A Flowy and Flowery T-Shirt Dress Refashion

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Leggi questo post in: Italiano

I’m super excited because today is the first guest post for my Cucicucicoo’s Eco Crafters and Sewers series! And who better to start off with, than my blogging BFF Irene, from Serger Pepper with a super cute refashion!

Irene and I share a passion for refashioning, sewing with upcycled clothing and other fabrics, and using fabrics creatively. I have quite a collection of projects sewn from her patterns* or tutorials, such as the girls’ Basic Leggings, the Hands-Free Asymmetrical Bag, the Everyday Tank Top, the One Cardigan, Big Girl Briefs, and pajamas from t-shirts. And she’s published a guest post of mine (on turning men’s t-shirts into women’s fitted t-shirts) and published a guest post on Mammabook using two of my tutorials, not to mention has been a valuable pattern tester for me!

You can find lots of great sewing tutorials and patterns on her website, or check out her Facebook group, Serger Pepper Patterns. She has just started collaborating with Craftsy*, writing for their sewing blog! (Wow! Go you, Irene!) Her first post was published there just yesterday on differential feed on overlock machines, so you should go take a look at it if you have a serger. Irene is probably the most Pinterest-obsessed person that I know (she calls herself Pinterst-addicted), so if you ever want some great ideas, check out her Pinterest boards!

Irene di Serger Pepper all'incontro di bloggers di cucito, il 28 marzo 2015.  #cucitoitaliano

Incidentally, I also finally met Irene in person just two days ago in Milan for the Blog Italiani di Cucito meetup of Italian sewing bloggers. (On the right in the picture above. Isn’t she adorable?!) What an amazing experience, to spend a day with 30 women with the love of sewing in common, and how many amazing new friends!

Ok, enough, you want the tutorial, right?! So let me pass you on to Irene! (And when you comment to tell her how much you like this project, compliment her on her English, too! Isn’t it great?)


I am really excited to open this new awesome eco-series by Lisa @ Cucicucicoo… what an honor! This series is all about how we can love our Mother Earth re-using materials instead of throwing away everything after using it: this is more or less my whole life purpose! People who know me jokes me about toilet paper… which is probably the only disposable I admit in my house!

Being a sewing blogger, I will focus on how to refashion pre-loved garments: and this garment has been truly loved! It wasn’t in my refashion pile, also if I have worn it the last time a long time ago. I am attached to it because it is what I wore at my matriculation exams in the middle of the 90’s!

I have always been a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl and this has been my first long dress… I felt so feminine and grown-up when I have bought it! But… it’s totally un-wearable now: too 90’s! Since I am unable to throw away garments, it stayed hidden in my closet until my friend Lisa asked me to create something for this series… and the proverbial bulb turned on!

Why not using it to make a not-so-boxy T-shirt I can actually wear?

A Flowy and Flowery T-Shirt Dress Refashion: a tutorial by Serger Pepper as part of the Cucicucicoo's Eco Sewers and Crafters series. Save a big and boxy t-shirt and unfashionable flowery dress, by combining them! www.cucicucicoo.com

Follow me into this step-by-step tutorial to create your own!

First of all I separate the two layers of the dress: for this tutorial I’ll be using only the print tank portion, leaving the black underdress, waiting for the next refashion.

A Flowy and Flowery T-Shirt Dress Refashion: a tutorial by Serger Pepper as part of the Cucicucicoo's Eco Sewers and Crafters series. Save a big and boxy t-shirt and unfashionable flowery dress, by combining them! www.cucicucicoo.com

I took also one of my Decathlon 3XL T-shirts in black to match (I had used one in fuchsia here and another one to line the hoodless OneCardigan here): I always buy them in stock when I go to that sport chain store: you can’t beat the price for that organic jersey!

Now, let me spend a couple of words about how I create refashions: I rarely use a real pattern, unless I’m treating pre-loved clothes like “fabric sources”, taking them apart along seams to get the most from them. When I want to re-use some of the features, I let them guide me during my creation!

Refashion is… being free from schemes.

For this one, I loved the front button tab and the overlocked bottom edge. I tend to re-use hems because it’s so practical (like me!); I also loved that layered look, so I tried to recreate something similar, but less “90’s”!

I love those fluttering fabrics (this one was 100 % viscose) but I can’t breath in them, so I decided to add the T-shirt portion: I need cotton against my skin, especially around my chest and armpits!

