Category Archives: pattern

“Sweet Cheeks” Smocked Diaper Cover

For the past year I’ve seen pictures on Pinterest of smocked diaper covers, but when I searched for a similar pattern, I couldn’t find any.  Our smocking guild issued a challenge which included using red gingham and spaghetti bias on anything, so that was my incentive to get a pattern finished for this diaper cover.  I loved the results!

I’m looking forward to bringing in my “challenge” item and also to seeing what everyone else has completed for their challenge.

After completing my challenge diaper cover, I proceeded to draft the other sizes.  I couldn’t stop!  I ended up with 9 different sizes for the diaper cover!!!  The smallest 2 sizes are for dolls – a 12″ – 15″ doll, and then a 15″ – 18″ doll.  Then the sizes move on to Preemie (4 – 5 lb.) all the way up to XL (21- 24 lb.).  That larger size could fit many 2 year old still in diapers.

Each diaper cover that I made became my new favorite!  I just love all of them!!!  LOL!  It was so fun taking pictures.  I wish that I had a NB baby to do portrait pictures wearing just these sweet little covers!  How cute would that be???  Of course, I love ruffles and couldn’t resist adding ruffles to the back of these!

I can also see these as being a quick way to dress up a onesie.  I’m not a fan of onesies and was glad that my granddaughters were never seen in them.  However, I do see the appeal from a busy mom’s standpoint – soft, comfortable and easy wash and wear.  That said, onesies are in the same category as PJ’s to me – not something you wear out in public!  LOL!  Definitely am showing my age with that comment.  Anyway, I thought that a quick pull on of this sweet diaper cover and they go from “PJ’s at home” look to “boutique”.

These diaper covers are cute no matter what you smock on them – from the simplest smocking design to something with cast-on flowers or bullion flowers!!!  They are quick to smock and quicker to sew.  With only 4 rows of smocking, that can be completed in quick time.  Add a little more time to embroider flowers and then about 1-1/2 hours (max) to sew and you have an adorable diaper cover to bless a little girl with!!!

I was so fortunate to have Lisa test the pattern for me and we bounced back different ideas for design, sizing, etc.  She created an adorable set and dressed her reborn doll in it – just too cute!  I enjoyed working with her and her help was invaluable!!!  Thank you Lisa!!!

I think that the preemie and doll sizes would work beautifully for Wee Care items as well.  I can see the tiniest size with a bonnet or blanket going to the hospital for a loving remembrance of a precious little one.

I added lace to the back of one of the diaper covers – it doesn’t show up well in pictures, but it is so sweet in person.

There are so many possibilities with this pattern!  I hope that I’ll be seeing lots of cute versions!  The pattern is available in my Etsy shop for anyone interested in smocking their own cute little bloomers!  You can click on the link to find it.

As always, keep on stitching…….

Kathy

 

The Mermaid Dress and Top & New Pattern

I’ve been busy stitching outfits for our upcoming beach trip!  I’ve had such fun with all these designs and outfits!!!  I may have to make several more.  😊

The first outfit was a popsicle set.  I chose the popsicle colors based on the polka dots in the fabric I was using for the shorts.  The smocking design is called Chip’s Frozen Pops.  It is an older design from the 80’s/90’s.

Of course, I thought it was adorable.  However, when I tried it on Eva – my granddaughter with a definitely sense of style – she vetoed it in favor of a “sea green” top with pink pigs smocked on it!  Ack!!!  After finding some aqua domestic dotted Swiss in my stash, I did manage to talk her into mermaids, so all is well.  Mermaids are a better theme for the beach than pigs.  LOL!

While there are several cute mermaid smocking plates, I decided to create my own design for this summer’s beach trip and came up with the mermaid and dolphin.  I really like it!

This was the first one, and my fingers are crossed that Eva will love it!!!  She also chose the fabric for her shorts, which was a stretch twill and perfect for shorts.  The contemporary design seems to go well with the water/mermaid theme.

As you can see, I got quite carried away with the pattern and the beach-y theme.  A dress was requested for Ella, so I made the mermaid dress out of piqué.  I had fun with the hem and stitched jumbo rick rack under the tuck and then stitched on top of the stitching line with a coral stitch and variegated thread (#5 pearl cotton).

The white top is a sheer voile, doubled and with a self ruffle on the top.  I wanted to smock it with the same design I did many years ago for a special Ebay outfit.  I loved it then and I still love it now.

