Patterns: April 2012 Archives
The appeal of the Kwik Sew Bohemian Short Sleeved Dress pattern is its simplicity. Since I love a quick project that I can make in a night to wear the next day, this one sparked my interest. The breezy feel of it was also a draw because it looked cool and comfortable -- vital in any Atlanta girl's wardrobe once May arrives.
For my first version of this pattern, I chose a zebra printed ITY. It whipped together like a dream, and it is beyond comfy. The pattern itself really couldn't be easier. The elastic at the neckline and sleeves is inset before you close those seams, which makes it a breeze to assemble -- easy as pie to make sure your elastic hasn't twisted.
I am short -- 5'3" -- and I have a full bust, and I felt like the neckline dipped a little to low to wear without a camisole or tank top underneath it.
This dress is a packing dream -- especially in ITY. You can easily roll it and toss it in a bag. It takes up no space and doesn't wrinkle. Also, because the ITY is lightweight and glides on the body, it's great for layering. I paired it with a denim vest and really loved the combo.
For my second version, I used a printed rayon blend rib knit, and I cut the neckline about 1.5" higher than the pattern called for. This gave me better coverage through the bust line.
Rayon blend knits are always so, so soft. This version is so comfy and cozy that it made me think this would be a great pattern to make up as a nightgown. That's like two patterns in one! Score!
I had the pleasure of getting a head start on Fabric.com's newest Free Pattern Download by Create Kids Couture: Hannah's Pillowcase Bubble Romper. Seeing this pattern brought back memories for me. My mom told me that I used to run around in these rompers when I was my daughter's age. Though I remember that all of mine featured the classic 1980's rainbow and terry cloth, I loved them anyway because as a busy kid I was able to get dressed with one article of clothing. I am glad to be able to pass this onto my daughter. This pattern was quick and fun! I did make a few adjustments for my little one and since she has been wearing it I have a few more. I will share all.
First I did not make the belt, either one. The reason for this was two fold: 1) I didn't think my daughter would tolerate it and 2) I have a limited wiggle-free time to dress her so I decided the time was better spent with socks, shoes or pony tails instead of belts (though I think both belts are adorable).
Next, I chopped off the top part of the romper right below the arm holes and stitched on a coordinating fabric (if you follow suit make sure you add in a sew allowance when cutting your coordinating piece). The bias trim matches the main romper fabric and I made the tie for the top out of my remaining bias trim, making it the same length as the thin tie. I also used the elastic at the legs since I don't have a serger. But if you want to shirr, you could add 3/4 in. to the legs when cutting, fold up ¼ in. press, fold up ½ in. press and then shirr the legs.
In the future (probably this weekend), I will pull out the ties and make straps. I recommend, folding down the front and back for the casing (before adding the bias on the arms) but adding elastic instead (I am going to use 5-6 in. for the size 3T. Then make the bias trim continue past the arm holes on the front and back to make straps that tie. This allows for younger kids to take off the romper by themselves and easily. The elastic still allows for the gathers but gives some room when pulling the romper down for potty stops and the straps mean little ones can pull it off and on by themselves without having to tie ties.
Finally, I want to add some rows of shirring onto the romper right at the waist. This will give a similar look to the belts but without the extra accessory. I am considering just two or three rows but we shall see how many I end up with. I just want to nip in the waist a bit since it so roomy.
I have to say that my little one looks so amazingly cute running around in her romper that I know more will be coming. It is perfect for hot days, playing in the sprinklers and running to the pool.
The Create Kids Couture Hannah Pillowcase Bubble Romper is now available for download. And my pattern modifications discussed above are finished and ready for posting. I was too excited to wait for this weekend. First, I pulled out the one long shoulder tie and inserted 6 in. of 1/4 in. elastic into each casing (one for the front and one for the back) and stitched them in place. First I stitched up one end and then pulled the elastic through the other end and left a little hanging out so I could hold it tight while stitching and then trimmed it off so it was invisible (very similar to adding the shoulder elastic to the Oliver + S Class Picnic top. Then I cut 4 ties, 10 in. long and stitched them onto either side of each casing to make tie-able straps. The elastic plus strap making it easy for younger kids to pull the straps off and down for changing and potty breaks but doesn't ruin the styling of the gathers and ties. You can stitch your ties tied to prevent them being untied by curious hands.