Bodice

So I took another shirt I loved the shape and made an approximate pattern from it (adding seam allowances!): back…

A Flowy and Flowery T-Shirt Dress Refashion: a tutorial by Serger Pepper as part of the Cucicucicoo's Eco Sewers and Crafters series. Save a big and boxy t-shirt and unfashionable flowery dress, by combining them! www.cucicucicoo.com

… and front!

A Flowy and Flowery T-Shirt Dress Refashion: a tutorial by Serger Pepper as part of the Cucicucicoo's Eco Sewers and Crafters series. Save a big and boxy t-shirt and unfashionable flowery dress, by combining them! www.cucicucicoo.com

To be quicker than light I decided to cut both the front and the back in one time (folding the t-shirt in half along the centre back and front), then I cut off the shape for the front from one of the two bodice pieces.

NOTE: I adjusted length to go under the breast, measuring from shoulder to under breast and adding seam allowances.

A Flowy and Flowery T-Shirt Dress Refashion: a tutorial by Serger Pepper as part of the Cucicucicoo's Eco Sewers and Crafters series. Save a big and boxy t-shirt and unfashionable flowery dress, by combining them! www.cucicucicoo.com

To finish the upper edge with the layered look, I simply laid it above the original dress neckline and pinned in place (wrong side of the knit toward right side of the dress): knit doesn’t unravel and naturally curls along edges. I decided to use those qualities to give it an original destructured look.

A Flowy and Flowery T-Shirt Dress Refashion: a tutorial by Serger Pepper as part of the Cucicucicoo's Eco Sewers and Crafters series. Save a big and boxy t-shirt and unfashionable flowery dress, by combining them! www.cucicucicoo.com

Pay attention to the buttons: you need to consider the presser foot width, to go next to the button but not above it, when you’re sewing. You may consider using a zipper foot, to achieve a perfect seam!

DISCLAIMER: I used a black thread but it wasn’t showing on the pictures… so I added a white dotted line to show you where the seam is!

A Flowy and Flowery T-Shirt Dress Refashion: a tutorial by Serger Pepper as part of the Cucicucicoo's Eco Sewers and Crafters series. Save a big and boxy t-shirt and unfashionable flowery dress, by combining them! www.cucicucicoo.com

Cut the exceeding dress from the wrong side, leaving 1 cm all around when you’re done sewing; finish the sheer fabric with an overlock stitch or a zig-zag, to avoid fraying!

A Flowy and Flowery T-Shirt Dress Refashion: a tutorial by Serger Pepper as part of the Cucicucicoo's Eco Sewers and Crafters series. Save a big and boxy t-shirt and unfashionable flowery dress, by combining them! www.cucicucicoo.com

Repeat for the back neckline.

Skirt portion

I chose to keep the upper buttoned portion of the original dress front, in front and the two separate bottom tales to be overlapped in the back.

A Flowy and Flowery T-Shirt Dress Refashion: a tutorial by Serger Pepper as part of the Cucicucicoo's Eco Sewers and Crafters series. Save a big and boxy t-shirt and unfashionable flowery dress, by combining them! www.cucicucicoo.com

A Flowy and Flowery T-Shirt Dress Refashion: a tutorial by Serger Pepper as part of the Cucicucicoo's Eco Sewers and Crafters series. Save a big and boxy t-shirt and unfashionable flowery dress, by combining them! www.cucicucicoo.com

I overlocked the hems and sides where necessary.

To attach them to the upper knit bodice, align them along the raw edge, easing the knit fabric when necessary, right sides together.

A Flowy and Flowery T-Shirt Dress Refashion: a tutorial by Serger Pepper as part of the Cucicucicoo's Eco Sewers and Crafters series. Save a big and boxy t-shirt and unfashionable flowery dress, by combining them! www.cucicucicoo.com

Repeat for the front!

Sleeves:

Again: layers!

I traced with chalk the outline of the sleeves from my turquoise t-shirt, directly on the black 3XL T-shirt sleeves, so I could save myself to hem sleeves!

A Flowy and Flowery T-Shirt Dress Refashion: a tutorial by Serger Pepper as part of the Cucicucicoo's Eco Sewers and Crafters series. Save a big and boxy t-shirt and unfashionable flowery dress, by combining them! www.cucicucicoo.com

I took a couple of long strips of the sheer fabric, hemmed on one of the long sides with a 4 thread overlock (short stitch length), then I gathered the other one using the same overlock stitch, but raising the needles tensions and the differential feed: fast and easy!

