It’s Day 4, and today we’re tackling the trickiest part of constructing the pull-over. Meg is going to take us through attaching the hood to the pull-over and finishing the neckline. My advice, take your time! And once we get through today, it’s totally smooth sailing till the end. Check out Day 4 HERE.
The steps are pretty basic, so our work should be fairly simple for today! Just a note:
ALL SEAM ALLOWANCES ARE 3/8 IN (1 CM) unless otherwise stated.
Now, a kangaroo pocket is not part of the pattern, but I really wanted to add one, so I thought I’d show you how to do that. If you’re not adding a pocket skip down to Step 1.
Yesterday, Meg talked a little about drafting the kangaroo pocket. You can either cut out one and fold the edges over, or you can cut two and sew them right sides together and then top stitch that onto the hoodie. I opted for the latter just because it seemed easier.
Pin your pocket pieces, right sides together. Sew all the way around leaving a 3 inch opening at the bottom. Clip the corners off. Turn right side out and press. If you want, you can top stitch the pocket openings (diagonal lines), though this is mostly just for looks. Then pin the pocket onto the hoodie (make sure to leave room at the bottom of the hoodie for hemming) and sew along the top and the bottom edge. Be sure to backstitch at the ends to secure openings.
Alright, moving along to . . .
Step 1. Sew sleeves to top
If you haven’t already, transfer markings from your pattern pieces to your fabric. You’ll need to know which side of your sleeve attaches to the front of the pull-over and which attaches to the back.
With right sides together, line up the “front” of the sleeve with the front piece of the pull-over along the armhole. Pin and sew with a 3/8 in seam allowance.
Trim and finish the edge with a serger or a zig zag stitch. Press the seam allowance toward the sleeve. Repeat with the other sleeve front.
Now we’re going to repeat the same steps with the back. With right sides together, line up the edge of the “back” of the sleeve with the back of the pull-over. Pin and sew. Finish the edge and then press the seam allowance toward the sleeve. Repeat with the other sleeve. Now both sleeves and the front and back of the pull-over should all be attached.
Step 2. Sew sleeve and side seams
With right sides together, fold the pull-over at the shoulder and bring the sides and sleeve edges together. Be sure to line up the seams at the bottom of the armhole. Pin and sew a continuous seam along the sleeve and side. Repeat on the other side.
Finish your seam allowance and press towards the back of the pull-over.
Turn right side out and press.
Woohoo, the body of your pull-over is constructed! Set that aside.
Step 3. Sew hood
With right sides together, pin along the top and back curved edge of the hood. Sew, finish edges, turn right side out and press.
I noticed that a few people plan on adding lining to their hoods. If you are adding lining, skip the next step and continue with the lining directions below.
If you’re not adding lining, you need to hem the front edge of the hood. There are specific directions at the bottom of page 42, but it is a basic double fold hem. Fold the edge of the hood 1 cm towards the wrong side. Unfold and tuck the raw edge under, within the fold, and press. Top stitch along the folded edge to secure hem down.
If you are adding a lining to the hood, you’ll need to cut out 2 hood pieces from your lining fabric, then sew them together like you did with the hood from the main fabric above. Press.
Place the main hood and the lining hood, right sides together, lining up the straight edge. Pin together and sew with a 3/8 inch seam allowance. Flip hood right side out so that lining is inside the main hood. Press the edge of the hood and roll the lining in slightly so that it is not visible from the outside. Top stitch along the straight edge of the hood and baste the two layers together along the bottom curve to make it easier to attach to the hoodie tomorrow.
And you’ve just completely steps 1-3! Tomorrow, we will attach the hood to the pull-over, add the elastic and finish the neckline, which are probably the most difficult steps in the whole process. But Meg will walk us through those steps on Day 4! How is your sewing coming along so far? Have you been sharing your pics on Instagram (#happyhomemadesewalong) or Flickr? Just two more days and we’ll be done with our hoodies! I can’t wait :)
Head over to Elsie Marley for Day 2 of the Happy Homemade Sew-along!!
I’ll be back tomorrow with Day Three :)
It’s here! We are FINALLY starting the sew-along! Are you pumped? I know I am!
First of all, it was brought to my attention that in my original sew-along announcement, I said that the deadline to enter your pull-over pictures into the Flickr group was June 30, instead of June 23. Unfortunately, I listed the wrong date and I’m soooo sorry if this caused an inconvenience to anyone! :( The correct date is next Monday, June 23. Of course, you can enter pictures into the Flickr group anytime, even if you can’t finish it by next week! But if you’d like it included in the drawing for the prize or our round-ups, your pictures will need to be uploaded by next Monday. Sorry again!
