Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Altering Store Bought Clothes

I feel like I'm back in the game! Last week was rough and I can't even put my finger on why but after a relaxing day off on Monday with Reid and a few finished projects yesterday I feel like I'm back on track. In my previous post I wrapped up the baby leg warmers and euro shams that had gone unfinished for a few months.

I was worried that my good fortune with my sewing machine was going to run out so I moved to the kitchen where I had some bananas a little past their prime. Rather than the usual banana bread or smoothie I decided to break out the dehydrator and make some banana chips! It's been a couple of years since I used this contraption but luckily I found the instruction booklet inside and went about slicing the bananas and laying them on the trays. I had a little room and noticed that peaches take about the same amount of time so I sliced up one of those also. It's peach season here in the South so I thought I'd see what a dried peach tastes like since I can get a big basket from the farmer's market for $3 or so. Update: They're delish! The bananas are chewy and not crispy like what you buy from the store (the ones from the store are usually fried) but the peaches turned out great so I'll definitely be drying some more of those.

Still feeling pretty good I decided to go back to my stack of sewing projects and pull out a dress I've been meaning to work on. I got it at Old Navy when I went back to work after Sam was born. I thought it had a lot of potential and after wearing it a few times I've decided it's time for a little changeroo. I'm swapping the standard white shirt button for a small buffalo nickel button. I've also removed the tie from the back at Reid's suggestion. He thought it would look more polished and probably fit better if I did the same elastic treatment from the upcycled shirt project.

So here are some in process pics of the dress alterations. The buttons had to be sewn on by hand which was a pain for this little my-sewing-machine-sews-my-buttons-on-for-me princess. And while I don't think the elastic really lends anything to the fit of the dress I do think it makes it less bulky in the event that I want to wear a cardigan or something lightweight over it.

Before. It mostly fit like a sack, which right after having a baby is all you really want to wear anyway.

Buffalo Nickel Buttons give just enough texture to not be completely boring. You can see the original tie in the background there.

Remove the tie from both side seams with a seam ripper or snippers. 
Stitch openings in side seams left from tie removal. 

Here I'll stop and tell you how I came up with the amount of elastic to use. (Here's a quick tutorial on stitching it on if you have questions about that.) I measured across the back of the dress and got 21" from side seam to side seam. I didn't want the elastic to pull the side seams too much towards the back of the dress and put stress on the front buttons so I decided to leave 3.5" ungathered (I just did spell check and 'ungathered' is apparently not a real word. Hmmm.) on each side of the elastic. That left me with 14" of fabric to gather so I divided that in half and cut a piece of elastic that was 7" long. I stretched it to the 14" length I wanted to gather and stitched with a zigzag stitch making sure to keep the fabric tight as I went.

Finished elastic.

I was babysitting for a friend and he slept while I worked. Sweet, huh?
Back of the finished dress. Sorry it's so dark but a storm was coming in and it really doesn't look much different than before.

Now here's my question for you. I also have this sheer shirt from Old Navy that I bought on clearance the same time as the dress but never wore because it's clearly wayyyyyy too big for me. I was thinking of removing the sleeves to make it a tank but I don't know what else to do from there. I don't want to overload on the elastic waistband gathers. Any other suggestions?

I had to hold the buttons closed to keep from flashing the whole world wide interweb. Just trying to keep it PG up in here.

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