Sunday, April 24, 2016

3 Ways to Spice Up Your Sewn Garments (and where to shop!)

Our Butterfly Dress pattern for Girls
You don’t need me to tell you that lace and trims can make all the difference in taking a handmade garment from just “OK” to flat-out gorgeous. Let’s take a look at some places to find these special adornments, and three ways to use them to spice up your handmade.

First, where to get these pretties? You can buy lace, ribbon, and buttons from most fabric stores and online fabric sites, but specialty and vintage shops always have the most interesting selections. Specialty sites like Lace Heaven, Cheep Trims and Vintage Trims are a few places to start, though some only sell in bulk quantities. My favorite 'secret' place to buy crochet lace trim by the yard or in bulk is Dharma Trading Company. All the cotton laces are white, but can be easily dyed or tea-stained to suit your project.

Etsy is a great place to seek out vintage trims. One of my favorite etsy shops for vintage trims and notions is Pink Floor Studio (and read on for a special discount!). Lucky me, it is owned by my friend Molly and her mom Viveca so I got to shop in person one day, right there in their pretty studio, and yes, it has a pink floor. Everything is impeccably organized and carefully curated to be a quality, beautiful selection.

Some of the vintage trims, laces, and buttons at Pink Floor Studio.

Vintage suitcases hold buttons organized by color
I got to sit here to sort through all the wonderful wares. See the pink floor?
The ribbons!
Lace collars to swoon for.
Buttons - buttons that match!
This is not even everything I came home with!
You can find so many vintage goodies at Pink Floor Studio on etsy, and new listings going up all the time. Molly and Viveca even have a special discount code for you! Use code PINKTDD for 10% off your order at through Monday, 5/2.

and your order will come beautifully wrapped too!
Now, how to use these beautiful adornments? Here are three ways.

1. Trim a Hem.  

Lace or other trim at a hem is a great way to finish a hem and add a really special touch at the same time. It makes finishing those difficult-to-hem circle skirts a snap!

To add lace or trim to a hem, finish the raw edge of your garment (with a serger or sewing machine) and pin the trim to the right side of the garment (right sides together), overlapping the ends. I prefer not to cut my trim yet - or I cut it longer than I know I will need, just in case the trim runs short when it's actually sewn on. Remember, everything *above* the stitching line at this point is what will show below the stitching line when you're finished, so place your trim accordingly. Here, the scalloped finished edge of my eyelet will show at the hem when I'm done. 

Stitch around and finish the ends by overlapping or seaming them. Press the seam allowance to the wrong side, and topstitch into place.

Our Garnet Dress Pattern for Girls
Don’t just stop at the hems of dresses or skirts - try pant and sleeve hems too!

2.  Embellish a Bodice.

This is so easy to do! Before constructing, find the exact center of your main fabric bodice and embellish away with laces and trims. Save buttons or more bulky embellishments like ribbon or crocheted flowers for last.

Our Butterfly and Fair & Square Dress patterns
Our Perfect Party Dress pattern, with optional bib.
Our Butterfly Dress Pattern
Our Fair & Square Top and Dress Pattern with added Universal Flutter (and Knot or Not Headband).

3.  Highlight a Seam.

Piping, rickrack, and other trims can be used in almost any seam and adds a nice finished look, plus a pop of color or texture. It's especially fun to call attention to seams with an interesting shape, like the bib of our Jon and Janie Romper pattern, the curved side panel seams of our Daffodil Top pattern, or the pockets of our Chocolate Chip Skirt pattern for Women or Potato Chip Skirt pattern for Girls.

Potato Chip Skirt Pattern

I added a little extra detail to the Daffodil Top (lengthened to a dress per our instructions from Daffodil Sew Along Day 1) just to showcase some more lovely trims and my vintage buttons from Pink Floor! It's just a rectangle of fabric with rounded bottom corners and the top trimmed to the curve of the neckline. I then pinned the piping and lace right sides together around the three sides, leaving out the neckline edge. I sewed it into place and turned the seam allowance to the wrong side - this is the exact same process described in trimming a hem above. Then I topstitched the detail to the bodice and added buttons as a finish.

Just a final note - take care when buying and using vintage trims, some can lose their integrity over time - prewash and test out your selections before embellishing.

Friday, April 15, 2016

How to add a Faux Placket to the Potato Chip Skirt

Adding a faux placket to the Potato Chip Skirt pattern is a fun and easy way to add an extra detail to this incredibly versatile skirt.  With just a couple simple steps you'll have added a faux button placket and be sewing on your way.

