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Easy DIY Bralette

DIYStephanie2 Comments

I’ve officially jumped on the bralette train.

How to make a Simple Bralette from an Old Shirt | Wellnesting

As a rather flat-chested gal (and I’m not afraid to sing it loud and proud) I’ve long avoided lingerie that doesn’t at least give the illusion of a little curves. In college I was totally the Wonder Bra type with a minimum of an inch of padding, but since then, the padding has progressively thinned until I reached my current status: shaped but very little, if any, extra oomph.

These days it’s all about accentuation, not complete and total fabrication, and lately I’ve found myself being drawn to simple and dainty bralettes.

How to make a Simple Bralette from an Old Shirt | Wellnesting

Most bralettes are nothing more than a couple pieces of lace sewn together with the addition of elastic straps, and while they look delicate and time-intensive, I knew one couldn’t be hard to make. Not to mention, spending $50 on something so simple didn’t really float my boat when all I needed was to get the right fit and add a couple straps. Easy, right?

While most tutorials online featured triangle lace cups made by sewing the lace together at an angle, I wanted something even easier. So I chose to go with a gathered cup that still looks pretty but doesn’t have the seam running down the front (which can be trouble if you’re on the flatter side and don’t get the fit just right). I also added a little plastic closure at the back to make it more practical and easier to wear.

As for the fabric, I picked a light, printed chiffon top that I no longer wore and that I figured would be the perfect weight for a lingerie project. It originally came from Madewell a couple years ago but after a recent closet purge, it ended up in my DIY project box. I thought it would be pretty paired with a soft berry colored elastic but all the fun colors were sold out at my local JoAnn, so I decided to dye my own. As luck would have it, the only dye I had was for natural fibers and, while I went ahead and used it anyway, it resulted in a lavender tie-dyed effect, which I ended up loving. Hooray for happy accidents!  

How to make a Simple Bralette from an Old Shirt | Wellnesting

Supplies

1/2 yard lace or chiffon fabric
2 yards elastic (1/2 inch wide)
Scissors
Ruler
Clear 1/2 inch swimsuit bra hooks ( I like these from Dritz)
Pen and paper
Need, thread, sewing machine

How to make a Simple Bralette from an Old Shirt | Wellnesting
  1. Start by creating a paper template. This will vary depending on your cup size, but I made a simple triangle 6 inches wide at the base and 5 inches tall. Then I added a 1/2 inch seam allowance on all sides. Once you get the size just right, cut it out and pin it to your fabric. Cut two pieces.
  2. Using a sewing machine set to the longest stitch, sew a running stitch along the bottom (6-inch side) of your triangles (don't back stitch at the beginning). The machine will slightly gather the fabric as your sew, but I gathered it just a teeny bit more. Again, this will vary depending on your cup size. Be sure to experiment until it's gathered enough for you.
  3. Cut your elastic. Wrap the elastic around your torso, right underneath your chest - add an inch to this measurement to allow for a little extra give and cut one. Then cut two 5 1/2 inch pieces (one for each of the inside edges of the cups). And finally cut two more pieces that will go along the outside edge of each cup, all the way over your shoulders and connect to the back of the bottom strap.
  4. Pin one of the 5 1/2 inch pieces of elastic to the inner edge of each triangle, and using a zigzag stitch, sew in place. Trim any seam allowance that may be showing.
  5. Pin one of the long shoulder straps to the outside edge of each triangle and sew.
  6. Finally, center your triangles on the bottom piece of elastic with a 1/2 inch gap in between the cups. Pin and sew using a zigzag stitch.
  7. Attach the bra hook by taking 1 end of the bottom elastic piece and folding it over to create a small loop. Pin the end down and sew a straight stitch. Take the other end of the elastic and thread one of the plastic bra hooks, fold the elastic over, pin and sew closed.
  8. Attach the shoulder straps to the bottom elastic at the back (I placed mine about 2 inches from the closure). Attach using a straight stitch.
  9. Try on and adjust for fit if necessary.
How to make a Simple Bralette from an Old Shirt | Wellnesting
How to make a Simple Bralette from an Old Shirt | Wellnesting

How to Make a Skirt from a Mens Shirt

DIYStephanieComment
How to make a men's shirt into a skirt | Wellnesting

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I have a weak spot for makeovers.

