The Shirt Dress

As I was blogging about the other day, I’ve been recently inspired to do more sewing projects. First up, was the shirt dress. I’ve seen loads of examples of little girl’s dresses made from a men’s shirt and I really like the idea. So, I asked husband if he had a shirt that he wouldn’t mind giving up. He chose an old purple one that he’s not worn in ages.

A couple of afternoons of chopping and sewing later and this was the result:

shirt dress collage

It’s not perfect but I’m pleased with it as a first attempt at making clothes and it’ll be good for summer playtime! Pip really likes it and says it’s very comfy.

This is the tutorial I used to make it. I didn’t give it a waistband as suggested, just because I wanted to keep it quite simple, although I did add the little bow at the collar just to make it a little prettier. That was very simple to make, using a scrap of leftover shirt material and a bit of lilac ribbon.

Next I’m going to make a little drawstring bag to keep some of our game dice in and I’m also going to turn an old t-shirt into a nice summery top for myself!

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Inspired to craft!

Last year I watched the first series of Great British Sewing Bee. I was inspired to get stitching myself but, always the procrastinator, didn’t actually get my own sewing machine until months later for my birthday, along with some lovely fabric and other bits (thank you Husband!).

The first thing I had a go at making was a simple shopping bag. It was easy and enjoyable to make. I looked at more complicated bags and made a simple messenger bag for Pip. It was a real success, she loved it and still sometimes uses it.

Pips bag

I then made some little changes to the pattern and made a bag each for me and husband. These were not as successful, I think because I didn’t know about interfacing at this stage. A simple fabric bag is brilliant for toddlers, not so good for grown ups. So I then started making bags with interfacing. Then I started selling them. I started selling purses and make up bags too. Appletree Bags was born.

Unfortunately, in part due to being unable to find a good venue to sell at, business has not gone so well in the last couple of months. Luckily I’ve been able to find some freelance work to keep a bit of money coming in and in the meantime I’ve come up with lots of ideas for things I’d love to make and I think would be of genuine use to other people, especially children and parents.

Now the Great British Sewing Bee is back with another series and so is my desire to craft. With pretty much no funds for new projects, I’ve taken particular inspiration from the alteration challenges. Raiding mine and husband’s wardrobe, I’ve found a few things I can make into something new and improved. One of husband’s shirts is currently in the process of being turned into a summer dress for Pip. A couple of my old t shirts are going to become much nicer looking summery tops for me. I’ll blog more about these projects as they progress.

Have you found yourself inspired to dig out the sewing machine and get crafting? What projects are you planning or working on?

As a little cheeky side note, crafting equipment would look lovely in a Shelfie. You know, just saying.

Thanks for reading.

A New Kind of Normal: The Post-Christmas clear out

With Christmas now well behind us and the decorations in their new box – the old one was falling to pieces and husband got a lovely red one full of goodies, now eaten, from work – tucked away at the back of the wardrobe, it’s time to get on with normal life again. But of course, normal life cannot resume entirely just yet. With Little Pip still at home all day long, it’s impossible to begin on all of the things I want to do this year. Once she’s back to nursery for afternoons from next Tuesday, then we can get back to normal. Except normal is now a bit different.

My goals for the year are going to change what I’m doing on a day to day basis quite a bit. In order to keep this blog up to date, improve business and keep up with my uni studies, I really need to make the most of every moment of the day. In order to make this a little easier to do, I decided the house needs to be in better order before I even begin. Things need to be more organised. It’s a good time of year to do it – all of our lovely Christmas presents need places to go. Fortunately, I did consider the lack of space when I was buying Little Pip’s gifts. She got some LEGO, which easily fits into the LEGO box she already had – no extra space required. She got some board games, which easily fit in the living room with all of the other board games with minimal shuffling things about. She got some new dolls and accessories for those dolls but I found a beautiful suitcase style box in TKMaxx for them all to live in. Unfortunately she also received a sackful of wonderful gifts from friends and family so her bedroom does still need a proper Post-Christmas tidy up. Not that it’ll stay tidy for long!

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I also considered our storage problems when asking for presents for myself. I asked the husband for a box to keep my sewing things in. It needs to be stylish yet practical, I told him. He did very well. I now have a beautiful Cath Kidston sewing box, which is proudly on display in our living room – very useful to have needle & thread to hand! It has lots of little pockets and compartments and even a pin cushion. However, it’s not very big. It couldn’t possibly fit in everything I need for my work. But husband, clever thing that he is, thought of a way around this. Which is why I also have a much larger plastic box, also with lots of compartments, now on the shelf in our wardrobe which used to hold a confusion of smaller boxes and packets that made finding a particular clasp or button very difficult. It’s now all organised and ready to use. Between the two boxes, they store everything for my business, minus the stock.

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I’m now looking forward to Tuesday when we can get into a new daily routine. Until then, I’m going to make the most of holiday time with my Little Pip!