Sewing for Sisters Day 4

So today we talk a little more about sewing. When we found out we were having another girl I was shocked to say the least. This pregnancy has been nothing like my first, from day one. This time I was tremendously sick, craved all kinds of weird, very unhealthy things and just felt quite different. However, having another will have its upside in that I can reuse all the fun things I have made The Elder A over the years and I have all the more reason to expand my sewing skills since they will be well used on 2 girls.

There is one problem though having them this far apart, 3 ½ years, not many patterns stretch from Newborn to 3T. Most only go from Newborn to 2T and then others start at 3 and go to 7 or 8. So making all those adorable matching outfits has been a challenge. I did find one pattern from oliver + s that I love. Yes I had to buy 2 separate patterns but it was too cute to pass up.

So in wracking my brain to figure out what to make I thought…duh preggers….pillowcase dresses. There is no size limit on those and they will be perfect for this ruthless Alabama heat. So I set out to make matching dresses and here is how I did it. It isn’t very scientific or very precise, I just kind of took measurements from The Elder A and quesstimated (that’s a technical term) what might be so fingers crossed hers fits.

Sew Sisterly Pillowcase Dress

What you will need:

A couple of yards matching fabric for the main piece, depending on your chosen sizes.

A yard or 2 of a coordinating fabric if you chose to do a bottom band, as I did.

Matching thread

Bias tape, if you do not want to make your own

A sleeveless dress that fits well for the armhole cut outs

Ribbon for the ties unless you chose to make them out of one of your fabrics

So here we go.

Take some basic measurements, if you can, of the child the dress will be for. For The Elder A I measured from her high shoulder down to where the dress should end. I will say for her I did a pillowcase top rather than dress because she has TONS of dresses, but anywho. Then if you are doing a main piece and bottom band decide how wide you want the bottom band, subtract that from the total length and there you have your 2 pieces. The great thing about this type dress is you don’t have to be 100% precise. On my dresses I had my bottom band be folded over on itself so my measurement for it was doubled but you don’t have to do that if you want it as a single layer.

Don’t forget to factor in seam allowance (I  used ½”) and enough to fold over the top of the dress to form a casing for the ribbon ties (I used 1”).

Then cut your pieces ON THE FOLD. Doing this makes you have only one side seam, so so easy. I made mine about 16” wide by the length I figured for each girl (so basically 10 ¾”x 16” for as an example) The wider it is the fuller it will be so again that is all in personal preference. After trying hers on The Elder A needed to be taken in on the sides a bit, since it was more of a top so it could have been more like 13” wide, it was just too full for a top at 16”.

Cut parts for one dress

Now take your main dress piece and with right sides together sew up the one side seam and finish the edge. If you have serger it makes quick work of this.

Now take your bottom band, if you chose to use one, and with right sides together sew it into a circle at the short ends. Press that seam open and then fold it in half, WRONG sides together, and press again.

Bottom band sewn and folded in half

Then line up the raw edges to the main dress piece, right sides to together, matching side seams and sew and finish that edge. Now you have the workings of a full dress, turn it right sides out.

Bottom band and main dress pined right sides together

Now the toughest part, which isn’t hard at all….cutting the arm holes. Take a sleeveless top or dress, that fits well, and fold it in half at the arm hole. Lay that arm hole opening over the dress square at the top edge. Using a fabric pen draw the cutout of the arm hole onto the dress and cut. It is basically a curve that is wider at the top than bottom. There are several places online you can find to download armhole patterns but they never seemed to fit The Elder A right, they were always too large. The general rule I have found is 1.5 inches to 2 inches measured in from each side, and 3 inches to 4 inches curved down.

Armhole cutout

Now be careful here if you used a serger because you just cut into your serged seam and if you pull too much it might start to come unraveled. I go back and do a small straight stitch at the top of each armhole just to reinforce it.

Now take either your purchased bias or bias you made had cover the raw edges of the arm hole. Making bias is super easy. The hardest part is cutting on the bias if you ask me, that and not burning your fingers when you iron it. The Prudent Baby has a great tutorial on it, as does Dana from made. Check them out if you want to learn to make your own. Be careful here not to stretch the bias tape or the dress out of shape as you sew the bias on. I have made many a whanky armhole by pulling in the dress while I sewed the tape down (bad Donya, I know).

