My Little Flower Girl

FlowerGirlThis past weekend my sister got married and if you follow me on Instagram (@youandmie), you’ve probably seen some sneak peeks of the fun and beautiful weekend.  The entire week before the wedding was pretty much devoted to wedding prep – I had wedding projects piled up all over the place.  Menus, table numbers, escort cards, signs, and of course, the flower girl dress.  But it all got done and everything went so smoothly – I really don’t think it could have been any more perfect.  The lovely bride and groom put together a really amazing wedding weekend and was surrounded by all of the people who love and support them – it was a really awesome thing to see.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures, so I can’t show you all of the little projects that I worked on, but as I collect pictures from friends and family members, and of course, the professional photographer, I may be sharing some of those with you.  My only big sewing project for the wedding was Yuki’s flower girl dress.  Since I didn’t get any pictures of her during the wedding, I made her put the dress back on yesterday and quickly snapped some new ones.  Amazingly enough – she really likes the dress!  She wore it for 9 hours straight on Saturday and never once complained or asked to take it off!  And the truth is, I like it too!

FlowerGirl1The pattern is the Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress.  The dress is simple in it’s design (which is great for special occasions or for adding embellishments), though it is not necessarily a simple dress to construct, BUT the result is pretty stunning!  The pattern comes with two views: sleeveless and sleeved, with two different kinds of collars, an optional sash or waist tie.  For my version, I made it sleeveless, but omitted the collar and added a ribbon sash instead of the one included in the pattern.  I did, however add a lace overlay and my fabric choices, though they ended up looking exactly how I envisioned, made construction a bit tricky.

FlowerGirl2I made the dress in size 2T and it fits Yuki perfectly.  The bodice (for sizes 2T and up) have darts in both the front and back, which make for that perfect fit and professional look.  It has an invisible zipper in the back and is fully lined.  It also has an optional layer of tulle for skirt volume.  As you can imagine, there are a lot of steps to constructing this dress and I did quite a bit of hand sewing to give it a truly professional finish.  It takes time, but really, I think it was worth it!

FlowerGirl6All the materials besides the lace, I bought at Britex Fabrics.  I decided splurge on something high quality for this special occasion dress.  The main fabric is a synthetic satin in eggshell and is pretty thick.  I think this also made construction a bit trickier in places (the pattern calls for light to mid-weight fabrics) but I really love how well the fabric holds it shape because of the heavier weight.  I used a polyester lining that was a pain in the butt to work with – it was soooo thin and slippery and shifty.  Probably the right choice for this project, but still no fun to work with.  The ribbon is a double sided satin ribbon that was chosen to match the color scheme/bridesmaids dresses.  The lace was a last minute decision and I picked that up at my local Joann’s.

FlowerGirl3The flowers in these pics are not her actual bouquet from the wedding, but rather those from a table at the wedding.  The flowers for the wedding were done by my sister’s friend, Jaclyn K. Nesbitt Designs, and they were all soooo gorgeous!  I wrapped these up in some ribbon so Yuki could have another bouquet.  I think the flowers were the most exciting part of the flower girl job for Yuki!

FlowerGirl5And she was such a trooper the entire wedding.  She didn’t have any meltdowns, she kept her dress on (and UNSTAINED) the entire time and escorted me down the aisle during the ceremony.  She had to leave the ceremony towards the end because she was starting to get bored and when she watched the wedding party walk back down the aisle at the end she started getting really upset saying she “didn’t get married” because she was “too loud.”  Omigosh, it was too cute.  She thinks that all of us who walked back down the aisle got married and she didn’t get to because she was making too much noise.  Poor sweet thing.

FlowerGirl4Anyways, this dress was definitely a labor of love and I don’t even know if she’ll ever wear it again, but I think it was worth it.  She was the cutest flower girl I’VE ever seen and I think she felt pretty darn special.  I think I will use this pattern again, though in more casual and lighter weight fabrics.  I’d definitely recommend this pattern for a special occasion dress!  Like all Oliver + S patterns, it is a high quality pattern with clear instructions and great diagrams.  You know the techniques are legit and you always end up with a professional looking garment.  I feel like I give this same shpeal every time I talk about O+S patterns, but it’s always true – you really can’t go wrong with them!

