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DIY T-Shirt Appliqué

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Make your own Rainbow T-Shirt Appliqué

This is a very easy way to turn a boring T-Shirt into a beautiful kids top that will go well with anything.

My daughter has this favourite lilac H&M T-Shirt that I got second hand for almost nothing but we don’t have anything to go with it. I get very annoyed when she picks this T-shirt and wears her favourite skirt with it that is turquoise and orange and does not look colour coordinated at all…

I am a big fan of all the Johnnie Boden kids clothes because of their great colour designs but find them much too expensive. Therefore I created a board on pinterest to collect different ideas on how to lighten up some of my daughter’s clothes.

In the case of the lilac T-Shirt I chose to put a rainbow on the front.

For years already I collect tiny pieces of colourful fabric for this kind of projects. I iron them on double sided fusible fleece so I can use them right away when I need them. I just have to cut out the shape I want and iron it onto the T-shirt.

First I sketched the image I wanted onto a piece of paper and then cut out the pieces from the fabric scraps I already had ironed onto the double sides fusible fleece.

For the rainbow I used different coloured bias tapes because I could stretch it on one side, making it bend like an arch. If you don’t have bias tape, here is a tutorial on how to make it. But you can also use any other fabric and cut it in an arch shape. Then you should sew around in a tiny zigzag stitch like I did around the cloud.

I ironed the rainbow onto a freezer paper, hoping that it would keep the sticky side after pulling the paper off again but that didn’t work, so I used strips of the double sides fusible fleece between T-Shirt and the bias tape rainbow to make it easier to sew it on.

My daughter is very happy that she can wear her favourite top with her favourite skirt now.  (although she almost started to cry when she first saw that I changed her T-Shirt without asking her).

Below another top that I made for my daughter about 4 years ago. The balloon strings are just drawn on with a black fabric pen. I hope that gives you lots of new ideas to refashion your clothes. And before I forget… You can find lots of interesting designs if you google “freehand machine embroidery”.


You can subscribe to my email list, so you always know when a new tutorial is online.

But you also reach me on facebook where I created a group for my Refashion and Upcycling projects: tinapoelzlRefashion

All the Best, Tina

SJP Ortiz top DIY

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Upcycling project – SJP Top from Johanna Ortiz made from old man shirts

I saw an article with Sarah Jessica Parker in 2016  and immediately fell in love with the top she was wearing. I found out it was designed by Johanna Ortiz (I do like lots of her designs) but literally unaffordable for me. So I decided to make my own top from the one material I have lots of… Man Shirts

I finished the project about a year ago (September 2017) after working on it for the better of that year. It took a lot of adjustments and thinking about the “how to…” because my fabric supply was VERY LIMITED and I couldn’t loose even a few cm of it. I did have to use a second shirt for the lining and ended up using a bit for the bottom part as I did cut out a piece the wrong way and couldn’t fix that any other way…

I intend to make a sewing pattern for this top but for now I can only show you how I made this one.

First I cut off sleeves and collar. I had to make a new shoulder seam to pull up the arm hole,  take out some fabric from the middle of the back (which gave me more fabric to work with), put a bust dart  in and fold in the button placket (I do not cut it off right away,  as I wanted to safe the bottom part of the shirt as a whole to keep as much fabric as possible)

Then I used a sleeve pattern I had from another blouse to get a good armhole. I put it on the sleeve upside down after I already removed the cuff. I needed the shoulder part as the new cuff to give it the wide puffy look that Johanna Ortiz is using in a lot of her designs. The new cuff itself I created by piecing together the botton placket I cut off.

I put the sleeves back into the shirt and tried it on to see where I can cut off the bottom of the shirt.

The piece I cut out from the center back I used to create the waist band. The original top on SJP had the stripes vertical but I did not have enough fabric to recreate that. So vertical stripes have to do. 

Then I decided that I needed lining and used another man shirt in blue to start cutting the pieces for the peplum. I did not have a pattern for that, so I created one, tried the pinned peplum on the mannequin, adjusted and then copied the pieces onto the striped fabric.



