Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Up The Empire!

Refashioned T-Shirt to Empire-Waist Maxi-Dress
Here is the result of my latest sewing brainstorm!  I refashioned one of my very  favourite old t-shirts, and turned it into this Empire-Waist Maxi-Dress with Wide Sash-Belt.

My poor t-shirt had been chucked to the back of a drawer.  It had a stain smack-dab in the front that just wouldn't come out. [Sigh!]  Unfortunately, the location of the stain did not lend itself to the use of appliqu├ęs, or similar creative disguises.

You see, I fondly deem my lovely t-shirt, with its feminine, crocheted bib front, carefully symmetrically-placed gold sequins, and fluttery cap sleeves as "an oldie, but a goodie", so I hadn't the heart to retire it to the rag bag.  [Sniff! Sniff!]

Inspired by looking at several refashion projects across the internet, I finally plucked up the courage to have a go at my own wearable creation...

My Scribbled Design
I began by scribbling an idea on a piece of paper.  For this project, I had recently purchased, from a local charity shop, a nicely-soft vintage-patterned bed sheet in greens, blues, and lilac; plus, I found the MODA Purple Marble Fat Quarter in my stash, which I used for the Wide Sash-Belt.

After measuring about 4 inches from the bottom of the t-shirt, I marked a dotted line all the way around, then cut along the dotted line and removed the bottom of the t-shirt - the only bit to be thrown away! [Yippee!]

Using my machine's stitch setting for stretchy fabrics, I created a 1/2-inch double hem at the cut edges to keep things neat, and to help prevent the knit from unravelling.

To make things super easy, I folded the sheet in half widthways, ironed in the crease created, then cut along the crease with my rotary cutter - [I've saved the other half of the sheet for another project].  For the skirt portion of the dress, I used the sheet-half with the widest hem: I allotted the pre-hemmed part to the bottom of the dress.  I created a 1-inch double hem at the top half of the sheet, where the elastic will be inserted.  Next, I folded the sheet in half again - double hem at the top, wide pre-hem at the bottom.  Ensuring the edges were lined up and straight, I sewed along the side edges with a 1-inch seam allowance to create the basic skirt.
T-Shirt Refashion to Empire-Waist Maxi-Dress

Next, I measured my waist and subtracted an inch from that measurement; using the result of that sum, I cut the 1/2-inch width elastic, (the widest elastic I had on hand).  I folded over one end of the elastic, then pierced the loop with a safety pin to thread the elastic through the double hem.  The length of elastic is somewhat shorter than the width of the sheet; which is okay, because it creates the desired gathers in the skirt.

As for the MODA Purple Marble Fat Quarter for the wide sash-belt: it was necessary to cut the fat quarter in half. and splice both halves together to create the necessary length for the belt, making sure that the "splice seam" was sewn with right sides facing - that seam shows at the  centre front of the belt.  Once sewn, I folded the wide strip lengthways, with right sides facing, then sewed along the length only with 1/2-inch seam allowance.  Next, I turned the tube right side out.  At this stage, I ironed the sash-belt to keep it neat.  I hand-sewed coordinating buttons as decoration along the centre seams on both sides.  As for the ends, I pinned ribbons spaced evenly apart, making sure that the open ends of the tube were folded, and pressed.  Finally, using a straight stitch as close to the edge as possible, I sewed the ends, with ribbons inserted, closed.  I added a row of zigzag stitches for extra security.  I set the finished sash-belt aside.
T-Shirt Refashion to Empire-Waist Maxi-Dress

With all my pieces sorted, time to put them all together... 

I turned both the t-shirt and the skirt inside-out.  I measured where I wanted the top of the skirt attached to the bottom of the t-shirt.and pinned the pieces together, constantly measuring for straightness.  I made sure that the elastic waist of the skirt would be on the outside, once the joined pieces were turned right side out.

Now for the final sewing bit! To join both pieces, again I used my machine's setting for stretchy materials to make allowances for my t-shirt's fine stretchy knit.

T-Shirt Refashion to Empire-Waist Maxi-Dress with Wide Sash-Belt
Lastly, I turned my newly-fashioned empire waist maxi-dress right side out and tried it on.  I was very happy with its fit, while still maintaining the top's comfortable stretchiness. Yay!

Now for the flash sash in purple! I wrapped it around the top of the skirt, and tied off the ribbons in the back.

Feeling like a princess in my new summery "T-Shirt Refashion to Empire-Waist Maxi-Dress with Wide Sash-Belt", I say:

Up The Empire!