I go to yoga class four days a week, so workout wear is an important part of my wardrobe. Roller skating has made it’s way back into my life as well, and I’m here to tell you, you can’t skate without smiling. I seem to break out into a grin every time I put my skates on. Having these two forms of exercise in my life brings a certain balance that just feels right.
It makes me happy that I was able to complete two workout outfits as part of the GreenStyle Fit Capsule Challenge. Even though both outfits are Spark Tights and Power Sports Bras hacked into workout tops, they’re very different looks. My first purchase of GreenStyle fabric was this super cool Super Nova Power Flex. It’s a nylon/spandex blend, and I love how colorful it is. Scraps of grape supplex (a color no longer available) from Phee Fabrics was the perfect accent fabric to pair with it, so I decided to go wild and color-block the bodice and then accent everything with a reverse triple coverstitch using MaxiLock radiant turquoise.
I added a panel of white powernet to the back of my top for extra airflow during sweaty workouts. If you’re like me, and dislike straps near your neck, doing straight straps is such a game changer. There’s no need to ever adjust your straps again! To see how to do straight straps and add panels, check out this post.
My other Power Sports Bra workout top and Spark Tights combination is completely solid. I used a shimmery, almost glittery nylon spandex athletic fabric from JoAnn Fabrics. Since the fabric was shimmery I kept everything one color and achieved an extra pop of color by reverse triple coverstitching with Superior Threads Fantastico #5028 Peacock Plume. I just love their variegated threads!
Once again I chose the U-back of the Power Sports Bra and used straight straps. Can you tell that these are well-loved patterns? 🙂 The straps were cut along the edges of the fabric where it wasn’t shimmery, just for a bit of accent. And to not waste that couple inches of fabric! 😉
The Valerie Dress, another well-loved pattern, hacked to be sleeveless and made in green rayon spandex will get a lot of use. I wear my Valerie Dresses all the time. Sometimes as a dress, sometimes as a nightgown or loungewear. I’ve also mashed it with the Staple Tank for a slightly different look, seen here.
If it gets chilly, I can slide on my new Sunday Cardigan, hacked to have tiers, butttons, and a sleeve flounce. You can read about that here.
Last but not least, I had to make another Staple Tank! You can never have too many of these tanks. I was gifted some pretty fabric scraps by a woman in one of my Facebook sewing groups. And this fun crocodile skin rayon/spandex print was actually large enough to eek out a new tank! It makes me smile to have such a fun printed tank!
Whew! That was a lot of sewing and posing for photos. 🙂 I was pretty inspired by the Fit Capsule Challenge this year, and I’m excited to have made so many cute things. It speaks volumes about how I feel about GreenStyle patterns and the way they fit my body so well. I may have plans to make myself another workout outfit. 😉 I bought some navy supplex, and have some pretty fabric scraps to coordinate with it. But I need to make a few things for other people first.
Thank you for reading and sharing my love of creating, sewing, patterns, pattern hacking, fabric, and making beautiful, well-fitting garments! ❤
The links to GreenStyle may be affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a few pennies if you purchase through my link. As always, I only give my honest opinion. After all, it is my blog, which represents me!
Summer clothes are so much more fun than winter clothes. They’re light and comfortable, and tend to be more colorful. Swishy sundresses that you can throw on and head out the door are a great summer look.
The new Frolic Romper and Dress by Stitch Upon A Time is perfect for summer breezes. The wrap around skirt is full and swishy, and the top can have a halter tie or cross back straps. Mine started out as a halter top, which I thought was really cute.
But after wearing it a while, the weight of my bust pulled on my neck too much, so I turned it into a cross back.
I think it’s just as sexy, and it’s certainly more comfortable for my neck. The wrap skirt is perfect for skimming over the belly, without being tight or revealing.
I thought it would be fun to climb up on the railing for a photo, to show the slit of the wrap around skirt. Try not to laugh at my version of a “sexy pose”. Hahahahahaha! Of course after climbing up on the railing, I had to jump down, in a perhaps not quite so lady-like fashion. 🙂
I love the drape of high quality rayon spandex, it’s perfect for dresses. As I am not small-chested, I decided to use a nylon spandex tricot swim fabric as the inner layer on the bodice. The stronger rebound of the swim fabric gave me extra support and coverage. During testing, it was suggested to add elastic at the bottom of the bodice, sandwiched between the inner and outer layers for more support. Since I need maximum support, I used 1″ knit elastic.
To help keep the elastic in place (and give myself a guide for sewing the skirt on), I basted the main and lining layers wrong sides together, 1″ from the bottom edge of the bodice. I cut the elastic to fit snugly, yet comfortably under my bust, overlapped 1/2″, and zig-zagged the elastic to form a loop. Then I slid the elastic in between the fabric layers, and pinned at the quarter points.
