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Turn Long Sleeves to Short {with added Bow Front}


Be sure to check out my very last review and giveaway from Best Buy, the Epione Beauty Brush.  This little gadget is a cordless facial/body brush that gently scrubs away makeup and other impurities. It also “massages the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”  Not bad in my book!

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I know, I know……it’s only February.  And not anywhere near spring for many of us.  But for some of you, spring is fast approaching.  (Hello old friends in GA!!….I remember being there last February and it was perfectly warm.)  We had one warm day this last week here in CO, so it was kind of a tease.  (But then it snowed again.)  So I am kind of daydreaming about more color, flower blooms, bike rides, spinn-y spring dresses and skirts……and oh, tulips.  I can’t wait until those little beauties start blooming. 


So, I had an itch to start transforming the winter wardrobe into a cooler one.


And that includes chopping off the long sleeves and turning them into short sleeves. 





However, when my daughter saw me chopping up her pink shirt, she asked me what I was doing, in a “what-in-the-stinkin’-world-are-you-doing-to-my-favorite-pink-shirt,-crazy-lady?” kind of way.  Ooops, I guess she is getting old enough to care about her stuff.  And knows when a shirt has long sleeves one day, and then they’re gone the next day.  Eeeek!  She’s my oldest.  I have lots to learn. 


So, I quickly explained that I was really going to fancy up this ‘ol boring shirt.  And that she should hang on for just a second while I showed her the “new & improved” one.  I held up the finished product and luckily, that cranky scowl turned into a curious one.  She studied it for a moment and then finally squealed, “ooooh, I like all of those bows mommy!” 


Whew.  Safe this time.  I guess I’ll have to re-think hacking away at her clothes next time.  (Good thing I still have 2 others who could care less what I do to their clothes.)




Anyway, I’m sure you have several long-sleeved shirts that still fit your little kiddos in length, but need a little chopping for spring, right?  Just be sure to hang onto that fabric from the sleeves………and then turn them into bows for the front.  Even more spring-y, right?




Keep in mind, this would be just as cute on a shirt in your own size too

Do you have a long sleeved shirt you’re just kinda tired of anyway?  Go on, chop it up.





And if you’re a beginner, this one is a good one to try.  It’s just cutting and simple bows.  And nothing fancy or hemmed.  Remember, raw edges of knit fabric can be left alone.  Oh, and I also added some shirring to cinch in the sleeves a bit.  (No worries, here’s a tutorial for that.)





Yeah, I’m getting more and more ready for spring.  And so is this little 5 year old of mine.  She keeps asking to ride her bike……and when I let her, she gets frustrated with the old crusty piles of snow in the way.  Grrrr.  Soon enough, I tell her.


Until then, we’re slowly getting ready. 


Watch out winter long-sleeves………we’re tired of you!  (Just be sure to ask permission to cut them up first!)




**If you’re worried about the bows getting crumpled after washing/drying, skip the dryer and lay flat to dry (and then pat the bows flat).  Otherwise, if they come out crumpled in the dryer, a quick steam under the iron will get them right back into place.  But if you don’t want to trouble yourself with either of those two methods, tack down each corner of each bow with a few stitches on your sewing machine (like a narrow zig-zag stitch with zero stitch length).  That will keep them in place.**




Oh, you remember I have chopped off sleeves in the past?  Good memory.  In case you need a quick link, click on any of the images below.

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Anyway, back to the present. 


Would you like to give the bow front shirt (shown above) a try?


 Okay, let’s get started.


Surely you have an old long-sleeve shirt or two that still fit your kiddo in length.  Oh wait, you don’t?  Hurry and grab some on clearance at the store.  Most stores are trying to get rid of them right now to make room for their spring line.  (Or if you want to make one for yourself but don’t want to cut up any of your favorite long-sleeve shirts……grab a clearance long-sleeve shirt at the store for yourself.)



Then chop those sleeves off.  (HINT: I always cut upwards at an angle.  It makes a nice looking short sleeve, rather than an awkward length sleeve.)  And remember, no need to hem these sleeves because they won’t fray.  But if the raw look makes you crazy……I have finished off sleeves in the past.)



Then, add a few rows of shirring stitches to the outer part of each sleeve.  (Need help with shirring?  Click here.)



Now, a nice short sleeve shirt.  Ready for some more love.



Cut along the inner seam of each sleeve, to open it up.



Then cut little rectangles for your main bow shape.



Then pinch those little rectangles in the center to cinch them into a bow shape.  Then cut a little strip out of the same fabric and wrap it around the middle.  Now, you can hand stitch these centers in place or slide them under the sewing machine needle.  The sewing machine is quicker but leave your ends a little longer to make it easier to machine sew and then trim the ends off.



Then turn your bow over and pat it flat.  And now make many more.  The number you used is up to you.  I made and used 12 bows.


Then, pin them onto your shirt.  You can arrange them around the neckline or have them cascading down one shoulder and side of the shirt.  It’s up to you.


Then sew each bow in place, sewing along the sides of each center strip.  (While sewing the bows to the shirt, it helps to increase your stitch length on your sewing machine.  This will help jump over a bit more fabric at a time, instead of pulling so much.)  Then I always press/steam things like this just slightly.  It gives it more of a store-bought look to it.



And that’s it. 


Now, I need to whip up a little spring skirt to go with this. 




Hmmmmm…..I may be in denial that it’s still winter.




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This post is sponsored by:

Ashley Johnston

Administrator at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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