Tag Archives: dress

Thrifty Handmade Wedding: The Girl

As I settle back into blogging after the month of sewing and saving, I’m still trying to figure out what I want for Sew Thrifty. At my core, I’m a business woman, but right now my heart is for my kiddos and homeschooling, and having this little blog on the side. Everything in me wants to care about growing this blog (stats, newsletter, great graphics and tons of pinned images), but I know that’s not for me right now. The other extreme is having an ultra-creative blog, but I’m really not that creative. I’m a stats nerd.

So, I’ve decided that I’m going to be me and have some creative and fun posts and then have some other posts more business-like (bullet points and graphs and all that fun stuff).  And I’m going to try and not care about what people think. But we all know that’s nearly impossible. Just sayin’.

Today I finally get to share with you the crazy story of River’s flower girl dress!! [It’s long, I don’t blame you for skimming or just looking at the amazing photos my husband snapped.]

Thrifty Handmade Wedding Flower Girl Dress {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org} rustic, vintage, elegant, lace

Let me start by saying I really had no clue what I was going to make for her. I wanted to go along with the colors of the wedding, but not be overkill. I wanted it to be fancier (i.e. not knit) since I tend to always sew basic items. But nothing was inspiring me.

Until 10 days before we left for the wedding. That was when my brother called to ask if River would be the flower girl! I was so excited (then a bit stressed and freaking out) that I would get to make her a flower girl dress that inspiration was everywhere. And to top it off the colors of the wedding changed to neutral tones – browns, creams, khakis – with a rustic elegant theme. My initial desire to put some cowgirl boots on her was a bit too rustic for their taste, but I was able to settle on a look that I loved. Here was my inspiration dress.

Artsy Handmade Cute Flower Girl Dresses
Photo credit: Petit de Lin on Etsy (item no longer available)

Honestly, I look at this and think, wow, that’s a bit too Southern for me. But I actually like it. Plus, my friend has a paper pattern that is very similar to this, so I figured I could borrow it.

[Now, insert craziness]

My friend with the FREE pattern lives about 40 minutes away and we rarely see each other. This dress had to be completed in less than 10 days. We were leaving in 10 days, and I am not a fan of sewing late into the night the day before I leave on a big trip. So really it had to be made in about 3 days. Getting the free pattern from her just wasn’t going to work. But, she mentioned that they were on sale at my local Hancock Fabrics for $2. Sweet. I can handle $2 and a short trip to the store. Made it to the store, picked up the pattern, and headed home (without kids!). Later that night when I opened the pattern, I realize I had bought the child’s version instead of the toddler version!! Really?! They do that? I’m so spoiled with indie patterns that I just assume all patterns go from 2T-10 years. It’s late, the store is closed, there’s no going back to see if they even had the toddler version (and I’m pretty sure I bought the last one anyway). That’s when I realized the pattern is a bunch of rectangles with a bodice. I had already printed out the bodice to the (free!) Madeline Dress and it was very similar. Then I realized I could calculate my way through the pattern. [Squeal!] One of the biggest reasons I love sewing – all the math! After I accomplished all that I was so proud of myself and I could return the $2 pattern too. Boom.

Thrifty Handmade Wedding Flower Girl Dress {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org} rustic, vintage, elegant, lace

Now for better part of the story – the fabric. A friend had gifted me boxes and boxes of her old fabric. Most was stuff I would never buy like linen, wovens, and (gasp) lace! After rummaging through it all, I found the exact fabrics I needed. The khaki cotton that I used for most of the dress was heavy enough for my girl not to damage it. The silky white fabric for the straps gave just enough elegance. And the lace….I could not have asked for a more perfect piece of fabric. The width of the lace was the exact amount to offer a slight gather. I did run out of the skinnier piece of lace, so I just attached it to the front instead of making a sash like the inspiration dress. And done, with 7 more days left to pack and finish Carpenter’s vest and dress shirt.