The Potato Chip Skirt pattern features a flat front with elastic back for a sleek look that's easy to fit.  Inset pockets store every girl's special treasures. Make your skirt reversible (2 looks in one skirt!), lined, or unlined.  With sizes 12-18 months through girls 13/14, you'll grab this pattern over and over for years to come. We bet you can't stop at just one!

Today I'm using fabric from the Seafarer collection by Anna Griffin.  This fabric was generously provided to us by Blend Fabrics so that we can bring you great tutorials like this one.

Let's add a faux placket!  While I am using the girls Potato Chip pattern, these same steps can be used to add a faux placket to the women's Chocolate Chip pattern also.  To begin we need to add a little extra fabric to the front pattern piece to allow room for the folded packet.  To do this move the skirt front piece away from the fold 1".  This will add two extra inches to the skirt front and create a 1" finished placket.  For larger sizes (7/8 and up) I recommend moving the pattern piece 1 1/2" from the folded edge for a slightly deeper placket.

Cut the remaining pattern pieces without alteration.  This faux placket will work with either a lined or unlined skirt.  It is not suitable for a reversible skirt.  Today I have made the lined version.

Mark top and bottom center front of the skirt front piece and mark 1/2" on either side of center (3/4" for larger sizes).  This is the folding guide for the placket.

 To form the placket, pinch on the mark left of center and fold on the mark right of center.  This will create a 1" (1 1/2" for larger sizes) pleat at the center front.  Press with steam to create crisp folds. Baste across the top edge of the skirt, but do not baste the bottom yet.

At this point, also mark button and buttonhole placement.  Begin with the first button 1" from the top edge and place about every 2" down the front of the skirt.  Do not sew yet.  Continue with the skirt construction as per the instructions up to the point of joining the lining and main skirts (if you've chosen to add a lining) in the second half of step 3 in the instructions.  When hemming the skirt, unfold the pressed placket and hem, then re-press the placket. Baste across the bottom edge at this point.

Now we will add buttons and buttonholes.  I have added horizontal buttonholes for the aesthetics, however, if you prefer not to add buttonholes, simply skip them and sew buttons.  I have used 5/8" buttons and 3/4" buttonholes.  If you have made a deeper placket on larger sizes you may use a larger button and buttonhole.  Sew buttonholes as previously marked, but do not cut them open.  These buttonholes are just for looks!  Then sew buttons directly on top and centered on the buttonholes.

Remove the basting thread from the bottom of the skirt (leave it in the top, it will be concealed in the waistband), and finish your Potato Chip skirt per the skirt instructions.  You now have a faux placket for a fun new twist on your favorite Potato Chip skirt pattern!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Vintage Inspired Cross Back Pinafore

Have you ever wanted to make a classically vintage cross back Pinafore?  Today we will show you how to do just that using our Storybook Pinafore pattern.  With just a few modifications, you’ll have a brand new look! I have paired my modified Storybook Pinafore with the super easy and versatile Easy Peasy Peasant Dress. If you've not sewn for Easter yet, look no farther! This outfit goes together quickly and is sure to please!

We saw this image on Pinterest linked to Little Pink Studio Blog who used the images to make vintage hankie journals.
We fell in love with the pinafore!
(image from Little Pink Studio)
Inspiration was born, and today we give you our version of a cross back pinafore! While I didn't photo it this way, the pinafore could also be worn alone as seen above for a cool and breezy summer look.


Let’s start with cutting out.  Cut these pieces:
  • Two skirt pieces according to the cutting chart, but cut the skirts 5” wider per piece.
  • One bodice piece, not the two directed in the pattern.
  • Four waistband pieces.  Add the following amount to both short edges of the waistband piece before cutting. This will lengthen the waistband to fit around when eliminating the side ties. By adding to each side we keep the center point accurate for attaching the bodice.

Add to both short edges
0-3 months
3-6 months
6-12 months
12-18 months
18-24 months

  • Four straps. For infant through sizes 2/3 cut 2 ¼” x 36”.   For sizes 4/5 - 9/10 cut straps 2¼” x 44”. Place the strap pattern piece over top of your long straps and mark the end that the straps is aligned with and the end of the strap pattern piece.  This will be your flutter placement.
  • Two flutter pieces per the pattern.
  • Do not cut tie pieces
  • Optionally, cut pocket.

Here's what you should have cut:

Now, let's sew!  There are several changes in the construction, but I’ll stick to the order of steps for the Storybook Pinafore as well as I can.

