Recently I have been in a "DIY" phase, especially when it comes to clothing for myself. I can hardly ever find clothing that fits me well. Items are either too tight, loose, or too short. Then the other problem I have is the cost. That's why I have been making my clothes lately, watching for sales on Fabric, and loving every coupon I can find and use for everything else. The following dress was made of some such fabric that I found on sale at Joann Fabrics, and one of my husband's old dress shirts. Please note: This how to is based on using a men's shirt that was WAY to big for me, and how I wanted the dress to look. If you have a dress shirt that you want to use that fits, by ALL means use it, don't waste the money on buying a man's dress shirt just to follow the instructions to the letter. HOWEVER, if you do go buy a dress shirt, go to Goodwill and buy one. Save yourself some $$. At least where I live, Mondays are the best day to go because certain tag colors are 75% off!
What you'll Need:
Step one: Find fabric you like, and a dress shirt that matches. Doesn't have to be an old shirt, or men's shirt to work. A button up is what I used.
Step Two: Disassemble the Dress shirt. VERY CAREFULLY take your seam ripper or straight edge razor and rip the stitches of the seams around the shoulder/arm pit. If your shirt is like the one I used, it may be easier to just cut the sleeve off and hem it later. Rip the stitches of the collar at the base (where the collar buttons in the front for a man to wear a tie) as well; save this for later. The shirt I used had a pocket on the front, so I took that off at this time too.
Step Three: Put the dress shirt on inside out and pinch in the excess on each side, starting under the arms and working your way down, using your straight pins to pin where you want your top to fit. Having someone to help you with this or a dress form is VERY helpful.
Step Four: After taking the shirt off, grab your marking pencil. Lay your shirt flat on a table or ironing board. Taking your marking pencil, connect your pins, as if playing connect the dots. Remember: Women's shirts have slight curves in them to accommodate the bust, waist, and hips--> men's shirts do not. You will need to make sure to add these in if you didn't when pinning. If you have a Curved Ruler, this will come in very handy on this step.
Step Five: If you haven't already, thread your sewing machine with the matching thread, according to manufacture's directions. Once this is done, take your shirt that you just pinned and do a straight stitch about 1/4" from the line you just drew. This extra should allow for movement once the finished garment is on. Trim excess fabric with Scissors or Rotary tool. Make sure to leave at lease 1/2" of fabric as a seam, if not more (If you think you might need to let this out at a later date, leave more ;) ). Repeat on both sides. I stitched one side, trimmed the seams, and then marked the other side so that I knew they matched.
Step Six: Determine where you want the 'waist' line of the dress to be. I choose to have the waist line higher. This means a shorter total dress; a lower 'waist' makes a longer total dress. After figuring out where you want the waist to be, take your making pencil and mark a line from side to side. Cut 1" (or more if you like) below this line, trimming off the bottom on the dress shirt (Save for later). After timing the bottom off, you will need to tie off the treads that you just cut on the sides. With a straight pin, pull the treads out long enough to tie them off. This will keep the seams from coming open when the garment gets worn or washed.
*The Next steps can vary in order, but this is how I did them*
Step Seven: Grab the collar that you took off and saved. Taking your seam ripper, disconnect the two parts of the collar. The top of the collar should be two pieces of material sewn together. Taking the top part of the collar, pin the front parts to the front of the top of the shirt (with the top going in between the two pieces), pinning the rest of the way around, meeting in the middle. Note: you will have more shirt than collar; this is okay! Fold the excess to make a pleat. Straight stitch, leaving very little seam.
Step Eight: Taking the bottom of the dress shirt you saved from step six, find the widest part and fold it diagonally, to make Bias Tape for the hemming around the arm holes. You will need two pieces, one for each arm. The Bias Tape piece should be 1" wide, so that you can fold it in fourths; in half and each half in half so the raw edges are on the inside. You will put the raw edge of your arm hold in the middle of the fold. I used hemming tape to secure the Bias tape to the arm holes, making it easier to sew on evenly. Starting at the seam in the armpit, work your way around the hole with the Bias tape. I chose to leave the arm hole the size it was, but you can make it smaller if you like. If you used hemming tape, you can leave it as is, or do a straight stitch to make sure it is more secure.
