Pretty Pink Pinafore {tutorial}

You guuuuuuuys!!  Thanks so much for all of the wonderful well wishes after my last post.  It has been truly heartwarming reading each comment, hearing some of your own stories and feeling the love you’ve sent my family’s way.  I really appreciate it!  You guys rock :)

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So last week, I did a guest post for sewpony‘s series “When We Were Young” and I shared an outfit that I made for my daughter that was inspired by an outfit that I wore when I was young!  I also mentioned that I’d post a tutorial for the simple pinafore, so here I am, being true to my word.

Here is the original next to the version I made for Yuki:
PinkPinafore7I did a lot of guessing and “winging it” when making this little pinafore, but it came together pretty simply so I wanted to share how I did it in case you wanted to try it too!  But I have to warn you, this tutorial is not about exact measurements or precise directions.  It’s just a basic how-to.  Since I was just making it up as I went along, you may have to be a bit flexible and daring and wing it too.  Hope that’s ok!

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The jumper has a bib bodice in the front and is open in the back with criss cross straps.  The skirt is gathered in the front and has elastic in the band for easy comfort and fit.  Really, it looks a lot like an apron.  There is a cute notched “collar” (clearly, it’s not a real collar, but I wasn’t sure what else to call it), and a crocheted lace detail on the pocket.  It’s perfect for hot summer days, but can easily be layered as we transition into fall.

What you’ll need:

  • Main fabric (1-2 yards depending on what size you’re making)
  • Contrast fabric (1/4 yard)
  • Crocheted doily or lace
  • Lightweight interfacing
  • 1″ wide elastic
  • 2 buttons

To draft your pattern, measure the child’s chest and divide that by 4.  That will be the width of your bodice pattern piece (since it’s drawn on the fold).  You can also measure across the front of a dress or shirt and divide that in two.  When I drafted my piece, I added seam allowance, but my bodice ended up being just a little too wide.  So I’d just stick with the measurement and not add seam allowance and then the bodice will be just smaller than the chest width, which I think will fit better.

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The height of your pattern piece will depend on how long you want the bodice to be.  Measure from the point you want the bodice to start on their chest and down to where you want the skirt to begin.  Add a 1/2 inch seam allowance on both the top and bottom (1 inch total).  I also cut the top corner a bit to allow room for arms.  I eyeballed this, but for my 3T-ish pattern, I made a mark about 1 inch in on the top and 2.5 inches down and drew a diagonal line connecting the two and then cut.  You can place your pattern on your child or on a shirt to see if it’s about the right size/angle (remember to take into account the 1/2 inch seam allowance).  Sorry people, I don’t have an exact formula – like I said, I usually just wing things around here.

To draft the collar, I placed some tracing paper on top of the bodice piece and traced along the top section of the bodice pattern.  Decide how long you want this collar piece to be and cut straight across, remembering to add seam allowance.  I used a 1/2 inch SA to sew along the outside edge of the bodice, but only a 1/4 inch SA along the bottom of the collar piece.  To add the notch, draw a diagonal line along the fold line of your pattern piece the size and angle you want your notch to be.  Then draw a second line a quarter inch over (towards the fold line) and cut.

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You’ll also need a pocket pattern piece, which you can make whatever size/shape you want.

Now you’re ready to cut your fabric.  From your main fabric, you’ll need 2 bodice pieces, 2 pocket pieces and 2 strap pieces.  Your straps should be 2.5 inches wide and whatever length you’ll need to reach from the top of the bodice, over the shoulder and to their waistline on their back.  My 3T straps were 14.5 inches long.

From your contrast fabric, you’ll need 2 collar pieces.  If desired, add lightweight interfacing on the wrong side of one of the collar pieces.

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 You’ll also need to cut 2 rectangles for the skirt front and skirt back from your main fabric.  I used one of Yuki’s dresses to determine how wide to cut the rectangle (by measuring the width of the bottom of the skirt then adding 1 inch for seam allowance) and the length will depend on how long you want the skirt to be, plus added length for seam allowance and hemming.  For the skirt back piece, add one inch to the length to create casing for the elastic.  My skirt pieces were 27×14 inches for the front and 27×15 inches for the back.

