May 18, 2011

Re-purposed skirt to toddler dress

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll! You might have noticed I've been on a little craftin' kick lately. It's something that is in my blood; my grandmother is known to buy a lovely wool suit, take it home, deconstruct it, cut it down, and sew it back. Masha'Allah! She also crochets, grows lovely gardens, cooks, blah blah blah. My own mother can do painting, woodwork, crocheting, macrame, cake decorating... I can't list it all. My lovely sis crochets, knits, writes fiction, and oh so much more.

I am actually the black sheep of our crafting family. I cross-stitch but have never learned any more about crocheting than making a simple chain. :-) I have done other projects here and there (some simple folksy painting on decorations, etc) but I am no where near the skill level of my family. So I'm happy to report I've stepped up to the plate and can lay claim to the family inheritance, at least a little.

I got my inspiration for this dress via one of HijabiMommy's links. It was for tutorials on a blog called Craftiness is not optional. Super talented woman, btw! I spied her re-fashioned skirt to dress here and couldn't wait to try it out! I did a little step by step, not a tutorial or anything but just so you could see what was going on.

It was 50% off Wednesday at my local Salvation Army. I picked up this awesome blue and white striped Banana Republic skirt for a cool $2.50. Yeah, read 'em and weep! I felt a pang of guilt for taking this super-cute skirt to remake into a dress for Aaminah. ONLY because as it was, it was beautifully made and that was gonna change as soon as I got my hands on it! Here it is, pre-transformation:

Skirt before I got my hands on it! Notice the chocolate wrapper on the floor. :-D

So I took Aaminah's measurements and started a-cuttin'. :-) I turned it inside-out and made my measurements. It had a nice hidden zipper on the side but because of the oh-so-pretty pleats in the front I had to cut equal amounts off both sides. I briefly considered re-inserting the fabric strip with the zipper in the back but... I just didn't. :-) It fits over her head so alhamdulillah it wasn't necessary. I might kick myself later but for now...

close-up of the pleats. How pretty! This fabric is really nice too, btw.
I ended up not cutting any length off. For one, the bottom of the skirt was sooo cute with a mock-smocking effect and 2 layers. I didn't want to cut off the top because the waist band made a perfect top to attach the straps. It ended up being about an inch too long but I am going to do pick-ups or something; I haven't figured it out yet. Here it is after cutting off the required amounts:

Hahahaha... I cut sooo straight! Alhamdulillah I sewed a bit better. lol
I like to tell where I make errors so others insha'Allah can benefit from my mess up. Here I made a couple of mistakes. One, I really need better scissors and one of those measuring/cutting boards. My scissors are $5.96 specials from Wal-Mart. I also need to invest in some pins and USE them. Notice my erratic sewing? PIN YOUR FABRIC. :-)

Also in the tutorial the lady folded her skirt in half and cut through both at one time to ensure it was symmetrical. Ummmm yeah. I didn't. :-) Like I said, end result I don't think you can see but it sure looks funny here!

After sewing the side seams, this is what we have:

Ready for me to make the straps. Now that's another issue. Honestly, I have to get a board and good scissors! I just kinda eye-balled it; alhamdulillah they were really close in size but it could have been a lot better if I would have just slowed down. I always feel rushed when I sew (the too-busy mom guilt) so I tend to hurry myself.

Anyway got the straps sewn in and then decorated the front (mostly to hide the stitching) with some hand-made yo-yos. Cute I think.

I sewed in the straps in a V-shape in the back to keep them from slipping off her shoulder. :-) They are pretty spot-on but the dress was folded a little.
Well here is the finished product. It took me about an hour but should have taken longer if I would have done a better job. However, it's cute and the fabric is so nice and has some really awesome details so it totally makes up for any shoddiness on my part. :-)

Here is the complete dress:

Notice the awesome details on the bottom of the skirt.
So here is my list of things to look for if you want to repurpose a skirt:

1. It's great to have a zipper in it but make sure it's in a place you can keep it and use it. Otherwise you might want to get a different skirt.

