Cute is Always a Hit

Cute  adj

 1. a. clever or shrewd often in an underhanded manner

b.  impertinent, smart alecky,  <don’t get cute with me>

2.  attractive or pretty especially in a childish, youthful, or delicate way

This is Megan is wearing her new “cherry skirt” I sewed for her.  The fabric is a lovely (cute) pindot cotton organza with embroidered cherries. I found it all gnarled and wrinkled in the bins at London Textiles.  Since this skirt was such a hit with my daughter, I thought you might like the pattern and instructions for this very easy drop-waist skirt.

Free Drop-waist skirt pattern pdf

You will need:

  • 1.5 yards of fabric (more if you’d like more gathering or a longer skirt length)
  • 1/4 yard of interfacing
  • 7-9″ zipper

Cut:

  • Yoke: 4 pieces.  Here’s the Drop-waist skirt pattern – one for the front, one for the back and one facing piece for each the front and back.  I used scrap fabric for the facing but a self facing would work as well.  This pattern is 33″ at the waist and 37″ at the bottom of the yoke.  If you need a different size, add to the fold line or the at the side of the yoke pattern.
  • Interfacing: 2 pieces – same size as the yoke pieces.
  • Skirt: 2 pieces.  I used a 20″ length of by 54″ wide.  Note:  Cut the length equal to the  finished skirt from waist to the skirt bottom, as it will allow a sufficient length for the hem.   If you would like more gathering, use more fabric.

Construction

1. Fuse or hand baste the interfacing to the front and back yoke (not the facing).

2. Sew one of the side seams of both the yoke (with interfacing applied) and the facing.  Leave the other open for the zipper.

3.  Sew one side seam of the skirt.  This will be the right side.  Leave left side open for now.

4. Gather the top of the joined skirt pieces.  If you are lining the skirt, gather the lining and skirt as one piece.

5. With right sides together, sew the gathered skirt to the yoke.  

6.  Sew yoke facing to the yoke at the waist.  Clip seams and press.

7.  Insert zipper  (I hand-picked an invisible zipper).  Instructions are here.

8.  Hand or machine stitch the bottom of the facing, to hide the gathered edge of the skirt.

9.   Sew the left side seam below the zipper.

10.  Hem the skirt.

Hopefully only two hours later and you have a new cute skirt.

Steve the Sweater

One of my winter projects was to upcycle a sweater which I purchased from the local second-hand shop.   It was a rather boxy size medium Sigrid Olsen women’s sweater with the neckline trim made of crochet and cut loops of yarn.

Unfortunately I didn’t photograph the sweater but it looked much the same before and after – originally just a different size and with less shaping.  

Tutorial

This is a pretty easy project and doesn’t take long to finish.  For this type of sweater, the steps are:

1. Remove the neckline trim and crocheted bottom edge and the buttons.

2. Felt the sweater in the washer and machine dry until you have the desired amount of felting.  The result was not only a sweater of a smaller size but one that was incredibly soft.

3. Cut the sweater pieces apart at the seams.

4.  Re-cut using a child’s sweater or sweatshirt pattern. Keep the front overlap intact so you can use the buttonholes and finishing. In this case there was barely enough fabric to cut a size 7 sweater.

5.  Sew the pieces together by laying one seam over the other (probably a 1/2″ overlap), using a backstitch.  This results in a nice flat seam which is amazingly strong.  It takes several hours of sewing time in front of a good movie.

6. Re-attach the neckline trim and the braid at the bottom both with a backstitch.

7. Replace the buttons.

The Result

On our last visit to Wisconsin, I gave Mira the sweater.  She loved the softness and named it “Steve the Sweater”, in place of her favorite plush bedtime partner, Steve the Fish.  He was mysteriously missing so Steve the Sweater became her replacement sleeping partner.

Mira’s request:  “Ramma, will you take a photo of me and put it on your blog?”

So this blog post is for you, Mira.

Love, Ramma.

Take 2: Adult Leggings Pattern (free)

I’ve received so many kind messages about my last post; a children’s leggings pattern and tutorial on how to make leggings or footless tights.  I also included directions on how to make a pattern for adult-sized leggings but stopped short of a pattern.

This week I made a pair for myself, as I’ll need them for our upcoming trip to Central America.  Why not create a pattern and share it with you?  The fabric is black/silver spandex – nylon and spandex or lycra, I think.  Since there was more stretch with the grain, I cut across the grain.  That is, the selvage ran across the top of the tights.

Leggings Pattern sz med pdf

First of all, here is the pattern, which is for an adult size medium.  This is “low tech” pattern making with hand written instructions.  All you need to do is to print the 10 pages in the Adult Leggings Pattern sz med pdf and tape them together following the grid on page 1 of the pattern.

Sizing Tips:

  1. In order to fit well and stay up, the hip size of the finished leggings is about 2/3 of my actual size.  The finished hip circumference is 28″ and my actual measurement is 40″.
  2. The legs are closer to my actual size.  At the top of the inseam, the finished leggings are 18″ circumference against my actual size of about 22″.
  3. At the ankle, the leggings circumference is 7 3/4″ against an actual ankle measurement of 8″.
  4. Length – my leggings inseam is 27″ which is 1″ shorter than my pants inseam.  You may need to lengthen the pattern as most of the world is taller than I am.  That’s just how it is!

