Mens Sweatshirt to Ladies Tank Top *Refashion*

My boyfriend is one of those people who wears something once or twice and then gets bored of it.
This sweatshirt was one of those things.

Mens Sweatshirt Refashion Into Ladies Tank Top

When he said that he no longer wanted it, of course I swooped in and hung it on my to-refashion rail. I like the design, and it looks new because he probably wore it only once. Now it’s all miiiiiiine. I got out my scissors and sewing machine, and an hour later I had this:

Mens Sweatshirt Refashion Into Ladies Tank TopI love it!

Here’s a quick how-to if you’re interested:

Refashion a mens sweatshirt into a ladies tank top!

Firstly you need to find a tank top that fits and place it on top of the sweatshirt.

Mens Sweatshirt Refashion Into Ladies Tank Top

Cut around it, leaving some seam allowance. You should leave a good couple of inches if the top you’re using as a guide is stretchy and the sweatshirt isn’t. You might also want to cut off the store label!

Mens Sweatshirt Refashion Into Ladies Tank Top

I chose to leave the hem in place until I tried the top on. Only then did I decide to cut it away, too – but you could do this at the beginning. If so, put it, along with the sleeves and neckline, to one side (you may use these for something else; waste not, want not!)

Next, with right sides together, sew down the two sides.

Mens Sweatshirt Refashion Into Ladies Tank Top

You may leave the top like this if you like – after turning it right side out, of course – as the edges shouldn’t fray if it’s made of a normal sweatshirt material. However if you are not too keen on this look, you can turn under the edges of the hem, neckline and armholes and sew, close to the edge. (Which is what I did, after some deliberation!)

Mens Sweatshirt Refashion Into Ladies Tank Top

And there you have it – a new top in an evening, and an old sweatshirt saved from landfill.

Quick selfie!

*Refashion* Mens Sweatshirt into a Ladies Tank Top

Beth x

Kids Clothes Week ~ Upcycled Trousers

Last Friday I found out that it’s Kids Clothes Week this week. This is a challenge where you sew clothes for your kids for an hour every day for seven days. The theme this season is ‘upcycled.’ So it’s right up my street!

I didn’t have any time to plan so on Monday I plucked an idea out of my head and dove straight in.

I remembered that I bought these funky trousers [I’m tempted to call them jeans but they’re not really… The fabric is a nice medium weight and has some stretch] in a charity shop for the sole purpose of refashioning them:

Trousers to upcycle

Look at the print! Cute or what?!!

print close up

They were originally from Topshop and size 8; meant for a woman… I think that fairytale print is destined for a little girl… So on Monday I cut them up to fit my little girl. I used a pair of jeans that fit her nicely to figure out what size to cut the legs. I wanted the legs, back pockets and waistband; the middle chunk was saved for another time.

upcycling trousers

I’m not sure if that took me one hour – if it did that was rather slow of me… But I guess I did make sure I was doing it right and had some distractions – namely EastEnders – oh, and I did also press the seams of pockets ready for sewing!

On Tuesday I started the fun bit – or rather, what was supposed to be the fun bit; sewing it all together. Instead of my prescribed one hour sewing, I took nearly three. I think I did more unpicking than sewing. But eventually, I ended up with this; a mini pair of trousers:

Toddler trousers - upcycled from a woman's pair of trousers @AfterDarkSewing

Awwwwww 🙂

After the success of last weeks dungarees, I was feeling confident. If I can make dungarees out of old jeans, I should be able to make trousers, right? Well the result is – right… but that waistband nearly finished me off. More on that later.

The first thing I did was sew the back pockets in place. I didn’t bother with front pockets. Life’s too short; she’s only nearly-2. I’m much happier with these little pockets than I am with those on last week’s dungarees. They sit in line perfectly.

Toddler trousers - upcycled from a woman's pair of trousers @AfterDarkSewing

I toyed with the idea of inserting the fly but came to the conclusion that it would be too much effort seeing as it probably/hopefully won’t be needed; I never use the zip if there is one on my daughter’s trousers. So I saved that for another upcycle!