First we’re going to add the decorative lace to the pocket piece.  Depending on what shape lace doily you have, you can probably just leave it as is and sew it on to one of your pocket pieces.  A square or strip can be placed across the top edge of the pocket.  Or a circular piece can be cut in half so that a curved edge lays across the top half of the pocket.  Play around with whatever shape or look you want and sew the lace down onto the right side of one of your pocket pieces.

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Because I was trying to replicate the pocket in the original photo, I needed a triangular piece.  I cut my lace into a triangle and then serged the edges to finish them.  I did kind of a crappy job.

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After you top stitch along the outer edge of the lace to attach it to one of your pocket pieces, lay the other pocket piece on top, right sides together and pin around the edges.

Sew all the way around the pocket leaving about a 1.5 inch opening.

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Clip corners, flip the pocket right side out and press.   Sew this pocket onto the front skirt piece.

To prepare your straps, fold them in half lengthwise (right sides together) and press.  Then sew along the long edge and one of the short edges with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Be sure to leave one short edge open.  Trim the corner.

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Repeat with the other strap and then turn the straps right side out and press.

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Place your collar pieces wrong sides together and pin along the bottom (notched) edge.  It may help to mark the line you want to sew along, for the notched portion, to assure you get a nice even and centered notch.  Sew just along the bottom edge of the collar.

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Trim corners and carefully clip your notch as close to the stitching as possible – but don’t snip the stitching!

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Flip your collar right side out, use a chopstick or something to push all the corners out and press.

Lay the collar on top of one of your bodice pieces, right sides facing up and baste the collar to the bodice.

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Place the raw edge of one of your straps along the top edge of your bodice – measure a 1/2 inch down and a 1/2 in and pin.  Do the same with the other strap on the other side of the bodice.

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I didn’t photograph the next step, but place the other bodice piece on top, right sides together (with straps and collar sandwiched in between) and pin.  Sew the bodice pieces together along the sides and top of the bodice (leaving the bottom edge open) using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Trim seam allowance down to a 1/4 inch and clip corners.  Flip right side out and press.

Gather the skirt front piece by sewing two basting lines along the top edge of the skirt.  To baste, set your machine on the longest stitch and do not backstitch at the beginning or end.  Leave the threads long and pull carefully to gather the skirt.  You want the width to be 1/2 an inch longer than the bodice on each side.  Leave that 1/2 inch ungathered.

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Pin the bottom edge of the bodice to the top edge of the front skirt piece with right sides together.  There should be 1/2 an inch of ungathered skirt sticking out on either side of the bodice.

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Sew the skirt and bodice together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Finish this raw edge with your serger or a zig zag stitch.  Press the bodice up and the seam allowance down.

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To make the casing for the back skirt piece, fold and press the fabric just less than 1/2 an inch down along one of the long edges.  Fold the fabric down again just over one inch – you’ll want the casing to be slightly wider than the 1″ elastic.  Sew very close to the folded edge.

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Using a safety pin, pull the elastic through the casing.  Sew the elastic in place 1/2 an inch in from one side and then continue pulling elastic through to the other end.  The skirt back piece should match the width of the skirt front piece, or be just a little bit smaller for a snug fit.  Sew the other end of the elastic in place 1/2 an inch in from the end.  Trim excess elastic.

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Place the skirt front and back pieces together (right sides facing in) and pin along the side edges of the skirt.  Sew together using a 1/2 an inch SA, trim and finish edges using a serger or zig zag stitch.

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We’re almost done!  Just a few more finishing touches.  On the inside of your back skirt piece, hand sew two buttons to attach the straps to.

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Then sew buttonholes on the ends of your straps.

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Done!

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Hooray!  A sweet vintage frock for your sweet little one!

Please remember to add any of your you & mie inspired creations to the flickr pool!  Oh and let me know if you have any questions or corrections.  I wrote this when I was really sleepy :P

I hope you’re all doing well.  I seriously can’t believe how quickly this summer is going by!  It’s already AUGUST!  And I went from having no real sewing agenda, to a list of about 15+ projects that I want to get done before the baby comes in a couple of months!  I better get to it!  What have you been working on?

