Recycling Tutorial

Posted Saturday, June 20, 2009

It's been a while since I did a how to - and since Ive been up to my neck in The Jump Off this week I though it appropriate to share the process - so you can start experimenting!

I start with a fabulous Tshirt - I wash and dry it and give it decent pressing.

Then I cut off the sleeves, the hem, cut the side and shoulder seams. Im very careful to cut strait so I dont damage any of the design space on the tshirt.

I put the sleeves and hem trim into my stock pile - I hoard up every tshirt I can get my hands on and even if I cant use the logo or if the shirt has holes, I can still salvage the sleeves and trim and I use the body of solid shirts to make the skullys to coordinate with the onesies/dresses.

From that fabulous stash of sleeves and such I find great coordinating sleeves and trim for the project Im working on.

Next, I find the center of the design - not the shirt - With tshirts, you don't match the edges because when you take them apart the edges stretch out of shape so the shirt edges are not accurate for centering. This step is crucial - b/c if your off the onesie image will be off center.

Now I take my handy dandy patterns that I made from taking apart actual onesies and making sketches (which took years :D - but it was worth it)
You can just take apart a oneise or a dress that you have at home and use it for a pattern.

After the pieces are cut out I take this opportunity while the sleeves are still flat to attach my rock out label for the Jump Off.

I then, take the hem trim and sew it with a zig zag stitch on the the front and back neck edges of the garment.

I cannot stress how important pressing is to your sewing projects. A good press job can save you tons of time. Don't skip this step - Pressing makes the difference between a 'home made' look and a 'professional' one.

The same can be said for pinning. The only thing is you must be careful with pins b/c they can warp your machine needle and ultimately break it if your not careful.

So, I pin the front and back together, centering the two pieces to create an overlapping shoulder seam as on a traditional onesie and then I center the sleeve and pin it so I always know where the center is.

Ok - this is the tricky part (as with all set in sleeves). Set in sleeves are larger than the 'hole' they fit into, this gives your arm room to move. So the key is to 'ease' the extra fabric into the 'hole' with out getting any tucks or pinches into the seam. Do you see how much more blue fabric there is than the cream. The key to set in sleeves is, sew them in before you sew the side seams up and then make sure the sleeve is on the bottom so the
feed dogs can ease the extra fabric in for you. This happens because the feed dogs pull the bottom fabric more than the top because it is touching the bottom piece, thus pulling it through at a faster pace.

OK - sleeve in, no tucks or to the serger.

The Serger simply gives your sewn seam a finished professional look. You can use sergers for tons of different things, but for my things this is what I use it for. You can totally skip the sewing machine for construction and only use the serger - which will save you a step. I choose to use both because Im selling my item and the process I use give me peace of mind that nothing will come apart on the customer!

See how nice the finish seam looks? If you dont have a serger, you can certainly zig zag the edges, or actually - in this case - you can just leave the seams alone since knit doesnt ravel :) Im a little anal though - so I finish mine.

Okie Dokie Sleeve number 1 is in and pressed! I repeat for the other sleeve and then I sew the side seams and run them through the serger. The last step is to take the other piece of hem trim and put a colorful edge along the bottom edge of the onesie or dress in this case.

And now you have a totally rockin wearable for your little rocker girl to sport alone or with jeans, tights or leg warmers! If I were making a onesie instead all the steps are the same. I would just put the trim around the leg and crotch edge in one swoop and then apply snaps to the crotch. I hope you enjoyed getting to see all the fun I have making my wearables - make sure you stop by the shop sometime~ XOXO
and get to sewing! Make something today!

Im off to the pool! Smooches Divas!


Michelle said...


I am a huge ELVIS FAN!!!!!

I wish that would fit me!!!!


Renee•Candy Stick Lane said...

Im sure we could find another shirt :D Somewhere - like your closet?

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