DIY Lace Back Shirt

I have recently been through every single item in my closet. I tried everything on and either put it back or threw it in a box. I was going to take the box to the Deseret Industries but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I hate getting rid of good material. The problem is, I have so many ideas of what to do with all the clothes that I couldn’t possibly get to them all. I’m afraid I’m going to become quite the hoarder if this type of behavior continues.

In order to cut down on my fabric stash, I decided to finish at least one project that has been on my mind. It’s a lace one!

When I bought this lace from Joann Fabric, I didn’t quite know what I was going to do with it, but I knew it was going to be great. It is a pretty pattern, prettier than the generic stuff. It was quite expensive. $20 dollars a yard. I of course had to use a 50% off coupon and then I only got 2 yards of it. It has sequins sewn throughout to give it some sparkle. I just love it.

So here we go.

I started with a knit shirt that was much too tight. I drew a line across the back, making sure to measure the distance from the top all the way across so that it was straight. Then, I unpicked the side seams from the bottom all the way up through the sleeves to the line. If your shirt has some fabric excess then there is no need to unpick. Simply cut out out the seams. I needed every scrap of width so I unpicked… my very least favorite thing to do.

lace shirt line copy

I cut across the line and cut out the back of the shirt.

lace shirt cut out1 copy

I used the back cutout as a pattern for my new back.

width addition

I folded it in half and placed it on my folded material adding about 3 inches. That of course adds 6 inches of width overall and to tell you the truth, I wish I would have added more. The shirt ended up being slightly fitted instead of having the flowy back I had imagined. Remember, the shirt I started with was pretty tight.

lace top addition

A tip to remember is to double your seam allowance at the top so that your materials match up at the bottom. I had to think about that for a while to get it to make sense in my head, but trust me. If you don’t get it, do it anyway. It will work out better.

lace shirt length addition copy

You can see I ended up cutting out my back twice. I forgot to take into account that I wanted the bottom to be loner than the front so I wasted my awesome material and gave it another go. I also added a little more width as you can see.

lace shirt pleats pinned copy

I hemmed the bottom and made a nice pleat at the top.

pleat pins copy

You have to take in enough with your pleat so that your width matches your original cutout piece.

lace shirt pleat1 copy

Then, sew the piece right sides together to your shirt. Start with the top and then sew down both sides to the bottom. Make absolutely sure that you don’t stretch the material. You don’t want to end up with wavy seams.

lace shirt pleat copy

Ta da! Not too shabby if I do say so myself.

lace shirt front copy

I’ll admit it’s not as awe inspiring from the front in the pictures. It was really windy, and hard to get the shirt to lay flat. It was also sticking to the fence so I way in a hurry to get it down. It looks great on though. Here’s to one way to fix a shirt that is too tight… or just refashion something you don’t wear very often.

lace shirt1 copy


So I hinted that I would be doing a Stitch Fix experiment last time and here it is. I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed in the results. I changed all my preferences to “the cheaper the better” and requested in my note to my stylist that they send me the absolute cheapest pieces they had that were still my style. I wanted to see just how affordable Stitch Fix could be. After all, I’ve told everyone that they follow your budget and what you can afford. I got 3 shirts, 1 pair of pants and 1 skirt. $38 was the cheapest item… sigh. I thought they might have some $25 dollar pieces or at least something under $30. Well now we know. Stitch Fix is NOT cheap.

Unlike other sites, I don’t get a lot (or any for that matter) of referrals so I’m paying for the service completely on my own. Why do I continue? It’s fun! I recently came into a small monthly income and this is what I decided to spend it on. It’s fun to anticipate what is coming in the mail. It’s fun to open your box and see all the new colors and patterns. It’s fun to try on clothes that you would probably never have picked out in the store. It’s fun to find something awesome. It’s fun even when you don’t find anything. Guilty pleasures come in all shapes in sizes and mine just happen to be vanilla ice cream and Stitch Fix. I”m not ashamed. 🙂

Onto my 4th fix.

Loveappella Kellyton Mesh Shoulder Top $48

Loveappella Kellyton Mesh Shoulder Top


I appreciated the fact that they finally took me seriously when I said I wanted form fitting tops. I don’t feel like I look great in the trendy stuff going on right now. I actually really liked this top. I think it looked pretty good on me  and was only a tiny bit too tight. The material was SUPER super SUPER soft. So what’s the problem? I don’t need a solid black shirt. I also don’t want a top that I would have to wear something under. Not quite for me. Don’t laugh at my awesome modeling skills.