Thrifty Handmade Wedding Flower Girl Dress {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org} rustic, vintage, elegant, lace

Then, once we got to the mountains River plainly decided she didn’t want to be the flower girl. Um…thanks. In the end, we were able to convince her to play a part in the ceremony, but once she did, she was outta there. [Thanks Aunt Jackie for watching her for the rest of the ceremony!]

Thrifty Handmade Wedding Flower Girl Dress {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org} rustic, vintage, elegant, lace

Thrifty Handmade Wedding Flower Girl Dress {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org} rustic, vintage, elegant, lace

After the ceremony, she was all about the flowers.

Thrifty Handmade Wedding Flower Girl Dress {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org} rustic, vintage, elegant, lace

Thrifty Handmade Wedding Flower Girl Dress {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org} rustic, vintage, elegant, lace

Thrifty Handmade Wedding Flower Girl Dress {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org} rustic, vintage, elegant, laceAnd just today she mentioned wanting to be a flower girl. Seriously, girl? Gotta love ’em.

I don’t have a fancy little graphic for the time and cost. It took a while to gather all the materials, create my own pattern, get the fit right, and play around with the look at each stage, so it wasn’t a fast sew. However, the price was right – just about FREE. Thread probably cost 50 cents or so. All the fabric was handed down to me and the pattern was free too. And her headband (which she thankfully wore through the ceremony) was free too. I hot glued flowers from the same fabric as her dress and some other mint green that was gifted to me to some lace my mother-in-law gave me ages ago.

Thrifty Handmade Wedding {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}

Thrifty Handmade Wedding {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}

Thrifty Handmade Wedding {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}If you’re looking for my dress, that’s here. Baby girl only got a headband, and I’ll have Carpenter’s outfit up soon!




Upcycled: Baby Lap Dress + FREE Pattern!

I’m so excited to wrap-up week one of upcycling with a FREE pattern! Introducing the Baby Lap Dress…

Upcycled Baby Lap Dress FREE pattern {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}

I wanted something that could save the neck binding of the original shirt, but also be easy to sew with no snaps or buttons (I still feel like a newbie sewer, so I like to keep things simple). There are plenty of baby dress and bodysuit patterns out there, but none quite fit what I was needing in order to save as much as I could from the original shirt. So, I created my own pattern! (This is my first pattern. **Insert squeal here**. I’m offering it free and as such, it hasn’t been tested. Please be nice if you come across any issues with the pattern.)


1. Free pattern (size 6-12 mos, approx.) {Print on US Letter paper with scaling set to “none”. This pattern has not been tested on A4 paper}
2. T-shirt (check your closet, thrift store, or garage sale)
3. Coordinating thread
4. Basic sewing supplies: sewing machine, pins, scissors, etc.


Step 1: Find a t-shirt to upcycle. See Heather’s tips here for finding great items to upcycle. I chose this super soft tee that I bought while vacationing in San Diego (pre-kids, so it doesn’t fit, and no, it never will. I’m over it). This shirt is a Small, so it’s a great one to upcycle for babies. Most upcycling garments need to be L-XL in order to best fit your pattern for bigger kids, but you can still get some great material out of any size garment. This baby dress is a great pattern to use for those smaller tees that you have lying around!

Baby Lap Dress {Sew Thrifty|www.sewthrifty.org}

Step 2: Prepare your shirt. Cut out the tag. Babies don’t need all that extra stuff rubbing up against them.

Baby Lap Dress {Sew Thrifty|www.sewthrifty.org}

Cut the shirt down the sides. If your shirt has a side seem, just cut along that. If you chose a shirt with no seems, you might want to mark where to cut or just eye-ball it. I didn’t cut the sleeves off because I wasn’t able to use them to make the sleeves for the dress. However, you can cut the sleeves off at this point too, or wait until you’ve cut your front and back pattern pieces.

