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:

Ship Shape Button Placket Tutorial

OUT TO SEA DIY BLOG TOURsmallbutton

I’m so excited to be part of Sarah Jane’s Out to Sea Blog Tour today! I’m going to show you the adorable Charlie Tunic I made for Elliot with two of the Out to Sea prints, along with a tutorial on how to add the button placket.

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The Out to Sea collection is absolutely stunning. Sarah is so talented! We met last Spring at Quilt Market and got to see this collection first hand in all of its glory. I also really love her first line, Children at Play, with sweet illustrations that show the carefree days of childhood. I think it’s great that her fabric collections have both featured a number of designs for BOYS!

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Don’t worry though, still plenty of prints for girls as you can see below (see more here). Sarah has designed a lovely collection of Wall Art prints to go with the Out to Sea fabrics as well.

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One of the best things about this collection for me (besides the amazing designs that Sarah draws) is the fact that this line is printed on the cotton couture substrate from Michael Miller. Translation: totally soft, lovely, lightweight cottons perfect for not only quilting, but many types of garments as well. I just had to try it out on a Charlie Tunic for Elliot!

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I thought it would be so clever to have him pose with his Playmobil ship, which goes PERFECTLY with this fabric. For some reason he did not find this as clever as I did.

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He was more about putting the ship in front of his face.

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Then I asked him what his favorite part of the ship was. Guess.

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That’s right, the cannon. He then proceeded to shoot the little spring-loaded cannonball at my head, which made contact with my forehead about the exact same time I took this shot.

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He thought that was pretty clever.

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For this tutorial, I thought I’d show you how to add a cute little button placket that extends across the gap that gets created when you add the neck facings on the outside of the Charlie Tunic. This is a nice way to finish the neckline that doesn’t require button loops!

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Note: I used my Charlie Tunic Sewing Pattern for this one, but really you could add reverse facings to ANY pullover pattern with a simple neckline like Charlie – just trace around the neckline and shoulders and add 2-3″ around the outside and down the center to make a the facing pieces.

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Step 1: Cut out all your pieces.

You’ll need a front and back, two sleeves, a front facing, a back facing, and a placket piece. Cut your placket piece 3″ wide and plenty long so you can trim it down later. The length really depends on the size of your tunic, but 10″ long is PLENTY. I chose to interface my facings but it’s completely optional.

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Step 2: Sew the shoulder seams

I used a 1/2″ seam here. It’s really important to finish these seams with a serger, a french seam, or a flat-felled seam; if it frays, it will show at the neckline!

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Step 3: Mark placket location and measure how big your placket needs to be

Make two marks along the center line of the front facing: one where the neckline seam allowance hits (dotted line) and another where the bottom of the slit will be (the black dot on the pattern piece). Measure between these marks.

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Step 4: Cut your placket piece to size

Add 1/2″ to the measurement you found in Step 3 and cut the placket strip that new length.

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Step 5: Sew the placket piece together

Fold the placket piece in half lengthwise with its wrong side facing out. Sew the ends together with 1/4″ seams. Turn it right-side out and press.

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Step 6: Baste the placket to the front facing

Now place the placket piece between the two marks you made, just over the center line, and machine baste in place along the center line Don’t skip this step. I’m talking to you, Basting Skippers!!

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Step 7: Get the facings ready

Use the same seam allowance you used for the shoulder seams in Step 2 (1/2″) to sew the front facing and back facing together. Press the seams apart. Then press 1/4″ under around the entire outside edge of the facing. Clip the front curves to make this easier.

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Step 8: Pin the facings to the neckline

Be very careful to keep the facing perfectly centered on both the front and back; then pin all the way around the facings.

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Then go ahead and draw where you are going to stitch — around the neck, down the middle of the placket, and up the other side — with a fabric pen and ruler. I draw my lines just over 1/8″ away from the center line (use the basting stitches as a guide).

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Step 9: Sew the facings around the neckline and down/up the center.

Now you’re going to sew all the way around the neckline with a 1/2″ seam, then pivot on your needle and sew down the center line, pivot again and sew a few stitches across, and then pivot again and go back up the center line, etc, until you have sewn around the entire facing/neckline. You want to be SURE that you are sewing through the placket on one side, but not on the other, so stick to those marks you made. Be careful when you turn the corner closest to the placket — you want to make sure that you don’t accidentally sew it down!

