Kids Clothes Week: Pleated Tee Dress

T-shirt Dress 5

It’s the winter round of Kid’s Clothes Week 2016 and today it feels like Spring in Connecticut! And that works out perfectly for me, because I’ve been sewing with Spring in mind.

My daughter indulged me in a quick photo shoot before school so I could snap up some photos of my KCW contribution. At first she didn’t believe me when I told her we could take the photos outside without wearing a coat! Then once she went outside and felt the lovely 50+ degree weather (at 9 a.m. no less), she was running around giddy with delight.

T-shirt Dress 3

The knit t-shirt dress still reigns supreme in Daisy’s wardrobe, and I should probably just accept the fact that it will probably remain that way for many years to come. Heck, who am I kidding — I’d enjoy wearing a nice, stretchy knit dress and leggings most days, too.

This dress is made from some lovely interlock knit fabric from Amy Butler’s Glow collection purchased from Hawthorne Threads. This fabric was fabulous to work with and has that nice, dependable interlock thickness to it. My fabric selection was inspired by this post by Gail of the blog Probably Actually (which is one of my favorite sewing blogs — her creations are beautiful and I enjoy her aesthetic. You should hop over there to check out these adorable robot pants she made for KCW.). Gail used the grey, woven version of this print for her daughter’s dress. I had seen the fabric before but always skipped over it in favor of the larger, louder, bolder Amy Butler prints, and her post served as a reminder that I need to expand my appreciation for the more subtle prints (and the solids!). These dots remind me of bubbles; almost luminescent floating in the sunlight.

T-shirt Dress with pleats

This dress sews up so quickly that I’m surprised I haven’t made it more frequently (I’ve made her three, but only blogged this one.). I attempted a variation on my usual version by adding a few pleats to the front of this dress. Nothing too crazy but enough to make it a bit more exciting. It looks like I need to double-check the bottom of those pleats; from the photo it looks like they may be separating.

T-shirt Dress 4

Pleat front t-shirt dress #amybutler #fabric

















Daisy was in such a good mood for the photo shoot; it was the perfect start to the day. I’m planning to carry that positive energy through the day!

KCW Winter 2015: Easy Tee to Dress Upcycle

Tee to Dress by

Kids Clothes Week rages on and I’m back at it with a very simple project this time. This one transforms a t-shirt from the Target clearance rack into a fun dress by pairing it with a bright Amy Butler fabric.

I love stripes. For real. I just can’t resist striped attire for children (or myself). And stripes paired with a big, bold floral print become both sporty and feminine.

This project started as a long-sleeved t-shirt that I scored for $3.50 from Target (had to buy two colors at that price!). I sized up and purchased a size 4T because it seems like the Circo brand always shrinks a fair amount after the first washing.

Circo Shirts

I hacked off a good 10+ inches from the bottom of the t-shirt, and about 5 inches from the sleeve length. I then made a skirt using two width-of-fabric rectangles of a bold Amy Butler print. I used this same fabric when I made Daisy some summery skirts when she was about 9 months old. It’s kind of a crazy print but the colors are so great.

Circo Tee Upcycle by

I gathered the extra wide skirt portion to make it the same size as the bottom of the shortened t-shirt, and then attached it to the bottom of the shirt using a zig-zag stitch to allow for as much stretch as possible (since the knit t-shirt fabric is stretchy, but the woven skirt fabric is not). Then I hemmed the skirt.

Sleeve Detail on Circo Tee to Dress for KCW by

The size 4T sleeves were way too long for my daughter. I could have just shortened and hemmed them, but I decided to add a ruffle to the shortened sleeve for a little girly flair. I used the hacked off bottom of the t-shirt to make a ruffled cuff. No wasted fabric on this project!

Upcycled Tee to Dress by


Upcycled Tee to Dress by

This bright dress seems like the perfect remedy for all the snow and cold weather we’ve been experiencing lately.

Upcycled Circo Tee to Dress by

As a side note, there was another Kids Clothes Week project that I was working on last night. I had scored a pair of purple velveteen jeans from Goodwill about a year ago with hopes of transforming them into a soft pair of pants for Daisy. But, it just didn’t happen. I was most of the way done with the sewing when I realized I really didn’t like how they looked. The envisioned pants were better in my head than they were in person. I could tell they would not be a hit with Daisy, either.  Pants are a hard sell for her to begin with – she’s a leggings girl. And so, I just walked away from the project.

There’s a certain luxury associated with working with upcycled materials. Because the cost of entry is generally pretty low, you can feel free to take risks you might not want to take with your “good” fabric, or, as in my case, to abandon a project that doesn’t quite satisfy your creative intentions.

The pants cost me about 75 cents at Goodwill. Much, much less than the cost of the same amount of a new, quality fabric. The time spent sewing was good practice – I view it as an investment in strengthening my sewing skills. Rather than feeling guilty about “wasting” good fabric on a pair of pants that would never be worn, I could walk away from the nearly finished but unremarkable pants without a second thought.

I have at least one more project to share this week. Until next time…

All Dressed Up

Before I forget, I want to share the dress I made my daughter to wear at a recent family wedding. The dress that I almost talked myself out of making. Which is an easy thing to do when you stop by TJMaxx the week of the wedding and see a handful of really cute dresses for less than $15.00 each, and think to yourself, “gee, how fast and easy would it be to just have her wear that?!” But then you remind yourself that you have been wanting to make her a dress with these Amy Butler fabrics for a long time now. And you steer clear of the children’s department and you go home and sketch a pattern and sew and are happy you did it.

I intended for the dress to be worn sleeveless, but unfortunately it was rainy and cold the day of the wedding. Rather than change gears and dress my daughter in something warmer, I surrendered to pairing the dress with a t-shirt and leggings underneath. It wasn’t really the look I was going for, but I was (stubbornly) determined that she wear the dress.  And, of course, her zebra-striped dancing shoes!

And although the day’s weather mostly resembled a monsoon, there was a brief respite from the rain that allowed the bride and groom a chance for outdoor photographs. Hurrah! They were radiant and we had a blast celebrating with them.

Eli wore a suit for the first time, and my emotions went from “oh, look how cute,” to “wait a second, he’s growing up WAY too fast,” in about five seconds flat.  While his suit jacket was a decent enough fit, the matching pants were too baggy. A quick serge along the outside seams of each pant leg transformed the pants into a slimmer fit. Okay, so that’s not the way a tailor would have done it, but it got the job done, fast. And he was ready to dance, too, in his Converse!

I think Eli accurately captured all of our sentiments about the event.  “Mommy, I really like weddings,” he said at breakfast the next morning.  Me, too! Best wishes and much love to the happy couple!