My husband bought me the ‘Iron Ons’ book by graphic designers ‘Sukie’ for christmas – I believe it was from my amazon wish list, but I have seen these for sale  (new) in oxfam shops. I have been a big fan of ‘Sukie’ wrapping paper for a while and even have a sheet of their mixed font alphabet paper framed in our stairwell. So the opportunity to make some stuff with the quirky cute designs has been very tempting – but not so much that its taken me till March to make use of them!

I had planned to upcycle some old t-shirts with the iron ons, but all the girls’ tees seem to be covered in too many stains for sucessful up-cycling, so I had to buy new. I found these 3 packs of plain colour capped sleeve summer tees in tesco, so bought a pack in size 5-6 and another in 2-3, one set for each for Martha and Alice. I let them pick their own images from the book, with a bit of persuasion from me of course. Martha chose the page of pink and khaki butterflies and the ‘princess castle’ with home sweet home on it. Alice liked the animals in the tree which reminded her of her favorite book of the moment – ‘Stuck’ by Oliver Jefferies (firmly recommended by the way). I chose the two half page alphabet designs the same as I have hanging in the stairwell, the colours in these included the same pink and peppermint green as two of the t-shirts in the packs so I put those onto the dark blue ones, the pink butterflies and 3 cute birds on branches went onto the pale green tees and the tree and palace went onto the pink tees. With the planning done I got out the iron, I do most of my iron ons on the kitchen counter as its firm and flat enough to apply some pressure, I am however pretty tall so can stand on my tippy toes and apply a considerable amount of my body weight to the iron during the process, a sturdy kitchen table would work for shorter folks, but be careful not to scald the surface. You have to have the iron on its hottest setting and no steam or water.

They went on pretty easily, and I am really pleased with the results, 3 super cute t-shirts each for the up-coming summer, that look much more expensive than they actually were. The girls love having an influence in what they wear and this is a such a quick and easy way for us to customise things. And we have loads of these lovely ‘Sukie’ designs left in the book, now lets see, what can we use them on next?…

T-shirt summer dresses

July 8, 2011

I made 4 of these yesterday, I think they took about a half an hour each, however I have had the t-shirts/bodysuits and fabric knocking around now since our last/only spell of hot weather in april. Same concept as the maxi dress I made for myself last year ( They are ‘sew’ easy (see what i did there?).

For Martha’s (4 year old’s) dresses, I took a pack of cheapy t-shirts – I think these were from sainsbury’s (3 for £7) and bought in some fabric for the skirts of the dresses. For the plain white t-shirt I bought a half a metre of fancy floral patterned cotton (£2.25), and for the patterned t-shirt  half a metre of plain old coloured cotton muslin (£1.12) . I made the skirt of each one first by sewing a shear stitch around the top of the skirt to gather it, on the floral patterned fabric which was a bit wider I sewed it twice to gather it up a bit more. To sew a shear stitch replace the bobbin thread with shearing elastic (Gutterman do this in matching colours to your fabric) – I hand wind my elastic bobbins and my machine stretches the elastic onto the bobbin as it winds and the stitch doesn’t work. Then when it was about the same length as the double the width of the t-shirt I swapped the bobbin for the usual thread and sewed the seam and the hem. After measuring her, I made Martha’s ‘skirts’ 40cm long. I marked a line with a pencil 20cm below the neckline all the way around the t-shirt then with the skirt the wrong way out and upside down (see picture) pinned it so the shear stitch followed the pencil line all around the t-shirt. If this sounds confusing my mantra while dressmaking is “good sides together sew on the wrong side”. Swapped the bobbin for the elastic one again and sewed it all the way around, then pulled the skirt down over the bottom of the t-shirt and pressed it down a bit.

I made Alice’s ones with bodysuit/baby vests (sainsbury’s again, 5 for £6.50 I think), -the ones with poppers at the crotch -which provides internal pants to cover her nappy, but in exactly the same way as above.

They are super cute and probably work out at about 3 quid each, maybe a fiver for the one with the fancy fabric, so pretty economical too! I would like to take this opportunity to thank my mum for letting me have the 2 hours required for this project by minding the nippers for me yesterday morning, otherwise I would have had the t-shirts and fabrics sitting about until next summer!