Then trim the neckline to 1/4″ and cut right down the middle of the center front stitch lines. Clip to the corners at the bottom of the placket as close as you can without going through the stitching.

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Step 10: Turn the facings to the outside and stitch down

This is the fun part. Press the entire neckline and then flip the facings all the way around to the outside. Press the seams again so the facings lay flat, and pin them in place.

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Nice right? Now edgestitch around the outside of the facings to stitch them down. A double row of stitches looks nice here.

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Step 11: Complete the rest of the top

Start by attaching the sleeves:

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and then sewing the side seams, hemming the bottom, and finishing the cuffs. I used a contrast cuff as shown in the Charlie Tunic instructions.

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Then it’s time to play with button placement! There are so many options…you can keep the button flap on the outside and put the buttonholes on it as shown above, or even put buttons on both sides with the button placket underneath:

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I decided to put the buttons on the placket underneath and sew some buttonholes in the facing right along the center. You could also sew on snaps or even velcro, but I personally like the buttons more.

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So sew those buttons and buttonholes, and your top is finished!

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Thanks for having me as part of the tour, Sarah! Click over to the Sarah Jane blog to see more of her designs and snap up a coupon code for $2 off the Charlie Tunic Sewing Pattern that’s good until Friday.

OUT TO SEA DIY BLOG TOURsmallbutton

You can see all of the posts in the Out to Sea blog tour by clicking on the image above

Washi Maxi Dress Tutorial

You are going to laugh that I am even calling this a “tutorial,” it’s so campy. But that’s how this one is happening. It’s been campified. New word. You would rather that I spent my time cooking up more new and exciting things for you rather than making my tutorials look more profesh, right? If not, now’s the time to speak up. S’all I’m saying.

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So before I give you a detailed how-to, here are the key speaking points for making a Washi Dress into a maxi (floor-length dress):

  • Lengthen the skirt pieces so they are long enough
  • Widen the skirt pieces so they don’t trip you when you walk

The key points to remember if you want it fully lined:

  • the lining does not need pockets
  • the front skirt of the lining does not need to be pleated (that adds bulk at your waist, NO GOOD), so you must trim the sides to make the front skirt the same width as the front bodice
  • if you make the lining the same length as the dress, you can hem the dress over the bottom of the lining
  • if you make the lining shorter than the dress (eg knee-length like I did), you need to finish the bottom edge of the lining and then hand-stitch the bottom corners of the lining to the side seam allowances of the dress so that it stays put.
  • you do not need to do the shirring in the back for the lining, but I like to do just one line of shirring so that it gathers a little
  • it may still help to cut a small piece of interfacing and attach it to the back of the front bodice around that little “U” shape to help keep that looking spiffy, as shown in this pic:

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  • for the fully lined version, you need to sew the neckline, armholes and side seams in the exact same way as I sewed the bodice lining in my Bodice Lining Video Series (specifically, you should watch videos III, IV, V)

Finally, if you want to make it sleeveless:

  • I usually trim 1/2″ off of the outside of the shoulder along the armhole (front and back, and linings) to make a narrower width over the shoulder. I think this looks better and is quite easy to do. Here’s a picture:

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Are you ready for some diagrams? Here are my notes on how I made the maxi version, including fabulous hand-drawn illustrations to amaze and amuse you (click on the images to view larger).

Step 1: Cut out your dress pieces, the bodice, front skirt, and back dress with the following modifications:

Maxi Dress Notes 1

Just in case you can’t read that hint, it says: “I used a tape measure to find the distance from my bra band to the floor, then added 2″ = 48″ total (but I am 5’8″)”

Step 2: Cut out and assemble your lining

Maxi Dress Notes 2

Step 3: Assemble the outside of the dress, and attach to lining

Maxi Dress Notes 3

Any questions? I’d be happy to answer any in the comments section (or update the post as needed), so let me know if I can clarify anything!

* * * * * *

In other Washi-related news: The Washi Dress Photo Pool is filling up with amazing Washi Dresses! If you’ve finished your very own Washi Dress be sure to add your photos so we can all admire them. I’ll be doing a round-up post soon!

