Friday, January 30, 2015

A Year of Dresses: Hoodie Vest into a Dress!

Are you ever in for a treat today!  This creative modification was all Jen's idea and I was only too happy to sew it up.  Use a top pattern and make it into a dress, yes please!  Without further ado, I give you the Hoodie Vest Dress!

 The Reversible Hoodie Vest Pattern is an adorable pattern for boys and girls designed for fleece.  I'm thinking I really need to make both boys one!  This pattern includes sizes 12-18 month through 7/8 plus a dolly pattern.  The Reversible Hoodie Vest is a beginner, advanced/beginner level pattern.  It is designed for fleece on one or both sides, The reverse side can also be made from stable knit, flannel, corduroy, or even quilter's cotton.  The vest closes with either Velcro or press in snaps and includes a cute tuxedo ruffle option for girls as well as an optional pocket.

So, how did I turn this versatile vest into a dress?  Let me show you, it's super simple!  Before I begin though...I was pushing the limits of winter daylight so please overlook any odd shadows. And my humble apologies for my poor attempt at adding a few stitching lines to photos, I hope they help you!

  • Start with your Hoodie Vest front and back pieces.  Shorten the length to about the natural waist.  I took off about 3 inches off measuring from the side seam.  I am making a size 2/3 for Sweet Pea.  The amount you take off will depend on the size you make. 

  •  Now cut all your hoodie main and lining pieces per the pattern instructions and sew through Step 3 of the pattern instructions.  You should now have your shoulder seams sewn and hood attached to both the main and lining fabric.
  • Next lay your pieces together as shown in Step 4 but sew only the armholes. 

  • Then sew up the front, around the hood, and back down the other side.  All bottom edges should be left un-sewn.

  • Turn your hoodie right side Don't forget to cut across your corners and clip into the curves before turning!

  • Now let's sew the side seams.  We will do this a little differently than the pattern, but if you have made many of Jen's dress patterns this will look very familiar to you. Lay your hoodie right side out with the sides aligned. 

  • Fold the fleece outer layer up in both front and back so that you have right sides together all the way down the fleece and lining layer. Stitch this seam and repeat for the other side.

  • Great!  Almost done.  Topstitch as per Step 8 in the pattern. Baste around the bottom edge. Also add your closures at this time.  I used 3 press in snaps.  Make sure that your last snap is at least 1" from the bottom edge. Mine is closer to 2"

  • Now try the vest on your intended wearer to determine skirt length.  I decided I wanted a 7 1/2" skirt length for a tunic length garment. Add 1 1/2" to this measurment for seam allowances and hem. So 7 1/2 + 1 1/2 = 9".  This is the length I am going to cut. 
  • To determine with measure across the bottom of your vest.  My size 2/3 was 14" Double this measuremtnt and add 1" for seam allowances. 14 x 2 = 28" plus 1" for seam allowance. My skirt width was 29"  
  • Cut two skirt pieces according to your measurments. Mine were 9" long by 29" wide.
  • Sew side seams.
  • Hem the bottom by turning up 1" and stitching close to the edge.  Remember fleece does not fray!  Also sew gathering threads along the top edge.  I used the two basting thread method. 

  • Gather and attach right sides together to the bottom of your vest.

  • Congratulations, you're done!

I love how warm and cozy this little dress is and Sweet Pea loves it too! I paired it with Sterling Leggings for a fun winter look and a bright spot in the dreary winter. Side note....I forgot how skinny Sweet Pea is.  I should know better, right?  So, her leggings are really a size too big and hence a little (or a lot) baggy. It just means she won't outgrow them tomorrow, right?  Sterling leggings is one of my favorite basics patterns as Sweet Pea wears leggings constantly.  I'll just remember to make the right size next time!

 Little Miss loves the hood, especially as she HATES her hair getting wet from any possible precipitation. 

I love having a fun print peaking out from the lining.  I purchased the fleece for this project and then found this perfect heart print in my stash.  As I'm not one for a lot or minor holiday sewing, this very well may be her Valentine's Day outfit.

Here's your Reversible Hoodie Vest pattern details at a glance:

  • 6 sizes from 12-18 months through child's 7/8
  • Bonus free dolly pattern
  • Beginner / Advanced Beginner sewing level
  • Velcro or press in snap closure. No buttonholes

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Year of Dresses: The Potato Chip Skirt

If you are active in our Tie Dye Diva Facebook Group, it's probably no surprise that this week's A Year of Dresses is the brand new Potato Chip Skirt. It is everyone's new favorite pattern and for good reasons!  It is available now as part of the Bundle Up Sale, which is a steal of a deal.  More on that later.

The Potato Chip Skirt.... Why Potato Chip?  Because we are willing to bet you can't stop at just one!  This sweet and simple a-line skirt features a flat front and elastic back. Inset pockets are the perfect place to add trim (a piping tutorial is included in the pattern!).  You know what else the pockets remind me of?  Taking a bit out of a Potato Chip! With eleven sizes from 12-18 months through girls 13/14 you will use the pattern for years to come!

