KCW summer 2013: Op style shorts

How was your Kids Clothes Week?  Or, as I like to call it- Neglect-Your-Household-Week.  Phew, this place is a disaster!

I actually did work on making clothing all week, but first project a wash, so it got scrapped.  Thankfully my week was redeemed when the vision in my head came to fruition.  Op shorts!

Dana’s pattern goes So. Cal in this version which I designed after the classic Ocean Pacific corduroy shorts.

1-sewing July2013 045

I used the 4-year-old girl size, flat front, and racer short hemline.  I simply extended the pocket all the way to the hem, and we are right back in 1985.

4-sewing July2013 056

The cotton I used was a nice weight for these shorts- probably cotton twill?  Its been in my stash for a while.  Purchased at Les Fab.  I’d love to actually try these with some corduroy.  I made a freezer paper stenciled shirt to go with!

I’ve been singing, “I want my, I want my, I want my MTV” for days now!

6-sewing July2013 069

I am so happy to have this pattern to work from.  A good pattern makes sewing fun!  Dana’s corresponding tutorials are really helpful.  I love that she doesn’t assume how much we know about sewing.  She takes her time to explain each step. A beginner can do this!

2-sewing July2013 046

Avery is trying to show you that I actually did line the pockets with a pretty butterfly fabric.  I could have exaggerated it on the seams.  You can’t really tell from the front.  This is how my pockets looked before I placed them:

1-sewing July2013 014

I will say that the racer short hemline was a little too short for this project.  I only ended up folding my hem under once.  Also, bringing the pocket down to the bottom will make the hem a lot bulkier.

3-sewing July2013 055

I tried to keep the photo shoot going by handing Avery some props.

“Sweet wallet.  Is this vintage?”

1-sewing July2013 072

“What, no money?”

7-sewing July2013 073

“I don’t work for free, lady.”

Later…

1-photo (1)

A bribe is a bribe.

Enjoy catching up on your housework!

~ Caroline

#allvoileallthetime

Here’s my first completed KCW Summer project.

A breezy colorful dress for my littlest gal, Coco.

DSC_0001-002

I realized halfway into sewing this that is the 4th consecutive garment I’ve made with cotton voile.  Hmm.  Might I be a one-trick pony?  Probably… but I love sewing with the stuff!  That hashtag up there? Yeah… could not get that out of my head white I was working on this.

Too much Instagramming I guess. 😉

DSC_0083-001

The pattern is one that I drew up last Summer (here and here). I’ve hinted before at a possible tutorial, but every time I make one I change it up a little and still don’t feel like it’s quite perfected!

The voile solids in Mist and Coral are by Free Spirit, that I purchased from Hawthorne Threads– one of my favorite online fabric shops.  And the AMH print is one I’ve had for a while… Actually, I kind of hoard it in every colorway, so be prepared to see it again and again.  You’ve been warned.

DSC_0008-003

The basic construction of the dress is easy.  A long rectangle folded in half for the bodice, A couple of ruffled straps, and a gathered skirt piece.

Since voile is so thin, I decided to line the bodice (that print is one piece of fabric folded over) with a piece of folded over muslin.  It made for a nice weight that hopefully will hold up better than the last ones I made which got pretty wrinkly and shifty over time.

Anyway, the straps are two pieces of voile pieced together, then folded and shifted over.  I then zig-zag the raw edges, shape them with scissors, and make a little casing for elastic.  Pretty easy.

DSC_0001-003

I love the coral peeking out from underneath the print.

  DSC_0048-001

I added a couple of paper-thin white buttons that were begging to be used for a sweet dress like this.

DSC_0016-001

 And a big vintage coral button to close the back.

DSC_0005-002

So there you have it.  One KCW project down.  I’ve got a couple of pairs of shorts on my list, but Summertime has been CRAY-to-the-Z around here, we’ll see if I can get around to it.  Oh, and they won’t be made with voile.

.-0P

Not that this face would mind.

#HappySewing!

-Erin

p.s. WordPress just wished our blog a Happy 3 year Anniversary… Thank You wordpress.  And Thank You lovely readers for visiting, and all you awesome sewing peeps out there for making it fun.  :::The Hungie Gungie girls blow you kisses::: #MWA!  #sorrylasthashtag

Vintage May :: Playclothes for all!

