Knit Dresses for Clementine

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Two new quick knit dresses for the little stinker (actually three but one didn’t get finished): One a slightly larger version of this Flashback Dress (there’s a rough tutorial at that link on converting the Flashback Tee into a dress):

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She just got a haircut last week, which I think turned out rather well. After discussing her plans to “keep it long” and “just get a tiny trim” in the car before we arrived at the salon, I was rather floored to hear her announce to the hairdresser that she wanted it all chopped off. Whaaaat. OK! Sure!!! I tried not to sound too enthusiastic lest she change her mind since I actually love it short — it’s SO much easier to take care of and somehow always manages to look chic no matter what she does or doesn’t do to it, as opposed to long hair, which always ends up looking unkempt and ragamuffinesque, like she might actually be a street urchin or something.\

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When I see little girls running around with beautifully coiffed heads, or perfectly placed pigtails or braids, I always wonder how that came about. In our house a hairstyle that intricate would need to involve either ear-piercing shrieks or a large tranquilizer dart.

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And here is the other dress, which is basically a Flashback Tee, cut a few inches below the armpit and with a gathered rectangle sewed to the bottom (EASY!). Similar to this Flower Garden dress, does anyone remember that post? She was soooo cute back then!!!

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OK, fabric. The white knit is a Birch Organic knit which I purchased at Sew to Speak in Columbus (I have their # on speed-dial) but can also be found at Fabricworm, a sponsor of this blog (ack they have it on sale right now!!). The knit is a medium weight, thicker, with a nice amount of stretch to it. I will say that I love the Birch knits, but the more ink they have on them, the stiffer they feel (both before and after washing), so the prints with the lighter backgrounds tend to feel nicer to me. Love this party print!! SOOO cute!

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The pink print is from Girl Charlee (another blog sponsor) which is a large online shop specializing in knits. This one is called a “cotton jersey blend,” is fairly lightweight, and has a great deal of stretch — so much so that you can see the armpits on this dress are sagging from the weight of the skirt. It is SUPER soft, though since I paid very little for this knit I do worry about pilling on it, as it seems to have a fair amount of lycra. Lycra content can usually be seen as little tiny white threads on the surface of a knit, which can sometimes snag and pill as a knit is worn). So we will see; it hasn’t been worn much yet. Clementine LOOOOOVEEESS this dress and has professed her undying love for the print on a number of occasions already. The fact that she has worn the dress three times since I finished it on Friday even though it has pizza sauce on it is solid evidence of this.

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Finally: the sherpa vest is from Mini Boden. I love that thing. Warm enough for cool days, and super cute. I bet you could make one, but this mama has her hands full of handmade clothing projects as it is.

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KCW: Twirl Skirt and Tee for Clementine

This week is Kids Clothes Week so despite the fact that we moved to a new house  a couple days ago, I wanted to post at least a couple of the things I finished up for Clementine last week, this pink Flashback Tee and a twirly skirt with pockets:

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Truth be told, I am unsure of whether I should participate in KCW anymore — the challenge seems more appropriate for the stay-at-home mama who needs to scrape together an hour each night to sew by the light of Netflix to get some cool stuff made for her kids than me, who feels like a total poser with my fancy pants sewing studio and my work hours during which I could conceivably sew sew sew all the fun cute things for my kids all the live-long-day if I wanted to (though in reality that is not how it goes down). I even have Tashina and Karen assisting me at the studio so it’s hard to even keep track of who sewed WHAT around here anymore.

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For instance, I think Tashina probably sewed a few shoulder/side seams on this tee, and I’m pretty sure she did the skirt gathering stitches and put the elastic in the waistband too. So does it count? I’m probably just being totally angst-y and stupid about it, I just feel like I should be up front about the fact that when you see something from me in the KCW pool, there’s a chance I didn’t completely construct it myself. Anyway, despite being unsure of whether or not it’s “cheating” for me to sew along (oh! did I mention that Made by Rae sponsors KCW? Sooo there’s that too), I still try to plan out a few things to make for my kids every time KCW rolls around.