This has now become my new Etsy pattern and I’ve called it the Mermaid Dress & Top.  I have drafted it in sizes 1 – 7 and there are 3 options for the dress/top – a bias band finish at the bodice top, the 2nd option is quicker to sew with a yoke in the back – so the back can be smocked or left unsmocked and just gathered into the yoke.  The 3rd option is the self-ruffle finish seen on the white top.  I’m happy with each version and can’t wait to see all the little girls wearing their new mermaid outfits when we are at the beach.  Here’s the back variations:

I am sure that I will get questions about the shorts pattern – it is not included.  You can choose your favorite shorts pattern and if you are so inclined, scallop the hem.  Drafting shorts patterns doesn’t excite me the way that smocked outfits do!

I have several more on the design table now.  I can’t wait to start them.  What are you stitching?

Kathy

 

Adorable Boy Diaper Sets!

I’ve been absent for too long.  What have I been up to, you might ask.  I’ve been pattern drafting and testing. I’ve finally finished up the diaper set pattern for infants and included NB – 12 mo. sizes in the pattern.  I have at least one request per month for my preemie pattern in larger sizes, so now it is done!  Whew!  That was some work.  Of course, before I would consider listing the pattern, I had to make it up in each size.  I now have several sweet sets that I can save for future grandkids or use for baby gifts.  I love how each one turned out!

I love red, white and blue – especially for little boys!  I worked on the shadow work anchor embroidery while we drove to the mountains on Sunday to visit the inlaws and spend Mother’s Day with my MIL.  The 2 hour drive was ample time to get the embroidery finished.  However,  I don’t recommend shadow work embroidery in the car!  LOL!  It was quite the challenge to get that needle back into the same hole while riding in a car.  However, it did turn out cute!

I

Another set was made in green seersucker and I had to include the frog embroidery on this set!  One of our SAGA guild members had embroidered these frogs on a Wee Care outfit and I loved them, so I did them on the diaper set.  If you’re interested in the design, it comes from the A – Z Bullion embroidery.

Then I did another outfit with the tiniest bit of embroidery.  I appliquéd the boat with a blanket stitch and then added just a little hand embroidery to finish up the boat.

After 3 boy outfits, I decided to make a fun little girl outfit instead of the frilly lace one like I did for the preemie set, though the instructions are included for the frilly lace set in the pattern!

Obviously, I couldn’t exclude lace altogether!!!  I gathered up some flat lace and stitched it on using ribbon to cover up the raw edges of the lace.  I am quite happy with how it turned out.  Then I added piping and lace to the blouse.  The yellow flower buttons were such a great match to the fabric.

For the little girl blouse, I chose a fun bird to embroider.  After looking online for the perfect (in my opinion!) bird, I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, so I took elements of different birds that I saw and drew my own.  It was fun to incorporate some different stitch combinations to make up this bird and I think it adds such a sweet touch to the blouse.  I did include the bird design in the pattern as well – it was too cute to leave out!

I think I’m going to have to have my tech support guy (aka: hubby!) check my photo set up – I’m not getting quite the right colors and seem to have some weird shading going on.  Maybe it’s because I’ve neglected the blog and haven’t done my photo editing lately.  😂😛  Now it is on to cleaning up the room and deciding on the next project.  I think it will have to be some summer outfits for the upcoming beach trip in June.  that will be here before long!

I hope you’re enjoying some fun, summer sewing!!!  If your sewing includes sweet babies, consider the diaper cover pattern this summer!  😊

Happy stitching!

Kathy

Easter Sewing and New Pattern

I have been busy for the last few months making Easter dresses from my new pattern which I have called “Juliette”.  Why not make samples and get Easter dresses sewn at the same time!  I delivered the dresses to the little girls yesterday – in the nick of time!!!  Of course, I had to have pictures for the pattern before they were delivered and worn for Easter.  Only Eva was available to model, so she is my cover girl.  LOL!  I hope to have pictures of both Eva and Livvy wearing the dresses on Easter Sunday.

 

I love this dress!!!  When I saw the vintage pattern picture, I envisioned the dress as an heirloom dress.  Of course, I had to wait until I had time to create the pattern and stitch up some samples.

I decided to change up the neckline a bit.  I didn’t think that the boatneck with ribbon ties was the most practical.  However, I love the overall silhouette of the dress and the scalloped hem is precious!  The straight sleeve looks sweet on, though a bit odd on the mannequin.

I love every view and sleeve option of this dress.  The gathered flutter sleeve is very traditional and heirloom looking and would be perfect for a portrait dress.

