Friday, December 30, 2011

Ruffly-Sleeve Shirt Tutorial

I just so happen to be a hoarder of t-shirts, so I have yet another shirt to make into a ruffly-sleeved shirt.  Ya know, like this one:

This next one was made from a huge shirt I got when I was teaching tennis at the Wheaton Sport Center. It's a kind of cool shirt, but it's enormous. (Plus, it's kind of fun to have a workout-themed shirt with a girly flair.)  Let's get chopping!

First, find a shirt that fits the little lady. You're going to use this to create the pattern for the bodice. Fold the kid shirt and your old shirt in half. Trace arm and neck holes. I like cutting it A-line style. Just cut out at a slight angle from the bottom of the armhole.

Now you'll need to grab your ruffle fabric for your sleeves. Fold it over and place the armhole against the sleeve to trace. Now here's the one irritating thing about ruffle fabric: you have to do a little work to make sure the ruffles are all going the same way. Before you cut, run your hand in between the layers to get the ruffles to behave. You'll also want to make sure that you've folded the fabric, so the ruffles line up. I know-- it's a little work, but it's totally worth it.

Cut two sleeves.

Now you have your pieces cut, you can start sewing. First, put the bodice pieces, right sides together. Stitch only the shoulders.

Open the shirt up, right sides up. Pin the sleeves on, starting at the middle point.

Now here's the deal with pinning and sewing sleeves, at least with these materials: they're both knits and stretchy, so you're going to have some wiggle room.  That's nice since you're going to have to manipulate the fabric to match the curve from the armhole and the curve from the sleeve.
What I do is just place three pins: the one in the middle and two on the ends.  I do this for two reasons.  First, since the knits are going to allow you to stretch if need be, I think it's easier to actually keep them matched up this way.  Second, as I mentioned, you want to keep your ruffles all going the same way.  With only a few pins, you can easily slide your finger in between the fabric, in front of your needle, as your sewing.  Then you know they're all where they belong.

After you've stitched both sleeves on, you can open up the shirt, and it'll look a little something like this.

Note how my ruffles are all going the same way?  Phew! :)

Now you're going to fold the shirt back up, right sides together, so you can pin (and sew) the bottom of the sleeve and the side seams.  Again, before you pin, run your finger between the ruffles.

 I start pinning the sleeve at the cuff.  And I'm also a little OCD about making sure my ruffles are lined up at the seam.  It's pretty easy since you can see that there are the stripes on the wrong side of the fabric.  Just line 'em up!

Sew to the armpit, put your needle down and lift your presser foot.  Shift your fabric and sew the side seam.

This next step isn't necessary, so feel free to skip.  You'll see the little edges of the ruffles poking their heads out.  I like to trim these off.  Then I finish the edge with a zig-zag stitch.  
*A note on finishing the edges: the fabrics are knit, so they won't fray.  If you want a little added security and/or finish, go ahead and zig-zag stitch after every straight stitch.  I like to do it on the ruffle fabric since it's a little lighter weight and will get a lot of movement.

At this point, if you turn the shirt right side-out, you'll have this.  Oooooo!  Getting so close!!
But we still need to do the neckhole.

Since it's a knit, you'll want to use a stitch that will stretch.  I like this one, though I don't know what it's called (or if it has a name).  You can also do a zig-zag.

I fold the edge over and use the edge of my presser foot as a guide.  I keep the raw edge against the inside edge of the left side of the foot.  See below.

Take your time here, and you'll be fine.  You'll need to keep pushing the fabric into place (trying not to stretch it too much).  Once you finish, it'll look like that one above.

Home stretch, people!  You have options for the hem.  You can do the same thing you did for the neck, or you can leave it as-is, or you can do a lettuce edge like the one below.  I used this tutorial from mama says sew.  It's pretty darn fun. :)

Now all that's left is to grab one of those cute kids you have lying around the house and snap a few photos.  

Part of the nifty thrifty link party!