After I serged the elastic around the bottom, it was time to add the binding. Since this is a summer dress, I wanted a fun pop of color for the binding, and decided to use the same teal nylon spandex tricot as I did for the bodice lining layer. To give my bust even more support, I added clear elastic when serging the binding to the bodice.
Then I pressed the binding up toward the seam allowance, wrapped it around the inside and pinned it in place. Then it was time to coverstitch.
Next came gathering the skirt. Have I mentioned that I dislike gathering? I like the look when it’s done well, but it is so time consuming to gather and pin in place! This is where that basting line above the elastic came in handy. The skirt got pinned to the bodice, right sides together, leaving the (encased) elastic below. Because I wanted to ensure that the skirt was even, I hand-basted the skirt to the bodice. Can I just mention how very grateful I am to live in this era of fancy sewing machines, sergers, and coverstitch machines? I cannot imagine how long it used to take to sew all your clothing by hand.
While I love the result, it was a bit time consuming to sew the skirt to the bodice above the elastic, rather than just serging it on. The next time I make this dress, I plan to add an inch to the bodice lining so that I can serge the 1″ elastic on, flip it up and coverstitch it. Then I’d take an inch off the main fabric bodice so that the skirt could just be serged to the outer bodice (and still line up with the bodice lining). It’s important that the seam line falls right under the bust to give the most flattering shaping.
Suffice it to say that I love this dress! It’s comfortable and flattering, while hiding my love of buttered popcorn! 🙂 It’s going to get worn all summer long. Ok, did anybody else just start singing?
Technically, the cross back straps should have gone through loops, and then just tied in a bow. But I am long from shoulder to bust, and the straps didn’t seem quite long enough for a bow. And well, I like things clean and simple. So I just sewed them into place. It works for me!
The links to Stitch Upon A Time are affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my link. As always, I only give my honest opinion. After all, it is my blog, which represents me! Thank you for reading and sharing my love of creating, sewing, patterns, fabric, and making beautiful, well-fitting garments! ❤
Pattern Hacks And Serger Tips For The GreenStyle Valerie Dress
When the GreenStyle Creations Valerie Dress was first released, I put off buying it. I don’t know why, since 2020 was definitely the year for lounge wear! 🙂 Now that I’ve whipped a couple of them up, I’m really wondering why I waited! It’s a comfortable, flattering dress that can transform from lounge wear, to beach cover-up, to throw-it-on-and-run-to-the-store, to pretty enough to wear to church.
The shaped seamed back gives a flattering, comfortable fit that is so much nicer than a sloppy, boxy T-shirt. It has sleeves ranging from cap to long, but of course I chose to go sleeveless. #floridalife The curved hem (a shirttail hem) gives a more casual look, so I chose that and the scoop neckline for my first make of the pattern.
Talk about comfortable! This immediately became my new favorite nightgown and got worn to bed that evening. And worn around the house the next day while sewing. Surely I’m not the only one to sew in my lounge wear? Be honest, you know you’ve done it! 😉 I chose to bind the neckline and armscyes rather than do bands just because I can.
Use the same length for binding as recommended for your band, but only cut your strip 1″ high. Stitch the short ends together and quarter and pin the binding to the neckline right sides together. When you serge the neck binding on using the normal 3/8″ seam allowance, with your stitch width set at M, your machine will trim 1/8″ off. Press the seam allowance up, and wrap the binding around to the inside, pinning in place. Then top-stitch or cover-stitch it in place. It’s a super easy, yet professional looking (although technically faux) binding finish.
People sometimes get nervous about hemming a curved shirttail hem, with memories of past wonky, wrinkly, bunched up hems. But it really isn’t hard if you do a couple of things. First of all, don’t sew with fabric that doesn’t have “recovery”. Generally speaking, this means it contains spandex/Lycra. When you stretch your knit fabric out, it should come back to its original size. If the fabric stays in a stretched out shape, it’s a sign that the fabric is going to grow and hang oddly and unflatteringly. Just don’t waste your time with it. Secondly, the Valerie pattern has a nice gradual curve not sharp turns, which makes it easier.
And here’s the most important tip: serge along the hemline on the right side of your dress, using a 4 thread overlock, stitch width of M, stitch length of 2 to 2 and a quarter, with your differential turned up to 1.3. This does two things. It gives the hem stability so that it won’t stretch out while top or cover-stitching. It also very slightly brings the edge in a bit. Then when you pin the hem in place, you won’t have excess fabric bunching up. You’ll just have a smooth beautifully curved hem.
One Valerie dress led to another… as in the very next day I decided I needed another one! To change things up, I did a mash and a hack. Mashing the Valerie with the Staple Tank was a no-brainer, since the Staple Tank is my most used tank pattern. Simply layer your Valerie pattern with your Staple Tank pattern, matching the natural waist markings. Then trace the Staple Tank bodice merging it into the Valerie body .
