Alright. These photos stink. It was not sunny when I was sewing in my dungeon. My apologies.
This first group of photos show you how to cut your two shirts.
1. Fold one shirt, bottom up to top. Cut off the side seams and arms. Cut two strips, one on each side of the neckline, that are about three inches wide or so. Set the strips aside. (You can use the rest of that shirt for something else!)
2. With the second shirt, fold it in half down the middle. Use a pencil or chalk or what have you to make a nice wide neckline starting about two inches away from the original neckline.
3. You can cut the neckline while folded, but you will want to cut the the back a little higher than the front.
4. Now, cut the hem off the bottom of this same shirt, about an inch or a little less up from the hem.
5. Cut the hem along one seam (leave the other seam intact.) Then, cut the extra bit of shirt from the hem so that the hem is still a casing, but there's very little fabric left in addition to the actual hemmed piece.
6. Take this excess strip of fabric you cut off the hem and stretch it out all skinny to make a knit cord.
Now that you have all your pieces prepared, you can get sewing!
1. Turn your shirt inside out and iron the bottom raw edge up.
2. Use a straight stitch to sew this new hem in place.
3. Iron the new hem again once it's sewn to make it lay nice and flat.
**Note: You can, of course, turn this raw edge over TWICE and iron it, then sew, to make sure there's no raw edge even on the inside of the shirt. The only reason I didn't do that was because I was afraid I would make the shirt too short for me. I believe that If I made this again (for myself instead of that skinny mini girl up there) I would likely use all three shirts, using the bottom half of the third shirt under the ruffle waist for more length. Plus, then I wouldn't even have to sew a hem!
Now let's ruffle the things that need ruffling!
1. Take the two strips you cut off the other shirt. Sew a gathering stitch down one long edge. Then sew another gathering stitch right next to the first one. Do this on both strips.
2. Take the assembled shirt and starting at one shoulder seam, sew a gathering stitch all around the neckline (backside too.) Leave a tail.
3. Then, starting in the same place, sew ANOTHER gathering stitch just underneath the first. Leave a tail.
4. Pull the strings (tails) on both sets of gathering stitches (separately) to gather the neckline of the shirt to a suitable neckline width.
5. Once the neckline is gathered to a width you like, tie the strings into separate knots so it stays securely gathered for the time being.
Remember the hemline you cut off your shirt? This is now the neckline casing.
1. Take the "hem" or casing and place one end of it in the center of the FRONT of the shirt neckline.
2. Place the casing right side against the right side of the shirt and pin the raw edges of the casing and shirt together.
3. Pin the casing in place all around the gathered neckline, right sides together, raw edges pinned together.
4. When you've pinned it all the way around, and it meets the end pinned to the middle part of the front of the neckline, cut the casing and pin this end to the middle as well so the ends touch but don't overlap.
5. Now just use a straight stitch to sew all along this casing - just below the existing seam of the old hem.
When it is all sewn and ironed, your neckline will look like this:
I don't have awesome pics of the next part, but I'll explain it the best I can.
1. Use very thin elastic cut to just smaller than your chest size. Turn your shirt inside out and pin the end of it to the side seam of the shirt just above the natural waistline. Use a zig zag stitch to secure the end, then stretch the elastic out quite a lot as you zig zag stitch the elastic all around the waist of the shirt.
2. Keep this as straight as possible by going slowly and straightening the shirt out as you sew. If you need to adjust the shirt, just do so with the needle DOWN into the fabric, then lift the presser foot and adjust.
3. About two inches or so down from the first elastic piece, do the exact same thing again.
4. Add small elastic pieces around the bottom of the SLEEVES, just above the hemlines in the exact same fashion to gather them and make them stretchy.
**Note: if your sewing machine will "shirr", I suggest using that method instead. It will likely be more comfortable, easier to keep in a straight line, and much more stretchy. My machine refuses to do this, however, and yes, I have tried it many different times, in many different ways. Poo.
Now, the last two steps for some reason have no pictures. No clue why.
1. Pin your first ruffle just above the top elastic piece so that the right side of the ruffle is against the right side of the shirt and the top of the ruffle is the edge that's against the elastic and being pinned (so in other words, the ruffle is flipped up so the bottom is up top and the ruffle is wrong side facing out).
2. Sew all around this ruffle to secure it just above the elastic, all the way around the shirt.
3. Do the same for the second ruffle, just above the second, lower piece of elastic.
4. When you hold the shirt up, the ruffles will flip down and the raw edges, seams and sewing will be hidden under the ruffles.
5. Take the stretched out knit cord you made and use a safety pin to thread it through the casing along the neckline. You can pull this drawstring as tightly as you want, or leave it loose. You can tie it in a bow, or just a loose knot. Whatever you prefer.
And you're done!
I may have to attempt another one for myself using 3XL. Ha!