Sew in Tune -We Are Going to Be Friends by bugaboo, mini, mr. & me

Sorry for the later than normal post this morning – lots of craziness going on here. 

Hi, all!  I’m thrilled to be part of the Sew in Tune Series.  Not only do I find all kinds of music exceptionally inspirational in a myriad of ways, but I’m right with everyone feeling the lack of boy’s sewing tutorials out there.  I’m the “me” from bugaboo, mini, mr & me.  My name’s Kimberly and I love to create – be it sewing, crafting, doing kid projects, baking or making up songs.  I live in the frozen tundra with my supportive hubby and two kids.  Oh, and our cat.

I’m excited to share with a little outfit I drew from the song, “We Are Going to Be Friends,” by The White Stripes.  It’s one of our favorite songs, and the kids and I sing along to it when we’re in the car.  It’s particularly perfect for this time of year – when everyone is starting school again!

“Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell. Brand new shoes, walking blues.  Climb the fence, books and pens… I can tell that we’re going to be friends.”

This is the School Non-Uniform.  I hope I’m not alone in my love for almost vintage-looking boys’ uniforms on little kids.  Not sure why, but the whole thing – right down to the knee socks – just makes me happy.  And you’ll be happy too, when I tell you that you really don’t need to buy anything special to make this look – everything here was upcycled from old clothes we already had.  Here’s how you can do it!

You’ll need:

for the shorts – Adult plaid pants in a dark-ish color (most school uniforms I researched were gray, navy or black.) (mine were a size 8 – obviously why I was cutting them up for this…) and elastic cut to HALF of your child’s waist measurement.

for the bow tie – Adult cotton strappy tank top in coordinating color/pattern (almost any size would do)

for the sweater vest – Adult knit sweater with a bit of stretch in a fun coordinating color (cable knit sweaters are awesome for this) and a t-shirt in a contrasting color

for the knee socks – Adult-sized over the knee socks

To round out the look, you’ll need a plain white collared shirt, like a polo, in your child’s size.

I don’t actually have a picture tutorial for resizing the socks, but it’s super simple.  Just cut off the foot, have your child try the sock on to make sure it fits.  Then trim around the front of your child’s foot to make the curved toe.  Take the sock off and with the right sides OUT, sew the sock shut at the toe.  You want the seam on the outside so it’s not uncomfortable to wear.

So let’s start with the easiest part – the Faux Tie.  It’s like a bow tie.  But faux.

Hopefully, your tank has a wide hem at the bottom as mine did.  This makes the whole refashion easier, as you can skip a lot of steps.

1. Cut the straps off of your tank top.  Cut off a portion of the bottom hem.  It should be the entire width of the hem and about 8-10 inches long.
2. Cut one of the straps in half.
3. Iron everything really well.

4. Fold your large rectangle right sides together

5. and sew the short ends together with a straight stitch.

6. Iron the seam flat.
7. Fold it right side out and position the seam in the middle back.
8. Squinch up your tube in the middle to form it into a bow.  Slide it into your sewing machine and sew a few stitches.

9. Take your long strap and sew a length of velcro on.  Sew the soft side to the back of one end and sew the scratchy side to the front on the other end.

10. Set your bow on top of the front of your strap, in the middle.  Sew a stitch or two.

11. Wrap half of the cut strap around the middle of the bow and the strap – wrapping them together and covering the stitches in the middle of the bow.
12. Sew across this little strap on the back.
13. Cut off the excess fabric.


Let’s move on to the Little Man Vest.  This is a really simple method to turn any size sweater into a littler vest.

Take a t-shirt that fits your little guy, tuck the sleeves inside and fold it in half.  Trace around this shape unto thin paper to make a pattern.

 1. Fold your sweater and line the pattern up – fold on fold, bottom of pattern to bottom of sweater.  This way, you won’t need to hem the bottom.

