Another Spring Top

Alright, so these photos aren’t great. They were taken by my 5-year-old on the iPad earlier today. I installed a WordPress app and wanted to see how easy it was to post from it. I accidentally published to the blog! Whoops!

Anyway, here is the second spring top I finished:

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You probably recall from my last post that this pattern is a free tutorial from Made By Rae.

The floral print is from Jo-anns. Our local store was just renovated, and it is SO MUCH BETTER. They actually have TWO bathrooms for customers (with potty training children)! They used to send us to TJMaxx for that.

The coral cotton is an Amy Butler solid, “mango” I believe.

All in all this one came together pretty nicely. I opted not to do the pleats, and just gathered instead. I don’t think it is quite as polished this way, but still cute!  You can see that I made little slits on the sides and was happy with that move.  Might even make them deeper.

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I’ll try to edit this post with a better photo as soon as I have an adult around to help me.  Still, I’m thrilled to be sewing wearable items for myself!  I urge you to try it!

Have a fantastic weekend!

~Caroline

Vintage Spring Top

Well, I had to get in on the Vintage May action too, especially when I came upon this sheet set at Goodwill last month. 

The woman in front of me was fairly certain that her parents used to own a set!  Sweet.  My thinking was to use it for muslins, as I wanted to delve into some more advanced sewing.  But, then again, it would be great if I actually could wear my “practice” Spring Ruffle Top (minus the ruffles).  What do you think?

I like it!  You can find this tutorial by Rae, which appeared as a guest post a couple of years ago, on Sew Mama Sew, or in Rae’s tutorial section.  Looked easy enough, and I was really excited about maternity alterations that were suggested by another contributor (help, can’t find a link to the woman who made a few of these, one with a tie on the bottom hem?).  Anyhoo, yes, I said it, maternity.  16 weeks ya’ll! And now for the baby bump reveal…

Due date is very close to my birthday in early November, but I’m targeting Halloween, cause I just love it.  I don’t think I will have any trouble fitting into this as I expand, it is pretty roomie.  The new skill I attempted was adding piping to the bust seam and straps!  Check it out… and allow me to enjoy my temporarily voluptuous (ha!) bosom.

I thought the addition of the lime green piping added to the retro-vintage vibe.

I hemmed the back piece a good bit shorter than the front.  You kinda have to try it on and figure it out for yourself a bit.  I really wished I’d included the arm divots, but it wasn’t making sense to me in the tutorial pics.  I needed my mom to help me, but she was out-of-town!

Attempting a pigeon-toed pose.

I can just hear my childhood ballet teachers scolding me now.  Seriously though, what’s with all the pigeon-toed poses out there?

Anyway, I’m pretty psyched to be sewing for myself for a change.  I have a few more ideas up my sleeve, and some pretty fabric to cut up, so stay tuned.

Just for fun, I whipped up a couple of “Garden Skirts” for Ellery and Avery out of the big sheet.

Nice fourth position Ell!

I might have to make a grown up Garden Skirt.  I actually have yet to sew with elastic thread, gonna try it.

Cheese!

~Caroline

Vintage Pillowcase Tank Dress

Do you hear that?  That’s the sound of my sewing machine being revved up for the first time in 7 weeks! 

Ahhh… so nice. 

I really needed to get back to the sewing world- I didn’t know I’d miss it so much!  Anyway, I took Corinne on her first thrift store trip the other day and we scored some good stuff, including a few vintage pillowcases for $.50 each.  With all the Vintage May goodness going on at Skirt As Top and Craftiness Is Not Optional, I was inspired to bring one back to modern day life.

A quick and simple dress involving nothing more than a plain tank top and a pillowcase. 

Hello, Cheap and Easy!

Wanna make one?  Then read on….

Okay.  Raid your Grandma’s linen closet, or hit up your local Goodwill for a pillowcase.  (Random fact: according to the tag, this one was made close by in Danville, Virginia.  Sweet!  How’s that for going local?)

 Grab a basic tank.  This one is from Walmart and was probably $2…

Next, get an existing dress that fits your little girl well.  Use it as a guide for measuring the length to which you’ll cut your tank, and the length of your skirt piece. 