Step Nine: Putting the shirt on again, or on the dress form, pinch in the middle of the back of the shirt. With your marking pencil, mark each side of where you pinched in the excess. this will form the sides of your back V pleat.
Step Ten: After taking the shirt off, with a needle and thread (color doesn't matter), do a running stitch from dot to the dot; gather the fabric together enough that a pleat starts to form below the stitching you just did. Pulling the two sides of the pleat together, pin to hold it in place. This will be the base of the V pleat in the back.
Step Eleven: Pulling down on the spot you just pinned, the fabric should fold in on itself, forming a large V. Pin Each side starting at the bottom, working your way to the top. Taking your scissors and snip the tread you used to do the runing stitch and take the tread out. Straight stitch both sides of the V.
From here it all depends on how much fabric you have. I had a yard and a half of the fabric i used for the skirting. It was 45" wide; I folded it in half cut end to cut end, making it folded in fourths (it was already in half because that is how it comes off the bolt at the store). I measured my waist and followed the instructions of found from a Pin on Pinterest on how to cut the circle out of the middle of the fabric. From there I pined the fabric, right side to right side, all the way around and did a straight stitch. To be honest, I had to sew and resew this part 4 times to get the right part of the skirting in the front. Because it is a handkerchief style, this meant there was a longer side and a shorter side. So, if you are not going to put the points of the fabric at the front/back of your dress, DOUBLE CHECK to make sure that the shorter side of the fabric is to the side, not the front, or else you will flash everyone when you bend down, and no one wants that. :) From there, zigzag stitch over all the raw edges of your fabric so they don't fray while wearing and washing. I used this Foot for that, as well as to put a small hem on the bottom of the skirt.
And there you have it! I know there are A LOT of steps, and I'm sorry for that, but I wanted you to be able to do this the easiest way you can, and learn from a few of my mistakes.
As some of you may know, I am a dog lover. We have a 15 month old mutt of our own and love her to pieces; she brings much laughter and frustration to our lives. And I would be a total mess if we lost her. That is why she has dog tags and is micro-chipped.
However, not all owners are like this. So this is my plea to all owners, both cat and dog owners:
Chip, register, and update!!!
Some back story as to why I am blogging about this: This sweet boy ended up on my front port this afternoon.
As you can see, he has no collar, and therefore, no tags. So I had no clue where he came from, or who to call to say "hey, I've got your dog." I didn't even know what to call him. Thankfully he was super sweet and just wanted some shade and decided to plop down in my garage. I ended up taking him to our pup's vet and found out that thankfully his owners had micro-chipped him; meet Rocky. Turns out that Rocky lives a few houses down from us. And thankfully, his owners registered his micro-chip and kept the information up-to-date. While I was at the vets waiting to get's Rocky's information one of the techs told me that they had just had a dog in there last week that was chipped, but the owners had never registered the chip, so they had no way to get the dog home. How sad!
Please, be responsible. If you have a dog or cat, please get them chipped; then go register the chip information online. It's so easy, and most of the time free with the chip. Then keep the information up-to-date; if you move, change phone numbers, anything, update the information! Many of the registration sites have a place for you to put your phone number, a secondary number, your address, the vet's name and number that you take your pet to, and even a place to take your pet if they are found, plus more. It's not hard, I promise, and takes very little time to do and can save you a lot of heart ache in the end.
The other point I want to make in this is: don't leave your pets out in the heat. Just like we don't like to be hot, neither do they. Plus, they are more sensitive to the heat than we are; you've got to remember this: they have a thick coat of fur, we don't! And when you do have your pets outside, make sure they have easy access to fresh water. I can't stress that enough: 1) access to water, and 2) FRESH water. Don't leave water just outside, standing getting stagnant; this invites bacteria that is not good for your dog, and also gives a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which carry diseases like heart worm, ring worm, tape worm that are all bad for dogs, as well as things like Zika, Malaria, and West Nile. None of the above are good things, nor things we want for ourselves or our pets.
