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Create Kids Couture has blessed us with another delightfully feminine sewing pattern: Allison's Ruffled Pillowcase Dress. They have put a very ruffley spin on the classic pillowcase dress. I love the details that have been added to this favorite dress pattern. A hidden elastic neckline disguised with a fabulous bow that looks like a tied neck. There is also a banded hem and oversized neck ruffle that will delight any aspiring princess.
As always, I put my own spin on it to reflect my love of graphic fabric and bold colors combined with my little girl's love of simple dresses. While I adore the pattern as designed and would swoon to see my girl twirling around in it, getting her into it would have been like wrestling a greased pig. We don't always agree on wardrobe. I lean towards "Oh, this would be so cute on you" and her retorting "but I can run around and climb in this" or just simply "No". I decided that this pattern could fit both of our desires with a few tweaks.
First, I slimmed down the dress and made it into an A-line by taking off 8'' total off the top on both front and back pieces and then angling down to the original hem. I then lined up the armhole pattern pieces on the angle and then free-handed the remaining ½'' or so to the top.
I cut wider bias trim (4'' wide to be exact) for the arm holes in a fluorescent yellow (remnants from my Sewing with Voile post). I also scaled down the ruffle to 3'' wide and twice the length of my new neckline. The ruffle was cut from an organic jersey knit so which is 100% cotton and has a softer drape than the quilting cotton used in the original. A small serged edge was added (just like a rolled hem I removed the finger but did not set my machine settings to rolled hem). I also left one end of the elasticize neckline open to accommodate the loss of the extra fabric. Without this extra fabric my daughter's head would not fit in. So I left the elastic which I loved and made the faux tie useable by first running the elastic into the neck line and then pinning each end 1'' away from the edge and topstitching in lace. This left room to tuck in the raw ends and the ties (which I also made smaller with the finished ties being 10-12'' each) and topstitching in place.
Lastly, I only used one row of shirring because I had already slimmed down the dress and didn't want to make it too tight in the waist. Oh, and I also eliminated the band at the hem and made the neck edge the same material as the dress because I felt with my color choices added something else at the neck or hem would have been too much. I hope you enjoy my changes and the original whether you have a girly girl or a less ruffled girl like mine you can get the perfect pillowcase dress from one great pattern.
I often find ironing deflating not because I dislike it (few people find more joy in banishing wrinkles and opening seams like I do) but because my iron is so large and unwieldy. Let's face it when it comes to the working area of most projects using my iron to get the job done is like using an elephant to paint your toes. I would find myself configured into odd yoga stances trying to get a collar just so or to get into this corner...right...here. It was almost like one of those ridiculous "As Seen on TV" commercials where the person is dramatically messing up a simple task in order to demonstrate the need of the product. I said Almost.
All that being said, the Clover Mini Iron is a real gem. It gets into tight spaces and can slide into tiny corners. It is particularly great when adding bindings on arm holes and necklines. It is also immensely helpful for piecing small or intricate appliqués. Where a regular iron would cover everything and not allow you to see how it is all coming together the mini iron allows you to see as you work.
I have a short cut I love to use when applying Heat n Bond or iron-on interfacing: I lay my fabric pieces onto the fusible, iron it on and then cut it out. I find when I cut both out and then iron them I don't get a perfect fit. My short cut makes for a messy iron if I forget to use my Fons and Porter Pressing Sheet or I end up messing up a 1'' border of the fusible around my fabric piece. It is a small price to pay but this is all because my iron is so big and sometimes doesn't fit on my fabric pieces. I avoid all the drama with my mini iron. . If the piece is too big I can easily slide the mini iron around the edges, enough to secure the fusible before I cut it out. And then finish the job with my regular iron.
I have seen others use it for making bias binding, tailor pressing and for scrapbooking. I can't wait to see what other sneaky shortcuts I can find to use mine for.
Its spring and that means sprint cleaning. Spring cleaning in my house starts in the closest but before I place any t-shirts in the "donate" pile I give them the once over to see if they are good for projects. My husband's t-shirts are especially good for kids' clothes. His shirts are usually large so they come with a lot of material to work with. My youngest is growing so fast and with warmer weather coming I need some cooler pajamas for her to sleep in. In cold weather she loves the footed PJs but she is hot-natured so I decided on some short-alls. I found this great pattern on Pinterest by Feather's Flight. . It is an excellent pattern for size 6-12 mo. though it is large if your baby is on the wee side (50% or below).