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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Upcycled Ruffly-Sleeve Top

When I first started teaching myself to sew (though in the interest of full disclosure, I did take a home ec course in junior high, during which I sewed a few pillows), I was not a fan of upcycling.  I had enough hurdles to jump through, just figuring out how to put together a basic pattern.  I didn't need to deal with fabric that wasn't perfectly flat and ready to be manipulated.  However, now that I've been doing this for a couple years and have gained some confidence, I love the idea of reconstructing articles of clothing that would otherwise be at or near the end of their lives.  It's fun seeing something useful and new coming from something old.  It tests my ability to look past the surface.  And if I'm using my old clothes, the project becomes super cheap.  Add to that the fact that it's GREEN, and voila!  You have a winner.

For these tops, I used old shirts and-- ready for it?-- ruffle fabric!  I love me a good ruffle, so I'm slightly addicted to this stuff.  Sure, for someone who tries only to buy fabric when she has a gift card or a coupon, it can be a little on the pricey side, but look at these adorable results!

I made this top for the little peanut out of an old t-shirt of mine that I had stained.  I actually had stained it quite some time ago, but I held onto it because I thought it was pretty fun and maybe-- just maybe-- that stain would come out??  It didn't.  But now the shirt has a new and better life anyway!

 After I uploaded this picture, I realized the shirt had some paint and chalk on it.  Those aren't the stain I was referring to.  Nope.  Those are courtesy of the art room at Monkey Bizness. :)

On the hem, as you can only kind of see, I did a lettuce edge, one of my new favorite things to do with knits.  And I thought the purple popped nicely with the green.

Then yesterday,  I grabbed a shirt my father-in-law had given me to use and started cutting.  The shirt itself, as you can see, is a peachy orange.  I had some electric blue ruffle fabric that I thought would be fun.
(After all, it had yielded these adorable leggings!)

I cut two sleeves and threw them on. 

But as I was sewing, I caught a glimpse of some orange ladybug buttons I had bought on clearance a while back.  Riley loves animals (and bugs kind of fit in that category, right?), so  I decided to spice up her top with those.  And one more ruffle couldn't hurt, so I backed them up with that.  Turned out pretty cute, right?

By the way, I tried using my new Photoshop software for this last photo, but I haven't looked at any instructions, I've never really used editing equipment, and I have no idea what I'm doing... It shows, don't it. :)  And don't you love how Riley's being so fashionable and posing with her super-cool flip brush?  She's so chic, that one.

Back to the shirt...
Riley-girl was a huge fan of the result.  She likes orange; she likes ladybugs; she really likes that she can say she's wearing one of Papa's shirts.  Win-win-win.  And she can wear it to cheer on the Wheaton College teams.  Even better. :)

**tutorial coming soon!

beginning of an adventure

On my other blog, Green is the New Black, I have a couple different readerships... or at least I hope I have a couple different readerships.  First, I have the family.  I haven't done an official poll, but I'm thinking they like pictures of the kids and stories of all our exciting adventures.  They may even enjoy a picture or two of Mike and me... though those are probably not the biggest incentives.  But I also hope that I have people who like to see what I'm creating, sewing-wise.  I'm not sure if those people exist, but by-golly, I really want them to.  However, I have a feeling that my sewing stories can be a little yawn-producing to the fambly-types.  And if nothing else, they're not always in the grandfathers' wheelhouses.  So here we are, at a new blog address.  And speaking of the address, YES.  It is super cheesy.  Am I afraid of a little cheesiness?  No.  So you better watch out. That kind of thing can happen around here.

It's probably a good idea for me to lay out a few goals for this here blog, so let's get started:
1. share different clothing I've made for the kiddos
2. give ideas for fun activities/crafts/art projects to do with little ones
3. be super entertaining, so that I attract everyone who has a sense of humor, crafters/sewers or no
4. realize that it's ok not to be too entertaining; settle for recording things I've made, just for the sheer joy of it
5. post tutorials for different articles of clothing, so those reading can make them, too

That shouldn't be too hard, right?  It may be slow-going, but we'll try to make it work.  I'd love for you to join me.  Really.  Please?

I love love love sewing; it's my happy place/get-away.  It's fun and satisfying, and it's also a stress-release for me.  I'm hoping there are a few people out there who feel the same way and will want to read these little blurbs I type.  I even have my first article of clothing to share.  So with that-- on to the first non-intro entry!!