Monday, December 31, 2012

I made it to the top ten

Blooms And Bugs: Layered dress tutorial in top ten of 2012
tiered dress sewing tutorial
Lucky Layers Toddler Dress
This little number made it to Top Ten of the year 2012 on Moda Bake Shop and I have you my readers to thank for it.
Thank you so much for supporting my work and making it popular.
Looking forward to one more year of great content and amazing response from you all.

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Friday, December 28, 2012

The Jungle Dress Sewing Tutorial

Blooms And Bugs: Reversible Jungle Dress Sewing Pattern and Tutorial
Reversible jungle dress tutorial

So I wanted to make a dress for missy with Safari Sweet Fabrics ( By Alyssa Thomas for Clothworks) I just received. Before I could take a good look, missy found the green animals print fabric and decided that it was going to be her dress. But then I looked at all the fabrics and found that I loved Coral Shrubs print the most. Since I hate having to choose between cute and cute, I decided to use both and make the dress reversible. Problem solved!
Here's how I made it.

2 coordinating fabrics half yard each
Ric Rac - 1 yard
1/4 inch wide elastic - half yard
Button - 1

4 page Jungle dress pdf pattern ( size 2T-3T) is here. Print the pages on 8.5 X 11 inch papers with no margin. Tape the pages together by overlapping the overlap margins as indicated on the pattern pieces.

2 hours

Sewing margin:
3/8 inch unless otherwise specified


Cut the pattern pieces from both the fabrics. Lets call the green fabric F1 and Coral Fabric F2 from here onwards. So you will have front and back for F1 and front and back for F2, total 4 pieces.
Actually, I didn't have the half yard of coral print so I decided to piece it with two prints. You see the top piece here but I sewed in another print during the construction. However, you don't really need to use two different prints. Just cut the whole pattern twice ( once in F1 and again in F2)

Lets sew the shoulder straps now. Cut strips of 5 inches X 12 inches from F2 ( of F1 whichever you want) Fold along the longer side  and sew a seam ( right sides together).

Turn out the tube you just made. Rotate the seam to the center ( back) and iron it flat.
Set the stitch length to max and sew a seam along one longer edge of the strip, Pull the bobbin threads to gather. You will need to make them about half of their original length by gathering. Once you have gathered both the straps, sew zig-zag stitch over the gathers to keep them from unraveling.

  These will be the flutter sleeves (shoulder straps) of the dress.
Note: You could also insert 1/4 inch elastic and get the same effect. In fact, if I were to sew this dress again, that is what I would do because elastic also helps in getting a more comfortable fit.
attaching flutter sleeves to dress

Place the shorter edge of the sleeve flush with the armhole of the dress on F1 about 3/8 inch away from the corner. Make sure the gathered edge of the sleeve lies inwards.
attaching flutter sleeves to dress

Cover it with fabric F2 lining up the corners and curves of F1 and F2.
sewing along the neckline

Sew a seam along the armholes and neckline joining F1, F2 and sleeves. When you reach the other armhole place the other sleeve same way as the first one.

turning out the dress

Snip corners and clip notches along the curves. Turn out and iron. Here's how it will look after turning out. Iron to set the corners and curves.

cut a 3 inch slit in the back of dress

For the back line up both fabrics ( right sides together) cut a 3 inch slit in the center of the neck.
attaching sleeves at the back

Place the other ends of ruffled sleeves on the back armholes, the same way we did for the front.

sandwich sleeves between inner and outer layers

Cover with the other fabric. Line up corners and curves.
attaching button loop

Take a narrow ribbon and make a loop.
using the ribbon to sew a button loop

Place the loop in the slit 3/8 inch below the neckline, between the two layers.