2. Keep any decorations (such as the center pleats) centered. Alhamdulillah I remembered that gem!!!

3. Have good equipment! Really. That includes good thread (I bought cheap cotton and it's annoying me!).

4. Take your time. If it says it takes an hour, plan on 4 so you do things exactly right.

5. Decide how to handle the skirt liner, if there is one. In my case, I went ahead and just sewed it into the dress seams but it would have been better to have take it out and done it separately.

and finally....

6. Don't forget steps! I forgot to serge/zig-zag my raw edges. I don't have a serger but I could have used the zig-zag function on my machine. I didn't remember to (novice mistake) and I just pressed my seams flat. Oh well, live and learn!

I also bought a couple of other super-cute skirts/dresses/shirt to make into clothes for her. It's really fun for me and it's much cheaper to use $2.00 items from the thrift shop than to waste fabric at $7 a yard. :-)

If you make this, please let me know! I would love to see it. :-) Ma salaama ya'll..


HijabiMommy said...

Omg, your skirt came out sooooo cute! I love, love, LOVE the pleated details and the adorable fabric! Great job!

Using cheap or even second hand items is a GREAT tip when learning how to sew...that way you don't feel too upset when something goes wrong. Trust me, been there, done that.

Aww, I'm so glad you went to her website. I think it's one of the best places I've seen for tutorials. There are so many dresses on there I want to try. My dream is to participate in one of her sew alongs! Wouldn't that be fun?

Anyway, thanks for the shout out and happy sewing! Can't wait to see what you do next!

Mona Z said...

THAT is brilliant! I love it!!

Bonnie said...

I wish I was that talented! I have read tutorials about making girls dresses from men shirts or skirts from retro pillowcases. I haven't made them because I get confused enough just trying to figure out the directions for them! But ma'ashalla this is super cute!

Umm Aaminah said...

HijabiMommy, I was going to call you HM but that looks like Her Majesty. :-)) Anyway, I love looking at other people links and fave blogs; it's a great way to live vicariously. Looking forward to your next sewing post as well. :-)

Mona, I was surprised overall at how easy it was (excepting my errors as stated lol).

Bonnie, it's really not that hard! I've been looking at these things for about a year now and just decided, what the heck. :-)

A hint on the tutorials: just follow along exactly, look up more than 1 tutorial for the same thing, and don't be afraid of messing up. :-) It's fun and frugal.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

MashaAllah that's so cute and neat.

Aishah said...

Salams Umm Aaminah,

MashAllah, it looks really cute! You did an awesome job!

In your point 5-sewing the liner into the seams, I do this all the time for kameez. Any suit I sew that requires a chemise gets it sewn in together, makes it stronger, and less likely to bunch up in funny places :-)

Umm Mini said...

Wa alaykum salaam,

Masha'Allah very pretty!! It looks like a store-bought one. I don't know what you mean with mistakes, to me it looks beautiful.

O I want a sewingmachine aswell.

Umm Aaminah said...

Thanks OPNO! Maybe you'll have an opportunity to make some of these cute lil things in the future, insha'allah. :-)

Aishah, you are right! I remember wearing some kameez with the free-standing liner. It would get all bunched up in the wrong places. lol So maybe my "mistake" here is a good thing.

Umm Mini, I don't know where you live but craigslist is a great place to find good deals on sewing machines! Just do a public pick-up or have hubby go with you. :-)

Candice said...

Super job on that!!

Um Zakarya said...

Assalamu Aleykum,

MashALLAH I really like the dress sis.It really looks as if it's always been a little girl dress!
I couldn't help but notice your new picture wearing the niqab.Have you done it?Are you now wearing it on a daily basis (excuse the curiousity of mine )?

Umm Aaminah said...

Candice, thanks! You have a little sweetie too, right? It's really not that hard, trust me. I am NOT an experienced seamstress. :-)

Um Z, good to "see" you again. :-) No I do not wear niqab. I posted it as a sign of solidarity with my Muslim sisters (specifically in France) who are persecuted for their belief.

I find think it's a beautiful act of ibadah and I support the sisters with the conviction to wear it. :-)

Um Zakarya said...

That's really sweet of you MashALLAH.Sisters in France often feel "given up" by the rest of the Ummah.InshALLAH I'll let everyone here know that there's an american sister who stands by them.You'll be famous all over the country :)
I'm planning to wear it as soon as I leave the country InshALLAH.Please pray for me!Lot of love