Wednesday, 10 January 2018

A New Outfit for my Friend, Mr Joseph.

Every year I like to give my children something hand made for Christmas. I have made lots of different things over the years and this year is seemed to me that Mr Joseph needed a new outfit. First of all let me introduce you to Mr Joseph.

Mr Joseph is my son's teddy bear. He has been wearing an old pair of summer pyjamas for quite a while and they didn't fit him at all. I thought that it would be nice for him to have some new clothes for Christmas but I didn't have time to sew anything too complicated. I had had a turn out recently and sorted out a pile of outgrown, boys' clothes to take to the charity shop or to pass on to friends. Among these were several shirts age 7-8 and when I tried one of these on Mr Joseph I found that the neck was quite a good fit. This set me thinking and I wondered whether I could cut one of these shirts down to his size. This nice, red, check shirt had been a favourite so I chose this one as the base for Mr Joseph's new outfit. I was in a hurry to get this ready for Christmas and unfortunately I didn't take any photos as I went along but I have taken these comparison pictures so that you can see how the red shirt was altered compared to another one of the same size.

First I cut off both sleeves and put these aside. Then I put the shirt on Mr Joseph, buttoned it up and pinned the position of the armholes and side seams cutting off the excess fabric while making sure that the shirt would still be symmetrical. The original shirt had a patch pocket on the front but it was much too large so I just unpicked and discarded it.

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The sleeves were too long for a teddy but the cuffs were a good size so I decided to use the lower portion of the original sleeves keeping the cuffs intact. I measured the length of Mr Joseph's arms  and cut off the extra length straight across the top.

Then I measured the circumference of top of the sleeve and stitched new side seams leaving an opening just big enough to fit the top of the sleeve. I sewed the sleeve in and neatened all of the seam allowances with a zigzag stitch

Mr Joseph is short and round. I cut his shirt shorter at the front and dipped the hem at the back so that it would come down over his rather large bottom. I was able to keep the first three buttons and buttonholes from the original shirt.

I am so pleased that I have been able to use the original collar, cuffs and button holes. This saved me so much work and my teddy bear shirt has a really professional finish.

I had lots of ideas for making trousers that would accommodate Mr Joseph's shapely behind, but in the end the simplest solution was the best. I had a new pair of navy blue, jersey leggings that were too tight. I shortened the body, turning over a casing at the top for elastic, and trimmed the legs off to the right length finishing the hems top and bottom with a twin needle - just right for a soft, comfy pair of teddy trousers.

Then I threaded elastic through the casing at the waist and ankles and I made a pair of teddy tracksuit bottoms.

Underneath Mr Joseph is wearing a pair of minion underpants that my son grew out of some time ago but were not very worn. I took a bit of fabric out of the gusset to improve the fit but otherwise these were just the right size. Obviously they have been through the wash!!

My son was so surprised to find a present for Mr Joseph under our Christmas tree on Christmas morning and was very pleased to dress his favourite teddy in these smart clothes.

Mr Joseph wearing his new outfit
This has been a really good way to use a much loved shirt that will have happy memories attached to it in the future. I think this might be a nice thing to do with an old school uniform or special sports clothing to make a souvenir of a special event. Let me know if you have had any good ideas for up-cycling things to preserve happy memories. I have been wondering about making a patchwork quilt from striped shirts like one I saw on a craft stall recently

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