Friday, March 27, 2015

A Year of Dresses: The Coral Dress

A Year of Dresses is winding down with just one more month of posts left!  It's hard to believe almost a whole year has passed.  I'm pretty positive I've touched on every Tie Dye Diva dress or skirt pattern at least once (someone please correct me if I've missed one!), and will be spending the next few weeks revisiting a few favorites for spring and summer.

This week is The Coral Dress.  I love this dress and I feel it is often overlooked, so my goal today is to make you notice! The Coral Top and Dress was the first pattern in the Diva Collection and really kicked it off in style. The pattern includes both dress and top length as well as strap, flutter or cap sleeve options.  There is also a sweet optional apron that is the perfect place for special trims.  In true Diva Collection style, this pattern includes ten sizes from 6-12 months through girls 9/10.  Recommended sewing level is advanced beginner.  This pattern really is quite simple and goes together quickly, yet delivers a dress that is full of fun and flair.  This is also the perfect dress if you are out of paper or printer ink!  No pattern pieces are necessary, simply follow the cutting chart for each tier.

For reference, I made a size 3 dress with cap sleeves and no apron for Sweet Pea (you can see the strap version in this post).  While her chest is still barely a size 2 on the Tie Dye Diva size chart, she is nearly 38" tall, placing her squarely in the 3 size range for height.  I typically mix sizes for Sweet Pea, but the shirred bodice is very forgiving and I knew that the size 3 bodice would fit just fine.

Shirring is required for this pattern, but, have no fears! There is a full shirring tutorial included in the pattern.  If you can sew a straight (or nearly so) line, then you can shirr following Jen's wonderful tutorial.  I like to shirr in a continuous line.  To do this I stitch in the ditch down the side seam to get down to the start of the next row.  I do back-tack at the beginning of each row in case of the unfortunate event of breaking a thread.

I really love the poofy little cap sleeves!
I added some sweet cotton lace trim to the skirt at the seam line instead of topsitiching.  I love the extra touch it adds!  I stitched both trims on with simple white thread after sewing the and pressing the seams.

The combination of shirred bodice and below the knee length guarantee that this dress will fit for a long time to come, which of course makes this mama happy.  Sweet Pea will be happy too because she specifically requested this "bunny fabric."  This collection of fabric, Spring Hare by Lewis and Irene, has been quite popular this spring, as you may have noticed.  Many of the fabrics are out of stock everywhere, but a few prints are still available, including the gray damask I used, from One Red Blossom.


The tiers, of course, make this dress beautifully twirly! Another bit hit with Sweet Pea.  On a more practical note, the tiers make this dress an excellent use of large scraps or small cuts of fabric, making it a big hit for the seamstresses!

 Here's your quick pattern rundown.

  • The Coral Dress and Top includes sizes 6-12 months through girls 9/10
  • Advanced beginner sewing level
  • Three sleeve options: strap, flutter, or cap
  • Two lengths: top or dress
  • Shirred bodice and tiered skirt
  • No serger required
  • No pattern pieces to print

Friday, March 20, 2015

A Year of Dresses: The Chocolate Chip Skirt for Women

 You asked for it, you waited and anticipated, and now it is here!  How could this week's A Year of Dresses feature anything but the brand new Tie Dye Diva pattern, and a first for women, The Chocolate Chip Skirt?  It all started with the Potato Chip Skirt for girls, which took the PDF pattern world by storm. This sweet and simple A-line skirt was irresistible and such a classic design, of course we mamas wanted it for ourselves too!

The Chocolate Chip Skirt for women includes sizes XS - XXXL fitting hips from 34" to 50".  It features a simple pull on style with flat front and gently gathered elastic back.  The gentle a-line shape is neither too much or to little and flatters bodies of all shapes and sizes.  Finally, don't forget about the pockets, a perfect place for adding piping and a splash of color.  The Chocolate Chip pattern includes all the same options as the girl's Potato Chip pattern.  Make it unlined, lined or reversible.  The pattern will guide you to which option is best for your fabric.

This simple sew, no gathering or buttonholes, is a quick project, perfect for naptime or evenings.  I'd estimate it can be completed under two hours (and gets quicker the more you make, you'll want more than one!). With simple fitting, choose your size based on hip measurements and adjust the elastic as necessary for your waist, this is a great first 'self-sewing' project. The Chocolate Chip pattern is designed to be an at knee length, and full instructions are included for adjusting the length as needed.

This skirt is shortened just a bit to be above the knee
This is my all time favorite skirt style.  It works for literally every occasion.  It is comfortable enough for every day wear with a tee and flats. But with heals and accessories it dresses right up for special occasions.  It is both comfortable and modest for wearing to the office, yet sassy enough for a night on the town too!

Yes, a different skirt.  I've made 3 already!
And, of course, coordinating skirts for all the girls in your family couldn't be more fun!  I couldn't resist making just one matching skirt for Sweet Pea (who has about 7 Potato Chips in her closet!)

