My granddaughter needs play clothes for the summer, since she’s outgrown pretty much everything from last summer. Toddlers grow fast! So my daughter gave me some tops and dresses to upcycle. They were all XS or small, so children’s clothes would be about all that would fit on the fabric. I chose three coordinating fabrics, and got to work.
Using my rotary cutter, I trimmed along the side and sleeve seams, and ripped the clothes apart. A seam ripper was necessary to remove hems and binding as needed, to be able to lay the fabric out smoothly. It certainly would have been easier and faster to use yardage, but it was fun to think creatively how to fit my pattern pieces and make it all work.
I’ve made a couple of Made By Rae Washi Dresses blogged here, but hadn’t tried any children’s patterns. This is my latest (and favorite!) Washi Dress, made with a beautiful Art Gallery Fabrics border print called Roads to Flowerhouse.
While scrolling through the Made By Rae children’s patterns, I came across the Itty Bitty Baby Dress. It’s designed for wovens, but I knew that it would work to use knit fabrics.
The pattern calls for a simple gathered skirt, trimmed with bias tape. Since I was upcycling, had limited sized pieces of fabric, and had found coordinating fabrics, I decided to make a three tiered skirt instead. For the Itty Bitty Baby dress, instead of the suggested 9″ high rectangles of fabric, I cut my top strip 3″ high, and the second and third tiers 3-1/2″ high. Each tier was gathered and sewn to the tier above it, then the skirt was sewn to the bodice as per the pattern directions. Newborn sized clothes always look so cute!
There also happens to be an expanded size of the pattern in a size 3, which is the size my two year old granddaughter is growing into. It’s made the same way as the Itty Bitty newborn size, and it too got hacked to have a triple tier skirt. Instead of the suggested 15″ high skirt panels, the top tier was a 4-3/4″ high strip, followed by 5″ high strips for the second and third tiers. The toddler skirt is a bit more gathered, since Lila likes to run and play and climb and move.
Since the dresses were already bright and colorful, I thought that it would be fun to use variegated thread to cover-stitch everything. That’s the funny thing about having the ability to cover-stitch. You go a little crazy and fun and play around with it. On the toddler dress, I used a reverse triple cover-stitch to accent everything. To lessen the scale, I chose a narrow reverse cover-stitch for the newborn dress.
The Bummies pattern is from Brindille & Twig, with a ruffle added across the bum for a little extra fun. Because I already spend too much quality time with my seam ripper, I just couldn’t bring myself to rip off the leg bands that I accidentally sewed on inside out. So I just reverse cover-stitched over the seam allowance, and turned it into a “design element”!
Admittedly, these outfits are super bright and a bit wild, but that’s what makes them so fun! Normally, I wouldn’t post without modeled photos, but with the current state of the world, I don’t know when we’ll be able to visit our daughter and her family. Hopefully before the new baby is born! And this is as good a way as any to share that I’m going to be Grandma to another little girl! 🙂 ❤
Do you have some unworn clothes in your closet that could be turned into fun fabric for little ones? Consider upcycling them into to something new. There are so many cute patterns to try. And it’s fun to sew for my soon-to-be itty bitty baby, and not so itty bitty girl.
Stay well, and sew something that makes you happy!