Friday, May 25, 2012

My Tee Ball Dress (made from Repurposed Tees!)

So, I did something I've never really done before. I made something for me! Something other than a headband, that is. ;) I made a dress! Yikes, a whole dress for me!! I actually made it several weeks ago, I've just been too chicken to put it on my blog. :)

My daughter took the pictures, and as you can see our puppy wanted in on the fun. :) I really appreciate (and I am so not being sarcastic here) that my daughter cut off my head on most of the pictures. :) The idea of my face plastered on my blog isn't a pleasant one for me and is pretty much why I was so reluctant to post this. I see pictures of myself and think "where am I in this picture and why is that older, chubby woman, wearing my clothes?" I feel like I've aged dramatically in the last year and I'm not keen on posting me for all the world to see. :)

You may notice the New York Yankees logo on the dress and assume that I'm a huge baseball fan. I'm not.  Up until a few weeks ago, I couldn't have even told you what the logo looked like. Then my daughter decided she wanted to play tee ball.

I shared my daughters (new) desire to be on a tee ball team, we made her little helmet sparkle (much to the fascination of the boys, btw.) I heard one parent ask her if she did that to her helmet or if her mom did and I was delighted to see the sparkle in her eye when she said that she did it. :) I'm so glad I let her do her own thing with it, rather than follow my vision. But. . .I digress.

So the teams are named after major league teams. Perhaps this is a normal tee ball thing, I don't know, this is all new to me. My bonus-son didn't start playing competitive sports until this year and up til now my daughter has been all ballet. Ballet I know, this sports stuf? Notsomuch. Our team is the Yankees and the coach said go out and buy some Yankee gear to wear to the games. I found a hat for my bonus son, which worked out nicely because he collects baseball hats. I found a golf shirt for my husband that was on sale for $11 (woo-hoo!!) which also worked out nicely because he's an avid golfer. There were a couple tee shirts on the cheap in my size, but they were kind of ugly. Alyssa Milano's line has some adorable tops and so did Victoria's Secret, all geared to teams and their logos, but I couldn't find anything for me under $35. Now keep in mind, I'm a bit of a bargain hunter, I'm not a tee shirt kind of girl and I don't follow sports, so this shirt is only being worn for a the tee ball season and probably never again. If I'm going to spend $35 on a top, I'm going to the Loft (during a sale) and getting something I really love, you know? So I did the only thing a self-respecting sewing blogger would do. . . I made something! I didn't want to spend money on real fabric so I picked up a men's 4XL tee in navy from the Walmart for $5 and a white woman's tee for $4. I thought, the worst that happens is that the project is a total fail. No one ever has to know. (But I did take pictures to document along the way, just in case.) I will say its a pretty rough tut, I didn't make notes like I normally do as I did it and I didn't get as many pictures as I normally would. :)

Here's how it went down!

I took the white tee shirt (a woman's tee in my size) and put it on, I marked with some chalk, (it doesn't show up in the picture, but its there!) how I wanted the neckline to look, I wanted a v neckline. I also marked where I wanted the waist of the skirt to meet the bodice (a couple inches below my bustline.) I wanted a higher waistline, I was going for a slightly retro feel to the dress. I'm sorry I didn't take pictures of this part. So imagine me, in front of the mirror, chalk in hand, drawing on my tee. :)

Then I cut off the sleeves, right at the seam as well as the bottom of the bodice.

I folded the tee in half and cut the v-neck front. I did a slightly higher v in the back as well. Okay, so in the picture you notice that I also cut the seam at the shoulders. Originally my thought was to twist the straps and sew them back together so it had that, um, twisted strap look. But I didn't care for it so I just sewed the shoulders back together. I actually had to take them up a little because I wanted the sleeve area to be fitted, so when I sewed the shoulder seams together I took out about an inch and a half. Depending on the fit of your tee, you  might not have to adjust it at all. Just ignore the cut shoulder seams in this picture. :)

Then zig zag the straight edge of both sides of the front of the bodice. Not the v-neck but the straight edge below the v as marked in the picture. Then with the wrong sides together, sew a seam about 1/8" to the edge.

The bodice is done! I did a little zig-zag stitch all around the edge of the neckline and the sleeves. We all know you can leave a knit edge unfinished, but I didn't want it to stretch out and lose its shape too much.

On to the skirt! I found a 4XL men's navy blue tee shirt. I cut it off just under the arms and put in a gathering stitch all along the cut edge. Set it aside. Obviously my thought was to use the finished bottom of the shirt as the finished bottom of my skirt. I love to sew but I also love little shortcuts like this. :) I didn't get a picture of this part. Well, I did but I wasn't wearing my glasses when I took the picture and it came out blurry. Jeez.

Next is the waist band. You'll want two pieces of fabric that are 6.5" by your waist measurement (painful, I know) divided in half, minus 2".  So if your waist measured 26" (no, I am not posting my waist measurement on my blog) you would cut two 11" wide pieces. 25/2=13 and 13-2=11. Cut your pieces, sew them right sides together.

Pull the gathering stitches in the skirt until it matches the waistband and attach. I did put in a topstitch so that it lay flat. Attach the skirt to the bodice, again with a topstitch. Again, no picture of this. :( But use your imagination, okay?

I wanted to add a row of white grosgrain ribbon to the bottom of the skirt, but I didn't have enough!! Yikes!! What I did have enough of was the leftover white tee shirt. So I cut a few 2" strips from the leftover fabric, stretched them out a bit, sewed them together end to end and attached them to the skirt. I sewed it about 1/8" from each edge of the white strip. I think I like the more casual look of the knit fabric on knit fabric rather than a grosgrain ribbon. :)

The logo was just appliqued on as normal. I found the logo online, printed it and traced it. I plan to cover it up with a fabric flower when tee ball season is over.

Again, the pictures were taken by my daughter :) so please excuse the blurriness and missing head. :)

I was surprised at the reaction I received from the other tee-ball moms. Several asked me how much I'd charge to make them a tee ball dress. Truly, I am such an amateur that the idea of sewing something for someone else completely freaks me out. Even when I make gifts for family and friends, I am constantly redo-ing stitches and obsessing about every mistake. And I kind of get a tummy-ache when I give it to them, what if they hate it, what if it falls apart? Yikes.

Oh, here's a picture of my face. My daughter insisted I pose. Let me rephrase that, she posed me. And made me say "happy day!!!!!!!!!!!" when she took the pictures. Sheesh, she's so bossy!!

This really came together easily and I was surprised at how quick it was. It was also kind of fun to wear something I'd made. :)


  1. Very cute! I love that she told you how to pose. Little girls these days have so much confidence~

  2. Brilliant, Amy!!! Way to go making a dress for $9. The white band at the bottom is the perfect finishing touch... a fabulous dress!!! Love your daughter's posed photo...

  3. This is cute in pictures but even cuter in person!! You are are so very clever!!

  4. Amy, I absolutely love it! What a chic and stylish way to show your team spirit!!


  5. You are a genius! I love your dress :) I think you look great and in a very good shape. Your daughter did a fantastic job of designing the pose for you :D

  6. I realize I have absolutely zero talent! you definitely rock!!!

  7. We have so much in common, even more than I initially thought. Of course, with that being said, I could never make something I could or would ever wear. I loved this post and nodded in agreement throughout most of it.