A Modern Day Eloise

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With two little ones under the age of three, I try to have a schedule to keep things going smoothly. Once a week we head to the library, and recently we came home with ‘Eloise’. I am familiar with the story, but reading it with my independent, head strong two year old, I easily pictured my daughter as Eloise.

Unrelated, lately I have been dreaming of velvet. I have seen lots of ready to wear pieces made of the lovely stuff, so I’ve had this idea of velvet in the back of my mind. When I made this post, Hancock’s was still in business. Currently, they no longer have brick and mortar stores, but a brand new online only company. The website is currently still under construction! While browsing on Hancock’s then website,  I came across a beautiful, bright red velveteen. I instantly pictured Eloise’s little pinafore dress, and the deal was done. I give you my take on the modern day Eloise.

 

Making your pattern:

First off, you will need to take a few measurements of your child to create your pattern pieces:

-Waist front + waist back

-Skirt length (I measured waist to knees)

-Waist up to shoulder crisscrossing over to back waist, just as your strap will be.

With these measurements we will create patterns for our skirt, waistband and straps, and that’s all there is to it. Here we go:

Skirt: (front waist measurement x2 + 1” for seam allowance) x (Skirt length measurement + 2” for seam allowance)= skirt piece. Cut 2.

Front Waist Band: (Front waist measurement + 1” for seam allowance) x (1” for width + 1” for seam allowance). Cut 2.

Back Waist Band: Back waist measurement x 2 + 1” seam allowance) x (1” for width + 1” for seam allowance). Cut 2.

Straps: (1/2 the strap measurement) x (desired strap width ((mine are ¾)) + 1” seam allowance).  Cut 2 on fold.

Supplies Needed:

Fabric: I used 1 yard of a lovely red velveteen for my two year old, and had some fabric left over. Eye your pattern pieces to get an idea of how much you’ll need.

-A tiny bit of fusible interfacing: 2 pieces about 3” x 2”.

-3/4” elastic

-2 buttons

-Matching thread

-Fray check

Sewing Tutorial:

Okay let’s begin!

Cut out all of your pieces.

Straps:

Iron a small piece of fusible interfacing on one end of two strap pieces. Note that this end will be enclosed when sewn.

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Pin two strap pieces right sides together (RST). Before we sew, make note to begin from one end, sewing all around the entire piece, and on your way back down make sure to leave about a 2-3” opening, and finish to the end. One end will be totally enclosed (fusible interfacing end) and the other open. Sew at ½” seam allowance. Trim seam allowance and corners. Repeat this step for other two strap pieces.

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Turn your strap pieces right side out. This can be a little time consuming, so prepare yourself. I found it was easier to use the end of a pen and gently push the end out while also gently tugging with my hands.

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Now we need to top stitch and while topstitching, enclose the opening we left for turning out the straps. Iron the opening edges in to match the already sewn seam on either side of opening, and pin together.

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Topstitch about 1/8” away from strap edge, around the whole strap- make sure you catch that open edge we just pinned. I find it helpful to use my edge stitch foot.

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Back Waist:

Place two back waist pieces RST. Pin, sew along just ONE long edge at ½”. Grade + iron seam, and flip right side out. Iron again.

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Cut a piece of elastic to child’s exact back waist measurement. You can see how this should look in comparison to your back waistband piece.

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Now we need to create our casing. With wrong sides together, sew along the OTHER long edge of your back waist band piece, and make sure your casing measures about 1” total, just a little bit bigger than your ¾” elastic.

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Attach a safety pin to one end of your elastic, and insert elastic into the casing we just made. Make sure to pin each end of the elastic to casing.

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(Don’t mind that I have two seams in this next picture, I made my casing a little bit smaller, leaving two lines of stitching, yours should have just one).

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Front Waist:

On one front waist piece, measure to child and decipher where you would like your two front straps to go. Mark. (I folded my front waist band piece in half and held it up to my daughters waist, and marked one strap. Then I unfolded the fabric and marked the other one to be identically placed on the other side).

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Pin the open ends of your straps to the markings we just made.

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Lay the other front waist band piece directly on top, RST. Pin in place.

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Sew along the top edge at ½”. Grade seam, iron, and turn waistband and straps right side out. At this point I would recommend holding the waistband up to your child, making sure your straps are just right. They should just barely go beyond their back waist by an inch or so, unless you want to have two button holes to adjust the size, you will want about 1 ½-2” hanging off. I had to cut off a few inches on mine, and re-sew them into the waistband.