That would have been perfect if I wasn’t so stupid to cut one of the pieces the wrong way… Now I did NOT have enough fabric anymore. I had to use some of the lining fabric for the peplum pieces. I did have the shirt pocket saved, which I then used to put on the back middle piece of the peplum.


I finally had all the pieces for the peplum to sew them all together and onto the top. I used some lining to hide all the seams and velcro to close the top in the front. I wanted to use a button or snap first but I thought velcro is more adjustable as there is no elasticity in the waistband.



And here is the result… Not completely perfect but quite wonderful.

There are a lot of details I put into the design that I didn’t all show here but I aim to make a better tutorial on the second version. If you need any more info, just get in touch.

You can subscribe to my email list, so you always know when a new tutorial is online.

But you also reach me on facebook where I created a group for my Refashion and Upcycling projects: tinapoelzlRefashion

All the Best, Tina


Dress from Man Shirts

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Turn TWO Man Shirts into a gorgeous Dress

I’m in this upcycle sewing group called “upcycle clothes collective” on facebook and the other week someone posted a dress made from 2 man shirts that I found interesting.

To be precise, the dress can be made from one man’s button up shirt but to add some contrast it’s better to use the sleeves from one shirt and the body from a different colour shirt – as you can see in my example.

The dress (or long shirt – depending on the length of the shirt in the end) that was posted was very simply made.  I wanted to add some more details and also give it a better finish.

Therefore, I will give you the instructions that Rhonda gave us on fb (Bulletpoints 1-8) and add what I did instead or in addition. I did take photos from my project, so I hope that helps with the instructions.

  1. Remove sleeves from both shirts, cutting them so that the seam remains with the sleeve (so you can leave it this way and don’t have to make a new hem) and the raw edge is on the body of the shirt. Remove pockets if there are any on the shirt. (You can use the pockets later again to put on the dress if you want to)

I gave my sleeves a new hem to fit the length of the dress because they looked too long for my taste – but that was later on

I did remove the collar and as I wanted the buttons in the back, I had to open the back a bit to get a front neckline. As the shirt I used was much longer on the side with the buttons than on the other side, I hade to change where the shoulder would be and mark the new shoulder… I did adjust this a second time, after I cut the neckline deeper.

  1. Lay the shirt you are using for the body flat and measure from the collar seam straight across the folded top edge, using your first measurement (A). Mark a straight line from that point to the bottom hem. Rhonda put the end of her line very close to the side seam to give more fullness, but you can adjust to your preference. Cut both sides.


In my case, I opened up the lower part of the side seam so I would keep the nice curved edge at the bottom and then cut the rest open. This way I could lay the whole dress (front and back) flat onto my table. I used no shoulder measurements, I did use a dress pattern that I made to my fit about 20 years ago, when I started to teach myself sewing. You can also mark the shoulder when trying it on yourself or on your dressmaker mannequin. As I’m pregnant at the moment, I can’t really take accurate measurements from my body…

I also marked where the shoulder seam would normally be. Further I marked on the front and back where my waistline would be (if I didn’t have such a big belly) to help me later with pleads.

I gave the front part of the dress (which is the part without buttons) a bust dart that I also had to adjust again, as my breasts are much bigger at the moment and will be for as long as I will be breastfeeding. As I intend to use this dress during nursing, I had to make it fit the larger bust.


  1. With the sleeves of the contrast shirt, cut the seam up to and through the cuff. Measuring from the edge closest to the buttons, use your (C) measurement to trim the cuff band to that width. You can trim off the excess sleeve either straight down or preserving the angle of the sleeve. Cutting it out at an angle gives more fullness.


I didn’t trim the sleeve just yet, as I wanted to adjust the length to fit the dress.


  1. With the pieces you trimmed from the sleeves, cut a 1″ wide piece that is 2x the (B) measurement, plus 2″. You may have to piece it to get a strip long enough but that’s fine. Fold in half lengthwise and press.


I made a bias tape with other leftovers from the shirt (see tutorial on how to make Bias Tape).