I really like the challenge of turning trash into treasure, or at the very least, trash into a-step-above-trash. It’s really the challenge part I like, not to mention, I love letting my inner Donatella Versace run free every now and then! So for that reason I keep a whole box of trash-with-major-potential hidden in the back of my closet (Hoarders, here I come!…), and every once in a while I’ll troll through it looking for those treasures that light my fire.

How to make a men's shirt into a skirt | Wellnesting

This time I was inspired by an old button down shirt I swiped from my husband’s Goodwill pile when he wasn’t looking. There’s something so versatile about a crisp button down that makes it suited for nearly any DIY, but after entertaining several ideas (bustier? ruffle shorts? pajama set?) I finally settled on this easy shirt-to-skirt refashion.  Since I’m all about pairing a simple skirt with a light blouse or tank to keep cool these days, it was only fitting that I add one more skirt to my rotation. 

How to make a men's shirt into a skirt | Wellnesting

To make this skirt I used a super simple gathered elastic waist construction, which helps keep both sewing time and skill level to a minimum. And if I’m not feeling the elastic waistband look, it can easily be hidden with a belt or drapey blouse, so I can then hit the mean streets of DC in elastic-free style.

And did I mention the whole thing cost me a whopping zero dollars?  Holla!

Read on to see how I did it.

How to make a men's shirt into a skirt | Wellnesting

What You'll Need

An old button down shirt that's a few sizes too big
Marker
Ruler
Scissors
Seam ripper
1-inch wide elastic
Iron
Pins, sewing machine, matching thread

How to make a men's shirt into a skirt | Wellnesting

How to Do It

  1. First button all the buttons, then lay your shirt on a flat surface and smooth out any creases or wrinkles as best you can. Take your ruler and lay it directly underneath the armpits, draw a line.
  2. Cut along this line -- this will be the top of the skirt where you'll insert the waistband.
  3. Next, find the seams on either side of the freshly cut edge. Using a seam ripper, rip seams about 2 inches down.
  4. Fold the top raw edge over about 1/2 inch and iron flat. Do this all the way around.
  5. Then fold it over another 1.5 inches. Iron. You should now have a tube that's open at both ends through which you can feed the elastic waistband. If your tube isn't open at the ends, use your seam ripper to rip more of the side seam.
  6. Turn your skirt inside out (this will make it easier to sew) and pin the tube along the long edge. Sew this long edge, being sure to leave both ends open.
  7. Figure out how long you want your elastic to be by wrapping some around your waist and making it tighter or looser until it feels comfortably snug. Cut your elastic. Then, using a safety pin and knitting needle (or just your hands!), feed the elastic through the tube. Pin the elastic in place at both ends of the waistband.
  8. Tuck one end of the waistband behind the other and look at the front seam to make sure it lines up correctly. Then simply sew the waistband closed, mirroring the original seam as best you can. It doesn't have to be perfect since no one will be able to see it once you're wearing it anyway. Turn right side out, trim any lingering threads and iron where necessary.

That's it!

How to make a men's shirt into a skirt | Wellnesting

How to Make a Bikini Top To Match Any Bottoms

DIYStephanie4 Comments
How to make a DIY bikini top

A few weeks ago I stumbled into a little sale at American Eagle. Don’t ask how in the world I found it or what made me look around (I haven’t bought anything from AE since I worked there as a bright-eyed 16 year old some 10+ years ago) but look around I did, and lo and behold they were having a blockbuster bikini sale!

Winner winner chicken dinner.

After trying desperately (and not too successfully) to find matching tops and bottoms that I liked, I landed on a couple floral/plain/bikini bottom/bandeau top combinations. Then I plunked down my credit card and became the proud new owner of $50 worth of swimsuits (and a pat on the back for my amazing money-saving abilities).

Now to be fair, I was a little unsure of the sizes right off the bat. Like anything having to do with online shopping, it’s hard to know what you’re getting until you get that box in your hot little hands. And rather than measure myself like a normal person, I closed my eyes, clicked buy and prayed for the best. Obviously not the smartest way to go about buying a swimsuit, but hey, I was riding high from my insanely good luck and decided to take my chances.