Washi DressWashi DressWashi Dress Kleid Vintage türkis Polkadots with BeltWashi Tunic.Sleeve.Washi Dress in ChambrayMy First WashiTib WashiTacy WashiBetsy WashiSmall Bow Washi Tunic BackSmall Bow Washi Tunic 4WASHI DRESSabria cardi / washi tunicThe lining of my chambray Washi dressDotty Chambray Washi Front View 1The Floradora Washi DressLemon Tree Washi DressMade by Rae Washi DressDSC04007DSC04008Trying to dress up a Washi dressArrow Washi DressArrow Washi Dress

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UPDATED! The ever-popular Baby Sunsuit Tutorial

** I couldn’t let yet ANOTHER summer go by without updating this oldie-but-goodie tutorial! I hope you’ll enjoy this sunsuit tutorial, new and improved! **

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This is an update to the original Baby Sunsuit Tutorial, which was posted over two years ago (has it really been that long…YIKES!) as part of the Baby Bonanza series over on luvinthemommyhood. This sunsuit is completely adorable and makes a great gift for a baby. Clementine used to love hers as you can plainly see:

(I can’t resist showing this photograph over and over. It’s a classic. It’s fine with me if you pin it, but please don’t use it anywhere else without permission. Once it turned up on some random parenting website (?!?) Thanks to an eagle-eyed reader for catching that one!)

Why post this tutorial again? I wanted to correct some of the “issues” that popped up with the first version of the tutorial, mainly involving the snap closure at the bottom. In a nutshell the changes are: instead of cutting out a curved piece for the bottom closure, you trim out the corners of the rectangles you start with, and use the piece left behind for the snap closures:

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I think you’ll find this way is easier and quicker to sew, and it eliminates some of the “side bulk” the original tutorial had. Here’s a quick run-through (and stick around, there’s a FREE PDF instruction sheet at the end!):

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1: Cut two rectangles of fabric. Their width should be [your baby's chest measurement - 3"], and the length should be [the measurement from crotch to neck (the length of their torso) + 2"] — if you need a general number because you don’t have a baby on hand to measure, cut 16″ wide x 19″ long…that’s about a 6-12 month size. note: The rectangles are shown sideways in the photo above, with the grain running horizontally across the photo.

2: Now you need to draw the leg holes. Along the bottom (usually shorter) edge of your rectangles, make a mark at the center with your marking pen, then draw a line 2.5″ from either side of center along the bottom edge and 2″ high. This will create a 5″x2″ rectangle that will become the snap panel between the legs. Then make another mark along each side, 5″ from the bottom, and connect the rectangle to this mark with a nice curved line.

3: Cut these curved areas out.

4: Sew the long sides of the sunsuit together, right sides facing, with a 1/2″ seam.

5. Fold up 1/2″ at the bottom of each rectangle toward the wrong side and press.

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6: Fold another 3/4″ up, this time towards the right side of the fabric, and press. Stitch the sides down, 1/2″ away from each edge.

7. Clip the bottom corners with a scissors close to the stitching, then turn this part right-side-out, use a pencil or knitting needle to push out those corners, and press. This will become your snap panel.

8. Fold under 1/4″ twice around the legholes, and pin in place.

9. Now sew all the way around the bottom of the legholes and snap panels, stitching as close to the folded edge as possible (this is called “edgestitching.”)

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10: Finish the top edge of the sunsuit opposite the legholes. You can do this by folding over the top edge 1/4″ twice and stitching down, or doing a rolled hem or zig-zag stitch, up to you.

Shirring: Loosely wind elastic thread (I recommend Gutermann, not Dritz) around your bobbin, load it into your machine (you may need to loosen your bobbin tension a bit with the little screwdriver if you have a front-loading bobbin), and sew with thread on top and elastic thread in the bobbin around the top of the sunsuit for 6 rows, keeping each row of shirring about 1/2″ apart (see the original sunsuit post for more shirring resources) so that you have about 3″ of shirring.

11. Keep the elastic thread in the bobbin and sew along the legholes back and forth for 2-4 rows, about 1/8″ apart. Use your iron and lots of steam to press the elastic thread, both at the top and bottom of the sunsuit. It should shrink up nicely.