2. Separate the two pieces of sweater vest and cut a v shape in the middle of the collar on the FRONT piece.

3. Now, cut off the bottom hem of your t-shirt, right above the seam.
4. Iron it.

5. Cut the t-shirt hem into smaller pieces to fit the unfinished edges of the sweater vest – i.e. the arm holes and the neck holes.  Pin the t-shirt pieces to the unfinished edges – right sides together, seams on edges.  You will do this for FOUR arm holes and ONE neck hole.

6. Once everything is pinned in place, use a stretch stitch to sew the t-shirt strip to the sweater.

7. When the strips are sewn on, iron everything really flat.

NOTE: depending on the size of your sweater vest and the size of your t-shirt, you may only need the bottom hem – like me.  But if you need MORE strips, you can cut off the neckline and the sleeve hems to use as well.

To make a v in the t-shirt strip for the neckline, cut a strip slightly longer than the v, then cut it in half. 

8. Lay one half on top of the other half.  

9. Sew from the nice edge to the seam edge on an angle.  

10. When you open the strip up, you have a nice v shape.

When pinning it to the sweater, pin the point first, then the ends.  Then pin the middle portions.

11. With right sides together, pin the two sweater pieces together at the sides 
12. and shoulders.
13. Use a stretch stitch to sew the sides
14. and shoulders.

Turn it right side out and iron it.  Perfect!

The Flat Front Shorts are the hardest part – but still very simple in construction.

Take a pair of shorts that fit your child.  Fold them in half.  Trace around them.  This will be the front two pieces of your shorts.  

Pull the elastic tight and mark.  Trace around the shorts again and connect to the wider marks.  This will be the pattern for the back two pieces.

Lay out your pants so the legs are nice and smooth.  

Pin your front pattern piece on one leg lining up the bottom of the pattern with the bottom of the pants – no need to hem then!  Mine happened to have this great cuff, which I kept.  Cut around the pattern, through both layers of pant.
Pin your back pattern piece to the other pant leg and cut around it through both layers of pant.

1. Lay the front pieces right sides together and pin the curve.  Do the same with the back pieces.

2. Sew along the curve for both the front and back.
3. Iron the seams flat.

4. On the front piece, fold and iron down about 1/4 inch.  

5. Fold and iron down about 1 inch.  Do the same to the back piece.  Make sure to lay your pieces together and line up the bottom hem to make sure that they are still the same length and the folds are even.

6. On the front piece, sew along the bottom of the fold.  
7. Then turn the front over and top stitch along the top of the fold.
8. On the back piece, sew along the bottom of the fold.  

10. Cut your elastic so it is one inch SHORTER than HALF of your child’s waist size.  Use a safety pin and thread the elastic through the casing on the back piece.

11. Pin the ends of the elastic to the edges of the casing with straight pins.

12. Place the front and back pieces right sides together, and pin up both sides.

13. Sew the sides with a straight stitch.
14. Make sure you sew across the elastic well.  Go over it two or three times.
15. Pin around the crotch curve.  Make sure to line up the bottom hems and the seam in the middle.
16. Sew around this curve with a straight stitch.  
17. Remember that on pants and shorts, this seam is the most likely to burst, so go over it a few times.


You just made four new pieces for your child’s wardrobe out of pieces you already had!  I love making something new out of something old!  

What’s more, these pieces are great together as The School Non-Uniform, but you can break them up, too!

Perfect for getting “dirt on our uniforms, from chasing all the ants and worms.”

You can bet he’s dreaming about the bugs and alphabet… not to mention walking with Suzy Lee tomorrow…

Stop on by and look for the GIRL version coming soon to bugaboo, mini, mr & me!

Thanks Kimberley! And remember, today is the LAST DAY TO PRE-ORDER Blank Slate Basics, and the second to last day to enter the giveaway. 

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  1. says

    Okay, just about snorted coffee out my nose when I saw this picture – SO DARN CUTE!!! Love all of it! I have a few sweaters set aside to cut up into sweater vests for my little man – this is totally going to push me into doing it. Thanks for sharing; I really like it!!


    christypintucks at gmail dot com

  2. Suzanne Winter says

  3. the momma (aka Shannon) says

    love the song, love the dress! great job girlfriend! i totally didn’t think you made the shorts when i saw the outfit!

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