Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cinderalla and the upcycling fairy godmothers

Two years ago, a very crafty friend of mine, decided to make princess costumes for our 2 year old daughters.  Never satisfied by simple, this friend decided specifically to make Cinderella and Aurora dresses, and to do it without spending any money. 

2011 - Eliya as Cinderella
2012 - Chana as Cinderella
Aurora's dress

How to make an upcycled princess dress:
Step One:  She posted on our community e-mail group that she was looking for pink and blue fabrics, and collected a used pink bridesmaid dress, cream tablecloth, and blue curtains.
Step Two: We followed the guidelines from make it and love it.  When I say we, I mainly mean she... because although I did 'help', I stuck to pinning, unpinning and cutting threads.
Tips to upcycling used fabrics:
Sleeve cuff from curtain tab top1.  Generally, we tried to use the seams that were already sewn in the curtains to our advantage, so that we had to do as little sewing as possible.
2.  The one aspect of the dress that I did do myself, was the cuffs for the sleeves, we used very flowy sleeves and I wanted a fitted cuff.  The blue fabric was originally a tab top curtain.  So I took the tabs, cut them and inserted a piece of elastic (the size of my daughter's wrist) and then sewed them closed again.
4.  The neckline was also upcycled, and we carefully folded blue ribbon for a finished neck.

After the Cinderella project, I got hooked on sewing.  I bought a sewing machine (well I convinced someone to buy it for me as a present) and decided on another upcycling project. 
Note:  I have very little sewing background, I did two years of sewing in high school on a basic level, but nothing more, so I'm not promising anything advanced here, just some encouragement that if I could do it, so can you.

I have been a bridesmaid at six weddings, and as much as I enjoyed the experiences and love the brides, I was left with six bridesmaid outfits that I had little use for.  Some I gave away, some I still hope to wear and one I decided was destined for upcycling.

Eliya in her new upcycled dress
The bridesmaid dress before being upcycled

Here is how I did it:
1.  I don't own any dress patterns, so I traced a design from another of my daughter's dresses.
2.  I cut the the fabric of the skirt, keeping the original hem, thereby avoiding extra work.
3.  I used the lining of the skirt for the top half of the dress.
4.  I bought matching thread, buttons and special folding tape which is used for the neckline, armholes and I also used it to join the upper and lower parts of the dress.
5.  The buttonholes.
Handsewed buttonholesThis is where I felt challenged, after watching my friend do the Cinderella zipper I knew there was no way I was trying that.  My sewing machine has a buttonhole feature, but after many many failed attempts I realised it wasn't as easy as the instructions claimed.  Even if I achieved, one good buttonhole, I would mess up the next one, and I needed three good buttonholes in a row.        And then I found craftstylish and tried handsewing buttonholes. - SUCCESSFULLY!

Happy upcycling everyone, please send me links/photos to your successful upcycling projects.

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