Today we are going to be locating our pattern pieces, tracing and adding seam allowance. Honestly, these first few steps are often the most confusing and intimidating for me when I use a Japanese sewing book – even more than the actual sewing steps! Using the English version helps A TON here, but it can still be a little confusing since it’s so different from using a PDF pattern, for example. So I’m going to walk you through the steps and the great news is, this will help you with not only this book and pattern, but you can apply these tricks and skills to any Japanese sewing book since they basically follow the same format!
Anyways, let’s get started.
On the directions page for the pull-over parka, it’ll list all the pattern pieces you’ll need. For this pattern there is the back, front, sleeve and hood and the pattern label is “s.” That letter is going to help us locate everything we need for this pattern. First I’m going to go through all the steps using the English version of the book since I think that’s what most people are using. But if you’re using the Japanese version of the book, I’ll help you locate the pattern for that book at the end of this post.
Pull out your pattern sheets. There will be two double-sided sheets labeled Pattern Sheet 1, 2, 3 and 4. Each has a table of contents, if you will. And you’ll see that the pattern pieces for “S” are scattered, one piece per sheet. The back piece is on sheet 1, the front piece is on sheet 2, the hood is on sheet 3 and the sleeve is on sheet 4.
I’m going to show you the front piece as an example. That is located on Pattern Sheet 2.
Unfold the sheet and you should be able to find the “S FRONT” pattern right next to the table of contents. The lines are burgundy and all the S pattern pieces will be in that same color, which will make it easier to find and distinguish from the other overlapping patterns. Congrats! You’ve completed step one – finding your pattern piece!
Now before you begin tracing, take a look at this diagram that is on the directions page of your book (below). This little picture has a ton of important information and you’ll find yourself referring to it quite a lot.
Super crucial note – Japanese patterns DO NOT INCLUDE SEAM ALLOWANCE. You must add it yourself!
Even though I know this and have known this forever, I still forget sometimes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve traced my pattern pieces super close together or close to the edge of the paper only to realize that I need to add seam allowance and have no room. LEAVE ROOM FOR SEAM ALLOWANCE!
Take a look at “front” pattern piece on the diagram. It’s on the bottom right corner and you can see that it is placed on the fold. The other edges will need seam allowance added. The standard seam allowance is 3/8 in or 1 cm. If there is no number specified in the diagram, you can assume that the seam allowance is 3/8 in (1cm). Looking at the front piece, the only edge that has a different seam allowance is the bottom edge where it says 1 1/4 in (3cm). Be sure to leave room for seam allowance when you trace your pattern piece.
There are several ways you can add seam allowance to your pattern. Some people like to do it while tracing. Meg shared a SUPER awesome and simple tip on one way to do that in her post during the Japanese Sewing Book Series. There are also some tools that add seam allowance as you’re cutting. I just do it the old fashioned way of tracing the pattern first, then measuring the seam allowance and drawing those lines separately.
Trace your pattern! I lined up the edge of my tracing paper with the edge of my front pattern piece that is on the fold, since that side does not need added seam allowance. Making sure I had room on the other sides for adding SA, I traced the lines for size 2. Be sure to trace any markings from the pattern as well.
Use a ruler to measure 3/8 in (1cm) from the side seam and draw a line.
For curved edges, I measure and mark the seam allowance every centimeter or so and then connect the dots.
Woohoo! One pattern piece down, three more to go! Follow these steps for the rest of your pieces.
The other night, I got an email from Gail asking specifically about the sleeve pattern piece. At the bottom of the sleeve, it tells you to add 1 1/4 in (3cm), but the seam allowance flares out at an angle. The pattern doesn’t give you any information about how to determine that angle or why you’re doing it that way. Since I was pretty stumped, I consulted my Japanese pattern gurus, Sanae and Frances to find out more. Frances located this helpful link and like a light bulb, it suddenly all made sense. That site is in Japanese, so I decided to make my own little diagram to help explain . . .
If you add seam allowance to your pattern piece and it continues to angle inwards at the bottom, when you fold it up to hem, you won’t have enough width. Your hem will be narrower than the sleeve and you’ll have trouble sewing that hem down without stretching or some pleating of fabric. No good!
Instead, you want the excess fabric at the bottom of the sleeve to angle outwards so that when it’s folded up, it is at the same angle as the sleeve. That way you’ll have enough width to reach the edges of the sleeve and hemming will be a breeze!
Does that make sense?