A Flowy and Flowery T-Shirt Dress Refashion: a tutorial by Serger Pepper as part of the Cucicucicoo's Eco Sewers and Crafters series. Save a big and boxy t-shirt and unfashionable flowery dress, by combining them! www.cucicucicoo.com

I placed the ruffles under the sleeves, along the hem: right side of the ruffles toward the wrong side of the sleeves. Using a triple straight stitch I attached the ruffles following the existing hem stitching, so it’s barely visible!

Tip: put the ruffles against the feed dogs to ease them in: sounds scary but it’s easier than doing it the other way 😉

A Flowy and Flowery T-Shirt Dress Refashion: a tutorial by Serger Pepper as part of the Cucicucicoo's Eco Sewers and Crafters series. Save a big and boxy t-shirt and unfashionable flowery dress, by combining them! www.cucicucicoo.com

Now, it’s all routine!

Close the shoulder seams, attach the sleeves flat, close side seams and underarm seams in one only seam, all right sides together (you can leave slits at the bottom edge of the skirt portion, if you like – I did it!) and you have a new, modern, layered, feminine new shirt you can wear all the summer: I will certainly do that!

A Flowy and Flowery T-Shirt Dress Refashion: a tutorial by Serger Pepper as part of the Cucicucicoo's Eco Sewers and Crafters series. Save a big and boxy t-shirt and unfashionable flowery dress, by combining them! www.cucicucicoo.com

A Flowy and Flowery T-Shirt Dress Refashion: a tutorial by Serger Pepper as part of the Cucicucicoo's Eco Sewers and Crafters series. Save a big and boxy t-shirt and unfashionable flowery dress, by combining them! www.cucicucicoo.com

Thanks Lisa for having me, it’s always a pleasure!


Thank YOU, Irene!

Cucicucicoo's Eco Crafters and Sewers: a series of guest posts with crafting and sewing tutorials using upcycled materials | www.cucicucicoo.com

This flowy and flowery t-shirt dress refashion tutorial is part of theCucicucicoo’s Eco Crafters and Sewers” series! Want to see how other sewing and crafting experts upcycle materials? Then check out the other tutorials in the series!

*This post contains affiliate links.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Hi BFF <3
    Mi hai davvero stupita con la foto di Milano… E mi sento realmente onorata per tutte le belle parole che hai speso per me: ti dico solo GRAZIE!
    Un bacione,
    Irene

  2. Bravo! You BOTH rock ladies…This is adorable and she has written this tutorial in such a way that it is so easy to follow and understand. Thank you both! On my way over to the Craftsy blog now to check out her contribution…

  3. Carissime, che bella la foto del vs incontro di Milano ! Mi ha allargato il cuore vedere donne giovanissime… (e bellissime) innamorate del cucito e così splendidamente creative. Grazie per le idee e tecniche di cucito che io definisco “intuitivo”, anche se alla base ha un’ottima conoscenza della teoria e della pratica, insomma vi considero le “Jackson Pollock” della sartoria. I primi anni della mia vita lavorativa li ho impegnati gestendo con mia cognata una sartoria a Ferrara, e gli ultimi 15 li ho dedicati al Patchwork e alla Fiber Art e, come insegnante, alla loro diffusione, per cui seguire la vostra attività oltre ad essere una gioia mi dà un bellissimo senso di continuità. Continuerò a seguirvi con affetto facendo il tifo per voi tutte e usufruendo della vostra creatività che infonde allegria ed energia.

    • Wow, Valeria, che belle parole! Sono lusingata di essere considerata una Jackson Pollock della sartoria! Avrai sicuramente delle conoscenze ottime della sartoria e il cucito in generale, con tutta la tua esperienza. Ma c’è un sito o altro posto dove vedere i tuoi lavori? Grazie!

  4. Ciao Lisa, che bella idea questa rubrica!!! La seguirò con molto piacere! 🙂
    Sono anche una grande fan di Serger Pepper, quindi apprezzo doppiamente questo post: bravissima Irene per questo tutorial!

  5. Ma che bello questo post di Irene! Pur trattandosi di un refashion particolare, tra le righe si riescono a trarre tanti spunti da riapplicare in altre occasioni. La chicca delle magliette di cotone io da Decathlon ad esempio me la devo proprio ricordare 🙂
    Grazie 🙂

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