Liberty Print Refashion
I grew up wearing a steady stream of old clothing — but not the vintage kind. My dad was (and still is) a camp director and we lived on property. Each summer hundreds of campers would leave behind towels, tennis shoes, t-shirts and shorts. All of their unclaimed belongings made their way into my dresser at the end of the summer. While being a camp director might be an awesome job, it’s not always lucrative.
Because of my mismatched appearance as a kid I had dreams that some day I would buy my dream wardrobe, but that never quite worked out for me. First I was the average struggling college student. Then I waited tables for a while and followed that by making stained glass windows. Then I got a job at a non-profit organization.
You can see where I’m going here.
Eventually the dream of buying new clothes just seemed exhausting and unnecessary since I’d already gone so long scrounging up things from sale racks and other people’s closets. On a typical day the bulk of my outfit is made up of a hand-me-down from my mom or my mother-in-law, with a splash of clothing leftover from high school or from Goodwill. Of course, I have the occasional really nice piece of clothing I have received for any given holiday — I’m not trying to sound deprived here. I’ve got more than I need.
My lack of love for shopping aside, I kind of fell in love with the Liberty of London stuff at Target this summer. The fabric was wonderful, but the cut and style of the clothes weren’t great. Neither were the prices. I just couldn’t to spring for a $30 dress. However, I became mildly obsessed with finding some clothing on clearance so I could turn it into something I might wear. So I waited, hoping for a sale. Then I got smarter and skipped the sales and went directly to Goodwill. Success.
A size large Liberty halter dress, some two-inch wide elastic and a shirt I no longer wear met my scissors and sewing machine this weekend. Now I have a simple summer dress made of Liberty of London fabric. It looks like any other $20 elastic waist dress you’d find in the stores, but it wasn’t $20 and it’s just what I was looking for.
I’m sure there are lots of tutorials for this sort of thing out there, but in short simply do the following:
• You’ll need:
– 2 inch wide elastic the length of the circumference of your waist, plus and inch
– A slim fitting t-shirt
– A rectangle of fabric that is 2 times the width of your hips, plus 4 inches. You might even get away with using a cool pillowcase.
– Sewing machine with zig zag stitch
– Pins for holding it all in place
• Take piece of 2 inch elastic and wrap it comfortably around your waist, overlapping approximately 1/2 inch.
• Stitch down where the elastic overlaps with two vertical sets of zig zag stitches.
• With your skirt fabric already hemmed and sewn at the sides so that it is a tube that fits comfortably over your hips, run a loose long stitch around the top, unfinished edge. Then pull the loose ends and gather the fabric until the skirt is evenly ruffled.
• Insert the gathered edge of the skirt within the elastic band you have created. Pin in place. Then stitch the fabric and elastic together using a zig zag stitch around the middle of the elastic. (After my trial and error, I’d suggest a stitch length of 2 or 3)
• With the skirt attached to the band you can just stop there and have a simple skirt, or you can add the shirt. If adding a shirt, find a t-shirt that fits your body fairly closely so that the circumference fits just within the elastic band. Pin and then stitch in place with a zig zag stitch a the top edge of the elastic.
• I disliked having the top edge of the skirt showing on the inside of the dress and so I stitched the shirt down along the bottom edge of the elastic as well, encasing the rough edges of the skirt fabric between the t-shirt and the elastic.
• Cut the excess t-shirt fabric off inside the dress. Tie off all loose threads.
Probably better with pictures, eh? Just know that it’s really easy and won’t take much of your day. I promise.