  1. From the fold at the top of the shoulder, measure down using your (B) measurement. Mark this point on the front and back of the shirt on both sides.


Did the same here. Then I pinned the sleeve in, marked where they should end and then trimmed and hemmed them. To get a really nice round hem on the bottom, pin and iron the edge where the hem should end first, then cut, so only 8-10mm are left, fold in again, pin and iron, then sew along the edge.


Then I used this bias tape around the neckline and around the shoulder before I put the sleeves in on the sides. (Tutorial on how to make a bias binding or bias tape)


  1. Place the top of the cuff at this mark front and back on the body of the shirt and pin. Do this on both sides. Stitch from top of cuff down to hemline on both sides. Test for fit and adjust at this point.


  1. With the binding strip you made, overlap the end of it 1/2″ or so over the seam where the cuff is attached. Stitch it around the armhole until you reach the opposite side of the cuff, overlap a bit again and trim the end.

I did that between 5./6. – before I put the sleeve in.


  1. Beginning at the hem, overlock or zigzag up the side seam, around the armhole and back down the side seam. Turn the seam allowance towards the body of the shirt and topstitch. DONE

For a better fit I gave my dress some pleads in the back and put a quilting seam over them in waist hight. I will probably put some darts or pleads in the front as well but as I’m heavily pregnant at the moment, that will have to wait until I fit into it again. For now the front has to be wide to accompany my belly.

As the sleeves I used where made for cufflinks and therefore did not have any buttons, I made a “button cufflink as shown in the picture.


I really hope I can use the dress during nursing by opening the sleeves on the side. I will have to wait and see if it works though. As soon as I know this works as a nursing dress, I will definitely make another one. I could also use the button row in the front, then I have breast feeding access for sure 😉

This mix of instructions might be a bit confusing. I hope the pictures help but if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

You can subscribe to my email list, so you always know when a new tutorial is online.

But you also reach me on facebook where I created a group for my Refashion and Upcycling projects: tinapoelzlRefashion

All the Best, Tina






Baby Carrier Blanket

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DIY Tutorial on How to make a Baby CarSeat Blanket (Decke für Babyschale Anleitung)

It’s autumn and the baby is to be born in a few weeks. That means by the time we bring him back home it will be cold and although I do have a snowsuit already, I don’t really want to pack and unpack the newborn every time we go outside. I’d rather be able to take the baby out of the car and then of the seat without disturbing him while he is asleep.

Therefore, I made a travel set consisting of a baby carrier blanket, a warm bandana bib and a hat. I also made a matching “Mutter-Kind-Pass Hülle”. For those not from Austria or Germany that won’t make sense but the Mutter-Kind-Pass is a pocket-calendar sized book that you carry with you from beginning of pregnancy until your child is 5 years old. Every doctor’s appointment and everything related to the baby is noted in there. I will make another post soon, showing how I made this cover.

But now back to the blanket. I wanted to use fabrics I already had at home, so I was a bit size limited but I made it work. If you buy your fabrics for this project, you for sure can make the blanket bigger if you want to.

Here is what you need:

  • fleece fabric 95x95cm (I used a mud coloured fleece)
  • cotton fabric (machine washed before you cut it) 95x95cm
  • bias binding about 4.5m (tutorial on how to make your own: )
  • threads in the matching colours

First you cut both fabric squares about 95x95cm. Take the fleece fabric first and fold it into a triangle, then fold it again twice, always corners together. Measure out the 38 and 57cm and cut the shape shown on the picture, make sure to cut the shorter edge on the side where you can only see one big fold. Unfold the fleece once, then fold the cotton fabric into a triangle twice and place the shaped fleece onto the cotton. Cut along the shape of the fleece. When you cut the cotton fabric, keep in mind that the fleece stretches, so don’t cut the cotton fabric too small.

Unfold both fabrics and place wrong sides together. If you want, you can sew the two fabrics along the edges together, so they won’t move anymore when you add the bias tape. I did not do that. I just put the bias tape around the edge and sew everything together at once. I didn’t even pinned it all the way around. Unfortunately, I had to redo half the seams another time as the seam on the bottom wasn’t always on the bias tape. But that wasn’t too much work.


