July 10, 2012

T-shirt Halter Dress

As usual I am late for the Holidays. We always make a 4th of July T-shirt. We have used freezer paper to make a stencil, pasta to make fireworks stamps, and also just free- handed the painting. Before blogging, I would make them a week ahead. After blogging, two days before! So now you will have a whole year to practice and make a halter dress for the NEXT 4th of July!

Here they are finished with 12 hours to spare! Izzy wanted a shirt so we scored one for her at the thrift. She was a bit perturbed when she saw Tess' dress. She said she didn't know it was gonna look this cute!

Start by buying a T-shirt that will fit your child (or yourself!). One that is medium weight is best. I was thinking of just buying Hanes T-shirts but they would be too thin. I found a long sleeved one that was perfect for Tessa. The length and weight were just right so we snapped it up. It doesn't matter if you get a long or short sleeved because you are going to cut them off anyway.

Shall we have a look-e-loo at how to do? (I usually say "here's the skinny on how it got done" but I am feeling bloated at the moment therefore it called for a name change...)

What you need:
medium weight T-shirt
cording/ribbon for drawstring
sewing machine
dye if  you wish to dye your dress
sequins fit you need to cover up an epic failure in the dying episode of this tutorial.....just wait.......

 I forgot to take a before picture so as I had to put back the piece I had just cut to show you the "shirt"! You will want to try the shirt on inside out so you can draw your lines exactly where you want them. I had to pin up the shoulders about an inch on each side to make it fit Tess correctly. Then I drew my lines.

 On the back, draw a line straight across just above the bottom of the shoulder blades. 
Cut along this line like above. 

On the front while it is still on your little person, draw lines from their armpit to the collar band like above.

 Cut along those lines, cutting off the collar and arms. It should look like this when finished.

I needed to practice my elastic sewing before I attempted to do it on the real thing. I tired just sewing it inside the material and then I tried it folded over like a casing but sewn in. I liked the finished look of the fold over so that is how I did it.

Measure your elastic to be about 3.5" shorter than your finished width. 

With your dress still inside out, pin it on each end and in the middle of the back. Don't worry about the extra fabric because you are going to pull it as you sew it.
Place your dress like so under the presser foot and change your stitch to zigzag. Just cover your elastic with the material.

Stretch the elastic and your material and start to sew. Keep the material pulled taut and just go slow. The machine will gather it as it goes.

When working with knit, it does not unravel so you can just fold it over one time. Most other materials you would need to fold it over once, and then again to make the raw edges disappear. So fold over the sides of the front of the dress and sew a straight stitch from top to where it meets the elastic in the back. 

Now fold the top collar edge over about 1/2" and sew a straight stitch. You are forming a casing for your cord to go through and that cord will gather the neck a bit.

 Because I was going to dye the top red, I wanted a red cord. Measured a length on Tess and then cut it and threaded it throughout the casing. At this point try it on, because the back was still a bit baggy so I just took it in a bit in the side seams under her arms. Then it fit much better.

Okay, now the epic fail began and lasted about 4 hours.  So I wanted to dye them to be red, white, and blue. An obvious color combo for the 4th right?  But I wasn't sure if we were going up to my In-laws to stay over night before the 4th, so I had to get these done like yesterday because I wouldn't be able to do any of this at her house. (Just so you do not think I am a complete moron, I have dyed things before but it has always been in it's entirety and always successfully. If I had planned better..... I would have dyed one color one day and the other the next day so I could leave them in the dye bath for a good 30 minutes. Or I would have figured out that I could just put the buckets next to each other and let each end in the dye for the 30 minutes. But when you are trying to do too many things at once, logic seems to go out the window.)

Got my RIT, got the hot water going, and started dipping. One end in blue. Gorgeous! Wrap it in a plastic bag and dip the other end in red. More Gorgeousness!! Wrap it in a bag to let the dye sit. Such deep dark beautiful colors were emerging. Set the timer and potted some plants and came back to rinse. I knew the red might bleed during the rinse so I rinsed that first. Not terrible but a little pink. Then I rinsed the blue and it was fine. Hung it on the line to dry a bit before popping it in the dryer to set.

Does the word leave things better off mean anything to y'all? Apparently I have never heard this phrase because I started to try and fix the "pink"and the death spiral into dying hell began.

