Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tutorial Tuesday: Make a Wear-Alone Dress from the Storybook Pinafore Pattern

Pretty, frilly, pinafores! Originally pinafores were a protective apron designed to keep the dress beneath clean. (The word 'pinafore' comes from the fact they were originally just "pinned" to the front, or "fore" of a dress.)
Tie Dye Diva Storybook Pinafore Pattern
What if you love their vintage, ruffly goodness but ... well ... just don't want to make an underdress AND a pinafore just to get that sweet look?

Then you ask Robin Seymour to guest post and share with everyone how she made this adorable, breezy, wear-alone dress from the Storybook Pinafore pattern.

And this one.

Cuteness abounds.

Let's get started.

You'll need the Storybook Pinafore pattern and, for baby sizes 0-24 months, about 1/3 yard more fabric than the materials list states, and for girl's sizes, about 1/2 yard more than the materials list states. Robin's used some gorgeous linen-blend fabrics. Robert Kaufman makes some lovely ones, both linen–cotton and linen–rayon. Some of my favorite sites for fabrics like these are Hawthorne Threads and Imagine Gnats.

Here's Robin with the details. She's making a size 2/3. You can use this tutorial for any size Storybook Pinafore, from 0-3 months to 9/10 years.

Assemble the bodice following directions in the pattern.

Now cut your skirt pieces. I add some width to account for the skirt now being a full dress. For baby sizes, add about 5" width to both the front and back skirt panel measurements. For girl sizes, add about 10". I also made the dress about 3 inches longer (on this one I added 1" to the skirt and 2" in ruffle - if you are not adding a ruffle, make your skirt a total of about 1.5" longer for baby sizes and 2" to 3" longer for girl sizes).

Serge or zig zag stitch the short ends of each skirt panel to finish them and prevent fraying.

Now, place your skirt panels right sides together and and start pinning the short side edges together, starting 2.5" from the top [for smaller sizes or a shorter side vent, start closer to the top of the panels].

Sew from this point down to the bottom of your skirt (with a 1/2" seam allowance), sewing your panels together. Do this on both sides.

Next, take your skirt to your ironing board and press both seams open, including the 2.5" portion that isn't sewn. It should look like this.

Now take your skirt over to your machine and top stitch around the V you created in the seams on the skirt. Sew down, across, and back up, about 1/4" from the slit.

Hem your skirt however you want. I added a ruffle to this one.

Now you will sew two rows of gathering stitches along the front panel of the skirt and a second set along the back panel. You will gather the front and back separately - by the same method shown in the pattern. Gather your front panel and pin it right-sides-together with your front waistband, remembering to only pin it to the outer layer, not the liner.

Sew both the front and back skirt panels to the bodice this way and finish according to pattern directions!

Many thanks to Robin for being our guest and sharing this easy technique to get more wear out of your Storybook Pinafore patterns!

Robin Seymour has been sewing for about 4 years now and she found Tie Dye Diva patterns very early in her sewing journey. She has been using them from the start and she knew this pinafore would be perfect for her vision! She is a stay at home mom for 4 beautiful children. She also designs and sews with a boutique named Pepper Laine. Early last year she started a facebook sewing group called Sew And Tell with a few of her friends as well and she loves sharing all her creations and seeing all of theirs. Sewing is a huge part of her life, and she is so glad to have awesome patterns like these from Tie Dye Diva to help her bring her ideas to life!

Friday, April 24, 2015

A Year of Dresses: Big Bow Top with Sterling Leggings

Today is a little bit bitter sweet. It's hard to believe we have arrived at the end of an entire year in the A Year of Dresses series!  But I'm excited to move on to some new Tie Dye Diva blogging adventures too, so don't worry, I'm not going anywhere!  Today we are coming full circle and ending with a Big Bow Top and Dress (this time a top) just like I started with last April.