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Let’s talk about the outfit, shall we? The Flashback Tee was made with Robert Kaufman Laguna jersey (a quick search of my sponsors shows Pink Castle carries it as of this writing and Fabric Stash has some nice knit solids that might be similar) which is a fantastic jersey that’s quite affordable and has a nice recovery (which means it springs back to its original shape nicely after you stretch it). The skirt was made using my “Made-To-Measure Skirt” method, which is from class I teach here in Ann Arbor (sorry no pattern/tute yet), and was made with Liberty Lifestyle fabric, which is Liberty’s “quilting cotton.” I love this print.

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Clementine loves twirling in her new skirt!

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By some awesome coincidence, the skirt also happens to match a pair of tights I bought from Boden last year, so this outfit totally goes together in a way most of her hand-picked outfits never do. Chances of her wearing all three together ever again after these photos were taken? Probably zero. But at least she has two new pieces that I know she will wear, even if she never wears them all together again.

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Whale Dress from Flashback Tee pattern

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The Flashback Tee is proving to be one of (if not THE) most versatile pattern I’ve got in my arsenal…it’s so easy to mix up and change around (with minimal fussiness) that I decided it was about time I made it into a dress. And actually, this was a couple months ago, so it ended up being one of Clementine’s Christmas dresses (I’m a bit behind on my blogging if you really must know). Now I realize that a knit whale dress is perhaps a bit casual for big occasions but I’ve never really been one to pull out the tulle and satin for Christmas or Easter, so it didn’t really matter. Do you dress your kids up big-time? See, I probably would if I were more with-the-program, but holidays always seem to sneak up on me and I’m usually glad if there are any clean clothes, much less fancy clothes. Anyway, as an added bonus: Clementine wears knits without any fuss (SCORE). She’s actually wearing this dress today. I happen to like it with leggings, or in this case, a knit pant underneath:

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The adjustments needed to make the Flashback Tee into a dress are really quite simple; you need to know how long you want it, and then you need to add a bit of width to the bottom so that it flares out like a skirt. How much is really up to you, though I added roughly 8″ to the 3T pattern. Kristin of skirtastop made a flutter-sleeved version last year that is really quite fetching; mine differs from hers only slightly in that I like to follow the side seam under the arm an inch or two before flaring it out towards the skirt to make it a bit more fitted, if that makes sense. But whatever you prefer! Here’s a basic diagram of how I cut the dress using the tee pattern as a general guideline; everything else (sleeves, neckband) can stay the same:

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The other thing that I tried this time around was fold-over elastic (FOE) for the neckline — I’d ordered a bunch of it from Banberry Place and Fabric Fairy (both carry it in a number of colors) a while ago and I love how easy it is to just zig-zag stitch onto a neckline. SO quick!

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OH! And the whale fabric is designed by me for Spoonflower; I made a few other garments with it (a whale skinny tee here and Charlie Tunic here) and you can find it here if you’d like to buy some of your own!

Weekend Flickr Flashbacks!

A bunch of great renditions of the Flashback Skinny Tee pattern started showing up in the Flickr pools after the fall 2012 Kids Clothes Week Challenge last month.

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1. colorblock shirt, 2. polka-dots, 3. hi-yah!, 4. stripes

Some of you have let your imaginations run wild with amazing modifications, like this pink hoodie blogged by beginwithb.

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Look at this adorable dress!!! Notes from Monica are here.

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It’s great to see all these kiddos romping around in their hand-made tees!

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1. Flashback Envelope Tee (tutorial HERE) , 2. Rainbow Shirt, 3. Magic Trick, 4. Space Tee

These just scratch the surface; the Flashback Skinny Tee Flickr Pool is overflowing with cuteness! Remember to add your Flashbacks (and anything else you’ve made from my patterns to the the Rae Made Me Do It pool).

Happy Weekend Everyone!!!

Exhibit 6: Striped Flashback Tee with puff sleeve

This week, as part of my personal countdown to KCWC, I’m throwing pictures at the blog of things I’ve made for the kids this year that never got blogged. It’s my own little challenge, to try and “clean out the virtual closet” before I go and make more clothes for them next week. I’ll even show you some of the new kids patterns I’ve been working on. Fun Fun!

