Girls’ Skirt Tutorial Roundup!

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Are you seamstresses out there following along with Skirting the Issue over at Project Run & Play?  It’s a massive effort where sewists everywhere are encouraged to make new skirts for foster girls and donate them just in time for back to school.  Last year I invited several friends over to my house to sew up skirts and we had such a great time!

This year, I wanted to share some of my very favorite (easy!) skirt tutorials so that anyone else who wants to join the effort can feel confident enough to do so.  All these are perfect for beginners and advanced sewists alike!  Let’s get sewing!

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Harry Potter Fan Tee

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We kinda, sorta missed a couple kids’ birthdays while in France, so we did a little late celebrating this past week.  Liam turn 11 (ELEVEN!!!  How did we get here??) this month and I’m absolutely in love with the little man he’s becoming.  Now that we’ve figured out his stomach problems, he’s such a pleasant, sweet kid with a hilarious sense of humor.

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He’s also completely obsessed with Harry Potter and has now read the entire series through FOUR times!  That’s dedication, man.  I decided to make him a fun HP-themed shirt for his birthday and this is what we came up with.

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Easiest Swimsuit Cover-Up

Up your pool style quotient this summer with this super easy swimsuit cover-up!

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I’ve got a super easy tutorial for you guys today! This super cute and simple swimsuit coverup is my new favorite project.  If you’ve got a yard of fabric and 20 minutes, you’re well on your way!

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Ultimate Pool Bag Tutorial

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Hey guys!  I’ve got a really fun and easy tutorial for you today to help make you summer adventures easier.  If you’re here visiting from Nap Time Creations, then welcome!  I hope you love it.

Does anyone else find themselves playing the part of sherpa when it’s time to hit the pool or beach?  It seems even my big kids become completely incapable of carrying their own towel, goggles, pool toys, etc. and I’m walking around with my arms piled high with SHTUFF (and pool stuff x 7 kids = a big headache).  So I dreamed up this bag that would hold all our pool necessities without any extra effort on my part!  The best part is that it’s a backpack so that I can hold hands/babies while we walk down the street to our community pool.

Ready??  Let’s do it!

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What you’ll need:

1 yard sturdy canvas-type fabric (any outdoor home decor fabric would work well, bonus if it’s water-resistant!  I re-purposed a heavy duty curtain from Target)
Extra long zipper (mine was 65″ – you probably won’t find this at your local craft store; I bought mine at an upholstery shop where they sell them by the yard.)
Heavy duty coordinating fabric for pockets (optional: clear vinyl or other waterproof fabric to make one pocket a wet bag!)
2 yards 1″ elastic for towel loops
1 yard 1/4″ elastic for pockets
Twill webbing for straps (about 1.5 yards)

  1.  First, I cut my fabric into 4 rectangles, each measuring 17″ x 21″ (2 pieces will be the outer portion of the bag and the other 2 will be the lining).  Then I used a cup (or other circular object) to trace around the corners and round them off.

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  2. Sew on your towel loops!  Take one of your rounded rectangles and sew strips of elastic onto the right side (my strips were about 13″ long);  I placed my strips of elastic in pairs, so that they’re running parallel to the long side of the fabric (see picture).  Sew down both raw edges to form a loop (using a zig zag stitch to reinforce each edge well!) It’s totally up to you how many loops you sew and the spacing, but I ended up with 6 loops, to hold 3 towels, since our towels are pretty bulky.  If needed, I could also stick just one towel in each loop so I could schlep twice as many!
  3. Next, you need to sew on your pockets.  I cut my smaller pockets measuring 6″ x 7″ and my larger pockets were 13″ x 8″.  Take two of the other rectangles of bag fabric, and begin by arranging your pockets as desired on the right side of the fabric.  I chose to put the two small pockets on top of one side (for sunscreen and little toys) and the large elasticized pockets everywhere else.