 Add an inch to the tank and to the skirt piece to allow for a seam allowance. 

**For my average-sized 4 year old, I cut my tank about 3″ below the bottom of the armhole. 

**I cut the pillowcase skirt piece 17″ long**

 

Most pillowcases have one side seam.  This seam will then become the middle of the back of your dress. 

Next, mark the center of the front of the skirt piece.  Make some some pleats 5-6″ across the front. I kind of winged it (wung it?)- mine are about 1/2″ wide.  It helps to iron them down a bit. 

Pin those pleats, and then sew vertically about 1″ down the fold of each pleat to keep it in place.  Also sew across the raw edge of the pleated area using a 1/2″ seam allowance. 

Next, you want to sew a gathering stitch (use your longest stich length and don’t backstitch at either end!) from one edge of your pleated area to the other edge of your pleated area using a 1/2″ seam allowance.  **don’t sew along the pleats!

Measure the width of your child’s chest.  Gather your skirt piece to equal that measurement PLUS a good 2″.  Ellery’s measurement is 21″, so I gathered my skirt piece to be about 23″ wide. **pull on the long threads that are at the ends of your gathering stitch to create the gathers- i try to keep most of  the gathers in the back of the skirt piece since the front piece is pleated.  This will make sure that your dress has some nice flow room in the front and the back of the dress.  Make sense?

Okay. Next, turn your skirt piece inside out.  Then, insert your tank top (neckline first) into the skirt piece.  The back seam of your skirt should line up with the back tag of the tank top (right sides together).  Meet the raw edges together and pin in place. This can seem confusing the first time you do it, but think about it for a minute and you’ll get it!

(p.s. once you learn this technique, it is easy to turn any shirt into a dress!! Even for yourself!)

If you hold it up, it should look like this. 

(Thanks to sis Caroline for helping! Oh, and for taking my kid strawberry picking so I could actually get time to do all this!! You da best.)

Okay, next you’re going to sew the tank to the skirt.  You’ll need to handwind elastic thread onto a bobbin (this video can help you if you’ve never done this).  Sew completely around the skirt using a 5/8″ seam.  Sew one more line of stitches very close to the previous one- just for good measure.  Using the elastic thread technique will ensure that the dress can be pulled on and off easily and have some give, but also fit your child snug around the chest.

*You can then serge, zigzag stitch, or use pinking shears to finish your seam- my serger is tucked away at the moment, so i haven’t gotten around to it yet*

When you’re done, pull your tank top back up and it looks like this:

Now turn your dress right side out to admire your handiwork.  And my sisters well-tanned arm.  No fair.

Give it to your girl!

I love how simple this dress looks, and I like the front being pleated instead of gathered…but I thought it needed a little more detail. 
So I sewed a piece of ivory lace to the neckline of the tank (sorry no photo of that, but you can figure it out- use a zigzag stitch.)

Here is the real finished dress… and my sweet girl being the BEST child model ever!  No bribes needed!

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(…really mom…get me out of this scratchy, snake-infested  field already…)

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Thanks for visiting!

-Erin

 

Birthday Flags Tutorial

“Baby Sean” turns one in a couple weeks.  And, when our sister Erika said she was going to buy birthday flags on Etsy for $35, I volunteered to whip her up a set at cost. I’m all for supporting Etsy and everything (check out our mom’s new shop!), but when it comes to something this simple, ya might as well make your own. Image

This tutorial is for the beginner seam-sters out there.  Just a few years ago, this was one of my first sewing projects.  It’s a great skill builder, and allows for you to make use of bit pieces of favorite fabric.  Also, if your kids are like mine, they will feel super special each year when their birthday (or week) is recognized with a sweet family tradition.

1. Select your fabrics.  Go crazy!

2. Fold your fabric pieces in half, right sides together, and press.Image

3. Draw and cut an isosceles triangle (2 sides equal length, middle school math anyone?) out of cardboard.  Or, if you have a random, giant, see-through, plastic triangle like mine, by all means use it.  Where did I get this thing?  It just turned up one day and I use it all the time.  Quilters probably have buckets of these. Image

4. Trace your triangle onto your folded fabric, however it fits nicely.  I decided to cut two triangles out of each piece, for an extra set of bunting (now I have a ready-made gift stashed away for future giving).