Alternatively to the bias tape you can put the two fabrics right side together, sew along the edges with a straight stitch, leave about 15cm open, turn the blanket inside out, so the right sides are on the outside now, iron and sew along the edge on the right side again, closing the opening at the same time. This way you have a nice edge as well but don’t need a bias tape.

See tutorial from someone else:


Now you have the blanket but you can’t use it in a baby carrier (“Babyschale” like the one from Maxi Cosi, Graco or Britax Römer).


Now take your blanket and a piece of chalk and measure out and mark all the required cutouts (yellow and blue/green). If you ask yourself now, why I have two different yellow lines, this is because in my baby car seat (and I think that is the case in almost all of the baby car seats) you can change the seat belt’s hight.


Please note, I made this blanket for the Graco baby carrier specifically, so please check measurements with your own car seat after you have drawn them onto the blanket and before you begin sewing.


As you can see at the pictures, I sew around the marks like you would do for a button hole. I used a very narrow and tight zigzag stitch and had about 3-4mm between the stitches, so I could easily cut them.


I hope this was enough explanation and you have fun making this blanket. I will soon post the warm Baby Bandana Bib & Baby Hat Combo Tutorial,   as well as the Tutorial for the “Mutter-Kind-Pass Hülle” which can also be used as a cover for a pocket calendar. So keep in touch!

You can subscribe to my email list, so you always know when a new tutorial is online.

But you also reach me on facebook where I created a group for my Refashion and Upcycling projects: tinapoelzlRefashion

All the Best, Tina


Man Shirt with Necktie Refashion

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Lovely Blouse with big BOW from a man’s shirt and polkadot Necktie

Last Year I was part of the  first ever “Junk to Jewel” event in Oakengates and started working on a new Shirt Upcycle/Refashion there. I finished it a few days later at home and was wearing it right away. Even during my pregnancy I liked this top, as it gave my belly room to grow without showing it.
All you need for this top:

  • (white) man shirt,
  • necktie (in this case a wonderful “Belvedere Vienna” necktie)
  • thread
  • Sewing machine and scissors

The photos I took should be self-explanatory but I will try to put it into words as well 😉

  1. Cut sleeves off and open them up to make a bias tape out of them.
    Bias Tape or Binding is a strip of fabric cut at a 45 degree angle to the straight weave of a fabric. It is cut this way to give it stretchiness.

    (Find other post: What is a Bias Tape – How to make a bias tape)

  2. Cut off the collar in a straight line. Back part should be a bit higher up than front part.
  3. Sew the bias tape onto the sleeve hole (how to sew with bias tape)
  4. Front of Shirt: Measure your above your bust from armhole to armhole to see how wide the front has to be. Put the front into pleads so you get the measured width.
  5. Back of shirt: Make two straight seams (1 cm from edge and then 1 cm from first seamline)  with the longest stitch possible and top thread with no tension. Then take the bottom threads and pull. Width should be just a bit more than front.
When you have front and back part in the right widths, fold the edge over twice and sew with a straight stitch.

Then you have to prepare the bow – chose a necktie that goes well with the shirt. As I had a white shirt, the colour of the necktie didn’t really matter but if your chosen shirt is very colourful, it is better to pick a plain necktie to make the bow and neckline.

You cut off about 15cm from the thinner end of the necktie to wrap it around the bow (as shown in pictures) In my case the bow itself is about 26cm long and is situated above one shoulder.

The best is you make your bow, pin it onto the back and front part,  the loose part of the necktie pin to the front neckline and then try it on and see how much of the necktie you need for your other shoulder. Then pin the rest of the necktie to the back until you reach the bow again.

Handstitch the necktie to the shirt.

Even though the necktie is made of silk, I washed the blouse in the washing machine. I just put the top into a washing bag and hung it on a hanger to dry.

I hope you understand the single steps, if there are any questions, just message me.

