June 6, 2010

Upcycled Toddler Dress!

It started as a women's shirt from the Goodwill Outlet for $1.49. I only liked the smocked part on the front, but instantly knew it would make a terrifically adorable dress for my wonderful 2 year old niece, Lilly:I cut up the side seams, and separated the front of the shirt from the back and the sleeves....leaving me with 4 pieces. I then pinned the button-up front part of the shirt right-sides together and sewed down the front:
I then had one whole front piece with no seams. I had a pattern for Lilly that I had made back in February for making her this outfit. I laid the pattern on top of my sewed front piece and used it as a guide for determining the right size, cutting around my pattern:
Then I had a cute beginning shirt/dress front:
To make a dress back piece, I layed out the back portion of the women's shirt on the floor, folded my front dress piece in half and used it as a pattern to make my dress backing. I cut 2 back panels, a little bigger than the front dress piece because I wanted to use buttons to close it:
Now I have two dress pieces, front and back, out of the women's shirt. I sewed up the lower half of the back, leaving a 1/2" seam at the back to add the closure buttons....or I could've used a zipper...but I didn't have one at the time:
Then I added loops and buttons to the back area, so that Lilly could easily get the dress on and off. I also chose not to line it so it would be nice and light-weight for her to wear this summer:
With the front and back pieces now done, I sewed the shoulder seams together, then the side seams. I used the dress to create neck interfacing pieces of my own:
After I added the neck interfacing, I made my own puffed-elastic sleeves (oops...forgot to take pics of the sleeve steps), but I made them look like I did on my Easter dress and on Courtney's dress: (I think I'm getting addicted to this kind-of sleeve design!)
I added a few white buttons to the front and hemmed the bottom of the dress and...doesn't my sister's Angel Baby look so absolutely darling???? Aww....

She loved it very much! And is so, so, so cute! Total cost of the dress: $1.49. Time spend sewing: 2.5 hours. Seeing it on Lilly and her loving it: Priceless!
The back of the dress... It really was straight, but as you know, it's really hard to get a 2 year old to stand still for very long: )!

The seamstress/Aunt Joy with her sister's darling Angel! See more of my sister's awesome blog: Tune My Heart! I love you, Lilly! And I'm so happy you love your thrift store up-cycled dress!


  1. Hi there,

    I came across your blog while searching for some information about halter top with sleeves in google. You are very talented (I'm jealous:P) and I love love love your sewing. Anyhoo, here's my problem: Summer is almost here and I'm dying to wear tank tops and sleeveless dresses. But the thing is I can't:(
    I have some problem with skin pigmentation under my arms and I don't have the confidence to walk around with anything without sleeves. So I figure maybe I could make a halter top with sleeves (does that make sense?) and wear it underneath tops or/and dresses that come without sleeves (does that make sense?). And here's another problem: I don't know sewing. Perhaps you could suggest something or if you like, maybe you can sew one and sell it to me. I live in Canada. This is all a bit too forward I know and please pardon me.
    Thank you.

    From, Mrs. D

  2. Perhaps something like this:

    Perhaps with a feminine-type of material with ruffles or something. The idea is to wear this top underneath sleeveless tops or dresses.

    From, Mrs. D

  3. Joy,

    You are so talented! What a gift :)

  4. Mrs, D., I really appreciate all your input and appreciation of my blog! I am honored and would love to try to accomodate your request. fortunately I do enjoy a challenge! I like the top idea you sent me of a sample one. If that is the style you think you would like, I recommend only a knit fabric (like t-shirt jersey) for this. I could sample it with some jersey I have on hand now. For the sleeves to be cut like that and still provide ample movement in the arms, the material would need to stretch.
    To get started at the trial challenge you presented me, I would just need to get your body measurements. If you do not already have this or know how, please let me know...and we'll chat further. You can email me directly at jahoover316@yahoo.com . Thank you again, and I look forward to helping you however I can!
    ~ Joy

  5. Joy- you are just amazing and that's all there is to it!

    -Gina (still don't know how to have a profile)

  6. Joy, Like Gina, I must tell you I still do not know how to profile.. However, Lilly's dress is just wonderful. It is so darling, that I must make one for Olivia. HOWEVER... I must also make the time. Thanks for the idea once again. Keep on keepin' on my friend. God has truly blessed you with such a gift and blessed the rest of us with knowing you. Love you and miss you more.