Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Denim and Lace - From Plain to Pretty!


When you live in a bushland setting, as we do at eight acres of eden, your children need clothing that is hard wearing and practical, that will stand up to the demands of outdoor play, especially tree climbing! Oh and yes, lots of cycles in the washing machine! I have always found denim garments to meet this criteria but I do like my girls to look like girls and they love pretty clothes! I'm also looking for quality but at the right price and garage sales are where I find many of my girls' clothes. All the pieces featured here were purchased at garage sales for less than a dollar an item! The cute waistcoat cost me fifty cents. It started out plain with a frilled edge and minus a button.

I really do not have the time or the inclination to sit at the sewing machine to sew clothes from scratch and why bother when I can find complete garments for a fraction of the cost of fabric and patterns. I also find that the lovely little girls who feature here get into some real mischief when mum is preoccupied at the sewing machine! However this week, the sewing machine was dusted off and it took just a few minutes to stitch on some braid and lace in a lovely antique cream shade for a vintage look. I found some cute buttons at Spotlight to replace the original ones.... sew easy!

The best thing about using denim garments is that they have external stitching which gives you a line to follow as you attach your trim. Brilliant for novice sewers! The stretch of the braid I used was ideal for trimming the curved seam of the waistcoat.

This skirt had a frill but the white lace trim had faded. A cover up job was needed! I delved into my big box of laces and trims which I purchased last year from... yes, you guessed right, another garage sale, for a total of $8... enough lace to trim skirts for years to come! I wanted to add red gingham trim but my daughter insisted on pink! The black bric-a-brac defines the edge. Sew pretty!

Of course when you have twin girls you need two sets of everything! Do I dress them alike? .. the answer is yes and no. They do have some matching outfits but when you shop at garage sales you are unlikely to find two garments exactly the same, unless you find a garage sale at a household that has twins but amazingly I have been to a few garage sales where the owners obviously did have twin girls!

Two denim skirts in a similar design can be individualized with laces and trims. The skirt below was very short even for a littlie and needed some length added, so I created a unique petticoat by attaching the skirt of a baby dress; I simply cut it off at the bodice and with a few adjustments to the gathers stitched it into the underside of the waistband. It needed some jazzing up and the design combination of this ribbon and lace trim was hard to resist. There was just enough ribbon left to trim the front of the waistband. Tiny silk ribbon roses add a pretty finishing touch to the pleats.

The petticoat layer which belonged to a pretty baby dress I found in a bag of clothing given to me, worn for a few months and then.... recycled and revived with a lace trim to create a new and unique garment for an older child. Adding petticoat layers and trims to the hemlines of skirts and dresses makes good economic sense as your children grow in height, consider this idea before you put that too short dress or skirt into the recycled clothing bin or give it away!

And if you do not own a sewing machine do not fret.... it may take a little longer but the same effects can be achieved by hand stitching, in fact, I sewed the ribbon and trims onto the skirts by hand as the girls looked on in anticipation. As soon as their skirts were finished and fitted they were off to the trampoline to bounce and make their 'new skirts' twirl.

This is when I am pleased to have dressed the girls in leggings to wear under their skirts. These are inexpensive store bought cotton leggings which also happen to be trimmed with lace! Now that gives me an idea... adding lace to plain leggings, they usually cost less than the fancier ones. I don't think I will be putting the sewing machine away just yet! I'd love to hear how you creatively recycle clothes. You do not need to be an accomplished sewer.. I 'm not! Just a little imagination, a needle and thread and a few trips around the garage sales and op shops is all that is needed to transform clothing from plain to pretty! Give it a go!

With love and joy,
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A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

Great tips.
I really sew nothing as it takes me sooooo Long by hand.
I bought a cheap and old sewing machine recently and have already given up on it and put it in the shed!!

Renata said...

Hi Ann
Thanks so much for your lovely comment on my blog - it's nice to hear of someone in similair circumstances. I love your creations - it just makes those skirts so pretty!
I'm interested in reading about your homeschool journey - it certainly sounds close to ours - I know the community here think we are strange. Your girls are so cute & 3 year old twins are definitely a handful - although I think it's easier than 2 year olds so far!!
Have a nice day

The Vintage Rose said...

Love those sewing ideas! I have been adding frills to the bottom of some of my skirts lately. Perhaps I should add some pics to my blog.

The Vintage Rose said...

Lovely sewing ideas. I like what you did with the girl's clothes. I have been adding length to some of my skirts lately with coordinating frills. Perhaps I should take some pics and post sometime.

Farming On Faith said...

Oh~so very cute! I just got here so I am going to look around........wink!

Becca said...

What a great idea. I have some girly girls who like their pretty clothes too.

Catherine (Alecat Music) said...

Just beautiful! You're very clever. :)

I had seen something similar done with a women's denim shirt. A floral overlay was put across the back yoke, and the buttons replaced with coloured ones to match the fabric. There may have been some trim added on the front panels too?? Anyway ... you've got me thinking about Mariposa's (aged 7) future 'op-shop' remade wardrobe. :)

elle said...

Great trims on those skirts. Have you thought about recycling old jeans by cutting off the legs and adding frills to the top, turning the jeans into a skirt? That's my next project to add hard wearing skirts to dd's wardrobe. Off to the op shop for some pretty fabric and trims!


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