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When We Were Young

It was nice to hear from some of you after my last post, and know that I’m not the only one who totally missed the KCW boat.  Seems like summer is a time when a lot of us slow down our sewing a bit, and for good reason!  I personally have been loving the extra time off to enjoy my summer and relax a bit.  Especially since we’re gearing up for welcoming baby #2 this September.  I have a feeling that “extra time” and “relax” will not be a part of my vocabulary for some time after that!

ANYWAYS, I’m here to tell you that I got a chance to participate in sewpony‘s super fun series, “When We Were Young” and my post is now up, so go check it out!  We were asked to recreate an outfit of ours from when we were a kid for our own kid.  Seriously, it was SO. MUCH. FUN going through old photos and trying to find the perfect one to make for Yuki.  So to give you a little peek – here’s the outfit I was inspired by.

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If you want to see the version I made for Yuki, you’ll have to hop on over to sewpony!  I’m also thinking about posting a tutorial for that little pinafore, so check back in for that next week.

Be sure to take a look at the other guest posts that have already gone up (click here and then scroll down to the list of guests and Suz has linked up the previous posts there) – they have all been so amazing!  And then check back weekly for a new post from her awesome line-up of guests.

AND if you want to join in the fun – find an outfit from your own childhood and recreate it for your child and then add it to the When We Were Young flickr group!

Thanks for stopping by!

Guest Post for Vintage May!

I’ve been looking forward to this day for so long!  I’m guest posting over at Skirt as Top for Vintage May!

I had the hardest time thinking of a project for this series, because there are so many wonderful vintage-inspired possibilities.  But I finally decided on a suspender skirt for my daughter based some outfits I found in old family photos!  Go check out my inspiration, the suspender skirt I made for Yuki, and a full tutorial HERE!

And if you like her vintage fabric sleeveless top, come back tomorrow for a little how-to for this remix of the Jump Rope Dress pattern by Oliver + S.

Thank you, Kristin and Jess for hosting a great series!  If you want to check out the vintage awesomeness, take a look at all the Vintage May posts on Skirt as Top and Craftiness is not Optional.  It has been so much fun!

Mei-chan

Yay, it’s done!  My “movie inspired” outfit is finally done – better late than never, right?  When Project Run & Play announced the challenges for this season and one of them was “Going to the Movies” it didn’t take me very long to decide what I wanted to do.  I mean, the options are ENDLESS, but I wanted to stick with something simple and make her an outfit I thought she’d be able to wear regularly.  And since the Totoro costume I made for Yuki last Halloween was such a huge hit, I knew something from the same movie would be appreciated.  So that’s how I decided to recreate Mei’s outfit from the movie “となりのトトロ” or “My Neighbor Totoro.”  It’s a Japanese animated classic by Hayao Miyazaki and I’m obsessed with all of his movies.  So uhh, if you haven’t seen this movie, I think you should just go see it right now.

ANYWAYS, Mei is a 4 year old and the character is such a perfect match for Yuki’s personality!  Even though Yuki’s not even 2 yet, she’s got a lot of Mei’s fun, rough-and-tumble, stubborn personality and even how Mei tries so hard to keep up with her older sister.  Yuki loves playing with other kids too, even though she’s such a little runt compared to them.  I’m not going to give you a whole synopsis of the movie, you can look it up or watch a trailer, or better yet, just go watch the film if you haven’t seen it already.

So here are some screen shots from the movie:

And our little Mei-chan:

One of the most memorable scenes is when Mei is playing by herself in the yard and she spots a little peculiar creature running through the grass.  She tries to follow the chibi Totoro, and it tries to run away.  We had fun recreating that scene during our photo shoot (and I had a little fun with photo editing too :)).

Got him!!

So I made three pieces for this outfit.  The blouse and the shorts are from the Oliver + S pattern, Puppet Show Tunic and Shorts.  I don’t have a lot of experience making buttoned collared shirts, so I thought using a pattern would be a good way to learn.

The thing about a good Oliver + S pattern is that it is pretty tedious and takes a lot of time.  This, of course, results in a really high quality piece of clothing, but one of the things I love about making kids clothing is how quickly you can whip something up.  That’s just me being impatient though.  It’s really good that I’m learning how to do things the “right” way.  I made the shirt in 2T size which is HUGE on Yuki, but that means she’ll be able to wear it for a long time.  I used an embroidered white fabric just to make it a bit more interesting and added a button in the front just to make it look like the one in the movie.  I’ll probably take it off since it serves no purpose.