I had to do some hand embroidery on one of the dresses.  While I didn’t include the embroidery design in the pattern, there are ample options for embroidery designs available in books and even online (free) from vintage sketches.

When I had Eva try on the first dress, she didn’t like it.  LOL!  So, I let her choose some laces and made her dress with the pink bow lace that she chose for her dress.  I love the Swiss lace style dress as well.  The hem is straight, so a quicker one to make.

Being the practical person that I am, I made the slip from Imperial batiste so that it will not require ironing like the dress will.  That way, the slip could be worn to a photo shoot and the dress put on after arriving.  This keeps the dress pristine and unwrinkled.

I can’t wait to see the little girls wearing their beautiful dresses on Sunday!!!  I have had such fun creating this pattern and sewing these dresses.  I love using up some of the special laces in my stash for these dresses!  Does that make them free?  LOL!

If you are interested in making this dress, the pattern can be found in my Etsy shop.  I hope that I will be seeing some beautiful versions of this dress for beach portrait pictures this summer!!!

I hope everyone has a blessed Easter!

Kathy

Spaghetti Bias “Dolly”

Friday and Saturday our SAGA guild hosted Cindy Foose.  As always, Cindy was a delightful and very knowledgable teacher and guided everyone along as we made the Dolly dress.  This classic dress has a pleated front as well as a pleat in the back under the buttons.  It offers the perfect pallet for embellishing, which is exactly what I did!  I am quite pleased with how it turned out.

The 2 days were enough time for me to get the dress almost finished, and with just a bit of sewing yesterday and hemming the dress today, it is done!

I used spaghetti bias trim for the bodice and sleeves.  I love using spaghetti bias and purchase mine from Farmhouse Fabrics.  It is so easy to use and is a quick way to decorate any part of a dress.

While I love using the spaghetti bias, I don’t love the pressing afterwards.  I have always had quite the time pressing the bias on the finished garment after it has been laundered or after soaking out the blue marks needed for construction.  During one of my sleepless nights, it occurred to me that I should shrink the bias.  Duh!!!  I shrink everything else.  Who knows why this thought hadn’t come to me before.  So, to test the theory, I measured off 12″ of spaghetti bias, wet it and left it to dry.  When I measured it again, it was 11-1/8″.  Yikes!!!  I think that it must stretch quite a bit during the process of creating it and winding it on the cards for the shops.  I have now wet ALL of my spaghetti bias so that I won’t be hindered with the next project that will use it.  I am still quite embarrassed that I have been using this without pre-shrinking!!!  Oh well, life!  LOL!

The back of this dress has such a cute pleat under the button placket.  It allows for a little more fullness in the skirt.

I’m sure I’ll be making another one of these dresses!  If you have a chance to take this class from Cindy, sign up right away!  You won’t regret it.

Now, back to Easter dresses – 2 down, one to go.  Just a sneak peek!!!  More later….

I hope everyone else is busy with Easter sewing!!!

 

 

SaveSave

How To Change A Neckline Tutorial

Like so many seamstresses, I have a plethora of patterns that I have secured over many years of sewing.  My sewing is primarily for children and mostly for girls.  Styles change, but the basic lines of classic styles don’t change much.  Most changes are seen in the size/style of collars and sleeves.  Dresses in the 50’s sported sweet tiny collars and small sleeves while the 90’s had large collars and huge sleeves.  I’m pretty sure that a beach ball could have been stored in some of those sleeves!  LOL!

One of the more significant changes that I’ve observed  recently has been in the comfort factor of children’s clothing.  Most children are used to the comfort of knit clothing.  The result of that is that children find anything with a true neckline to be uncomfortable and it is perceived as too tight.  This became obvious when I gave dresses that our youngest daughter wore to the granddaughter’s to wear – the classic style would still work, but they said that the neckline was too tight.  Children’s necks have not gotten larger, they have become used to less constrictive clothing.  I believe that this has also resulted in seeing fewer collars on the dresses that the little girls are wearing.

With that in mind, I thought it would be useful to share ways to adjust the neckline of a dress/blouse.  While it is a very simple process, many find alterations of this kind to be intimidating.

The first thing that should be done is to trace the bodice front and back pieces of the garment on paper so that the original is preserved.  Once the bodice is traced, remove the seam allowance and cut the pattern pieces at the finished neck – shown in blue.

