Friday, March 6, 2015

A Year of Dresses: Opal Dress and Sterling Leggings

This week for A Year of Dresses I'm shifting to knit and made both an Opal Knit Flutter Dress and Sterling Leggings.  I really enjoy sewing knit, though I sew a lot more woven. This outfit is perfect for everyday play as we head into spring and summer.

Both Opal and Sterling patterns are part of the Tie Dye Diva's Diva Collection Patterns. The Diva Collection is designed to be a little more full, have a little more flair, and be a little more FUN!  As part of the Diva Collection, both patterns also included extended sizing from 12-18 months through girls 9/10.  These are patterns you will go back to again and again!

If you've never sewn with knit before, then Sterling Ruffle Shorties and Leggings is a great place to start.  The pattern includes a full knit sewing tutorial to guide you as you start.  The pattern is also unbelievably quick and easy with impressive results.  The pattern includes both shorts with a ruffled hem and pants with double or single ruffle or no ruffle for a basic legging.

If you have a difficult to fit kiddo, this pattern will become your best friend.  Let me explain.  Sweet Pea (as you know if you've read past A Year of Dresses posts) is tall and skinny.  Her chest, waist, and hip measurements have barely changed since she was 15 months or so, yet she is many, many inches taller at 2 1/2.  So, while all of her store bought leggings are quickly becoming capris, any larger size will not stay up and look ridiculously baggy.  Thankfully, she has a sewing mama who can customize the fit for her waist and height.

Confession time: I did not measure Sweet Pea before sewing these leggings.  I cut an 18-24 month width but extended the length to 2T.  While her height, at 37.5", puts her in the 3T range on the Tie Dye Diva size chart, her height is all in her long torso! I am very happy with how the leggings fit; she has growing room, but they aren't baggy.  However, I did measure her hips (the measurement used to determine size on this pattern) after making these leggings and discovered that she is really in the 12-18 month hip range! I did say she's tall and skinny right!? I'm planning on sewing up several more pairs for her spring wardrobe (she wears leggings under dresses and skirts as well as with tunics) and plan to downsize to the proper size for her measurements and make a 12-18 month width with a 2T length.

Once you have a pair or two of Sterling shorties and leggings under your belt, you'll be more than prepared to sew an Opal dress or tunic. Opal has an easy pull on style with no closures required.  The pattern includes both top and dress length.  Jazz up your Opal with an optional, in seam bodice ruffle, knit flower (full instructions included), or leave both of for a chic and classy look. I chose to make a flower to go with the theme of flowers on her leggings.

For Miss Tall and Skinny I made an Opal dress with a size 2T width (her chest is barely 20.5" putting her at bottom a the 2T size range) with a 3T length (37.5" tall).  It's a little hard to see in the pictures, but the dress is hitting just above her knees.  Perfect length for growing room to last through the summer!

I made two flowers exactly per the pattern instructions. The first I sewed on her dress.  The second I added to an alligator clip for her hair!

I am not a prolific bow maker, but I have made several for Sweet Pea to match outfits as she nearly always wears a bow of some sort.  If you'd like to make one, here's how I do it:

  • Make your flower as per the pattern.
  • Line the end of your clip with 3/8" ribbon, attaching with hot glue.
  • Then sandwich the top of the clip between the bow and a circle of felt. Again, secure with hot glue.
  • The last little tip that I have, if you have a kiddo with fine hair or not a lot of hair, add a small strip of shelf liner to the top of your clip.  It helps to hold the hair securely!
And there you have it, an easy little hair bow to match your Opal dress or tunic.  

Sweet Pea's measure of a good outfit lately is how well it spins and jumps.  Opal passed both tests with flying colors!

Here's your quick pattern details!

  •  Sterling Ruffle Shorties and Leggings include sizes 12-18 months through girls 9/10
  • Includes full knit tutorial, no knit experience required
  • Advanced beginner level sewing level
  • Pattern includes ruffled shorties and ruffles or plain leggings
  • No serger required
  • Very quick sew!

  • Opal Knit Flutter pattern includes size 12-18 months through girls 9/10
  • Advanced Beginner to intermediate level sewing pattern, some knit experience is presumed
  • Pattern includes tunic top and dress length
  • Optional bodice ruffle or flower 
  • Full flower tutorial included
  • Great for layering
  • No serger required

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Year of Dresses: Seaside Sailor Dress With a Fun Twist!