Next I stitched the crotch together and then tackled the waistband. Keeping the original was supposed to make life easier, but it just wasn’t playing fair. It was fiddly, and when I eventually got it stitched down in place pretty neatly, I took it off the machine and was greeted with this:

Toddler trousers - upcycled from a woman's pair of trousers @AfterDarkSewing

Can you feel my pain? It took me forever to unpick that mess. And I couldn’t even see a reasonable explanation for it. And then when I re-stitched the waistband in place, of course it wasn’t as neat as it was the first time. ARGHH!! But I kept reminding myself that my daughter is growing fast and they won’t be worn for long so does it matter if they’re not perfect? No.

Every cloud has a silver lining, though. I forgot to leave gaps to insert some elastic the first time – so I did that on the second try! It was fiddly but I shoved a piece in the back and stitched it down on both sides, so that it’s just elasticated at the back. I’m pleased with how this turned out!

Upcycle old trousers into cute girl's one! @AfterDarkSewing

Did you notice the label/ribbon above all the mess, though? That, I do like. I sewed it on top of the Topshop label – just in case anyone would have thought Topshop made them. They do still have the Topshop (Moto) button on the front, though. Oh well – it’s not a bad brand!

Toddler trousers - upcycled from a woman's pair of trousers @AfterDarkSewing

I’m pretty pleased with how the button sits. It took me some time to figure out how to get it all lined up, but I did it! I topstitched some lines where the pockets and fly would be, but you can barely see them because I don’t have a proper thick topstitching thread and my thread was a very good colour match!

Upcycle old trousers into cute girl's one! @AfterDarkSewing

Yes, they are a bit long. I will probably do something about that, though, because they’re a bit low on the bum. This is possibly because my little one wears cloth nappies so could be rectified by potty training; but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen anytime soon. So I will probably sew further down the crotch to make them bigger in the bum and consequently shorter in the leg.

Upcycle old trousers into cute girl's one! @AfterDarkSewing

Yeah… she doesn’t seem to mind, but they are rather low down her bum!

There’s still four days left of Kids Clothes Week and I have an order of matching girl’s skirts to fulfil. Of course I will be back to share them! Til then… Happy upcycling!

Beth x

Jeans to Girl’s Dungarees Refashion

I’m sooo excited about this make. I have to say that I’m feeling pretty proud of myself right now.

I made my 5 1/2 year old some dungarees; she’s been pestering me for some ever since I made her little sister some last year.

Upcycle jeans to girl's dungarees! @AfterDarkSewing

If you have been reading my blog for a while you might remember that I made my last dungarees with the help of Made by Toya’s fantastic free pattern. Well the pattern is for a 2 year old, and I wanted one for a 5 year old. So, I had to use my noodle this time round. I didn’t even bother looking for another ready-made pattern, which in hindsight was rather odd.

My motivation to get them made this month was my recent joining of The Monthly Stitch. If you’re not aware of this, it’s basically a collective of sewists who can join in with monthly challenges related to sewing. And you can dip in and out as you wish so I joined in December and will partake in any challenges that I fancy! Hopefully it will keep me sewing and push me further into experienced-seamstress-land.

January’s challenge was ‘Denim Never Dies.’ I imagine the name was borne from the fact that denim never goes out of fashion, but I took another approach to the ‘never dies’ part of the name in that I used recycled denim.

I started with this:

jeans to upcycle

And had a lot of fun chopping them up into this:

chopped up jeans

[In case you’re curious, here’s the tutorial that I used for cutting them up so that I got as much fabric as possible out of them. I was only left with a few scraps.]

So next I thought about how to go about creating dungarees to fit my daughter. Luckily my daughter has a dungaree-dress that fits so I basically copied the bodice, adding on a seam allowance. I drew quite a generous seam allowance so that I could make it smaller if I needed too! I took a risk here because I went straight ahead and cut out the denim. I guess because it was free I didn’t panic about wasting it. Or maybe I have a lot of faith in myself?!

making dungarees

I took out Made by Toya’s dungarees pattern and measured the clothes up against it. As you can see below, my daughter’s jeans are not much bigger than the pattern for a 2-year-old(!) so that helped a lot.

RTW jeans

First, I made the bodice. I had to cut the pieces in two halves rather than a whole because of the small amount of fabric I had. But I think the seam running down the centre isn’t too noticeable.

Upcycle jeans to girl's dungarees! @AfterDarkSewing

The first thing I did was to decorate the bodice pocket. You may have seen the sneak peek I showed on my Sunday Sevens post last week! I embroidered a Hello Kitty face using a simple chain stitch. And it’s not perfect – her face should be more squashed than circular – but I’m pretty darn proud of it!

