long ago, long before i owned a sewing machine, i knew that someday i would, and when that day came, i would recycle all of our used clothing into clothes for the kids. a cross country move is an excellent time for a purge, and i *love* to throw things away. i’m not very organized or neat, but i don’t purposely hang on to much. once i do get around to tidying up, i throw away EVERYTHING. like, the tiny id bands my babies wore home from the hospital. irreplaceable keepsake, or clutter? you can guess where those ended up. so, when my favorite tank top (far left), which i bought on sale for $5 at the gap when i was 20, busted a strap around this time last year, it was a very conscious decision to hang on to it, knowing someday it would make a fetching little camisole for bean.
once my sewing machine was officially incorporated into our new home, i started saving all clothing i’d normally ship off to goodwill in a large box in the closet. a little burnt out on knitting as my class comes to an end, and without any big sewing projects in the queue, i decided the recent spring solstice was a very fitting occasion to dig into the box a bit and whip up some new shirts for bean. between celebrate the boy and all the gifts i made in the last few weeks, bean was rightfully wondering when i’d again turn my creative energy to enhancing her wardrobe. so, this week was all about spring cleaning!
because i am lazy and wished to pump out as many tops as possible in as little time, these are not the most superiorly crafted items. however, because they are repurposed, and because children grow like weeds and are finicky about clothing anyway, i feel just fine about this. doing what i could to maintain as much of the existing hems and bindings as possible, this little tank has large and off center box pleats in the front and the back. the bottom is unhemmed and crooked, because it’s jersey, and jersey is awesome. that chunky bolero is the one i made her over thanksgiving…i never got around to writing up a pattern, but it’s not too late…any interest? it’s getting a lot of air time during these last few cool mornings.
next up, this snazzy little number snipped out of a sleeveless shirt of mine from jcrew. it was already constructed with the bias cut stripes–can’t take credit for that, though it’s an idea i’d like to replicate someday in my unquenchable thirst for all things striped (and finding ways to not have to align them while sewing). the sleeves and neckline are from the original, but the surprise here is that the neckline wasn’t stretchy like the rest of it. so, after realizing it wouldn’t fit over her noggin, i just chopped a big piece out of the front and attached a little more binding. i told you, no forethought or planning here. just this pattern and hopes for the best. again, unhemmed. she’s so edgy.
this is another j crew purchase (online, because i hate shopping in stores and trying things on, which leads to many situations like this) which i never liked other than the color. it’s a thick, clingy jersey rib. do you know this material? not the most flattering for those of us who are soft in the middle. when i pulled it from the box, it was covered in aggressive holes and wrinkles, like it had been mauled by some savage little beast. i have no explanation for this as all of my other clothing, in the box or otherwise, remains intact. anyhow, that required some creative maneuvering of pattern pieces. i continue to defy odds sewing jersey and knits on my machine with few considerations, and while this material sewed fine, no amount of hot steam was going to tame the wiggly, wavy hemlines. collar? shoulder? this is not the most beautiful thing i’ve ever made, and oddly, a bit big in spite of using the same pattern size as i did for all her other shirts. alas, she’ll grow into it. held up just fine for a stroll through the park and some olive foraging, thankyouverymuch. and yes, the 3/4 length sleeves are on purpose
next up is a shirt i actually did wear often a few years ago. the last time i can remember wearing it is at left, and happens to be the day i found out i was pregnant with bean. then i was pregnant for two straight years, so it didn’t get much wear (although i’m sure i tried to extend the shelf life into pregnancy as it is, of course, jersey). i was able to keep the braided neckline and the little faux peplum skirt action. please be sure to appreciate the ice cream dribbles down the front, the hole in the knee exactly the size of her curious, pudgy little finger, and those ghastly crocks (on the wrong feet). obviously this photo shoot happened well into the day.
this last one is not a true recycle, but is still a refashion. as you can see, the tag is still attached (marked down several times, to about $6). i picked it up at the gap outlet around xmas because i read somewhere on rae’s kniterviews that large sized sale garments provide an untapped resource for cute knit prints. shockingly, this striped xl number in a delicious cotton modal blend caught my attention. and wouldn’t you know, by keeping both the neckline and the hemline intact, it was the perfect length for a comfy dress. i think i got through all of these shirts in under a half hour each, but somehow in my haste, i chopped half a sleeve off of this one while trimming and had to go a little frankenstein (see the weird seam near her right armpit?) i hoped for enough fabric to make a kangaroo pocket and hood, but this is as far as i could stretch it. although now that i’m looking at it, the chest seems to be asking for a small pocket on one side… the high neck and cap sleeves are purely incidental, the outcome of again, keeping everything as it was, just shrinking it down to bean size. i think it works. even if it doesn’t, she loves this one, wore it two days in a row. please make a point to notice the alignment of the stripes on that side view (and even in the frankenstein armpit, ahem)…holla!
and that is the extent of my spring cleaning for now! but, there are plenty of garments left in that large box in the closet, which i’m sure i’ll be rummaging through again soon.