5. Tip from Mom: Do not cut your triangle out yet. SEW FIRST!  Luckily my mom stopped by while I was starting this project.  This tip was crucial.  I didn’t have to worry about my pointy flag tip getting sucked under like a toga party on an escalator!  Sew along the two equal sides, reinforcing stitches at the tip. Don’t bother sewing across the top of your triangle, as that is where you will turn your fabric. Image

6. Cut out your triangles, about 1/4 of an inch around the stitching. Cut closer to stitching as you near the point. Image

7. Turn your triangles right side out.  Use a knitting needle or chopstick to get at your point.  Children may enjoy helping with this task!

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8. I forgot to tell you, buy some coordinating double-fold bias tape.  Or make your own, you do not need to cut your fabric on the bias.

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9.  Press your flags, trim the tops so that they are nice and straight and matched up.

10. Order your triangles how you like. Lay them out to see how they will fit along the bias tape. I used 12 flags per 3 yard bias tape.

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11. Open up your bias tape and shove the open end of your triangle to the top of the main fold.  You are welcome to use pins, but I think it is best to just go one flag at a time, holding it in there a bit as you run it through the machine, about 1/8″ from the bottom edge of the tape.

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12. Tidy up your project as necessary.  I added some jute rope to my ends for tying up.  Ribbon would be lovely too.  Voila you are done.  Enjoy inside…

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or out!

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~ Caroline

spring sundress

In the days leading up to the birth of little Corinne, I was getting anxious.  I was officially overdue, my house was spotless (well, for me anyway), freezer stockpiled with cheesy-carby-homemade meals, clothes folded and actually put away… you could say I was waiting for things to happen.

  What better way to get my mind off impending labor, than to get lost in a sewing project?

 

I followed instructions for the Flower Girl dress pattern found in Heather Ross’s Weekend Sewing, but altered it a bit along the way to fit my (as of last week!) 4 year old girl.  There were a few bumps along the way- joining the bodice together tripped me up for some reason.  I found the instructions to be a bit lacking, but then again, i had pregnancy brain going on at the time so….maybe i was just dumber that day. :)

I can’t remember who makes the fabric, but somehow I had a masssive stash of it- i do know it was a major clearance buy.  I love me some clearance fabric!  

It’s the perfect weight for this breezy sundress.

I widened the bodice a bit….though Heather says it should be snug-I knew Ellery wouldn’t go for that- she’s gotta be comfy or it’ll never get worn! 

Of course, it helps if there’s room to twirl….

Here’s where I ran into a bit of trouble:

Because I widened the bodice (note: the front and back bodice pieces are cut the same pattern piece), the straps were falling off her shoulders.  SO…. I brought them in from the edges of the back by an inch and a half- I sewed a few buttons to the straps and made buttonholes on the bodice- not ideal, but a quick fix.

 

My daughter lives in comfy dresses- I’m glad to add one more to her collection…

And though it’s not fancy enough to be called a Flower Girl dress, it’ll do the job for a kid that likes to twirl and play barefoot in the yard.  You may remember she called this dress her party dress!  haha…

such humble taste she has.

-Erin

Favorite Fabric into Popover Sundress

I found this ridiculously adorable fabric a couple years ago in a novelty bundle at Jo-Ann.  I liked the other fabric quarters in the bundle, but this one is why I purchased two bundles (at $10 a pop)!  I had no idea what I would do with it.  I don’t even think I knew Avery was going to be a girl when I bought it.   But, the “super lucky cats” could not be passed up!   So, what is a girl to do with two fat quarters of beloved fabric?  A simple oliver + s Popover Sundress (note that only pattern size 2 will fit into a fat quarter)!  Here are some pics…

If anyone out there knows where this fabric can be found, please leave a comment!

I swear I didn’t ask her to pose, she just started workin it!

And thats all folks!

-Caroline