Now sew a seam starting at one end of armhole, going along the neckline, around the slit up to the end of other armhole. This would join F1, F2 and sleeves and also sew in the ribbon loop for button. cut notches along the curve and snip the corners.

turn out the dress on the right side

Turn out. This is how the ribbon loop will look.

insert an elastic at the neck

Now in the front, Pull apart F1 and F2 and insert narrow elastic between the two layers, right below the neckline. Push it all the way into the corner with your finger.
secure the elastic end with zig-zag stitch
Sew over the corner of the elastic multiple times with the zig zag stitch.
sew elastic casing along the neckline
Now push the elastic close to the neckline and sew a seam below the neckline forming a casing for the elastic.

gathering neckline with elastic

When you get close to the end of front neckline, gather the neckline with elastic  ( 2.5 - 3 inch) and sew it down at the other end with zig-zag stitch. Cut off the remaining elastic.
inserting elastic in the neck

We need to do the same thing for the back neck. Since it has a slit in the center we will insert elastic in both halves separately. The method will remain the same.
pull apart inner and outer layers

Now pull apart both fabrics and line them up at the sides of the dress. Sew F1 back and front together beginning at the armhole ( endpoint) and going all the way to the
sew side seams

Again start at the armhole and sew all the way down to the hemline on F2.
Repeat on the other side.
sew a button at the slit

Turn out. Sew a button on the opposite side of the loop.

Finishing the hemline:

fold the fabric at the hem

Fold both F1 and F2 half an inch inside. Make sure one side is not peeking out of the other side. Iron to form a crease.

place ric rac between two layers

Place ric rac between F1 and F2 such that half of it is peeking out at the edge.

sew a seam along the hem

Sew a seam as close to the edge as possible. Make sure you change your top thread and bobbin thread to match both the layers.

jungle dress sewing tutorial

Lo and behold! The Reversible Jungle Dress. Just the way little miss wanted.

reversible jungle dress pattern

And me too.

 Visit me at Blooms And Bugs for more free sewing tutorials for kids clothing.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Cake Pincushion Tutorial - live on Pellon Projects

Blooms And Bugs: Cake Feltfood Tutorial and Pattern

My cake pincushion tutorial is now live on Pellon  Projects page. This is my first project for Pellon, so I'm pretty excited. I hope you will like it too.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Double Ruffle Leggings pattern and tutorial

Blooms And Bugs: Double Ruffle Leggings Pattern and Tutorial
double ruffle leggings

Today I am sharing this tutorial for a snazzy pair of kids pants. Double ruffle leggings are all the rage in kids clothing nowadays. In the boutiques they sell for a pretty penny, but they are not at all difficult to sew at home. Today I will show you how to sew and embellish these boutique style leggings.

Co-ordinating knits
Main fabric - three quarters of  yard
Coordinating fabric - 5.5 inches
Ribbon - 1 small scrap

Approximate time:
 2 hours


For 12 month size:

Here is the 4 page pdf pattern for double ruffle leggings in 12 months size. Print with no-scaling on 8.5x11 inch paper. Set no margin.
You will need to tape pages 1 and 2 together to get the front piece of the pants. Tape pages 3 and 4 together to get the back. Cut 2 pieces from each.

For other sizes:
Draft a basic leggings pattern using a well fitting pair of leggings.
Here's a detailed tutorial on how to sew basic leggings from MADE.
For ruffled leggings the legs of the pattern need to be shortened by about 5 inches. So leave out bottom 5 inches of the pattern.

Also keep in mind that these leggings may not work well for crawling kids as all the ruffles will get in their way and they will have trouble crawling.

Sewing Margins: 3/8 inch unless otherwise specified


cut the leggings pieces
Cut two pieces each from front and back pieces.

sew the outer seam of legs

Sew together outer seams of both the legs.

sew the inseam
Sew the inseam on both legs.

slide one leg into another

Turn one leg inside out. Slip the turned out leg inside the other one.

sew crotch seam

Sew along the crotch.
Since leggings are made of knits I didn't bother serging any of the seams. You could serge them if you like.

turn the pants right side out
Turn the leggings right side out.

 For the ruffles, cut strips of 3.5 inch length. To get the width measure the all round width of each leg, double this number, this would become the width of each strip.

To make double ruffles, I cut two strips of 3.5 X 2w and two strips of 5.5X2w
Sew the shorter ends together( right sides together) of each strip to make wide tubes.

Slide the shorter tube over the longer one. Align one edge of both layers.