You can subscribe to my email list, so you always know when a new tutorial is online. But you can also reach me on facebook where I created a group for my Refashion and Upcycling projects: tinapoelzlRefashion

All the Best, Tina


Bias Tape DIY

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How to make your own Bias Tape – even a continuous strip of Bias Tape

✂️ I found a really easy way to make a continuous strip of bias tape from a square piece of fabric that I wanted to share with you. ✂️ I use bias tape a lot for my refashion projects, especially for everything that has curves (e.g. necklines).

Very often I use the sleeves or the back of an old man’s shirt but you can use any left over fabric or remnants that are at least 25cm (10 inch) square.

I had a 50cm square piece and got over 6m of bias tape out of it. I won’t do much explaining here, as I also posted the link to the original tutorial (the one I used to make my bias tape) below.

If you only need short strips of Bias Tape (e.g. for armholes) then you won’t need a long continuous strip. You can just cut any fabric in the bias.

Also very useful are the “Bias Tape Makers” (just google it) – with these little tools also the ironing of the Bias Binding is a piece of cake. You get the perfect width every time! (the stripy bias strip I made from an old man’s shirt)


✂️And if you are new to sewing, here is a blog post about what a bias tape is and why it is so useful: (and all the necessary other explanations)…/bias-tape-what-is-it-how-to-…

✂️Here you can find the tutorial that I used:…

Happy Cutting ✂️ ✂️✂️✂️

And here is another post on how to sew with bias tape:

You can subscribe to my email list, so you always know when a new tutorial is online.

But you also reach me on facebook where I created a group for my Refashion and Upcycling projects: tinapoelzlRefashion

All the Best, Tina

Make a Skirt fit

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Not just a Maternity refashion – How to make an oversized skirt fit your waist

I made and refashioned a few skirts to wear during pregnancy (and even afterwards). I love skirts as they are very comfortable and you can wear them with different tops and therefor changing your style. Today I start with one of my favourite skirts. It’s a flowing, light weight sheer fabric skirt that I found in a size 14 (my regular size is 8).

It has a zipper on the side, which made the whole project even easier. Make sure you get a long skirt that is at least 2 sizes bigger (without a zipper you need an even bigger size) than your pre-pregnancy size – otherwise this refashion does not work.

(First picture shows how I used safety pins to keep the skirt in place – also an alternative)


All I had to do with my skirt was to measure my “waist” (which meant the under-bust line) and then measure the waistband of the skirt.

Then calculate:


(Waist band skirt) – (waist) = (width difference)

90cm – 70cm = 20cm


waist/2 = front half of skirt

70cm/2= 35cm


(front half of skirt) – (width difference) = (length of elastic)


In my case I had to cut the elastic band in a length of 25cm (burn the ends with a lighter so it won’t fray) and stretch it out 45cm (from zipper to other side seam) while sewing it on to get the ruffles and the right width of the waistband to fit properly. In your case the numbers could be completely different but as long as you follow the calculations it should work fine.

As you can see in the pictures, I pinned the elastic band to the middle of the front waist band, then pinned the sides of the elastic to the sides of the front waist band. I secured the elastic band to the waist band with straight stitches. That way you can stretch it better.


I used the longest straight stitch I had to sew the stretched elastic band to the waist band of the skirt. First sew the top, secure the side on the other end and then sew  the bottom of the elastic/waistband. But again start from the zipper end.

I hope you have lots of fun next time you go second hand or charity shopping, now that you know you can buy that gorgeous skirt even if it is a few sizes too big.

You can subscribe to my email list, so you always know when a new tutorial is online.

But you also reach me on facebook where I created a group for my Refashion and Upcycling projects: tinapoelzlRefashion

All the Best, Tina


DIY maternity leggings

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English weather – DIY maternity leggings from tights

After a wonderful summer in Austria with very hot weather I’m back to English grounds and all my lovely summer dresses are not wearable here…

But wait a minute… I could use leggings.

Immediately, I took one of my older (hip) tights that I had darned already twice and which seemed to have another ladder at the toes.

