Monday, June 28, 2010

Making more of my daughter's clothes

We live in a climate where it is warm enough to wear summer clothes through October and often into November, even. And not only is it warm enough for summer clothes, but summer clothes are a necessity, really. The typical "back-to-school" clothes stores feature (often long pants and long-sleeves), just don't work for us until after Thanksgiving. So, I've used this to my advantage and buy our version of back-to-school clothes in late June and July when the stores put their summer stuff on sale.

This year I've had no problem scoring some on-sale khaki shorts and knit collar shirts that are the staples of my boys' wardrobes. But my daughter, is a different issue.

She's off to kindergarten in the fall and as much as it pains me to say it, I've pretty much decided I will not be sending her to elementary school in a smocked dress. She wore them several days each week in preschool, and will still wear them to church, but in the 2 years my son has been in elementary school, I've yet to see a girl come out or go in wearing a smocked dress, and perhaps I should not subject my daughter to sticking out like a sore thumb, although a sweetly-dressed sore-thumb she'd be.

However, I refuse to dress her like she's Hannah Montana, or 18, because well, she's not. And, now that she's out of the toddler sizes so many of the stores I used to get her non-smocked clothes at just do not have cute things in her size. And even if I find a skirt I like the pattern, it is usually way shorter than I'm comfortable with my daughter wearing!

So, I've decided I'll either have to pony up the money for things off (which is not always more expensive than the regular stores, it's just they rarely have 30-50% off sales) or make the custom styles I like myself.

This weekend I used this tutorial and recycled some soft-knit t-shirts of mine that were stained/worn in some places but still had large portions of usable material and made her this skirt:

Now I am uncrafty, so the fact that I could complete the skirt at all is saying a lot about the low level of difficulty, but when the tutorial refers to the fact that you can finish the skirt in less than 60 minutes, you might want to triple or quadruple that estimate if you are a beginner seamstress, like me, and have to refer to your sewing machine manual to even load the bobbin!

But, I did get so comfortable and have so much fun making the ruffles, that I went on to embellish this t-shirt with ruffles to go with the skirt. It was a plain white Old Navy $5 shirt to begin with, but to use my daughter's descriptive words was "not fancy". Adding the ruffles really
was easy and quick and I love how it turned out! I really want to make one for myself, now!

And because creating cute things for my little girl to wear is more fun than say, mopping my floor or scrubbing off the mystery gunk that is dripping down my white kitchen cabinets, I went on to also make this little hair clip to go with the outfit. I just cut a circle out of the extra pieces of knit t-shirt, pulled it in the center and twisted a tiny bit and sewed it with needle and thread, then added the button and sewed the whole thing to an alligator clip. Again, very easy! And you can absolutely trust me on the easy-part!

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.


  1. You did an amazing job! Sewing knits is not the easiest thing to do. Wow.

  2. Lovely! I'm lucky that my daughter is teeny tiny--she will be able to wear toddler clothes into elementary school...mixed blessing. :/

  3. yes the clothes kids wear now are so much different than when my girls were in Kindergarten. They wore dresses to school and they fit right in I do love the clothes that you are creating for your daughter

  4. So cute! I have a boy and wish I'd had a girl, just to dress her (not really because I love my boy!). I too, sew, and made my clothes growing up, and well, I am not about to make things for my son as they are so inexpensive. Adorable things you have made for her!

  5. That's adorable!!! You did fantastic :)

  6. I think little boys clothes vary less, and I'm really thankful! My little guy goes to kindergarten this August and I'm thinking the hand-me-down sports shirts and shorts he's been wearing will be just fine!

    I really like what you are doing though. What little girls are wearing to school is not something I'd want my little girl going in. If I had one! :)

  7. The outfit is just darling. I agree it is hard with today's fashions to dress a little girl like a LITTLE girl instead of a mini teen. Your post stirred my memory (as soo many of yours do) back to when Melody started KG. I made EVERYTHING she wore. How much fun I had. She had a VERY elaborate wardrobe of just the cutest things ever. Now while I was a pretty seasoned semstress, the stuff I made her was easy and quick. Such cute fabrics they have these days too. I could see many possibilities in my mind. Wish I lived close enough to you to show you some quick and easy possibilities. This is a subject I could get on and go on and on but I will try and refrain, haha. But I had matching bows, socks, earrings etc. Soo fun. Have a good day. HUGS, Debbie

  8. It is definitely hard to find things that are modest. :( Thankfully, we have a few ladies that sew and we have been able to scour a few thrift stores to find some great finds. :D

  9. I hear you! When I had to go to the "big girl's" section to buy shorts for my 5 1/2 year old this summer I was shocked. Apparently, buying modest and age-appropriate clothes is not an easy task! One of the reasons I'm glad I know how to sew! I would also recommend Land's End, their kid clothes are durable, modest, AND age-appropriate. They are also having an amazing sale on their summer stuff right now...which my kiddos will also be able to wear into early October : )

  10. Super Cute! Good Job and Good Luck on the "Tip Me Tuesday" drawling!
    Kristen ;O)


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