So it’s been pretty busy around here and just when you think things might settle down, KIDS CLOTHING WEEK rolls around!  🙂  Can you believe it’s already next week?  I honestly haven’t given much thought about what I’ll be making and I probably won’t be quite as involved as I have been the last 2 rounds, but I am looking forward to getting some good ol’ kids clothes sewn.  If you don’t know what KCW is, check out all the important info here and know that it is a TON of fun.  And it’s not too late to get in on the action!  Coming up later this week, I’ll be posting on the KCW blog about one of my favorite patterns, so be sure to check that out 🙂

Oliver + S Spring Pattern Preview: Pinwheel Dress + Tunic

Pinwheel1Last week I got to share my version of the new Oliver + S Roller Skate Dress + Tunic.  This week, Kristin, Jessica and I are sharing the Pinwheel Dress + Tunic (both patterns are available for sale on the Oliver + S site now)!

This is the 2nd of two new patterns being released by Oliver + S this spring.  This pattern comes with two pieces, a tunic and a slip dress, meant to be layered or worn separately.   Jessica blogged her awesome combo of the two pieces yesterday.  And Kristin made a cute summery sleeveless tunic for her little one.  I went with the simple slip dress with no modifications.

Pinwheel2The slip dress is a pretty fast and easy sew.  The way it is constructed with straps sewn in between the dress and the facing is pretty brilliant – I love learning new things like that!  The hardest part for me was attaching the flounce to the dress, but just follow the directions, take your time, and snip the curve a TON (this will all make sense when you’re sewing it 🙂 ).

Pinwheel3To take my Pinwheel in a different direction from the other girls’ versions, I made a sweet and simple linen version in ivory.

Pinwheel4For the bias tape, I used this gorgeous Nani Iro double gauze Little Letter bias that I bought from my favorite Nani Iro supplier, Miss Matatabi.  I had been saving it for the perfect project and I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity to compliment the clean linen with this sweet floral trim.

Pinwheel7I made the dress in size 2T and it’s a tad bit roomy on her.  It would probably look better if I had gone a size down, but I’m positive this will fit her for a looong time!

When I first saw the pattern, I could definitely see the appeal, but it wasn’t necessarily my style.  I’m so glad that I had this opportunity to sew it up though because I ended up really enjoying both picking out the perfect fabrics to make the garment “me” and the whole sewing process.

Pinwheel5

When this picture was taken I had just asked Yuki what she thought of the dress and she looked down and said, “It’s beeautiful!”  Hee hee.

Pinwheel6This pattern is now available in paper format and PDF so head over to the Oliver + S site to get your copy now.

Sweetheart Bubble Dress and GIVEAWAY {closed}

Sweetheart5Sweetheart7The Sweetheart Dress is a pattern I’ve had my eye on for a long time, and what better time to sew one up than just in time for Valentine’s Day!?  What, you may ask, is so “sweetheart” about this dress?

Sweetheart6Well what is NOT sweetheart about this dress?  It’s seriously adorable from the front and then BAM! – that heart cutout in the back is just pure sweetness!

The Sweetheart Dress pattern is designed by the super kind and talented Shannon of luvinthemommyhood.  If you ever go around her blog, you know that she is such a warm person and not only does she sew, but she’s a crazy amazing knitter too!

This pattern is a relatively quick sew, probably appropriate for an intermediate beginner.  It is a PDF pattern, so you can download it to your computer and print it out at home.  The pattern has very few pieces to cut and none that have to be taped together, so that made things even simpler and quicker!

Sweetheart1The way Shannon instructs you to construct the bodice was completely new to me.  I like learning new and different ways to do things.  Though I have to say, I had some trouble getting my arm holes top stitched nicely and looking clean.  It’s probably my least favorite part of the dress (I know you probably can’t tell from here, but if you looked close up, you’d see some slightly wonky stitching).

Sweetheart2

There are a couple of modifications I made to the pattern.  The most obvious change was making it into a bubble dress!  I know bubble hems have been popular for a long time now, but I never really had any desire to make one until I saw this dress by An of StraightGrain (she has a free pattern for a bubble skirt)!  After I saw the Sweetheart Dress pattern and picked the fabric, it seemed like it was just begging to be a bubble dress!  I’ll explain more about how I did it below.