Finally, I added 3 rows of elastic shirring at the waist. I started 6 in. from the crotch seam but in hindsight I wish I had measured higher, maybe 8-10 in. from the crotch seam or halfway between the bottom of the armholes and the crotch seam. I followed the instructions for elastic shirring provided for the shirred belt. I added 3 rows of stitching 1/2 in. apart. The shirring worked great and looks super cute. My daughter loves this even more now that she can take it off herself and I love the elastic waist that helps the romper stay in place. Share with us your modifications on our Facebook page!
One of my favorite ways of changing up a basic pattern or putting a new twist on an old classic is to try knitting it on the bias. If you are new to bias knitting it is definitely different but not difficult and a lot of fun. The fundamental premise is that you cast on a small number of stitches (I go with 3-4 depending on if I need an even or odd number for a pattern) and then you increase at the beginning and end of each RS row (I increase after the first stitch and decrease before the last stitch to make the edges smooth) until you have the desired number of stitches. Once you have your correct number of stitches you will start maintaining by increasing at the beginning of each RS row and decreasing at the end of each RS row. Once you get used to this you can easily add this new technique to your Knitting in Public project, knitting in the car, and movie knitting (though probably not a truly riveting movie that distracts you too much). I love venturing in to bias knitting on some of my comfort projects (those you make time and again because you just enjoy it and it is easy).
You might remember that my Swing Scarf (Free Knitting Pattern Download) is knit on the bias in a simple lace stripe pattern. It is simple but by knitting it on the diagonal it adds an element of detail that not only makes it unique but the illusion of difficulty that will make your fellow knitters and friends sit up and take notice.
If you want to create a scarf like my sample, you will need a skein of worsted weight yarn. Cast on 4 sts and increase after the first stitch and before the last stitch. You can use your preferred increase and decrease but I used M1 (Make one) and SSK (slip1 knitwise, k1, pass slipped stitch over k1) until you reach 18 stitches. Start a 6 st Left Cable in the center 6 sts (Left cable: slip 3 sts onto cable needle hold in front, k3 sts, and k3 sts from cable needle). Continue until you have a total 28 sts and 2 cables going at any one time. They will drift to the left and disappear as you decrease at the end of each RS row and will appear as you increase at the beginning of each RS row. Keep a space of 6 sts between your cables. Continue until your scarf is almost as long you would like then begin decreasing at the beginning and the end of each RS row until you have 4 sts again. Loosely bind off. Enjoy your simple but elegant bias cable scarf!
I love the Nancy Dress/Skirt Pattern (Evidence here and here). I have made 2 and I wear them as soon as the temp hits 70 deg and wear them into the fall with leggings. I wear it as a skirt or a dress and love it especially as a skirt folded over. I continue to love it in my second trimester because it fits and is so nice to wear pulled up for support or folded over. Since maxi anything is all the rage now I knew I had to modify my favorite clothing item into a maxi skirt. I love it and have gotten so many compliments so far. I hemmed mine about ½ in. above my heels so it just skims the floor and puddles on the tops of my feet. It swishes wonderfully when I walk and looks divine with just a tank top and cardi with a chunky necklace. Or you can pop on some pearls, a t-shirt tucked in and some glitzy sandals for a date night. Any way you wear you feel fabulous and sexy just by slipping on this long knit skirt. Here's how to make your own.
First, download and print the Nancy Dress Free Pattern Download and assemble your pattern. Then measure from the top of your hip to the floor. You can do this by taping your measuring tape on to the wall and marking it with a pen/pin when standing next to it right where the top of your hip bone hits. Add 2 in. to this measurement. Extend the length of the skirt pattern piece from the Nancy Dress until it matches this measurement (This will customize the skirt to your height). Your skirt will probably need from 2 to 2.5 yds of jersey knit fabric in the pattern or color of your choice. Cut out your pattern pieces and assemble according to the pattern instructions but using a double turn 1 in hem at the bottom. This will give it weight so it drapes well, hangs just right and swishes while you walk. Pin your hem before you sew it so you can determine if it is right for you. Some like their maxis a little shorter than others. Try on your skirt and turn around to you can see from all angles and take a few steps to see how it feels. Adjust as needed.
