Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bandana Skirt Set

I have had the pictures for this post for quite a while, but I knew if was going to take me a long time to type it up.  I have made several of these outfits to sell at a craft fair and also for gifts, and I think they are so cute!  You can make them anywhere from a size 6 month up to about 4T.  I will try to make these instructions as clear as possible.  If you have any questions, please leave them for me in the comments, and I will try to explain the steps better!

To start, you will need the following:

1.  Child's T-shirt in the size and color you want
2.  2 bandanas
3.  5.5 to 6.5 inches of border fabric
4.  3/4 inch elastic
5.  Wonder Under or Heat and bond light fusible webbing
6.  Totally Stable iron on stabilizer
7.  Optional but nice, "Over the Back Fusible Interlining" for the back of the applique
8.  Fray Check
9.  Basic sewing skills and tools, ie thread, rotary cutter, etc.

All seams are 3/8 inch allowance unless otherwise noted.

Prewash all your fabric before beginning.  Next line up your bandanas, right sides together, as best you can.  I use this chart to figure out how long to make my skirts.  I prefer to make the skirt about an inch below knee level so that they last a little longer.  For sizes up to 2T, I add a 2.5 inch border.  For bigger sizes, I add a 3 inch border.  You want to allow 1 1/4 inch for the casing and 3/8 inch for adding the border at the bottom.  Therefore if I cut my fabric the same length as the amount given for the finished length of the skirt, I get the length of skirt that I want.  So, if I am making a size 12-18 month skirt, I will cut the bandana 8 inches long width wise.  (Measure from one of the finished edges.)

Line up  your border fabric, folded from selvage to selvage, and cut a 5.5 inch strip for 2T and under or a 6.5 inch strip for larger sizes.  Fold it in half the long way, right sides together, and press.  (I don't have a picture here or this exact step but you can see what it looks like in the next few steps.)

Pin together the bandana pieces, right sizes together, and sew the sides of the skirt.  You do not need to finish the edges since they already are!  The cut edge will be the top of the skirt, and the finished edge will be where you attach the border.

Press seams toward the back of the skirt.

To attach the border, line up the edge of the border with the bottom of the skirt, right sides together, 3/8 inch from the seam line on one side of the skirt.  Pin and begin sewing a few inches from the seam line.  Make sure the unfolded edge of the border is lined up with the finished edge of the skirt bottom.

Continue sewing until you are a few inches from the seam line again.

Stop sewing at this point and remove the skirt from the machine.

Line up the remaining border and make a small mark where the border fabric overlaps itself 3/8 inches.

Use a rotary cutter to cut the extra border fabric off.

Unfold the border fabric from both sides, place it right sides together, and sew.  (This is hard to explain but will make sense once you do it.  Go slowly and unfold and line up edges as you go along.

Remove from machine and fold the seam inside the border flat.  You can press if you want, but I usually just use my fingers.

Line up the two seams as closely as you can.  I like to have one seam pointing one way and one the other to reduce bulk.

Finish sewing the border to the skirt.  Then use an overlock stitch or serger to finish the edge.

Press the seam toward the skirt and top stitch about 1/8 inch from the border to hold in place.  I use a 3.0 stitch length.

Now for the casing.  I like to use this Straight Folding Template to help fold the top edge of the skirt over 1/4 inch.  Then fold it over an additional 1 inch, press and pin in place.  I just print the template out on card stock--looks like I am about due to print out a new one!

Then top stitch close to the edge around your casing, leaving about 1.5 inches open to put the elastic through.  

Cut 3/4 inch elastic to the length specified in this chart, and feed it through with a safety pin.  Overlap the elastic about one inch and secure with a zig zag stitch.  Make sure that you do not twist the elastic at this step.  Top stitch the opening closed.  Make sure to pull the fabric flat as you do.

I like to add a label on the back with a size.  I use printable fabric paper to design my label.  I cut it out and iron the edges under about 1/8 inch.  I have found that, even though the instructions say to hand wash, the labels hold up for quite a while with regular washing.  For the size, I use white ribbon and iron on transfer paper.  See this tutorial for more information on label making.  Center and attach label to the back of the skirt using a small zig zag stitch.  (Tip:  use thread that matches your label for the top stitch and thread that matches your skirt in your bobbin for the back side.)