A seasoned sewist has learned and understands the importance of grading. But a new sewist is likely to be a bit nervous about the idea. You mean I bought a pattern and it’s not going to magically perfectly fit my unique body and shape? What??? Okay, the possibility exists that it will fit you perfectly well, at least as well as your basic ready-to-wear. But the more you sew, the more demanding you become about getting the best fit possible. And the first step towards that is measuring and grading. Pattern companies include a measurement chart in the tutorial, and it’s important to look at them.
You may be tempted to say well, my bust falls into size x, and my waist and hips are size z, so I’ll just make size y. Depending on the ease of the garment, it may fit. But it will likely be a bit large on your shoulders, and the top or dress may ride up because it’s a little too snug across the hips. Personally, I like when patterns include an upper bust measurement, as well as a full bust measurement. My bust is fuller than average for the frame of my body. So if I choose a pattern size based on my bust measurement, it’s likely to be too wide across my shoulders, which leads to bagginess above the bust, with the excess fabric digging into the front of my armpits. Super uncomfortable and not an attractive look. So I generally trace a smaller size above the bust, grading out to my bust size below the armscye. If my hips measure on the edge of two sizes, I generally grade out to the bigger size to give myself more room for the booty.
All of this is pattern dependent of course, but on a more fitted style like the Valerie Dress or Staple Tank, it’s super important to grade. Some people get all fancy using a french curve to grade their patterns. Since I don’t own one, I just draw gently curved lines from one size to the next. Think hourglass curves rather than straight lines when going in or out on sizes.
You kind of get a hint of my side vent hack in the photo above. Since I was doing the straighter hem on this dress, I thought it would be fun to add some side vents. I marked the sides of the front and back pieces 4″ up from the hem, and made a 3/8 ” snip.
Serge from the snip to the hem, along the bottom raw edge, up to the snip on the other side, on both the front and back.
Then follow the pattern tutorial for assembling the dress. When sewing the side seams together, be sure to fold the lower vent area out of the way when serging off the snipped edge. Tuck your serger tails, and press the vents to either side and cover stitch. Then pin the hem up and coverstitch. You’ll end up with beautifully finished side vents.
I love the look and fit of this hacked, mashed dress! It’s comfortable, and kind of sexy, while still looking classy. In fact I wore it to Mass on Sunday with one of my Sunday Cardigans.
Here’s the takeaway: grade to fit your body; don’t be afraid to mash the Valerie with one of your favorite patterns; side vents are fun; and try my serger tips and tricks. The details: both the emerald and navy dresses were made with rayon spandex purchased at Phee Fabrics.
So, which version should I make next? I’m thinking I need to try the V-neck!
This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my link. As always, I only give my honest opinion. After all, it is my blog, which represents me! 🙂 Thank you for reading and sharing my love of creating, sewing, patterns, fabric, and making beautiful well-fitting garments! ❤
I couldn’t resist purchasing the Pattern Emporium Follow Me Wrap Dress when it first released, even though I am not a flounce or ruffles kind of girl. A girly girl, absolutely! I love dresses and all sorts of womanly things. But frills, flounces and ruffles? Not my gig. The pattern includes a plain wrap version, and four lengths from mini to below knee. But the flounce version just spoke to me, and I knew a knee length sleeveless dress would be the most worn.
When I traced the pattern in my size, I originally added 2″ to the length of the skirt because a lot of my height is in my legs. And I wanted it a flattering knee length that could also be worn to church. Then I tried laying the pattern out. No matter how hard I tried to Tetris the pattern pieces, I could not make them fit on a two yard cut of fabric. After debating whether to skip the flounce, and deciding not to, I set the pattern aside for a while.
Most of the knit fabric in my stash is a one or two yard cut, depending upon the weight and intended use of the fabric. I could have just ordered two and a half yards of fabric, but I prefer to place a larger fabric order to save on shipping costs. Then the pandemic hit, and I kind of lost the desire to sew for myself. I made masks for family members, and found sewing joy making clothes for my granddaughters. It was fun to upcycle unworn clothing and to use some of the older fabric in my stash to make cute toddler and baby clothes. Finally, it sounded fun to sew something pretty for myself.
So I pulled out the pattern and decided to just go for it as written. I cut the added length off the traced skirt pieces, and kept the only other pattern alterations. The seam on the back bodice bugged me, so I folded over the center back seam allowance and cut the piece on the fold instead. To slightly widen the straps, the low round neckline was traced and cut one size smaller than the rest of the pattern.
The ingenious design of the wrap means that even when taking a walk along the windy shoreline, I didn’t have to worry about accidental undie exposure. The wrap crosses over far enough that even when the top panel is lifted by the wind, you still have full frontal coverage.