There are a few things I would change before making another (I'm a sucker for short alls so I will be making more). First, the size changes that she outlines in Step 10 I would make them to the pattern before you cut. You know your kid's head so you can adjust the pattern before cutting. This makes it easier later. I didn't and tried to wing it and ended up taken it in too much at the chest. This makes it difficult to get my daughter's arms in but I can just add a strip under the arm if I want her in it longer.
Second, I really recommend a crew neck shirt for this and also it should probably be a man's shirt. Most women's shirts are slim fit so they don't have enough materials for all the extras like facings and crotch pieces. Look for men's shirts with cool graphics, slogans or pictures. My husband was gifted a funny shirt with a graphic that says "I have gas". I thought it would make cute Pjs for my little one given my baby's love of tooting. It looks adorable and quite funny.
Third, next time I will be cutting the sleeves in a bell shape. I had trouble getting her arms in and some of that was because the arms are slightly narrow. I think a slight flare will help with that. I also believe it is because most baby clothes are made from narrow ribbed knit which gives them a lot of stretch where as t-shirt fabric has much less stretch.
Lastly, I recommend 5 snaps instead of 3. There is a good amount of gaping with 3 snaps. I also don't recommend Velcro as a fastener. There is a sleep factor that must be taken into consideration. Whether your baby is asleep when you must check the diaper or almost asleep, ripping Velcro is surprisingly loud and even if you do it super slow the sound doesn't decrease. I used our Babyville Plastic Snaps; they are wonderful and so colorful. You can read more on them here.
I heartily recommend this pattern. Because you are starting with material that already has hemmed and bound edges this outfit goes together so fast. Couple that with using a t-shirt that is already decorated you can create a super delightful get-up for little ones that you still have time for a shower, or even- gasp- making something for yourself.
This is the ultimate beach bag (McCall's 6130) for your upcoming spring break vacation or stay-cation (more on this below). I can call it the ultimate because it can haul a lot of your important beach paraphernalia and can also fold down into a cute little tote that you can use to hold down one corner of your beach blanket when you are all set up. Made from cotton prints this bag can be bound in a coordinating binding or with a self binding. My mom had the super idea of adding a small loop under the front envelope so it can be hooked to your pocket, a chair or on another bag when unused. This bag opens up to hold a ton of stuff and with one shoulder strap you don't have to worry about that one strap that continuously falls off. You can toss a handful of these bags into your luggage if you are travelling via air or store them in your glove box for a road trip. The small size is great for kids while the bigger sizes are perfect for over-packing moms and tweens/teens that need to bring a bunch of stuff.
These bags are a snap to make and only need a nominal amount of fabric: 5/8 for a small bag up to 1 5/8 for a large bag. Easily whipped up in 2-3 hours, the lesser if you cut multiples at once. This bag makes a great teacher gift or grandparent gift if you have managed to convince them to take your children to the beach while you lounge at home- you don't want them taxed from a lack of quality baggage.
If you are opting for a stay-cation these bags can manage the huge load of library books you are planning to check out. They are great for that flea market trip you have been planning and also for leisurely visit to the farmer's market to pick up treats. You can pack them with a picnic lunch or towels for the water park. Either way you are going to need bags but you are also going to want them small and tidy when not in use.
I recommend using Amy Butler's quilting cotton; its bright and colorful patterns ooze spring time fun!
We are lucky enough to have another great free kids' pattern in our Free Pattern Download section: Create Kids Couture Taylor's Pj Pants. It is a great pattern and fun to make. This is an excellent beginner's pants pattern too. Everything from the cutting to the assembly is a great introduction for a first pants project. I decided to add a ruffle detail to the bottom of my pants to feminize it a little bit more for my little girls (more on the ruffle below). The pattern is very comfy, according to my 4 yr old, and quite roomy too. I made the size 4 and size 6-12 mo for my 5 mo old. Both fit well with room to grow. I do recommend if you cloth diaper, like me, to make a size bigger to fit the diaper. Both pants run long, as evidenced by the picture, so make sure your intended child tries them on before you hem the bottom. I measured mine against a pair of pants from my daughter's wardrobe. I love that the pattern is the same front or back; this makes it super easy when dressing either of my children who are only still when sleeping. The Riley Blake Flannel that I used is really soft and washes very well with little shrinkage. The elastic measurements for each size were spot on which makes it easy for moms who will make this during nap time or school time when children are unavailable for measuring. The designer's cutting suggestion was a great little time saving tip and helps line up those stripes, chevrons or patterns just right. I suggest cutting several pants at one time because these will be a big hit. They also make wonderful shower presents for new moms. I like to gift larger baby sizes (6 mo and up) that are often overlooked when gifting a new baby and PJ pants are perfect for that age range.