12. Add snaps to front and back. Remember that the snaps should go on the bottom of the front snap panel, but the top of the back snap panel in order to overlap properly!

**Do you hate putting snaps on something? Try cutting off the snaps from an old onesie and stitching them onto the bottom panels instead, like I did below. It’s a little tricky sewing around the snaps, but if you can manage, it’s pretty easy!**

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OK, we’re almost done!

13: Make the straps: Cut two strips 2″ wide by half your rectangle length; for the 6-12 month size, 2″x9.5″ is great. Go to my Easy Strap Tutorial to see how I made my 3/4″ wide straps. I put buttonholes in the ends but you could also use snaps here.  Another option would be to do a pair of ties at each shoulder.

14: Stretch out the top edge and mark 3.5″ from center on both the front and back of the sunsuit. Pin your straps to the front at each mark about 1/2″ from the end of each strap. Try the sunsuit on your baby if possible to check the strap length. Sew your straps down at each mark.

15: Sew your buttons to the back top edge, again 3.5″ from center. Cross the straps in back, and you’re done!

Put the sunsuit on your baby (preferably with a matching Peekaboo Bonnet) and enjoy! Here’s a couple finished shots on Clementine:

And on the recepient of the pink one, Baby A:

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Sunsuit Instruction Sheet

FREE PRINTABLE DOWNLOAD!

The other day I found this page of sunsuit diagrams and instructions that I had all but forgotten about after we moved last year. Written with little hand-drawn diagrams onto a 1-page sheet, ready to scan. Seriously? Sometimes I amaze myself. So it’s now ready for you to download and print, just in time for summer sewing.

The only thing I would say is if you’re going to use this sheet, sew the sides together after you’ve cut out the legholes (step 7), instead of before. Not a big deal, just something I realized after I’d drawn the whole thing out and was too lazy to go back and change. It’s also missing the part about the straps and buttons, but hey, it’s free (read: CAMPY)! Enjoy!

Click on the image above for your very own 1-page Sunsuit Instruction sheet.
DO NOT DISTRIBUTE OR RE-SELL THIS PDF WITHOUT PERMISSION! THANKS!

Have a great weekend everyone!

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Short-sleeved Flashback Tee!

Spring is here and I’ve been starting to think about the boy’s warm-weather wardrobe. Starting with a short-sleeved Flashback Tee!

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The one was made with the size 5T of the Flashback Tee Sewing Pattern and an organic 1×1 rib knit from Near Sea Naturals (remember when I bought those swatches?). Love the stripes and how super-soft this is. Elliot LOVES it. He’s just turned five a couple weeks ago so the fit is just a little big. Room to grow for my average-sized kid. Although he’s looking rather skinny in these pictures. No more baby fat, waaaah!

Making a short-sleeved tee from a long-sleeved pattern is so easy! And it’s no big secret: you could do this with ANY long-sleeved pattern piece. Here’s a quick how-to:

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Step 1: Cut the sleeve pattern piece

You need to shorten the sleeve pattern piece (which is for a long-sleeved tee) to a short sleeve pattern piece. For toddlers, this means cutting the pattern off somewhere between 1 (for the smaller sizes) and 2 inches (for the larger sizes) below the armpit. It doesn’t really have to be exact; you can always start longer and cut more off if you don’t like how it looks. But to me a skinny tee looks silly with a longer sleeve. Important: make sure that your new line is perpendicular to the grain/fold line.

Note: With this tee I trimmed an additional 1/2″ off before adding the cuff, so If you do the math that’s the same as cutting it 1.5″ below the armpit to start with for the 5T size.

OK, so now you need to cut out your two sleeve pieces on the fold with your new short-sleeve pattern piece, and cut the rest of the pieces of the shirt as usual.

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Step 2: Assemble the tee

Sew the tee together according to the instructions, except leave the ends of the sleeves for now. I’d suggest trying the tee on your child at this point to see how long the sleeve looks. Trim the sleeve more if necessary, and don’t forget that the cuff will add another 1/2″ yet. If you want to, though, you could just hem the sleeves now and be done!

Step 3: Cut the cuff pieces

Cut two 2″ wide strips of rib knit for the sleeve cuff. The folded length of the cuff pieces should be 1″ shorter than the width of the folded sleeve (see photo). This will make it nice and fitted on the arm.

