couture cutie: a tutorial

Do you have access to a women's skirt that isn't in use? How about a men's tee? If so, read on, and I'll show you how I upcycled both of those items to create a new outfit for my little Couture Cutie!
I had an old skirt in my closet (size xl), and I scored the tee (size l) from Old Navy for 97 cents (Iknowright??!)
 I was inspired by the Matilda Jane outfits (or similar boutique style outfits) that are so popular right now. I wanted to make something just as fashionable for my daughter without the couture price tag. So I did.Using your basic knowledge for making pants and a shirt, you can, too!

To begin with, I highly recommend you measure your daughter's waist, and cut for those measurements plus seam allowance. I, however, had a tape measure that was MIA (thank you, toddler-hood), so I grabbed a pair of pants that I was certain fit the waist, with a bit of wiggle room. 

I was able to use my skirt from waist to hem, so that made it easy to cut the pants using the existing side seams, as well as the existing zipper. By doing so, the zipper provided me with an instant finished waist once the pants were together. (If I hadn't had this option, I would have created a simple elastic waist for the pants. If you decide to go this route, don't forget to add material to the top to create your elastic casing when the time comes.)
 As I traced the fabric for the cut of the pant, I used the natural A-line of the skirt to help create a flared pant leg. I mimicked this flare on either side of the leg, as noted in the image below. 
 Again, I used the side seams on the skirt, so that I only had to cut a total of two pant leg pieces out of the fabric. 
 I decided to dress up the ruffle of the pant leg with some lace trim. To do so, I opened each pant leg, and pinned the trim into place. 
 I used some contrasting thread, along with a fancy stitch (I'm so technical with these terms, aren't I?) when stitching the trim in place in order to add a pop of color.

 Once the trim is attached, I went ahead finished the pants by pinning them right sides together, and sewing up the two side curves. Then I opened the pants (still right sides together) and shifted the material so that the curves I had just sewn were now in the front and back, creating obvious legs. I pinned the leg material together, and sewed up those seams. (I apologize that I didn't take pictures of this, but I figured that with all the pant tutorials out there, if you weren't familiar with putting them together, you could easily find out how.)
 If you had to chose between either using your existing skirt hem for the pant hem, or your existing skirt waist for your pant waist, go ahead and finish the opposite side, as needed. And there you have it! Pants! You've already finished half of your couture outfit! 
   (with some cute details to boot!)
Now, let's move onto the tank top. Again, I began the shirt by using an existing well fitting tank for my daughter to use as a pattern guide. With this, I traced out both a front and back piece for my tank top. As you can kind of see under the arm, I cut the tank in a more fitted way, anticipating that I would want a more fitted look with the flared pants.
Then, I used a piece of remaining fabric from the original skirt to cut out the bib shape. I didn't use anything for a pattern here, I really just winged it based on the size/shape I wanted to create.
However, in order to get a nice, rounded bottom for the bib, I folded the fabric in half, and used a bowl to mark off the corners for cutting.

 Now, to get the top of the bib to match the neckline of the tank, I placed the bib, still folded in half, under the tank, which was also folded in half. I traced the neckline of the tank onto the bib fabric, and then cut. 
*Although I didn't grab a photo, once the bib was cut to my liking, I added a piece of lightweight fusible interfacing to the back in order to help the bib maintain it's shape and position once attached to the shirt. I think something like Heat and Bond would also work just as well.* Then, I pinned and sewed the bib into place onto the front of the tank. No need to worry about raw edges...you'll be covering them with trim.

Now it's time to have some fun picking out and adding details to the bib! I added one trim at a time, using lace that matched the pants, and then some bright ric rac, by simply laying them out and stitching them into place on top of the big edges.

Stop now, and admire your work thus far. Get excited...it's coming together! 
Place your fabric right sides together, line up and pin the shoulders together. You will now be sewing your shoulder seams.
Okay, so now it's time to create the binding for the arm holes. Again, there are so very many ways to accomplish this next step. This is just the way I used, and I found it pretty simple. A tape measure (which was found a bit later, no thanks to toddler-hood) helped me to eyeball how much knit I would need to create the arm hole binding. I measured generously, knowing it would be easier to cut off excess then to start over due to a shortage. Choose your desired width for your pieces, and then create your binding by ironing each side in, lengthwise, to meet in the middle. Fold in half lengthwise, and iron again, so that you have a binding to sandwich your raw edge arm sleeves in. Pin, and sew into place. (If you were to make your shirt out of something other than a knit material, you would want this part to be cut on the bias to give it the needed stretch.)

Once your arm bindings are attached, stop and pat yourself on the back. That step can be tedious and slow, but you did it! Now, pin the sides of the shirt, right sides together, and sew up your side seams. You're almost there! Just the collar to finish now! You can either create another strip of binding for your collar piece, or, you can do as I did, and use the existing collar from your original tee. It takes some time to rip the seams and open it up, but if you watch some HIMYM while doing so, it will go a lot more quickly. 
Okay, ready? Now attach your collar piece by placing right sides together, raw edges matching. Pin and sew into place. Once done, I ironed my seams down and added a top stitch around the collar to hold the seams in place. 
Again, stop and admire. You're basically done! Just time to gather your final details, such as buttons, and your hand sewing supplies. 
Attach desired final touches as you see fit. 
And that's it! You're finished! You've created an adorable, stylish outfit out of upcycled materials! 

This calls for a celebration...dress your cutie up in her new digs, and go show off! 
 Add some fabulous accessories, like adorable shoes, sweet shades (yep, that's a direct quote from the girl) and a matching hair bow! 
 Practice all the moves, make sure the outfit is as ready for anything as she is! 
 And most importantly...

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  1. Cute outfit! I love the details, makes it much more couture! :)

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  3. Super cute Nicky! You are so creative, with such a great eye for colors and details. Love it!

    1. A high compliment coming from a talented seamstress such as yourself!! Thanks, Angie!

  4. That's gorgeous! Great interpretation of couture, without the price tag! And all without patterns :) !

    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate you taking the time to comment, and for dropping by. :)

  5. Wow, your neck and armhole binding look impeccable! Really cute remake! Love the photos!!

    1. Thank you so much! Thanks for posting your link party :)

  6. Sooo cute! I love that the outfit is super girly even though the colors aren't. Thank you for linking up!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting :)

  7. Great tutorial! The outfit fits like a glove, and is absolutely darling! And Bluebird looks very pleased with it indeed. Good job!


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