To add a ruffle to your completed Pj pants you need approx 1 ½ to 2 yds of 3'' wide flannel per pant. Take your strip and fold them in along the length and press. Run a basting stitch down the open end of the strip ¼'' away from the edge with your bobbin tension very loose. You will see the fabric start to gather as you sew. Repeat ½'' away from the edge. Pull your bobbin thread to gather your fabric to your desired fullness. Press your gathers to help keep them in place. Line up the raw edge of your ruffle with your hem stitchline with your ruffle upside down (see picture below) and stitch in place with a ¼'' seam.
Press you ruffle towards the bottom of your pants and topstitch ¼'' away from the top. Depending on how deep your hem is your ruffle may cover your cuff or it may sit above it like a little skirt. You can stack ruffles for a very feminine look or add bigger ruffles to suit your style. Either way this is a simple ruffle to spice up a simply great PJ pant pattern. The addition of the ruffle will not significantly increase your time making this a great one day project!
A great tip: I recommend stitching your seams then serging them (or zig zag if no serger) this will reinforce the seams (because you know kids don't just wear PJ pants to bed) and will keep away any stray threads that might irritate during sleep.
This is my first time using a Jalie Pattern and since completing two tops I can say that the pattern is excellent. It is well written with pictures and instructions that were both helpful. The sizing is also top notch. I did not have any of the issues that I find with the major pattern companies (I usually have to size down 2 sizes with the big 4 companies). On first glace the Jalie 2806 Scoop Neck T-shirt pattern is very similar to a HotPatterns pattern in that there are many sizes, it is printed on paper (which I prefer) and the instructions are not separate. I really enjoyed the many modifications that came with this pattern: 3 different sleeves and 2 necklines. Jalie also provided instructions for using your sewing machine and serger. If you need some extra help in your construction be sure to check out Jalie's video here. It is excellent; very well produced and filmed.
This pattern went together very well and I am pleased with the look. My only complaint is with the fabric of the blue shirt which is a Modal blend. This blend makes it very soft with a wonderful drape that just didn't work with this pattern (It also wrinkled as soon as I looked at it). The fushia shirt is 100% organic cotton and has much less drape but more stretch that the Modal Blend. It works and fits much better than the blue and was easier to sew up. I recommend a high cotton blend or 100% cotton if using a light weight knit or a medium weight knit. I tried both necklines and am a fan of both. The gathered neckline is very flattering and falls at just the right place on my chest. I opted for the ¾ length sleeve because it is still chilly out but I added a band to match the banded hem on the bottom of the blue shirt. Since I made the blue shirt first and I liked the sleeve band so much I added it to the fushia shirt as well but omitted the hem band. The length of the pattern is a generous length to hit at your hips with a ¾ '' hem without the hem band. The hem band adds a nice flounce at the hips not the belly where it would just look frumpy. I had some trouble once I added on the neckband with my stitches showing from when I serged the band before I attached it. I fixed this on the fushia shirt. On the blue shirt I attached the neck band with my knife disengaged. On the fushia shirt, I engaged it when attaching the neck band to the neckline but only cut about 1/8'' off. This is not enough to affect the appearance but enough to cover any stitches.
For my sleeve band, start at the elbow notch on the arm and draw a straight line down to the bottom of the sleeve adding width at the bottom (see picture below). Measure this and add 2-3'' for the length of your sleeve band. The width is the same as the hem band. Cut out 2 and assemble and add onto the sleeves just like with the hem band. This added enough length to make a ¾ sleeve a full sleeve so that it hits right at the wrist.
As a wrap up the blue shirt features the gathered fold over neckline, hem band and modified ¾ sleeves with band. The fushia shirt features the ruched neckline with a ¾ hem and modified ¾ sleeves with band.