Still, it doesn’t tell you exactly how to create these lines and honestly, I just eyeballed it. You could fold the paper at the bottom of the sleeve to trace the sides (the bottom edge is slightly curved, but I think you could ignore that and it’d still be fine. Either way, I wouldn’t stress about it too much, just do your best :)
If you’re using the Japanese version of the book, all the steps are exactly the same, the only difference is that the pattern sheets are a little crazier and finding the pattern pieces you need is more difficult.
Up at the top of the directions, it tells you where you can find your pattern pieces. In this case it’s on “side A.”
Side A of the pattern sheet lists the four “S” pieces you’ll need – back, front, sleeve and hood.
This is what that crazy mess of a pattern sheet looks like. Look for the letter “s” and you’ll notice that all the S pattern pieces are green. Others are black and some are shaded in green – this will help you tell the patterns apart. Dig around – you’ll find all your pieces!
Yay, there they are!
Then follow the rest of the steps above.
Once you’ve traced your 4 pattern pieces, added your seam allowance and labeled the pieces, go ahead and cut them out and lay them aside for Day TWO! Also, if you haven’t yet, be sure to wash, dry and iron your fabric so you’ll be all ready to cut and prep for sewing tomorrow.
Be sure to share any in progress photos on Instagram (#happyhomemadesewalong) or the Flickr group and if you have any questions, leave a comment! Can’t wait to see yours as it comes together!
Tomorrow’s post will be up on Meg’s blog. See you there!
See the rest of the sew-along posts here:
We’re getting sooooo close! This is the last post before the sew-along starts, I promise! Just wanted to let you know what the schedule was going to be for next week and give you a little bit more info about how to participate and what you might win if you do!!
So here’s the breakdown for next week . . .
Meg and I are going to be switching back and forth with our posts. I’m going to be covering days 1, 3, and 5 and Meg will be doing days 2 and 4. But don’t worry, it won’t be confusing! Come to either blog each day and we’ll tell you exactly where to find the information you’re looking for!
You can add photos to the Flickr group at anytime, but if you’d like your picture included in our round-up or entered into our sew-along prize giveaway, be sure to do so by end of the day, Monday, June 23. That way you have the weekend to finish up and photograph your pull-over! *Please only upload photos that you are comfortable with us sharing on our blogs.*
RIGHT!?? Ok, I hope you’re pumped! I know some people are still waiting for their books to arrive, others still need to go fabric shopping. You still have a few days to gather your stuff, wash and dry your fabric, and clear your schedule and sewing space!
*UPDATED TO ADD MORE INFORMATION AT THE BOTTOM*
Oooh, the sew-along starts in less than a week! We’re in major preparation mode now and today I’m going to talk about what materials you’ll need to make the pull-over parka.
But first, did anyone try out some hoodie ideas with the sketch I provided last week? Yuki and I had fun coloring a few in and trying some different combos.
Yesterday, I posted on Instagram one of the combos I’m considering. And I also just added my favorite of Yuki’s hoodies in the flickr group. You definitely want to check that out. If you’ve got a sketch, don’t forget to share it! #happyhomemadesewalong
ANYWAYS, moving on to materials. Do you have your fabric picked out yet? I’m guessing that some of you do and some of you don’t. And that’s fine! If you’re in the latter group, we’re going to help you figure that out today! Meg is sharing with you some suggested fabrics types and an amazing selection of prints she rounded up. And I’m going to tell you how much fabric you need along with any other materials required for this project. Shall we get started?
First, you need to figure out what size you’re going to make. Here’s the size chart included in the English version of the book to help you determine the appropriate size.
The first number in each box is in inches. In parentheses is the measurement in centimeters.
Most Japanese sewing books follow the same format: Pictures of all the projects in the first half of the book and instructions in the back. In the Japanese version of the book, the pull-over pictures are on page 22 and 23.
You can see the directions are on page 54.
In the English version of the book, the pull-over is on page 24, with directions on page 60.
Flip over to your directions page and in the top left corner is wear you’ll find a lot of the basic information that you need to begin.
The pullover parka hoodie is labeled pattern “S.” The first section tells us which pattern pieces we are going to need. In the Japanese book, it also tells you that you can find the pattern pieces on “Side A” of the pattern pages. We can skip this information for now – we’ll be diving into that part next week.