Then I waited around for a few days for the box to get here, and when it finally arrived I jumped on it like a squirrel on a nut.

How to make a DIY bikini top

{Commence the dreaded swimsuit try-on session}

And long story short, I came out a half winner. The bottoms were surprisingly awesome. Holding them up Chuck said “What are those??!” in response to my vintagey high-waisted Angela Lansbury style bikini bottoms but they looked much cuter on. The tops, however, were total losers. Too big or too small, too bulgey or not bulgey enough in all the right places made both tops a must-return. Womp womp.

But after lots of thinking, rather than return the bottoms too, I decided to keep them and try my hand at sewing new tops to go with them. Now, I’ve never tried sewing a bathing suit before, but I usually like what comes out of my hack-job attempts at sewing and I was confident that a swimsuit would be easier than it sounds. After much digging online for inspiration and a thorough analysis of sewing abilities, I decided to make a twisted top almost exactly like the one I returned, only this one had to have a little oomph in the cups to make up for my natural lack thereof.

To keep things simple and not too matchy-matchy, I settled on a plain black nylon-lycra from Fabric.com that was running about $14 a yard.

How to make a DIY bikini top

I estimated that a yard would cover the top but I picked up 2 yards just in case I might want to make bottoms some day (future post alert!). Then I went to JoAnn Fabric and, armed with a 50% off coupon, I bought some elastic and a pair of padded bra inserts for good measure.

Then I rounded up the rest of the materials I needed - mainly just a sewing machine, needles, scissors and thread - and went to town. I must say, even though it looks hard, it’s reeeally easy. Essentially you just sew two pieces of fabric together, add the cups and straps, and voila. All in all it only took a couple hours and $20 worth of supplies to get a cute, perfectly fitted bathing suit top – all for less than the cost of my original AE bikini top.

DIY Twist Bikini Top

Ready?

Ok, here's what you need.

Supplies

1 yard nylon lycra fabric
Matching thread
1 package bra inserts (mine were the Dritz brand from JoAnn Fabric)
Scissors
Pins
Needle
Sewing machine
Tailors chalk

(All measurements are in inches)

(All measurements are in inches)

Next your going to cut out your pieces like this ^^. Make sure you cut 4 for the straps and 2 for the bandeau.

Summer's not over yet -- learn how to make a bikini top to match any bottoms | Wellnesting

Now put it all together.

  1. Lay the two bandeau pieces together, right sides facing eachother, and pin along 1 long edge (leave the other edge open). Sew along the pinned edge.
  2. Open the two pieces and lay flat so you have one large piece with the seam facing out. Through trial and error, determine the placement of your padded inserts by pinning them in and then holding the bikini up as if you're wearing it. I placed mine about 1.5 inches from either end, but this might vary. Once you have the placement right, pin the inserts at the top seam with one insert right side up, curve facing down and the other upside down, curve facing up (if you're having trouble, pin one insert in place, then pin the other and twist once -- this is how they will fit when you're wearing it. Make adjustments so that both inserts are facing the proper direction). Once they're placed correctly, hand sew them in place at the seam.
  3. Next, fold the fabric in half again with right sides together and inserts on the outside. Pin along the other seam. Sew pieces together then turn right side out.
  4. Take two of your strap pieces and lay them together, right sides facing. Pin both long edges, as well as the 2.25 inch edge. Leave the 4.5 in edge un-pinned. Next, using a zigzag stitch (to allow for some stretch), sew along all three pinned edges. Do the same for the other strap.
  5. When you're done, trim the seam allowance and cut in at the corners. Turn them right side out.
  6. Take your bandeau piece, and sew a long running stitch at both open ends. Holding one of the strings, gently begin to gather the fabric until the length measures about 3.5 inches (or the length of the strap at the join).
  7. Pin the bandeau to one side of the strap and sew together.
  8. Fold over the unsewn edge so it completely encloses the seam where the body and strap meet, and sew together by hand.

Finally, twist the top 90 degrees to get the twisty effect, and rock out in your new bikini top.

 

Here's how it's supposed to look when all is said and done. Just imagine it on my hot bod*.

How to make a DIY bikini top
How to make a DIY bikini top

*hahaha. not.

 

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