Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fixing a Favorite

I would be willing to bet that if I polled 100 individual parents of children under age five right now, 98 of them would tell me that their child owns a favorite article of clothing. You know it's a favorite because they beg to wear it when it's dirty, (if you were able to get it off of them to begin with) and it's never known the inside of a drawer because as soon as it comes out of the dryer the child wears it again. In our family my middle son has a favorite pair of socks. He got the blue hospital issue socks when he had his tonsils out a couple of years ago and he wears them as much as possible. My oldest son, (being past the age of five and way too mature for such silliness) doesn't have anything that would qualify as a favorite, but our daughter has an outfit that falls into the category with flourish.

Mistress Monstress 'frow-uped' all over herself at the happiest place on earth. That's right, at the end of the firework spectacular by Cinderella's Castle in the middle of a huge crowd of people, she brought out her dinner for all to see. And, she thoughtfully did it all over her clothes. Being November and night time, we needed another outfit and since I (mistakenly) thought we were past the age of extra clothes and didn't have anything with us. So, my husband ran to get her something new and overpriced to wear while I dashed to the bathroom to clean her up the best I could with nothing but wipes. The resulting outfit was one that quickly became a favorite and was worn as much as possible for the entire winter. It was an appropriate choice for a two year old girl's favorite because it met a multitude of girly criteria:

1. It was purple.
2. It had ruffles. Lots and lots of ruffles.
3. It had shiny purple hearts on the leggings, and most importantly...
4. It incorporated not one, not two, but three of the Disney Princesses on one shirt front.

Unfortunately, as winter draws to a close, the most important of Mommy criteria was no longer being met; it was getting way too small. The sleeves missed her wrists by a good inch, the leggings missed her ankles by several inches, and the ruffly shirt that was meant to go past her little diaper butt no longer met it's mark. In short (sorry, couldn't resist) it needed to go to the goodwill pile. Or did it? Figuring I had nothing to lose I decided to see what I could do to extend the life of Mistress Monstress's favorite princess outfit. This is something that could be done for any little girl to just about any shirt too!

The original shirt. Adorable, I know, but too small! I kept the leggings as is, since short leggings just look like capris.
I started by painstakingly removing every bit of ruffle and trim from the bottom and saved them all for later. They do come in handy!
Next I took the sleeves from long to short. I measured up from the cuff instead of the shoulder, that way I got a better measurement and the right angle on the sleeve for the new cuff. Make sure to leave enough for a new hem!
The new top for a dress!
I was lucky enough to find purple knit that was nearly perfect to match the existing top. I cut a rectangle that was twice the distance around the bottom of the top of the shirt, did a gathering stitch along the edge, and pulled the thread to gather the edge. Make sure to divide the skirt into fourths before you gather.
Divide the top into four equal parts, and adjust your gathers to make the skirt fit. Pin all the way around and stitch in place. Remove gathering threads if necessary.
Next, I attached the purple ribbon back to the waist of the dress.
Remember those ruffles? I reattached them to the bottom of the dress.
All that was left was a new hem in the sleeves, I used a twin needle and hemmed them about 3/4 of an inch.
And here you go! By purchasing $3 worth of purple knit, I got another season out of Mistress Monstress's favorite outfit. She was SO excited and begged to put it on right away, so I'll call this one a success!


  1. Love it! You are WAY more patient than me! But I am sure the smile on your little ones face made it worth all the time! Very resourceful!

  2. I made your HOME pillow and I love it! Now I am on a pillow craze :) I had to hand sew the whole thing b/c my machine broke, but it was relaxing in a way - thanks!

  3. I want to see a picture! Good for you!

  4. I like it better than the original! Great job!