If you know me, you know that I love Halloween. Especially making Halloween costumes. This year, H was able to tell me what she wanted to be. We went through a costume catalog together for inspiration, and she informed me that she wanted to be a "ducky." I decided to make it a comfortable and simple t-shirt-based costume.
But, of course, I also wanted to keep things inexpensive (we are talking about something she's going to be wearing for a few hours, right?) and didn't want to go to a lot of trouble by doing things like dyeing a white onesie yellow or something. So I picked up some larger (and extremely cheap) t-shirts at Hobby Lobby and decided to cut them down to make the top and pants for her costume.
Here's how I did the shirt. I based it on a similar tutorial I saw online someplace a while ago. I also added a little gather at the top of the sleeve. I will definitely be using this method again -- it was SO fast and easy, and the result is very cute! I'm thinking about all the times I wanted to find a little red t-shirt for her over the summer and grumbled because apparently clothing makers think red is only for boys...
PS. I used a serger, but you can easily use a regular machine. There are some great tips on sewing with knits at Dana Made It.
I started with the smallest shirt I could find in the right color, which was a "youth" size XS. I laid a well-fitting t-shirt of T's on top, lining up the collars and shoulders. The sleeves of the pattern shirt need to be tucked in.
I cut all around the outside of the pattern tee, leaving about a 1/2 inch (a bit more at the bottom).
Uh-oh... I seem to be missing a photo here (sorry, I was throwing her costume together in about an hour and guess I got a bit rushed!). But it's easy to describe what I did next. I unfolded the sleeve of the pattern shirt and laid it on one of the sleeves I cut off the bigger shirt, just to get an idea of how much to trim off the bottom and side. Make sure you trim the armpit side, and leave the hem intact! Also, if you want a puffed sleeve, make the sleeve an inch or two longer than the armhole, as in the photo below. If you want them more like a standard t-shirt, the curve of the armhole needs to match the curve of the sleeve.
I used the first sleeve I cut as a pattern for the second one, of course.
Next, I turned the t-shirt inside-out and serged up the sides, leaving the armholes open. I just serged around the bottom so the t-shirt wouldn't roll up. I would fold up and hem if this were going to be a shirt H would wear often, but it isn't, and the hem shouldn't really show, so I didn't bother.
Then I turned the sleeves inside-out and serged them closed along the bottom.
Next, I turned the sleeve right-side-out and sewed about 2 inches of basting stitches along the top of the shoulder, then pulled the bobbin thread to gather it to fit the armscye.
With the t-shirt wrong-side-out and the sleeve right-side-out but facing inward (hemmed end of sleeve pointing inside shirt), I lined up the armholes, pinned, and serged. This was probably the trickiest part of the whole project, because the tiny little armholes were smaller than the arm of my serger, so I had to serge it flat and sort of pull excess shirt out of the way as I went. Still, not a big deal.
As H says many times a day, "ta-daaa!" A cute, girly toddler tee out of a style-less, oversized craft-store number. And for a grand total, I think, of less than $2.50.
Now to add some feathers! Stay tuned for more on the ducky costume.