11 April, 2010

Man's shirt to little girl's dress

Wheee! I'm so excited with how this came out.

Red dress from daddy's shirt

There was a bit of fiddling and unripping required, and the bodice is a bit short at the front, but it looks so cute on her.  Well it would look cuter if she hadn't been so grumpy and unwilling to model! I'm not sure if she'll be that keen to wear it or not, but in this case I don't care - it was the challenge that I was interested in!  Check out the look in this one, 4 going on 14.

The belt is made from a light pink and white striped fabric.  We had picked out a blue print to make the belt from but in the end she decided she wanted this one. I might try and get her to have a blue one as well.  I think the contrasting colours will be the only thing that saves it from looking like a school uniform which is ironic considering she doesn't have to wear one when she starts (sadly).

Red dress from daddy's shirt

The back has a yoke because the shirt did, it really adds to it and in fact I think I like the back more than the front for the lovely way it fits.  The grumpiness comes through in spades in this one, clenched fists and all. I'm such a mean mummy!

Good things about repurposing a shirt:
  • Not having to do buttonholes or front facings.
  • Not having to do hems
  • Not having to do yokes
Not good things about repurposing a shirt:
  • Not having enough fabric
  • Unpicking pockets and labels
As usual I'm bowled over by the great fit of the Japanese pattern books, I mean, look at the shoulders and arms on this!  Beautiful.  Can't wait to make the Lola dress with the pattern and see how it turns out.  I had to bring the bodice of this dress in about 1.5cm on each side at the waist and it's still very loose-fitting so I think the original pattern will be fairly roomy.


  1. Will you stop reading me if I say that for us the first part of 3 was worse
    than 2 (which wasn't that bad actually) and that 4.5 is even worse? On the
    bright side we got about a year of sheer gorgeousness up to this point.
    There is still gorgeousness but I sometimes wonder if it's only so that we
    don't trade her in when she's being particularly vile. :))

  2. Ohhhh.....I love it. Well done :)

  3. Wow this is so fabulous ( amazed as always) and I love her expression

  4. the dress looks great- i love the red with the pink belt.
    ps: my toddler has had a similar expression on her face for most of the weekend! i thought when they hit 3 they magically become complete angels... please don't say its not true i've only got 2 more weeks in the terrible two's!

  5. Yeah, not taking a proper 'before' photo was a missed opportunity! I'm not
    sure if I have any photos of Mat, I should have a look.

  6. That is really cute! And wow, Hazel is growing up so fast...

  7. that turned out so cute! Of course I'm a sucker for red.

  8. I wish you could find a Photo of Mat in the shirt and put it up as well

  9. It's beautiful! Now I really want to get my hands on that book!

  10. I love the dress. The collar, the belt, it's all so perfect together.

  11. That is gorgeous! Are you saying that you used this japanese book for this dress? I am scared to death to try anything out of my japanese pattern book. I have no idea what it says! How do you do it? Any advice is appreciated!

  12. I love this. I love shirt dresses in general and think this is just adorable. Is the back of the belt a solid red? I can't quite tell in the photos. All of the details are so, so lovely. And Hazel doesn't look grumpy, she looks pensive. ;)

    Great job.

  13. It's a really good one, lots of variation and nice practical styles. The
    other one I have is Handmade Girl's Wear (
    ml) which compliments the other well as there isn't much duplication in
    styles at all.

  14. Oh you have to try! Really, it's not nearly as bad as you think. There are a
    few resources online to help you, try the Purl Bee's tutorial first (
    http://www.purlbee.com/japanese-pattern-drafting-tuto/) and there is another
    great tutorial-type .pdf from Batty Chan that has translations of some of
    the common sewing terms here: http://www.feorag.com/gosurori/gr-patterns.pdf
    (will download the pdf straight off).

    BUT. Although I was so excited when I found that translation and vowed I'd
    use it, I have actually never needed it. The diagrams and patterns are
    pretty self-explanatory if you stare at them for long enough. Seriously. I
    just sit there and study them for as long as it takes to get it straight in
    my mind. Granted, that takes a certain amount of prior experience in sewing,
    but if you have put in a collar band or sleeve before then you'll be fine.
    Or find an English pattern you already have that does the same thing and use
    that for the step-by-step instructions. But again, I find the instruction
    diagrams so wonderfully self-explanatory that I've never had to resort to
    other instructions. And finally, these are generally very very simple
    garments, nothing fancy and very few pieces. It's all about the cut and the
    small design details.

  15. I love shirt dresses too. I need to make myself one for winter. The back of
    the belt is solid red about the same as the dress though a little less

    Pensive. Yeah. That's a good euphemism for it!

  16. Wow, impressive! It's posts like these that make me wish I had girls.

  17. Jacqui I love this dress - even if the model is a little grumpy!
    I love anything re-purposed, especially when it looks so good you wouldn't know it used to be something else! Can you make me a grown up version of this now? hehe



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