The dress feels fun and flirty, sexy and yet modest. You can also increase the modesty factor by using the higher neckline, and adding the cap, short, flounce, or long sleeves. The below knee length would change the look as well.
The dress was sewn entirely on my serger, and the actual sewing time was much faster than the pinning time! 🙂 It takes more than a minute to pin all that flounce to the bottom of the skirt. But it is such a fun touch that I definitely plan to use it on the next one. I also figured out a way to make hemming the flounce simple and easy.
Although you may be tempted to skip hemming, especially when using a high quality knit that doesn’t curl, if I’ve taken the time to sew a nice garment, you can bet that I’m going to finish it off nicely! Hemming curved skirts, or in this case a very curved flounce can be challenging. When you pin the hem up, there’s all this extra fabric (due to the curve) and it can get “bunchy” and wrinkly. But, if you serge along the bottom edge of the hem or flounce, and up the differential feed, it will very neatly, slightly “gather” the edge. I upped the differential to 1.3 on my machine, which is one click up from N(eutral) on most of the curve. On the more curved ends, I upped it to 1.5, which is two clicks up.
As you can see on this inside view of the flounce, I used a four-thread overlock stitch. The darker gray thread is my overlock, and the light gray thread is the looper thread of the coverstitched hem. On the bottom left where the flounce has a slighter curve the 1.3 differential made slight gathers. At the center bottom where the curve is sharper, upping the differential to 1.5 kind of gathered it a bit more, while still keeping the fabric smooth and unwrinkled. All I had to do at that point was take it over to my ironing board and press the hem up into place. I used a few clips to keep it in place while the fabric cooled, but it was super easy to coverstitch (or topstitch with a single or twin needle if you don’t have a coverstitch machine) at that point.
Once you start playing with a coverstitch, you tend to coverstitch everything. The binding at the neckline and armscye was coverstitched, the hem was coverstitched, and the seam where the flounce was attached to the skirt got coverstitched. I did not coverstitch the waist seam, because who wants to draw attention to that area? 😉
Technically, this is my “muslin” or “toile”, as I went straight to my nice nylon/spandex tricot from Phee Fabrics, rather than making a test garment. But I know that Pattern Emporium patterns are a good fit with only minor tweaking for my body shape. And sewing with high quality fabric is so much easier than wasting time with flimsy fabric.
I really like my dress, but as with every garment I make, I’d like to perfect it. I’m thinking of raising the waist seam on the next one by approximately 1″ to hit closer to my natural waist. I’m also considering going down a size in the bodice, but doing a full bust adjustment to address the wrinkling across the bust and pulling up into the armpit area. Should I add an inch of length to the skirt to make up for the inch I plan to take out of the bodice? Do you think I’m on the right track with a smaller size and FBA?
Because I need more of these easy breezy summer dresses! Hmmmm, maybe some soft rayon spandex for the next one?
I hope you have found your sewing joy. But if you’re struggling, take the time to breathe deeply, then dive back in to a project that sounds fun to you. ❤
I’ve been guilty of buying a pattern, but not printing and sewing it right away on more than one occasion. Silly, I know! The racerback look is popular, cute, and probably why I hesitated on sewing one up. I’m not a fan of my bra straps showing, strapless bras aren’t really comfortable, and I don’t own a well fitting racerback bra. That sounds so silly, especially when you consider how many Brazi’s I’ve made. But here’s the thing- all the Brazi’s I make for myself have been hacked to have straight straps because I don’t like straps near my neck. My daughter likes the cross back Brazi, and tracing the pattern in her new postpartum and nursing size is on my agenda for today. Anyhow, the Spoxxy sat unprinted in my computer for a few months.
Then I saw someone post a Spoxxy made as a nightgown on the Stitch Upon A Time Facebook page, and quickly decided to make myself one! Who doesn’t need some new nightgowns after a few months of social distancing at home? Not that I lived in nightgowns, hahahahahahaha! 😉 Who am I kidding? I put on shorts and a tank top to go for walks and thoroughly enjoyed being comfortable in a nightie the rest of the day.
Since this was “just going to be a nightie”, I used some lightweight rayon spandex that I found at an estate sale. And of course I end up loving the look and want to just keep it as a dress!
Look at that grin on my face- I couldn’t stop smiling because it’s just such a cute, comfortable pattern. The racerback fits well, and the bands don’t bunch up where the upper back meets the gathered body. Which is a problem I have seen on similar styled patterns by other designers. I thinks it’s the angle of the cut?
The smooth curve of the racerback, the gathering at the back, and the over all shaping of the dress is quite flattering. The pattern calls for a band at the hip for the top version, and elastic at the waist for the dress version. I contemplated adding the waist elastic, but since the shaping hits perfectly at the natural waist and flares out to skim the hips, I didn’t see the need.
