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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Half Hour Dress, A.K.A-The Pillowcase Dress

I decided to try my hand at a pillowcase dress since it seems like I'm seeing them everywhere these days. I browsed the web and found a few different tutorials; seems like everyone has their own way of creating them. So after reading several blogs here is what I came up with:




The great thing about this dress is there are absolutely NO curved lines to sew, and I didn't use one pin. The shorts in the picture I created by following ikat bag's tutorial here. I added the piping to the bottom BEFORE any of the steps of ikat bag's tutorial in the exact same way I'll show you on my dress arms here. Also, when I printed the pattern and made it fit on standard 8.5x11 paper, it wound up being the perfect size for my 12 month old.

First, you'll need to cut your fabric. Use this sizing chart to decide how much you'll need. (You'll wind up with two rectangles this size.)

Size
Length (includes 3” seam allowance)
Width (includes 1” seam allowance)
6 months
17.5 inches
16 inches
12 months
19.5 inches
16 inches
18 months
20.5 inches
16 inches
2T
21.5 inches
17-18 inches
3T
22.5 inches
18-19 inches
4T
23.5 inches
19-20 inches
5
24.5 inches
21-22 inches
6
25.5 inches
23-24 inches

In case you're thinking that 3" seam allowance on the length is a bit excessive; remember that you'll need extra to make the casing for the ribbon in the neck. (I purposefully made mine 3" shorter than the chart because I was intending it to be more like a long shirt with the shorts.)




So now you've got your two rectangles. Stack them on top of each other, right sides together and line them up on your cutting mat, if you have one, with the shortest side of the rectangle on top. We're going to cut the arm holes (using this sizing chart) like this:

  • 3-12 months measure in 3 inches on the top, and down the side 3½ inches
  • 18 month-2T measure in 3½ inches on the top, and down the side 4 inches
  • 3T-4T measure in 3½ inches on the top, and down the side 4½ inches
  • 4T-6T measure in 3½ inches on the top, and down the side 5 inches

Next, the binding. Take your contrasting fabric and lay it right sides together with the arm holes of your dress. (At this point you should have two separate pieces of fabric with the corners cut off the tops.) You're going to sew straight down the arm hold edge.




Do this with all four arm hole edges, and then take it all to the ironing board. First, iron the seam like this:
This "sets" the seam and will make the next stage of sewing much easier. Then, lift each binding fabric flap and iron it so it folds the other direction. Start ironing on your dress fabric and press right over the seam so that the seam stays pointing away from the dress body.




Back to the cutting board. Cut the excess of your binding fabric off, leaving about an inch sticking out past the main fabric.



Now we're going to sew some more. Fold your binding over to the wrong side of the fabric and stitch it down, right over your original seam:



Do this to all four sides, and cut off the excess. When you're through it should look like this:



Now we're going to start sewing the actual dress. Place your fabric pieces right sides together and sew down the sides, starting from the bottom of the arm holes. Make sure to stitch inside the binding about an inch, like this:



And then continue on down to the bottom of the dress. Do the same for the other side, and then zig-zag stitch or serge both seams.
Next we're going to make the casing on the neck edge of the dress to slide the ribbon into. Start by folding the top edge of the dress down about 1/4" and stitching. (Make sure you are sewing each neck edge separately, don't sew them together!)




Then, fold your neck edges down about an inch to an inch and a half (depending on how wide you want your ribbon tie, mine wound up being about an inch and a half) and sew close to the bottom edge. You should wind up with two tubes, one on the front and one on the back of your dress neck.






Next, we're going to hem the bottom. Turn it under about 1/4" and stitch, like you did on the neck edges:



Sew all the way around...



...and then do it again.
Now, for the neck ribbon. Cut a strip 2 1/2" wide and however long you want it to be. (The longer it is, the bigger your bow can be.) Mine wound up being 45" long.



Fold it in half lengthwise, right sides together, and sew down the long edge.