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  4. To sew on the small pockets, finish the raw edges (I used a serger but you can also just zigzag them), fold them under 1/4″ and topstitch along the top of your pocket.  Then stitch the sides and bottom right to your bag lining (leaving the top open!).
  5. For the bigger pockets, finish your raw edges and press under the bottom and sides 1/4″.  For the top of these pockets, you’ll press under 1/2″ and sew right along the raw edge, forming a casing.  Thread your 1/4″ elastic through the casing and gather the fabric as much as you’d like, pulling the elastic taut.  Stitch the elastic to the fabric on both open sides of the casing to keep it in place.  Then topstitch the sides and bottom of your pockets to your lining just as with the smaller pockets.  Don’t stretch your elastic to sew the sides…just let it pull the top of the pocket inwards so that the elastic will keep your stuff inside!
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  6. Next, sew your straps to your last rectangle of fabric.  I didn’t make mine adjustable since I’ll be the only one wearing it, but that’s an option as well!  I simply topstitched one raw end of the straps to the edge of my fabric, right at the top (see picture) and then tried it on, measured where I wanted it to hit under my arms, trimmed the webbing and sewed the other ends to the sides of my fabric.
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  7. Now, you’ll be sewing your lining to your bag exteriors.  Match up one exterior piece (i.e. with the elastic loops) to one lining (i.e. with pockets), right sides together.  Begin sewing together just a few inches from the center of the bottom short end, all the way around (one long side, the top short side and the other long side) to a few inches from the center on the other side of the bottom.  Leave 5-6 inches open to turn.  Repeat with other two fabric pieces.  REMEMBER to make sure your pockets are facing UP!
  8. Turn both pieces of your bag right sides out and press the edges well.  Fold under the raw edges of the part you left open, and stitch the two pieces of the bag together, along this opening (this will be the bottom of the bag that keeps the pieces connected, even when the zipper is unzipped.

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  9. Finally, stitch your zipper to you bag but sewing one zipper tape to one side of the bag, beginning right where you sewed the two halves together.  You’ll stitch the zipper tape to the bag ALL the way around, and then do the same with the other zipper tape and other side of the bag.

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    Thanks for reading!  I hope this tutorial helps lighten your summer load!

    Be sure to head over to the Nap Time Creations blog to see more posts in the Summer Fun Series!

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Patriotic Tripoli Trousers (New Pattern!)

These wide leg, sailor style pants are a cinch to whip up and flattering for just about every body!

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Hey all!  I’m finally releasing my first women’s pattern to the public today! The Tripoli Trousers had previously only been available through the Sew What Club but today you can get your own copy!  Hurray!

I seriously love these pants sooooo much.  They are figure-hugging but flattering and best of all, they are seriously a breeze to make.  If you’ve never sewn pants before, don’t be afraid!  The trick is to make a muslin beforehand…if you can sew a facing and install buttonholes, you can make these!

I kept dreaming about a red pair after making my denim ones so when I found this lightweight stretch denim at Joann’s, it was like a match made in heaven.  Enjoy these billions of pictures of my butt, and get your copy of the pattern HERE!  It’ll be on sale for just $8 through Sunday night!

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All the sizing charts, materials list and other details are over on my craftsy page.  I hope you love this pattern as much as I do!

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Infinite A-line Hack: Ruffled Top

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Is everyone ready for another Infinite A-line pattern hack?  I really do use this pattern as a base for any and all woven tops and dresses for my girls.  It makes things so easy!

This little ruffled number came about after I goofed up a romper I was working on, but I think I like how this turned out even better.

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First, I cut out the ruffled bodice (View D), sleeve ruffles and bodice lining.  I went with size 12 mo and even though this one fits pretty well, next time I’ll go up to 18 mo so that it’s a little easier to get on.

I sewed the bodice all together, following the instructions for View D through step 14 on page 14 (ending with the bodice roll technique).  I also added the keyhole opening as instructed on page 16.  Then I basted the raw edges of the bodice hem together and set it aside.

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Next, I measured the circumference of the bodice opening (mine was about 22″). For the waistband, I cut out a strip of contrasting fabric measuring the number I just measured (22″ for me) + 3/4″ for seam allowances x about 3″ wide.  So mine was 3″ x about 23″.  I stitched the short ends of the band together to create a big loop, pressed and finished the seam allowance, then stitched it to the bottom of the bodice, all the way around.

I finished up by creating the ruffle.  My ruffle piece was 4.5″ wide x about 50″ long.  If you cut your ruffle about double the length of your waistband, then that’ll give you a nice gather.  I sewed the short ends together again to form a loop, and then hemmed one long end.

The fabric I used was a slippery rayon, so I folded the raw edge under 1/8″ and stitched it down.  Then I folded it under another 1/8″ and stitched it down again.  This keeps unwieldy fabrics in place better than just pressing a double hem and trying to stitch it all in one go.