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Step 4: Sew the ends of the cuff together

I used a 1/4″ seam allowance here.

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Step 5: Attach the cuffs to the sleeve

Follow the instructions to attach the cuff as given in the sewing instructions, but use a 1/4″ seam allowance.

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Voila! Finished short sleeved tee!

Step 6: Put on child so he can go pester his sister.

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Rainbow Dress Tutorial

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Well it’s here: The Rainbow Dress Tutorial! I realize my timing is (as usual) a little odd, as it’s now the very end of summer proper and the temperatures here in Michigan are downright cool. But my sister Elli just moved to Texas and assures me that it’s still 100 degrees there, so I’m guessing some of you will still be able to use and enjoy it. Anyway, it’s never too early to start sewing for next summer, right?

In addition to the free tutorial right here in this post, I’ve made a PRINTABLE  version of the tutorial available for a very low price ($2, yay!) for those who might not have the luxury of being able to sew with your laptop next to your machine like I do (trust me, it’s a sickness):

$2 – Printable Version

Finished Size

This tutorial is for a size 2T dress or, if you skip the straps, a size 3-5T skirt that is 18″ long and has a 26″ waist (fully stretched). The finished dress is 18″ tall without straps and 21″ tall with straps.

Materials List

1/2 yard of four coordinating fabrics (it doesn’t have to be a rainbow; think solids! stripes! colorblock!)
elastic thread for shirring (see Step 6 for more information on elastic thread)
1/2″ wide elastic for straps

Do you need a serger?

Nope. The instructions here presume that you have a serger to finish the edges as shown in the pictures, but if you don’t have a serger, you can easily zigzag stitch the raw edges for a similar effect. I’ve also included suggestions throughout this tutorial for sewing this dress without serging OR zig-zagging (is that even a word?)

Read this first please:

The pictures and instructions are offered here for free but you can buy a 2-page printable version for just $2 if you want to support my work. Please don’t repost any of my content without permission. Thanks!

Step 1

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Step 2

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Use a 1/4″ seam to sew the ends together on one side. Then serge the top and bottom edges of each tier. A zig-zag stitch works just fine if you don’t have a serger. If you prefer a more “finished” look, add 1″ to the width of each of the panels when cutting in Step 1, then fold/press under 1/4″ twice along the long edges and sew down instead.

Step 3

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I find it easiest to gather by setting my machine tension to the highest setting and using the longest stitch length possible. Then I just sew one row of stitches 1/2″ from the edge on the right side of the fabric to gather it up. Leave plenty of thread at each end. When you pull on either of the top threads you can adjust the gathers easily.

Line up the tiers with their ends and seams together. The top edge of the second tier should overlap the top tier by 5/8″ (an easy way to do this: flip it over to the back side and move the second tier so that the gathering stitches are JUST hidden by the bottom edge of the top tier). Adjust the gathers evenly by pulling on the ends of the gathering threads, then pin them together.

Step 4

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Sew directly over the gathering stitches, 1/2″ from the top of the second tier.

Step 5

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Now it should look like this:

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Step 6

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Handwind a bobbin loosely with elastic thread* and put it in your machine. This goes faster than you might think because elastic thread is really thick.

*You want my advice? Don’t use Dritz or JoAnn storebrand, the quality seem to be really unpredictable and has resulted in nothing but in poor shirring and tears for me. Try Guterman (available at JoAnn) or order yourself a huge cone of this stuff instead.

OK, so begin shirring across the top tier, beginning 1″ below the top edge. Leave a little bit of extra elastic thread at the end of each row before turning the fabric around and sewing back across the tier. The rows should be 1/4″ – 1/2″ apart. Keep in mind that you should ALWAYS test this on a scrap of fabric before attempting on your dress, and that the closer together your rows, the more tightly your fabric will gather. I have mentioned before that I have a love/hate relationship with shirring; in my experience it definitely takes some trial and error to get the tightness you want, so take the time to experiment with this a little bit so you don’t get frustrated!

Steam the rows of shirring with your iron after you are finished; the elastic should shrink up even more:

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Step 7:

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Pin the remaining side edges together, matching up each tier carefully. Then sew together with a 1/4″ seam.

