Upcycled Harem Romper Pyjamas

Next on the list for the Winter Upcycled Challenge was some pyjamas. The Beast is currently completely in love with Superman. She found a DVD box set in the bookcase last week and would not stop asking to watch it. After endlessly telling her she couldn’t as there was fighting in it her Daddy finally gave in and showed her the clip of Superman saving the kitten on You Tube, and there was no going back. I think she is in love with Christopher Reeve. So, when I saw this T-Shirt in a local Cancer Research charity shop for £1, I couldn’t resist.

I had bought the MBJM Harem Romper pattern a few weeks ago and had been waiting to try it out. 

This seemed like a good time. So I printed and cut the pattern in an age 3 (the beast wears 18-24 months but is long) and set to work.

I lined the pattern up over the T-shirt, which was a men’s size small. And it looked like I could use the existing neck band. I’m all for an easy life, so I just basically cut up the sides and around the crotch. Leaving the shoulder seams as they were and not trimming the bottom hems.

That then left me with this.

Then I opened the T-shirt out, right side up and pinned the arms around the arm holes and stitched them on using my overlocker. You can use a regular machine if you don’t have an overlocker, just use a stretch stitch.
The fabric used for the arms was just a 4 way stretch, cotton/lycra jersey that I had in my stash.

Hemming the arms was next. I’m going to show you a trick for this, which is a total game changer. A fake cuff. You fold 2cm of the edge of the sleeve fabric wrong sides together, then fold it back on itself another 2cm, like this.

Stitch along the edge, like this.

You get this on the wrong side.

You get this on the right side.

See what I mean? Game changer and it takes seconds.

Then you have to sew it all up. From the arm cuffs, along the under arm and then down to the leg cuffs.

Repeat for the other side. Then sew the crotch together. 

Weave in your ends and you’re done. That’s right, it’s finished. 
Mine took half an hour and cost £1 plus a little bit of fabric from my stash. However, if you bought a long sleeved T-shirt you could just reuse the arms.

The Beast loves it and is currently snoozing in it all snuggled up in bed.

If you’re wondering, as my husband did, how to get it on your child. It has an adult sized neck, so you just step into it through the neck hole. Brilliant! Alternately, you could follow the MBJM Romper Pattern instructions for making neck poppers or crotch poppers, but I was basically looking for quick and easy.

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Winter Upcycle Clothing Challenge

IMG_20161009_100808.jpgThis year I have decided that I won’t buy my daughter any winter clothes. Not through any desire to give her hypothermia but just through a hatred of all the clothes out there in the high-street, particularly for girls (because that’s what I have and so that’s what I look for).  The jumpers are short, they’re thin, they’re covered in sequins.  The trousers are tight, pastel coloured and asking for grass stains and that’s if the trousers aren’t, in fact, skirts.  The t-shirts have short cuff sleeves, they’re a slimmer fit than boy’s ones and they’re probably pink. Let’s be honest, it’s all pink and if it isn’t then it has pink piping.

I want her jumpers to be warm.

I want her trousers to be practical.

I want her t-shirts to be long-sleeved.

She wants it all to be colourful.

That’s really all we’re interested in.

I am also conscious that fabric is expensive, so if I’m going to make them all myself, I’ll probably end up bankrupt.

  • “Sew your own clothes”, they said.  “You’ll save so much money”, they said. Then they fell into fits of hysterics as I showed them my battered credit card.

So, I decided to have a trawl of the charity shops in town and see what i could come up with. I wasn’t looking for children’s clothes, I wasn’t looking for fabric, I was looking for adult’s clothes that I could use as fabric to make her winter clothes from.

That’s the key if you want to have a go at doing this yourself. Ignore what it is and just look at what it’s made from.




Stretch jersey t-shirts make great tees, dresses and knickers. Cord and tweed jackets can be cut up to make smaller coats and trousers. Thick fleeces can be made into hoodies and warm harem pants, or pyjamas.





The acreage is also important. Bigger sizes give more fabric which in turn means you can make more, however saying that I got two t shirts out of a woman’s size 8 long sleeved tee and a bit of fabric from my own stash.

IMG_20161006_161622.jpg   IMG_20161007_075254.jpg     cof

Look for good quality fabrics with not too much wear or bobbling, but basically whatever you get can be useable. Don’t forget your own wardrobe, too. I had a t-shirt languishing in my ‘to be fixed’ basket, which I had bought about a year ago and then on my first wear had ripped across the back due to an invisible fault in the fabric grain. It is a nice navy and white stripe, and it will look super chopped up into a little tee for her to wear.


It’s a pretty simple process to make something out of something else. The first thing you’ll need to do it work out what you want to make, and get a pattern. You can either follow a printed pattern or make one yourself from a t-shirt/dress/trousers your child already owns. I’ll pop up some instructions on how to do that one day, but in the mean time you’ll be able to find your own instructions on how to do it with a simple google search.





Then just use your chopped up bits as you would normal fabric. Place your pattern pieces on top and cut them out. I try and re-use the hems and cuffs if possible, it just makes life so much easier. Line your pattern up at the bottom rather than from the top, easy peasy.

Assemble as per the pattern instructions.






For the cheetah dress I was following a nice Raglan T-shirt pattern from Duck Butt Designs. I lengthened the pattern by about 15 centimetres, and curved in about 2cm from each side at the bottom to create the bubble shape.





Then just pop it together as you normally would, following your pattern. With this cheetah raglan dress the arms and front and back all get sewn together, then you sew down each arm, from cuff to underarm and down the the waistband. I have an overlocker which I used but you can also use a regular sewing machine with a zig zag or stretch stitch for knits. then I took the existing neck band, measured it to 80% of the neck opening, added 2.5cm seam allowance and sewed it back together, then sewed it on. No hemming required as I used the pre-existing hems and waistband from the original tee.

The whole garment took about 25 minutes from start to finish, and fit like a dream.

I will soon start as one of the sewing teachers at my lovely local haberdashery, Crafty Baba, and I hope to be able to teach some classes on upcycling, so if you would like to learn from me in person, hopefully you will soon be able to.

Give it a go! This made-to-measure, deeply funky,  unisex cheetah bubble dress took less than half an hour and cost me £2.49. What’s not to love?


There’ll be plenty more to follow in the coming days.