P.s. It is perfect for windy beach vacations!
One of my favorite sewing patterns to relax with is Amy Butler's Chelsea Tote. This pattern is available in 2 sizes. I made the larger size for a knitting tote and have received many requests from friends for a Chelsea of their own. Of those who can sew, I tell them about the pattern and offer these tips for sewing up a Chelsea easier.
• I have read some suggestions about not marking on the outside of the fabric, as Amy suggests, and I disagree with Amy with stipulations. I used a water soluble marker and mark on the outside and then spritz it with a water bottle afterwards and it all turns out great. Some bloggers are of the mind that you would need to wash the bag afterward to get the marker off. I recommend you just spray it lightly, it disappears and your bag is good to go.
• FRAY CHECK- buy some and use it! I used it along my cut lines before top stitching the handles and then again in the corners after stitching. However, I have a suggestion on the handle too, if you will read below, but if you follow the Chelsea directions to the "T" then use the fray check as suggested above.
• Fabric glue or just a plain old glue stick. On my next Chelsea, I would use glue to keep the handles in check and then construct the bag as instructed without topstitching the handles. Then once you get to the part where you are attaching the reversible side to the outside there will be no stitching on your handles. This is when you top stitch around the top of the bag to finish it off, then top stitch the handles or if you prefer hand stitch the handles together. I feel that this will insure that your handles have a nice clean look. I cannot get my topstitching on both the lining and outside to match up and couple that with the fact that I am matching up handle holes at the same time. This will cut down on stress and guarantee a nice finish.
I recommend using quilting cotton to make sure you find the perfect print for your Chelsea bag.
I know I am not that far into my pregnancy but since this is my second child, I am showing sooner and already find my pre-pregnancy clothing uncomfortable and I am ready for some maternity wear. This transition occurred just as I was prepared to pack away my family's winter clothing and bring out the warm weather wear. As I did this I happily discovered many of my favorite pieces from my previous projects could easily carry me through most, if not all, of my pregnancy. I will share with you which I am rocking currently and which I plan to modify for later wear when I am much, much bigger.
First up is my current favorite (Heather
Ross Mendocino Sundress) because it is so comfy plus so chic. I instantly feel
pulled together and lovely even though I am still suffering from
all-day sickness. I cannot live without the pockets either which make it great
for storing sippy cups, phone, keys and various rocks and flowers picked up on my
many walks outside with my daughter. The elastic shirring means it will grow
with me (everywhere it seems) and I don't show yet when wearing this dress. Free
Pattern download from original post, click on link above.
Second, I am loving my Infinity Dress in ITY Knit. It is so easy to switch it up to hide or show off which ever parts I need to hide or draw attention to (to distract away from another area) since I am not in the "oh your pregnant, how wonderful" stage, more like the "I wonder if she's pregnant or just hitting the ice cream a little too hard" stage. Given this, having a dress that I can change each day and with my mood makes me feel like my old self: a million bucks. This dress can take me from school to a wedding in just a few minutes. The stretch of the ITY will accommodate my growing belly in style and comfort.
Third in my go-to maternity wardrobe is my Kwik Sew Knit Pullover dress that I modified with a scallop hem. Not only it this dress knit (stretch!) but the gathered waist features elastic meaning it is great for showing off a svelte waist when not pregnant and fitting around a growing belly when you are. The wide tank straps allow me to wear any bra I like which can vary on a day to day basis. This dress is nothing but relaxing to wear because it is just one item of clothing and I am ready to go with a pair of sandals.
Lastly, I already have the HotPatterns Cabriolet Dress/Skirt in Wool for winter but I am planning on making it in cotton for this summer. With the ties I can wrap it under my belly and as a dress I can have the ties go under my décolletage and above my belly giving me some definition but mostly style and comfort. I am torn between a bold busy pattern or a subdued floral (like Shannon's, click link above). Both shout summer to me. I guess I will just have to make it in both! This is a Fabric.com Free Pattern Download!
Stay tuned for more in my Getting Ready for Baby series. I will be posting on this topic just twice a month and will include maternity, baby clothing, toys and gear as I get ready for Sept! Wish me luck!
