Tuesday, April 24, 2012

An Upcycled Outfit

So today was one of those days where getting anything done, especially an hour or so of craft time to sew for Elsie Marley's Kids Clothing Week Challenge, just seemed impossible.  I was up most of the night with a fitful coughing child.  I awoke to realize that PJ wasn't much better an would be little help in caring for Lydia while she stayed home from school.  So I called in for a substitute, hoped my students could manage one more day without me, and set to work getting everyone doctor's appointments, medicines, and naps.  By 8pm, all my patients were in bed and I decided I could spend one hour at least prepping some projects for sewing later this week.
I had two more t-shirts that I wanted to turn into infant night gowns. This orange "give a hoot" shirt and a brown shirt with Kermit the Frog on the front.
I still have the Mickey Mouse shirt cut out but un-sewn, so I used that as a pattern.
I couldn't believe how fast it was to cut them out when I wasn't also figuring out the pattern!  Kermit is right, it is easy being green!  I need to get some trim for these shirt/gowns to be completely finished, so I set them aside and realized that I still had about 50 minutes left in the hour I committed to sew on kid's clothing.  Fortunately, I had a stack of outfits that I bought at the thrift store for baby Joshua that each needed a little something done to them.
I decided to start with this super boring camouflage outfit.  I bought the pants for 89 cents and thought they might be an interesting neutral with just the right shirt.  That boring grey shirt is NOT just right, but it matched the grey in the camo and did not match anything else in Joshua's wardrobe.  I wanted to add some color and interest to the shirt.  The pants have a little orange stitching in the pockets, so I thought using the orange scraps from the "give a hoot" shirt/gown to make an applique on the front of the shirt might be a good idea.  It took a few minutes to choose a simple but effective design.  See if you can figure out what I am making.
 I started by making an orange square.  I folded the fabric in quarters to make it easier to handle and more likely to be symmetrical.  I started with what would become a 6x6 square, but that ended up being too big for the shirt so it was worked down to 5x5.
I don't have too many problems turning a square into a circle, but if you do I am sure you could get a pattern or a protractor or something.
Because my design is symmetrical, I opened the circle up to where it was only folded in the middle and drew on the back of the fabric to plan where I wanted to cut. You can probably tell by now what I am making, a peace sign!  I thought it would be a fun an ironic twist to all that camouflage!
When I opened up my design and tested the placement on the shirt, I discovered a minor problem.  I did not like that seam at the top of the chest being visible cutting behind the peace sign.  It's a little thing, but it would have bugged me and it is the kind of detail that you wouldn't see in really well made clothing.
This is one of those WONDERFUL instances when the solution to one small problem actually helps out with several other issues down the line.  I realized that the scraps from that Mickey Mouse shirt/gown were a coordinating color, so I cut a circle to place behind the peace sign.  The issue with the visible seam was SOLVED, but now there was a second color added to the design AND the peace sign was even more contrasting to the dark grey shirt!
But wait, there's more!  Sewing all of the peace sign edges to that tiny baby shirt would have been difficult.  Now I could sew the orange peace sign to the off white background circle without the shirt being in the way. 
 I originally made the background circle extra big so that even if it moved a little everything was covered.  Once the middle was sewn down, I cut the circle as small as possible so that there was no way it would peak out from the edge of the peace sign.
 Then I pinned it in place (I rarely use pins, but it was such a small shirt and the peace sign really needed to stay put) and I sewed the outer circle of the peace sign to the shirt.
The finished shirt looked good, but I wanted to bring a little more orange into the pants.
  I had these little strips from the bottom edge of the orange shirt and they were just as long as the pockets were wide.  (Don't see the pockets on the pants?  Well that's the problem with camouflage!)  The orange edge at the very bottom of the pants is a really small detail, but it really ties everything together... and now you can actually SEE the pockets!
Thank you Elsie Marley and the Kid's Clothing Week Challenge for giving me the push to sew for at least one hour (I swear, that is all I spent on everything in this post!) on  a night when I could have easily not down anything at all.  I am so energized from the time that I devoted to this project and SO excited about the outcome!

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