I have about 5 - making my wardrobe look crammed and making my excuse: 'I have nothing to wear' a little implausible, so I decided to recycle a pair and see what I could make of it. At first I thought of making it into a skirt but as I sew along I decided to make a tube out of it. I may follow that skirt idea with another pair... I have 4 pairs left to experiment with :D
More and more ideas sprung to mind while sewing (skirt, top, bag) - I need more sweat pants by the looks of it and possibly sweat bands if I realize these ideas all at once! This is the thing with me - I see something, it triggers my right side of the brain and my fingers start itching and they won't stop until I grab a piece of fabric and pins.
Anyway, this is what my right side of the brain ended up with: a loose fitting summer dress.
(Also suitable for Mummy-To-Be due to the loose middle!).
RECYCLED SUMMER TUBE DRESS TUTE
1. Choose a pair of sweat pants. It'd be ideal if they had a string to tighten the waist, so you can adjust the tube while wearing. If your waistband is too tight, grab your husband's pants :D
2. Decide on the length you want your upper part of the dress to be. I cut mine right where the crutch is.
Save the legs of your pants, you'll need them for the pockets. In the pic below I was already a few steps ahead and took the sides in, sorry. But I wanted to give you an idea of the length I cut my pants to.
3. Now you need to take the front and back of the crutch in. (See pic below). Lay your pants out flat and pin the excess fabric from the crutch together and sew close. Do the same with the back.
4. Lets take your sides in if you want a tight fit. You can do this in several ways.
• Take a top that has a similar cut like this tube top, lay it onto your sweat pants and pin/sew around it.
• Have someone help you with pinning the sides while you are wearing the top.
• Use a mannequin if you have one.
• If you haven't got any of the above, pin your sides and carefully try the top on (preferably without pinning yourself!) and get it right by trial and error. This may take a while, but it'll get you there in the end, promise!
This is what the top of your dress should look like after taking in the sides and tidying back and front.
5. Cut a piece of cotton knit or any other stretchy fabric. Mine measured 34 x 19in. It should be long enough to create a ruffle and create a loose fit - so at least twice the length of the bottom of your tube.
6. With the widest and loosest stitch possible on your machine stitch with 1" seam allowance along the length of your fabric. Tie the threads on one end together and carefully pull the bobbin thread on the other side to ruffle your fabric. This may take a while...
Here the end result. Spread your ruffles out evenly for the next step.
7. Now with right sides together pin the fabric along the seam you made for the ruffles to the sweat pants. I started on a side seam of the pants with one end of the fabric and pinned my way round.
Attention: You will be sewing along the seam you made in the previous step, so let your pin heads be visible on the side of the fabric and not the pants as I did when I took the pic!! Had to re-pin it all...
Re-pinned version! Looks pretty.
8. Now sew along the seam. As I have no serger/overlocking machine I used a large zig zag stitch and it works just fine.
Zig zag across your seam and tidy all your inside seams.
This is the result. I love ruffles!!
9. Sew your fabric close on the side and the bottom.
Pin and sew hemline.
10. Okay, time to decorate your top... Lets start with the cinched effect.
Decide where you want it to go. I measured 9" across and 5"up.
Then cut two pieces of your fabric, 5" height (same height as in last step) and the width
depends on the thickness of your ribbons you want to use.
Cut your ribbon in your desired length, fold in half and pin the middle to your fabric as shown below. If your ribbon has a right and wrong side make sure you pin it wrong sides facing.
Now pin your fabric with the ribbon to your top as shown below. Pin around your fabric piece and once up the middle, but make sure you don't pin your ribbon.
Sew close, leaving two openings for the ribbons.
Try if it all works! Yay!
Repeat on the other side and this is the result.
I love the cinched effect.
11. Last step - pockets!
Cut 2 pocket shapes out of the legs of your pants (don't forget a seam allowance), using the hemline as the top of the pockets. Saves you time and trouble :D
Pin to your dress wherever you think it'll look nice.
Sew and repeat on other side.