Wednesday, June 30, 2010

4th of July Dress


I decided to try something new and enter a project in the CSI Project Challenge. This week's challenge is Red, White and Blue. I was already planning to make the girls some patriotic dresses so I thought I'd enter my creations. :)

This is my take on a pillowcase dress. There are many tutorials out there for a pillowcase dress and honestly I don't think I've ever actually used a pillowcase. I added my own bit of flair with the ribbon and actually discovered another use for it (on accident) which I got really excited about. (Who wouldn't at 1am?) :)
So here we go!

fabric - about 1/2 yard
(this dress is sized to fit my 3 year old, Sophie, who's between a 3T and 4T)
1" (technically 7/8") wide ribbon - about 3 yards
coordinating thread

Cutting Instructions:
Width - measure around the chest of your dress wearer and add 1" for seam allowance (1/2" on either side, you can use less if you'd like) 
Length - measure from where you would like the top of your dress to be down to your desired length, then add 2" for seam allowance 

For this dress I measured Sophie from the base of her neck down to her calf which was 24" (+2") equals 26" total length, her chest is 19" (+1") equals 20" total width

Did all that make sense? Fantastic, moving on...
I cut two rectangles 26" by 20" from my fabric (fold your fabric in half and cut so your pieces are the same), then I cut the arm holes. Honestly, I just guessed at this part. I suppose you could measure from the top of the shoulder down and around to the middle of the underarm of your child, then subtract that amount from each side. Basically the shape needs to look like this


At the top of the piece, I marked 2.5 inches from each side. I then marked 6 inches from the top down and cut the J shape of the arm holes using those markings as a guide. I hope I explained that clearly!

Okay, now that the piece is cut, it's on to the sewing part (my fav)!

Sewing Instructions:
Disclaimer : Please excuse the yucky ironing board cover in the follow pictures and I apologize in advance that the lighting isn't the best, you can still see the basic ideas :)

First create the bottom hem of the dress

Take one piece of fabric (we'll call this the front), right side down, and fold 1/2" from the bottom, press in place

Take raw edge and fold under original fold a 1/4" and press in place, then sew with an 1/8" seam allowance

With right side of fabric face up, pin your ribbon (right side up, if patterned) to the bottom of your piece. Line up the edge of your dress with the edge of the ribbon, I let mine hang over just the slightest bit in case it moved while sewing.

Using a loose seam allowance (my machine goes from 0 to 9, with 9 the tightest, I used a 2) and a medium stitch length, sew the bottom edge of your ribbon to the dress using about an 1/8" seam allowance. Then sew the top of the ribbon to the dress.

Repeat with the other piece of fabric (the back)

Lay the two pieces right sides together and pin up the sides

Then switch your thread tension back to normal and sew up the sides, be sure to add a little reverse stitch at the beginning and end. Do not sew up the arm holes, just to the bottom of your J shape. I used 1/2" seam allowance.

Finish off the raw edges with a serger, zig-zag stitch or pinking shears (I chose the latter) and press the seam open.

Now on to the arm holes. Normally I would have used bias tape (I used to be scared of it, but realized how easy it is to use, take the leap of faith and try it!) but I only had cream colored bias tape and I wanted to keep the look of the blue ribbon so on a whim I thought I try using the ribbon like bias tape AND IT WORKED! Yay!! You have no idea the revelation this caused (again it was 1am, don't judge me!)

So, take the edge of your ribbon (if you have a pattern on your ribbon, you want to put the right side face down on your fabric) and line it up with the edge of your arm hole. Pin as you go continuing all the way around the front of the dress to the back of the dress, following the edge of the arm hole

Lower your thread tension again and stitch the ribbon around the arm hole using 1/4" seam allowance

Now, to create the bias tape look, fold the ribbon over the edge toward the wrong side of the fabric

Then fold the long edge under 1/4" (if you wanted to make this super easy, use 1/2" wide ribbon then just fold over once and stitch)

Pin in place

Stitch the ribbon around the arm hole using a 1/8" seam allowance, keeping the same loose tension

Do this for both arm holes, then shout for joy because the arm holes are finished!! I'm sure someone has already figured out the whole ribbon-as-bias-tape thing but be excited for me that I came up with this on my own. :) Maybe even do a little happy dance!
I appreciate your kindness!

We're almost there!!

Now it's time to finish off the top of the dress.

On your "front" panel, fold over the top 1/2" and press in place

Then fold over another 1" and press/pin in place (be careful, the ribbon will melt if the iron hits it, not that I'd know from experience or anything). This will create the sleeve/tube for the ties to slide through at the top of the dress.

Stitch in place with seam allowance just under 1"

Repeat for the back panel.

Cut two strips of ribbon to thread through the front and back sleeves/tubes, it helps to try the dress on the official dress wearer to get a good measurement. Unfortunately my little model was asleep when I finished the dress so I kind of guessed.

In the words of my girls: Ta-daaaaaaa!

This dress was intended for Sophie but she didn't feel like modeling this morning

But of course, the Queen of Cheese was ready to fill in.