Bias tape covering raw edges of armhole

Now that you have the dress cut, sewn and armholes bound time to make a casing. Again if you have a serger with a coverstitch, use it to make an appropriate size casing. (I swear that one stitch on my serger was worth every penny) otherwise just finish the raw edge at the top of the dress, fold down enough room for your chosen ties and sew.

Casing for ribbon ties

Last thing, run the ribbon, rick rack, fabric ties whatever you chose through the casing and gather the dress to the needed size. Again if you have the child you are making this for around put it on them and fit it to them BUT if they are being stubborn and refuse to be born, just estimate it. Here is something I have found is a MUST do. Once you know how much to gather the dress, pin the ties to the dress and SEW THEM DOWN. This saves two things, one being the ties will not get lost in the washer….never to be seen again and two you little one can’t pull a Houdini and undress herself by simply pulling a tie loose and out of its casing.

For the ties I like to have an older girl with a tie on each shoulder, meaning I need 2 ties of equal length that will meet on the shoulders. For babies and younger girls I just do one long tie and run it though both front and back sides of the dress and tie on one side. I have found younger ones, mine at least, rarely stay still long enough to tie one, much less 2 ties.

And there you have it, matching pillowcase dresses. So simple right?!?! I can’t wait for to get here so I can try it on her and they can be all matchy sisterly cute. I will post pics of them wearing these as soon as this immovable child decides she wants to meet the world. Seriously send me baby having vibes….please…I’m so hot and whale like.

So tomorrow I have an awesome Mom who knows all about having little girls because she has 5 OF THEM….yes 5. Katy from no big dill is going to guest blog for me to end Sewing for Sisters week. I am so pumped!!! She is such an inspiration and her daughters have the coolest names. I can’t wait for everyone to read her post so come back tomorrow for our last day of the series. Thanks everyone and Keep it Stitchin’

Donya

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Mix it up Momma

So I love, love, love Jessica over at Me Sew Crazy. She is just adorable and makes the most fabulous collections for her little girls each season…and at this point doing it all while PREGGERS!! (oh to have that kind of time management skills)

She is currently doing her Pattern Remix series where she encourages us fellow sewtastics (you like that I just made that word up) to take another look at a favorite pattern and mix it up a little. I have been known to remake an old something into a new something “better” so I took her challenge to heart and decided to do some selfish sewing and remake a pattern from another one of my bloggy goddess, Mad Mim. Mim has this amazing pattern for her Turn About the Room dress that I have wanted to do. But one look in my closet will tell you, I need another dress about as much as I need another doughnut…..ooooohh doughnuts. (focus Donya) So what’s an 8 month preggers to do? Whack off the length, get rid of the sleeves and call it D.O.N.E

Ignore the wads of pulled up hair and messy makeup....I told you it is HOT in Bama people.

I had this really fun print but it would have been a bit “much” to do the entire top in so I decided to add a bit of solid white to give the eye a place to rest…a place other than on my ginormous belly. So I took Mim’s awesome pattern and made the bodice solid white, the neck drape in the print and the tunic skirt in the print. Oh and because it is ALREADY 92° in Alabama(it’s early May people, this is not fun) I decided to make the top sleeveless. I used my FABULOUS Mother’s Day present to do a cover stitch around the arm holes and a rolled hem along the bottom.

Umm yea my husband rocks face like that....Happy Mommy Day to me!!!

I think it turned out really cute and it is wonderfully comfy. I am actually planning to take this in my hospital bag to wear home after is born…that is if it isn’t dirty because I wear it ALL the time.

Thanks Jessica for inspiring me to shake it up a little and thanks to Mad Mim for putting these awesome patterns out there for all us Mommies-to-be.

What patterns do you love to remix? Show me what you have been up to bloggy buddies. Go over to Me Sew Crazy and add your creations to the Pattern Remix Flickr group.

Happy Sewing.

