Saturday, June 11, 2011

A pretty good use for an old pillowcase (very pic heavy)

Got a pillowcase(or extra material) hanging around taking up space? Well, if you know your way around a sewing machine and can run a pair of scissors,  put it to work and beef up your summer shirt inventory with some spaghetti strapped babydoll shirts.

These things are awesome to work around the house in. And super comfy! And if you get a wild hair, you can go crazy and make it with pretty stuff on it or just outta pretty material, and wear it anywhere. 

Alright enough of the build up....heres how I did it. 

Disclaimer: I am a crafter, I sew when I need to. ie: make my sons play/sleep/work clothes, make my own clothes(most of them) I've even done some work making a boot for our feed grinder. But sewing isnt my strong point. I can do it, but only when I need to. So, if you are one of those sewers that cringes at the work of a lazy sewer...pass this post up. I dont hardly do anything by the book and this is just a get in, get it done, get out, wear it kinda pattern. On the flip side of things, if you see something here that can be modified, should be modified or anything can be reworded for clarity, or general comments...PLEASE let me know. 

Ok, you will need these things.

1.  A pillowcase or any material equal to a pillowcase. I bought a yard each in two different patterns of jersey fabric from walmart that I'm going to make these shirts out of. So if you dont happen to have a pillowcase, but have some extra fabric...carry on. (Im not sure if I can do it, but I think I might be able to get 4 shirts out of these two yards. Ill keep you posted.) 
2. A spaghetti strap shirt your fond of.
3. 2 plastic rings. med to small sized  
4. matching thread
5. extra wide double fold bias tape. you will use the whole package which is 3yds so if you like long straps...better get an extra package. 
6. A page of the newspaper. or some large paper
7. something that marks. I used a sharpie
8. sewing machine/serger.
9. scissors
10. chocolate and dr. pepper...or vices of choice. 

Sheewww! I didnt know I used all of that stuff till I wrote it 

First, we gotta make a pattern, so grab your newspaper, sharpie, and your spaghetti strap shirt and hit the floor.. 

Lay the newspaper out on the floor and put your shirt on top of it, making sure the front of the shirt is up and the top of the material is at the top of the newspaper, like this...

Now take your sharpie and trace the shirt  from the bottom side of the shirt to the top. I must mention that this particular shirt is too big for me, so I just traced it as is. Normal seam allowance is 5/8 of an inch, so if you are tracing a shirt that fits, go out an extra 5/8 of an inch of the outline of this shirt only on the sides. 
Now trace the armhole area and the neck area. If your using a pillowcase, your kinda restricted to the length of the pillowcase but, if you are using a sheet or bought material, you can lengthen or shorten your shirt here. Add an inch to the length you want, and draw and outline across the bottom. I didn't mess with it. I just let the pillowcase dictate my length, which was fine. When I use the stuff I bought for these, I may add some length to hide my fat a little better.
BTW: You only need to do all this on one side. 

Remove the shirt and fold the paper in half making sure you can see the marked areas. Cut the outline you just drew and then cut the paper in half. Mark on one of the pieces: "FRONT" Like this....

Set the "front" pattern piece aside and turn the other piece over and set the shirt back on it, this time with the back facing, and matching sides up to the armhole. Tuck the front under and trace the armhole of the back, and the this

Remove the shirt and cut the outline you just drew. Mark: "BACK" on it and lookie!! You just made your pattern!  

Now we can get down to business. Take your pillowcase and cut it along the side seams and across the bottom so you have 2 equal this.  

Fold one piece of fabric in half, and lay one of your pattern pieces on it, straight side on the fold, pin it to the this.
sorry for the crappy pic

Cut around pattern piece and you should have something like this....

Set it aside and repeat last two steps for the other pattern piece. 

With wrong sides together, sew up side seams. 
I feel compelled to mention that you will need to treat your seams somehow after you sew them up to keep them from fraying. Most people just sew up the sides and then use the zig zag setting on them and that does the trick. It also depends on the fabric your using. With the jersey t-shirt fabric, I could prob get away without doing anything, but I treat them anyway. With most fabrics, you will have a ratty, ugly seams and will be slapping yourself for not doing anything. Just for good measure, treat your seams. 
If your lucky enough to have a serger, you can use it and sew up side seams and treat them at the same time...Ahhh someday I shall have one!! 
But for now, this is how I do seams. For this method, you will need to allow another 1/4 inch. Before you sew up the seams with the right sides together, you sew them with the wrong sides together, trim the excess material close to the seam, and then turn the garment inside out, iron the seams flat, sew them again. You wind up with something like this.....

Moving on.......To make your bottom hem, turn your shirt inside out and fold up 1/4 inch from the bottom, press and then fold up another 3/4 inch from the bottom and sew. 

Now for the top: Grab your bias and find the top front of your shirt and fold the bias over the the material and sew it down, and do the same for the top back portion of your shirt. Trim ends and you should have something that looks like this...

I battle with how to tell you to do the rest of this. So if anyone can help me word this where it makes more sense, please help! 

Starting at the edge of the back top, and leaving 1 1/4 inch of bias, fold the bias over the material in the armpit area, take that extra 1 1/4 inch you left and thread thro a ring.

Fold the excess over the back, where the ring has only minimal room to move, pin it, and sew across the back top sew line. Using the backwards function on your machine, go over that area again, work forwards to the armpit sew line, lift foot and turn. At the end of all that, you should be here.....

Fold the bias over the material and sew along the armpit to front top. Take it off the machine but Don't cut anything!!(but the thread) 
Heres where we measure your straps: 
Take the remaining bias and thread through the ring, put shirt on and measure how much strap you want, plus 1/2 inch. Mark it, cut it, fold under that last half inch, and pin it. Measure how bias you used for this side and cut a length of bias for the other side so they both are the same size. (I used 35 inches per side)

Starting a little bit before where you left off before measuring straps, sew bias together up to ring making sure you catch the folded under part.  
Lift foot, turn sideways, sew across. 
Using backwards function again, sew back over for security, and remove from machine. Your "ring" area should look like this when finished. 

Cut extra threads and try on again just to make sure.
Repeat for other side. 

And you have your cute shirt! 

Im editing this still, this post will get better I promise!! But I wanted to get this out so I can maybe get some help.  Soooo...Again, please help me clarify stuff in this pattern. 

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