The Button Me Up t-shirt tutorial

If you have kids, and yours are anything like mine they have a knack for spilling things on the whitest of white shirts. Things like chocolate or grape juice. Things that while you can get the majority of the stain out there is always a fate tinge of color, not quite gone, even after a good bleaching or twelve. So what to do with that practically new shirt? You can cover the stain with an appliqué or patch, but what if it is an odd spot, say close to the collar? Well I had just such a shirt belonging to The Elder A and thought why not use the huge stash of buttons I have and cover the stain with those. She loves things that a bit quirky and different so it was a perfect match. Here is what I did to accomplish the Button Me Up Tee.

On a side note this is a great project for the little ones to help with, they can place the buttons on the shirt and rearrange them to get just the design they want. Another sidebar, this is a great practice in letting go. This project is all about imperfection and will not look right if you try to get exactly the same number/color/order of buttons on the shirt. Just throw them on and see what happens.

Skill level: Total beginner, all you really need is a needle, thread, buttons and some time. I have done it with a machine to make it faster but you can do it by hand as well.

Supplies:

Stained Tee, it can also be new of course but the idea of this was to use a perfectly good shirt that otherwise would have been discarded

Buttons, lots and lots of buttons, any color combo will do

Water soluble pen or marker

Some lightweight interfacing or stitch covering mesh. I use Cover-A-Stitch from All Stitch, great stuff that comes in white, nude or black.

If you are using your machine you will need a button foot, if not just a plain olé needle and thread.

So let’s get started.

Lay out the shirt and begin to place the buttons all over the shirt. Remember do not try to order these in a certain way, just lay them out, move them around until you get the look you like. This what The Elder A ultimately decided she wanted.

The next step is optional, depending truly on how OCD you are. If you are really chill and laid back (teach me how) just remove the buttons and start sewing them on. For me I used the water-soluble pen to mark the place of each button and even took a picture of the shirt to “remember” where the buttons went, but I am WAAAAYYY OCD so…..

Next take the fusible mesh or lightweight interfacing and iron, per package instructions, it on the inside of the shirt where the buttons will end up. This part adds stability and helps hold the buttons in place once the extra weight of the buttons is on the knit.

Now take the shirt back to your machine and start sewing! I used my button foot and just started sewing on buttons. I also did not cut the threads in between each button. I would sew 10-15 buttons before stopping to cut and tie off the threads on the back of the shirt. Be forewarned that as the number of buttons on the shirt increases it might get harder to use your button foot. You might need to use some creative maneuvering to get the foot to go all the way down. Otherwise just sew the last few buttons on by hand.

Lastly trim the threads and tie off the last buttons and you are DONE!! I have found that the best way to wash this shirt is in one of those mesh lingerie bags so that if a button does fall off it is not lost in the washing machine abyss. I also line dry this shirt to keep the dryer from beating off any loose buttons. Even though it is common sense I should note, this is not a shirt for your little ones who will still put anything and everything into their mouths. Buttons  can come loose and fall off and go in a mouth, up a nose, in an ear so exercise good judgement when making this for your kids.

Here is the finished outfit made complete with leggings and a yellow skirt from Target. See how easy peasy that was. Ignore the wrinkles bc it literally just came out of the wash. The Elder A gets tons of compliments on her shirt everytime she wears it and she loves the “clicky” sound the buttons make. I would love to see your version of the Button Me Up tee. Post pics in the comments. Thanks for reading.

Updated May 22: I linked this post to the fabulous Sunday Scoop over at I {heart} naptime. go check it out.
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Make Mommy Happy 30 Minute Dress

As seen on CraftGossip.com
Ok, so have you ever been all psyched to go someplace, like thinking about it for weeks, all planned out what to wear down to the shoes and then…….you live in Alabama and it storms like when Noah built the ark the day before and the temp drops 20° and it is now going to be down right windy/cold on the big day and that outfit that makes you feel super pretty and oh so fashionable will now make you look like you don’t have a brain in your head because you don’t pay attention to the weather as you freeze from the lack of arm/leg coverage and on top of all this you are 7 months preggers and feel like a whale? Really….just me….odd. Anyway this was my dilemma on Friday night leading into Saturday. Nice way to start the weekend huh?!