Once the seam allowance has been trimmed away, the neckline can be redrawn to whatever shape is desired.  Decide on how much to remove from the neckline.  It doesn’t have to be exactly the same from front to back, though it can be done that way if desired.  The following drawing shows the neckline only slightly lower in the back but gradually increasing at the front (shown in pink).  It is imperative that the amount removed at the shoulder seam is EXACTLY the same on both the front and the back bodices – shown with the green arrows.  Once the neckline looks good to you, remove the excess paper beyond the  newly drawn line (pink).

Double check the new neckline by placing the front and the back bodices together at the shoulder seam (pieces will overlap) and ensuring that they align.  Remember that some patterns allow a little ease in the back shoulder seam while others don’t.  Check the original pattern pieces to see if the shoulder seams on front and back are an exact match – if they are, then they should also be an exact match with the neckline alterations.

Now it is time to decide on how the neckline will be finished.  If a bias band will be applied around the neckline, then the pattern is ready to use just as it is.  The finished neckline will be covered with the bias band.

If a plain neckline, piped neckline, or collar is desired, then a seam allowance needs to be added to the neckline edge on both the front and the back bodice pieces.  A 1/4″ seam allowance is a good choice for a neckline seam allowance.  You can add up to 3/8″ for a seam allowance, but more than that is undesirable.

I have been leaving collars off most dresses I make, however, if a collar is desired, it can be drafted at this point.

Don’t feel limited to limit the neckline change to just lowering the neckline slightly, try some other neckline adjustments and have fun with them.  There’s no limit to what can be done – a lower, scooped neckline, a sweetheart neckline, a square neckline, etc.  If you don’t feel confident in the redrafted neckline, test the newly designed bodices with a muslin or some scrap fabric and try it on the child to ensure that the new neckline is pleasing.  Cutting and stitching up a bodice take much fabric or time.  It is better to test it out and ensure that all was done correctly and the finished results are pleasing rather than to being disappointed with the results of the finished garment.

I hope that this has inspired you to consider pulling out some of the patterns that aren’t being used because of the dated styles and getting creative with some simple pattern redrafting!  Of course, adding your own heirloom touches will make it special!

Easter will be here soon – it’s time to get started!

Keep on stitching!!!!

 

 

 

Delightful Dolly Clothes

With Christmas right around the corner, I have been busy with the last few dolly outfits for the little girls.  When I make them, I can customize them so that they work best for the girls.

The first set of outfits are doll jumpers and blouses that will match Ella and Eva’s jumpers.  I used the same featherwale corduroy.  The pattern is the Mary De pattern from the Children’s Corner Dolly’s Wardrobe book..  I love how quick and easy the jumper is to make.  I could only eek out the 2 jumpers with the fabric left and ended up piecing together one of the bodice pieces, so I disguised that with some lace and ribbon trim.  The blouse is also from the same book.  I hate making the doll blouses – those collars are something that I just don’t enjoy making!  So, for the gingham blouse I made a ruffle around the neckline and I also changed the sleeves slightly.

The next dress that was made was stitched from some piqué scraps and I love the way that this dress turned out!  The pattern is the Betsy dress from Genniewren.  As always, her pattern instructions are excellent and the finished dress is adorable.  Genine gives wonderful tips for the new seamstress so that the pattern is also a tool for learning new techniques.  I chose to leave off the belt and used red piping at the waistline instead.

The next winter outfit is a featherwale corduroy jumper and the same blouse from the Mary De pattern, but with the ruffle neckline.  The jumper pattern is the A-Line Color Blocked dress from Genniewren, but I didn’t use color blocking.  It made the jumper very quick and easy to make.

I decided that Livvy also needed a Christmas dress for her doll and I had this cute Christmas fabric in my stash.  I had this brilliant (NOT!) idea to make the Mary De jumper but add the blouse sleeves so that I didn’t have to make a blouse.  In my mind, this was going to be quick and easy.  Well, it didn’t exactly work out that way!  😂  I did add the sleeves, but doubt that I’ll be doing that again right away as it was rather tricky.  LOL!  I do love the way the dress turned out though.  Livvy will love the sparkly rickrack used at the hem.

The last outfit that I stitched was the coat and hat – again from Genniewren.  This is called the Carla coat.  There are several options and lengths that you can make this coat.  I chose to make the long coat and I do hope to make one of the shorter versions as well.  After all, I’m sure that all the dolls will need coats!  The coat is completely lined and has an adorable hat to go with it.  I used some brushed twill from my stash and trimmed the coat and hat with sparkly rickrack as well as some lime green cord.  Now it’s time to get wrapping these up and putting them under the tree!