If you are looking for a quick monster consider knitting one up from our "oh so cushy" Lion Brand Wool Ease Chunky. That's what I did and it was swift and lovely. I choose one of Dangercraft's many monsters, Claude the Closet Monster (from The Big Book of Knitted Monsters by Rebecca Danger), and paired him with Lion Brand Wool Ease Chunky in Orchid to make him super big. Claude was worked in size 15 US knitting needles and 2 strands held together. I ended up using 4 skeins with plenty left over for a smaller friend. The finished result is approx 24'' tall. It is a very good size for any kid to play with. Claude's eyes and one lone tooth are embroidered on with one strand of yarn and the same tapestry needle I used to close Claude up. I really got into the stuffing. I decided that I wanted my monster to look well fed with a nice tushy so I added extra padding in those areas and then pounded it into shape.
Claude came together beautifully but I am really in love with the yarn. It is so soft and squishy and it was a dream to knit. The best part however is that is machine washable so should any incident befall Claude I can toss him in the washer and he is as good as new. I am quickly growing tired of these new fangled toys that can only be hand washed. Give me a good washable toy any day. Wool Ease is the perfect blend of wool and acrylic so you get the warmth and softness of wool but avoid the itchiness of wool. So Claude can be cuddled close and often without regrets.
Please be careful though I caught Claude climbing out of the crib early the other day with the help of one of his knitted buddies. I am sure he is behind all my missing socks.
When you think about sewing or knitting organization fabric and yarn bins come to mind. This is some serious storage to consider. But when it comes to the little bits, sewing and knitting has it in equal ratio to the big bits. For every huge bin of interfacing and fabric you have, there is a tiny sewing foot, tapestry needle or bobbin that is also in need of organization. Mostly the problem of organizing these bits and bobbins is haphazardly thrown together or rounded up in cups, small bowls or in bags. But there is a better way. This tiny accessories need to be close at hand, and easily found. This means that they need small containers of their own. How, you may ask, do you have a container small enough to properly organize the bits without getting lost themselves? Well, I found the answer on a recent trip to Ikea.
Ikea offers these wonderful small containers, Bygel, that hang off a wall mounted bars. These containers are perfectly sized to fit sewing feet, needles, scissors and marking tools without taking up precious cutting space but they can be detached to be where you need them. Hanging your tiny parts is great because they are easy to find and easy to access. Plus, the bins come in cute colors to brighten your sewing/knitting space. These bins are just big enough to hold a collection of small tools but you can still see in and find what you need. The mouth is wide enough to reach in and the walls are tall enough to support scissors and marking tools so they don't fall out. The bottoms are flat so you can detach and park them next to your sewing machine or knitting chair if you will be using several tools for a project. When they are hanging on the wall all my small accessories are easily within reach.
If you don't have an Ikea around you can make a similar hanging station by using small, wide mouthed Mason jars, adjustable pipe fittings, a length of 1x6 pine board and some screws. Determine how many jars you need and the spacing you want between and then cut your board to accommodate your plans. Paint or stain your board as needed. Then screw each adjustable pipe fitting into the pine board, slide each Mason jar into the pipe fitting and then tighten your fitting. Now this set up is not detachable like the Ikea's Bygel but it will hold your tiny bits just as well and beautifully too.
I had hoped that this jacket would just be a two-parter but it seems that the fabric/sewing gods are working against me. Never have I underestimated a project so much. This is my first time working with a Simplicity Amazing Fit Pattern and while I am thoroughly impressed with the pattern, its tips and the general outlook that I have obtain so far, I am stressing under the weight of creating such a detailed, fitted jacket while 9 mo pregnant. I assumed that this pattern would fall together like my previous jackets (which for the record were a breeze): Kwik Sew Knit Blazer, Indigo Junction Trench and Oliver + S Brunch Jacket. I have been hacking away at this blazer since my last posting, doing a bit more everyday working until I get frustrated and then taking a break to avoid mistakes. Mostly I get frustrated by misinterpreting diagrams and instructions. My frustrations also stem from so many markings and while you can transfer them as well as can be that fact is that some markings need to be on the Right Side of the fabric and sometimes on the Wrong Side and you won't know until you read (and re-read) and pattern. I have also gotten frustrated, as I mentioned in my previous post, by the many different seam allowances used in this pattern and how they are not always referenced in the instructions just on the pattern pieces.
I am at the end though, all I need do is go through clip any and all way ward threads, do a finally clipping of all seams to make sure each seam sits just right and hand sew the bottom of the lining to the bottom of the jacket. Then just a final steaming (since we are working with velvet) and sew on my buttons. This translates to only about 1-2 hours of work which is nothing. However, I have yet to choose my buttons. I am undecided on the direction I want to take with my buttons. From left to right: Do I want to go traditional (gold anchor), vintage (mother of pearl), academic (wood tone), Donna Reed (gold rimmed Bakelite) or retro (vintage fabric covered). Let me know what you think?