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I also serged this seam to prevent fraying, but you could also zigzag stitch or do a french seam here if you don’t have a serger.

Step 8:

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Now it should look something like this:

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If you are making a skirt, congratulations, you’re finished!  Or continue on to add straps…

Step 9:

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Step 10:

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You’ll need about 8″ of 1/2″ wide elastic to thread through the casing here.

Note: If you don’t like the serged/zigzagged look, cut your strap rectangles 1″ wider, then fold the raw edges opposite the fold under (together) 1/4″ twice and sew down for a more finished look. You could also fold the raw edges under towards each other and sew down. Either way works.

Step 11:

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You’ll want to pin the straps in place with safety pins and try it on a child before sewing these down; I found that 8″ was a little too long so I pulled a little more elastic through and then sewed the straps down. Fold under the raw edges on the ends before sewing them to the dress.

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Voila! Finished dress!!! Add your photos to the Rae Made Me Do It! Photo pool so we can all enjoy them.

Did you like this tutorial? Wouldn’t it be nice to print it out or just say “thanks Rae for all your work on this”? Guess what? You can purchase a 2-page printable PDF version of the tutorial for just $2. Thanks everyone for supporting my work!!!

Rainbow Dress Tutorial Printable – $2

Buy Now

Please read these instructions if you’ve never purchased an instant download PDF from me before.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this everyone!

Tutorial: Make Cupcake Flags!

I made these little flags a couple weeks ago as cupcake toppers for Clementine’s 2nd birthday. They were a real hit with the kids and the other day when she found a flag that had been dropped in the lawn and forgotten, she picked it up and said “Happy birthday to me?” Yes, yes.

They’re very simple to make; I used origami paper but any printed stationery or wrapping paper would work too. Super-easy, super-quick! Here’s how:

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A note about the Xyron: Purchasing this gadget was a little silly (as I’ve mentioned above, a glue stick works just fine for this project), but it comes in handy every once in awhile for making stickers or sticky things like labels and so I used it here to present myself with the illusion that I am getting my money’s worth. If you really want one you can find them for about $15 at craft stores with a coupon or when they go on sale. This one makes a sticker that is 2.5″ wide max, but there’s also a smaller one that is even cheaper.

If you’re curious as to how it works, basically you just shove your paper into one side…

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turn the crank, and they come out on the other side as stickers:

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Yum!

The Best Burp Cloths

Warning: Lots of blahdeeblahdeeblah in this post. Anti-readers should go elsewhere. BUT! There’s a tutorial at the end of it all if you can make it that far!

When my sewing career started up again post-college with the purchase of a cheap Singer online (which is now completely worthless, a discussion for another time, another post), I began making baby gifts for friends. That seemed to be the time when everyone around me was beginning to procreate. I myself had just begun to date my high school boyfriend for the second-time-around (who later became Mr Rae) and was nowhere near thinking about procreation or marriage at that point. Nevertheless I found baby gifts to be the perfect sewing project as I started to relearn the sewing skills that had been abandoned in my youth. One of the first things I made was a burp cloth for a friend’s baby which later received rave reviews both for its attractiveness and functionality. Later when I had my own children I made loads of these and found them to be one of the most useful items those first few months. I reached for them before the birdseye diapers because they were cuter, and before the commercial multipack ones because well those are just plain worthless. I’ve seen many types of handmade burp cloths, but I like the way these really show off the fabric you choose.

Last weekend my sister-in-law had a shower for her soon-to-be-expected baby boy, so I put together a stack on the suggestion of my other sister-in-law who had also found them invaluable. Just a couple of hours of sewing and I had a handmade, adorable gift. This is a great beginner project especially if you need to make a baby boy gift which can be harder to come up with at the drop of a hat (and by the way bibs are almost as easy and just as useful too!)

The front sides of the four burp cloths shown above are made with super-soft single layer gauze that I ordered from Spoonflower (a digital fabric print-on-demand website). One of the things I love about Spoonflower is that you can have your fabric printed on many different kinds of fabric. This particular set of designs is from a limited edition collection designed by Heather Ross exclusively for Spoonflower called Macaroni Love Story which is no longer available, but you can order her current Spoonflower collection here which is equally cute. Otherwise, just look around for a few minutes and you’ll be sure to find a design by someone that suits you!