I’m sure that there will be more doll clothes sewing in the near future.  I have plenty of the polka dot fabric used to line the coat left and I think it would be so cute to make a dress to go with the coat!  That may be next on the sewing table for me.

Is your Christmas sewing finished?  Next up is Easter!!!  I can hardly wait to start that sewing!

 

Dressing Dollies

In preparation for Christmas as well as a birthday (this week!), I have been sewing some doll clothes for the little girls.  This is such fun sewing!  I have several more on the cutting table, but thought I’d share a few before they leave the house.  These are for the 18″ dolls such as the American Girl dolls, Gotz dolls, etc.

I have my wonderful Dolly’s Wardrobe book, which has patterns that match the Children’s Corner patterns.  You can still purchase this book from Children’s Corner store.  I used these patterns to make doll clothes for our daughter, and used them again for the granddaughter’s.

I had a couple blouses cut out and partially sewn from when our youngest daughter still played with dolls.  They are vintage now!  LOL!  So, I finished one of them up to go under a jumper.

The jumper pattern is from Genniewren and goes together very quickly.  Her patterns are excellent as are the instructions.  I used the a-line dress pattern, but didn’t do the color blocking for this dress.  It’s an easy change to make.  If you don’t want to change up that pattern, her Melanie pattern top could be used – just add length.

I have another jumper made, but need to make a blouse to go with it yet.

The next dress made turned out so sweet!  I love smocking and was thrilled to make up this Lucy dress pattern.  I made up my own smocking design, though Genine has a pretty smocking design included with the pattern.  I think this is my new favorite dress pattern!

Instead of embroidering small flowers, I used tiny buttons from a craft pack.  That worked out great and was very quick and easy.

The last finished outfits are pants and a smocked top.  Genine made the top pattern to match my Temily top that was in the Australian Smocking and Embroidery magazine several years ago.  It has just a bit of smocking in the center.  Her top pattern is called Kataya.  The pants are a very quick sew with an elastic waist.  I used the Melanie pattern and added length to the pants.  The pants can be worn with either of the tops.

I did make a change to the top pattern and had it open all the way down the top for easier dressing.  I wanted to make this as easy as possible so that “mom” didn’t have to be involved in dressing the dolls.  LOL!

Again, I did my own smocking design, though Genine provides a pretty smocking design in the pattern.  This is such a small section to smock, it can be finished in about 1/2 hour.

On this white top, I decided to try the neckband without elastic and with only a bias band.  It worked out well, but in the end, I prefer the elastic.

For all the doll outfits, I used snaps for the closures.  I like the Snap Source snaps – they come in so many colors and with either a closed cap or an open cap.  For the doll clothes, I used the size 14.

Today I’ll wrap up a couple of these for the birthday party, and save the others for Christmas.  I have many more needed for Christmas!!!  Next up for sewing is the doll coat pattern!  I can’t wait to sew this up – it’s cut and ready!!!

Have you started your Christmas sewing yet?  If not, I highly recommend the Genniewren patterns as well as the Children’s Corner Dressing Dolly book.

Sewing For Boys – The Pants Problems….

The weather will soon be cooler, and Liam will need pants to wear.  Shopping for pants for him has proven to be quite the challenge.  Why?  Skinny pants won’t work for him.    Ideally, some pull-on type of pants would be perfect so that he can get them on/off easily.  Have you tried looking for a pull-on pant that isn’t athletic wear?  They are almost impossible to find!!!

Naturally, I thought I could make pants for him.  However, finding a pattern that would fit was equally challenging.  I have many, many pants patterns from our favorite heirloom pattern companies as well as patterns from the big 4 companies and the Ottobre magazine.  Ottobre definitely has the most stylish clothing for boys and stitch them with plenty of the same details that you find on ready to wear garments.  But going through all my magazines and then tracing – ugh!

I have found that nearly all my pattern from heirloom sewing companies as well as the big 4 companies have “issues” – either the crotch ends up too low or the rise is way too high, coming above the belly button or both.  🙄  Also, the legs tend to be quite wide.

In the end, I decided to use a pair of Izod pants that I had purchased (the only pair suitable that I found) for reference.  With Liam’s measurements  and the sample garment, I made my own pattern.  Well, the first go at it was an epic fail!!!  😂  They ended up in the trash!  But, I stuck with it and the second pattern was a winner.

I used some royal blue poplin that was in my stash.  I didn’t spend time on many details since this was a test of the pattern.   I did add the same waistband treatment with the buttonhole elastic across the back.

