Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sans glue gun

Well, I’ve done it!  I’ve completed my very first, official clothing refashion without the aid of a hot glue gun.  That’s right, folks, I sewed this little baby on my sewing machine.  No glue gun, no safety pins, just thread and needle.  
(Here is where I ever so quietly admit in vast amounts of humiliation, that yes, I am serious, I have done refashions and even not “re” fashions with a hot glue gun.  Please don’t laugh at me.  OK, you can laugh.  But, don’t tell my costumer back at college.  Not only would she be very disappointed, but she may also pass out in sheer unbelievedness.  I did take her costume construction class, after all.  AND I did work in the costume shop for two years.  That was a long time ago, though, and I was very supervised).
Here it is, in all it’s pieced together glory!  This started as a boys t-shirt - the kind a normal run of the mill 9 or 10 year old would wear (sorry I don’t have a "before" shot.  What was I thinking?  But, you know what a t-shirt looks like, so I trust your imagination).

I did not use a pattern for this.  I thought about it, and then promptly gave up.  I did lay out one of mini’s dresses and used it as a kind of template, if you will.  

I was going to cut out sleeves, but then I decided to just cut them off the shirt, gather the tops of the sleeves with a basting stitch and then stick some elastic in the already existing hem.  The idea was for a 3/4 length puffed sleeve, and this is the only part of the dress I am really happy about.  I am proud of those sleeves.  Take a moment to appreciate them.  They are nicely gathered.  They are nicely puffed.  Now, the rest of the dress??  Not so much.
It is a really easy concept, but I cut the dress way too small to begin with so I had to make some adjustments.  Mostly, it was fine - just straight sewing the back and front pieced together and then hemming the unfinished edges.  I did not give myself enough of a seem allowance and I cut the neckline very small for some reason.  After I got done, I realized that the only head that would fit through this dress was a scary shrunken one, and definitely not my baby’s.  So I cut a little v-neck line and hemmed it up, and it works.  At least it’s wearable.  It did not turn out quite the way I hoped.  The v-neck is a little too scooped and it sits a little funny in that area.  
But, boy are those sleeves nice.  Have you admired them yet?  You should.
Lesson learned?  The importance of accurate measurements.  

Yes, this should be a no-brainer, and yes it is pretty much the very first fundamental you learn in costume construction class (I’m not kidding, here.  It is.  We are quizzed on how to take measurements and everything)  but when you are working with something that already exists as an article of clothing, and it’s for a baby who will grow out of it in two weeks and it looks so darn easy AND it’s getting late and you want her to wear it to church TOMORROW, you forget those fundamentals.  I’m here to tell you, don’t forget them!  And laying your baby down and tracing around her does not count as an accurate measurement.  Apparently.
A failure?  Sure.  But a triumph too.  Hurray!
(I have since gone out and bought myself a real, honest to goodness measuring tape.)
Oh, and if you want to see some super cute t-shirt dresses, look here, here, here and here.  Now these moms have it going on.  (Natasha from Samster Mommy, Jessica from Happy Together, Ashley from lil blue boo and an Instructables tutorial respectively)  I'm sure there are lots of others out there too!

I could put her in a burlap sack and she'd look good!  

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