While she loves her skirt like Mommy's,
she wasn't in the best mood for pictures!

So, there's your Chocolate Chip in a nutshell!  We are so excited about this pattern and can't wait to see what everyone makes.  Make sure you join us in the Tie Dye Diva Facebook group where there are tons of ladies ready to offer help and encouragement and be sure to post your pictures there too!

There has been lots of excitement over the Potato Chip skirt since it's release in January.  Did you see, just yesterday, the Potato Chip Skirt pattern won Skirt Fixation’s Best New Pattern award! So exciting!

We're thrilled with the buzz over the Chips! Here’s a sampling.

(Note that some of the older posts direct to the now-expired Bundle Up offer, but you can of course grab your Chips directly from Tie Dye Diva.)

And of course, you saw our Year of Dresses post and Buttonhole Elastic tutorial featuring the Potato Chip.

Here's your quick rundown for both The Chocolate Chip and Potato Chip patterns:

  • Chocolate Chip Pattern for Women in sizes XS - XXXL
  • Potato Chip Pattern for Girls in sizes 12 months through girls 13/14
  • Don't for get about Dolly Chip too!
  • Beginner/Advanced beginner sewing level
  • Flat front, elastic back style
  • Inset pockets, perfect for piping (piping tutorial included!)
  • Super quick sewing project

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Riley Blake Knit Love Blog Tour and Free Flower Headband Tutorial

So happy to be here on the Riley Blake Designs Knit Love tour with you! I fell in love with Patty Young's Vivid collection at first sight and knew these sweet colors and fun designs would be perfect for a girl's play set made from my Opal Flutter Sleeve Top/Dress and Sterling Leggings patterns. This knit is buttery soft, super stretchy thanks to 5% spandex and sews up beautifully into both tops and leggings.

The floral print is Leilani in the Spearmint colorway - turquoise, spearmint, white and a touch of navy, and the coordinate is Fireworks also in Spearmint.

I used the tunic length option on my Opal Knit Tunic and Dress pattern, and added the optional ruffle at the bodice seam. I didn't have to use a rolled hem on the sleeves and ruffle, but liked the decorative touch they added.

I chose the shorts length from the Sterling Knit Shorties and Leggings pattern, and the double ruffle option - because, ruffles! I also rolled the ruffle hems for decorative effect.

The back rise of the shorties pattern is higher than the front for a good fit, but little ones still have trouble finding back from front sometimes. A scrap of the Leilani flower print made a really cute no-scratch tag so my model can tell the front from the back.

And then ... there were scraps! Soft, stretchy, beautiful scraps ... so I bring to you, this

Free Flower Headband Tutorial - a great scrap project for knits!

First, the headband portion. Knits stretch different amounts, so there isn't one 'right' measurement for headbands. The best way is to make sure the amount you are planning to cut stretches to the child's head size. If you don't have the child to measure, some general guidelines for a girl's head size (not cutting length!) are:

newborn: 13.5"
0-3 months: 15"
6-12 months: 18"
1 to 3 years: 20"
4 to 8 years: 21.5"

So, before you cut, orient your fabric with the stretchiest direction going side to side, and pinch it at 0" and a few inches less than the child's head size.  Pull to see if the fabric stretches to the child's head size without pulling on it too hard. If it doesn't, pinch a bit further away and check again. When you've found the right length, add 1" to that measurement and cut your headband that length by 5" wide.

Here, I am checking whether 17" will stretch to 21" for my 6-year-old model without pulling on it too hard. It does, so I cut it 18" long.

So, cut:

1 headband cut in the stretchy direction the length determined above x 5" wide
2 squares each 4.5" x 4.5" - this is a pretty 'showy' flower. You can make it smaller to your liking.
1 strip 6" x 1"

Don't worry about direction of stretch on the squares or strip.

Fold the headband right sides together and sew the long side using a stretching stitch (such as wide zigzag or serger) and a 1/4" seam allowance. Don't skimp on the stretchiness of your stitch or the headband might be uncomfortable. Turn right side out, roll the seam to the center of one side (which will be the inside of your headband), and press.

Tuck the raw edges of one opening under 1/2". If you still have your iron out, press it into place, or finger press. Tuck the other end of the headband 1/2" into the opening and stitch across at the fold. Your flower will cover this seam.

Set the headband aside. 
Fold each square into quarters so you have a smaller square and round the edges with scissors. 
If you have a serger, a rolled lettuce edge makes a cute curly effect, so you can roll-hem the edges and turn up your differential or stretch while you sew.  You can also leave the edges raw - they won't fray.

You can also roll-hem the strip along one long edge or leave it raw.

The finished headbands with rolled hem (bottom, green flower on blue band) and without (top, blue flower on green band) look like this, so you can decide if you want to roll hems or not.

Sew long, loose gathering stitches down the center of each square and down one long edge of the strip. Gather the squares down as tight as they'll go. Gather the strip to about half its original length.

With matching thread, stitch across the gathered squares to hold the gathers in place and remove the gathering stitches.