With the sample finished, I tried the pants on Liam.  He wasn’t too thrilled with trying on clothes.  LOL!  But, we did manage, though you will need to excuse the silly poses – I love this funny boy.

Notice how the pants are below the belly – just like ready to wear.  Why can’t sewing patterns keep up with the style/trends that ready to wear have?  No children are wearing their pants up above the belly button!  Even when/if they try, the pants will slide down below the belly – it’s just the way they are built!

Thankfully, in spite of his antics, I could see that these were a good fit.  I had some khaki fabric in the stash and it was just the right fabric for some casual church type of pants for him.  The mannequin is a bit small for these pants, but you get the idea.  That said, this picture is the best representation of the color.

Pockets were added to the back.  I think I may make them slightly smaller the next time.

Pockets in the side seam were also added and a lighter weight fabric used for the pocket bag.

The pocket was edge stitched on the front and then extra stitching was added at the base of the opening for durability.

The inseam was edge stitched for both appearance as well as durability.

A mock zipper was added to the front of the pants and then a button above it to give the appearance of a button/zip closure.

I think these will work well for Liam – he will be able to pull them up and down easily but they still have the appearance of a dress pant.  Just like that, we’re ready for the cooler weather – whenever it wants to show up!

Are you ready for fall?  What are you sewing???

 

Another Dress + Zip Tutorial

Another day, another dress!  When I delivered the last dress to Ella, Eva was very downcast that she didn’t get a dress (in spite of the fact that she told me she didn’t like it and didn’t want it the day before!).  So, since she requested a purple and pink one just like Ella’s (the C’est Dimanche Roma remake), I had to make one for her as well.  It’s a fun dress, so I was happy to make something that she actually wanted!!!  She hasn’t been a fan of any of my creations lately – only the dolly dresses.

 

I drafted the dress in a size 5, did some stash diving to find a purple and pink floral for her – she wouldn’t want “dainty”, but rather something bold.  I found a suitable purple and orange.  I hope that will suffice – there’s some pink in there!

I chose a contrast center panel for this dress – just to break up the busy print.  I am happy with the choice as well as the bright orange piping.  With fall right around the corner, I decided to add sleeves to this dress.  Keeping with the lines of the dress, I chose to draft a straight sleeve and piped those and lined them with the contrast used on the front panel.

Because I wasn’t thrilled with the button back option of the first dress, I decided that this dress would get a zipper.  I find a zipper to be a much more practical option than buttons all the way down the back – especially since this will be a play dress.  Trying to minimize the opportunity for a wardrobe malfunction!  Eva is one busy and wild girl, so wardrobe function is important.

I had Livvy and Liam over yesterday afternoon, so I got Livvy to try on the dress.  I think that it is a bit big on her – I made a size 5, and it’s a perfect fit on my size 5 mannequin, but Livvy is still 4, as is Eva.  I may have to make a size 4 pattern and sew some 4’s for Livvy and Eva.  Isn’t she cute!!!  I think I’ll add a narrow sash to the back so that it can be snugged in and worn now.  Pardon the cell phone picture!  LOL!

There are 3 different zipper choices that could be made – invisible, lapped zipper or centered zipper.  I didn’t have an invisible zipper, so opted for a lapped zipper back.  I think it’s a nice, clean finish and almost invisible.

When I learned to sew, we were taught that the centered zipper looked “cheap” as it was used on the mass-produced garments seen in less expensive stores, while lapped zippers were seen in better clothing.  I don’t even know if these distinctions are even made anymore, but in my mind, a lapped zipper looks better.  I’m happy with the results and it will make dressing quick and easy.

I know that so many seamstresses (both new seamstresses as well as seasoned ones) have a fear of zippers, so I thought I’d share my easy application that I’ve used for many years. (I had to use cell phone pictures, but I think they are clear enough)  When I learned to do zippers this way 20+ years ago, it was such a game changer for me.  I hated the basting, etc. that was taught in home ec classes and was never happy with the end results prior to this method.  I have chosen contrast fabric/zipper/thread so that it will be easy to see.

Choose your zipper, place it next to the seam area and with the top of the zipper even with the upper edge of the fabric, mark along the seam where the bottom stop of the zipper is (the metal part at the bottom).  Sew the seam below the mark with a 5/8″ seam allowance.

Press the seam allowance open.  Then press open the 5/8″ seam allowance on both sides above the stitched seam.  A seam guide works really well for this task, giving the fabric a nice crisp crease while measuring at the same time.

