Saturday, January 4, 2014

Making the Wahoo

This is a follow-up post on how to put together the upcycled Wahoo dress that I made Emily out of old tee shirts using the Farbenmix Henrika pattern.  Now to tell the truth if you already know how to put together a basic knit dress there is nothing new here but I promised my friend Kristen that I would take some pictures of the process.  Add to that I know when I first started sewing I could have used a photo guide to putting this thing together.

At this point you should have all your pieces if not see this post on cutting the dress completely out of old tee shirt.

Now a few quick notes on sewing knit fabric.
  • Use a ball point or stretch needle.  The are for sale at any sewing store.  Universal needles can poke holes in knit fabric.  You may also want to consider ball point pins.
  • If you have a walking foot use your walking foot.  If not try not to stretch the fabric as you sew.
  • For that matter if you have a serger use your serger.
  • If you are using your regular machine you either want to use a stretch stitch (check your manuel) or a zigzag.  I usually use a zigzag because I like it better then my machines stretch stitch for most knit projects.  The only exception is the crotch seam for leggings but that is not an issue here.
  • I sometimes use wolly nylon in my bobbin to help with the stretching a bit more.  It comes on a cone and is available in the thread section at most sewing stores.  Its not 100% necessary though.
Now on to the sewing. 
Start by sewing the gores together.  If you want the seams on the outside put wrong sides together.  If you want seams on the inside put right sides together.
This is almost but not quite a full circle skirt so once all 4 seams are sewn this is what you will have.
I wanted to have the look of a contrast waist band.  I did this by measuring up about 3 inches on my pattern piece and cutting the paper for both the front and back.  Then I cut those pieces out of contrasting fabric.  Before sewing the side seams I sewed the contrast pieces to the front and back.
Next I sewed both shoulder seams.
Now for the sleeves.  I like to install sleeves in the flat most of the time so I just pinned the sleeve into the arm whole part of the top before sewing the side seam.  You still must ease the piece in so that the edges all match up like they should but I think this is much easier.
Here is what that step looks like when completed.
Then I sewed both side seams.  I just made sure to match the seams of the arms and the waist band.
I didn't take a great picture for finishing the neckline.  I decided to use fold over elastic so I cut a piece that was a bit shorter then the neckline, sewed the ends together, and added it to the neckline using a zigzag stitch.
Not much to say about this step either.  I matched the center front and back of the skirt to the center front and back of the bodice. 
I used one of my favorite sewing tricks here.  I hemmed the sleeve with stitch witchery before sewing over it with a zigzag stitch.  I don't trust it to hold without actually sewing over it but I think the stitch witchery makes it much easier to get nice even hems.  It also adds some stability.
There you have it.  This one is a little different then Emily's and now resides with one of her little team mates.


  1. That's a great use of old Tshirts :)

    1. Thanks so much. Our swim team was clearing out space so I had access to quite a few.