As I'm sure most of you know, the Big Bow Top and Dress is available as two seperate patterns: Big Bow Baby Dress and Top including sizes 0-24 months and Big Bow Top and Dress for Girls with sizes 2-8.  This is one of those perfect patterns that you will come back to over and over again.  It is a beginner level sewing pattern with no buttons or closures of any kind.  The shoulder ties not only add a cute detail, but also make for an adjustable fit (Sweet Pea can still wear her Big Bow from a year ago, though it is shorter).  And, it's a perfect pattern for wearing alone as well as layering so you will use it year round.  Wear the bow in front or back, make a top or dress, and choose from regular hem, hem band, or ruffled hem!

I paired the Big Bow Top with Sterling Ruffled Shorties (the first pair of shorties I've made with the ruffles!) for a perfect summer outfit.  Sterling Ruffled Shorties and Leggings include nine sizes from 12 months through girls 9/10; you'll use this pattern for years to come.  The pattern includes full length leggings with single, double, or no ruffle options and ruffled shorties with single or double ruffle options.  Also try hemming your shorties for perfect modesty shorts to wear under those summer dresses. Shorties are so quick and easy to sew, you'll wonder why you didn't make them earlier.  And, if you have a difficult to fit child, you'll be in love!  Sweet Pea is tall and skinny, so she is wearing a 12-18 month width (according to her hip measurement) with a 2T length.  They are perfect!

For this top I used the Double Sided Bow Tutorial to make a two fabric bow with no hemming.  This is the first time I have used this tutorial and I love the look.  It was super quick and easy too!  We will be grabbing this outfit all summer long. Most of Sweet Pea's mama made clothing is dresses right now, but I think we need to add a few more cute tops like this one.

Thanks for reading! One last time, here's your quick pattern rundown:

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Year of Dresses: Sweet Summer Halter with a Patchwork Skirt Tutorial

The Sweet Summer Halter.... I seriously do not see enough of these dresses! It is such a sweet, unique pattern, and it's perfect for summer days.  I've had in mind for some time to make a patchwork skirt on a dress using charm squares and this pattern was perfect for that too!

First, a little about the Sweet Summer Halter. The pattern is available in baby sizes from 0-24 months and in girls sizes 2-8.  This dress features contrast straps, elasticized back, gathered skirt, and a hem band.  Sweet Summer Halter is a pattern for an intermediate or confident beginner seamstress. In this pattern Jen will teach you how to piece curved seams to make the contrast straps on the bodice.  As always, you can count on Jen's detailed instructions to walk you through each step of the way.

Sweet Pea wasn't really in a smiling for pictures mood....
But, she is rocking the sunglasses!
Sweet Pea is wearing a size 2/3 Sweet Summer Halter.  The girls version of this pattern has combined sizes because the halter strap makes this dress very adjustable.  The dress is falling just below Sweet Pea's knees right now and will continue to fit for several more inches by loosening the halter strap.  Of course it is easy to adjust the length of the skirt portion of this pattern too.  Want a summer maxi? No problem.  Simply add your desired amount of length.  Looking for a tunic?  That's easy too, just shorten the skirt portion!  

Now, how about making that patchwork skirt?  I've wanted to do this forever and was gifted this sweet collection of charm squares.  They are so summery I knew now was the time to use them.

Making a patchwork skirt is really quite easy.  We are going to begin by making our charm squares into a single fabric.  Look at the cutting chart (or measure your pattern piece) to determine how large a piece of fabric you need to make.  Make sure you account both the front and back pieces.  Charm squares are 5" square.  We are going to join them with a 1/4" seam allowance so each square will be 4 1/2" finished. To determine the number of squares you need divide the width by 4.5; this is the number of square across. Then also divide the length by 4.5 to determine the number of squares down you need.    For example, if your pattern has a skirt that measures 27" wide by 13" long, you need six squares across (27 / 4.5 = 6) and 3 squares down (13 / 4.5 = 2.88). Round up to the nearest whole number as I did for the number of squares down. Remember if you are making a gathered skirt, a little extra fullness will not matter. Now lay out your squares in an arrangement that you like.  You will notice that I offset my squares so that there are no seams to match up when sewing together, this will make your job a lot easier! You can see below, I need to add one more square to the left side of my middle row still.

Here I try out my bodice and straps

Now I'm visualizing the hem band
Once I had an arrangement I liked, I repeated it to account for the back.  Next, sew your rows together, remember we are using a 1/4" seam allowance. I serged mine, but charm squares are cut with a pinked edge, so finishing the seam is not necessary.  I labeled each row so I would keep then in the right order.  Here you can see that I have each row twice as long as above.

After sewing your rows, press all the seam allowances to one side. Now you are ready to sew your rows together.  Match each block seam to the center of the block below it and pin. Sew (again I serged) and press the seam allowances down.

The final step is to trim the extra half a block on each end of the middle row.

You now have your finished 'fabric' for your skirt.  If your skirt is a rectangle measure your patchwork fabric and trim as needed for the correct size.  You can also use your patchwork fabric for other shaped pattern pieces. Simply place your pattern piece on the fabric and cut as you normally would.

Because I included front and back measurements in my patchwork fabric I only needed to sew a single side seam to complete my skirt. If you are adding a hem band as on the Sweet Summer Halter, I suggest waiting to cut it until you have completed your patchwork. Measure your skirt before cutting the hem band to make sure your hem band the right width.  Now simply finish your dress as you would with any pattern!

 We went to the park on this beautiful, spring day and Sweet Pea had a great time playing in her Patchwork Sweet Summer Halter.

Here's your Sweet Summer Halter Details:

Friday, April 10, 2015

A Year of Dresses: Easy Peasy Peasant

A Year of Dresses would not be complete with out another look at the Easy Peasy Peasant Pattern.  Perhaps I'm biased, but it is the cutest, easiest, most versatile, peasant dress out there. If Sweet Pea didn't already have 52 dresses in her closet (only a slight exaggeration...), I'd be whipping up a bunch of these for careless summer days.  I'll likely make her a couple more even though she doesn't need them!

The Easy Peasy Peasant pattern is available in both baby and girls sizes.  You can purchase them separately, Baby sizes from 0-24 months and girls sizes from 2-10 or purchase all ten sizes bundled together at a discounted rate.  With long, 3/4, short, and flutter sleeve options you will grab this pattern all year long!  Add the hem ruffle, I personally love it, or choose a plain hem for an even quicker sewing project. With start to finish time coming in around an hour, this dress is great for last minute gifts, tomorrow's sports game, and stock in your booth.

Here's a quick peek at the four sleeve and two hem options.  Today Sweet Pea is wearing short puff sleeves with a ruffle.

You can also choose to omit the elastic from the sleeves for an 'angel' sleeve look. This also shows a plain hem.

Flutter sleeves with a ruffle.  So perfect for summer!

I love the look of 3/4 sleeves, this one also shown with a ruffle.

Dress by tester from Daker Girls Designs.
`And of course long sleeves with no ruffle.   A perfect look with leggings and boots for winter!

The perfect a-line shape really makes this dress stand out.  This is not a boxy peasant, but has been carefully drafted to have a slimmer upper body and lovely, stand out, a-line hem.  It looks so sweet on!  Embellishment options are endless on this dress.  I added ribbon and lace to the ruffle seam on this dress for the perfect finish.

Other great options include a bow as shown above, see how to make it in this post; try a double layer flower from Jen's free tutorial, or perhaps a couple cute gathered pockets for storing treasures! 

While you're sewing for spring and summer be sure to grab your Sterling Shorties and Leggings pattern too. This is another pattern that I grab constantly.  Today Sweet Pea is wearing Shorties hemmed, instead of adding the ruffle, and they are perfect for little girl modesty! I add them under just about all her dresses and skirts then don't worry about playing at the playground.  I actually need to whip up several new pairs now that our weather is nice.  This pair is from last year and while they still fit just fine, the length is 12-18 months and I'd like them a wee bit longer.  If you remember from a few weeks back, Sweet Pea's waist is still 12-18 months but she needs a 2T length on her legs. Of course the one time I would like a picture of her shorts she was being quite ladylike!

Here's your quick pattern rundown for this week.

  • Easy Peasy Peasant Dress pattern for sizes 0-3 months through girls 9/10
  • Four sleeve options
  • Ruffled or plain hem
  • Perfect fit and a-line shape
  • Beginner level pattern
  • Quick project. Make it during nap or after dinner