With the zipper foot on the machine, place the top edge of the zipper even with the top edge of the fabric and place the zipper seam allowance underneath the fold, placing the raised edge of the zipper right against the folded edge of the dress fabric.  Stitch very close to the folded edge (1/8″ or slightly less).

After taking the first couple stitches, leave the needle in the fabric and raise the zipper foot and carefully open the zipper past the zipper foot area.  Continue stitching along the folded edge.  After a couple of inches have been stitched, leave the needle in the fabric, raise the zipper foot and close the zipper.  Put the zipper foot back down and continue stitching until you reach the bottom of the zipper, where you placed the mark.

At the bottom of the zipper (make sure that you are just PAST the metal stop), leave the needle in the fabric, raise the zipper foot and pivot the fabric/zipper 90º.  Take the other side of the seam allowance and place the folded edge right on top of the stitching line and lower the zipper foot.  Hand crank the wheel of the sewing machine for 4 – 5 stitches.  You want to be just on the other side of the zipper.

Then raise the zipper foot, pivot the fabric 90º, lower the zipper foot and begin stitching back up towards the top of the fabric, keeping the stitching line evenly spaced from the folded edge (use masking tape to aide with stitching straight if needed) and with the folded edge staying exactly on top of the previously stitched line (you want to JUST cover that line of stitching).

When you approach the pull tab of the zipper, put the needle down into the fabric, raise the zipper foot and open the zipper.  Place the seam allowance of the fabric so that it is aligned with the seam allowance of the zipper.

Continue stitching keeping the foot the same distance from the folded edge and stitch to the end of the fabric.

With my contrast thread, you can see that I got a little jag over when I opened the zipper foot – I was hurrying rather than being careful.  Of course, with matching thread this wouldn’t be visible.  However, the goal is to keep everything perfectly even.  😛  It took me less than 2 minutes to put this zipper in – it took longer to stop and take the pictures during the process than it did to stitch the zipper!

As you can see, the lapped zipper is even, the stitching line is covered by the fold of the lap.  When a waistband or facing is sewn to the top edge, it leaves a beautiful finish.

If you’ve been afraid of zippers, give this a practice try – you’ll be amazed at how easy zipper installation is using this technique.

What’s next in the sewing room?  Maybe another pattern draft, though I have pulled out and washed some knits that I may give a try sewing.  😃

French Pattern Review and Remake

If you read my last post about the knit nightgowns, you know that my friend sent me home with a French pattern that she was anxious for me to make.  So, that was my project for the day yesterday.

Over the weekend I spent time researching the dress pattern since I wasn’t at all familiar with the pattern line or this specific dress.  The pattern line is called C’est Dimanche and the pattern name is Roma.  Because my Norton security indicates that the website may not be “safe”, I have not gone there for any information or to see what else is available.  I’m notorious for getting viruses.  😳

Isn’t this the cutest dress!!!  The designer clearly has some fabulous design ideas.  Cuteness sells, and I think she’s sold quite a few!

Pinterest was my main source for research.  I like to see the fit of the dress on a real child since I know that sketches can be misleading.  The pictures on Pinterest weren’t encouraging – most looked to be ill-fitting and too long-waisted.  I also found a blog with a “tutorial”, which is obviously needed given the instructions it was really tragic, to say the least (bias cut on the straight, etc. – and it turned out as bad as you are imagining!!!).  I decided a muslin of the bodice was necessary before cutting into good fabric.

This pattern is so trendy and fun – I can certainly see the appeal.  The open neckline and the faux Peter pan collar are something that young moms really like!  True necklines and classic Peter pan collars are things that I continually hear young moms call “old-fashioned”, not to mention that they believe that the necklines are too tight.  Kids today aren’t used to the close fit of a true neckline, so I can see where they may be perceived as too tight.  Generational differences.  LOL!

Cutting out the muslin and then attempting to sew it proved to be more of a challenge than i anticipated!!!  The pattern was first offered only in French, but later an english version was offered, which is what my friend bought.  That said, the english version is most interesting.  LOL!   I have to wonder about the translation.  These are phrases that aren’t ones I’ve ever encountered in my many years of sewing.

The description leaves a lot to be desired and the diagram doesn’t really help.  LOL!  Thankfully, I don’t really need instructions.  Pity the seamstress that does need them!!!

There were several things about the muslin that I found to be strange.  After sewing the shoulder seams, I thought that they looked very oddly shaped.  What’s with that jut outwards at the shoulder seam?

