Loosened from the mud, I find myself floating in a world of possibility.

So can you.

Iron Craft: To a Tee

Iron Craft challenge #20 was to redo/upcycle a T-shirt.

Yah, sure I could have done a freezer paper stencil. That's right, I could have taken the easy way out. Easy for me, that is. I've been doing freezer paper stencils since Lotus Bud was born. Sounds impressive, right? She's only 15 months old so it hasn't been all that long.

Instead I seriously considered doing something a little special for me. Then I remembered I look awful in t-shirts. Even worse now that my body is a bit bigger, not to mention the big breastfeeding boobs lying behind that piece of cotton.

No t-shirt upcycle for me.

I did have a few t-shirts sitting around that I had planned to stencil for myself. Instead I used them to work out at the gym, but that quickly stopped when I was reminded of how awful I looked in t-shirts. They've been sitting around, crowding my drawer.

I ended up doing a sewing project for the Lotus Bud. I got there in a wind-y fashion, jumping from one website to another. Jeez, I love the internet when I need to find a craft project. I found this site on re-doing t-shirts, from there moved to this site which had awesome instructions for making toddler dresses. I went to my mother's house on Friday to get some help sewing and to use her sewing machine. Realized early on that I was going to have to find an alternative to sewing on the roses, so I turned to the craft people at Iron Craft for inspiration. Linda at laf...artsin' and craftsin' had made fabric rosette bookmarks for last week's challenge and thankfully, included the link to instructions that required no sewing, just fabric adhesive (at Skip to my Lou).

Still with me? Are following you me down this yellow brick road to the Craft City otherwise known as the Internet?

I started my searching and deciding and cutting on Thursday. Good-bye old t-shirt!

I used a dress that I had bought from Target for the pattern.

Right away I knew I had chosen wisely.

Friday it was off to my mother's house. I don't know how to sew so she had to give me a quick tutorial and a lot of help.

Lotus Bud loved the strips of cloth I had cut for the flowers. At this point, I realized I had to head home, so no sewing the flowers. I'm so glad I had found Linda's site yet I had no idea whether it would work for me.

But it did! And I am so glad!

Here's a close up of the flower.

Here's Lotus Bud in her new dress! The neck is a little bit big, but I can correct that in the next dress.

She's so cute, I had to show another picture.

This turned out to be a real fun project and it's just starting to get warm enough for her to wear. I can't wait to make more. If it weren't for the Iron Craft challenges I never would have learned to do this.

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My mother has had her sewing machine for as long as I can remember. Turns out she bought it in 1978. I was 7 years old. When she moves to Florida, I think I get it so I want to learn as much as I can while she's still here.

From my perspective, she's always been sewing. Granted not so much lately, but I remember she used to sew me clothes when I was younger and more recently, she made me a diaper bag. I never before asked her how she started sewing. It was an interesting story.

Right after she married my father in India, he returned to the States to finish his Master's degree. He gave himself six weeks to find a bride and get married before leaving India again. Crazy, isn't it?

She decided to enroll in a sewing class. Her father bought her a sewing machine at which she had to stand in order to work it with her foot. I can just picture her standing there working the pedal, although I have no idea what such a sewing machine would look like.

One day she was walking in the bazaar and found a dress for me (I promptly came along 9 months after my father had left India) but it was 7 rupees and the way she tells it, she says that although it wasn't a lot of money, she just didn't want to pay for it. So she went home and tore up a pair of her brother's old trousers and made me a dress. I wish she still had that dress.

I wonder how many dresses she made for me when I was a little baby. How many did she bring with her when she moved to Toronto to be with my Dad? He had emigrated there after school and a couple years later, we moved to Pennsylvania.

Later in the States, my parents bought the Singer because they wanted to reupholster an old couch. That was one year after my sister was born.

Am I drawn to sewing because of something genetic in me? The experiences I had with my mother? No doubt that it is because of my mother. And, I'm grateful that we were able to connect in this way, making a dress together for my daughter, her granddaughter.

Rock on, Iron Craft! You and all your crafters have brought so many unexpected joys to my life! I am struck by how many of these unexpected discoveries have had to do with my cultural background, something that always stood thousands of miles away from me, all the way on the other side of the planet.


  1. What a wonderful post! I'm so glad you are enjoying IronCraft as much as I am. Wait until you see tomorrow's challenge, you are going to love it!

  2. Lovely! I saw your daughter's dress on Iron Craft and popped over here to check it out, and I love your story about your mother.

    My mother always sewed too, but she started teaching me when I was about 7, so it became a natural thing that I hardly ever do anymore. I mentioned during one of her visits (we live on opposite coasts)how bummed I was that I didn't have a sewing machine, and a few weeks later fedex dropped off a huge heavy box.. The sewing machine I learned to sew on that she bought the same year that I was born. It still works like a champ, and every time I use it it's like she's right there with me.

    Back to your post, though, I really absolutely adore that dress. The little roses are perfect, and that is a great cut! Awesome job :D

  3. Loved this when i saw it on Iron craft!! Super cutely done!
    Oh my Mom is an ace sewer and such a shame that i haven't even attempted to learn. I so much want to....i know its never late and i shall soon!


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