Presto Chango…from a t-shirt into a dress!

I’m sure you know that I’m in the middle of hosting the Make-It-Your-Own Project and I know I’ve told you what a joy it’s been.    You probably also know that you can join anytime.  

What you might not know is how much of an oasis this project has been in the midst of our shifting world, but let me tell you…having a group of sewists to get together with online and share in the creative process with a bit of deadline to keep you motivated has been even better than I imagined it would.  (Of course, when I began this project, I did not imagine it taking place under these circumstances.) 

It’s been just the right amount of deadline pressure, connection and sweet love that I need right now.

So, today I’m sharing with you my process in March – the t-shirt month.  

I took my basic t-shirt pattern and turned it into a t-shirt dress…full of protective embroidery and fitted to my unique body.

So, we began the Project by taking our t-shirts and choosing our size and then working with the fit until we had a great basis to then build other patterns.   Here’s my basic knit t-shirt.

I like my knit tops (shirts or dresses) to fit snugly at the bust and have a touch of positive ease at the waist and then be fitted through the hip.  I also love a good scoop neck and 3/4 sleeve.

By the way, this green hemp/cotton/elastane jersey blend has become my new favorite knit fabric for leggings and garments!  (I get it at Nature’s Fabric, online)  It’s soft and durable with great stretch and recovery.

Honestly, I hadn’t planned to make a garment for myself…apart for the samples I made for the videos, but then it was just so exciting that I couldn’t help myself.  And I am so glad I couldn’t! 

For the altered t-shirt (or hacked if you will), I decided I wanted a t-shirt dress with a boat neck, short sleeves that are rolled up and hand-stitched tucks and embroidery around the neckline…which I wanted to finish with a facing for a clean look.

Changing the scoop neck to a boat neck I began by altering the neckline of my pattern from a scoop neck to a boatneck – by bringing the neck drop up and widening the opening at the shoulders.  I left the back neck drop the same depth but matched the width of the front. I created a facing from that pattern by simply adding an inch and a quarter to the neckline and tracing the pattern onto new paper.  I planned to sew the facing before I sewed the sleeves so that I can catch it in the arm seam.  I hate fiddly facings and to that end, I planned to top-stitch the facing down by hand with a decorative embroidery stitch.  Adding a bit of design ease to the waist and hip area and lengthening the shirt pattern I then slashed and spread my pattern from the hip to 3 inches or so under the bust line and spread the pattern a total of 1 inch at the hip.  I wanted to only add 4 inches total to my hip area for the dress.  Then I added the length I needed to turn my shirt into a dress that was knee-length.  I traced my new front pattern piece and added on the back neckline and facing to give me a new back piece. For the sleeves I cut them off at the short (cap) sleeve line and spread the pattern to add in 2 inches of extra ease.  I wanted my sleeve to be roomier and I wanted to be able to fold my sleeve up and stitch it into place. To that end, I then added 2 inches for a rolled cuff to the sleeve length.

Once I sewed the dress together, I hand sewed an embroidery stitch along the neckline, stitching the neckline down in the process…by the fire on a cold and blustery day, I might add! (it was just what I needed…hand work is so medicinal).

Then I added some tucks to the center back, completely inspired by an article in the latest Threads magazine.

Gah, it truly elevated this simple t-shirt dress into a garment I adore. Magically!

I still have the sleeves to embroider…but the right day will come along.

My friend, I hope you are finding some space to make with your hands and that it’s bringing you joy and peace.

Please take good care of yourself.

In Deep Kinship,