Once I got the muslin going, I found other minor issues that were easily corrected.  The biggest problem that I found was the lack of directions regarding the seam at the back bodice – I couldn’t find any directions or diagrams for that.  I suspect that is the reason that there are no pictures on any fan blogs of the back of the dress.  The pattern markings are only in French.  You do cut the back lining shorter than the bodice lining at the back edge. I believe that the bodice is to wrap around to the back to make a facing, and then join to the lining.  However, I never found any instructions in the pattern that addressed the bodice back and I’m not sure how that happens after you stitch the entire neckline.  😳  Thankfully, it is only a muslin.  I marked the center back line and left the back unstitched.

Once the bodice was finished, I tried it on my victim.  The fit wasn’t stellar and the longer waistline just looked frumpy. I decided that rather than work with this pattern draft, I would take the idea and draft my own pattern from a bodice that I know fits.  I’m so glad that I did!

The pattern instructions leave out so many instructions – no interfacing is advised, no instructions to clip curves before turning, no under stitching, no stitching reinforcement at that sharp turn of the collar section (though a circle of iron-on interfacing is suggested as optional), etc.  I don’t know if the designer assumes that this is common knowledge, or if she’s  not familiar with these techniques.

My final assessment of the pattern is that the designer has a wonderful idea, but the pattern and instructions leave a LOT to be desired.  I wouldn’t recommend it, though she has a fan blog with many glowing reviews.

My dress is made from a lightweight print chambray.  I added piping to the armholes as well as the waistline.  I interfaced the faux collar to give it body and crispness and, of course, interfaced the facings in the back.

The original pattern has a gathered skirt and a waistline that is lower, more at the true waist. I don’t care for that look on little girls (most of the Pinterest pictures confirmed that), so I went with my usual raised waistline.  I thought that the style of the dress was very “Laverne and Shirley” (you have to be over 50 to be familiar with that reference), so I decided to put a circle skirt on the bodice.  I love the result!!!

I did choose to button all the way down the back, which isn’t my favorite for kids.  Next time I think I’ll do an invisible zipper, which I think will be a better choice.

I can’t wait to see this on Ella!  My mannequin is a professional fitting mannequin, but a size 5 and the dress is a size 7.  Not idea, but it’s the best I can do.  This dress is really for next spring/summer for Ella, but I’m sure that she will be able to wear it a little big for the remainder of the summer.  Now that I have the pattern drafted in Ella’s size, I may try another one with more of an heirloom twist.  We’ll see….

I think my next project will be a quick and easy dress for Eva’s doll.  She doesn’t like anything I sew for her 😂, but she’s all about new clothes for her doll.

 

 

 

Beach and Bonnets!!!

Last weekend was spent at the beach with friends.  We had a wonderful time and great weather!!!  I can’t wait to go again!

During the 3-1/2 hour drive there and back, I was smocking bonnets!!!  I love a sweet bonnet and all our little girls (daughters and granddaughters) wore bonnets.  After returning home from the beach, I got busy putting together the bonnets so that I could get my new pattern listed on Etsy.  I’m thrilled to offer this bonnet pattern.  I’ve named it Bella’s Vintage Smocked Bonnet.  It was inspired by the many vintage bonnet patterns that I’ve seen.

I’ve included 2 different styles for the bonnets – the bonnet on the left has more smocking and bias trim details while the bonnet on the right is a quicker and easier style with just a bit of smocking at the bonnet brim, narrow hemmed sides and a casing with ribbon for the back closure.

Because baby head sizes vary so much, I’ve included 4 sizes in the pattern.  A Preemie (5 lb.) size, which also fits the Bitty Baby dolls, a NB – 6 mo. size, a 1 – 2 and a 2 – 3.  I believe that pretty much covers all sizes that would wear a bonnet.  LOL!  It is just as sweet on a doll as on a baby!

This is the NB sized bonnet being modeled by a Lee Middleton doll.

This is the Preemie size modeled on an American Doll Bitty Baby doll.

Graphs for all the sizes are included in the pattern, so no need to figure out how to downsize the graph.  I’ve had such fun making each of these bonnets!

All of my bonnets were made from Imperial batiste for easy wash/wear.  I know how quickly a little drool can “decorate” the bonnets, so something easy to wash and put back on the baby was planned, though it would be beautiful in the special heirloom fabrics as well. I look forward to making more of these to have for baby gifts!  I hope that others will also enjoy making them as well!!!

So, that’s what I’ve been stitching lately – what have you been up to?.