So as I sat watching the storms roll in on Friday all I could think of is “Great now what am I going to wear tomorrow?” As you know from reading my earlier post I am a HUGE nay, COLOSSAL fan of Alabama Football and this Saturday was the spring football scrimmage game. Trust me people it is an event not to be missed and I had looked forward to it for weeks.

So come Saturday morning the weather was sooooo not cooperative and the cute little non-maternity big giant whale looking dress was not going to work at all. So what is a resourceful Mommy with a serger, an old t-shirt and some red knit to do….make a new dress!!! Woot Woot!!

So here it is the Make Mommy Happy 30 Minute Dress. I knew it had to be super simple because I literally had only an hour to whip something up, so I looked in my closet to see what I could cut into and in true Tim Gunn fashion “Make it work”.

I found this old, stretched out tee I had from my first pregnancy, note the 2007 at the bottom, so we know we won’t be wearing that again. It was ¾ sleeves so that would help with the coldness issue and was white which is one of Bama’s colors. Bonus this is a maternity shirt so it would accommodate the uhhh “girls”.

So I put it on and roughly marked where to cut it off, right below the bust line. So then I took my rotary cutter to it and BAM, I had the top half of a soon-to-be maxi dress.

This next part was the tricky part. I had a big cut of red knit, Bama’s other team color, so I knew I had enough to fit the bump but had never done a maternity anything before. I don’t like the look of most maternity dresses because they all seem to have WAY too much fabric in the front panel for me. My baby belly isn’t that big yet so I don’t need a tent of a dress. Plus I kinda like it to “fit’ and show off the pregger bump.

I knew I wanted it long, to again combat the cold, so I measured down from the edge of the cut t-shirt to ankle length (for me it was 40”), taking into account for seam allowance (ended up being ½”) and cut the fabric to that length.

Then came the fitting the bump part. I knew the easiest/quickest way would be to cut it on the fold rather than sewing 2 panels together. Being short on time I literally held the cut fabric around me, again taking into account for the seam, and pinned it down a couple of inches. I then slid it off and measured what I had pinned. For me it ended up at 41” and with the ½” seam I cut it to 41 ½”.

Remember the other end is the fold

Then I ran waddled to my trusty serger and got to work. I sewed up the skirt first. Simple enough, one seam up the side and it was done.

Then I took the cut off shirt and matched a side seam to the new skirt seam I had just made. The fates must have been smiling on me because the shirt and skirt ended up lining up perfectly, no gathering needed. (I told you the shirt was kind of stretched out). If I were to do this over, which I am totally going to, I would put some gathers in the front to add a bit of fun detail and again show off the bump, but this was about time and ease.

So once I had the shirt pinned to the new skirt, right sides together I went back to the serger and sewed it up into a full dress. As for the bottom hem I left it raw. That is the awesome thing about knit, you never have to finish a hem if you don’t want to.

That was it!! I was done. To dress it up a bit I put on a belt that went with another dress and voilà a new maxi dress in 30 minutes (and a darn cute one if I do say so myself).  When I make this again I will likely do a “waistband” (how funny to think of having a waist this preggers) that ties around back.

It isn’t perfect and the seam joining the skirt to top got a little puckered as I wore it but under the belt no one could see. I actually got a couple of compliments on it and it made me feel cute and super proud of myself and at 7 months pregnant that is worth its weight in gold!

So if you have 30 minutes and some fabric to spare give it a whirl. What do you have to lose, an old t-shirt and an episode of Mickey Mouse Club House? Happy crafting and thanks for reading.

On a side note, I was truly inspired to make this dress by Mim over at MadMim. She has a whole series of Sewing for a Belly. I will so be making the Airport Maxi dress very soon. Thanks for the inspiration!!

Here are some linky parties I am showing this dress off in this week. Thanks for the parties ladies.

Sumo Sweet Stuff

The Girl Creative


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