Refashion: Liberating growing arms | the ReFab Diaries

Hi rebfabbers ... it's been a while since I posted! I have a few things to share in the next couple of weeks, but first a quick, practical fix. I've been playing with ways to make kid's clothes last longer and work harder since Ms R arrived in 2010. I've turned long-sleeve onesies into short sleeve swing tops (tutorial), used the legs of too-short pants to add sleeves to old t-shirts (tutorial) and combined a shirt of mine with a onesie of hers to make a dress (tutorial). 

The project pictured above happened because of the very different way she's growing... now that she 5+. The sleeves on this dress fit just fine Aug/Sept. In November, she suddenly couldn't bend her arms all the way. Like she'd nibbled on a little through-the-looking-glass cake and suddenly her arms had outgrown her sleeves. 

My first idea was to split the sleeves up the elbow and insert a triangle of fabric. I was picturing cute, bell sleeves. Then it occurred to me that this is a winter dress. Which means (in Chicago anyway) that it has to be able to fit under a thick coat for outdoor play. Making her wide sleeves was not a great idea.

So, once again, an old t-shirt of mine to the rescue. It's a shirt I've been using as long underwear for the last few years. The bodice was stained but the sleeves were fine. 

Before I did any cutting, I carefully removed the original sleeve from the dress and did lots of measuring and marking. I had to trim and reshape the grown-up sleeve just a little. Then I stitched up the new seam and joined it to the dress. Why a "new" seam? Because when I do something like this, I often don't think of the most obvious things. Like "hey, cut along the seam that's already there so the sleeve still has only one seam". Yup.

Anyway. It's a sleeve with two seams. But look at that! Full range of motion has been restored  :) 

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