After I sent my daughter a photo of my dress, she commented that she needs some comfortable dresses that she can nurse in. So Mama dug through her stash and found bits of charcoal and gray rayon spandex that were just big enough to piece together a color-blocked version for her. Due to fabric constraints, I had to add a seam to the bottom section center back, but it’s still quite wearable and fun. I don’t have any modeled photos of her yet, since it takes a while for packages to get to another state.
Obviously, I need to make myself a few more Spoxxy dresses and/or nightgowns because the fit is just so spot on! Using a more substantial weight of rayon spandex (rather than the flimsy estate sale stuff I started with) will make it even better with improved drape and recovery.
So, the next time you notice an unused pattern sitting in your computer, print it out, and sew it up! Or give the Spoxxy a try, and see if you end up with a happy smile like me!
This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my link. As always, I only give my honest opinion. After all, it is my blog, which represents me! 🙂 Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, fabric, and patterns. ❤
In these unprecedented times, when virtually the entire world is under “Safer At Home” orders, it is surreal to look back to a month or two ago when most of us led what now feels like rather carefree lives. It’s important to remember the beauty and joy of life, increase our faith, and do useful things that make us happy. Sewing is certainly one of my happy places! Except when I have to seam-rip because I’ve done something silly, like sew the front and back right and wrong sides together. 😉 Which happened, by the way. Fortunately I had only sewn part of the way up the side seam before I realized it!
The Pattern Emporium Going Places Dress was the perfect pattern to sew at this time. Florida is already quite warm, and dresses are a staple in my closet. There are multiple neckline options from ballet to babe, and high and low square necklines. And the dress can be fitted or flared. I chose the deeper babe neckline and love the fit of the flared skirt. Having a fitted bodice is quite figure flattering, and the skirt flares out at the perfect place so that it skims and shapes the waist without being tight across the midriff.
The neckline and straps can be finished with bands or binding. But let me tell you- once you have the ability to cover-stitch, binding is just as easy as bands, and looks so beautiful! I’m becoming more comfortable with using the cover-stitch feature of my machine, and am absolutely loving the results! It just looks so professional and is so much faster than top-stitching with my old sewing machine.
I used rayon spandex from Phee Fabrics for my dress, and it is the perfect weight and drape for dresses. And tank tops. I literally make all my tank tops out of Phee’s rayon spandex, and a good portion of my dresses. It’s safe to say that this is one of my favorite fabrics!
So, is there anything that I would change the next time I make this pattern? I think I’ll make the back bodice one size smaller. Yoga class has given me a pretty decent back taper, and the back is little looser than I need. I also think I’ll widen the back straps just a smidge. While the straps cover my bra straps quite well, my “old lady” bras widen out before meeting the back band, and the straps of the dress don’t quite cover that area. The Going Places Dress is a pretty quick sew, doesn’t take a lot of yardage, and is definitely worth adding to your pattern collection! The square neckline option is next on my list.
To complement my dress, I made the Pattern Emporium Songbird Kimono & Cardi. I own several cardigan patterns, and bought this one specifically because it was designed for woven fabrics. I found some chiffon at an estate sale for a really good price, and thought it would make beautiful cardigans. While I love the two cardigans I’ve made, let me tell you, sewing chiffon is not for the faint of heart!
Using chiffon is like trying to cut, pin, and sew a cloud! It’s a bear to try and get it to lay flat and smooth and not get wavy and distorted when you cut it out. You have to use so many pins to try and hold everything in place while you’re sewing. The fabric is so fine that pins tend to slide right out as you handle the fabric. And it frays, badly. So a serger is almost a necessity when sewing chiffon. That being said, I absolutely love the result of my efforts!
It’s flowy and fun, and looks great with a dress. This is the first of the two Songbirds I’ve made, and I sized down for the second one. I have long arms, and added two inches of length to the sleeves, but certainly could have gotten away with just an inch. I’ve worn my Songbirds with a T-shirt and skirt, long-sleeved shirts and pants, and dresses. I’ll certainly throw them on with a tank top and shorts on chilly evenings or in air conditioned spaces.
Here are my tips for sewing with chiffon. Take your time. It takes time to smooth and even out your fabric. Use all the pins. It really helps to keep the fabric from shifting as you sew. This also means that by necessity you have to sew more slowly to ensure that you pull the pins before accidentally sewing over them! Because chiffon is super flowy and has no body, you may want to add some body in certain areas. I used knit interfacing (specifically Pellon SK135 Sheer-Knit fusible interfacing) to stabilize the band. I chose this interfacing because it is sheer, and wouldn’t be visible through the chiffon. I cut the interfacing half as wide as the band, and carefully lined it up with one edge of the wrong side of the fabric to press it on. Follow the manufacturers instructions and use a pressing cloth! Even a paper towel works to help keep the residue from getting on your iron. Just be sure to peel it up as soon as you press a section so that it doesn’t stick to the interfacing. And enjoy trying new patterns, techniques, and experimenting with a new look.
