hopefully it will last! I guess we will know in a few more months.
maya runningMaya in pants

Knit Nitwit

finished knit shirtsWell it was bound to happen. Things were going too smoothly in my sewing adventures. I guess I needed a reality check. I kept reading blog entries about sewing with knits being difficult but they always ended with something along the lines of “don’t be scared… go for it!” So I decided to give it a try.

I wanted to make some little boy clothes since I had only focused on clothes for the girls so far. The weather was cold and my little man needed more long-sleeve shirts. I decided to use the shirt tutorial from MADE since the pant one I did recently was successful. I went out and bought three different colors of solid knits from Joann’s and set to work.

First, I needed to create my own pattern from a existing piece of clothing. I decided to sacrifice a 24-month onesie. I cut it apart and traced the pieces on some large art paper already scribbled on by my kids.

onsie cut up

I then added a ½ inch seam allowance to the traced images. Labeled them and cut them out.


Then I cut my pieces of fabric out.

cut fabric

Sewed the ribbing on.

neck ribbing sewn on

Looks good so far, right?…Ugh.

First, after beginning to assemble my sleeves, I realized they were too narrow at the wrist. I did have to fudge the long sleeve pattern because my onesie was short sleeved so I redrew a new pattern that I hoped would result in a better fitting sleeve.

new and old sleeve

I then re-sewed the newly-cut long sleeves and assembled the rest of the shirt. It was difficult to sew the sleeve to the shirt because it was too narrow to fit even the free arm but I got through it by placing the entire shirt on top of the machine’s bed and sewing slowly so I wouldn’t catch extra shirt material in the stitches.

sewing sleeves on

I then hemmed the bottom, turned it right side out, and tried it out on my son. Pretty cute huh?

calder with shirt on

That doesn’t seem too bad? Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the part where AFTER I made a second shirt for him, I had to stretch it to fit over him (I had tried to make it slimmer in places) and I heard the stitches snap. That is the moment I realized you can’t just use any ol’ straight stitch to sew up a knit garment. So, I disassembled TWO shirts, researched what stitches to use and sewed them back together again!

I tried two different stitches on the sleeves to determine which stitch to use on my fabric. For the top sleeve, I used a stretch stitch and the bottom is a zig zag stitch.  Since the stretch stitch caused more puckering, I went with the zig zag.

sleeve stitches

Before I finished sewing the shirts together, I had adjusted my zig zag a bit more and ended up with a pretty clean stitch that still gave enough so as not to break when stretched.

As for the bottom hem, I found a straight stitch with a long stitch length worked just fine.

I thought I was in the clear until I did this…

sleeve sewn on inside out

Yep, I sewed that sleeve on inside out! Oh well. I ripped that sucker off and sewed it on correctly.

So now I have two long sleeve shirts finally finished and it is 70 degrees outside. Hopefully, he will get to wear them at least once before he outgrows them!