Roll up the gathered strip with the right side of the fabric on the inside - don't worry if you have an all-white wrong side like I do, it will look right from the top side when you open it up a little with your fingers.

Now you need to do a little handsewing.  Stitch all the way through the bottom of the rolled strip to hold it together. Then criss-cross the two 'petal' pieces and stitch the roll to the center of the petals, also sewing the petals together. Finally, stitch this flower to the headband, covering up the seam. 

Enjoy! You can find the Opal Knit Flutter Sleeve Top and Dress and Sterling Ruffle Leggings and Shorties patterns on the Tie Dye Diva website. Another great pattern for knits is Zee's Tee.

Riley Blake Designs
Knit LOVE Blog Tour Schedule:

March 3: Figgy’s
March 5: EYMM
March 6: Melly Sews
March 7: The Sewing Loft
March 9: Love Notions
March 11: Tea Rose Home
March 12: Sew Much Ado
March 14: Tie Dye Diva
March 16: The Cottage Mama
March 21: Ellie Inspired
March 30: Heidi & Finn
March 31: Lily Giggle

Friday, March 13, 2015

A Year of Dresses: La Tulipe Dress

I can't believe we've made it 11 months into A Year of Dresses without making a La Tulipe dress!  Well, today that will be rectified!  I have loved this pattern since it first came out and have had this sweet Paris print fabric waiting to be made into a La Tulipe for almost just as long.

The La Tulipe Dress Pattern includes sizes 2-10 and is perfect for girls of all ages.  With not a single stitch of gathering, this dress goes together very quickly and will please girls who do not fancy ruffles.  With a full circle skirt though, there is plenty of twirl factor for girls who love to dance too! Pair the sweetheart neckline with the tulip sleeves and you have an oh so sweet and feminine dress.  If you've never set in sleeves before, this dress is a great place to start.  Because of the overlapping nature of tulip sleeves, there is no easing required.  They are fast and easy, with a beautiful result!  The La Tulipe bodice is fully lined and instructions are included for both buttonholes or button loops.

This pattern is perfect for our current spring weather. It's a bit chilly for sleeveless dresses yet (though Sweet Pea insisted it wasn't last week, I guess she wasn't cold!), and this little bit of a short sleeve is simply perfect.  If you're still looking for an Easter dress, look no further! Choose a sweet spring print and stitch it up!

Now, if you're in our Tie Dye Diva Facebook group, I've been teasing you with the trim on this dress. I've had this crochet trim bias tape from Vintage Door on my Etsy wishlist for ages, and when it came time to sew LaTulipe I knew I needed some.  Full enabler alert disclosure here, but you need some of this trim!  Vintage Door stocks a variety of prints as well as solid crochet trim bias tapes and shipping was very fast.  I'm already planning what my next project for this fun bias tape might be.

Here's how I used the tape in this project.  Instead of sewing my sleeve main fabric and liner together and turning as instructed in the pattern, I bound the edge with bias tape.  I also bound the hem instead of folding a narrow hem.  This was really quite simple.

For the sleeves instead of sewing the bottom edge right sides together, simply lay them wrong sides together and base the top edge together. Then trim 1/4" (the seam allowance for this seam) from the bottom edge of your sleeves.

Green is the liner on my sleeves
Now grab your bias tape and an adhesive aid.  I use a washable glue stick, Wash Away Wonder Tape would also be a good option. Using glue stick, run a line of glue on the inside of the bias tape and slip the sleeve edge into the fold. Press with a dry iron (no steam) to quickly dry and set the glue

Then topstitch the bias tape to secure.

Repeat for both sleeves.

Now continue sewing per the pattern. To apply bias tape to the hem follow the same procedure.  Trim 1/2" from the skirt hem (unless you don't mind your skirt being a bit longer) and sandwich the skirt fabric in the bias tape.  I did not glue the bias tape for the hem, but if you are worried about it slipping or catching both sides of the trim, then, by all means, use an adhesive aid.

And finally, a quick word about topstitching.  This is certainly not the only right way, but here's a couple tips for how I topstitch and achieve nice even stitching.  I use a 3.5 stitch length and loosen my tension  just a little bit. I like to use an open toe foot on my sewing machine for topsitiching.  I line the seam up with inner edge of my foot and adjust me needle position to be a bout 1/8" from the seam edge.

For even more guidance, try using your blind hem foot for your sewing machine.  The blind hem foot will have a plastic or metal guide that can be run right along the seam for a perfectly uniform stitch distance.

 Nice and pretty!

If you don't yet own this pattern, it is definitely needed in your collection!  It is a classic style that is great for every season and occasion,  You'll come back to it time and time again!  Sweet Pea loves hers and I'm sure she's not alone!

Here's your quick pattern rundown:

  • La Tulipe dress pattern includes sizes 2-10
  • Sweetrheart neckline
  • Tulip sleeves
  • Options for buttonholes or button loops
  • Fully lined bodice
  • Not a stitch of gathering!
  • Advanced Beginner sewing level