Baby Lap Dress {Sew Thrifty|www.sewthrifty.org}

Step 3: Cut your dress front. Fold the original shirt front in half while the back of the shirt is up and to the left of the shirt front. I lined up the sleeves and side seems here to be sure I folded the shirt in the middle. Or you can eye-ball the graphic on your shirt to be sure it will line up in the middle of your dress when you cut the pattern. (Note: I use a rotary cutter for everything, so I don’t pin. If you don’t have a rotary cutter or don’t want to use one, simple pin the pattern at this step and cut using your fabric scissors). Cut out your dress front.Baby Lap Dress {Sew Thrifty|www.sewthrifty.org}

You can see in this photo that I made sure the top of the pattern piece and the neckband of the original shirt lined up as best as possible. You don’t have to line these up perfectly, as your shirt may have a slightly different shape, but it should still work in the end.Baby Lap Dress {Sew Thrifty|www.sewthrifty.org}

Step 4: Cut your dress back. Line up the back pattern piece to the back of the original shirt on the fold and cut it out.

Baby Lap Dress Tutorial {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}

Step 5: Cut your sleeves. You can use the sleeves of your original shirt to make the sleeves of your baby dress! In my case, the original sleeves were a bit short, so I used the bottom of the shirt. But most sleeves will be long enough for you to use. Line up the hem and fold line with the pattern piece as indicated and cut 2 sleeve pieces.BabyLapDressTutorial-8

OK, now you’re ready to piece the dress together!

Step 6: Line up the dress front and back. Don’t do what I did and line them up wrong. Be sure to place them WRONG side (dress back) to RIGHT side (dress front). It should look how you want the final garment to look. Baby Lap Dress Tutorial {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}

I overlapped them by about 2 inches. Here’s a close-up:
Baby Lap Dress Tutorial {Sew Thrifty |www.sewthrifty.org}

Here’s a picture of how to do it the right way:

Baby Lap Dress {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}

Ahh…much better!

Step 7: Attach the sleeves to the dress. Place the RIGHT side of the sleeve to the RIGHT side of the dress arm hole. Line up the middle of the sleeve to the middle of the arm hole (the the middle of where the front and back dress pieces overlap). Working from the middle, pin the sleeve to the dress until you reach the end of the arm hole. Do the same for the other section of the sleeve. Now you have the sleeve all pinned to the dress pieces. Go ahead and pin the other sleeve at this point too. (I like to double check that I’ve pinned correctly by flipping the sleeve over to be sure I pinned the right side. Cause, you know, I’ve been known to make mistakes 🙂 ) Sew these seams. I use a serger, but you can also use a zig zag stitch on your sewing machine ( set at .5 width and approx. 2.5/3 length). And always use a ball point needle when sewing with knits.

Baby Lap Dress Tutorial {Sew Thrifty |www.sewthrifty.org}

Step 8: Pin and sew side seams. Placing RIGHT sides together, line up the sleeve hem and pin down the side of your dress. Line up your sleeve seams as well and the rest of the side should line up to the bottom of the dress.Baby Lap Dress Tutorial {Sew Thrifty |www.sewthrifty.org}

Sew down both sides, flip the dress right side out, and you’re done!Baby Lap Dress Tutorial {Sew Thrifty |www.sewthrifty.org}

I chose not to hem the dress. Since it’s a knit, the ends won’t fray. I did tuck the ends of my thread back through the seams using the method I mention here.

If you wanted to go for a more polished look, you would hem the dress at this point. Simply fold under about 3/8″ (or 1 cm) and hem using your preferred hemming method.

Baby Lap Dress {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}

Add in a headband (made with the same shirt; tutorial coming next week!) and some cute upcycled baby shoes (that I will share with you next week – made from the hems of pants!) and you’ve got yourself a little stylish outfit for your babe.

Baby Lap Dress {Sew Thrifty|www.sewthrifty.org}

Then whip up another one because they are so fast and easy!

