Nifty & Thrifty Tutorial

I'm happy to bring you this little dress upcycle that I had been thinking about for a few days after coming across some clothes hanging in my laundry room that have not been worn for several years and were due to either go to the benevolent clothing room or the trash can!

However, I have been following Marisa's blog for a couple of weeks and was feeling inspired to get my sewing machine busy and turn my proverbial trash into new treasure!

We are going to name her - ummm, how about Bertie?  

Hello Bertie, now aren't you matronly.

So here is Bertie the Beauty before I did anything besides wash her. Tag said dry clean only, but I washed on delicate and hung her to dry - a little trick I learned in my Fashion Merchandising course in college.  Sometimes manufacturers put "dry clean only" on the tag when they are too cheap to do the testing needed for laundering. 

Excuse my blurry shots - Bertie's busy pattern was not the easiest to photograph.

So first and foremost we had to remove some buttons.  I'm a button hoarder from way back and even have little containers that I keep them separated by color. (Mmmmm OCD much?)

Never miss a button opportunity, I say!

Now, let's get down to it.... I had tried Bertie on and decided I would cut off the top bodice and part of the bottom to leave a fun little summer skirt.  Actually these buttons went down low enough that I decided to leave a couple of them and use them as my new fastener for my skirt.

No sense making any more work for myself, right?

I went ahead and whacked the top bodice of Bertie off and saved her for .....IDK, I just save stuff!  You never know when you might need a piece of some random fabric for some other project, or at least that's what the voices tell me.

I had planned to cut this off about the knee and just put in a simple hem and call it good, but then after cutting it off - I had a ruffle epiphany!  {did you hear the trumpets sound?}

Here is the bottom part of Bertie that was destined to join that top bodice piece in No-Man's Scrapland.

So, I took it a step further and decided that I could cut off part of the very bottom of this scrap, put in a little gather stitch and sew it back on my skirt on for a sweet ruffle.  How clever am I?

I went ahead and turned under the raw edges of the skirt and the ruffle and put in a little finish so it wouldn't unravel and look all messy. Alternatively you can put in a tight zig-zag stitch or use your serger for a nice finish...but me and my no-serger-having self just did it the old fashioned way...but I'm not bitter or anything. 

Next step was a long basting stitch along the top part of the ruffle piece to gather in for the ruffle affect.

I will stop here and we'll visit Hindsight-land.

Looking back I would have done something differently at this point because my ruffle was just not as ruffly as I wanted. Boo.

What I could have done was cut a piece from that top bodice scrap piece and add it to the ruffle piece before gathering so there would have been more fabric to gather to add volume to my ruffle.

So here's a little math formula for you:  Ruffle + Fabric = Volume
(there will be a quiz later)

Anyway, back to Foresight-land:

So I carefully pulled the ends of the threads to gather up the piece.  Then I pinned on the ruffle to my skirt bottom, right sides together and pulled and pinned and adjusted until it was all in place.

Then it was time to sew!  Once it was sewn on I ironed the seam allowance down toward the ruffle.  I am a huge believer in utilizing my iron when I sew.  I think it helps keep the piece looking professional.  Thank you Mrs Pew! (my high school Sewing teacher)

I did take in the waist a little on the side seams so it would fit better, then I just simply finished the top raw edge and turned under, pinned, ironed, and sewed a topstitch.  If I had wanted to make Bertie's new waist have a little more substance, there are several options I could have done using elastic, some interfacing, etc, but I chose the easy route for this project.

And here is the new and improved Bertie: 

please excuse my wrinkled shirt, I had worn this to work and stuffed it in my gym bag when I changed to walk after work and pulled it back out to photograph.

As you can see, her ruffle is there, but not with a lot of volume - bummer.

Bertie is a nice, cool and comfortable little number that sits below the waist.  I am thinking she and I had a nice reaquanitance.  She will be a good go to skirt this summer!

I wasn't sure how the whole button thing would turn out, but I kind of like the button detail.

And Bertie may still be a little matronly with not-a-lotta volume, but by golly she will still attempt to do a little twirl every once in a while!

I think I will rename her Brazen Bertie! ;)

Okay, so tell me what you think about this tutorial...any more ideas for Bertie?  Anyone else want to try a Nifty and Thrifty project? I'd love to add your tutorial!

I have another dress that I plan to refashion in a different way so I welcome any feedback I can use for the next Nifty & Thrifty.  

Bertie is linked up over here!
Check out the other great tutorials.
Join  us Saturdays at tatertotsandjello.com for the weekend wrap up  party!


Anonymous said...

How cute! Lucky you can do something like that.Im not talented in the sewing catagory,lol.I just made one dress in my lifetime in Home Ec class in juniour high and I couldnt wait til it was all over,lol.I love croceht but sewing isnt my thing.

I like it cause it looks very light weight for summertime.

Have a great friday!

Anonymous said...

lol@ my spelling Its morning here and Im in a rush .

Unknown said...

awesome! I just got a sewing machine and am earning so i cant wait to see more little projects like this!

Deana said...

Ummmm.... ADORABLE! Your are just TOO talented, Kim!

Have a great weekend! :-)

Bekka said...

Fantastic! I have a couple of old dresses I need to try this with. They're in my giveaway pile...I might have to rescue them!

Charlie said...

Love this! and I like the button detail. 1. It made less work for you (always a plus in my book) and 2. It gives the skirt personality!

I will be sewing more when I get settled in California. Less than a week at this point until the big move. Yikes!

Nice work Kim!

Rad Runner said...

Look at you with your fancy fine creative self! It Looks WONDERFUL!

Unknown said...

Good job, you little seamstress, you. :) Good idea with the ruffle!

Ali @ Honey and Maple Syrup said...

Very creative! And I think the ruffle adds a nice touch =)

Fonville Farm said...

How cute! I just love it!

a little bit of everything said...

Excellent redo !

Amber @ Paint Chips and Frying Pans said...

Love the refashion! The skirt is much more chic than the dress. :)


Unknown said...

Very Cool Kim... shorter would be good with your super long gams too.

Anonymous said...

Way to go!!! I love it lady :)