Start with preparing the flutter as directed in Step 1. Then we will prepare the skirt by placing the two skirt pieces right side together and sewing the side side seams with a ½” seam allowance. Finish these seams.  Sew gathering threads at ⅜” and ⅝” from the top edge. Now hem by folding up the amount directed in the pattern.  If you are adding a pocket, do that now.

Next we will move on to constructing the bodice.  Lay out the bodice and straps as seen on page 7 of the instructions, except you have just one bodice piece and extra long straps.  Align the marked end of the strap with the bodice.  Sew the straps to the bodice and continue the seam to the end of the straps. Repeat for the other side.  Do not topstitch yet.

Attach the flutters as directed in the pattern gathering from bodice edge to the mark mid strap.  Be sure that the end of the flutter is within the seam allowance so that the end will be entirely enclosed in the strap. 

Finish the flutter and strap in the same manner as directed in the pattern.  To finish the extended strap fold under the end ½” and the unfinished portion of the strap and strap lining ½”. A little glue stick or wash away wonder tape can be helpful here.  
Note: because of the sheerness of my fabric
I have trimmed the seam allowance to 1/4"
Finally, topstitch starting at the bodice/strap seam, around the end of the strap, and down the flutter/strap edge.  The bodice is complete!

Let’s move on to the waistband.  Sew two waistband pieces together on the short sides.  Sew the remaining two together in the same manner, this will be the waistband lining.  You do not need to finish these seams.  Press the bottom edge of the waistband lining up ⅜”.  This will enable us to enclose the waist seam. 

Next, sandwich the bodice with the waistband and waistband lining in the same manner as described on page 11 of the Storybook Pinafore.  The only difference is that your waistbands have been sewn together to form a loop. Be sure that the center of the bodice is aligned with the center front of the waistband. Sew the waistband, bodice and waistband lining together.

Now we need to sew buttonholes for the straps to pass through on the back of the waistband.  Mark the buttonholes ⅝” from the top edge of the waistband and directly opposite the straps on the front as shown below. Sew buttonholes that are 1-1 ¼” long (1 1/4" is preferable if your machine will make them that long). I suggest slipping scraps of interfacing into the waistband at the buttonhole locations to add some strength and stability.

Finally, attach the skirt.  Gather the skirt to match the waistband. Pin in place being sure to keep the waistband lining free.  Sew and remove gathering threads. Enclose the seam in the same manner as shown on page 11, be sure to read the pink pin tip on page 9 also. Finish by topstitching both top and bottom edge of the waistband.

Your modified Storybook Pinafore is complete! Wear by crossing the straps across the back and passing through the buttonholes. Tie the straps in a bow!

If you'd like to take advantage of the discount bundle of all 10 sizes of the Storybook Pinafore Pattern, from 0 months to 10 years, we've returned it to the TDD shop for a limited time and you can find it at the link.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sew Along Wrap Up - A Parade of Daffodils!

I can't think of anything that would bring sunshine into this rainy California day better than a parade of Daffodils! Rachel and I so enjoyed seeing all the wonderful tops (and dresses!) you made during our Daffodil Sew Along using the Tie Dye Diva Daffodil Top pattern. We're so glad to see so many trying new techniques and creative ideas, and using the sew-along bonus options like dress length, pockets, princess-seam trims, and flutter sleeves!

Let's get to the parade!

Nicole used pom fringe and a piped bodice detail!
Elizabeth's beauty in butterflies!
(Clockwise from left) Gorgeous contrasting center panels by Leigh Ann, Nicole, and Kathy!
Bright and beautiful by Valerie, Susan, and Patricia!
Let's get another look at Susan's adorable girl in mermaids!
Christina gave such attention to the details for a sweet vintage look!
Meg and Rachel made these so fabulous in florals!
When you are cute as Vicki's baby, who needs pants? I love the use of complimentary prints on the panels.

Joanna made adorable tops for twin sisters!
Dress length Daffodils by Susan and Brenda!
Tara's, Martha's and Randi's let gorgeous fabrics do the talking!
Christina and Christine used the sew-along-exclusive flutter sleeve!
Sue and Marilyn used such sweet little prints!
Helen's cutie with piping and a Minnie print!
These Daffodil top and capri sets are fit for princesses! Made by Tami and Bonnie Jeanne.
What could be more perfect for a Daffodil than yellows? These by Petra and Katherine.
(Clockwise from left): Be still my heart! Daffodils with piping and trims by Molly, Elaine, and Sue!
If you missed the sew along, you can find the posts here on the TDD blog.

Sew Along Links:
Day 3: Adding Flutters