Thursday, June 30, 2011

Button Down Rehab Day 9: Bib Dress

Today's BDR guest poster is Rebecca from Searching Out Simple.

Rebecca always makes adorable clothes for her son and little girls, so I knew she would come up with something awesome to share. ______________________

Hi! I'm Rebecca from Searching Out Simple. I have three kids, two dogs, an Army husband and a to-do list that will keep me busy for years if I ever get it all done. I love creating things for my home and family as well as gift giving. If I'm sewing or Mod-Podging things together you know there is a pile of laundry on the bed and stack of dishes in the sink. But a girl's gotta have priorities right? Right. ;)

I was so excited about Jen's BDR series and flattered that she asked me to guest post. My dress is somewhat inspired by a drop waist dress I saw at the store and thought "hey, I could make that for less than $5". I love a challenge. I hope my tutorial inspires even the beginning seamstress, that with enough determination {and maybe a few choice words} you can see a vision come to life and learn some lessons along the way.

*Disclaimer* I am still fairly new at making clothing. I have a lot to learn about clothing construction and this did not turn out to be a drop waist dress.


* button down shirt {I used a short sleeve my husband didn't want}
* coordinating thread
* white or coordinating color cotton {1/4 should be enough}
* extra buttons {optional}

Step 1

First I put my trusty seam ripper to work and removed the sleeves, collar and pocket from the shirt. Set those pieces aside, you'll use some later. Fold what's left of the shirt in half and place a dress that fits on top, also folded in half. Trace around the dress leaving room for seam allowance. I believe most people use 5/8" seam allowance.

Step 2


Put right sides of dress together {I didn't cut the top of the sleeve so I just folded the dress in half at the shoulder with right sides facing). Fold the bottom of dress 1/4" two times to create new hem, press, pin and sew. {Ignore the horizontal stripe pieces shown here, this was an idea that didn't work out}. Do the same thing on the sleeves to hem. Then sew from the edge of sleeve to the bottom of dress on both sides.

Step 3


To create the bib I referred to this tutorial. Instead of one piece of white cotton I had two pieces so it could still button up to put on and take off. My pieces were 8"x12" with two inches for the button up center. I accidentally sewed my button hole to the inside piece instead of the outer piece so this dress buttons backwards on the top and I sewed a white ruffle to the top. As you can see, I wasn't very careful while cutting the bib shape, I thought I could cut it folded in half but it didn't come out evenly. Definitely trace a round object and cut along your line. I attached the bib to the button down like sewing an applique, next time I'd like to try a cleaner method.

The second picture shows a lesson learned. If you're sewing past your bedtime, triple check what you're doing before cutting fabric. I accidentally cut the back of the shirt while cutting the front for the bib. I pieced it back together and later sewed the tag that was on the inside to the outside, I thought it was something unexpected.

Step 4


Next came the ruffle at the bottom. I used two pieces of white cotton measuring 2" x twice the width of the dress bottom. I pressed & sewed a 1/4" hem on both sides of the strips then created the ruffle by sewing down the middle of each strip with my tension at the tightest setting and stitch length at the longest. Next, pin the first ruffle strip starting at one side of the front with the bottom of the ruffle lining up with the hem. Continue pinning the second ruffle overlapping slightly in the back and finishing up at the other side of the front. 

Step 5

Add a pocket! That pocket you set to the side before can be made new again. I made a gathered pocket method I've used before using this tutorial and put a piece of the collar along the top and some extra ruffle strip.

Step 6


The dress was fine without a collar but seemed a little unfinished. So I hemmed the rest of the old collar and sewed it to the inside of the neckline with a zig zag stitch, about 1/4" overlapping.

Step 7

I don't have pictures showing this step but I replaced all of the original buttons on this shirt. They were originally a shiny off white. My daughter chose tan for the buttons on the stripes, blue for the white {backwards} and I put a brown one on the pocket.

And there you have it!