:::This post is a part of the fabulous Vintage May series hosted by Craftiness is not Optional and Skirt as Top:::

vintagemay6v

We are so glad that Kristin and Jess invited us to participate in this year’s Vintage May series- and wow, what a line-up of talented ladies!

We’re not worthy!  We’re not worthy!

If you are new here, Welcome!  We are so happy you’re here.

2013-5-Vintage May4

Last year, we sewed along during Vintage May, using floral sheets from yesteryear- here and here.  This year we got our Fraulein Maria on, repurposing bed linens into playclothes for our brood- that’s 6 kids altogether!

Okay, so we were a teensy bit excited for our FIRST GUEST POST!  ::sister high-fives all around::

DSC_0556

Some of our looks were designed around the unique beauty of vintage bedding, and some just have touches of them, as you’ll see below.  Repurposing sheets and pillowcases is great since a lot of the work is already done for you in the form of seams and hems- just make sure to wash them up in some yummy-smelling detergent.  You might find the aroma to be uniquely “vintage” as well.  😉

Though our photo shoot reflects some nap-time delirium and lingering (and still lingering…) pink-eye- don’t worry, it ended with a full-on Vintage May/Gangnam-Style dance party!

It only makes sense to start with the oldest… so here’s Jet!

DSC_0114

Caroline:  Thinking about vintage looks for the boys, I kept coming back to this child actor, who was in some of our other favorite childhood movies (Swiss Family Robinson, Pollyanna, and Toby Tyler).  You know him right?  He’s the same in all those movies- scrappy, mischevious, and somewhat annoying.  But he’s so cute in the hats and knickers and suspenders!  So for Jet, I worked up a pair of HG tour pants  using a plaid pillowcase for the stripe.  I decided to chop the pants below the knee to encourage summertime boyish mayhem.  Get it?  Mayhem? I love a good sewing pun.  The suspenders are simply made with 1″ elastic, and upcycled leather + buttons. 

DSC_0300

Erin: I fell in love with the details and colors of this pillowcase and knew right away that it needed to be a top for Ell.  I utilized the entire thing.  Normally, I’d leave the existing pillowcase hem for something like this, but I wanted to use the yellow in the flutter straps and the chest band, so I ended up cutting off a good chunk of the bottom.  The back closes with a big vintage button and elastic loop. The shorts are E and E’s bubble pocket sailor shorts pattern in yarn-dyed Essex Linen.  I love all the buttons!  You can get a better glimpse of them up in that first picture.

DSC_0334

Caroline: Avery’s look is also reminiscent of Pollyanna.  If you need a fix, watch this.  I loved her drop-waisted dresses and sailor ties.  Avery’s modernized version (say if Pollyanna were to take up tennis) begins with a Flashback tee (minus the sleeves) on top and vintage pillowcase on the bottom.  I simply cut the pillowcase in half and pleated it to match the circumference up top.   Using the same pillowcase, I made bias tape and stitched it around the collar and arm holes.

DSC_0109

ERIN: I love the idea of little boys in vests, but it’s not a look you really see anymore.  So, I decided to try one out for Grant using Lindsay’s tutorial modifying it into a racerback… and I love it!  I made it with Essex linen (same as Ell’s shorts), and the pockets are cut from the hem of a pillowcase.  The inside is a pretty yellow floral sheet (the most masculine one I had).  Grant’s pants are based on the Parsley pants pattern, but modified a bit to make them skinnier, and of course shorter.  If we had a creek out back, you bet this boy would be wading it.

DSC_0192

Erin: For Corinne, I definitely wanted to keep it easy!  I love the idea of a one-piece outfit for babies, so I made some bloomers from a sweet pillowcase I had and then attached it to a basic tank onesie- I used 1/4″ elastic to gather the leg holes, and added 3 snaps at the crotch.  I thought it’d be fun to add a faux peter pan collar since, they were and are all the rage, aren’t they?  I appliqued some shiny gold fabric and added a sweet ivory ribbon rosebud in the center.  It’s pretty, but so practical for summer days.  (note to self: make more of these.)

DSC_0252

Caroline: Wes is wearing faux-suspenders (grosgrain ribbon, d-rings, steam-a-seam) attached to a onesie, along with pillowcase lined pants (based on A.M.H’s Quick Change Trousers).  His newsboy cap is from this free online pattern/video tutorial that I found for an adult, and eventually had success with scaling it down for a small head. 

2013-5-Vintage May9

2013-5-Vintage May10

2013-5-Vintage May4

Do you remember this part in the Sound of Music?

Captain Von Trapp: “Do you mean to tell me that my children have been roaming about Salzburg dressed up in nothing but some old DRAPES?”

Fraulein Maria: “Mmm-hmmm. And having a MARVELOUS time!”

Duh!

avery and grant

Thank you all for stopping by!  Come back tomorrow for a tutorial on Corinne’s pillowcase romper- it’s an easy one! 🙂

DSC_0189

And if you know what’s good for you, check out today’s other Vintage May post by Jessica of Happy Together.  Thanks again Kristin and Jess for letting us in on the fun!

So long, farewell….

Erin + Caroline

felt + fabric crowns

A few weeks ago, I gave you guys a little peek of what’s been keeping me busy these days.

And I’m here today to show you more!

DSC_0197

I’ve been into all things floral lately for some reason.  And I love a good felt project.

DSC_0198

And Ellery’s birthday is this week….(our theme is garden-chic.  Okay, I just made that up)….

DSC_0203

So I combined all those things and came up with these sweet crowns to be given as favors at the beginning of the party so the girls can have fun wearing them together.

DSC_0236

They are pretty quick to make, fairly inexpensive, and something that hopefully will get worn over and over again!

  2013-4-April

I’m really loving them (so is Ellery), and I thought you might too!

So, read on for a step-by-step tutorial:

DSC_0362

First you’ll need some fabric strips.  Obviously, you can use any type of print you like… I used anything in my stash that was floral, including some vintage pillowcases.  This strip below was cut from the edge of a pillowcase.  I love the subtle colors.

Anyway, your strip should be about 4 1/2 ” wide and about 18″ long.

DSC_0110

Cut a piece of lightweight or medium-weight interfacing and iron onto the wrong side of your fabric strip.

DSC_0111

Make a little crown template on a piece of paper.  Mine is 4 1/2″ wide and 9″ long… this will be cut on the fold, fyi.  See below.

Draw any type of crown shape you like.  I made my center point right on the fold, slightly taller than the other 3 points.

DSC_0113

Trace the shape onto your folded fabric strip.

DSC_0117

Cut it out.

DSC_0119

Lay your fabric onto your felt strip. (I’m using a wool felt blend from Ohma– it has a nice weight to it and I highly recommend that you steer clear of the acrylic stuff for this project.  It’s too flimsy for this.  This yellow felt came in a large square so I was able to get a nice long strip from it.  Oh, and the color is called ‘Butter’… It was meant for me.

DSC_0121

Stitch the points to the felt.  Leave the sides and bottom open for now….

DSC_0125

 Now, I did not get all crazy-good with my top-stitching, and that does not bother me for this project…or, any project for that matter.  I’ve realized that I’m just not a perfectionist no matter how hard I try.  😉

DSC_0126

Cut the excess felt away, but leave about a 1/8″ border.  Makes everything pop!

DSC_0127

Play around with any trims, lace, ribbon, etc… that you like for the bottom edge.  I’d say about 1 1/2″ high of embellishment is good.  I used 1″ grosgrain ribbon, and some lace.  Just stitch it on however you like, leaving a little overhang at each edge. **i love the look of gold thread, so if you have some, use it!

DSC_0139

I added some skinny ivory ribbon too….

DSC_0141

Cut an 8″ long strip of 1/4″ elastic- that’s a good length for 3-5 year olds I’d say, but if your kid’s noggin is handy, maybe do a little measuring and adjust that by 1/2″ or so either way.  For projects that have thin elastic that is visible, like for a button and loop closure here, or on a bag or the back of a dress, I usually buy swimwear elastic from Joann becuase it’s softer than regualr elastic and it’s not stark white.  It just looks a little more natural.

But, use whatever you have.

DSC_0143

Fold the elastic in half and slip the raw edges into one of the sides between the felt and fabric.

**If you only have wide elastic, like 3/4 or 1″, maybe just use one 4″ long piece instead of folding it in half… and don’t use a button.  Just insert the elastic and both ends and stitch.**

DSC_0144

Go ahead and fold your ribbon trim edges to the underside of the felt.

DSC_0142

Stich the edge down, and stitch the elastic in place.  I’m leaving the fabric edge raw all over.  If you are worried about fraying, dab a little Fray Check on the edges.

DSC_0146

Your crown shold look like this.  Minus the baby-photobomb!

DSC_0147

Next, find a medium to large button that you like.

DSC_0151

Sew it onto the other edge of your crown, so it sits just slightly above the ribbon.

DSC_0377

Almost done!  You can stop there or you can add a cute little ribbon rosebud right to the center.  Or a little bow.  Or whatever strikes your fancy.

DSC_0378

Try it on your kid!  Ellery would not look at me for these photos.  She loves to play hard-to-get.

DSC_0245

Grant wanted in on the action…. I’ve got to make him a boy version ASAP.

DSC_0333

DSC_0223

DSC_0314

Here’s Ellery “organzing” the crowns and choosing which ones her friends should have.  SUCH a first-born!

DSC_0258

This girl will be FIVE in a week!  No one is more excited than her.  She asks me at least 20 times a day who is younger than her… and squeals with delight when she gets to a kid who has a May or June or July birthday.  Seriously, I’ll be in the other room and I’ll hear her say, “Mommy?” and I’ll start mouthing the words she’s about to say:  “Am I turning 5 before _______ ?”

DSC_0317

“YES, ELLERY.  YOU ARE TURNING FIVE BEFORE ______.”

“heheheeeee yyyeeeeesssss!!  weeeeeee!!!”  :::happy dance::::

DSC_0348

Let me know if you decide to make one- don’t let my long tutorial fool you… they are so fast to make if you have everything on hand!

And I hope all of you KCW -sewing Mamas have fun this week and don’t putter out before the week is over!  I simply cannot get my act together to participate this time around…I am here cheering you on though and can’t wait to see what everyone makes!

Ciao!

-Erin

It HAD to have the piping

Don’t you think? 1-Avery's Dress 2013 009

I would have been finished with this Oliver + S “Music Box Jumper” days ago, but after I sewed the yoke to the skirt, I knew something was missing.  Piping!  It had to have piping.  I just couldn’t leave well enough alone.  So I made a date with my seam ripper, instead of my husband.  Boo.  He understood.  And he agreed, it needed piping.

01-Avery's Dress 2013 024

I constructed the yoke out of a white linen skirt that my older sister never wore, and passed on to me.  The skirt was pretty see-through, so I never wore it either, but like a good up-cycler, I threw it in my stash and knew I’d at least use the buttons from it.  These are those buttons!  Avery patiently waited as “almost done…” turned into “frrmmshmerrdurr…” and then ” *bleeping bleeeeep!* ” and then finally…
02-Avery's Dress 2013 028

“Praise the Lord, its finished!”  And we LOVE IT!  Seriously, I’m pretty obsessed with this dress.  Skirt fabric is from Anna Maria Horner’s “Loulouthi” collection, and is called Coreopsis in lime.  The Music Box jumper (view B) was an impeccable pattern.  I had to buy it after I saw it sewn up at Les Fabriques by the talented Jamie (shout out if you’re reading!).  I took it slowly and even made french seams, learning a ton the whole way.

03-Avery's Dress 2013 032

The white linen was tricky to work with, so soft and delicate.  It did not appreciate all the seam ripping!  But, it feels like buttah, and gives the dress an old-timey vibe.  Like out of a Dick and Jane book.

04-Avery's Dress 2013 039

I’m not really sure when I will let her wear this dress.  Maybe a certain garden party coming up ;)?  I hope I don’t hover nearby with a wash cloth when its time for cake.  After all I went through in the construction process, I will probably insist she vacuum seal it in archival tissue paper, and pass it down to her first-born daughter!   I told you I was obsessed!  Anyhoo, here are some pics of our photo shoot.  Avery is very into making me weed bouquets!

05-Avery's Dress 2013 037

10-Avery's Dress 2013 068

09-Avery's Dress 2013 054

07-Avery's Dress 2013 043

Love the dress, LOVE the girl.