Hello Kitty Embroidery

So that went on the front pocket of the bodice. That pocket was one of the most irritating parts of the whole project because I attempted the topstitching along the top edge three times to get it accurate! And then found that the denim had stretched so the pocket is not as square as it should be… I hope it’s not too noticeable.

I’m happy with the back bodice, which all lined up pretty damn perfectly even if I do say so myself. You can’t really see but the centre seam is spot on running into the ‘v’!

Upcycle jeans to girl's dungarees! @AfterDarkSewing

I used a hot pink thread instead of a blue that would have been more forgiving for wonky stitching for two reasons: 1) There was a bonus ‘pink’ challenge on The Monthly Stitch so I thought I would incorporate some pink (hence also the pink linings), and 2) it makes it that bit more unique!

I had a moment of sheer genius-ness when I thought I could use the belt loops on the jeans to create the loops for the straps to go through (I wanted to copy the dress’s straps that I was using for reference/measuring).

Girls dungarees

I love how that part turned out. The straps slip through the loops, fold over and fasten with a purple heart button. The buttons don’t match, but hey-ho, I was using what I already have.

Upcycle jeans to girl's dungarees! @AfterDarkSewing

I then sewed up the bodice as per Toya’s dungaree pattern. All went swimmingly, I am very proud to report!

Upcycle jeans to girl's dungarees! @AfterDarkSewing

Finally I got started on the trousers section. I totally made this up as I went along because I made them differently to how you usually make basic trousers. I had to cut up another pair of jeans (incidentally although they’re too short for me they’re one of my favourite pairs; this was the ultimate sacrifice!)

Jeans to refashion into dungarees

Yes, I did only start the trousers once the bodice was finished; a risky move because I wasn’t sure if I could even find some matching denim… but I was getting excited!! Luckily the denim is a pretty good match.

I literally chopped off the legs and kept them as they were – I just cut curves into the crotch to make that, and unpicked some of the seam on each side to fit the pockets in. The jeans were bootcut so rather flared on a five-year-old, so I narrowed one of the seams on each leg; but I kept the thick seam and the hems!

Upcycle jeans to girl's dungarees! @AfterDarkSewing

I flipped the legs around so that the part that’s more faded and worn from my knees is at the back – and it doesn’t look bad at all.

Upcycle jeans to girl's dungarees! @AfterDarkSewing

My daughter loves the front pockets as they are apparently bigger than normal ones! I cut them (and also the lining for the bodice front pocket) in a Hello Kitty fabric I had lying around. I love that I could make an item of clothing so uniquely tailored to my daughter’s taste! I don’t know what happened to the length of the pocket, by the way, but it was all OK in the end!

Little girls Hello Kitty dungarees

The lining for the front pockets, back pockets and bodice is a pink spotty “fabric” that was a duvet cover. So this really is an upcycled garment!

Because I made the trousers a funny way (keeping that seam and hems) it did take me quite some time to get them sewn up… the main annoyance was the back pockets. They’re still not straight now, which bugs me – it really shows up in the photo below – but to be honest I’d had enough of the stretchy denim!

Upcycle jeans to girl's dungarees! @AfterDarkSewing

As you can see, I also did some embroidery on these pockets – Hello Kitty’s bow and initials. I am aware that the K is a bit wonky; I should have taken more time over it to be honest. I was impressed with my youngest daughter who said ‘Hello Kitty’ when I was halfway through the bow! Bless her, she has excellent observation skills. She’s only 2; she clearly has an older sister with Hello Kitty everything!

All that was left to do once I’d got the trousers stitched right(ish) was to attach it to the bodice. I have to say I’m pretty impressed with my seam matching considering the denim is stretchy!

I slipstitched the bodice lining in place to cover the messy seam – this is probably my favourite part of the whole garment!!

Upcycle jeans to girl's dungarees! @AfterDarkSewing

I literally finished these at 10:30 last night – with today, the last day of January and the Denim Never Dies Challenge deadline, left to take photos and put up this post!

Sorry that was loooong but there was a lot to say!! Well done for getting to the end – and thanks! 🙂

Upcycle jeans to girl's dungarees! @AfterDarkSewing

Bring on the next challenge, I say – which is ‘solid colours’ if you’re curious…

Beth x