So, to recap: Rocky is safe with a friend of his owners and will be picked up this afternoon when the owner gets home from work. :) Take the time to chip and register your pet, and update his/her/your information for the chip regularly. And don't leave your pets outside in the heat; when they are out, make sure they have plenty of FRESH water.
As Promised, here are some pictures of some of the sewing projects that I have done. Some are from store bought patterns, others from ideas in my head. I will notate which is which :)
I first am going to start out with a non-clothing item that I constructed from a pin I found on Pinterest. In a future blog I will add a how-to video on exactly how to make this bust for making clothes.
I constructed this bust out of 2x4 Lumber (that I had from a previous project around the house), an old t-shirt of my husbands (Thanks Ben!), stuffing, and packing tape. It has come in very handy. :)
This is a halter top that I had the idea in my head for, and made it. It fits perfectly!
This dress is made from a store bought pattern, and I have made it in White, and a pattern print (for a friend) as well. I also plan to make it in purple, blue, green, gray, and white with blue butterfly lace overlay. Can you tell I just love this pattern? While the dress follows the store bought pattern, I have altered it a little in that I added pockets to the dress; who doesn't love a dress with pockets!?
This dress was inspired by a dress that my mom found at Kohl's and thought I would like it. Well, I did, but not entirely: the price was WAY to high and I didn't like the fact that the bottom was sheer. So I took inspiration from that dress and made mine.
I have made other garments like hiker short for me from my husband's old 7 pocket hiker pants, and sleep pants for said husband. I just didn't have time to get pictures of them. :)
However, I am planning to make another pair of short for me from my husbands old pants here in the very near future, so I will be sure to video how I do it and upload it to the blog.
But for now, enjoy the pictures, and if you have any question feel free to leave me a comment, or shoot me an email through our Contact Me page!
Well, it's been a whirlwind since the last time I blogged. We were able to find a house to rent and have since moved in to it. YEY! We moved into a nice, quiet neighborhood, which both Ben and myself thoroughly enjoy. Eeva now has a nice back yard to run around and play in, which makes my day a ton easier since I don't have to stop in the middle of projects just so she can get some energy out, or to go to the bathroom. It is also so nice not to have to worry about other people not picking up their dog's poop; now all I have to worry about is picking up my own dogs poop so the yard stays nice enough to run around and chase her in, without stepping in poop. haha We are settling in alright, still trying to figure out what all to unpack, and we moved in on the 25th of May. I know, I know: still unpacking?! Yup, no need to hurry. We have everything we need on a day-to-day- basis unpacked, everything else can wait. We still aren't sure if we will be in the area in a year, due to job situations and a general desire to be closer to family, so why unpack everything?
In the mean time, I have been reminded lately that it's the small things that can make a big difference in life. I recently had some work as a seamstress altering a dress and making a new dress off the altered dress. It was an interesting task, and I learned a few things about sewing while making the dress that I never knew before. For the first time, I made and used Bias 'Tape' (I put it in " because it is not tape in the traditional sense of the word; it's not sticky). I now understand why it exists! :) It was used to make the small collar on the dress, and it worked wonderfully. I sadly forgot to take any pictures of the dress. :( However, thanks to my husbands encouragement, in my next post I will be posting some pictures of garments that I have created, whether from pattern or simply from and idea in my head. While I am by no means a professional Seamstress, I am decent at figuring things out, and making clothes look at least not horrible while being worn, haha.
I was also reminded that sometimes a job doesn't always have pay. Now you may be thinking, "What?! I'm not going to work for someone unless I'm getting paid!" Well, let me explain a little: Due to some of the goals that we want to work towards, I have decided to go back to work, outside the home. This, however, does not mean that I am going to close, or stop, my business. But it seems that I am having a hard time finding a job; no one is calling me back for interviews. So, my loving husband said this:
"You just have to work the job you have now until you get another job." Made me so mad when he first said it. Why? Well, because my current job is a stay-at-home wife, trying to start a home-based business...and to be honest, the second half of that job isn't going very good. I haven't sold any products in quite a while, and running a business kinda takes money. But then I stopped and thought about what he said, and you know what? He was right. There are things that I can do for my business that don't cost a single cent. All they require is time and effort. Things like this blog post, and updating my site to make it more user appealing and friendly. So, that's what I'm gonna do. I'm going to work the job I have now, and pray that God blesses it, and if it be HIS will, allows me to get a call back for a job outside the home. And if He doesn't, I will still praise Him, because He is Always, ONLY Good.