Thought I'd just oh, so carefully brush on a bit of Clorox with a small paintbrush and it did miraculously remove the pink.....as it was seeping into the red and the blue. I did not notice this until I hung it on the line to dry a bit more. Then I started to notice that I had not been as careful as I thought on Izzy's shirt and I had a few small drips of Clorox in the blue! AHHH! But it was a deep navy blue and I had a dark navy blue Sharpie! Ah Hah! I can fix this problem. I'll just color it in and no one will be the wiser. It looked great all colored in.

Time to throw it in the dryer to set the dye! 30 minutes later out they came! Faded as all get out! and it looked like a two year old had colored on the bottom with an electric blue Sharpie! Now I really was at a total loss for how to fix this. The girls were looking forward to wearing matching outfits and if I hemmed it then there would be hardy any blue (now looking more purple than blue) showing. What am I gonna do at 9:30pm before the 4th?

You betcha! Bedazzle them! Look closely under the large star to see my amazing DIY handiwork! Impressive isn't it?

Thank goodness by girls like a little blingy-bling! 

 So we bedazzled Tessa's as well even though I had not attacked her dress with a sharpie. She deserves some sparkle. She certainly gives enough of it off!
 Put some sequins up on the bodice so it looked like I "meant" to add the sequins and stars everywhere.

Thought I'd give you a shot of the back of the halter dress and see where else I had to bedazzle on Izzy's. What a wreck! But they L.O.V.E.D. them and that is all that matters in the end.

Truthfully, I am not sure I needed to add any sparkle to these dresses. No one would have been able to take their eyes off of these beauties.

I think I should stick to painting furniture and just sewing. That and the Sharpies have been hidden from me by my husband at my request.

Always being renewed,

Please see the link party page to see where I link arms with those blissfully beautiful bloggers that host every week. So gracious they are along with these other sweet ladies! Todays Creative Blog vif187 all crafts Homemade Projects ~ Add Yours! {5/1} Home Stories A2Z  
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  1. It might be late for 4th of July but these are perfect for the summer get-up! Thanks for the tutorial. Such adorable models too!

    don't forget to link this up at Passion parade this Friday!


  2. These are so cute!! Way to go! Thanks for sharing at my linky party....

    Have a great week!
    Stringtown Home

  3. AHHH I feel like this comment is not meant to be! I have wrote it 3 times now :(
    Anyway I have to tell you this is AMAZING! You did such a good job. Seriously I am in love with what you have made with your secret sewing skills! I will be pinning this all over. Nice job

    You also inspired me this week! I love reading the stuff you write about you and ... I thought I should add more about me. So I am starting a Minute in my life Mondays! I would love you to let me know your thoughts on it. I am nervous to write about "life"

  4. Thanks so much for checking it out. And thank you for saying I am doing a good job. Parenting is way more work than I thought it would be. I guess it is like any job, it depends on how much effort you put in. But the more you put in... the more you get out!
    AS for my blog... you are right about the small writing. I had no idea it was so small.
    Do you and your husband ever get dressed and notice you have the same thing on!
    Thanks so much for looking <3

  5. They are so lovely and adorable! Both kids and their dresses! I'll tell you what... if you ever decide to come to Greece for vacation, I could show you around and you could make a dress like these ones for my daughter? :-)

  6. You are super talented! I love these one of a kind halter dresses! :) We'd love it if you'd share this at our Home is Where the Heart is! http://www.homesteadsimple.com/home-is-where-the-heart-is-link-it-up-wednesdays-1/

  7. So cute and a great recycling idea! I'd love for you to link up: http://cuteeverything.com/cute/link-party/wonderful-wednesday-link-up-party-10/

  8. Kim these are precious and so are the girls!! love the added bling!! thanks for sharing with us at Uncommon!! ;) Bonnie

  9. Very cute. What a transformation! I'm hosting a linky party "One Creative Weekend" at OneCreativeMommy.com. I'd love for you to visit and link up this idea and/or anything else you'd like to share.

  10. I love to sew, and have a sewing project to do today. Your T-shirt Halter Dress is so cute and your girls adorable! Also a great way to recycle! So glad you shared your creative inspiration with Sunday's Best!

  11. You did such a GREAT job!! Love all the bling!!! Your daughters are GORGEOUS!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality!

  12. This is fabulous! I have a stash of T-shirts from the dollar store all waiting for something like this... Thanks for the inspiration. And your daughters are darling!

  13. Great refashion! I would love for you to link this up to The CSI project this week. The challenge is refashions/upcycles. This would be perfect and you just might WIN! Come on over each week for a new challenge, new tutorials and new judges.

  14. Too cute! I think I need to give this a try for my girls! I'm following over from the CSI project. Thanks so much for sharing.


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