The shorts are so cute!  These came together very quickly and I want to make a few more of these for sure.  I made them white to match Mei’s bloomers, but I’m not sure it was a very practical move.  They make for some adorable summer shorts though!

The red jumper is a simple lined bodice that I adjusted from the Every Little Thing Tunic (recognize the lining fabric?) and a circle skirt.  I added some fun yellow flower buttons on the back.  This piece came together the fastest!

I also made the little white chibi Totoro right before our photo shoot out of some scraps of white fleece (from the original Totoro costume!) and tied little pom poms to her hair rubber bands to match Mei’s.

This blue Totoro is a stuffed animal – I didn’t make it.

Did you spot the creeper Totoro!?

And speaking of creepers, check out this paparazzi sneaking up on an unsuspecting girl.

Phew, that was a lot of photos!  Now that I’ve made a Totoro costume and a Mei outfit, all that’s really left for me to make is the Cat bus!  Haha, NOT!

Tutorial: Classic Jumper

This post is long overdue!  I made this jumper for Yuki for Thanksgiving (along with the Herringbone Short Coat) and I’ve been wanting to share this tutorial ever since.  I hope you keep in mind that I just kind of make this stuff up as I go along, so I don’t know if this is actually the best way to make a jumper.  It’s just the way that I did it and in case you’re curious – here it is!

I’d been wanting to make a jumper for Yuki for some time.  It’s just such a fun and classic style.  And there is this super colorful plaid flannel (that I’m kind of obsessed with), that I thought would add a bit of a non-traditional, yet still holiday, feel to this piece.  Here is the sketch of the jumper I wanted to make.

You will need:
Main fabric
A little bit of fabric for lining
2 buttons

For this 12-18 month size jumper I probably used 3/4-1 yard of the main fabric and 1/4 yard of the lining material.

So first you need to draft your pattern.  I used a small jumper to get the pattern shapes, and a dress that fits Yuki to get the pattern size.  If you need help drafting a pattern, there are plenty of great resources out there like this one or this one.

The red lines are alterations I made as I was sewing, when I realized the size/fit was all wrong.  If you’re using this to get general shape ideas, make note of those changes!

The pieces you’ll need are:
Bodice front (1 main, 1 lining)
Bodice back (1 main, 1 lining)
Body front
Body back
Pocket (2 main, 2 lining)
Pocket edge (2 main)

Let’s start sewing!

First we’ll do the pockets.  Take one main fabric pocket and one lining pocket and pin them together right sides together.  Do the same with the other pocket fabrics and sew the curved edge together.  Keep the top (straight edge) open!  Flip them right side out and press.

Now we’re going to gather the top of the pocket.  If you need help with gathering, here’s a great gathering tutorial.  I do it the way Dana calls the “proper” way, except I usually only do 1 line instead of 2 or 3, like you’re supposed to.

Sew a straight line across the top edge of the pocket with your machine set to the longest stitch.  Do not backstitch at the end or beginning!  Pull on one of the threads to gather the top edge of the pocket.

For the pocket edge, fold it in half along the long side with the right side in.  Sew up the short sides and leave the long edge open.  Flip it right side out and press.

Then fold the edge in about a 1/4 inch and press.  Now you have this little pocket to stuff the top of your pocket into :)  Confusing enough?

Slide the top of the pocket into the opening and sew around the edge.

(why does one pocket look bigger than the other in this picture? :( )

Position your pockets onto the front body piece and top stitch around the pocket.  Make sure to leave the top of the pocket open and also sew back and forth several times at each end.  The top corners of pockets get pulled the most, so these extra stitches will make sure the pockets are securely attached.

Now lay the front and back body pieces together with right sides together and pin up the sides.  Sew up the sides and then press these seams open.

With the side seams opened up, serge or zig zag stitch along the arm hole.  Fold the edge down a 1/4 inch, press and sew.  If you can’t serge or zig zag, just fold the arm hole edge down a 1/4 inch and then another 1/4 inch, then sew (like you would a hem).