Really, she loves her skirt despite
this "Do I have to, Mom?" picture
What will keep you coming back to this pattern for more?  It is super quick and easy!  I haven't timed myself, but I'm willing to guess it takes less than an hour, a perfect naptime project. This skirt is a great stash-buster requiring very little fabric.  The options are endless.  The pattern includes an unlined option that is great for denim, corduroy, and twill as well as fleece; a lined version that is great for lightweight or sheer fabrics such as eyelet; and a reversible option that is perfect for quilting cottons..  Who doesn't love two skirts in one?

It is also the perfect canvas for creativity.  The simple design is great for showcasing novelty prints and large scale designs like these panel prints from The Makers collection by Cori Dantini for Blend Fabrics. (Fabric about sewing and crafting! Yes, please! I see Hawthorne Threads is sold out, no surprise, but you can sign up to be notified when it's back in stock.)

 Or, use a simple fabric and experiment with hand or machine embroidery and applique.

sweet for spring with hand embroidery
warm and cozy in fleece

As you can see from the photos, the Potato Chip Skirt will take you through every season!  Layer a fleece skirt with long sleeves, tights and boots for winter.  Make a lightweight cotton skirt and wear it with a tank and sandals in the summer.

I think Sweet Pea's favorite aspect is the pockets.  She loves stashing her treasures!

The Potato Chip Skirt pattern is available right now as part of the Bundle Up Sale.  Bundle Up is a collection of eleven, brand new patterns from your favorite, well established designers.  This bundle sale is unique in that you can choose which patterns you include in your bundle.  You must choose six patterns to receive the bundle price, but the more patterns you choose the better the price.  Buy ten or more patterns and they are just $4.00 each. What a steal!

 Because you seriously can't stop at just one, I made this Potato Chip from lightweight twill and pared it with FooFoo Threads Adeline Cardigan, also in the bundle.  The bundle is a great way to start your spring wardrobe, and the patterns mix and match wonderfully! Here's a preview of all the patterns available in this Bundle Up Sale.

Make sure to grab your copy of the Potato Chip Skirt and get ready to make 1...or 20!

Here's your quick Potato Chip Pattern rundown:

  • Eleven sizes from 12-18 months through girls 13/14
  • Flat front and elastic back, the best of both worlds!
  • Inset pockets
  • Great A-line shape
  • Lined, unlined, and reversible options
  • Beginner/Advanced beginner sewing level

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Year of Dresses: Belle Dress for Winter

This week I had the pleasure of sewing with some more fabulous Blend Fabrics.  It is always a pleasure to work with these fabrics, they are so soft!  These fabrics are part of the Equinox collection by Ana Davis for Blend Fabrics.

Blend Fabrics courtesy photo
Equinox is a pretty collection of lattice, paisley, and scallop designs.  The fabrics I used featured warm pinks, oranges, gray, and taupe, but the collection includes beautiful teals and greens and well. 

What did I make with these lovely fabric?  One more dress that will help us get through the cold winter months of course.  This time the Belle Peasant Dress with long sleeves.

The Belle Peasant Dress Pattern is available in both baby and girls sizes. Baby Sizes range from 0-24 months. The Belle for Girls pattern includes sizes 2-10. Baby sizes are masterfully drafted so that Baby is not drowned in too much dress, while the twirl factor is maximized for walking toddlers and girls.  Belle is a beginner level sewing pattern.  The raglan sleeves, elastic casings, and gathered tiers keep it simple!  The pattern includes both long and short sleeves.  You'll sew this dress all year long! Three options are included for the neck and sleeve gathering including a full shirring tutorial.  I chose a folded casing for both my neckline and sleeves.

The tiered style of Belle makes it a great pattern for mixing fabric colors and prints.  Fabric placement can completely change the look of the drsss!  It is also a great stash buster.  Each tier through size 6 can be made from just 1/2 yard of fabric (only 5/8 yard is needed for larger size tiers).

On this Belle I added a simple tie to the back of the dress.  Sometimes I add a tie to this dress, sometimes I don't. It just depends on my mood!  My Spring Belle did not include a tie (while you're there, make sure to notice how much Sweet Pea's hair has grown!).  This dress is a size 2/3.  Sweet Pea is well into the top of the 2T size range for height (coming in at 36") but her chest measurement is hovering between 18-24 months and 2T at 20.5".  All that to say, I added a tie this time because Sweet Pea is on the skinny side.  

Adding a tie is quite simple.  If you own Jen's Peasant Blouse pattern, instructions are included there and my inspiration is taken directly from that pattern.  But, if you haven't added that pattern to your collection, here's how you can add a tie to your Belle Peasant Dress:
  • Cut two tie strips.  Mine were 2" x 22". You may need to adjust the length of your strips for smaller sizes.
  • Fold each strip, right sides together, to form a narrow tube.
  • Sew across one end and up the length of the tube using a 1/4" seam allowance.
  • Clip the corners on the end you sewed and turn the tube.
  • Iron
  • Baste the ties to side of the back bodice piece 5/8" from the bottom edge before sewing the sleeve and side seam.
  • Now finish your dress according to the pattern instructions

I think it's safe to say she loves her twirly dress and I do too.  It is a perfect dress for every occasion.   It's easy to run and play in with ease of movement.  It's fun to dance and twirl in.  It dresses up easily!  Change your fabrics choices and sleeve lengths and this dress transforms from Christmas dress to beach dress to Easter dress to play dress.