The next section is about the materials you’ll need. Japanese patterns don’t really give you suggested fabrics. Instead, it lists the fabric used in the samples in the book. So for example, while some patterns might suggest, “light- to medium-weight fabric such as quilting cotton, shirting, linen or voile,” Japanese patterns might say something like, “floral print cotton” or in this case, “herringbone cotton” or “tartan cotton.” This information can be useful if you want to replicate the book version, but as far as recommendations, they aren’t very helpful. Luckily, Meg is here to help you out with fabric suggestions!
What you should pay attention to though, is the number next to the fabric. Here it says, “40 in (102 cm) herringbone cotton.” That first number is the width of the fabric. Be sure that the fabric you choose is at least the same width as the measurement listed here.
This section has a ton of numbers, so it’s a little hard to separate what’s what, but I’ve color coded it to make it easier. Based on these numbers, here’s what I’d recommend buying for each size (I rounded up a little).
Size 2: 1 and 1/4 yards
Size 4: 1 and 1/2 yards
Size 6: 1 and 1/2 yards
Size 8: 1 and 2/3 yards
The other materials you’ll need are:
Fusible interfacing: 2 x 3/4 in
Cotton tape: 44 in
1/4 inch wide elastic: 2 and 3/8 in
The cotton tape is used to create a drawstring at the bottom of the pull-over. You can use twill tape, bias tape, cording, ribbon, etc. If you use bias tape, you’ll want to sew it shut along the open edge.
Besides fabric and notions, there a few other things that you’ll need to gather before you can begin.
- Tracing paper. The first thing we’re going to need to do is the find and trace the pattern pieces we need. You’ll want as large of sheets as possible, like this, which can be found at most art stores
- Ruler and pencil. I’m assuming you already have one, but since we’ll be adding our own seam allowance, you’re not going to be able to do that without a ruler.
- Safety pin. It will come in handy when threading the cotton tape through the casing.
Is it time to go shopping? I’m going to start with my stash and see if I have anything there first. Looking for fabric suggestions? Be sure to check out Meg’s post! She has rounded up a drool-worthy selection of prints to consider along with helpful suggestions on fabric types.
We’re getting close! Sew-along begins in SIX DAYS!
To tell you that I love nani IRO fabric is pretty much as high on the list as “I love sewing” on the ‘duh-that’s-obvious’ statements about me. I love nani IRO and that really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who knows me. I found some nani IRO double gauze in my local fabric shop three years ago and I softly gasped at the beautiful painted flowers, then I sharply inhaled at the price, but then slowly sighed when I felt how soft and luxurious the double gauze was. And I haven’t looked back since!
nani IRO is designed by Japanese artist, Naomi Ito. I love the unique hand painted designs and the high quality fabric. It’s really like nothing else out there. I decided to go through and find my old nani IRO projects and round them up for you . . .
Sweetheart Bubble Dress // 1st Birthday Dress // Floral Baby Dress
Everyday Skirt // Little Letter Halter
Signature Look Top // Foldover Clutch // A-line Tunic
Ethereal Dress // Neon Dot Double Skirt // Reversible Spring Coat
Looking back at these pictures, I noticed two things. 1. I’m really drawn to her dots and florals – she just does them so well. I’ve never used any of her other prints. And 2. Out of all of these projects, only ONE was for me! I figure it’s about time to change both of those things :)
Nani IRO fabric isn’t cheap. Before, I loved the way it looked, but could really only afford to buy little pieces, which is why it was easier to sew things for a kid, or use it for an accessory. But after a while, I realized that even though I’d have to spend a lot of money buying several yards of fabric to cover my adult body, it would still be totally worth it. I appreciate this fabric and will wear it a billion times more than my toddler ever will. I spend the time, effort ,and money to make the garments – why shouldn’t I get to enjoy it?
So then I decided ALL THE NANI IRO FOR ME! Haha, just kidding. But you know, I deserve nani IRO, and I think that you do too . . .
The month of June has officially been named “nani IRO month” by Frances of Miss Matatabi. She’s asked some of her friends to help her showcase the latest collection of nani IRO fabric and I’m pretty sure we all just JUMPED at the opportunity. Be sure to check out her blog for all the latest projects being shared throughout the month.
For my first project, I chose a really unique fabric called Freedom Garden (A – France) and decided I wanted to sew something for me. It is double gauze and comes in three colorways and the design is kinda crazy and out of control, but in a beautiful way. I went back and forth about it – can I pull it off? What would I make with it? Is it too crazy? I asked people on Facebook and Instagram what they thought I should make and I got some reeeally great suggestions. But in the end, I decided to make a good ol Wiksten Tank.
I knew that this would, by far, get the most wear and I am in need of some basic tanks and tees for the summer and as I transition back to work. Sure, I could have made a special dress, but honestly, I just don’t wear dresses very often. This tank, on the other hand, I’ll reach for again and again.
