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Finishing the Up & Down tutorials that we started with on Tuesday & Wednesday, today we have the red and white striped shirt, as well as an optional helmet for the penguin that dreams about flying.

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Making the red and white shirt is really rather simple. It is a basic upcycle. I actually considered going a more difficult route – with either fabric paint or sewing red and white stripes together…but I stumbled across this rugby striped polo at the thrift store which was perfect!

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Polos are a really easy knit to work with. The stretch is there, which makes it comfy, but they aren’t so wobbly that you have to worry about wonky hemlines. I love it, and will definitely start looking at polos more often for a nice, thicker shirt material for Ben! My favorite thing though may be the neckline that the polo’s old collar provides. It really makes for a nice handmade shirt (as in, there is nothing that looks ‘handmade’ about it!!!).

Here is how you can upcycle your old polos for the littlest man or lady in your life…

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I didn’t go into detail here as to how to cut out the pattern pieces.  I feel like I am starting to repeat myself on that one.  For a more in depth description on making your own shirt pattern pieces, you can see HERE.  Just be sure to utilize the pre-existing hems on your polo for the shirt bottom, and sleeves.  This makes for a much nicer finished product.




Once you have your pattern pieces cut out…



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To measure your collar, pin around neckline.  Then cut your collar the same size as your neckline, adding 1″ for seam allowance!

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And there you have it…a perfect, not so handmade looking, shirt.

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Now, getting that Penguin ready to fly…

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Using the pattern pieces that are provided HERE, simply follow along below.

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And there you have it!  A super cute gift idea for any little book loving child!




I hope you enjoyed this little homage to the Once Upon a Thread Series, inspired by the book Up & Down by Oliver Jeffers.  It is truly a fabulous book, and I hope you get the chance to share it with your little ones some day.  


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Thanks so much for stopping by, and until next time…




Happy Sewing!