*******Donya

Make Mommy Happy 30 Minute Dress

As seen on CraftGossip.com
Ok, so have you ever been all psyched to go someplace, like thinking about it for weeks, all planned out what to wear down to the shoes and then…….you live in Alabama and it storms like when Noah built the ark the day before and the temp drops 20° and it is now going to be down right windy/cold on the big day and that outfit that makes you feel super pretty and oh so fashionable will now make you look like you don’t have a brain in your head because you don’t pay attention to the weather as you freeze from the lack of arm/leg coverage and on top of all this you are 7 months preggers and feel like a whale? Really….just me….odd. Anyway this was my dilemma on Friday night leading into Saturday. Nice way to start the weekend huh?!

So as I sat watching the storms roll in on Friday all I could think of is “Great now what am I going to wear tomorrow?” As you know from reading my earlier post I am a HUGE nay, COLOSSAL fan of Alabama Football and this Saturday was the spring football scrimmage game. Trust me people it is an event not to be missed and I had looked forward to it for weeks.

So come Saturday morning the weather was sooooo not cooperative and the cute little non-maternity big giant whale looking dress was not going to work at all. So what is a resourceful Mommy with a serger, an old t-shirt and some red knit to do….make a new dress!!! Woot Woot!!

So here it is the Make Mommy Happy 30 Minute Dress. I knew it had to be super simple because I literally had only an hour to whip something up, so I looked in my closet to see what I could cut into and in true Tim Gunn fashion “Make it work”.

I found this old, stretched out tee I had from my first pregnancy, note the 2007 at the bottom, so we know we won’t be wearing that again. It was ¾ sleeves so that would help with the coldness issue and was white which is one of Bama’s colors. Bonus this is a maternity shirt so it would accommodate the uhhh “girls”.

So I put it on and roughly marked where to cut it off, right below the bust line. So then I took my rotary cutter to it and BAM, I had the top half of a soon-to-be maxi dress.

This next part was the tricky part. I had a big cut of red knit, Bama’s other team color, so I knew I had enough to fit the bump but had never done a maternity anything before. I don’t like the look of most maternity dresses because they all seem to have WAY too much fabric in the front panel for me. My baby belly isn’t that big yet so I don’t need a tent of a dress. Plus I kinda like it to “fit’ and show off the pregger bump.

I knew I wanted it long, to again combat the cold, so I measured down from the edge of the cut t-shirt to ankle length (for me it was 40”), taking into account for seam allowance (ended up being ½”) and cut the fabric to that length.

Then came the fitting the bump part. I knew the easiest/quickest way would be to cut it on the fold rather than sewing 2 panels together. Being short on time I literally held the cut fabric around me, again taking into account for the seam, and pinned it down a couple of inches. I then slid it off and measured what I had pinned. For me it ended up at 41” and with the ½” seam I cut it to 41 ½”.

Remember the other end is the fold

Then I ran waddled to my trusty serger and got to work. I sewed up the skirt first. Simple enough, one seam up the side and it was done.

Then I took the cut off shirt and matched a side seam to the new skirt seam I had just made. The fates must have been smiling on me because the shirt and skirt ended up lining up perfectly, no gathering needed. (I told you the shirt was kind of stretched out). If I were to do this over, which I am totally going to, I would put some gathers in the front to add a bit of fun detail and again show off the bump, but this was about time and ease.

So once I had the shirt pinned to the new skirt, right sides together I went back to the serger and sewed it up into a full dress. As for the bottom hem I left it raw. That is the awesome thing about knit, you never have to finish a hem if you don’t want to.

That was it!! I was done. To dress it up a bit I put on a belt that went with another dress and voilà a new maxi dress in 30 minutes (and a darn cute one if I do say so myself).  When I make this again I will likely do a “waistband” (how funny to think of having a waist this preggers) that ties around back.

It isn’t perfect and the seam joining the skirt to top got a little puckered as I wore it but under the belt no one could see. I actually got a couple of compliments on it and it made me feel cute and super proud of myself and at 7 months pregnant that is worth its weight in gold!

So if you have 30 minutes and some fabric to spare give it a whirl. What do you have to lose, an old t-shirt and an episode of Mickey Mouse Club House? Happy crafting and thanks for reading.

On a side note, I was truly inspired to make this dress by Mim over at MadMim. She has a whole series of Sewing for a Belly. I will so be making the Airport Maxi dress very soon. Thanks for the inspiration!!

Here are some linky parties I am showing this dress off in this week. Thanks for the parties ladies.

Sumo Sweet Stuff

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