Here's your quick pattern details: 

  • Baby sizes 0-24 months
  • Girls sizes 2-10
  • Beginner level sewing pattern
  • Full shirring tutorial included
  • Long and short sleeve options

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Year of Dresses: Butterfly Dress

Welcome back as we resume A Year of Dresses!  I've lost track of weeks, but A Year of Dresses started at the end of April 2014 with this Big Bow Dress and has continued every week (with the exception of December's hiatus).  We will pick up again now and plan to finish strong through April.  I'm so excited about the dresses I have planned for you.  Spring is such a fun season to sew for!  With that, let's look at this week's beautiful Butterfly Dress.

The Butterfly dress is one of those patterns you never get tired of making. A change of fabric selection and placement can make an entirely different looking dress from the last one you made.  This is my fourth butterfly in the last year and I can't wait to make the fifth!

Before we jump in, let's look at the pattern details.  The Butterfly pattern is available in both baby and girls sizes with slight variations.  The baby pattern covers sizes 0-24 months and is top length, while the girls sizes include sizes 2-8 and is dress length.  Don't forget about Dolly Butterfly too, every girl needs a matching dolly dress! To read more about the baby top and how to modify it to dress length read my Butterfly Baby post.

While it may look like I've jumped into spring in the middle of winter (how I wish I could!) the Butterfly dress is one of the most versatile patters around!  Will this dress be beautiful for spring and summer?  Most definitely!  But Sweet Pea can also wear it now and be cheery in winter.  This pattern layers beautifully!

We love boots with our dresses!  Add a long sleeve tee underneath and tights.  She's ready to go!  Make sure you check out Jen's post, Boots and Dresses Roundup, for more winter fashion ideas.

I've made several small adaptions to this Butterfly dress.  None of them are difficult and they add some fun variety to your butterfly dress.

First, I lined the flutters.  I love the extra peep of color that this gives!  I have seen several Butterfly dresses made this way by the fabulous seamstresses in our Tie Dye Diva Facebook Group (come and join us!) and wanted to try it myself as well as show you how simple it is.

To make lined flutter follow theses simple steps:

  • cut two flutter from your main fabric as per the pattern and also cut two more flutters from your liner fabric.
  • Sew the flutters with a 1/2" seam allowance, right sides together, along the curved edge (where you would otherwise hem).  Trim the seam allowance to 1/4" and notch the curve.
  • Finally, turn you flutter right side out, press making sure the seam is right at the edge, and topstitch.  You can now continue as per the pattern.  Do take care when gathering as you now have two layers to gather instead of one.  I used the two gathering thread method, but zig zagging over heavy thread would also be a good option.  Read The Great Ruffle Off for details on multiple gathering methods.
Second, I made the skirt ever so slightly fuller.  I really did this because it made my inefficient use of fabric (fussy cutting the front skirt) slightly more efficient by not leaving an unusable scrap. Here's what you need to know:
  • Begin by cutting your skirt front and back the length directed in the pattern by your desired width. 
  • Grab your pattern piece for shaping the top of the skirt. and line it up on the folded edge. make a mark with a fabric marking pen on the cutting line. Then slide the pattern piece over to the non-folded edge.

  • Draw a line with fabric pen to connect your mark from above with the pattern piece (look closely and you will see a light blue line in the picture above). Now cut. Easy peasy!
  • Remember to also cut your ruffle strips wider match the skirt.
Third and finally, I modified the hem ruffle just a bit.  Instead of sewing the ruffle as a seam I left the top edge exposed also.  There are a couple steps to doing this, but it's very easy!
  • Finish both edges of your ruffle.  I used a rolled hem (trim 1/2" from the bottom edge as you serge, but do not trim the top edge). Also, serge (or zig zag) the bottom of your skirt to finish the edge.

  • With a fabric marking pen draw a line 1" from the bottom edge of your skirt. Confession, mine is drawn at 3/4" to give Miss Growing Like A Weed just a little extra length (so this beauty will still fit come summer!) But, to keep the pattern's dress length, mark at 1".
  • Now gather your ruffle strip.  I again used the two thread gathering method. Line the top edge of the ruffle up with the line marked on your skirt and pin in place.  Stitch in place 1/2" from the edge and remove your gathering threads.  
  • I also added rickrack (simply topsitiched directly over the first sewing line.) That's it, a beautiful exposed ruffle!

I can't say enough how pleased I am with the outcome of this dress.  The bodice embellishment options are endless, but I kept with the tuxedo ruffle finished with a couple simple buttons for this dress.  

I've been saving my beautiful Kumari fabric for just the right dress and the Butterfly did not let me down! Sweet Pea will wear this dress now, wear it this summer as a sundress, and when it gets short, I'll add leggings and she can wear it as a tunic.  Yay!

In case I missed any detail, here's the pattern rundown: