The summer clothes wardrobe is out, dear friends, and it is lacking. My girlies who are seven and five positively live for their summer clothes -- so much so that I have to hide shorts and bathing suits lest they run around in them in the winter! Last week I pulled out the summer bin and it is clear that my oldest daughter's selection of summer play dresses is non-existant and that simply won't do.
Enter, the t-shirt dress?
It's been roughly a million years since I've worked with knits but gosh darn it they are so deliciously light and soft and play-worthy that I felt compelled to pick some up and give 'em a shot. At Target I grabbed a $5 tee (Cherokee brand, in case you care to know) and then the kiddos and I went to Hancock and picked out a matching knit for the skirt. Feeling lazy, I also purchased a $2 knit dress pattern to pirate for the skirt.
As luck would have it, the dress pattern was exactly the same size as the t-shirt I had purchased and I didn't have to alter the size of the skirt pattern pieces to match the tee! And since it was a perfect match, I went ahead and cut the bottom of my tee to match the front and back pattern pieces where the waist would meet the skirt.
Sadly the yard of 60" knit fabric I bought (knit is so expensive!!!), was not wide enough to accommodate the length of skirt we wanted, and I had to make the skirt pattern narrower.
One method to narrow a skirt is to slash the pattern up to the waistline and overlap it at the hem. This adjusts the waistline properly and keeps the "swing" of the skirt the same way the pattern intended it to be. You can take the extra off of the sides of the skirt but that can change the way the skirt hangs and I didn't want to take that chance.
Incidentally, the knit had a one-way print. (This post explains a one-way print.) I pretended not to notice, (aka, cut it like it was a two-way print) while mentally chiding the laziness and greediness of that darn design company! Seriously, they couldn't have taken thirty seconds to turn a few of those flower motif's upside down so that it could be cut both directions? Criminal.
Anyway, in the spirit of embracing the knit, I picked up a special stretch twin needle. Such novelty! I had taken a gander at these pointers on sewing with knits and found them super helpful. However, when I tried the twin needle with the walking presser foot, this sort of thing kept happening on the back:
Horrible dropped stitches no matter what tension I used. So I got rid of the walking presser foot and the problem went away.
*Updated to add -- Using the double needle on the waist seam was a mistake because the hanging fabric of the skirt pulled the "stretch" stitches until they showed. I'll be using the triple-stitch stretch stitch setting (say that three times fast!) on my machine with a single needle for waistlines from now on.*
Can you tell by the pics that I was sewing by candlelight? Just kidding. It was a real light -- at midnight ;o).
You had better believe I was very careful not to run over a pin. No need for a broken double needle crisis.
I turned the fabric up just once for the hem and pressed it after this last picture was taken.
I aspire to take Pinterest worthy pictures, CLEARLY.
I tried making some sort of waistband fanciness with the extra fabric from the t-shirt, but it didn't seem right and I ditched it for the simple look, as modeled here by it's new owner:
Um, no, those are not her glasses! But she would look cute in them, now wouldn't she?
Roo has declared this dress "SO SOFT" and has decided to wear it forever. Also, it appears to be stuffed animal approved.
Now, as to whether or not I'll be making more of these dresses? Yes, definitely! With tank tops too.
The total cost of this one with the shirt, fabric, and thread (we won't count the pattern and needle since those are general supplies) was about $15. That's a bit steep in my opinion, especially for something I then have to make! But I can see using thrifted tees and thrifted fabric (from XL women's shirts) to do the same thing for a fraction of that.
My girls would be over the moon.
And now that I'm all set up to make more knit stuff, I see summer nightgowns in our future.
On a side note, this was not a quick make for me. It seems sewing is not necessarily a faster enterprise the more you know. Or am I over-thinking things? Is this a universal problem or is it me?
Brace yourselves, there's probably going to be a slew of posts as I catch up on all of the most recent makings.
Not long ago my friend Jacqueline commissioned me to make her sweet little girl an apron and when asked if she had any special requests, she gave me the best possible answer "no particular color in mind - let your creative juices flow."
Well you know that means I agonized for weeks over the millions of children's prints on the market right now. Princesses? Kittens? Hedgehogs? (Not even joking -- there are some shockingly adorable hedgehog fabrics out there.) And then I came upon "Quiet Time" by Michael Miller and knew it was just the thing.
Lil Miss Abigail, the apron recipient, is a book lover. A mini me of her mother, no doubt!
The sewing pattern is a tried and true one that you've seen before (think here, and here), but with a twist. Instead of square pockets, this one has "open book" pockets with fussy cut images from the main fabric for the spines.
Aprons are so fun to make! Why do I forget this? If you know the sewing basics and need a creative fix, make an apron. It will do you good.
Happily, the apron fit Abigail with a little room to grow.
(Embroidered on one pocket is "by ACK" -- for that day when she writes her own book.)
In this last pic you can just barely see her little sister wearing the first apron I made for Abigail for her birthday years ago. Hop over to Jacqueline's blog and there's a better photo of that one on spunky little Eleanor (here). Same sewing pattern, different flare.
Finally! Finally had the chance to put together a duvet for my three-year-old son's bed.
The orange fabric is a wideback (108") cotton that I purchased online and the back is just white muslin I had on hand from the girl's curtains. I only bought a yard and a half so the finished cover is not quite as wide as a standard-sized twin.
I personally dislike buttons on duvet covers as they last about a washing before the button holes stretch and the buttons start falling out leaving an ugly herniated comforter problem at the end of the bed. (Apparently I feel more strongly about this than I realized because I just used the words "ugly herniated" in regard to bed coverings!) Also, I avoid button holes like the plague.
As you can see, I chose to I use a long zipper instead and cut the front of the duvet long enough to wrap around the back an inch and a half so that the zipper would not be right at the end of the duvet.
I couldn't find a long white polyester zipper at the local fabric stores and while deciding whether or not to special order online (an invisible zipper would make the most sense), I was going through clothes to donate and realized that I could steal the zipper out of an old pair of footie jammies. Since the jammies were a size 5, the zipper was 34" long! I love thievery. And freebies.