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Sew your front waistband to your back waistband, RST, on side edges, making your full waistband piece.

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Skirt:

Prep skirt by placing both pieces RST. Pin side seams, sew at ½”. Iron, trim and finish seams as desired.

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Along the top edge of the skirt (any edge, doesn’t matter which one), baste three rows of stitches at ¼”, ½” and 3/4”, make sure your rows don’t overlap but start and end without touching, and remember to leave your threads long.

Pin the skirt into your waistband, RST, and align side seams, and centers of waistband and skirt.

Pull basting threads lightly for each row, and gather your skirt until it fits perfectly into your waistband. Make sure to evenly spread your gathers, pin in place.

Sew your waist band and skirt together at 5/8”.

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Flip right side out and make sure all of your gathers look clean. Trim seam allowance, and finish as desired. I used a zigzag stitch.

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Hem your skirt to desired length.

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Try your pinafore dress over your child again, this time pinning the straps in place, marking where your buttons and buttonholes will need to go. Slip off child.

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Mark buttonholes on edge of straps.

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Sew your buttonholes. I like to use fray check after I rip my buttonholes open to prevent further fraying, this is optional.

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Sew on your two buttons, make sure they are evenly lined up from each edge.

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And we’re done!!

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As much as I love velvet, especially for the current low temps we are experiencing here in Utah, picture this little charming pinafore in chambray for spring, gingham for summer, and plaid or even corduroy for fall. It’s such a versatile little dress. Enjoy!

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Knit Bell Sleeve Top

 

 

 

 

 

While making my Birkin Flares one post back, I knew I just HAD to make a shirt to go with them. I was inspired by the flares on my jeans to create the sleeves of this simple knit shirt. I also read in a few magazines about flares and ruffles trending, resulting in this top. I wanted to design my sleeve to hit right above my wrist, so you could still see my bracelets and jewelry, and also be a little bit warmer with a longer sleeve. I apologize for the photo quality, it was 20 degrees outside for one, and I had to have my sister take these pictures with my iphone. My poor siblings. Anyways… what will you need?

Supplies:

-1-1 1/2 yards jersey knit (I had mine on hand)

-matching thread

To create your pattern, grab a loose top you already own to base your pattern on. Lay out your shirt folded in half, and trace your front and back pieces, adding a swing shape from the under arm to the hemline. This will be a straight line. I also added a curved bell shape along the bottom of my shirt so it would be subtly longer in front and slightly shorter on the sides. Do the same for your sleeves, measuring from your shoulder to right above you elbow. Remember to add 1/2″ seam allowance around every edge that will be sewn to another edge.

You will also need to create a neckline facing to finish off your neckline. It will be a straight line. Measure your neckline along the shirt front and back patterns, and subtract about 1″. This will be your length measurement. (You will be cutting this out along the fold, so make sure your pattern piece measure half of the total length you will need. If you just measure your two pieces you don’t have to worry about this. Hopefully that’s not too confusing. For your width, decide how thick you would like your neckline facing to be when finished, and add 1″ for seam allowance. I wanted mine to be 1/2″ when finished, so my width was 1 1/2″ in total.

To create your bell flare sleeve pattern (bottom half of your sleeve), measure the total width of the end of your sleeve piece you just made (where your elbow hits), and multiply it by 2. I also gave my pattern piece more of a curved bell shape along the bottom.

Here’s a few pictures of how my pattern pieces look to give a visual:


Notice the fold lines on EVERY piece. Also, notice where you will gather you bell sleeve.


You can see my shirt’s original edge, and the swing edge I added..

Lets begin! (I apologize for terrible lighting- night time sewing woes).

  1. Pin shoulder pieces right sides together (RST). Sew at 1/2″. Iron seam open. If you have a serger you can just serge edges together to finish your seam. Unfortunately I do not own one, so I just left my edges raw, you could zig zag them too.

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2. Pin your sleeves  to each underarm RST, look for the corners on both under arm and sleeve to match up just right. Sew 1/2″. Trim seam allowance.

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When you’re done it will look like so..

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3. Pin shirt front and back together at side seams all the way up to the sleeve edge. Sew side seams and underarm in one go at 1/2″. Iron open.

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5. Prep your neckline facing. Iron it in half long ways wrong sides together, then pin two edges together and sew at 1/2″.

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6. Pin neckline facing to right side of neckline, you might have to stretch it a little to fit just right, pin evenly around neckline, sew at 1/2″. Trim and iron.

