Friday, 25 May 2012

Simple Summer Sundress tutorial (sort of)

This is a "sort of" tutorial because I didn't photograph all the way through so much of it is explanation rather than demonstration.  Plus my camera stinks so the photo quality is terrible!  This is an easy summer dress that uses basic techniques but I added a couple of extra details that make it look a little fancier than a pillowcase dress or a straight A-line tunic. 

This is what I did/used for Maya's dress.  She is 4 but she is a small 4.

I used quilting cotton.  This dress needs two rectangles for the main part.  The width of each rectangle should be about 20 inches and the length should be the length you want the dress to be plus 5 inches (measure from about the armpit to where you want the dress to end and then add five inches) I also cut two pieces about 4x 14 for straps.  You could also use ribbon if you prefer.  You will need some elastic for the top.  I used 3/4 inch and it worked well.

Sew the two rectangles together along both sides (right sides together).  Press and then zig-zag, pink, or serge your edges.  I don't own a serger yet so I pink or zig zag.  In all honesty, I don't always press my seams either.  In an ideal situation I would have the ironing board out right next to my sewing machine but I am usually grabbing a few minutes to sew here and there - mostly after the kids go to sleep and before I pass out.  I often finger press.  I also sew at the toddler table in the family room.  It is not a great set up but it is the only downstairs spot where I can have a flat surface and an electrical outlet.

With the dress inside out, fold and press the top of the dress body down about 1/2 and inch.  Then fold it over about 2 inches.  You are going to make a casing with a ruffle or paper bag style top.  Pin your fabric and sew one line all the way around about 1 inch from the top of the dress.  You can sew all the way around without stopping because you are not going to thread the elastic through this seam.  Then sew around again at the edge of your folded fabric.  This time you need to leave an  opening to feed the elastic through.  I backstich at least 3 stitches at the start and end of a line of stitches.  Then measure you child's chest in order to determine how long your elastic should be.  Instead of using a tape measure I would just take the elastic and wrap it around to see what length makes a snug fit. Be sure to add a little extra length to make up for the parts you will sew together.  If you are making more than one dress just measure the elastic after you have cut it and jot it down the length so you know for future reference.  Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic to feed it through your casing.  Zig zag stitch the two ends of your elastic together back and forth a few times and then go back and finish  sewing up the casing. 

Take the two strap pieces and fold them in half lengthwise.  Sew down the long side.  Fold back out to the right side and press.  On the short ends, fold the fabric under about 1/4 inch and topstich around the entire strap for a nice finished look. Pin the straps to the dress and sew along the TOP line of you casing to attach the strap.  HINT:  Sew with the dress right side out so you can more easily blend your strap stitches in with your casing stitch line.

Fold and press the bottom of the dress to the wrong side about 1/2 inch.  Then fold and press another 2 inches.  Stich the hem along the top and the bottom of the folded fabric. 


Sunday, 20 May 2012

New Summer Jammies

Maya has some new summer jammies thanks to the Sewing Dork.  We won the blog givaway she ran a couple of weeks ago.  Maya is thrilled!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Make the Presents, Make the Presents!

The title of this post is from a Friends episode.  CHandler and Monica agreed to make their anniversary gifts but Monica forgot.  When reminded she yells out (something to the effect of), "Make the presents, Make the presents!"

As I have grown more confident with my sewing machine I have started to make more of the gifts I give. 

Above are some gifts I made for my sister who just had her second baby.  The jacket has flannel oe the inside, quilting cotton on the outside, and it has bias trim.  the booties are knit with Lion Cotton Ease yarn using the pattern in Knitting for Baby (a great book).  The washcloths are cotton chenille backed with quilting cotton.  It was a lot of fun to put all these things together for her.

Here is a circle skirt I made for Maya's friend's birthday.  The tutorial is here.  I also made this peasant dress with simple pockets for the same girl.  This pattern is my own. ( I think everyone who sews has to make some peasant dresses, right?)  I have made some like this for Maya too and she loves them.

I find it much more rewarding to make the presents when possible.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Popover Dress

Maya turned 4 today.  Here she is with her doll and her sister.  Her birthday dress is the Oliver and S Popover dress.  It is a free pattern on their website.  There is also a free doll dress pattern.  These dresses were actually some of my first projects when I took up sewing last summer/fall.  Maya picked out that fabric at Joann's and I wasn't sure what I was going to make at the time.  It turns out I had the perfect amount of fabric to make all three dresses.  When I made them I really wanted to save them for Maya's birthday.  I almost caved at gave them to the girls early but I am glad I waited.