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Lastly, I gathered the top raw edge of the ruffle until it fit the circumference of the waistband, pinned it in place and basted it to the band.  Once I made sure all the gathers looked nice, I stitched the two together and serged the raw edges and one billion random threads coming out everywhere.  (WORST part of gathering, amiright?)

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And that’s it!  A super quick and simple hack.  Did I mention Mimi loves it?  She kept playing with the ruffle all day!  And her chubby little unsteady walk gives me all the heart eyes.  New walkers are the cutest when they’re off exploring their little world!

If you still don’t have a copy of the Infinite A-line Pattern, you can get it HERE. And if you want to see all the hacks I’ve created with it so far, click HERE!

(This floral fabric I bought from Indiesew ages ago, as well as the flowy coral from Joann Fabrics.  Making headway on that stash!)

 

Girls’ Summer Basics by Thread Faction

GIVEAWAY CLOSED!  And our winner is…Diarodenaii!  Thanks for playing along, everyone!

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Hi guys! I’m excited to be part of Thread Faction’s Spring/Summer 2016 blog tour today! I already own and love one of Liz’s patterns (remember these cozy joggers?) so I was excited to sew up a few of her current patterns for little girls.
Thread Faction SS2016 Blog Tour

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Juliet’s look here is made up of tank #104 and skirt #106…and I love them both!  This is my first time putting binding on a tank like this and, while my skills could use some work, I think it sure turned out cute!  And the skirt, with attached shorts underneath is just perfect for active little girls.  I hate having to remind my girls to put on an extra pair of shorts to cover those little bums…with these they don’t have to!  Plus, the tank pattern offers lots of inspiration for colorblocking which is my absolute FAVE design element.

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Kira’s wearing dress #108 and it’s so flirty and darling!  In fact I couldn’t decide between making this one, the tank dress (#107) or the romper (#110).   They’re all just perfect for hot summer days.  My girls are pretty minimalistic when it comes to dressing themselves…while they love to prance around in fancy dressups for play, they stick to the same simple outfits when getting dressed in the mornings.  These creations are sure to see lots of wear!  (In fact, one wild little curly-haired munchkin reeeeeally wanted to model this dress instead of letting her sister do it, but she wasn’t being very cooperative and got left behind.  She might never forgive me for it!)

To check out the other amazing bloggers on the tour and their creations, click on the links below!

26/5 Nap Time Creations  * Miss Castelinhos * Swoodsen Says * Needles to say

27/5 Made By Sara * Sew Not Perfect * Hello Holli * Whisk ’em

28/5 House of Estrela * Made By Amanda Rose * Max California Brave Fabrics

29/5 Create 3.5 * Bless by Tone * The College Seamstress

30/5 Ma Me Mi Mo * Paisley Roots Skirt Fixation

31/5 Sew Very * Rebel and Malice * Call Ajaire

1/6 Better Dressed Child * Buzzmills * Handmade Frenzy

2/6 Lamb and ewe crafts * All Things Beautiful * Pen, Seb & Rox

 

Lastly, Thread Faction is having a hue giveaway over on their blog!  Head over HERE to check it out and to enter.    Can we get a shout-out for free fabric?!?

Thread Faction SS2016 Blog Tour Sponsors

Liz has also graciously offered a free pattern of your choice to one lucky Whisk ‘Em blog reader here!

Just click the rafflecopter giveaway link below.  But if you can’t wait, you can purchase any of the patterns HERE!
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Spotted Sheath Dress DIY

This easy tutorial and free pattern will have you whipping up a cute pullover style sheath dress in no time!

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And my obsession with dresses continues!  Especially when it comes to spring and summer sewing, I just can’t get enough.  They’re cool and cute and flirty and fun; not to mention, they take no time at all to sew!

This spotted sheath dress is no exception…read on for the super easy tutorial!

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1.  First, you’ll need to download and print the free pattern here (be sure to print from Adobe Reader/Acrobat and NOT a browser! Make sure your printer is not scaling the pages).  Then tape all your pages together (just overlap the margins of the pattern pages before cutting- no need to trim them off!).
I drafted it to fit my body pretty loosely, and my measurements are 37-29-38 (about a size 6 or medium).  If you’re bigger or smaller than this, you can grade the pattern out or in, simply by adding or subtracting inches to your bust, waist and/or hips.  Since the pattern piece represents 1/4th of the dress’s measurements, you’ll only need to add or subtract 1/4 of the difference in our measurements.