The other things I did differently was to sew the skirt to the outside of the bodice with piping and then I hand stitched the bodice lining to the inside of the dress.  I just knew that with the double gauze fabric, it would probably look cleaner without the extra top stitched line.

Sweetheart3For the closure at the back of the dress, instead of doing a button with a loop, I hand stitched hook & eye closures to the inside of the dress.  Great idea, in theory.  It looks nice, but because the back of the dress is so open, it moves around a bit and the closures kept coming undone.  Soooo, probably don’t try that one folks.  I ended up adding a fabric covered button and button loop the way Shannon instructs (after these pictures were taken) – which looks just as nice.  Shoulda just listened in the first place . . .

EDIT!  Veronica from SewVery said that she used hook closures and it worked beautifully!  You can see her dress here.  Maybe I should have just used some pliers to close up the hooks a little.

Sweetheart4So to make my Sweetheart Dress into a bubble dress, I used An’s tutorial for reference.  You’ll want to cut your main skirt piece exactly the way the Sweetheart Dress pattern instructs you to.  Then you’ll need to cut a lining skirt piece.

bubblelining2(like my awesome graphic?)

Basically, I cut 2 isosceles trapezoids with the following measurements.  The bottom of the skirt lining was 10 inches less than my main skirt pieces.  So since my main skirt piece was 29″ wide, the base of my skirt lining was 19 inches.  The height was just one inch less than the height of the my main skirt.  The main skirt piece was 15″, so my lining piece was 14″.  The width at the top, is the same as your bodice piece, so use that for reference.  Here’s what my lining pieces looked like:

bubblelining(disclaimer: these measurements worked for me, but I do not guarantee that this formula will work for other sizes.  sorry!)

Once you have your pieces, sew up the dress using Shannon’s directions for the bodice and An’s directions for the bubble skirt.  Pretty easy modification – super cute results!

Sweetheart10I made this dress in size 2T.  It fits wonderfully when on, but the bodice is a bit snug getting her into it.  Because of the design of the dress, I’m not sure how you can open up the bodice any deeper.  Maybe place the heart cutout lower?  Otherwise, it looks great on.

The fabric I used is Nani Iro Pon Pocho.  It is double gauze and I loooooooooove it.  I picked it up during my trip to Japan over the summer.  I still have quite a bit left, so I’m excited to use it again.  Doesn’t it just kinda make the dress?  The only thing that I’m a little baffled by is that after washing and drying the dress, everything just looked flat and smushed (look at the very first and second photos up top – see the difference?)  Is this normal?  Does it have to do with the fabric?  Any way to get it to fluff back up??

ANYWAYS.  This dress is perfect for Valentine’s Day which is coming up SOON.  And not just that, but it’s an adorable party dress, so I’m sure your little one could get plenty of use out of it all through spring and summer.

Sweetheart8If you’re ready to buy the pattern and sew it up right now, head over here to purchase the Sweetheart Dress.

OR if you want to try and win a copy of this pattern for FREE, Shannon is so generously offering the Sweetheart Dress pattern to THREE lucky winners.

TO ENTER: {GIVEAWAY CLOSED – find out if you’re a winner here}

  • Leave a comment on this post.  You can leave a comment about anything, but if want a prompt, how about:  Who do you want to sew this dress for and what kind of fabric will you use?
  • One entry per person.
  • Winner will be picked at random.
  • Open to US and International residents.
  • Giveaway will be open until Sunday, February 10 at 11:59pm PST. Winners will be announced on Monday, February 11.

So go ahead and buy your fabric this weekend, then come back on Monday to see if you’re one of the winners!

Sweetheart9Wheeeee!

This pattern was given to me for this review.  All opinions are my own.
I am an affiliate of Go To Patterns.

Geranium in Eyelet

Another Made by Rae pattern is heeeeere!  I cannot tell you how much I love all of the patterns by Rae that I’ve tried so far and this new one is no exception.  It’s called the Geranium Dress and it is an adorable dress pattern for sizes 0-3 mo. to 5T.  I feel like this is a really amazing must-have dress pattern for your collection.