Now it's time to applique a design onto the shirt.  Simply iron on some Wonder Under or Heat and Bond Light to the backside of your leftover bandana fabric.  Trace your design (make sure it is backwards for something that is directional like a powercat) and cut out.  Remove paper backing and iron onto the front of the shirt as per package directions.  I fold the shirt in half and iron to help find the center.  Iron on Totally Stable to the back of the shirt and sew around the edges of the fabric with a tight zig zag stitch. I like to also apply Fray Check all around the edges of the fabric before I stitch it on.  Allow to dry completely before beginning to applique, or your stabilizer will rip.  I will usually use a 3.0 - 4.0 stitch width with a .3 stitch length.  See this post for more on appliqueing and using a template to position a powercat.

I have also started using an over the back fusible interlining after appliqueing to help those stitches be more comfortable against the skin.  I cut out a piece just slightly larger than the applique and iron it on using steam and the temperature for synthetic fabrics on my iron.

And you are done!

Here are a couple of other examples of skirt sets I have made.

Hope you enjoy this project as much as I have!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Anna's Dress

I'm not sure how this little girl is already seven!  We celebrated Anna's birthday last week.  This week, she wanted to wear the dress I made for her birthday, and she wanted her hair curled, and we went to the park.  The result?  I followed her around for a while trying to get a good picture of her.  Thankfully she cooperated with me pretty well.  I kept telling her not to move while I was taking the picture, and at one point she asked exasperatedly, "Can I breathe while you take the picture?"  Oh my, I see a lot of myself in this one!

My in laws bought me a serger for Christmas this year.  I was excited to try it, but also intimidated, so it sat in the box for a couple of months.  Well, I finally got brave and took it out of the box and started sewing with knit fabric.  I am falling in love with how fast it is to throw something together!

This dress is Greenstyle Creations Regan Dress, and I absolutely love it.  It is a great project for a beginner.  The pattern is easy to put together, and the instructions are very clear.  So far I've made five of them for my girls and for a gift, and I will make some more this winter in the long sleeve option, I'm sure.  You just cut out five pieces, and then you are ready to go!

The only thing I did differently was to top stitch around the collar after I ironed it.  I serged the edges of the bottom of the dress and the sleeves before turning under one inch and then top stitching.  I hope to get brave again and try out my double needle soon for hemming!

I highly recommend this pattern if you are new to knits or just want a quick project.  I really like Greenstyle Creations and have several additional patterns to try out soon.  I will post pictures when I do!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Powercat Onesie with PJ Pants

So the day is fast approaching for our new little guy to be born.  Which means that I am frantically nesting.  For me, that includes cleaning every nook and cranny and sewing madly on different projects that I think I will never finish once the baby comes!  It's probably a good thing we are having another baby, because I'm pretty sure I hadn't cleaned out our bathroom cabinets since I was pregnant with Grant!

I finished up this onesie and pj pants set yesterday.  The pattern for the pants is found here and is really quite simple.  I do cut the front of the pants a little lower than the back--about one inch or less.  Tip:  when you do this,  put the legs pieces right sides together to make sure you are cutting a mirror image (ask me how I know this!)

To applique the powercat, I followed my usual steps as outlined in this post.  I also ironed this product on the back so that it won't irritate baby's skin.  His Christmas present is ready--now on to the next project!
Friday, May 8, 2015

Ruffle Apron

I have been feeling the urge to sew this week and have completed a couple of projects.  I needed a gift for my step mom for Mother's Day, so I decided to make her an apron.

I used this pattern from the Dating Divas.  One tip I would offer on the ruffle is just to sew one end shut, turn it right side out, press, and then start pleating.  When you get close to the end, cut off the extra fabric and sew the ends shut.  Press and finish pleating.  As per the instructions, I tried several times to get it to come out exactly right, and I about drove myself crazy!

I'm planning to make some more of these close to Christmas time with some really cute snowman fabric!

Phoebe Purse

My sister-in-law, Joni, posted a purse on Facebook that she had made using a free pattern online.  I loved the shape of it, and I was in need of a gift idea for my mother-in-law for Mother's Day.

I downloaded the pattern (Phoebe purse) and put it together in a couple of afternoons this week.  Thanks to Joni for helping me get some material picked out--always the hardest part for me!  One tip that I would offer is that you will need a fairly sturdy needle when you are sewing layers together--I used a size 100/16.

We celebrated Mother's Day with Lois on Wednesday night because they were going to be out of town this weekend.  I think she really liked the purse!  Now on to more projects. . .

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