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Last week when I posted the Puff Sleeve Tutorial for the Flashback Tee, I gave you a sneak peak at this striped tee and showed how to add the puff sleeve. Here’s a few more pictures:

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I used elastic shirring to gather the end of the sleeve, just one line around the cuff. I also shirred about 2″ at the center of the front neckline to gather up the neckline a bit before adding an inside binding finish that’s just a 1″ strip of knit fabric, sewn around the neckline and then flipped to the inside and stitched down again. If you’ve never tried this type of neckline finish with knits, I recommend it…it looks really nice. I want to try using it for a hem finish sometime too.

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Striped tee

She loves this shirt. She’s worn it twice since I finished it last week. Makes me wonder if the breakdown for her is between knits vs. wovens (at least for tops, woven pants never bother her) or just that she prefers shirts over dresses? Hard to say. Time for a more scientific approach! will report back!!

Striped tee

I keep getting questions about this fabric. This knit stripe is one of my very favorites, ever. I ordered it from this shop in South Korea, so there’s a longer shipping wait time (due to customs) and higher shipping cost than most of us are accustomed to, so if you order there, be sure to try and fill the shipping envelope exactly to maximize the shipping cost. Totally worth it to have this lovely fabric though, especially if you order a few others at the same time.

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To see all of my KCWC-countdown posts:

To read more about KCWC and sign yourself up (just leave a comment, easy peasy!), click here:

Puff-sleeve flashback tee + tutorial

Want an easy way to “girl up” your Flashback Tees? How about a puff sleeve? It’s so easy, it’s crazy. Here’s what I’m talking about:

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(she’s wearing a basic rectangle skirt that we sewed together, by the way…I put the elastic in and did all the pressing, but she sewed the side seam, the elastic casing, and the hem, with my help of course. It’s a nice quick project to sew with your kid!)

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I made this tee with my Flashback Skinny Tee pattern but you can do this with any sleeve really. Here’s a quick how-to:

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First, cut your sleeve pieces, but move the sleeve pattern piece at least 1″ away from the fold, keeping the edge parallel to the fold (this will add 2″ to your sleeve width, because the fold doubles everything).

  • If you don’t want your sleeve to have 2″ added to the entire width, tilt the pattern pieces so that the top of the sleeve is 1″ away from the fold, and keep the bottom of the sleeve right at the fold.
  • If the sleeve pattern piece is full-width rather than a half pattern piece like the one shown, just fold the sleeve pattern piece in half to create an edge to place along the fold.

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Gather the top of the sleeves. I use a long stitch length and high tension on my machine, and I sew about 1/4″ away from the edge. I usually cheat and do just one row of stitches. One other thing: you know how the top of a sleeve kind of looks like a hill? I only stitch along the “top of the hill,” not the entire curved top edge of the sleeve. If you want to get technical: I only gather the top of the sleeve where it’s convex, not where it’s concave.

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Pin and sew the sleeve to the armhole.

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Repeat for the other sleeve. Then sew the side seams and finish up the hems!

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A couple other things. First, you can do this with long sleeves too!

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Second, if you don’t like how wide the sleeve is at the bottom, you can sew an elastic casing or a line of elastic shirring at the bottom of the sleeve to gather it, like I did with this top (can’t wait to show you more of this top!!):

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Just in case you missed it, the tutorial on turning the flashback tee into a short-sleeve tee is here:

and the Flashback Tee can be found here:

Flashback Skinny Tee for BIG KIDS is here!!

I am so excited to announce that we have finished working on the Flashback Skinny Tee for Big Kids, sizes 6-14. Yaaaaaay! *Kermit arms*

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BUY BOTH FLASHBACK PATTERNS & SAVE 20%! (just select the size(s) you’d like to purchase in the dropdown menu)

Just like my Flashback Skinny Tee sizes 12 mo-5T, except this time in larger sizes for big kids! The sizes included are meant to fit most boys and girls through age 14, which means — if you remember the disparities in sizes from your own, memorable teenage years — that it will fit every kid differently, depending on chest measurement, broader shoulders, and developing busts. For this reason we’ve included a two-page guide called “Getting a Better Fit” that walks you through the process of choosing size based on your child’s measurement and adjusting pattern piece lengths accordingly to get a more “custom” fit (PS. I’ve sent the “Getting A Good Fit” guide out to everyone who purchased a Flashback Tee in the smaller range as well, and it will be included in ALL Flashback Tee PDF pattern packages from now on).