Can I just say, that I am super excited about this dress this week?  I love all of them, but this one is special.  This week I used the Seaside Sailor Pattern for girls, but made a dress that is 100% non-nautical.  It's all in the fabric choice and one simple collar modification!  Don't worry, of course I'll show you exactly how to do it yourself.  Believe me, you're going to want to try this one, it would even be a wonderful choice for your Easter dresses.

First, the details of the Seaside Sailor Dresses.  This pattern has both a baby and girls version and the modification I'm going to show you will work with both.  Seaside Sailor Dress for Girls includes seven sizes from 2 -10.  Seaside Sailor Dress for Babies covers sizes 0-24 months.  Don't forget about Dolly, there's a Seaside Sailor Dress for Dolly too!  These patterns are an advanced beginner level pattern simply because of the buttonholes.  If you are uncomfortable with buttonholes though, press in snaps are also an option.  Don't be intimidated by the collar, it is really straightforward and simple!

Now, how did I change a sailor collar into this more classically shaped collar?  It is unbelievably simple!

  • Start by printing and assembling your pattern piece.
  • Then grab a ruler and pen to mark your new cutting line.
  • To do this measure from the neckline just where it starts to curve. For Sweet Pea's size 2 dress I measured 3.25".  You will measure less for smaller sizes and more for larger.
  • Measure 3.25" out around from entire neckline to form a round collar shape. Hopefully these picture show what I mean.

measure from that pink mark out

  •  Now cut your collar, collar liner, and interfacing on the new line you drew.  
  • Assemble and attach the collar to the dress as per the pattern instruction passing over the steps for inserting ties (on the girls sizes) 
  • Because you have left the ties off, the front buttons will be prominent, so choose some pretty buttons to finish off your dress.
It's as simple as that! I added a cotton lace trim which I topstitched to the edge after sewing and turning my collar right side out. You could also add trim to the collar before assembling as per the pattern instructions.

I cannot express how pleased I am with the outcome of this modified collar. I love pattern versatility and this certainly meets the mark.  By simple fabric choice and easy modification I've created a dress that is not in the least nautical and has a whole new feel. 

The last thing I did was add ribbon to the hemline. This option is included in the instructions.  I used 1/2" grosgrain ribbon and stitched on at both top and bottom edges with invisible thread.

Sweet Pea deemed it good for dancing and twirling and loved the flowers on her dress!  Be sure to try this simple pattern modification and show us what you make over in the Tie Dye Diva Facebook Group.  

Here's your pattern details at a glance:

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Year of Dresses: Perfect Party Dress

You've seen if before, but how could I not revisit the Perfect Party Dress pattern in A Year of Dresses. It is such a classic dress that quite literally can work for every occasion.  I've shown you a couple all out versions throughout the year, but today I'm showing you simple.  I made this dress specifically to be suitable for everyday play, but of course perfect for other occasions too.

The Perfect Party Dress pattern includes sizes 2-10.  It features a classic length, fully lined bodice and wide sash and ties. The pattern also includes a tuxedo bib that is perfect for embellishing and a ruched hem ruffle for extra frills (those are the extras that I didn't use this time, though I love them). The pattern is a beginner / advanced beginner sewing level and includes options for either buttonhole or no-buttonhole closures in the back. The only little detail I did add is rick rack stitched to the hemline.

I do love how this dress looks with a cardigan, it's so classic and makes this dress even more versatile for every season.  Sweet Pea did indulge us and took off her sweater for two quick pictures so you can see the dress by itself and the bow in the back.

With that, I'm going to let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

  • Classic Beauty


  •  Perfect for Jumping

  •  Spinning and Dancing

  • And most importantly, SWINGING!

If this pattern isn't already in your collection, it needs to be!  It is a staple with so many possibilities, you will make it over and over again.