~Caroline

My First Flashback

I bought this shirt a while back at a thrift store, thinking that it looked big enough to fit me.  I just loved that retro squirrel print!  Trying it on at home, I soon realized that this shirt came straight from the tween department.  It wouldn’t even stretch over my rib cage!  That’s alright, I knew I could turn it into something cute for Avery.

1-March 2013 076

Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee was the perfect opportunity to use this fun print and to get some practice sewing with knits.  The thrifted shirt only provided enough fabric for the front and back of the tee.  So, I had to scavenge for sleeve fabric.  I found a  purple rayon knit shirt that I’d never worn balled up in my closet.  (I couldn’t take it back to the store because my parents’ puppy chewed up the tags, thank you Lenny. 😉 )   It was the perfect color for my sleeves, albeit, a difficult one for a novice- so thin and drapey.

3-March 2013 083

Pretty sweet right?  With all new sewing projects, you learn a lot.  Rae’s pattern is perfection, and she gives so many wonderful hints and options.  My excitement got the better of me, and I made a couple of errors.

#1. I did not pre-wash that rayon shirt!  My cuffed sleeves shrunk to a 3/4 length!  I cut them off, and may decide to turn it into a short sleever later.  For now, its cool with a raw hem.

#2.  I did not measure my child.  She is 3 1/2 , and is always 50th percentile at the doc, so I just went with the standard 3T sizing.  I should have taken into account that she “has a pot”(Pulp Fiction anyone?) and used Rae’s instructions for adding length.  Oh well, I took out the bottom hem, and left that raw too.

Now we’re in business.

2-March 2013 081

I added the stripe across the front to cover up a seam that existed in the original shirt.  The back of the original shirt became the front of this tee.  I’m kinda glad it was there because I wouldn’t have thought to add such a cute detail!

4-March 2013 086

Avery loves it!  And so do I!  I cannot wait to make another Flashback Tee!  It is just so satisfying to be able to create something as mundane as a tee-shirt.  What kid would object to such comfort?  Not mine!

Happy Monday!

~Caroline

Geranium in Voile

I sewed up a Geranium tunic for Corinne last week and finally cut into some much-loved AMH little folks voile.

I love how my last Geranium turned out for Ellery, and I love how different this one is.  This fabric is so nice and light, i thought it would make a nice breezy top. I’m happy that she can wear this now right on into the Springtime.

(Seriously, Spring.  Get a move on it!)

DSC_0089-001

So, I added long sleeves here – not an option in the pattern, but I figured it would just look super cute and couldn’t be too hard.

For the sleeves, I used a pattern piece that I already had handy- from the baby in the hood jacket (from this book) that I made a couple of years ago for Grant.  I added an elastic casing at the cuffs.  I did trim my sleeve pattern piece down a little bit along the sides, but I wish I had left it as wide it was- I think this shirt would be perfection if the sleeves were just a teensy bit roomier.  But, it’s totally wearable, and I’m loving it on her, so no biggie.  Next time, next time….

Here’s “Coco” (as she is affectionately known around here) and her bribery snack of choice: baby Mum Mum crackers.

DSC_0032

Anyway, to attach the sleeves, I didn’t really have a plan of attack since I’ve never sewn sleeves to a lined bodice.  But, I remembered Rae’s tutorial and video for adding sleeves to a Washi dress, so I followed that… I’m sure there are other ways to add sleeves to a lined bodice, but the girl knows what she’s talking about, so I let her guide me through it.  And it went very well… even though it looks all kinds of crazy when you’re sewing it up!  No really… check out that video to see what I mean.

  That’s what I love about sewing- sometimes you just have to trust the instructions in front of you and forego your own thought processes.

I always learn something.  Always.

DSC_0083-001

I made the 12-18 month size for my almost 11 month old!  11 months already?? what??

Instead of using 3 buttons as the pattern suggests, I decided to use 2 here just because I liked how it looked.  I’m really digging this pattern and have seen so many great variations in the flickr pool.

Action shot!

DSC_0052-001

Corinne has been walking since just after her 9 month birthday, and I really feel like she’s in the mix with the other *big* kids because of that..  but it’s funny because she still looks like such a baby to me… I took her to an open-gym today with tons of other kids and she had no problem leaving my side to cruise around after balls, crawl through tunnels, and at one point even walking up to some random boy on a bike and planting the biggest slobbery open-mouthed kiss on his face.

