Ok, despite the fact that I said I was enthusiastic about finishing some projects after Mom's visit, not much of the sewing variety has been going on around here. In fact, it's been pretty dismal. All sorts of ideas and no actual work on them. I've been getting cranky. But I've also been strangely lethargic about doing anything about it. (I could whinge here about the weather, the 2 year old being 2, etc. and all of it is true, but I'm my own worst critic and my complaints bore me, so I'm not gonna bore you) So, to try and jump start my crafty side again I decided to just jump into a project I hatched while Mom was here (and not one I've actually shown on my blog). And lucky you, since it worked, I'm going to share the recipe for my "cure" for my recent spate of craft inactivity inspired by an idea in this book.
1. Start with three inexpensive t-shirts. (thank you end of summer season sale at Old Navy)
2. Take one shirt, mark and cut a line approximately 1 1/2" below the armpits (these measurements are based on where an empireish waist for my daughter would be -- but I can't see why you couldn't do this for anyone just measure their body). Set aside.
3. Take the other two shirts and mark and cut a line right underneath the armpit. Make sure both sections are the same length.
4. Turn both the "skirt" sections inside out and cut along one seam line. (really -- only one please)
5. Right sides together, pin both edges of the skirt sections together -- make sure the finished edges match, the top edge can always be trimmed but it would be a pain to re-do the factory finished hem. Sew both sides using a 1/2" to 5/8" seam. (doesn't really matter here -- I used a 1/2", only thing necessary is that it be consistent). When you are done you should have a tube double the size of the tubes you started with.
6. Finish the edges with a zig zag or overlock stitch (or with a serger if you have one). (My machine has a lovely little overlock stitch foot which has come in handy more times recently -- and here I thought when I bought the machine I would never use the darned thing!)
7. Select a long basting stitch on your machine. Along the cut edge of the tube you've just created stitch inside the seam allowance. No, this doesn't have to be pretty. These are just gathering stitches. (note -- I actually started and stopped 4x when putting these in, one in each "quadrant" of the tube -- just make sure you have nice long tails of thread to be able to create your gathers)
8. Right sides together and matching side seams (I hid my "new" seams on the sides here) pin the bodice piece (remember that one from step 2?) and skirt together. (I also tacked the mid points of the skirt front and back) Holding on to the bobbin thread from your long basting stitch pull gently (kind of gently -- try not to break the thread at least) to create a gather and pin like crazy. Really. Pin that sucker down. This is NOT the time to be stingy with the pins!
9. Stitch using your 1/2" or 5/8" seam. Finish edges.
10. (OPTIONAL) While sewing skirt to bodice explain to 2 year old dd that if she touches the stitch length button one more time she is getting a time out since she is not allowed to touch Mommy's 'chine in the first place. Repeat the warning as many times as is necessary to finish the seam. Also explain that no, she can't sit in Mommy's lap RIGHT NOW -- give Mommy 5 minutes and she can have all of the cuddles and lap time she wants. Also warn her that she can NOT touch Mommy's pins -- they are sharp. Watch her reach out and just barely touch them just to see your reaction. Glare at the child while silently wondering WHY she needs to do this. Remember why you usually sew during nap time and/or when small child is at daycare!
11. Flip shirt right side out, admire work. Think about the way you are going to embellish the darling little top (this is just crying out for some yo-yo's I'm thinking) -- as small child grabs it out of your hands, declares "MINE" and starts pulling off her beloved Elmo t-shirt to put it on. Figure what the heck and go with the moment.
12. Blog about the experience later that night -- and realize that no, it isn't quite what I had in mind (I thought it would be longer and more like a dress -- though the process has potential for a comfy drop waisted dress -- just cut the bodice longer. But kind of makes me wonder at how economical it would be to do that -- sorry Mom, you may have been right here). And giggle -- a lot -- because while it isn't totally FINISHED yet (I still plan to put some of those yo-yo's on)-- and it won't be until it is washed because I couldn't get it off my child. It is sporting some mac and cheese and triple berry pie stains from dinner out with Nana and Papa. But -- still giggling that I made something my daughter couldn't wait to put on. And it beat out Elmo.
13. Remember that dd is sleeping in the next room and I need to keep the giggles down.
So there you go -- my recipe for wanting to get back to making things. Seems to have worked so far. And I'm now off to bed as it's late, and dd is going to daycare tomorrow (yeah for Mommy's day off) so I can sew most of the day after some errands get run. That is IF I can get some sleep tonight.
Update 11/19/07: The finished version of this t-shirt can be found here. I also took some suggestions of folks who left comments and tried a version using fabric for the "skirt" -- a really cute variation and you can see the results here.