Friday, June 29, 2012

Reversible Baby Dress pattern and tutorial

Sewing tutorial : Reversible Baby Dress
This reversible dress pattern and tutorial was posted on Ribbon Retreat Blog sometime back. Re-posting it here in case you missed it first time around...

reversible dress sewing pattern

I had been lurking at The Ribbon Retreat Blog and Shop for a while swooning on all the cool sewing tutorials being shared here. I finally gathered courage and asked Shirley if I could become a guest here too. And she agreed (yay!!!)… so I picked this Aviary 2 by Joel Dewberry for Free Spirit fabric that had been on my wishlist for a while and went to work. I used it to make a Reversible Baby Dress. I love how it turned out, and I think this beautiful fabric is the reason for that. I hope you would like it too and sew it for the little girls in your life.

I have also added some tips on how to size it up for older kids. If you want to sew it for older kids jump to the end of the post for tips on drafting your own pattern for this dress. 

Fabric 1 (Lilac Sparrows in Aviary 2) -1 fat quarter
Fabric 2 (Lilac Lattice in Aviary 2) – 2 fat quarters

For embellishments: (Optional)
Wonder Under fusible interfacing
Fabric scraps in coordinating colors


Please note that while both sides are wearable, for the purpose of the tutorial, I'm calling the appliqued side outer and the plain side inner.

Preparing the Bodice:

cutting bodice pieces

1. Cut the bodice pattern pieces on fold. 2 each from lining and main fabric.

cutting fabric for shoulder ties

2. Cut four 1.25 inch X 9 inch strips of skirt fabric. Sew tubes with these strips. Here's my detailed tutorial on how to sew narrow tubes.

3. Sandwich the tubes between bodice and lining about 2 inches apart at the center. Sew along the top. Snip some notches along the curves, snip the corners.

sewing shoulder ties to the bodice

4. Join the front and back of the bodice by sewing along the sides ( right sides together)

fully lined bodice

5. Turn out. Iron well.
Bodice is ready, lets sew the skirts now.

Sewing the skirts:

sewing the skirt

6. For the outer skirt cut 2 pieces of fabrics 8 inches by 18 inches. Sew along the shorter sides, right sides together. Also keep in mind that this Aviary print is directional, meaning if you put the fabric upside down the print will appear reversed ( the birdie will be upside down) so take care of matching the sides while joining the two pieces.

gathering the skirt

7. Sew a seam along upper raw side, do not back-stitch. Now pull the bobbin thread to gather the skirt. Gather it until the skirt width becomes equal to the bodice width.

sewing and gathering the skirt

8. Now cut 2 more pieces of fabrics 9 inches by 18 inches. Repeat steps 6 and 7 to sew, gather and prepare the inner skirt. Set aside.

Preparing the bias tape for hem:

cutting fabric for bias tape

9. Cut 2 strips of 5 inches X 18 inches. Sew them together along the shorter sides ( right sides together)

making bias tape from fabric strips

10. Now lets make a bias tape from this strip. Its made exactly like a bias tape except that its cut on grain. We can do that because we are going to use it on the hem which is straight, so we don't need the flexibility of a bias cut fabric here.
Fold in half along the width and iron. Now fold one half onto itself and iron, now fold the other half over the quarter you just ironed and iron it again.  This will make the last fold slightly bigger than the last but one.

sewing bias tape at hem

11. Sew this bias tape at the hem of skirt 1 you made in step 6 & 7.

Joining the skirt and bodice:

sewing skirt to the bodice

12. Sew the bodice main fabric to the skirt. (right sides together). Make sure the side seams of bodice and skirt are lining up.

sew the skirt to the bodice

13. Pull apart the inner and outer fabrics of bodice.

sewing the inner bodice

14. Sew the inner fabric of the skirt to the raw part of bodice ( right sides together).

hemming the dress

15. Here's how the dress will look from outside. Now fold the hem of inner skirt  quarter inch inside and sew along the hem.

reversible baby dress

16.  Now fold it one more time such that the length of inner and outer fabrics is equal.

reversible dress sewing tutorial

 17. Reversible Baby Dress is ready.

Optional - Embellishing the dress:
Since the dress is reversible we need to be very careful in embellishing this because the embellishment will sit next to baby's skin, when the dress is reversed. To make it comfortable and safe for baby, I chose only appliques for embellishing the dress

This fabric is so beautiful that I didn't want to draw any attention away from it so I chose to just use the fabric print as an embellishment. I traced one of the polygons from the light colored fabric on a piece of wax paper and used it as my template for appliques.

applying interfacing for appliques

For appliques I picked two small scraps ( 2 inch X 3 inch) in the colors of the aviary print.  Now cut two small pieces of wonder under fusible interfacing ( slightly smaller than fabric scraps) and place them on the wrong sides of fabric scraps. Now change your iron settings to no-steam and iron on the paper backing of fusible interfacing. This will cause the interfacing to stick to the scraps. Make sure you iron by putting the iron down and lifting it up rather than sliding it across the scraps.
cutting out appliques

Now cut out the polygon from both the scraps using the wax paper template. Peel off the paper backing and place the appliques on the bodice ( with the interfacing touching the bodice) and iron on.

I found that they looked best when they were placed exactly above the polygon. Iron them really well for the interfacing to stick to the fabric.

For added strength I usually also sew along the sides of the appliques. If you want to do this pull apart both sides and sew along the edges of the appliques with the machine on the slowest speed and stitch length set at minimum. That would ensure a precise seam along the appliques' edges.

And now the dress is ready for the cutest little girl in the world,

Instructions on sizing:

Whenever I write a tutorial, I invariably get asked about how to size it up. This is a pretty easy to draft pattern and very flexible. So if you like to sew this dress in bigger sizes, here are some tips to do it.

  • Find a woven dress that fits the child well. measure the width at the waist, this will be the bodice width. Add one inch for seam allowance.
  • Measure the length from waist to the shoulders. Subtract 2-3 inches from it for the shoulder ties. This will be the length of the bodice.
  • Measure the child to see how far apart you want the shoulder ties to be. Add 1.5 inches to this distance. Measure this new distance at the center of the width and draw arcs at the end. These will be partial armholes.
  • Keeps the shoulder ties longer ( about 15 - 20 inches). This will help you adjust the dress after it is sewn. You could always snip off the unwanted length at the end.
  • The rule of thumb for the skirt fabrics is that they should be at least 1.5 times the width of the bodice but no more than 2 times. Depending on how full you want the skirt to be, you can pick the width anywhere between this measurement.
  • The length of the skirt can be anything you want. Or just measure the length of the dress waist down and use it with seam allowance

Saturday, June 23, 2012

City girl Summer Cardigan sewing tutorial

Refashion Tutorial: Summer Cardigan
This tutorial was originally posted as part of Summer of Skills series over at Brassy apply. Reposting it here now.

City Girl Cardigan tutorial

I sew clothes all the time...for my daughter.For me? Not so much. Even simple repairs like sewing on a button, or hemming a pair of pants languish for months in my unfinished pile, before they get to my machine. With that state of affairs, I signed up for Meg's SOS series, for "Something for Me" part - not sure what I was thinking. Maybe I was just too thrilled to guest post among such talented ladies that I couldn't think straight. Anyhow, after a lot of back and forth, I decided I wanted to make a summer cardigan...from T shirts. So far so good. Here's what I did...


1. A T shirt in size one larger than required
2. Grosgrain ribbon - 1 inch wide - 1 yard
3. Bleach Pen


Tshirt for refashion
1. Take a Tshirt thats one size larger than me.

cut the thsirt front in half

2. Fold in half along the width, cut out only the front part.

Remove the neck binding
3. Remove the neck binding.

 Cut the front neck into a V shape
4. Cut the front neck into a V shape.

serge the raw seams
5. Serge along the neck and front opening. If you dont have a serger you could fold a small part inside, or you could even skip this step. Since knits do not fray...It will be ok to have a raw edge inside.

6. Fold the serged part inside ( about half inch). Sew a seam over it.

Grosgrain ribbon
7. Cut two 10 inch long strips of 1 inch wide grosgrain ribbon.

sew the ribbon to the cardigan
8. Sew one end of the ribbon on the inside where the V shape of the neck ends.

The cardigan is for the embellishments...I drove myself crazy on this one. Just nothing fit well with this faded purple color...I loved the color by itself, it had a very worn in, comfy, summerish feel... the only problem is that it also has a grandma(ish) feel. While I love grandmas, especially mine...I just don't think I'm quite there yet. I wanted some embellishment to bring the chic personality to this cardigan. However my usual friends...ruffles, laces, flowers, tulle were just too feminine for the washed out look of the original fabric...As I stood there, looking at the mess of tulle, lace and other coordinating fabrics...which just didn't work with it...a light-bulb went off in my head. Maybe its time I tried a bleach pen. The thought did cross my mind earlier...but at that point I was thinking paisleys and florals...which were just too predictable. But this time something else inspired me and I got excited.
clorox bleach pen

Excited enough to run to the nearest target and get this...

drawing with bleach

And I doodled away...knowing fully well that there was no going back now.

Remember to draw your doodles in as thin a line possible, because they will become wider as they dry. Let it dry for two full days, don't try to speed this up, or you will have white spots in the areas that come in contact with the bleach. Don't ask me how I know.
If you find it difficult to draw thin lines after a while. Just screw the cap again shake well and try again, it should be better now. I don't know why it works, but that's how I did it.
Once the bleach dries completely, there will be some residue on the cardigan, to get rid of it, I scraped the design with a knife and then cleaned it with a lint roller.

Finally I got this...

City Girl Cardigan

I think I like it...I think I love in..really really love it.
Meg, thanks for having me was so much fun and I learned something new.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Reversible Baby Dress Pattern and Tutorial

Dress Free Pattern: Reversible Baby Dress
reversible baby dress pattern and tutorial

I'm a guest at The Ribbon Retreat Blog today and I'm sharing a Reversible Baby Dress Pattern and Tutorial over there. Hop on over to check it out and also check out the other free tutorials other guests are sharing over there. While you're there, take a look at their fabulous fabric and ribbon store as well, for some yummy fabric, trim and notions.

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Refashioned shrugs

Refashion Project: Shrugs from Tshirts

shrug from tshirt

I'm always on the lookout of inexpensive 100% cotton tees to re-purpose. There are just so many fun uses of Tshirts that one can never have too many of them. Recently I bought 10 of them in XXL size from graveyardmall for $20. And I had a lot of fun refashioning some of them into a shrug.

This shrug tutorial was on my to-do list for a while and finally with my latest batch of Tshirts I made it. The shrug is just perfect, looks very similar to the tutorial. Which makes me happy.The only thing is that its kind of hard to take pics of without wearing it. Well, you could always jump to the original tut for the modeled shots.

So one thing pinned from Pinterest! Done and done!! What are you making from your pinterest trove?

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Monday, June 18, 2012

What a little girl wants?

Ice-cream Appliques
boden inspired tee

Ice cream? Actually ice-cream that never melts.
Our sweet toothed fashionista demanded this tee while flipping through the pages of Mini Boden catalog.

ice cream applique

Here's a closeup for you in case the earlier image wasn't tempting enough. It was the first time she asked me to make something for her and then accompanied me to my sewing nook and messed with my sewing supplies watched patiently while I cut and ironed the appliques. Of course! her patience ran out by the time I ironed them on the tee, so I had to sew them later after she wore it to the store and added some very realistic chocolate stains on it. Lets just say it took some creative thinking to get her out of the tee to sew around the appliques and take the pictures.

I'm loving this stage when she can tell me exactly what she wants. Hoping for many more sweet things to sew.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Sneak peek : on my sewing table right now...

Sneak Peek: On my sewing table teal, fushsia and pinwheels

Teal, Fuchsia, pinwheels...summer, color and sew much fun. Will have the completed project and more pics soon...

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

City Girl Cardigan: Guest Post at Brassy Apple and Breezy Dress Updates

city girl cardigan pattern

Here's a cardigan I made for the SOS ( Summer of Skills) series going on at Brassy Apple. Hop on over here to check out the tutorial for City Girl Cardigan.

On another note, I finally finished embellishing The Breezy Dress.

A close up of the applique near the neck.

And some flowers near the hem. I have barely a scrap left of the magenta border from the fabric. I just wish it was on both sides, it was so much fun to come up with uses of those pretty hexagons.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

More fun blogging series going on in the neighborhood

Fun Sewing blogs series I had no intention of making this a weekly feature, but there's just so much activity going on in the blogosphere and I wouldn't want anybody to miss all the fun. So here's what I have found this week...

Summer of Skills at Brassy Apple:

Meg at Brassy Apple has been hosting Summer of Skills. I'm one of the guests in the series and my tutorial goes up tomorrow. Please drop by and see what I have been isn't for children ;-)

Sundresses at Melly Sews

Melly Sews is hosting 30 days of sundresses. I have been visiting them and they have some really cool dresses going on there.

While you will be busy looking at all these tutorials and making your favorites, here are some parties that will make sure that the little ones can follow you to the craft room and get busy too. The following series are bringing child friendly crafting tutorials...

Summer Camp for kids at Moda Bake Shop

I'm also working for a tutorial for this series. It will be live some time next week.

Craft Camp at Skip to My Lou

In the meantime, Skirt Week at Crafterhours has reached into its final stages where they are voting for their favorite skirts. Visit them for some serious eye candy..and maybe root for your favorites. I have also entered into the children's skirt category, but the voting for them will start in a couple of  weeks.

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