A button down turned dress with a crooked bib, backward buttons, ruffle trim, functioning pocket and little collar. I would still like to add a little button and finishing technique that Jen shared on day 4 of BDR to the sleeves and maybe a little elastic in the back to hold it's shape better but those will have to wait.

I really do love how this dress turned out, though during the process it was one of those things that makes me want to poke myself with a needle in the eye. If you make a dress using this tutorial I'd love to see the finished product! Thank you for having me Jen!


Thanks, Rebecca!

I've seen so many cute bib shirts and dresses out there, this is definitely something I'll have to try for my daughter. If you haven't already, make sure to check out Rebecca's site, Searching Out Simple, and share some love.
Tomorrow will be the final post in the Button Down Rehab series. I kind of can't believe it, my life has been so full of button down shirts for the past month! I hope you'll drop by for the final post, it's a good one!

Click on the picture below to see the BDR projects you may have missed:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Button Down Rehab Day 8: The Button Down Bib (with free pattern!)

For day 8 of Button Down Rehab, I have something else boy-related for you. And of all the projects I've done using button down shirts lately, I think this one may be my favorite!!

Using very few materials, I came up with an adorable Button Down Bib for my little guy.

Ready to make one (a bib that is)??
  • Dowload my free pattern HERE
  • Button down shirt
  • Coordinating fabric for the back of your bib
  • 1 package of double fold bias tape
  • Straight pins
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine and thread
**A quick note about buttons: Please make sure to check that your buttons are sewed on tightly to avoid a choking hazard. If you're concerned about safety, remove the buttons or use some strong glue like E6000 to secure the buttons before wear.

This is the original shirt I used. My husband actually wore this one on our honeymoon cruise to the Caribbean and 3 years later it's living a new life as a bib for our son. How crazy is that! :)

Step 1: Cut out your pieces.

Make sure your shirt is buttoned. Print out the free pattern I provided HERE and place it on top of your shirt over the pocket and button flap (see second picture below). Trace and cut out your front piece. Make sure you don't cut too close to the buttons themselves because you'll be lining the bib with bias tape and you dont want the buttons hiding under the tape.

Use the pattern to cut out a second piece of fabric for your lining. Now you should have 2 pieces:

Step 2: Add decorative stitching.

This step is purely optional, but I love how it makes the bib look! Using coordinating thread, I set my stitch length and width to 3, then zig-zag stitched along the pocket and button flap.

Step 3: Line the outside with bias tape.

Place your main fabric piece on top of your lining fabric, wrong sides together. Then, take your package of double fold bias tape and line the outside of your bib, enclosing the raw edges of your fabric inside of the bias tape. At the top of the neck line, extend your bias tape out some, you'll trim this later.

Make sure to pin it really well (I kind of go crazy with the pins, but I don't want anything to move around when I sew.)

Using your zig-zag stitch again, stitch all the way around the outside of the bib. At the neck line, snip the extra bias tape so it lines up with the neck.

Step 4: Line the neck.
Now to line the neck of your bib, cut a strip of your bias tape approximately 32 inches long. Fold the strip in half to find the middle, and then pin the middle of your bias tape to the middle of your bib with the raw edge of the fabric inside of the tape.

Enclose the neckline of the bib inside of your bias tape and pin.

Now, zig-zag stitch along the neckline to enclose the raw edges. Make sure you tuck the edges of the bias tape that you sewed on the outside of the bib into the neckline bias tape.

I stitched along the entire length of the neck to the ends of each strap I liked the look of the zig-zag stitches on the straps, but you don't have to stitch past the neckline if you don't want to.

Now you have a brand new bib made out of an old shirt, and little man is ready to eat in style!!


Tomorrow, Rebecca of Searching Out Simple will be guest blogging with a great tutorial for a little girls' bib dress from a button down shirt.

Check out the other posts from the series below:


Linking up!

Tip Junkie handmade projects
Sumo Sweet StuffPhotobucketBubbly Nature
Today's Creative BlogPhotobucket
Somewhat SimplePhotobucketThe Shabby NestKeeping It Simple

Show and Tell Wednesday at Blue Cricket Design


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