Here's all your pattern details at a glance:

  • sizes 2-10
  • beginner / advanced beginner sewing level
  • optional tuxedo bib and ruched ruffle for endless embellishing possibilities
  • fully lined bodice
  • buttonhole or no-buttonhole closure options

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Using Buttonhole / Adjustable Elastic in the Potato Chip Skirt or other patterns

The Potato Chip Skirt pattern has a flat front and elastic back, plus separate waistband, so it’s a perfect candidate for adjustable "buttonhole" elastic to accommodate a growing child or a child whose waist size you aren’t sure of. You can use this adjustable waistband technique in this tutorial in any pants, shorts, or skirt pattern with a flat front/elastic back and a separate waistband.

Be aware that you won’t be able to have a reversible skirt if you use the adjustable elastic option, because the elastic would show on the outside if you tried to wear it reversed.

That said, I am using the Potato Chip Skirt's reversible skirt option for this one made of quilting cotton. I could have lined it using the pattern’s lined skirt option, but making it by the reversible instructions is slightly quicker  and I think it gives the quilting cottons some nice body so they stand out in the pretty A-line shape. I’m using Riding Hood by Josephine Kimberling for Blend Fabrics. So adorable! You can find some of the prints at Hawthorne Threads.

You'll need buttonhole elastic ... or will you? You can commonly find buttonhole elastic in ⅝” or 3/4” widths. I bought my buttonhole elastic from fr8rain on etsy (advertised as 13/16”, while I am not one to quibble over 1/16”, let's round up and call it 3/4”.)  The Potato Chip Skirt pattern calls for 1” wide elastic so you’ll need to make some adjustments or you can experiment with making your own buttonhole elastic. Using 1” wide knit elastic I was able to use the stretch buttonhole function on my sewing machine to make a decent buttonhole. I also found that simply cutting a small slit in the center seemed to work well neither DIY option frayed when I tugged on it and roughed it up a little to see how it would hold up, though I haven't tried a longer term test. Also, I didn’t try these methods on other elastic besides knit.

Buttonhole Elastic Tutorial

Cut buttonhole elastic for the back 4" or 5” longer than the pattern specifies. Zigzag to finish the raw ends, or turn the ends over and stitch down to secure.

You’ll need to leave gaps in the inner waistband at the side seams for the elastic to exit. To do this, you'll want to press the Potato Chip waistband folds before you join them,  reversing the steps on pages 11 and 12. So, first press the waistbands in half lengthwise to make a crease and unfold, then press the inner edge under 3/8" and unfold. For the Potato Chip’s reversible waistband you’ll use the seam between the two fabrics as the center guide. Lay the front and back waistbands right sides together, and when you join them at the side seams, leave a gap by sewing ½” of the inner waistband, stop and backstitch to secure, then start again about ⅛” before the fold. For the Potato Chip Skirt, this will leave a gap of about 1-1/8” for your elastic. Shown below is how this will look with a two-fabric or a one-fabric waistband.

Attach the waistband per the pattern instructions, except that you can stitch the waistband down all the way around the skirt -you don’t need to leave gaps for elastic since we’ve taken care of that. See our nice hole for the elastic?

Sew two flat, smooth buttons on the inner front waistband about 1” from the side seams. Stitch only through the back layer so your stitches don’t show on the front. You’ve interfaced this per the pattern instructions (right?) so your buttons will stay secure.

Thread the elastic through one gap. Before the tail disappears, fasten the last buttonhole to the button. You don't need to be fancy about this, but I like to fasten this one “right sides together” so it stays in place - you will always leave this buttonhole buttoned. So I give my elastic a flip before I button it down. Then I button the second, or third, or fourth buttonhole down to the same button, that's where the adjustable part comes in.

Pull the elastic all the way through and repeat the buttoning on the other side. As you need to let out or take in the waist, adjust only the top buttonhole, leaving the very end buttonholes in place.

Because the waistband casing is 1.25" wide, designed for 1” elastic, if you are using 3/4” wide you might want to stitch across the waistband to create a narrower channel. I topstitched the top edge of the back waistband to make it a little narrower, but it still feels a little ‘slidey’ in the casing, and I may go back and sew 1” below that for a narrower casing.

That's all there is to sewing buttonhole elastic for an adjustable waistband!

The instant-download Potato Chip Skirt pattern comes in sizes 12 months through 14 years and launches at 9 p.m. Pacific Tonight! You can get your very own pattern right here on the Tie Dye Diva Patterns website.