LOOK AT THIS FABRIC! It’s like Naomi Ito just went all craaaaaazy with her paints! I felt like I was sewing and wearing some modern art. Should this be a museum exhibit? I love the variety of both bold and subtle colors in this fabric. And the interesting variety of brush strokes.
Double gauze is dreamy fabric. It’s soft and airy, it’s comfortable and breathable. It’s lovely to sew with too. The only things to look out for is that because it’s a looser woven fabric, it can stretch out when sewing curves. And it can get wrinkly when it’s worn/washed. But I still love it. It just feels soooo nice.
I’ve made the Wiksten Tank before and I really like the fit. It’s perfect up top and then conveniently covers my mid-section.
I did make a couple of slight modifications to the pattern. I lengthened the tank by a 1/2 inch for just a little extra coverage. I also raised the neckline by about 2 inches, because as much as I like the look of the original neckline, it was always just a little too revealing and I felt uncomfortable at work since I’m constantly bending over to work with young kids. Since I noticed a little gaping at the neckline in the back with my previous Wiksten, I made the same alteration as Rae did to decrease that, except I only moved the pattern over by 1/2 an inch, instead of a full inch. Worked fine for me.
I can honestly say, I don’t have anything else in my wardrobe quite like this! It’s fun to have a little something different from everyone else too :)
Be sure to check out the entire nani IRO stock in the Miss Matatabi shop. They are all soooo gorgeous. I have several other prints in my stash just waiting to be sewn up, but I mostly just like to stare at them and pet them :)
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the bloggers participating in nani IRO month! I’ve got another project coming up later this month with more nani IRO – but this time with a fabric I’ve NEVER sewn with before! Wish me luck :)
*This fabric was generously given to me, but everything I said is 100% my own opinion – I wouldn’t lie to you about nani IRO! And trust me, I spend my own money on nani IRO too. ;)*
So we’re gearing up for the Happy Homemade Sew-along! It’s the week of June 16-20. By now, you should either have the book in your hands or maybe you’re waiting for it arrive. Today, Meg and I have some hoodie inspiration for you so you can start planning YOUR hoodie.
One of the reasons we picked this pattern to sew, is because the possibility for simple modifications is endless! Now there is nothing wrong with sewing up the pattern exactly as directed, but if this isn’t your first time sewing this pattern or you are looking for something a little different, here are some ideas of ways you can mix up the pullover parka pattern.
The original pattern features a hood, 3/4 length sleeves, a drawstring for the bottom and a partial elastic neckline. Let’s talk about some ways you can mix it up!
*We aren’t going to be walking you through any of these modifications during the sew-along, so if you want to alter your pattern, be sure you know how to do that on your own :)*
Two easy modifications is to change the length of the sleeves to make either a short sleeved or long sleeved top. Or, you can lengthen the sleeves and make an elastic casing for a gathered cuff.
Instead of adding a drawstring along the bottom hem, you can use elastic for a similar look but without the hassle of tying. Or you can just hem it regularly and omit that gathered hem altogether. By lengthening the hoodie and extending the side seams into a slight A-line shape, you can make this into a hooded dress!
Adding pockets is another simple and practical way to update this pattern. You can add a patch pocket, a kangaroo pocket, in-seam pockets or even welt pockets.
The raglan style sleeves of this pattern naturally lend themselves to color blocking. You can chose different fabrics for the sleeves, the hood and the front and back. If you are comfortable modifying your pattern to break it into segments for color blocking, that just opens up a bazillion new combinations and possibilities.
You probably know by now that I am a big fan of fabric stamping, stenciling and painting to create one-of-a-kind fabric and garments. Well this is the perfect opportunity to add your unique mark to a piece of clothing for your kid! And how much would your kid love it if you added something they are really into? This pattern is perfect for adding applique or embroidery. And have you seen my Panda Raglan Tee tutorial?? ANIMAL HOODIE, need I say more?
Well, there are some ideas to get your hoodie planning started. And like I said, you don’t need to make any modifications to the pattern to make an awesome hoodie! The easiest way to make your garment “you” and unique is in your fabric selection. We’ll be talking more about fabric next week, but in the meantime, why don’t you download this blank hoodie template and start brainstorming ideas for your hoodie!?
You can either right click/control+click and select “Save Image As” or download a PDF version HERE.