If you need to alter the pattern, make a split down the middle of the pattern, which would be at the side seam (if there was a side seam).  As you can see from my’m hoping this will give you an idea of how much to split the pattern.  The nice thing about using lycra or spandex is that it’s forgiving and your measurements don’t need to be exact.

What about the Elastic?

As with children’s leggings, apply the elastic with a zig-zag stitch.  Pull the elastic so it is slightly smaller than the top of the tights.

Here are several more photos of the completed project – these are incredibly comfortable to wear and will be just what I need for our upcoming trip – they will double as tights, long underwear and maybe PJ’s too.

Free Child’s Crinoline Pattern

One of the fascinating things about a blog is taking a peek behind the scenes of a website.  As the blog owner I have regular access to the type of searches and other sites which refer users to the blog.  For me, this experience provides the same level of intrigue as other “back stage” experiences; maybe like being in a cockpit of a plane or in a production studio.

You Asked: Free Crinoline Pattern


For me, a peak into the wonders of the internet revealed that the most common word searches for my blog are submitted by sewists seeking a (free) crinoline pattern for under a child’s dress or a wedding dress.  About six months ago, I posted a brief tutorial for a wedding dress crinoline, which is what the search engines are targeting.  I understand why that posting gets a lot of hits, because when I tried to find a free crinoline pattern online, I struck out – hence the reason for the post.

Last week as my good friend Barb, was making a flower girl dress for her granddaughter, she asked me for directions on how to make a child’s crinoline.  That request reminded me that I’d started this post a long time ago.  Because of the number of photos and the length of the text, this would have been a really boring and long blog post.  Instead I put the instructions and photos into a really long and boring document.  This is hardly high fashion, but it’s a try at writing instructions.  Now I understand why there are so many patterns which are poorly written – It’s really tough to describe how to sew a garment, even with a lot of photos.

Click below to open the pdf:

Childs Crinoline Pattern

Please leave a comment with feedback on whether this give you the needed information.  Enjoy!





Tutorial: Making a Dress from a T-shirt

Copying Children’s Ready-to-wear

One of my favorite sewing challenges is to copy ready-to-wear, so when DD Angela told me that Caitlin wanted a dress with a T-shirt top and a ruffly skirt, I visited the store where she’d seen the dress and of course, surreptitiously took a photo.  This didn’t seem to difficult.

Before I go further, I should mention that while this tutorial is for making a child’s dress, the same technique would work for an adult.  In fact, here’s a similar idea for a summer dress – this was in a storefront when we were in Greece last spring.  It’s still on my list of things to make someday.


Instead of sewing a t-shirt for the dress, I happened to find a cute one on the sale rack.  In the eyes of a child, I am sure it was far cuter than anything I would make, as it had massive amounts of glitter.  Now that I had the t-shirt, my next stop was the fabric store where I purchased 2″ black twill elastic and 1/4″ green ribbon for the skirt. The lace for the skirt was left over from a previous project.


Tutorial:

1.  If you’re using a purchased t-shirt, it is best to use a fitted style, as opposed to the standard boxy t-shirt.  If not, taper the sides so it is somewhat fitted.

2.  Measure the length you’ll need for the sides of the top of the dress. In this case, for a size 5, I aimed for 6″ on each side.  Cut the t-shirt off at this point, making sure to keep the bottom seam even.  I find that it’s easier to hold the side seams together while cutting as the bottom cut will be more even.

3. Now measure a length of elastic – about 1-2″ longer than the child’s waist, plus 1″ for the overlap.  I used a length of 24″.  This should also be the approximate circumference of the shirt.

4. Overlap the elastic about 1/2 inch and sew together with a zig-zag or straight stitch.

5. Mark the center front and back, and the sides on the elastic with chalk or pins.

6.  Also mark the center front and back on the shirt.  

7.  Pin the elastic to the shirt at the center markings.

8.  Sew the elastic to the shirt, stretching slightly if the top and elastic are not the same size.  A zig-zag stitch works well for this.  On my first attempt, I tried a cover-stitch but it didn’t work well.  Admittedly, I’m rather new to cover-stitching so maybe that was the problem.

9.  Now repeat this process to attach the skirt.  (Your eyes aren’t fooling you – the black colors are different from one another).

I’ll do a later post on how to make this skirt as I need to think about how to describe it before I can do a tutorial.

The dress was a huge hit, as I anticipated.  It was for  Cate’s birthday and she wore it for the entire weekend; she even slept in it one night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What would I do differently?

The obvious is that I’d try to get the blacks a little closer.  Also, this dress just fits so I would have preferred it a little larger.   In this case the 100% cotton t-shirt was 2″ larger than Caitlin’s chest measurement – would go for a larger size the next time.  Other than that, I’d do it the same the next time.  What a fun dress.  Now I need to make a similar one for her big sister.