Embrace life, and enjoy every moment of laughter and silliness! And sew a little happiness, while we stay at home rather than Going Places! ❤
My granddaughter needs play clothes for the summer, since she’s outgrown pretty much everything from last summer. Toddlers grow fast! So my daughter gave me some tops and dresses to upcycle. They were all XS or small, so children’s clothes would be about all that would fit on the fabric. I chose three coordinating fabrics, and got to work.
Using my rotary cutter, I trimmed along the side and sleeve seams, and ripped the clothes apart. A seam ripper was necessary to remove hems and binding as needed, to be able to lay the fabric out smoothly. It certainly would have been easier and faster to use yardage, but it was fun to think creatively how to fit my pattern pieces and make it all work.
I’ve made a couple of Made By Rae Washi Dresses blogged here, but hadn’t tried any children’s patterns. This is my latest (and favorite!) Washi Dress, made with a beautiful Art Gallery Fabrics border print called Roads to Flowerhouse.
While scrolling through the Made By Rae children’s patterns, I came across the Itty Bitty Baby Dress. It’s designed for wovens, but I knew that it would work to use knit fabrics.
The pattern calls for a simple gathered skirt, trimmed with bias tape. Since I was upcycling, had limited sized pieces of fabric, and had found coordinating fabrics, I decided to make a three tiered skirt instead. For the Itty Bitty Baby dress, instead of the suggested 9″ high rectangles of fabric, I cut my top strip 3″ high, and the second and third tiers 3-1/2″ high. Each tier was gathered and sewn to the tier above it, then the skirt was sewn to the bodice as per the pattern directions. Newborn sized clothes always look so cute!
There also happens to be an expanded size of the pattern in a size 3, which is the size my two year old granddaughter is growing into. It’s made the same way as the Itty Bitty newborn size, and it too got hacked to have a triple tier skirt. Instead of the suggested 15″ high skirt panels, the top tier was a 4-3/4″ high strip, followed by 5″ high strips for the second and third tiers. The toddler skirt is a bit more gathered, since Lila likes to run and play and climb and move.
Since the dresses were already bright and colorful, I thought that it would be fun to use variegated thread to cover-stitch everything. That’s the funny thing about having the ability to cover-stitch. You go a little crazy and fun and play around with it. On the toddler dress, I used a reverse triple cover-stitch to accent everything. To lessen the scale, I chose a narrow reverse cover-stitch for the newborn dress.
The Bummies pattern is from Brindille & Twig, with a ruffle added across the bum for a little extra fun. Because I already spend too much quality time with my seam ripper, I just couldn’t bring myself to rip off the leg bands that I accidentally sewed on inside out. So I just reverse cover-stitched over the seam allowance, and turned it into a “design element”!
Admittedly, these outfits are super bright and a bit wild, but that’s what makes them so fun! Normally, I wouldn’t post without modeled photos, but with the current state of the world, I don’t know when we’ll be able to visit our daughter and her family. Hopefully before the new baby is born! And this is as good a way as any to share that I’m going to be Grandma to another little girl! 🙂 ❤
Do you have some unworn clothes in your closet that could be turned into fun fabric for little ones? Consider upcycling them into to something new. There are so many cute patterns to try. And it’s fun to sew for my soon-to-be itty bitty baby, and not so itty bitty girl.
Stay well, and sew something that makes you happy!
Sewing for children can be fun, because their smaller size generally means quicker sewing. And you can be super bold in color and try fun things on kids clothes that you may be a bit hesitant to try on an adult size! After making myself a beautiful Designer Stitch Madison Dress, I had some scraps of Ponte left over. They weren’t large enough to make an adult clothing item, but there was just enough to squeeze out a dress and leggings for my granddaughter.
The striped Ponte was quite stretchy, so it was perfect for leggings. I’ve tried several baby leggings patterns, and have been happy with most of them. Since Lila is growing quickly, it seemed time to make the jump from a baby pattern to a girl pattern. The 5oo4 Patterns Little Ninja Leggings (which is a free pattern) worked very well, and came up high enough in the back to properly cover her bum. I dislike super low rise leggings, and was very happy with the fit of the Little Ninjas. They definitely give full range of motion, as Lila was easily able to climb in and out of the box “fort” that Grandpa made for her! 🙂
The green Ponte was a super soft rayon blend, and had such a pretty fringed selvage that I just had to use it for something! I found it at Pennie Fabrics in Sarasota, Florida. It’s an interesting independent fabric store, is a bit of a maze, and is not organized into fabric types at all. But if you’re willing to wander through and feel all the rolls of fabric, you could come up with something unique that you love. The green Ponte was imported from Italy, and you could feel the softness and quality. It was therefore, rather expensive, so I wanted to put every square inch to good use!