Baby Lap Dress {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}

Baby Lap Dress {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}

Baby Lap Dress {Sew Thrifty|www.sewthrifty.org}{What? The back of my shirt is wrong?!}

Baby Lap Dress {Sew Thrifty|www.sewthrifty.org}{Oh well, I’m cute. No one will even notice}

Baby Lap Dress FREE Pattern 6-12 mos {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}{Plus I’ll just grin and my mom will make me another one}

Here’s the breakdown:

Baby Lap Dress Tutorial {Sew Thrifty |www.sewthrifty.org}


And for something a bit different for babies, check out what Heather has for them today. Plus, she’s got an amazingly quick backpack you can whip up from a used t-shirt as well!

Hope you’re enjoying this series. Keep tagging #upcycledkid on Instagram and be sure to come back Monday for another week of great upcycling tips and tutorials!

Upcycled: Learn to Sew Your Kid's Wardrobe. A Series by Feather's Flights (feathersflights.com) and Sew Thrifty (sewthrifty.org)

The Gumnut Dress {Pattern Review}

I remember the first time I saw the dress. It was during the February Kid’s Clothes Week on Instagram. The different fabric combinations and pockets really drew me in, and the more I perused the designer’s IG feed, the more I wanted to see.

Fast forward a few months later–I got to test the pattern to that very dress I fell in love with! The Gumnut Dress by Jess of Willow and Stitch.  Isn’t that the funnest word?…Gumnut…hehe.

Introducing the Gumnut Dress as sewn by me, Sew Thrifty:

Gumnut Dress by Sew Thrifty {www.sewthrifty.org}

{note: I was given this pattern to test. All opinions are my own.}

The pattern is amazing; easy to follow, covers a wide range of sizes (18m-8), and has photos throughout to guide you. Plus, the fabric recommendations are knit for the bodice and woven for the skirt, allowing you to mix and match some really fun combinations! Jess even has a great tutorial on how to sew knits on her blog. I fully recommend this pattern. So, go get it! 😉

Gumnut Dress by Sew Thrifty {www.sewthrifty.org}

I ended up making the whole dress with knit because when I bought these two fabrics (separately), and they conveniently arrived in my mailbox at the same time, I knew exactly what I was going to do with them – make a Gumnut Dress! But, I have plans for many more Gumnut Dresses using woven fabric for the skirt.

Gumnut Dress by Sew Thrifty {www.sewthrifty.org}

These pockets are killer! River is a rock collector. As in, she begs to go to the “park with the rocks,” and she comes home with no less than 30 rocks each time. We’re starting a rock garden next week. 😉 Now she’ll be able to haul her own rocks instead of roping me into carrying yet one..more..thing.

Gumnut Dress by Sew Thrifty {www.sewthrifty.org}

And twirling too! What little girl doesn’t love to twirl? The skirt on this pattern is a full circle skirt with a lot of twirling potential (as you can see).

Gumnut Dress by Sew Thrifty {www.sewthrifty.org} Gumnut Dress by Sew Thrifty {www.sewthrifty.org} Gumnut Dress by Sew Thrifty {www.sewthrifty.org} Gumnut Dress by Sew Thrifty {www.sewthrifty.org}

And even though it can be a fancy dress, that doesn’t stop her from exploring, adventuring, climbing, and just being River.

Here’s the breakdown:

This dress was a bit of a splurge for me. I usually don’t use that much fabric (1.5 yards) that cost more than $3 a yard. But, this dress will be River’s birthday dress, and splurging to show my kids how much I love them is worth more than any amount of money I’ll save.

Also, the time was estimated. Since I reviewed this pattern, part of the time it took to create this dress was actually spent reviewing the pattern. I did not want to include that extra time in my time cost.

Go check out my friend Jess’ blog, Willow and Stitch, and her Etsy shop – she’s also got some amazing patterns for make-believe masks and tons of free patterns as well!

Have an amazing weekend!

Thrifty Handmade Wedding: The Mama {Plus BundleUp for Women}

This summer is my brother’s wedding! He’s been dating longer than I’ve been married, so to say I’ve been waiting for this moment is an understatement. But, since he waited 7+ years I’ve learned how to sew, and I now get to sew all our clothes for his big day. First up…ME!