Print it out and grab some pencils, markers, or paint to play with different ideas for your hoodie. Be sure to check out Meg’s post for a round-up of hoodies to give you more inspiration. Check out your fabric stash. Play around with colors. This is just for fun so you can make your picture as realistic or outrageous as you want. Then upload your picture to the flickr pool or post it on Instagram and tag it with #happyhomemadesewalong so we can all be inspired by YOU!
Can’t wait to see what you come up with!
I’m so excited to be posting as part of Melly Sews’ (30) Days of Sundresses Series for the THIRD time (see my previous tutorials here and here)! A new sundress tutorial every day this month! Keep up with them all on Melly Sews.
I’m pretty excited about sharing this project because it was one of those things that I had a vision of, but didn’t know if or how it’d work. But then it ended up exactly how I pictured it and I’m thrilled!
The dress is a halter-style dress with two ties in the back, a skirt that is gathered in the front and elastic in the back and, of course, pockets. It’s super summery and perfect for the beach or picnics or parties, or whatever else you’ll be up to this season! Just be sure to slather on the sunscreen because this baby shows a lot of back (but not that kind of back).
This is currently Yuki’s favorite dress and she requests to wear it as often as possible. We’ve also gotten tons of compliments on it, which is due in great part to the adorable fabric. It’s part of Cloud9′s Lotus Pond Collection by Rae Hoekstra and it’s called Fluttering Fields, which is where I got the name of the dress (thanks Rae)! I love this fabric – high quality, organic, lovely to sew and lovely to wear (I basically live in my Lotus Pond pajama pants).
Here is Yuki cracking herself up after sticking her tongue out at me. She thinks she’s hilarious . . . :P
Do you want to make a Fluttering Fields Sundress!? It’s really not very difficult at all! Full disclosure here though – when I sew, I kind of make things up as I go and hope it comes out ok. I often make changes along the way and later wish I did things differently or wonder if I did them the “right” way. Luckily, things worked out pretty well with this project, but it certainly isn’t perfect and I’m going to tell you what things I discovered along the way or would do differently if I were to do it again. It’s all about learning here, right?
Ok, here’s what you need:
- Fabric (1-2 yards depending on the size)
- Basic front bodice pattern
- 1/4 inch wide elastic
For your fabric, I recommend a light to mid-weight woven fabric like quilting cotton, shirting, chambray, linen blend, double gauze, etc. I’m pretty sure you could even use a stable knit, but I haven’t tried.
I started from a basic bodice pattern that I already had (from the Geranium Dress), but you can also draft your own from a shirt or dress that fits your child or use a different dress bodice pattern.
Taking your front bodice pattern piece as a starting point, I’m going to show you the edits I made to form the new bodice pattern for this halter style dress. Some of this will depend on personal preference and the specific bodice pattern you’re starting with though.
First I dropped the neckline slightly and created a new curve to meet the original neckline.
Now here is where what I did and what I wish I did start to differ. I lowered the bottom of the armhole by about 1/2 an inch. In hindsight, I probably didn’t need to do that. What you need to know here is that whatever the measurement of the side of your bodice is (marked in turquoise), is going to be the width of your ties plus your seam allowance.
Mistake #2: I used a 1/4 inch seam allowance, which works out fine, but I do find it easier to work with at least 3/8 of an inch seam allowance. So in all the pictures and directions, I’ll refer to a 1/4 inch seam allowance, but at the pattern drafting stage, I recommend you work in a larger seam allowance. It’ll make the construction a little easier and when you construct yours, remember to substitute your seam allowance measurement whenever I say a 1/4 inch. Got it?
So measure down about 2 inches from your armhole and if you need to shorten your bodice, do so. The Geranium bodice is quite short as is, so I didn’t adjust the length.
That measurement you took (the turquoise line), that is going to be the same as your shoulder seam measurement (magenta line). It just makes it easy to have all of your ties be the same width. Rather than angling down, the shoulder seam needs to angle up so that your neck ties will point inwards. Make a slightly curved line from the outer tip of your shoulder to the bottom of the armhole to create a halter shaped bodice. The other thing I would change here is the depth of this curve. You can see in the finished dress that the bodice cuts in quite a bit, so if you want more coverage, make the line straighter.
Phew! Are you still with me? Trust me, that was the hardest part!
Next, we need to create the pattern for the ties. You will use the same tie pattern piece for both the neck ties and the back ties. To determine the length, I calculated 3/4 of the total bodice width. To do that, first measure the bottom edge of your bodice pattern then multiply that in two, since that pattern is only half a bodice. For example, say your bodice pattern measures 6 inches across the bottom, that means the entire bodice will measure 12 inches. Take that number and multiply it by .75 to calculate 3/4 of the width. In my case, that is 9 inches.
