This week was my first time ever participating in Kid's Clothes Week and to say I am hooked would be an understatement. I loved the challenge. I loved the concept. I loved the community. In my head I thought I would just whip out a dress for Curly Sue. But it was so much more fun than that. This little girl got treated to a labor of love. And I couldn't be more happy with the outcome.
The challenge of this season's Kid's Clothes Week was to sew an item of clothing by upcycling another piece of clothing. It was too good to be true. I've had a huge bag of mens' dress shirts sitting in my closet for this very reason alone. The hardest part was picking out the right shirt. There was a lot of plaid (the shirts came from an urban woodsman), but I really wanted to go stripes. I wanted to play with the stripe directions and frankly, I didn't have a choice as I hacked up the shirt.
I started out with Made by Rae's Geranium dress as a template. I tweaked the armhole by finding a happy medium between the two sleeve options. And I skipped the lining by instead binding the neck and armholes with bias binding. I really wanted to show the contrast between vertical and diagonal stripes in the bodice and the binding helped me do that.
I recycled the shirt placket in the back to make the opening which was not only a fun accent but a great short cut. I added a middle button hole to close the gap between the top and bottom and popped a button off the cuff to complete the back. To compensate for the lack of lining and to bring in the original shirt details, I fake flat-felled the seams.
I loved the idea of making the skirt with contrasting horizontal stripes but the shirt was pretty slim cut so I had to add a 2 1/2" bottom band to cover the length. It wasn't in the original plan but it was a happy accident and ultimately I like it better. I had to put the band together by cutting and piecing the sleeve remnants, but stripes are very forgiving when you are hiding a seam so you can't see the 4 or 5 sections in the hem.
The only downside to hacking up a striped shirt is having to follow the actual stripe which got tricky as the fabric got scarce. I had to face the bottom band to cleanly finish the hem and I got a little desperate. The perfectionist in me wanted to have another stripe around the bottom even though no one will ever see it. But I'll know!
It makes me a little nuts to see stripes not aligned, but I had to step away from the machine and let it go. Elsa would be proud.
What I know is that my little stinker loves this dress and was dancing and yelling in the atrium of the Brooklyn Museum where we took our pictures. Trying to get a toddler to stand still for pictures is almost impossible. So the fact that I got any was a minor miracle. She mostly did a lot of this.
She stopped long enough to check out a slightly creepy Rodin sculpture.
I'm pretty sure this dress will become a staple of our summer wardrobe just as soon as the 2 feet of snow melts outside. So maybe 3 months if we're lucky. Hopefully not longer because there is not a scrap of fabric left. Upcycling mission accomplished.