The Stitch Upon A Time Wendybird Dress was a great choice for this project. The simple lines of the round neck, plain front version, with hemmed sleeves let the focus be on the fabric. To add an extra pop of color, I cut a strip an inch and a half wide out of the striped fabric to use as piping between the bodice and skirt. After folding the strip in half, right sides out, I basted it to the bottom of the front and back of the bodice.
Then I stitched the dress together as per the pattern tutorial. (Although the photo distorted and makes the fabric look ribbed, it’s actually very smooth.) I cut along both edges of the green Ponte to get 1-1/4″ wide strips of selvage to trim the hem. After stitching the selvage to the hem of the dress, I pressed the seam allowance up towards the skirt, and zigzagged it in place.
I absolutely love the finished look! It’s super fun, totally unique, and a great way to use what would otherwise be scraps.
Obviously Lila loves it too, judging by her smile. 😉
I’m glad I made a larger size so that she’ll be able to wear this outfit all next winter too. If you’re looking to personalize your makes, take a look at the selvage, and don’t be afraid to use every last scrap!
This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my link. As always, I only give my honest opinion. After all, it is my blog, which represents me! 🙂 Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, fabric, patterns, and pattern hacking. ❤
I did a bit of Christmas sewing, making microwavable bowl cozies for my Mom, siblings and family, and adult children, making a total of (I think) 22 cozies by the time I was done.
We use our cozies all the time, whether cooking broccoli or oatmeal, or keeping our fingers from freezing while eating a banana split. Not that we do that often, really! 😉
I also sewed a few things for Lila. ❤ I thought the Little Lizard King Kensington would be a cute dress, but I had to make a couple of alterations. My daughter dislikes buttons. She has disliked them since childhood. Which presented quite a challenge when trying to find the collared shirts required at their elementary school! (I didn’t have time to do much sewing back then). So, she didn’t want Lila’s dress to have buttons. Which meant I had to alter the pattern to use a zipper. It wasn’t really hard to do. I just found the center point of the back overlap, and instead of using the button placket, I reduced the width of the bodice back to just having a 1/2″ seam allowance. I had cut only one skirt panel the width of my 45″ fabric, and put the seam at center back.
This meant that rather than following the pattern tutorial, after attaching the collar and bodice lining at the neckline, the skirt had to be gathered and sewn to the bodice. The zipper was installed (ending about 3″ down into the skirt). Then the bodice lining, (which I had pulled up out of the way while installing the zipper) was sewn down into place.
The most challenging part of the pattern was the scalloped collar. It wasn’t that it was hard to do, just very time consuming. The scallops on a size 2 are rather tiny! I took my time, and very carefully trimmed and clipped each scallop so that it would lay neatly when it was turned and pressed.
Another important consideration when using a fabric with an obvious pattern to it, like this Art Gallery FabricsEvanescence Blackout, is to take your time when laying out your pattern pieces. For a professional finished product, the design needs to line up and be evenly spaced. Notice that the darker “stripe” going across the collar is the same on the left and right? I also took care when cutting the skirt and bodice to ensure that the almost plaid-like design was evenly spaced where they meet at the waistline. The print doesn’t have perfectly straight lines forming an even plaid. It’s more of a pretty graphic design and loosely drawn and wavy grid pattern. Although I tried to get the sleeves as perfectly aligned, the right sleeve lines up better than the left. Oh well, perfection escapes me again! Hahahahahaha!
At least my granddaughter is perfect, and perfectly adorable! 🙂
And a bit of advice for photographing toddlers: always bring snacks. Everybody is much happier when there is food in their tummy!
I cut a strip of the stretch lace to half the width, and added it at the bodice to skirt seam line. I shortened the skirt to make it dress length, and gently curved the hem so that it would hang nicely when on the body. After gathering the lace (about 2-1/2″ yards worth), I zigzagged it onto the hem. Lila likes the orchid color, and the soft, breezy comfort of the dress.
It’s such a comfortable play dress, that she just didn’t want to stop swinging for photographs.
It didn’t take long to whip up a couple of Made For Mermaids Hadley Hand-Tied Bows, and attach them to hair clips for a finishing touch. Maybe I’ll make one of the larger bow sizes next time. After all, Lila is a little southern belle! 😉
She is also fun to sew for, and pretty much looks adorable in everything I make for her! Now I need to sew up a couple more patterns for this sweet girl. ❤
The bowl cozies (link to tutorial here), Kensington dress, and bow, were all made with Art Gallery Fabrics 100% cotton purchased from Phee Fabrics. The 13oz. rayon spandex was also purchased at Phee Fabrics.
Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, fabric, patterns, and pattern hacking. ❤
I love sewing clothes for my granddaughter! First of all, since she’s a growing toddler, she always needs clothes. Secondly, since children’s clothes are small, they’re generally a pretty quick sew. 😉 And thirdly, they usually don’t take too much fabric. Sometimes I can get away with using the larger leftover scraps of fabric from previous sews, which is what I was able to do here.
I bought a yard of the Cozy French Terry from Phee Fabrics to make Lila some joggers and a cardigan. They turned out cute, and she wore them the day we flew up to visit. I had a bit of the French Terry left, and thought a sweatshirt dress with a woven skirt would make a cute, comfortable play dress. It turns out that I didn’t have enough French Terry for the sleeves, so I turned to my trusty rayon spandex for the sleeves and neck band. Remember my Made By Rae Washi Dress blogged here? There was just enough of the Art Gallery Fabrics100% Premium Cotton left from my dress to make the skirt.
The Stitch Upon A Time Wendybird Dress (aff link) recently jumped into my cart the last time they had a pattern sale, so I couldn’t wait to print out the pattern. Since there was only enough of the Art Gallery cotton left to make an 11″ long by 45″ wide rectangular skirt, I lengthened the Wendybird bodice by 2″. Although the skirt fabric is a floral, it’s not in overly girly colors, so I decided to “pretty up” the dress by adding a ruffled placket.
To make the placket, I cut a 1-3/4″w x 4″h center base out of rayon spandex. The two inner rayon spandex ruffles are 1-3/4″w x 8″h. The two outer AGF cotton ruffles are 2-3/4″w x 8″h. The center French Terry ruffle is 3/4″w x 5″h.
To make the double ruffles, fold the outer cotton ruffles in half lengthwise, right sides together, and stitch along one short end. Fold the inner rayon spandex ruffles in half lengthwise, right sides together, and stitch along one short end. Clip the corners, being careful to not cut through the stitching line, turn the ruffles right sides out and press. Lay an inner ruffle on top of an outer ruffle with the cut sides and finished ends aligned. Sew a long basting stitch with a 1/4″ seam allowance, and pull the bobbin thread to gather the ruffles. Repeat with the other double ruffle.
Fold the bottom edge of the center base under 1/4″ and baste or use Wash Away Wonder tape to keep the fold in place. Lay a double ruffle on the center base right sides together, with the finished edge of the ruffle toward the bottom. Stitch along the side with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Press the ruffle to the outside and repeat with the other double ruffle.
Next we add the center ruffle. Because the French Terry won’t fray, the edges are left raw. Run a basting stitch down the middle of the center ruffle, and gather it to fit the placket base. Keeping the center ruffle 3/8″ away from the top, zig zag down the center of the ruffle to stitch it in place.
Mark the center front of the bodice with a pin. Use tailor’s chalk, or a washable fabric marker to mark the ruffle placket placement, which should be a rectangle 1″ wide by 4″ high.
Line the ruffle placket up at the top of the neckline and with the markings, and top-stitch around the center base to secure it to the bodice. Baste the unfinished edges of the double ruffles in place at the neckline. Sew on the neckband as per the pattern directions, being sure to catch the top of the double ruffles and placket in the band.
To make the skirt, cut two 11″h x 22-1/2″w (I would have preferred 12 or 13″ high, but that was all the fabric that I had!) panels out of the AGF cotton. Place the panels right sides together and stitch along the side seams. Press the bottom up 1/2″, and another 1/2″ and stitch the hem. You can run a long basting stitch around the top of the skirt to gather it, but since it’s being sewn onto a knit bodice, I like using cotton swim elastic to gather. Measure the bottom of the bodice, and cut the elastic to that length. Overlap the ends of the elastic 3/4″ and zigzag to form a loop. Use a pencil to mark the quarter points of the elastic. Mark the centers of the skirt front and back, and they and the side seams will be the quarter points of the skirt. Line up the quarter points of the elastic along the top of the skirt, and stretch the elastic to fit as you zigzag it in place. It should gather the skirt to fit the bodice perfectly.
With the skirt inside out, slide the bodice down inside the skirt, right sides together, matching side seams and center points. Sew the bodice to the skirt, then give everything a good press. Ta dah! A simple play dress turns into a pretty, party-worthy dress!
Since Lila only recently turned two, she doesn’t attend a lot of parties. But she is always ready to run and play outside, picking up sticks and leaves on her way to and from the park.
And I love that she is able to play outside in nature nearly every day. I hope that she never forgets the joy and wonder of exploring, learning new things, and playing every day.
When you’re done sewing, don’t forget to go for a walk, and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Maybe you’ll find some sticks to play with too! 🙂
Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, fabric, patterns, designing, and creating. ❤