So, with that being said, you will notice that a few things have changed on our home page. (And yes, if you know any thing about Disney, you will notice that there are SEVERAL Tinkerbell references on the home page. I am a big Tink fan and have been since I was a child. Yes, I am a 28 year old woman that still loves Tinker Bell and I'm not ashamed to say so.) This is not something that I am highly skilled at, or ever good at, but I am trying to do this without hiring someone to do it for me. Things may look a bit disjointed at the moment, but more changes are coming, so please bear with me as I work on my site.
And if you have read this far, THANK YOU. I know this isn't a blog with advice on anything (typically), or on the amazing world travel, or whatever most of the common blogs are about these days, but it's important to me. So again, Thank you.
Next time, pictures!
No, not the music Blues, but the ones that happen when everything around you seems like it's not going right.
We are in the middle of looking for a house to rent in the area, and it has been nothing but difficulties and disappointment. We found what seemed to be the perfect house, put in an application, and got the news that the owners had chosen a different application. Now every house we look at the listing for is just a disappointment because that first house was so great, everything else pails in comparison. And if we didn't have Eeva, this would be so much easier because then we wouldn't need a big yard, and wouldn't have to worry about if pets are allowed. But alas, we do, and we aren't about to get rid of her just to find a house. The hard part about house searching is that we won't be moving till mid May, and not many landlords want to hold a house for a month.
On top of house searching, we are in the process of packing to move. And anyone that has packed a house to move knows how frustrating packing can be, especially if you have NO idea where you are moving too. Eeva seems to get so stressed when I start packing, so that doesn't help anything; she has taken to tearing up boxes and going through our bathroom trash can while we are gone. She hasn't done this before, and it only started a few weeks ago when I started packing. JOY.
And maybe it is a good thing that God hasn't allowed me to get pregnant yet, as all the stress from all this wouldn't be good for the baby. That still doesn't make it any easier though. The desire to have a child grows every day, and the disappointment when I start a new cycle gets more and more each time. It's hard to watch my friends have children and be truly happy for them. And I know, I know, women have been here before; some tried for years and years before they got pregnant. But I'm also sure that they felt the same way I do when they were told "we tired for (insert how long) before we had kids": That's great, but it doesn't make me feel any better right now that I am not pregnant. I'll be honest, every time someone says that to me, I want to tell them that is doesn't make this any less painful, or easy to bear; I want to ask them how they felt every time someone said that to them, and if it made it any easier for them in the waiting. Oh, and let's not forget the ever helpful, "All in God's timing". Yes, I know that, but it doesn't make it any easier! Would you say that to someone who just lost a loved one? No, so why do you say it to someone that is trying to have a child? If that is all you can think to say, one of the two above, just don't say anything. Tell me you are praying for me in this time of waiting and hurt, and actually mean it. Then pray for me; pray for peace, and comfort, and joy in the waiting. Pray for God's wisdom for me.
Yes, I know that God has everything under control, that in His perfect timing, according to His Perfect Will, we will find a house and have a child. I know, and believe, all of this. And I will readily tell you that "Guess it wasn't God's will for us", and "In God's timing it will work out"....doesn't mean that I don't still struggle and want to just give up. I'm human. And Just because I say it doesn't mean that I want to keep hearing it from every direction. Like I just said, tell me your praying for me, or just listen.
On a brighter, happier, more GLORIOUS, note: This week is the passion week. For those of you that may not know what that means, it is the week that Jesus Christ was hailed as he came into Jerusalem, betrayed, and crucified. This week culminates on Easter Sunday, the day that Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rose from the grave. How Glorious! To know that He is not dead, but is alive! To know that He took my place and paid the price I could never pay to enter heaven. All the sins of the world, past, present, and future, were laid on Him, the Perfect sinless Son of God, so that we, a lost and dying people, could enter Heaven and be forgiven! How WONDERFUL!!!!
Happy Wednesday everyone.
I am the owner and designer of and for Unique You Creations.