Sunday, October 5, 2014

Men's Shirt Repurpose: One-Piece Romper/Jumpsuit

After self-drafting a one-piece romper/jumpsuit for my granddaughter, I decided to use it again and construct it with repurposed men's dress shirts that belonged to my husband. 

 I just love repurposing men's shirts, which is part of my
 Signature Style!

Why?  Because I never follow all those "Sewing Rules" that I normally self-impose on myself. See... 'Once Upon a Time', I was a Home Economics Sewing Teacher... and I usually follow those sewing rules that I shared with my students for so many years.

But, when I repurpose there are NO RULES, 
and you must do a lot of IMPROVISING!

Let's take a closer look at this outfit:
  • I used the front button tab from the men's shirt, but I applied a pin-tucked panel next to the button tab to make it more feminine. The romper buttons all the way to the waist, and I didn't have to make a single buttonhole.
  • This romper has no collar, as my skin sensitive granddaughter doesn't always like the sensation of a collar rubbing against her neck.
  • Five different men's shirt fabrics are combined in this garment. I used a solid white shirt to give the design some visual relief when mixing so many prints. I used the darkest color check fabric for the pants area of the romper, as the fabric (Thanks Ralph Lauren) was a heavier weight, and I think a darker fabric grounds and give visual weight to the bottom portion of the garment too.
  • I used the men's cuffs on the sleeves, but they don't open. First, I trimmed down the cuffs width so they were slimmer, serged one end so it was shorter, sewed on the button again, and overlapped the cuff enough to button it. Lastly, I pinned it to the hem area making some tucks in the sleeve fabric so it would fit and  sewed around in a circle to attach it to the sleeve. This was a quick way to finish the sleeve and incorporated an original element of the men's shirt. (Gosh, I broke a lot of rules on this one...giggle....giggle.)
  • I was thinking about how men roll up their sleeves and create a cuff.  So, I used that image to create the turned up band at the bottom of the pant leg.  That was quicker, and it narrowed the look of the pant.
  • Last time I made this self-drafted pattern, I used a knit. So when I sewed in my sleeves in this woven fabric, I said a little prayer .... yet still had to take it out, and make some changes, then try it in muslin... then make some changes... and then the sleeves finally fit smoothly with ample room in the sleeve head area.
  • The facings are a perfect example of improvising. Just take a look at this picture and you will know what I mean about breaking those rules.
  • I added these crocheted flowers, and butterflies to add a bit of whimsey. They also cover the Ralph Lauren Polo Player Image that was now located in a weird place.
  • An original pocket from one of the shirts decorates the back pants leg.
  • For my sensitive skinned granddaughter, I finished the inside so it is smooth to the skin.
     A Look Inside: Finished facing and seams, and top-stitched so facings don't roll.
    Even though I took a pattern drafting class in college, I would really rather buy finished patterns than draft my own. Sure, I make design changes to purchased patterns all the time, but I didn't enjoy all the time and effort it took to get the fit of those sleeves just right without starting with a pattern sloper. Starting out with a pattern piece that is proportionally correct and then making changes is a lot more fun. 
 But that's good... because all you internet ladies who enjoy drafting patterns need customers like me!


Friday, October 3, 2014

Sewing for Sensitive Skin Kids

Sensitive Skin Kids hate
 Ouchy, Itchy, Scratchy, and Ewey Clothes.
When I sew for my granddaughter, I must consider her sensitive skin. She’s been that way since she was born.   Sensitive skin is actually a very common condition for light-haired, fair skinned kids.
Ready for a day at school in her new comfortable one piece romper/jumpsuit.

So part of my Signature Style 
is to sew clothes that take 
 sensitivity into consideration.

Sleeve seam
  • I have found that soft natural fabrics, such as cotton knits tend to be the least irritating. 
  • I don't put cute little tags in the clothes I make for her. 
  • When I choose a design to sew, I pay attention to how it is constructed and try to create a smooth inner surface next to her skin.
  • If something feels a little scratchy or rough to me, I know it will feel a hundred times worse to her. 
  • I also try to reduce the bulk in seams, and usually serge the inside seams with a soft cotton thread.  
    I used a soft cotton elastic that I zigzagged into the waistline seam.
  • In this outfit, I attached ribbons to to the front yoke. So I knew that I would have to line the front yoke with a soft cotton knit too.  
  • I put a zipper into this romper. I don't often use zippers and I never use one with metal teeth. As she wears this outfit, I will find out if the zipper in the romper is a problem or not. I probably should have added a cotton knit placket behind the zipper like one of these below

If I need her to try a garment on during construction, it must be basted together. Once I used pins and they scratched her, and she has not forgiven me yet! Every time she tries on an outfit I hear, "Does it have pins?"
I even basted in the zipper to see if she found it too Ouchy, Itchy, Scratchy, or Ewey 
before sewing it in permanently.

I self-drafted this pattern, as she seems to like one-piece rompers.

I added a collar only in the front as she sometimes says the collar itches the back of her neck.

So as you can see, my Signature Style is about . . . ouchyless, itchyless, scratchyless, eweyless and making her life a little easier.


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