Geranium2

I was lucky enough to be able to test this pattern and decided to use this grayish-lilac eyelet that I’ve had in my stash for awhile from Fabrix (I got it for cheap!).  I lined it with a plum fabric and I love love looove the way it came out!

Geranium1

My favorite part is all the variations that are included in the pattern so you can construct the perfect dress or tunic for your little one.  You can get a little look here at all the options.

There are 3 sleeve options, 3 neckline options, 2 skirt options, 2 length options, and an optional patch pocket.  With this one pattern you can make a million variations!

For my first Geranium, I chose a notched neckline with flutter sleeves, a gathered skirt and in dress length.  It’s my favorite combo right now, but a mini-Washi dress is hard to resist too!

Geranium4

Geranium5

The pattern is of extremely high quality, which is what I’ve come to love about and expect from Rae.  It’s well written with great diagrams and photos and extremely helpful hints.  The dress is a pretty fast and simple sew, and yet it yields gorgeous results, which in my opinion, is really the best kind of pattern.

Geranium3Sewing with eyelet was a fun new challenge for me.  It really wasn’t too difficult at all, but of course, required a few extra steps.  For one, you’ll need more lining fabric than what the pattern calls for since you’ll have to line the entire skirt and I also double lined the bodice.  After cutting out a lining piece for every eyelet piece, I basted them together along the edges and then sewed as directed.  Because of all the stitching on the eyelet material, plus the lining fabric, it can get a bit thick in places, so just be aware of that and take it slow.  One thing I had to do differently was instead of double folding for the hem and skirt seam, I just finished the edges with my serger and sewed it down.  In the end, it was probably easier 🙂

Geranium7

If you’re not yet convinced that you need this pattern, go check out the Geranium Dress Flickr Pool or all the tester versions in this post.  Then head over HERE to buy the pattern.  And hey, you still have 24 hours to whip up that last minute holiday dress, right?!  😉

Speaking of which – are you all done with your holiday sewing?  I’ve gotten a few things checked off my list, but still have a few left to go, some of which will be sewn after Christmas!  Better late than never, right?

Well, I may pop in over the next 2 weeks, buuuuut I might not. 🙂   So until next time, please take care, stay safe and enjoy a beautiful and wonderful holiday season with those you love!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Little Hawaiian Dress

So here’s one from July when we went to Kauai.  Oh wait, did I tell you we went to Kauai back in July??  Well we did!  For a week.  And it was the best vacation EVER.  We hung out at the beach and ate fresh fruit ALL. DAY. LONG.  I mean, I don’t think it can get any better than that.  It was our first time going to Kauai and it was soooooo beautiful.  Truly truly gorgeous.

Anyways, my mom had brought me some fabric from Hawaii from one of her previous trips (her family is partially from Hawaii so she goes every year) and I decided it would be the perfect opportunity to use some of it.  I wanted to make her a little dress to wear on the beach so we could pretend she was a little Hawaiian girl (like a little Hawaiian girl would be wearing a dress like this, while her weirdo mom snapped a bunch of photos of her on the beach – yeah . . . not a tourist at all).

I liked this simple yellow fabric with leis on it – not too gaudy or over the top.

The construction of this dress is a little funky.  I made it right after I made my Washi in Blue and I was super pumped about my mad shirring skills, so I was determined to use them here for the bodice.  But then I decided I wanted to add a ruffle around the top too and that’s where it all got crazy.  If I had planned on doing the ruffle from the beginning, I probably would have just done a simple elastic casing, but since I didn’t really think it through, I tried to shir a bunch of ruffled layers together and let me tell you, it doesn’t work.  So that’s why the top of the dress is a bit wavy, but overall I got the little sundress I imagined.

Besides the shirred ruffled top of the dress, the body is a simple rectangle, with ties for straps.

This girl was in paradise.  I swear she could live on the beach and never leave.

And you know, I wasn’t complaining much either . . . 🙂

In more current news, I’m starting to nail down my to do list for KCWC.  I’m pretty excited about it, but I haven’t even gotten my fabric or done any prepping or cutting yet.  I am psyched to hit the thrift store and fabric store today for some material.  You getting ready?

film petit: fantastic mr. fox

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I’m so thrilled to be a part of film petit this month, a ridiculously awesome series hosted by Kristin from skirt as top and Jessica from A Little Gray.  For the series, Kristin, Jessica and a guest choose a favorite movie to use as inspiration for original children’s wear.

These ladies have fantastic taste in movies and incredible vision and sewing skills, so if you haven’t checked out the first two installments, A Life Aquatic and Amelie, check them out here and here.

When we were discussing movies for this month’s film petit, we were all drawn to several Wes Anderson titles (really, which Anderson film aren’t we inspired by??).  But we couldn’t deny how perfect Fantastic Mr. Fox would be for this season.  Not only is it a witty, well made, hilarious movie, but we loved the warm, rich, golden tones of the film, the amazing world of fantastic creatures, the apples, the farms, the fields – all of it, just screams AUTUMN!

The movie is about Mr. Fox, a reformed squab thief who has left his wild days behind for a life of domesticity when his wife, Felicity, announces that she is pregnant.  After living a responsible life as husband and father for 12 fox years, Mr. Fox finds himself wanting to provide more for his family and buys a gorgeous tree home despite how dangerous the location was for a family of foxes.

Life in their new home may not be as satisfying as Mr. Fox had hoped for and he finds himself restless and craving adventure again.  He cannot resist the temptation of a few nearby farms belonging to Boggis, Bunce and Bean, full of poultry and cider for the taking, and quickly dives back into the world he promised his wife he had left behind.

This movie is FILLED with amazing characters.  Though the title character is certainly fantastic, he shares the spotlight with a huge cast of hilarious creatures.

I feel like I could talk about all these characters and the movie for a long looong time, but this is already getting long and I haven’t even talked about my outfit yet!  Between Kristin, Jessica and me, we had so many ideas inspired by the movie that we could have easily outfitted a small fox army.

But what I was most inspired by was the gorgeous setting of this film.  The opening scenes of the movie show golden rolling hills and fields and the warmest yellow, orange and gold skies and fields.  I wanted to try and capture that feeling in my outfit.

I love the Felicity Fox character, and as one of the only females in the film, she has to represent.  She’s a pretty kick ass lady and definitely the “brains behind the brains” as they call her.  She’s an artist, a landscape painter obsessed with painting dark and stormy thunderstorms, and also a strong wife and mother.

(some of Felicity’s paintings)

The opening scenes of the movie show a younger Felicity Fox, still the calm, patient and rational Mrs. Fox, but with a slightly more free spirited artist look.

I decided to try and capture these looks into a dress.

I used the Charlie Tunic pattern by Rae (thanks for the idea, Kristin!), which has that awesome neck facing and bohemian vibe.

Of course, I had to include the iconic tree that catapulted Mr. Fox back into the crazy life of crime and became the battlefield between the animals and the farmers.  So I appliqued it onto the dress, and it added a nice pop of color.

The main fabric for the dress is a linen/cotton fabric in a light brownish gray, which was a nod to Mrs. Fox’s gray stormy paintings, but without making the dress too dark.  I pieced together some golden yellow fabrics to try to recreate the gorgeous hills from the movie (the striped fabric is hand painted).

I lengthened the tunic ever so slightly (though I realize now that it needs another couple of inches) and I added pockets.  My little sneaky fox LOVES filling her pockets with as many rocks as she can find.  This tunic pattern is really great (like all of Rae’s patterns), so definitely check it out if you’re interested.

So that’s my clothing interpretation of this fantastic film, and seriously, I have ideas for a few more outfits still!  You absolutely MUST go and check out the most awesome shirt of the most awesome game EVER on A Little Gray and the ridiculously cute, straight-out-of-the-movie PERFECT Mr. and Mrs. Fox outfits on skirt as top.

But before you go, I just wanted to take a minute to tell you how amazingly awesome Kristin and Jessica are.  Not only are they amazing artists and sewists, with the most brilliant visions and ideas and MAD skills, but they are sooo much fun to work with, hilarious, humble, and extremely helpful, encouraging and sweet.  If you aren’t already following these gals, you absolutely must do it now.  Everything they touch turns to gold – they are definitely ones to keep your eye on.  And since I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of some film petit conversations recently, I happen to know that there will be a lot of AMAZING stuff coming up over the coming months that you will not want to miss!  I truly wish I could be a part of film petit every month!  So a huge thank you to Kristin and Jessica for letting me be a part of this series and being such awesome friends!

No go check out their awesome work and be in awe of their fantastic-ness and happy autumn to you all!

Washi in Blue

*UPDATE!!! The Washi Dress pattern has been released. Find all the information you need here. GO NOW. You won’t be sorry!*

Did you hear?? It’s WASHI WEEK! What’s Washi Week you ask? Well, the fabulous Rae, from Made by Rae, has an awesome new pattern coming out this week called the Washi Dress and she’s posting a bunch of different versions all week. Ever since she posted photos of the original Washi dress, people have been going CRAZY asking for a pattern and waiting (not so patiently) for Rae to produce a pattern. Well, ladies and gents, it’s finally arriving and it is soooooooooo worth the wait.

I was extremely lucky to be a part of Rae’s pattern testing group and I got to try out the original pattern. There have been many adjustments and improvements made since I tried the test pattern, but even in its draft form, the pattern was phenomenal.

The dress is super cute, simple yet stylish, and very flattering. It has a fitted bodice with a pleated a-line skirt, pockets and a unique cut-out scoop neckline. Shirring in the back assures a perfect and comfortable fit and makes it so you do not need a zipper or button closure. Genius!!! When I saw how professional Rae’s versions looked and considering how intimidating sewing women’s clothing is to me, I thought this pattern would be complicated. But it was surprisingly very simple to sew up!! Rae has labeled this pattern for intermediate sewers, but I think ambitious beginners should certainly give this a try. The trickiest part for me was learning the shirring technique. The rest was a breeze!

The pattern is extremely well written with clear instructions and awesome diagrams. Rae is extremely thorough in her explanations and really goes beyond regular directions to try and help with tips, suggestions and troubleshooting. There is a whole section in there about getting the best fit which I think will be very helpful for people who are new to sewing adult clothing (like me!).

I would definitely suggest making a muslin (Rae talks about it in the directions). This is one of those steps that I always skip, because I don’t like wasting the time or fabric. But coming from someone who hates doing it, JUST DO IT!! This pattern is pretty darn amazing, but no pattern can fit every woman in all our different shapes and sizes. I used some fabric from an old sheet and made a muslin using the front bodice piece and the back piece cut just below the shirring lines. This way I could practice a few lines of shirring and make sure the bust darts and shoulders fit well. Rae offers suggestions for adjustments if you find it necessary. I would have been devastated if I finished the entire dress only to find out it didn’t fit.

The one thing that I screwed up on my dress is the cut out at the neckline – it’s a bit puckered. I was rushing too much when I sewed it together (I’m sorry, I was really excited!) and couldn’t press out the wrinkles. Luckily, my fabric is dark and it’s not too noticeable. But I would recommend taking your time when you sew around the cut out, making sure your cut out is symmetrical and when you flip the facing in, that all your fabric lays nice and flat (this will probably all make a lot more sense when you are making your own).

I don’t have any specifics about this fabric, except that I bought it on my recent trip to Japan at Tomato. It is a navy blue border fabric with eyelet at the bottom and embroidered flowers all over. The print is kind of a funky mix of whimsical shapes resembling clouds, petals and pebbles. It was kind of a random pick when I was shopping and I thought I might make myself a skirt or something. But right after I got back from Japan, the opportunity to test this pattern came up and I immediately thought this fabric would be perfect. And luckily I had JUST enough fabric to do it. It turned out to be a really practical choice for me – neutral and simple, with a little bit of fun.

The Washi can be made as a dress or a tunic, and with cap sleeves or sleeveless. I’m already dreaming up different versions of Washis for me and ways to remix the pattern as well. I can assure you, there are more Washis in my future. Near future, I hope!

Overall, I really can’t say enough good things about this pattern. As someone who does not normally sew for women or from patterns, this one really gave me the confidence to do both. Now I’m psyched to sew more for myself! It’s a very quick and simple sew with impressive results – I bet you’ll get so many compliments when people find out that you made the dress yourself! And it’s a really flattering style for pretty much every body type. I love how it skims right over my tummy and hips. Serious WIN.

You can’t go wrong with Washi. It’s my new motto.

Oh and to see more Washi inspiration, check out Kristin’s awesome Washi, Emmmy Lizzzy’s THREE Washis, and the official Washi Dress flickr pool. I’m telling you, that pool is about to blow up with fabulous Washis.

Ok, ok. Now you can go. 😉

Tutorial: Braided Beach Maxi

Here’s another summer addition for your wardrobe and you can make one for your little one too!  This was for Melly’s Sews’ 30 Days of Sundresses series.

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Children’s clothing is kinda my thing, so I naturally started brainstorming lots of cute summer frocks for little ones.  But for some reason I landed on an idea for a women’s sundress and I couldn’t get it out of my mind!  So, enter my beautiful little sister who is modeling for you the Braided Beach Maxi Dress!

The best thing about this is that it is super simple with very little sewing!  It’s made of knit and has a few unfinished edges which makes it very casual and perfect for a bathing suit cover-up.  I got this knit for $2.39 a yard, so it was very affordable too!

And just in case you were really hoping for something for your little one, don’t fret!

Yup, I couldn’t resist.  After the first one, whipping up a mini version was a breeze!  The tutorial is for the adult maxi version, but you can alter this to fit just about anyone!

So here’s what you’ll need:
– 2.5-3 yards of knit fabric
– 1/4 or 1/2 inch wide elastic for the waist
Sewing essentials

I used a plain white knit to make the dresses and then dyed them afterwards.  This tutorial will not include instructions for dyeing, but if you’re interested I’m sure there are tons of resources online.  Otherwise, use any solid or patterned knit fabric and you’ll be done even faster 🙂

To make your front pattern piece, grab a knit (stretchy) camisole, fold it in half down the front and trace the neckline and armhole.  From the armpit, draw the side of your pattern into an A-line shape.  You want the dress to fit nicely around the chest and then widen from there.  I only drew the top part of the pattern, but keep in mind that the dress will extend far past the bottom of this pattern.

To draw the back pattern piece, lay your front piece down on paper and trace it from the armpit (tiny yellow star) down the side and across the bottom.  Trace along the other side (marked “fold”) stopping about 2 inches from the top of the pattern.  Remove the top pattern piece and draw a curved line to connect the sides.

Now, if I were to make this dress over again, I’d want the braided straps to be thicker, so I’d make this next measurement bigger.  But for the sake of this tutorial, I’ll just describe it the way I did it and you can make adjustments accordingly.

Measure 1.5 inches in from the “fold” line of your pattern and make a mark.

Extend both the “fold” line and the mark that is 1.5 inches in a few inches.  This is going to become the braided racerback and straps.

Your pattern pieces should look like this when cut out.  Keep in mind that when you cut your fabric, it will extend past the bottom edges of the pattern and for the back piece, the strip coming off the top will also be much longer (see the red arrows).  I made my patterns like this to save paper, but don’t cut your fabric like this or you’ll have something very very different!

To cut the front piece of the dress, fold your fabric in half lengthwise.  Measure the desired length of the dress from just below your armpit and add a few inches.  Place your pattern on your fabric accordingly.  From the bottom of the pattern to the bottom of the fabric I just cut in a subtle curve getting wider and wider towards the bottom (I tend to “just wing it” A LOT.  Thank goodness knit is so forgiving!).

To cut your back piece, fold your fabric in half lengthwise and place your front piece on top.  Now you can’t see it in this picture, but my fabric extends for another yard above.  THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!  You’ll need all that extra fabric above the pattern piece to cut your strap material.

Now trace the entire side of the dress from the bottom up to the armpit (red line).

Remove the front dress piece and place your back pattern piece lining up
with the armpit.  (You like how many times I’ve had to use the word
armpit in the tutorial??  I probably should have said “bottom of the
armhole” or something.  Ooops, oh well).

Trace the pattern along the curved edge and up the straight line, then use a ruler to extend the line all the way to the edge of your fabric, keeping it 1.5 inches from the folded edge the whole way.  I had a little less than a yard, but I wish I had had more.  The longer you have, the more you can do with the straps later.