As for assembly, I made some fit alterations to the jacket as described in the pattern by taking in approx ¾'' at the waist on the back and front seams as well as letting it out about ¼'' at the hips. I did not take in the sides at all. Like I mentioned in Part 1 I cut out for a C cup since I need the extra bust room. I really like the drape of the C cup since it hugs more. I then transferred all these alterations to the freezer paper pattern pieces I cut out from the originals so I could match the lining to the exterior.
I am loving my navy polka dot lining that I feel is classic but fun so as to contrast with the subtle velvet. I opted to craft the under collar from the lining so when it is cold, brisk or rainy out I get a pop of fun to cheer me up. Be sure to use a stiffer interfacing on your jacket than you would normally pair with your jacket fabric so you can have a nice crisp lapels and collar. Also, do not scrimp on time spent on your sleeves. This is where jackets can be the most uncomfortable whether from being too short, too tight or ill fitting. Any extra time spent on a well fitting sleeve is time well spent and that means this jacket will spend more time in your wardrobe. Also when working with velvet, invest in a walking foot. Sewing velvet is often like trying to push like-ended magnets together; the ends don't meet and want to slip right past where you want them to meet. Steam your seams and wrinkles, don't iron or press. Be patient and keep your pattern pieces to hand so you can quickly reference any markings or transfer them to the Right Side of your fabric as needed and to double check fittings. Follow the instructions and BASTE FIRST. Don't try to eye ball fittings or save time but stitching when you should be basting. You will appreciate the look and finish in the end.
Don't forget to vote on your button choice and I will let you know the outcome when I return from Maternity Leave in November!!! Have fun!
Being a preppy girl at heart, I fell in love with blazers a few years ago and my favorite retailer, J.crew, sells one that is at the top of my list. It is velvet, cropped, fun and a little funky given the colors it is offered in; it is just perfect. However, its price tag puts it far from my reach. I decided that recreating it would be a great addition for back to school season. College students, teachers and professionals all need a great blazer so why not make your own inspired by this great high-priced piece from J.crew.
I am starting with Simplicity's Amazing Fit Blazer (2446) because it offers the fit I am looking for (fitted and trim) with the cropped option as well as hip length so I can make several different versions if I like. I am also attracted to the fact that you can get a custom fit with this pattern given that you can cut for your bust size and it teaches you how to baste, fit and tailor to your size. While this is a very attractive feature, I am making this while 9 mos pregnant for wearing after I have dropped my baby weight so getting an exact custom fit will not work for me. However, my DIY custom dress form (see post here) will help me get a basic fit, similar to the fit you will get shopping off the rack or purchasing a blazer from our inspiration store. I will be cutting for the biggest bust size because I am on the busty side plus I want to wear it right away. I will also be cutting one size larger than I normally wear for the same reason. I love the velvet look and will be using our Doux Cotton Velvet, which is a dream to work with. I wanted to be daring and use our Lime Green at first but thought something a little more neutral might be better for my first velvet blazer go-around so I choose Green Lily, which is actually more of a dusty teal than green. The color is true to the sample below and not to my pictures. I tried to get it in the best light to make the color of the jacket true but it was either sharp details or great color. I went with details for you.
So far I have the shell completed and that was a task because of all the fitting. This means cutting and pinning, then basting with 1'' seams then fitting, occasional ripping out and repining then marking, ripping out all the basting then re-sewing. Phew! I actually just basted with RS together instead of WS together because I overlooked that bit in the instructions by accident so I sewed over my basting lines and it saved a bit of time. I did end up ripping out about 8-10'' of my basting on the back to accommodate my hips and also on the front to a lesser extent. I ended up going from 1'' to 1/2'' at the back and to 5/8'' on the front.
My one pet peeve concerning this pattern is that there are several different seam allowances and all are written on the pattern pieces and not also on the pattern instructions. Since I trace my pattern pieces onto freezer paper I have to pull out my tissue pattern every time to check on a seam allowance. If only Simplicity had thought to include them again in the instructions.
I am going to be making some pattern modifications as we go along including a fun collar among others. The only differences I can see from this pattern and our inspiration is the angle of the pockets, and the omission of the welt pocket right above the right side flap pocket.
Stay tuned for the conclusion of my blazer in part 2 and I can't wait to show you my fun lining!!!