Usually she's cheesier than this.

I like tying the bows up higher on the shoulders, gives nice fullness to the dress. Really the only thing I'll change for Molly's dress is to shorten it slightly.

I'm envisioning beautiful pictures of the girls running around at the lake in these!
Hint, hint, Aunt Sarah bring your camera!

Happy 4th of July!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Perfectly Flawed

You loyal readers will notice that I changed the name of my blog. Nothing too exciting but I'd love to share with you how this name change came about. :)

I have really enjoyed exploring my creative side lately; not just in music, which seems to be the creative category I fall into ALL the time. But I have loved exploring what I can make with my hands, like sewing. Being able to slap a few pieces of fabric together and transform it into something beautiful is so rewarding and fuels my creative mind.

The problem with each of these creations is that no matter what I do, there is always some flaw along the way. Yes, I've made some ugly things and messed up a lot, that's how you learn (in case you didn't catch that in elementary school). But even my final projects, the ones I take such time to finish, always have some element of imperfection.

As I pondered on this I was brought back to my relationship with Jesus. Jesus, the Perfect One, no other human being has walked this earth like Him. He was completely perfect. Jesus could do no wrong! Yet, the Perfect One, reaches out to me, the flawed one and says "I don't expect you to be perfect, that's what I am here for."  God made me and all of my imperfections so I would completely rely on Him.

So here I am, perfectly flawed. Just like my sewing creations no matter what I do, I will never be perfect. I will never know everything, be able to do everything or have every right answer. I'll try something, mess up, then try again. But Jesus is there every step of the way saying "I don't expect perfection, I love you for your imperfections."

As I continue my journey as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and all other hats of life I'll wear, I will remind myself that it's okay to be flawed...

because I am perfectly flawed.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Along with having been bitten by the sewing bug, I'm kind of addicted to sewing blogs. I swear I find a new one to follow every week or so. So many great ideas and the online tutorials are absolutely AWESOME, especially if you're just beginning to sew. Here are a few of my favorite sewing blogs

Disney at Ruffles and Stuff has a great beginners guide to sewing here

I did not include craft blogs that I love, we'd be here all day!! :)

So Jess from craftiness is not optional just had her second little girl, which makes her very near and dear to my heart. Plus she makes ADORABLE little girl stuff which just plain ROCKS! Last week she featured this tutorial from Create and Delegate for fun ruffled dresses. And c'mon, who doesn't love a cute ruffle??

Here is my twist on this tutorial

I found two of these dresses at Target on the clearance rack, they were women's sizes large and extra large

can't go wrong for $5

I cut off the top (save the tie straps, they will be used later)

I then followed the tutorial for cutting the width and length of my dresses. When I cut the width I cut on an angle with the shape of the dress so my widest point (on the bottom) was the width I had originally come up with for the dress (did that make sense to anyone?)

After cutting I continued to follow the tutorial and sew my dress together

The tutorial has you attach straps with elastic in them. I had run out of elastic so I just cut off the tie straps from the original dress, shortened them and attached them to the front of the dress to create a halter look. I also made the elastic around the top of the dress about a 1/2 inch smaller that the girls chest measurement just so it would stay up easily.


Here are my little models running around Grandma and Papa's back sweet

that is a bug catcher in Sophie's hand, best $1 my mom ever spent ;)

I love how these dresses turned out! I made them as a Father's Day gift for Ryan. He loves seeing his girls all dressed up so cute! :)

Next project: outfits for the Fourth of July

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I've been bitten...bitten the sewing bug, that is! Seriously, all of my spare time is spent neglecting the toy messes around my house and hiding out in my sewing room (yay for nap time). The floor plan of our house came with a "hobby room" which I dubbed early on as MY room (hey, Ryan has a whole office to himself). And boy have I been using it!! I'm trying to take pictures of all my creations to share with you all. I made these little beauties a few weeks ago (sorry the pictures our blurry, hope you can at least see the cuteness of the dresses)

Molly's is Simplicity pattern 5695

and Sophie's is Simplicity pattern 2377

I'm not a huge store bought pattern fan only because they tend to over explain things and I usually end up kind of editing it anyway. Simplicity is usually pretty good though about keeping things, well, simple. :) And most store bought patterns are good for ideas and designs. Like the Matilda Jane like dress pattern and ruffled bottoms I just found. (Wee!) I have a post that I might get done tonight about the beauty of online patterns/tutorials including pictures of one I just did for the girls. I made some adorable dresses for the girls to wear for Father's Day. Sophie absolutely LOVES when I make her something new to wear. If she knows I've been in my sewing room she'll ask "what are you making for me, mommy?"

Yes my friends, I've been bitten hard by the sewing bug and who knows when it will end...Ryan might be staging an intervention soon...

...I'll let you know how it goes! :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sweet Sophie Girl

This is my girl

my sweet Sophie girl

oh how I love this girl

she's curious


and oh so smart

yet she can be silly and goofy too

oh how I love her

my calm, quiet, sweet girl

her sister on the other hand

watch out...