*I have not tested this formula with any other sizes than this one, so I can’t guarantee this will be the right length, but I’m fairly certain that it should work.*
The width of your tie pattern will be the same measurement as that turquoise and magenta line up there, somewhere around 2 inches (mine is narrower because of the small SA). Cut out a strip of paper with your measurements, fold it in half lengthwise and taper one end starting 2 inches from the tip. I drew and cut one side, then folded it in half to trace the other side so that it is symmetrical.
Here’s what my pattern pieces looked like. Ignore that middle one because it ended up being too short :P
Did I tell you that I was working things out as I went along?
Skirt pieces! You’ll need two rectangles for your skirt front and back. To determine the width of a gathered skirt, I usually take the child’s waist measurement and then use that for one skirt panel. For example, if the waist measurement is 20 inches, then my skirt panels will each be 20 inches, for a total of 40 inches, that will then be gathered to just the right amount of fullness (in my opinion). You can add or subtract width according to your preference. The length will depend on the desired length of the dress. Be sure to leave room for seam allowance at the top, hemming at the bottom, and I throw in an extra inch just in case (you’ll need to trim the skirt front to match the back in a later step). Set one of your skirt panels aside.
For the back skirt panel, I added a slight curve along the top edge. Fold your fabric in half (so the side seams are lined up) and cut a subtle curved line from the raw edge (side of the skirt) toward the folded edge, 1 inch down from the top. I wanted to create a slight opening in the back, but knew that the weight of the elastic and fabric would pull the skirt down, so this cut can be very minimal and possibly eliminated altogether.
So here are my cut pieces. You need:
- 2 bodice pieces
- 4 pocket pieces (I just drew this shape to create my own pocket pattern)
- 8 ties
- 2 skirt panels (one rectangle and one with a lowered top edge)
In this lovely picture you can see another X. I accidentally cut my first set of ties too long. I used them anyways, but I would have been better off using a shorter tie (in the pictures, the back ties are triple knotted and still too long for my taste). So ignore the different length tie pieces – all 8 of yours should be the same length.
We’re finally ready to sew!!!
Pin the ties to the bodice sides and shoulders, right sides together.
*VERY IMPORTANT* When you sew the sides, do NOT sew all the way to the bottom. Stop a 1/4 inch from the bottom (If you are using a 3/8 seam allowance, stop 3/8 inch from the bottom). Be sure to back stitch at each end.
Sew shoulder seams all the way across.
Press your seams open.
Your side seams should look like this, with a little opening at the bottom. Repeat with the other bodice and tie pieces.
Place your two bodice pieces with right sides together and pin all the way around starting from the side seam (pink arrow) and going all the way around all four ties and the bodice, back to the other side seam (other pink arrow) and sew. Do not sew the bottom of the bodice during this step.
This is what it should look like, with your stitching beginning and ending at each side seam.
Cut notches in the curved sections of the seam allowance and cut off the excess fabric at the tips of each tie so it will look nice and flat when you turn it right side out.
Turn the bodice and ties right side out (I like to use a mechanical pencil or chopstick to get those ties turned and the tips nice and pointy). Give it a gooooood press. Fold the bottom edge of one of the bodice pieces towards the wrong side by a 1/4 inch (or whatever your seam allowance is) and press. This side is now your bodice lining.
Take your back skirt panel, the one with the curved edge, and create a casing for the elastic by folding it a 1/4 inch and pressing, then 3/8 inch and pressing again. Pin and sew along the folded edge.
To determine your elastic length, take the waist measurement and divide it in half and subtract one inch. So if the waist measurement is 20 inches, divide that in half to get 10 inches, then subtract 1 and your elastic length is 9 inches. You don’t want to err on the side of excess length here. If your elastic is too long then the back of the dress will gape open and hang too low. You want this to be nice and snug against the back.
Thread your elastic through the casing (a safety pin is super helpful here). As the end of the elastic is about to pass through the opening, pin and sew it in place so it doesn’t slip into the casing. Continue to pull the elastic through to the other side and pin and sew it in place. Trim any elastic that is sticking out of the ends of the casing.
If desired, finish the curved edge of each pocket piece. On your front skirt panel, place one pocket, right sides facing, 2 inches down from the top edge. Pin in place. Repeat on the other side.
You’ll do the same for the back skirt piece except you’ll place your pocket pieces a 1/4 inch higher (or your seam allowance measurement) lower. So while my front pocket pieces are placed 2 inches from the top, my back pocket pieces are 1 and 3/4 inch from the top.
