Friday, September 26, 2008

Tank-top Refashion - How-to make an Infant Tank Onesie!

I have been extremely interested in the concept of "wardrobe refashion" lately. Basically it's where you take old clothes that either don't fit, were given to you or were even purchased at a garage sale or the local Goodwill and then create something new out of it. This something new could be more clothing for yourself, your kids, or a friend! It could be a new handbag, a duvet, or a quilt! Whatever floats your boat. The idea is to be less wasteful and to save money (which is the main reason why I do clothes are expensive!).

I have been researching wardrobe refashion, also called "clothing recycling", for a good couple of months now. I have been having trouble finding any good instructions or patterns! It's so frustrating! Specifically, I want to make kids clothes out of adult and older childrens clothes. Why is this so difficult? So I decided "enough is enough" and I have to just take it upon my oh-so-creative self and just "wing it." I can do this, right? Of course! So my house has been a little kids clothing factory for the last two days and I am whipping up onesies like it is going out of style! So I am going to give specific instructions on how I got from step-to-step. Okay? Here goes!

So here is the FINISHED tank-top style ONESIE. This is about an 18-24 month size.

Now let's see what it looked like to start. Here We have a size 7/8 tank from Children's Place:

Now on to the instructions.

STEP 1: Turn the tank top inside out and lay flat on work surface with bottom hems lined up nice and straight.

STEP 2: Find a onesie to use for a pattern. I actually used a 12 month size but after adding some crotch length and teeny bits along the side, it ended up fitting more like an 18 or 24 month size. Not sure what happened there but hey, my daughter will grow into it (and 12 months is almost too small now!).

Lay the onesie right side up on top of the tank and pin into place. Line up the back necklines of the onesie and the tank top (as shown). Pin the tank top straps together, horizontally, where the onsie shoulder stops. This is were you will sew to shorten the strap length to fit your baby. With a fabric pencil, draw a straight line from right and left side of onesie down to the hem of the tank top (as shown).

STEP 3: Cut fabric of tank on the line you just drew and following that line up and along the sides of the onesie. Remove onesie and pin the tank top together along sides to hold in place for sewing.

STEP 4: Take one of the strips you just cut off the side of the tank and cut a 1 5/8" wide by 4 inch long piece. This measurement does not have to be exact but it just needs to be big enough to overlap for the crotch and have room for the snaps. I used the sides with the existing serging from the orginal tank to save me a step later on. See below. Stitch, close to the edge, along the two short sides, trim excess fabric, and turn right side out, hiding stitching. Press flat. Do the same for the other piece.

STEP 5: Now pin the two pieces you just made to the existing bottom hem of the tank. Overlap by 5/8" and make sure it is centered and that the two flaps will overlap the same. If you had to cut the bottom hem off to short the onesie then you should finish the edge by serging or sewing a hem FIRST, then attach the flaps.

STEP 6: Stitch sides of tank using a 5/8" seam allowance. Stitch the bottom flaps close to the edge. I used a zig-zag stich and sewed right along the serged edge. Also stitch along the pin attached to the straps. Cut the straps to 1/4" of seam. See below. Then stitch those flaps down and trim away excess material.

STEP 7: Using a snap kit, attach however many snaps as you would like to the bottom flaps. Follow the directions on the back of the snap kit package. I used this snap kit from JoAnn Fabrics.

STEP 8: Next cut 2 strips of bias tape or ribbon 2 1/2" inches long. Fray check the ends of the ribbon. While that is drying, pin or mark along the side seam of the tank onesie about 4 1/2" inches up from the bottom edge.

STEP 9: Baste two lines up the sides on either side of the seam, stopping at the pin or mark you made earlier. Do this on both sides. Pull the thread to gather the sides to just under 2 1/2". Pin the ribbon or bias tape on the inside where you just gathered. Use a regular stitch and sew the ribbon or bias tape to the tank onesie. Lastly, pull the baste threads out.

STEP 10: Clip all loose threads and that's it! Your done! Here are a few side pics and closeups of the gathered side seam!