Then, sew one of the short edges closed.



Now, to turn your tube right side out. Start by shoving the closed end of your tube into the tube and make a sort of pocket.



Stick the end of a pencil or knitting needle or some other long, non-flexible tool into the pocket.



Start scrunching the tube over your pencil.



Keep scrunching until the pencil (covered in fabric) sticks out the open end of the tube.



Finish pulling your tube right-side-out. Next, head back to the ironing board and iron your tube flat.



Now, take the open end of your tube and turn it in a little.



Sew that closed.



Take a large safety pin and stick it through one end of your ribbon and start feeding it through one of your neck casings.






When you get to the end of that neck casing, just keep right on going into the next one.



Finish feeding it through. Try it on your little princess to adjust the ribbon length and tie the bow. And you're done!






Saturday, June 9, 2012

Sundress in a Sunday

Lazy Sundays are just made for sewing. Last Sunday my mother and I sat and sewed together for our little girls. (Mine is about to be one, hers is six.) We sewed the same dress, following another crafty momma's tutorial. (See it here) Here's mine:





As you can just see peeking under Junebug's dress in the second picture, I added a diaper cover, which is not in the original tutorial. Make your own like this: (all my measurements were for an 11 month, 20 pound baby)

You need:
Fabric-about a yard
1/8" elastic
1" elastic

Making the pattern:
1. Measure your little one's tummy, then take that number and multiply it by 1.5, and then take that number and divide it by 2. Junebug's tummy was 20 inches around, so 20x1.5=30, 30/2=15 inches was what I ended up with. That number will be the width of the top of your pattern piece. Write that down, and mark it WIDTH. Also, take the original waist measurement, add 1 inch, and label it WAIST E.
2. Measure your little one from just under the belly button to the middle of the underneath of her diaper. Or, take one of her diapers and measure top to bottom while it's still folded in half. Take that number and add 1 and a half inches. Mine wound up being 12 inches.. Write that down, mark it LENGTH.
3. Finally, measure around your little one's thigh, not snugly but so that you can stick your pinky between the measuring tape and her skin. Write that number down and mark it LEG-E. Then, divide that number by 2, and mark it LEG. Mine wound up being 16 inches for LEG-E and 8 for LEG.

Ok, I know all that might seem confusing, but I promise it gets easier from here. Take all those numbers you wrote down, and apply them to this shape:



The WAIST E and LEG E measurement are for your elastic pieces. WAIST E is cut from the 1" elastic and LEG E from the 1/8" elastic. Cut one of WAIST E and two of LEG E.
Now, you can either draw your pattern directly onto your fabric using chalk or a fabric marking pen that washes out, or you can draw it onto paper so that you'll have a pattern you can use again. Make sure your fabric is folded in half so that you'll actually cut out 2 of these pieces.

Sewing instructions:
1. Lay (or draw with chalk) and pin your pattern on top of your fabric. (Should be folded so that you've got two layers.)
2. Lay your two pieces so that they are right sides together. This means that the pretty colored part of both pieces should be on the insides touching each other and your diaper cover should look like it's inside out. Pin it.




3. Sew the sides and bottom. Use a 1/2" seam allowance, which means keep the edge of your fabric lined up with the edge of your presser foot.
4. Fold down and iron the top of your cover 1 1/2".

5. Stitch close to the bottom edge of your fold all the way around, leaving an opening in the middle.

6. Fold under and sew the leg holes the same way, only this time only fold it about 3/4".

7. Stick a safety pin through the end of your piece of 1" elastic. Slide the safety pin into the opening you left in the waist of your cover and start feeding it through the tube you made. When it makes it back out the other side, overlap the two ends of elastic a little and sew them together so that they make one continuous loop.

8. Do the same for each of the legs using the 1/8" elastic, and then finish sewing closed all three holes that you'd left open for the elastic.
9. Turn it right-side out and pair it with your home-made sundress!