For example, if your bust is 2 inches larger than mine but your hips are 1 inch smaller, then add 0.5″ to the bust area (2″ divided by 4) and subtract 0.25″ (1″ divided by 4) to the hip area.  I hope that makes sense…it’s really simple once you get started!

I made my dress a little looser than a traditional sheath dress because I wanted to avoid needing an opening (my fabric also had some stretch to it).  If you’d like a closer fit or are using a fabric with no stretch, you’ll need to insert a zipper or other opening.

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2.  Now, cut out out your fabric by laying the straight edge of your pattern pieces on the fold of your fabric (where indicated).  You’ll need to cut one bodice front (along the lower neckline curve) and one bodice back (along the higher neckline curve), as well as 2 sleeve pieces.   Now, cut out a neckband bias strip measuring 27″ (68 cm) x 2″ (5cm).  You can avoid cutting this piece on the bias if your fabric already has stretch to it, as long as you cut with the stretch running lengthwise.

**Remember after sewing each seam, to finish your raw edges and press well!

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3.  Sew your front to back bodice pieces together at the shoulders, and then at the sides, RST, using a 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowance.  Sew your underarm seam by stitching the sleeve to itself along the short, straight edge, RST.  Repeat with 2nd sleeve.  Turn dress inside out and sleeve right side out; insert sleeve into dress at armhole, pin together, keeping raw edges even and matching side seam to underarm seam.  Ease through the shoulder curve to fit.  Baste sleeve to dress and check for puckers or folds.  Stitch sleeve to dress and repeat with opposite sleeve.

4.   Stitch short ends of neckband piece together, then fold loop in half lengthwise (wrong sides together) and press again.  Pin neckband to RIGHT side of dress neckline, raw edges even.  Stitch neckband piece to neckline, using a scant 1/4″ (.6 cm) seam allowance.  Fold neckband to inside of dress and press well.  Topstitch neckband in place, close to fold.

5.  Hem sleeves and dress as desired.

And, you’re done!  A quick, easy project with a big “wow” factor.   Let me know how yours turns out!

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Girls’ Summer Sewing: Skorts Edition!

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I’m contributing over on the Project Run and Play blog today, talking all about skorts!  Head on over to the post HERE for more pics and some breezy summer sewing inspiration!

 

Add Modesty Panel to a V-Neck Top!

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Is there anything worse than finding a dress that’s almost perfect? When I found this fun color-blocked dress at H&M a couple months ago, it was love at first sight…except for that plunging neckline.  Always the challenge to appropriately cover the nursing-mom cleavage, can I get an Amen?  So instead of passing it up, I figured out a DIY solution!

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The neckline was actually low enough that it allowed nursing access, but I wanted to be able to cover up the cleave when I was done!  I created this little panel that snaps open and shut.

Get the tutorial below!

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First, try your dress or top on and measure how high you want your panel to go (i.e. how much cleavage you’ve got exposed! Mine was about 4″ high).  Then, lay your dress or top face down on a flat surface to measure the width.  Be sure you’re not stretching the opening.  Mark how high your panel will go on the dress with a pen (i.e. 4″ above the bottom of the opening).  Then measure across the width of the opening at that point, and add about 1.5″ to overlap underneath (mine was about 5.5″).

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Now you’ll need to cut out your triangle of fabric for the panel.  Since my dress was made of a polyester knit, I used a black cotton knit that looked similar enough to the dress fabric.  I folded my fabric in half, and then cut out a triangle measuring the width you calculated above (5.5″ for me) and the height you measured above plus 1″ (about 5″ for mine), with the fold of the fabric at the top.  I wanted to use the fold as the top edge instead of hemming my fabric there.

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Now just finish the raw edges of your triangle sides…I used a serger but a simple zig-zag stitch would work too.  Then hand-stitch the bottom of your triangle flap to the inside of your dress, just below the neckline opening.  Mark where your panel hits the dress when closed, and hand-stitch snaps to both the top of the panel and inside of dress.  Or, if you’re not nursing and don’t need access, just hand-stitch the top in place as well!

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Voila!  Now go enjoy your new top/dress, in confidence that nobody’s staring at your chest!