The hard part is over!  Now it’s the fun part 🙂

Open up your front and back pieces and place them right sides together lined up at the armpits.  Pin along the side of the dresses and sew.

Now find where the smallest part of your waist it (you may need to hold the dress up to your body or try it on) and mark a line 2 inches below that on both sides of the dress (wrong side is still out).

Cut your elastic to your waist measurement.  Overlap the ends of the elastic by 1/2 an inch and sew them together to create a loop.

Slide the dress through the elastic loop and pin the elastic to the dress on the sides.  The dress will be wider than the dress, so you’ll have the pull the elastic as you so.  Go slowly and make sure the elastic right on top of the line that you drew.

Right side out:

Now take the long strip of fabric coming out of the back of the dress and cut it into three even strips.  Mine was originally 3 inches wide, so I cut it into three 1″ wide strips.  Braid the strips for about 2.5 inches.

Then, cut those strips in half, so you now have 6 strips.  Take three strips and braid them all the way to the end, then tie a knot to secure the braid.  Make another braid with the other three strips and you should have a nice braided Y like below.

Flip the dress over to the front and making sure the straps are not twisted, pin them to the front of the dress.  Sew the strap to the front of the dress.  Go back and forth a few times to make sure they are secured firmly to the dress.

This is optional, but since my knit was so stretchy, I decided to bring the neckline in a bit with some gathers.  Using your longest straight stitch, sew along the edge of the neckline without back stitching at either end.  Pull one of the threads to gather the fabric for a few inches in the middle.

Pin your excess braids along the neckline of the dress and do a quick whipstitch to attach it.  Make sure to catch only the back of the braid so the stitching does not show in the front.  For the adult version, I brought the braids to the center and overlapped them.

For the kid version, I had more braid to work with so I brought one side all the way to the other and tied a bow.  I’m sure there are many options for what you can do with the neckline here!

Now just trim the bottom to the desired length.  I left the bottom unfinished, but you can hem it if you want.  The armhole/back of the dress is also an unfinished raw edge.  I like the casual look (and the fact that it requires less work).  But if you want a more finished look, you can attach bias tape from the front along the armhole and then work the extra fabric into the braid.

You’re done!!!  Now throw this baby on and go frolic in the waves!

I really hope you guys give this a try!  Doesn’t it look fun?  If you do make a Braided Beach Maxi Dress, please add it to the you & mie flickr pool so I can see your awesome creations!

Before I go, I just wanted to say a big thank you to my sister for being my lovely model!

Take it easy, everyone!  Happy summer and happy sewing!

KCWC S12: Day 5 – Progress

After skipping TWO nights of working on my Jump Rope Dress, I was determined to do some serious catching up today.  And I made some good progress!

Since last time, I top stitched the collar, added the sleeves and tabs, made the skirt pockets, belt loops and attached the skirt to the bodice.

I’m almost done!!  All I have left is the sash, attaching the buttons, making buttonholes and hemming the bottom.  I’m hoping to finish it up tomorrow and then I’ve got ooooone mooooooore project I’m going to try and slide in.  Although, it’s a slightly more complicated one that I’m starting from scratch, so we’ll have to see if I can finish it before KCWC winds down.

How are your projects coming along?  You burning out or pumped for the weekend?

Snappy Toddler Top for Saya

Have you ever tried the Snappy Toddler Top pattern from Prudent Baby?  I highly recommend it.  It’s free!  And so cute.  I made one for Yuki awhile back and it’s been one of our favorite tops for a long time.  Unfortunately, this is the only picture I could find of her in it!

Haha!

Anyways, I made this other one for Hideko’s cousin’s baby, Saya, who is about to turn one next month.  It’s a really simple pattern that produces a very cute top – what more could you ask for!?

I like it as a tunic or a top, but if you add a little extra length to it, it can easily be made into a dress!

(back)

I’m also going to try make this top for Yuki’s cousins, who are 7 and 9, so we’ll see if the pattern can be converted to larger sizes.

Anyways, if you’re looking for a quick top to make for your little one or a nice present for someone else, this may be the perfect pattern for you.  Try it out!