First I cut the toe piece off to make them leggings and then I opened up the top front seam to make room for my belly. Just be careful to not cut too far down, better just do a bit, try it on and then cut more. I ended up sewing one toe piece into the tights again, as I cut too much the first time.

In the end I had very comfy leggings to wear under my dress. Perfect for the autumn weather. In the meantime I made some more in different colours.

For winter I will make some leggings that also keep my belly warm but that is another Re-Fashion.

You can subscribe to my email list, so you always know when a new tutorial is online.

But you also reach me on facebook where I created a group for my Refashion and Upcycling projects: tinapoelzlRefashion

All the Best, Tina

Maternity dress from skirt

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Maternity dress from oversized skirt

That’s an easy refashion, although  depending on the material, the dress might only fits in the first and second trimester. As there is no extra fabric added for the growing bump, it depends on the elasticity of the fabric to fit further into pregnancy.

So what I got was a skirt about 2-3 sizes bigger than my regular size. The skirt itself should have some elasticity – this comes either from a stretchy fabric or if the skirt pieces were cut in the bias which makes every fabric at least a bit stretchy. The lighter dress in the picture was made with a skirt without any elasticity and a zipper on the side. Hence, I could only wear it the first few month.

For a very easy refashion, the waistband should have an elastic band, so you can easily pull it over your shoulders.

The dark skirt was perfect for this type of refashion in every point.

  • stretchy material & bias cut
  • elastic waistband
  • long enough to work as a dress

Now you only have to put the skirt up over your chest and see where your waist is so you can add two darts in the back and narrow the waist to have a better fit there. The darts should start at the shoulder blades (in this case on top just under the elastic)  and get wider until you hit your waistline, then they get smaller again to run out a bit above the hips. You can see this in the picture below where I put my back dress pattern on top of the skirt.

You wear the dress with a t-shirt underneath (to hide your bra straps) and a belt above your bump. That will give you a new waistline and therefore the perfect curves.

The pink belt I use is made from an old necktie and here is how I made this perfect maternity belt:

Blog post Upcycled Necktie Belt

You can subscribe to my email list, so you always know when a new tutorial is online.

But you also reach me on facebook where I created a group for my Refashion and Upcycling projects: tinapoelzlRefashion

All the Best, Tina

perfect belt

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Upcycle Necktie Belt with exchangeable elastic – perfect maternity and children’s belt


I have a REALLY BIG collection of neckties, as they are one of my favorite upcycling material and I started gathering them when I was still in school.

The original idea for this belt was to create a kids belt that grows with them as you can exchange the elastic. When my daughter was just 3 years old, she tried to wear belts all the time but because her belly was wider than her hips, they would always slip down. The other problem she had was dealing with the buckle… an impossible task for little people.

So I made her a belt from a necktie with an elastic band in the back and snaps to close. GREAT!

When I got pregnant I quickly realized that my regular (non-elastic) belts felt either too loose or too tight, depending on the time of the day and the activity I just did. I tried one of my daughter’s belts – just used a much longer elastic band in the back – and VOILÀ – my problems were gone. Perfect maternity belt!!

I made a few more belts, this time a bit longer, to fit my growing waist.

What you need:

– Old necktie

– Sewing needle and thread in colour of necktie

– 4 Kam snaps (I tell you, it’s worth investing in a few of those – you can use them for so many things!!)

– elastic band as wide as the necktie

What you have to do:

  • measure how long you need the belt. I made the length about 10cm shorter than my pre-pregnancy waist, so I can still use the belts when I’m –hopefully- back to my old self. But whatever you measure, deduct 15cm of that measurement. That’s how long you want the necktie part of the belt
  • cut the necktie in the measured length.
  • Cut off about 4 cm of the lining of the necktie and then fold over the edges and sew it shut.
  • Cut the desired length + 6cm of the elastic band, burn the edges with a lighter or candle, turn over 3 cm on each side and put the snaps in.

Soooo… What do you think?

You can subscribe to my email list, so you always know when a new tutorial is online.

But you also reach me on facebook where I created a group for my Refashion and Upcycling projects: tinapoelzlRefashion

All the Best, Tina