I share my world with a nearly 6-year-old who is on her way up. Like a weed, as they say. Which means we're drowning in perfectly good long (and short) sleeved t-shirts that are way too short for her. Way. And then we got a big bag of hand-me-downs from her cousin and suddenly had even more of them. All. too. short.
So I spent a couple of hours chopping them up and making "tunics" and dresses. And I do mean a couple of hours. This was very quick, very satisfying work. And the kid is happy too :)
Step 1: Sew Like Crazy!
The process was as simple as it looks because nothing was too small. Just too short.
I used a dress that fits her as a length guide, cut strips and used a broad zig-zag stitch to join everything (see below for links to detailed tutorials). If you work with a serger (or overlocker), this will be a breeze. I like how shabby it looks with all the stitching showing. But the primary reason for doing this was comfort. All those seams against her skin would be irritating.
I was in a hurry so I used thread I already have. If I ever do this again, I'll make an effort to use really brightly colored thread! The higher the contrast, the better the outcome.
If you're a meticulous sewer, cobbling pieces together like this might feel odd. I am NOT a meticulous sewer. But I do have enough experience to feel odd about joining things on the "right" side. Nevertheless, I love the effect.
Step 2: Have Fun :)
I think sewing can be stressful. It's so easy to make mistakes (I've made hundreds). Fitting, re-fitting, unpicking etc can all be tiring. But this. This was fantastic! I had so much fun mixing and matching fabrics and sleeves. A 6-year-old girl is a straight up-and-down human. No curves to contend with. No concerns about "flattering fit". She loved everything I made and has lived in her "new" dresses.
If you'd like to see some detailed tutorials for what I did:
2. How to add a triangle of fabric into the side of a too-tight shirt to widen it
2. How to use old leggings to add sleeves to a short-sleeved t-shirt