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7. Pin the two edges of your bell sleeve right sides together and sew 1/2″.

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8. Sew two rows of basting stitches at 1/4″ and 1/2″ along the bell sleeve top edge. (This is folded in half in the photo below).

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9. Pin sleeve and bell sleeve RST (two seams lining up and centers lining up). Gently pull basted threads to gather the bell sleeve evenly until it fits just perfectly into the sleeve. Sew 1/2″, trim and iron.

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10. Hem the bottom of your shirt and the edge of your bell sleeves. You’re done!

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If there’s any confusion, don’t hesitate to leave a question! 🙂

Folkloric Dress + Sewing Tutorial

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The other day I was walking through Hancock fabrics, looking for some denim. I found this great Denim Mexican Poncho Autumn Cotton Fabric, and knew right away that I had to make something out of it. I love the ethnic, folky print of this fabric, and the colors are so on point for fall. I decided to go with a dress: an easy fitted bodice and gathered skirt. I used two patterns that I really like, and mashed them up to create this dress. I used McCall’s M5927 for the bodice front and back, and Simplicity 2444 for the sleeves. You could use any basic bodice and sleeve pattern to create this dress. I created the neckline facing and skirt myself, and I’ll tell you how!

For the neckline facing, simply line up your two bodice pieces shoulder to shoulder, and trace the neckline edges in one continuous line, and make it about 2-2 1/2 inches wide.

For the skirt, measure your waist, then times it by 2. (This is your width). I divided this number in half and cut two pieces- a front and back. (I needed to do this in order to get my stripes going vertical, you can skip this step depending on your fabric, and cut one long piece). Cut your back piece in half again, so you can add in a zipper. For length, measure from your waist to where you would like your dress to end, add 3″ for seam allowance. I always cut the length a little longer than I want so I can decide where the length looks best after the dress is finished.

Materials needed:

-2 1/2 – 3 yards of fabric

-20-22″ zipper

-matching thread

-needle

-basic sewing tools

Lets begin!

  1. Mark + sew darts. I always like to mark with thread using the pattern, then gently remove the pattern and cut threads, threads still intact in fabric. Using a ruler and chalk I mark where the darts will be on the wrong side of the fabric.

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Tip: Start sewing from the bottom (back stitch) and move towards the tip. Once you get to the tip, do NOT backstitch, leave long threads and hand tie a knot. Once you are finished it will look like this:

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2. Iron darts towards the outside edges. Repeat for bodice back.

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3. Pin + sew bodice side edges together, RST.

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4. Iron seam, finish seam. I just used a zig zag stitch to finish my seams.

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5. Pin + sew shoulder edges together. RST.

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6. Prep the sleeves. Mark your center top with chalk or a marker. Also mark about 1″ from armsyce ends as shown below. I used yellow pins.

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7. Baste sleeve at 1/4″ + 1/2″ from yellow pin to yellow pin. Leave long threads on either end for pulling.

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8. Sew each sleeve RST.

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9. Pin sleeve to arm hole. Make sure to line up seams and centers using your marking we just made with chalk.

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10. Pull threads gently and gather evenly on either side of the armhole until everything fits just right. I did not have to ease that much, just a little until sleeve fit just right. Sew at 5/8″, trim seam, finish with a zig zag stitch all around the edge. When you’re finished it will look like this:

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11. Prep your neckline facing by finishing the outer edge. I used a zig zag stitch.

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12. Pin your neckline facing to bodice neckline, RST. Line up centers and edges. Sew at 1/2″.

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13. Flip neckline facing to the inside of the bodice, and iron over about 1/8- 1/4 ” to hide facing from front view. Using a needle and thread, hand tack facing to seams and center front.

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14. Prep skirt. Sew side seams together. Sew back seam together stopping about 7 1/2- 8″ from the waistline in order to leave an opening for the zipper, back stitch. Iron seams, finish seams.

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15. Once the skirt is sewn together, prep for gathering. Baste 1/2″ + 5/8″, again leave long threads for pulling. Pin skirt front center to bodice front center, pin back edges of skirt to back edges of bodice. Gently pull threads until gathers are evenly distributed and everything fits in place. Make sure to line up side seams of skirt and bodice. Sew at 5/8″.

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16. Unpick any basting threads that show on the front of the dress.

17. Sew in invisible zipper, follow instructions on packaging. FInish off zipper and neckline edge by folding zipper tape backwards to the seam, and hand tacking down.

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18. Hem sleeves and dress bottom edge to desired lengths.

Enjoy!

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