To make the ruffles I use this cheater's method. Set the machine speed on highest, stitch length on the longest and increase tension ( I set it to 7.0 instead of normal 5.2). Now sew along the edge where both layers are aligned. You will see that the fabric gathers along this seam. Once you are done sewing this seam, pull the bobbin thread by hand or spread out gathers to make the width of ruffles equal to the cuffs of the pant.
Once they are equal, sew them on the pants cuff. Keep the raw edges outside because the knits don't fray. I have also tried sewing the ruffles to the pants with right sides together to hide the raw edges but I feel that it adds too much bulk to the seam. But you could try it and see if you like it better.

Repeat the same steps for the other leg. I left the ruffles unhemmed as the knits don't fray but if you like the look of lettuce hem, do a a rolled hem to finish the edges. Here's a great tutorial on sewing rolled hems.

To finish the waistband. Cut a piece of non-roll elastic, about 3 inch shorter than the width of waist. Sew the ends together.

Now using zig-zag or 3 step zig-zag stitch sew it to the top of the pants ( on the inside). Stretch the elastic slightly as you sew to make the elastic equal to the pants.

Turn the elastic on itself towards inside and sew another zig-zag seam over it. Stretch it again while you sew.

 The ruffled leggings are done but since I can never have too much fluff, I decided to embellish them with some fabric flowers:

sewing rolled hem fabric flowers
Here's the mini tutorial on how to sew fabric flowers.

sewing a tiny bow at the front
Hand-sew teeny tiny bow at the front.

And what do you know? Your fancy-schmancy Double Ruffle Leggings are done. If you like this tutorial, visit Blooms And Bugs for more such goodies.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Peasant Dress Sewing Pattern and Tutorial

Peasant Dress Free Sewing Pattern
peasant dress sewing pattern free

I guest posted this tutorial on Clothworks blog a couple of months ago. Reposting it here in case you missed it earlier.

I have a love-hate relationship with the peasant dresses. I love how easy they are to sew and I absolutely love how they look on my daughter. However, I hate that the pattern is so difficult to get just right, I mean I can get it to look decent, but getting it perfect is another story...and I'm not really crazy about the elastic at the neckline that seems to be the classic feature of a peasant dress. So there, that is the dilemma I have with peasant dresses. They are too cute and easy to leave them alone and too difficult to sew them all the time. I took them up again recently with some hesitation but also with the resolve to draft the perfect peasant dress pattern. I did something like this earlier also, but at that time I dealt only with knits which are much more forgiving. Here are my earlier versions of peasant dresses for your viewing pleasure.

But this time I got the pattern right at the first go. I can't tell you how cute this simple dress looks on my little one. Maybe my sewing/drafting skills did improve after all...
Anyhow, here's the skinny on how to sew a peasant dress in 12 mos - 18 months size


Pattern: Download the 4 pages free pattern for peasant dress here( 12-18 months). Print on 8.5 x 11 inch paper with Margins set to 0.

Approximate time: 1 hour

Sewing Margin : 3/8 inch on internal seams
                          1/4 inch on hemlines and neckline


cutting out pattern pieces for peasant dress
Cut out the pattern pieces. You should have four pieces. One for front, one for back and 2 for sleeves.

sew sleeves and bodice together
Sew the pieces together as shown in the picture.
Sew 3 rows of shirring on the sleeve
Now about 3 inches from the end of sleeve, sew three rows of shirring( Here is a great tutorial on Shirring). This fabric shirred beautifully, but if you are really scared of shirring, you could always use a piece of narrow elastic and sew it down, or you could even skip this step and go for bell sleeves.
sew along the sleeves and sides of the dress
Sew along the sleeves and the sides of the dress as shown above. Repeat it for the other side too.

finishing the neckline on peasant dress

Turn out. You're almost there.

At this point it will be a great idea to try the dress on the child if she is available. For my daughter, the neck was big enough to slip through her head and small enough that it didn't slip off her shoulders. So I just folded the neckline twice on itself and sew a seam along the neckline ( quarter inch margin). But if you find the neckline too big on your child, you could sew a couple of rows of shirring or an elastic to make it just right.
Now sew narrow hems on sleeves and the dress.

finished peasant dress tutorial

Make a pair of matching bloomers (coming soon), or not. The dress is cute either way. A full sleeved stylish dress for the fall!

Visit me at Blooms And Bugs for more free sewing patterns and tutorials for kids clothing ( and mommy's too)