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of the links noted by an *, I will receive some compensation if you purchase something.

The dress I’ll be wearing to my brother’s wedding:


My brother and fiance described their wedding as simple, unique, and classy. It’s going to be an evening event outside in the mountains of Aspen, Colorado. You’re jealous, I know. 😉

Right away I knew I wanted to make myself a navy blue maxi dress. At first I was going to make the bodice some funky print with the skirt a solid navy, but the more I played around with fabrics the more I liked the simple (hey, just like the wedding!) look of all navy. Then, I can accessorize with different prints and colors when I want.

BluezetteDress-3Navy fabric is from Girl Charlee here.

BluezetteDress-2My bracelet and necklace here are made with selvages (free!) of knit spandex fabric from Girl Charlee.* Plus, the necklace doubles as a headband when I want a more casual look.

BluezetteDress-1Ooh, look, another colorful accessory! She’s kinda expensive though. Priceless in fact. 🙂

I was fortunate enough to be given this pattern from the Women’s BundleUp. That being said, I was able to choose my pattern, and this was the exact type of dress I wanted to make for myself for the wedding. This pattern is Love Notions Bluezette dress. There are so many options with it. Seriously, there are 30 different ways to sew it up and that’s without adding your own twists or hacks. There are two bodice styles, three different places you can wear the waist, and three sleeve lengths. And then there are five skirt styles too. Add all those plus the endless options of fabrics, and you’ve got yourself an entire wardrobe of lovely dresses!

Here’s the breakdown:


I love that I’m getting to wear a dress that cost less than $15, was handmade by me, and finished in less than 2 hours!

The time includes cutting the fabric, sewing, trying it on at several stages, adjusting, and finishing. I sewed the non-lined version, leaving out the waist elastic and left the skirt unhemmed. For the maxi skirt, I made it thinner than the pattern because I ran out of fabric, but it turned out great, and I only had to use 1 yard for the skirt part!
Go check out all the patterns in the BundleUp for Women sale. They are only available in this bundle price until May 8, so be sure to get what you want before then. Depending on how many patterns you buy, each pattern costs from $4-4.50 (50% or more off)!


And see what all the other ladies have done with the other patterns in the BundleUp package – there are 11 patterns and so many options!

Be sure to come back for the rest of my handmade wedding series, where I’ll use free patterns to create some fun and fancy looks (and as always, thrifty!):

Thrifty Handmade Wedding: The Boy
Thrifty Handmade Wedding: The Girl
Thrifty Handmade Wedding: The Baby

A Giraffe Dress {Kid’s Clothes Week Day 4}

And the last of all my WILD things: the giraffe.  River picked out a giraffe for her animal, and I knew I wanted to make her a dress. She actually fed a giraffe when she was 18 months old. (She also recently stuck her whole arm down a snake hole) This girl has no fear. But, back to the dress.

I’ve been slowly making her handmade wardrobe using tried-and-true (TNT) patterns. My favorite is the Bimaa sweater, but it’s a sweater. And it’s spring here in Mississippi, which means it’s really summer. So, I took the pattern and omitted the sleeves and fun neckline options. Instead, I used ribbing around the neckline and sleeves. To make it a dress, I extended the length by about 10 inches and flared it out a bit.


My favorite part was the addition of the pockets. Not 1, but 3! Am I the only one whose kid loves pockets?


Three mismatched pockets to replicate a giraffe’s spots. Just enough to mimic a giraffe, but not too much.



{You want me to stand by that tree? No, I’ll get my dress muddy!}
I guess she does have her fear limits.


{What?! Three pockets?!!! Thanks Mama!}

Here’s the breakdown:GiraffeDressTimeCost.jpg

Hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my creations from Kid’s Clothes Week! I’ll still be sewing these last few days, but won’t be able to show you what I’m making until later. Stay tuned!