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Monday, March 31, 2014

Guest Tutorial: Upcycling Knit Tees for Woven Patterns

Upcycling is a pretty popular skill in sewing groups right now. We can take a used (or new!) t-shirt and use it to make something even more fabulous!  Generally we upcycle t-shirts only for knit patterns since the tees are made of knit, but today we have a special technique to share with you!  Tosha Smith from Sew Chic Children's Boutique is going to show us how she upcycles knit tees even on woven patterns! To demonstrate, she will use a store-bought character tee to make Poppy's Peekaboo Dress, one of our absolute favorite patterns.  Here is Tosha to show us how it's done: 

Materials Needed:
  •  Wonder Under or a similar double sided fusible interfacing. I buy mine at Walmart for $1.66 per yard. 
  • A T-shirt (I buy 2 sizes bigger if it’s a girls' shirt because they are usually fitted.)
  • The CKC Poppy's Peekaboo Dress pattern. 

Step 1: To start off, I use two paper towels, folded on the perforated edge. Lay the bodice pattern piece on the fold and cut out the paper towel. Now we have a full bodice pattern piece that can be opened up. It is slightly see-through and we can line up the image on our t-shirt exactly where we want it!  (For my boutique, I cut one of each size on paper towels and label them with a pen as shown. That way I have them when I need them!)  

Step 2: Now we’re going to cut the bodice pieces out of our selected t-shirt. Keep the shirt whole so that once we cut our bodice out we will have two pieces (the bodice front and the bodice lining). Then we will cut one bodice piece out of our Wonder Under.

Step 3: Iron the rough side of the Wonder Under to the wrong side of the front bodice piece.  To do this, we will follow the instructions on the Wonder Under. 

Once it has cooled, peel off the Wonder Under backing. 

 Now the wrong side of our bodice front piece should have a shine to it!

 Step 4: Assemble the entire bodice following the Poppy's pattern instructions! To do this, I use my standard machine needle and settings. I don't do anything special for the knit. 

Step 5: When the bodice is complete, iron the layers together as shown in the picture above.  This will fuse the front bodice to the bodice lining, which is what gives our knit bodice the stability it needs! Note: A lot of these t-shirt images are vinyl and we do NOT want to iron directly on them!! Flip the bodice over and iron from the lining side!

  Step 6: Now we can assemble the rest of our dress following the Poppy's instructions as written. 

And we're done! I can't wait to see what you all create!  ~ Tosha

Thank you, Tosha, for the fabulous guest tutorial!  I love the results and it is seriously so easy to do once we know the tricks!  Here are some more upcycled Poppy dresses that Tosha has made for her boutique:

I love every one of them!  

Of course Poppy's isn't the only woven pattern that we can upcycle with. Tosha has made several others for her boutique that she wants to share with us today. Many of these can even be upcycled without needing the Wonder Under!  Dresses like Poppy's need the extra stability because of the heavy skirts. But below are some examples of upcycles that Tosha made that did not need added stability: 

As you can see, many woven patterns such as peasant dresses, pants, ruffles, and other light clothing should be just fine using upcycled knit tees.  But if you are ever concerned that a certain pattern will be too heavy and need extra stability, now you know how! And it only takes a few more steps to make something completely memorable. 

Thanks again to Tosha!  Please show her some love on her page Sew Chic Children's Boutique.  We would also love to see your new creations in the CKC Patterns Group. Please tag Tosha and I so we can see what you made. 

Let's Create! ~ Kristen 

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