He liked it.

DSC_0072-001

C’mon, wouldn’t you?

-Erin

backyard sundress

Have I mentioned before that my 4 year old ONLY wears dresses?  In fact, she probably hasn’t worn a pair of shorts or pants- besides leggings or pj’s- in almost a year…. While I think it’s cool she’s got a strong sense of…a-hem…style… I’ll be honest and say, yeah… it bothers me slightly that I have a stash of pants and shorts that just sit in her closet while she recycles the same 3 dresses each week.

Anyway, the girl could use some new ones.

I have a lot of home-sewn ideas for her in my head that are looming around.  Just not a lot of time to dedicate to the sewing machine these days. So, I really wanted to create a simple dress that wouldn’t require too much planning, thinking, or cutting or tracing of any pattern pieces (all those beignet skirt pieces burned me out).  Something where I could just keep the measurements and some notes handy, and whip up one whenever I had an hour free.   

I’m happy to say, this is it! 

Here’s how it rates on Ellery’s Wearability Scale (1-10):

comfort: 10.  She wore this 5 days in a row (i kid you not) and slept in it once…

twirlability: a solid 8.

pinkaliciousness: 8.  there is enough pink here to satisfy both daughter AND mother (if ya know what i mean).

backyard capabilities: off the charts!  This dress can easily adapt to tricycle riding, firefly catching, toad-spotting, garden grazing, sandbox-squatting and hill rolling.  It’s loose where it needs to be loose, and snug where it needs to be snug.

  A bit about the fabric:  It’s a ‘specialty’ seersucker from Joann’s… definitely higher quality than their normal seersucker.  I bought a few yards at 40% off…It’s so soft and light.  I love the dusty rose color, and the hints of yellow and purple. 

 

And can you see the gold thread running through it (better in person)? Adds just the right amount of snazz. 

As far as the design goes, I was inspired by Rae’s spring ruffle top (Caroline made a couple, here and here), the simple band around the chest, the gathered skirt, and the ruffle straps.  My kid seems to prefer dresses that are long, so i made sure it was a few inches above her ankles. For the straps I cut a long piece of fabric, folded it, then cut along the raw edges getting wider as I got to the center (so the ruffles at the center of the strap would extend almost to the end of her shoulders).  Then, I shifted the top layer over just a bit so you can see the under layer of fabric, and sewed in a casing for elastic along the fold.  Easy as can be.  I left the ruffled edges raw, but later zig zag stitched them so they wouldn’t get too fray-crazy.  

I like the almost-unfinished look it gives, as if this dress doesn’t take itself too seriously… 

though it is seriously loved by this girl.

Bless her little tomato-pickin’ heart. 

-Erin

***if anyone would be interested in a little how-to, please let me know in the comments.  I plan on making a couple more of these soon and am happy to put a tutorial together to share with you***

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!

***

***

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

***

***

Thanks for visiting!

-Erin

 

Balancing Act

While Erin is discovering how to balance life as a mother of three (take your time girl!), the Chang kids are discovering balance in a more literal sense.  Balance Boards!

I think this is the first “pin” from my Pinterest page that I have actually followed up on.  The pin came from elsie marley and includes a great little tutorial that she did for last year’s Celebrate the Boy series.  I love Meg’s find-whatever-you’ve-got-around-the-house approach.  Later,  I came upon a neato version with bumpers made from pool noodles, from Family Fun Magazine (February issue).  I pretty much followed their project instructions step-by-step.  I played with two different board sizes.  Basic white board from Lowes, and pvc piping there too. Got the Duck Tape and noodle from Target.  That was all I needed.

 In the process, I became a born-again worshiper of Duck Tape!  So fun, so easy, and now, so decorative!

Avery was all over the balance boards, such a natural that I wonder if we have a future snowboarder or surfer on our hands.  Maybe my tweenage dreams will live on through Avery…

 

Jet got in on the action too.  Though he shall remain faceless.

We gave a couple boards to our friend Olivia, for her 5th birthday (of course I didn’t snap her photo while she tested them out, errr.).  Still, they were a hit with children of all ages at the party.

All in all a great project, and a cool rainy day activity for the kiddos.  Or, just do it for the Duck Tape.

~Caroline