Here’s just a few fantastic shots from some of my wonderful testers (yes there were more, this is just a handful!):

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Guitar and blue short sleeved versions from Cindy of Siestas and Sewing (blogged here) / Grey version from Beth of Yellow House Days / Purple floral and Striped versions by Clover of Farr Better Life (blogged here) / Pink Polka Dot version by Brittney / Rainbow version by Yara / Car, Black, and Dog versions by Tina / Pale Pink version by Becky / White floral with red trim version by Shannon of Mama’s Hustlin’ (blogged here) / Heart version by Melissa (love that awesome pose!)

Sizes Included: 6, 7/8, 9/10, 11/12, and 13/14

SIZE CHART

What about short sleeves?
As summer is now in full swing, I suggest you check out my Short-Sleeve Flashback Tee Tutorial which shows you how to turn the Flashback Tee into a short-sleeved tee for summer! I would suggest leaving 2-5″ on the sleeve below the armpit for the larger size range, depending on the size you are making and the style you want.

Fabric: Just like the original Flashback Skinny Tee size 12 mo – 5T, we recommend using stretchy jerseys and 1×1 rib knits (although a stretchy interlock may work) for the body of the tee and a rib knit for the neckband. It’s easy to recycle adult tees to make kid sized Flashback Tees because we’ve included finished hem lines on all of the pattern pieces. I don’t recommend using the traditional “beefy tees” to make Flashback Tees, though, as they don’t have enough stretch!

Yardage Needed:

More Information
For more information on the Flashback Tee, including pattern details, seller policy, and more, please see the Flashback Skinny Tee for 12 mo – 5T.

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KCWC Flashback Tee alert!

Did you guys see that next week is KCWC over at Elsie Marley? This week Meg’s got guesties making their own awesome versions of the Flashback Tee! Here’s what’s been featured so far:

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Sew Liberated’s Car Flashback for Finn (top)

Well-Crafted’s Triangle Short-sleeved Flashback (center)

Noodlehead’s Flashback Duo (bottom)

and there’s more to come this week. KCWC starts next week, right after the Spring Top Sewalong ends, so perfect timing! Head over to Elsie Marley to see what’s happening!

PS. Don’t forget to VOTE

More flashback tees for my kiddos

In the process of getting the fit right on the Flashback skinny tee pattern, I made a whole bunch of new tees for the kids. As in, they have skinny tees coming out of their ears now. Here’s a sampling for your perusal:

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A little light blue flowered one for C. After this one I adjusted the neckband length (too long!) and the sleeve length (too short!) for the final version of the pattern.

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This version was made from an Old Navy tank top I used to wear that was kind of blah:

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The fabric is a really lightweight jersey, so I just left the sleeves and hem unfinished and it curled up really nicely. As you can plainly see I also made it short-sleeved because there wasn’t enough fabric in the tank to make long sleeves. Which really just amounts to cutting the sleeve pattern off about an inch or two below the armpit.

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Instructions for this “bound” neck finish are included in the pattern.

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Here’s another version with the unfinished, curled-up hem; I used a 1.5″ wide neckband here so it came out pretty narrow:

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And another one for Elliot with a serged neckband (instructions for this style neck finish are also included in the pattern). Again this neckband was 1.5″ wide instead of the 2″ the pattern calls for to make it nice and skinny.

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This is his “I’m going to destroy you with my Fisher Price golf club” look. Be scared.

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Here’s another shot of the two alternate neck finishes included in the pattern. Both take a bit more time than the default neck finish, but they provide different looks. I love having options. And truly, this is probably the number one reason why my patterns always take way longer than I plan for; I’m always throwing extra options in to make them more customize-able.

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Sometimes it can be hard to find interesting knit fabric, but if you put two stripes together, I think it looks pretty cool!

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Why wouldn’t you wear these with bright green pants?

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Flashback Skinny Tee pattern page