Now we’re going to gather the top part of the body piece.  Just like before, set your machine to the longest stitch and sew a straight line across the top of both the front and back of the body piece.  Pull one thread to gather the fabric (both front and back).  Set the body of the dress aside while we work on the bodice.

Pin the bodice pieces together: main fabric and lining of the front bodice piece and the main fabric and lining of the back bodice piece, right sides together.

Sew around bodice pieces, leaving the bottoms (straight edges) open.  Trim excess fabric, corners and clip curves.  Turn right side out and press.

(I also added a label at this point, in the center of the back bodice piece.  I just used an iron on transfer that I printed on my inkjet printer).

Turn about a 1/4 inch of the bottoms in (the same way we did with the pockets) and press.

Now you’re going to slide the gathered edges of the body into the bodice pieces (just like we did with the pockets)!  Make sure to put the front of the jumper into the front bodice piece and the back of the jumper into the back bodice.  Pin and sew along the straight edge and continue top stitching around the entire bodice piece (both front and back).

You’re almost done!!  Sew button holes in the back bodice piece and buttons onto the front bodice piece.

Hem up the bottom by folding up a 1/4 inch and pressing, then folding another 1/4 inch, pressing again and top stitching.  You’re done!!!

I hope this wasn’t too confusing.  I’m still learning how to write and photograph for tutorials, so I know this wasn’t perfect, but I’m working on it!  In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!

I love the jumper style because it’s so versatile.  Depending on the fabric and how you layer it, it can be appropriate for pretty much any season or occasion!

(It is getting harder and harder for me to keep this one still for photos!)

Pair it with a little coat and she’s all ready for the holidays!

Are you all done making holiday outfits?  I’m not!!  I only have 2 days left, so I better get sewing!

Sew & Tell: Herringbone Short Coat

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!  I hope you are all able to spend some time with loved ones and remember all the things you are thankful for.  As for me, I have so many things that I am grateful for.  I feel extremely blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing, loving, and inspiring people and feel so lucky that I have everything I need and more.  I’m thankful for my beautiful, healthy and brilliant daughter and my too-amazing-for-words life partner who gets me, accepts me and loves me though anything and everything.  And I’m so grateful that I get to do things that I love like sew, take pictures and blog and that people are encouraging me to pursue one of my dreams.  Thank you!!

I have been able to be super productive recently because I’ve had some rare time to myself (another thing that I’m thankful for!).  After working on a lot of things for other people, I wanted to take some time to make something for Yuki.  I’ve had this image in my mind of a simple coat and I finally had the chance to try it out!!  I’ve never made a jacket or coat before because it always seemed so intimidating.  I’m glad I finally gave it a shot and I learned A LOT from this experience.  Although I’m pleased with the way it came out, I’d definitely do a few things differently next time.  Anyways, here it is – the Herringbone Short Coat!

It’s lined with some super soft flannel.

This is my first Peter Pan collar and it did NOT turn out as I expected (more on that later) and a random button that I found in my button jar that I LOVE.

I used a wool blend herringbone fabric that I picked up out of the remnant bin at Joann’s.  It was only 1/3 yard!!  So I didn’t have much to work with.  I love the slightly dressy look, but it isn’t very practical since I can’t just throw it in the wash.  It’s also a very loose weave so it unravels like crazy!

The original design for this jacket had a hood, but I decided to nix that for this coat.  Yuki has so many hooded jackets and she doesn’t even like wearing the hood (plus, I probably wouldn’t have had enough fabric for that anyways).  I’m glad I went for the Peter Pan collar, but it sure was harder to do than I thought.  The collar turned out way smaller than I’d hoped and I didn’t know how to attach it, so that resulted in some creative (sloppy) sewing.  If anyone can help me with attaching a collar to a lined jacket/top, PLEASE share!

The other problem with the jacket is that it’s SNUG on her!  Which means that she’ll grow out of it by next week!  And you better believe she’s going to wear it every day until then!  I definitely want to make this coat again, but with some adjustments.  What kind of fabric should I try next?

Here’s some pictures of the coat in action.  She’s wearing it with a jumper that I also made so she’d have a complete outfit for Thanksgiving.  I’m going to share all about the jumper in another post.

Oh, how we love the fall!  I hope you all enjoy the long weekend filled with delicious food and good company!  Happy Thanksgiving!