Stay tuned for more in my Getting Ready for Baby series. I will be posting on this topic just twice a month and will include maternity, baby clothing, toys and gear as I get ready for Sept! Wish me luck!
It comes as no surprise that I am quite pleased that Fabric.com has added a kids clothing designer to our growing line of Free Pattern Downloads, Create Kids Couture. The first pattern released for free download is the Marilyn Slim Fit Peasant Dress & Top which I made this past weekend and loved. I was surprised to find what a fan I am of a well placed ruffle especially when the model is so especially cute in well placed ruffles.
First, this was a pretty quick garment to stitch up. The pattern is easy to cut and assemble with most of the pattern pieces rectangles that you cut out according to your size from the chart provided. The only piece you need to print and cut is the sleeve cup. The directions are a snap given that you are provided with pictures along with your instructions. This is a fun pattern to experiment with different fabric combos too because you can opt for just one fabric for the whole garment, 2 fabrics (one for the body and another for the sleeves and ruffle) or go crazy with 3 fabrics (one for each the body, sleeve and ruffle).
I am a really big fan of the elastic neckline. It creates a very soft shape that doesn't shift and my little one found comfy. PLUS, it can be stretched for larger heads or so you don't mess up those braids you spent 15 min persuading your little girl to "sit still" for. I chose not to add elastic to the arms because my daughter ending up not liking it (though today she might like it) and I thought it was too puffy. The plain sleeves look just as beautiful. I created the top length and am very pleased with the length. It is just right for a top though if you omit the ruffle (which I will try the next time I make it just for a different look) I will add 2 in. to the body to compensate. Despite the "Slim Fit" in the name, I found this dress very roomy for my preschool that still sports the toddler big round belly. She didn't feel confined or restricted in her movement. The top was a big hit! You can also try this pattern in a knit. Just cut a size smaller and cut the stretch widthwise on all pieces.
I have been wanting to test drive the Hot Patterns Weekender Track & Field Cargo Pants pattern for a while. The pieced legs and topstitched detailing really appeal to me, but I also was a little fretful that it would make for a very arduous process, getting all those details in place.
So, as I was cutting, I couldn't help but think, "This pattern has 8,000 pieces. This is gonna take forEVER." But once my cutting was complete and I set to work, I found that things actually moved along at a decent pace. There is a certain measure of patience you need whenever you set your sights on a project that has a lot of details, but I generally find that patience is handsomely rewarded. I am happy to report that is the case with these pants.
I opted for an organic sweatshirt fleece for this pair. Now that I have one run through this pattern under my belt, I know I want to make another in a fabric that has no stretch, just to see how it compares.
To give you an example of the detailing process on these pants, I photographed the back pocket assembly as I went.
First up, there's a semi-circle of topstitching that goes on the assembled pocket flap. I knew I couldn't possibly just wing it and get anything even vaguely akin to a circular arc, so I cut a circle out of a scrap I had on hand and marked it's edge at four equidistant points so I could line it up consistently. Then I safety pinned it in place, and used it as a guide for my stitching.
Voila! Circular stitching made easy.
First comes the stitching that attaches the pocket to the trouser section and creates the pocket's finished top edge. You'll see here that I've clipped the corners to turn it:
Here's the interior of the pants back piece with the pocket flipped in. The second pocket piece will situate right on top of this one (from this side) and then you stitch through all three layers (back of pants, and two layers of pockets) to create the enclosed pocket:
Here is the pocket from the right side, with the second layer of pocket stitched in and top stitching around the pocket shape. Ready to hold your smartphone!
The pocket flap is stitched into the seam that joins the back yoke to the back pants.
As you can imagine, each detail on these pants is comprised of a handful of steps, just as this pocket was.
I find if I think about each section as a small series of steps like this was, I don't get overwhelmed by the details on a project. I just keep plugging away, and before I know it, all of those seemingly 8,000 pieces are in play.
I love these pants. While I was photographing them. my husband kept telling me how cool he thought they were, and I have to agree. The design is fab. The pants are sporty and comfy, but all the details make them sophisticated enough that you could wear them to work if you have an office that's got a business casual vibe. Pair them with a tee shirt for weekend wear or a blazer for the office. Or, make them out of a completely luxe fabric, and they're perfect for date night. I've got my eye on a stretch sateen for my next pair!