Sew the pocket to the skirt (you can finish the edges of the skirt here if you want) and press the pocket out. Repeat with the other 3 pocket pieces.
Place the skirt front and back right sides together with pockets lined up. The front skirt piece will extend a 1/4 inch higher than the back.
Sew the sides of the skirt together going around the pocket (pink line). Press the side seams toward the front of the dress. Turn right side out and press.
Next we’ll gather the front of the skirt. With a basting stitch (set your stitch length to the longest setting, do not back stitch and leave a tail of thread at the end), stitch two rows along the top edge of the skirt from one side seam to the other. I find that I get the nicest looking gathers when I have one row of basting stitches above the seam allowance line and one below. So I stitched my basting rows about 1/8 inch and 3/8 inch from the top.
Pull one thread from each row to gather the skirt until it is the same width as the bodice. Distribute the gathers evenly.
Pin the bodice to the gathered front skirt piece, right sides together. Be sure the bodice lining and back of the skirt are pulled aside when you sew. The seam allowance from the sides of the skirt should be folded inwards toward the gathered skirt and will be sewn during this step. Sew bodice and skirt together.
Press bodice and seam allowance up and remove thread from the basting stitches. Woohoo! It’s looking like a dress!
You can attach the bodice lining one of two ways. The first is to hand sew the lining in, enclosing the seam allowance and stitching the lining to only the top layer of fabric. This takes more time, but creates a clean look with no visible stitching.
The second method is to pin the lining down so that it covers the previously stitched line and then, from the right side of the dress, top stitch along the bottom of the bodice. While you’re at it, you can top stitch along the bottom and all the way around the ties and neckline, if you want to. It’s purely up to your personal/aesthetic preference. I opted for the hand sewing.
Now all you need to do is hem! The front of the dress is going to be a little longer than the back because I didn’t take into consideration the difference the casing would make. Yeah, oops again.
Even out the lengths and fold twice towards the wrong side to your desired length and sew along the folded edge. And you’re DOOOOONE!!
Gahhhh! Love this little sun-kissed back!
Yuki’s worn this dress a bunch already and I’ve had to wash it a few times. The only problem is that the ends of the ties have come out of the wash wrinkled, but luckily it’s just that part of the dress and it’s very easy to press (it takes one minute).
I realize that this tutorial is long and possibly hard to follow along, so if you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you! I really hope that some of you give this a try because I’d LOOOOVE to see your versions! Be sure to share them with me via email or load your pictures into the you & mie flickr pool!
Thanks so much for stopping by and be sure to check in at Melly Sews for a new sundress tutorial every day of this month!
Thanks to everyone for entering the Happy Homemade Sew-Along Giveaway! The three lucky winners are:
Now if you didn’t win the giveaway, but still want to participate in the sew-along, but don’t yet have the book . . . well, you better get moving! If you’re ordering online, you’ll need some time for shipping. So where can you get one? I’m here to help!
But before we get to that, I just wanted to talk to anyone who might be on the fence about getting this book . . .
GET OFF THE FENCE.
This is definitely one of THE most popular Japanese sewing books and for good reason! It’s packed cover to cover with really great, classic styles that you can use over and over again. See more pictures in my book review and Meg’s (she has a ton of photos of all of the amazing things she’s made from the book). And it’s not even expensive! The book has 20 patterns. I’ve seen the book priced between $13-17 and even with shipping costs, we’re talking maybe $1-2 MAX PER PATTERN! That’s an amazing deal.
Now that you’re ready to buy it, where should you start? Well I find online shopping super convenient, but sometimes I don’t like paying for shipping and handling if I can avoid it. If you’re interested in the English version, Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids, I’d call your local bookstores. Larger chains might carry it or maybe your local sewing/fabric shop.
If you’re interested in buying online, I’ve found a few places you can try:
If you are up for a challenge, and want to buy the Japanese version, Happy Homemade Vol.2, the best bet to buy it locally is at a Japanese bookstore like Kinokuniya. Some Japanese supermarkets have book sections, so you can always try those as well.
As for online sources, here are some links:
Ok, it’s time to get shopping! You gotta make sure you can get the book in your hands by Monday, June 16th when the sew-along begins!
*Edited to add: a couple of people commented that they found the book at their local LIBRARY! That’s brilliant! What a great way to check out the book and see if it’s worth buying. So definitely check there first if you’re still on the fence about buying the book*
Do you know of any stores, local or online that sell either version of the book? If so, leave me a comment and I’ll add it to the list!