Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Crossover Pinafore and Ruffle Bum Bloomers

Found a tutorial for an adorable little crossover pinafore at Smashed Peas and Carrots. I had a bit of trouble sewing around the straps (I'm just not very good at sewing tight curves) but otherwise it was a very easy dress to make, and the instructions were excellent. Alexis is only 8 months old here, but she's a big girl and it's closer to a long tunic top for her, rather than a dress. Because of the crossover, the design seems to be very forgiving for sizing, and I'm looking forward to Alexis being able to continue to wear it as a top as she gets bigger.

I decided to make it reversible, and to make the front and back different on both sides (I like the contrast between the front pattern and the straps). I wasn't even thinking when I picked out buttons that they'd need to be the same size to use the same button holes! Luckily I just happened to choose 2 styles of button that are almost identical in size.

I also made a little pair of ruffled bloomers to go with the dress, following the directions at The Sewing Dork. I had the darn things almost done when I realized I'd put them together wrong and had to pull out all the seams and start over (I'd even zigzagged most of my seams already). And in spite of using a pair of pants that fit Alexis quite well, when I tried them on her they were gaping horribly in the back of the waist. I'm thinking it's because I used quilting cotton to make the bloomers, and the pants I used as a pattern were stretchy (I've now bought some cheap cotton to use to make a test garment the next time I want to make my own pattern from something). I was able to salvage them by patching in a little piece of the tan broadcloth I used to make the ruffles.

The last photo is the only one I snagged of the front while standing. I stood her up so Grandma and Grandpa could hold her arms, and she got upset that I didn't pick her up! She's a bit of a momma's girl....  

Friday, August 3, 2012

Giving a "Helping Hand"

My sister-in-law just bought her first house. This seemed like a perfect excuse to sew a housewarming gift - especially since I was too occupied baby wrangling to be able to help out with the grand reno scramble on possession weekend. I decided to make a "Helping Hand" (which is an all-in-one apron/dishtowel/double-handed hot pad apparatus) from Tatertots and Jello. I figured it would be a useful accessory in a small kitchen... but I also enjoy the wordplay - see, I still gave her a helping hand! ;)

Sadly while the instructions are still available on Tatertots and Jello, the pattern pieces for the pockets were hosted on a site that no longer exists. Of course, I realized this after I'd already bought fabric and Insul-brite. Rather than scrap the idea, I went ahead and made my own pocket patterns. I'll post them here as well, in case someone else finds them useful. I don't have a way to supply them as .pdf files right now, just as .jpgs. But I included a size guide, so with a little work others should be able to get them to print out at the correct size. 


I decided to do ruffles on the pockets instead of bias tape, and rather than cutting the outside fabric larger and using it to make an edge, I just did the entire thing in bias tape. Mostly because I wanted to do the outside out of terry cloth so it would function a little better as a towel.

I also added 2 extra loops to the back out of bias tape, and made some detachable straps - it didn't really seem to be very functional as an apron without some way to tie it on (I'm not much for the "tuck them into your pants" aprons).  The straps just have a little square of applix (velcro) on them so they can loop around the tabs.

All in all I'm pretty happy how it turned out, particularly since this was my first time sewing both ruffles and bias tape! If I was going to do one with bias tape around the pockets instead of ruffles, I'd make the inside pocket a little bit smaller (or the outside a little bit bigger) as the outside pockets didn't overlap as much as the Tatertots and Jello version.  However, that's at least partially because using a ruffle meant I lost about 1/2 of pocket to a seam allowance around the curve, where one with bias tape wouldn't... so it might actually be just fine.

Here's a picture to show how I used the pattern pieces as a guide to sew the pockets down (to make them fit the hands better). Fold along the guide line, then line up to the corner. Draw a line with a washable (or fading) fabric pencil/marker along the fold. Then flip and repeat. Sew down along the drawn lines. You might want to pin along first and check the fit - I designed it around my hands and I imagine it would work for most people, but if you have really large or small hands your mileage may vary!