THML Rancho Sequin Detail Knit Top $48

THML Rancho Sequin Detail Knit Top

I love a little sparkle, or a lot of sparkle. I just don’t like shoulder detail or orangy gold. ‘nough said.

Renee C Melisa Printed Pencil Skirt $48

Renee C Melisa Printed Pencil Skirt

When I pulled this out of the box I thought there is no way that this is going to fit over my hips. It was sooooo tiny. Well, it fit. Still a bit tight though. This was my biggest let down. I love a good pencil skirt, but I don’t like the print. Not even a little bit. I also thought the material was kind of cheap. It was one of those fabrics that when stretched, becomes faded because it’s ribbed. This was a total fail.

INER Kahla Tie-Neck Blouse $44

INER Kahla Tie-Neck Blouse

I actually think this looks pretty good on me… Problem is, I don’t wear sleeveless tops at all. I was really disappointed when this came in my fix. I asked them straight out not to send me anything sleeveless. I know I could wear a cardigan or something, but when I specifically asked them I thought they would respect my wishes.

Gilli Chandler Wide Leg Pant $38

Gilli Chandler Wide Leg Pant

What are these pants!!!! I almost didn’t even try them on because they were so crazy and NOT my style. I ended up loving them. They are soft, stretchy, comfy and… I have nothing to wear with them. Seriously, I have no idea how to style these. I cut off my feet in the pictures because none of the shoes in my closet went with these at all. I’m just not willing to buy a whole new wardrobe for one pair of pants. The pattern is a little too crazy for me anyway. Sad story. This is what I was talking about at the beginning though. Stitch Fix makes you try thing you would absolutely NEVER try on if you were shopping by yourself.

Yay for another fix where I kept nothing. Ha! Like I said, I’m not worried. I love Stitch Fix.

I’ve decided that I’m not very great at detailed tutorials. Thus, I am rededicating my site to be more inspirational rather than tutorial. I’ll still tell you how I did things in general with a few how-to pictures, but I’d rather link to another tutorial that’s already done and done really well, for you benefit.

Now that that momentous piece of news is out of the way, on to what I did last week.

Sometimes living in a small town is hard. Like when you go to your local Walmart and Kmart and boutique clothing shops and still can’t find a baby swimming suit for your outing tomorrow! What!? They carried down to 12 months old, but no 6-9 mos. I was tempted to let sweet Claira just swim in a swim diaper, but then I remembered I had some extra spandex from the suit I made for my sister a few years back. Yay for saving your extra material! I try to keep my stash to a minimum, but somehow I kept the spandex that I didn’t even buy. Lucky me!

DSC_3069aMaking swimwear shouldn’t be daunting for anyone. If you can sew a zig-zag stitch, you can sew a swimming suit. I don’t know why they seem so intimidating. If you happen to have or want to invest in a double needle, they are perfect for swimming suits as well. I used one here. You can kind of see how there is a double row of stitching on the top of the binding and a zig-zag on the bottom. That’s what a double needle will do. They are pretty inexpensive and I recommend them for almost every project.

To start my suit I traced a baby onsie sans sleeves. I dropped the front and back neckline a couple of inches to give it a little more of a suit look. I also cut out a lining for it even though my spandex was quite stout and not very see through. I didn’t want those lovely dark blue swim diapers showing through and making the suit look green. I sewed my lining together and then my suit, placed the lining inside-out into the suit so the seams were all enclosed, sewed elastic into the leg openings and stitched on my binding. FYI I didn’t have any clear elastic so I just used the regular kind. I wouldn’t worry about it if you don’t care if the suit will last for years and years. I don’t think we go to the pool enough for the chlorine to ruin this elastic any time soon.

This is how I did the binding. She also has many many tips on how to sew a swimming suit.

DSC_3083aA tip on color blocking. I find that where possible, it’s easier to sew your colors together and then cut out your pattern as opposed to all that measuring and making sure your pieces fit together jut right without any shifting.

DSC_3084aMy favorite part of this suit is that it’s diaper accessible! Why don’t all baby swimming suits have this option? Who wants to take a wet suit off a baby every time you want to give them a dry diaper? Not me. Also, if you are going to be inserting baby snaps onto any piece of clothing, I recommend buying some sort of snap pliers. I tried to add these with a hammer and a board… it didn’t go so well.

DSC_3080aI love this suit! I’m so glad I had some extra material and a little extra time. Babies in swim diapers are cute, but babies in swimming suits are much cuter. I think I’ll work one up with ruffles next time.