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Monday, February 29, 2016

Upcycling Belinda's: From a Men's Button-up to a Girls' Dress

Today's upcycle tutorial comes to us from one of our fabulous testers, Amber Grunke-Guevara. I absolutely adore how it turned out.  Here's Amber:

When I first saw the new Belinda's dress pattern, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I have been searching for a very long time for something that would be a perfect upcycle for a very special shirt. The shirt belonged to my Papa, my best friend, and had been hanging in my closet for 6 years. I had been making millions of excuses as to why I couldn't use it yet, but with Belinda's dress pattern my excuses were gone. It was a simple, elegant pattern, that would keep the classic lines and his signature pearl snaps intact. 

First you want to choose the perfect shirt and make sure it will work with the sizing you are needing. These upcycles typically work best with sizes up to about a 5T. Once you get larger than that, the shirt would have to be substantially larger to accommodate width. 

Then you need to seem rip your shirt so you can re-purpose it. I would measure it first to make sure you have enough length and width for your selected size. The shirt I chose had a slight bowing in the middle, and I left that because I am a sucker for a high/low. You will cut both of your skirt pieces to the measurement of the back skirt piece, as you already have your buttons or snaps on your pre-made shirt. Then you will cut the rest of your fabric and you should have a pile that looks something like this: 

The first thing I did when I cut my skirt pieces was made sure the middle panel was sewn closed. I wanted the look of the snaps, but didn't need the functionality. It also helps when you are putting everything together to have it sewn shut. I stitched as close to the original line as possible with the snaps shut. (1/8 inch to either side) I enclosed all 4 sides of the snap panel. 

Then I went to my Belinda's pattern and started from the top constructing my bodice. Who else LOVES a peasant top?! So quick and easy; so comfy for the little ones. I made sure to make a visible mark on the center so I would know where to attach the skirt. 

Once the bodice was complete, I took my two back skirt pieces and put them right sides together and sewed down the short sides making a continuous loop. I then serged my edges for a professional finish. You can also zigzag them or French seam. 

I gathered the skirt starting AFTER the button/snap section as I wanted that to lay flat and be centered on my bodice. I did this by setting my machine on the highest tension and longest stitch length. Once completed I laid it and my bodice on a flat surface and compared sizes so that I could adjust as needed. I measured to find the center of my snap panel and attached the skirt to the bodice. I then serged to finish the insides.

All that was left was the sash. It was super fast and easy. I love a pointed sash, so I did that instead of making a flat edged one. 

I put it on my daughter and got to take enjoyment in letting my daughter know just how special her new dress was. I have pictures of my precious Papa holding my son (now almost 15y) in it, my 7 year old, and now it is wrapping the baby girl he would have loved so much in a hug too. If you have something that you have been hanging onto, this pattern is perfect for you. It has brought me so much happiness seeing her in it, and I know he is watching and absolutely in love seeing her spin.

<3 Amber Grunke-Guevara

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