Now a note about this “gauze.” It’s actually not called “gauze” by the Spoonflower folks, it’s called “voile,” and I must freely admit to you that I was downright miffed last winter when it arrived on my doorstep bearing almost no resemblance whatsoever to the material called “voile” that has become popular of late (first by Anna Maria Horner and now by many other fabric designers), meaning I wasn’t going to be able to use it for its original intended purpose. In fact I still feel it is a wee bit deceptive to call it “voile” considering the other voiles on the market, although I’m sure it technically qualifies as a voile by weight. If I were running things over at Spoonflower (which, obviously, I am not) I would call this a “single layer gauze” so that is what I am calling it in this post*.

Regardless of what you want to call it (and whether or not you think it’s worth getting grumpy about, ummmm), it absolutely makes the BEST material for burp clothes. One fat quarter would make two burp clothes, but a full yard would make four (EIGHT! Thanks Susan for that correction. I used to teach math…wow, how did that happen?) at a better price. If you ordered a full yard and hemmed it you’d have a perfect summer baby blanket very similar to the other gauzy muslin ones that seem to be popping up all over the place lately. And if the price tag seems high to you, think about this: you are paying for the ability to print a specific design (including your own) on demand. That’s been unheard of until very recently.

*Please don’t get me wrong: I think Spoonflower is great. Stephen and the gang have been nothing but wonderful since the start and my attempts with other fabric-on-demand websites have proven that they really have a good thing going on here. I would love to talk more about designing fabric prints and ordering digital fabric on demand, but again that’s another post, for another time.

Another material that is more readily available that is great for this project is regular quilting cotton. You might think it wouldn’t be absorbant enough, but you’d be wrong. It’s a little heavier but works just as well, and how many great boy prints are out there right now that would be fantastic here? You can go as crazy as you want, because it’s just a burp cloth, right? The back side of this burp cloth is knit jersey, which I usually cut from an old t-shirt. I also use chenille or minky for the back, but if you’re not quite ready to sew with knits, flannel or terry cloth would work just fine. I think you’ll find though that sewing with knit fabric is really easy for this project.

cutting knit from t-shirts for this is so easy!
just place the top rectangle right over the t-shirt and cut!

While I know that many of you could probably figure out how to put two rectangles of fabric together to make a burp cloth, just in case it helps you to have a picture step-by-step I’ve put together quick tutorial!

This blog is proudly sponsored by

Voila! Burp cloths! So easy.

If you’re just joining us, this post is part of the Celebrate the SUMMER Boy series. You can go here to see all of the posts in on place.

And just in case you’ve missed what Dana has been up to this week:

First up on Monday was this fantastic tutorial on upcycling thrifted men’s trunks into kids trunks. Wow, don’t these look great?

And yesterday she talked about fabric selection in a FANTASTIC post about choosing fabric for boys!

And today? Racer Shorts!!!

Free Chevron Wristlet Pattern!

I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for the chevron trend. So I’m over on Grosgrain today for free pattern month with a tutorial for a little wristlet that can provide you with your Chevron-fix on a daily basis. Since I like to carry different bags on different days, this wristlet functions as my “wallet,” I just throw it in whatever bag or purse I happen to be carrying that day. It’s plenty big enough to hold all of the essentials: credit cards, cash, cell phone, pen and checkbook, chapstick, whatever.

All you need is a few basic supplies…

And your pattern….

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FREE CHEVRON WRISTLET PATTERN

right click on file once it opens to save/print

{this pattern is provided to you for FREE with the intention that it be used for personal use. Thanks! }

And the instructions (CLICK OVER TO GROSGRAIN FOR THE FULL TUTORIAL) and you’re good to go!



Thanks for a great month of free patterns, Kathleen!

Be sure to check out the other wonderful free patterns and tutorials that Kathleen’s been featuring all month long — they’re all lined up over on the sidebar of her blog so you can see them day by day.

Need more Chevron? Dana’s got an awesome pillow tutorial which I will readily admit served as an inspiration for this project (and photos above); as you can tell I share her strong love of stripes, chevron, and yellow!

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