Saturday, June 11, 2011

"Ballerina Dream" Top {Knot Top Pattern Remix}

Well, I'm squeezing in here at the last minute with my {finally} finished top for Me Sew Crazy's Pattern Remix contest - the Ballerina Dream top!  For my remix I chose the super cute as-is Little Lizard King Double Ruffle Knot Top pattern...which I would totally recommend for any sewer!  I just loved this top, and there were a few elements in particular that I thought would be super cute remixed into another style top as well!  Turns out, I was right {at least I, and the little one think so...hope you do too}!  My favorite elements were, of course, ruffles {though I changed those up quite a bit} and the way the top ties in the back.  I incorporated those into the final piece, and pretty much changed up the rest.  The only untouched pattern piece was the front bodice piece, which doesn't really require any changing.  Everything else was, well, remixed!  If you want to follow along with my mini tutorial on the changes I made, I'd recommend that you purchase the Double Ruffle Knot Top pattern first!  It's awesome anyway, so you'll love it even if you don't mix it up!  Here's the brief rundown of the changes that I made to create the super girly Ballerina Dream top:

First, I had to figure out measurements and cut out my pieces.  I'm not going to give exact measurements (to be fair to the pattern maker), but I'll let you know the adjustments I made so that if you pick up the pattern (which you should!), you can make the same.  The main part of the ballerina top is pretty slim fitting, a far cry from the wide, gathered ruffles on the original pattern.  So, I knew that I had to slim up the two lower layers of the top. 

For the bottom layer (with the ruffles):  I cut 2 pieces (front and back), each about 4 inches wider than my daughter's front waist measurement (1/2 of total waist measurement) and kept the length measurement from the pattern.  I didn't need the width as it isn't really ruffled.  I just added a simple pleat in the front and back to take in the little extra width.

For the top layer (with the drawstring side ruching):  I cut this layer 2 inches wider than the bottom layer and 1 inch shorter.  *Note: This ended up being nowhere close to the original pattern measurements for the top layer.  Make sure that you make the adjustments based on your "altered" bottom layer as described above.*

I also added a curve to this layer to reveal ruffle layers on the sides of the top.  To do that, I cut out my rectangular layers on the fold, left if folded in half, and simply used my rotary cutter to cut a curved line from the bottom to the side, as shown.  There's no science to this, just cut it how you like it!  Definitely keep the fabric folded though, so that both sides are exactly the same.  Do this to both of your top layer pieces (front and back).

When unfolded, you will have this:

For the front bodice:  Use the pattern piece and cut out as described in the pattern instructions.  The front bodice will remain untouched. 

For the back bodice:  Use the pattern piece and cut out as described in the pattern instructions.  The only alteration I made to the pattern piece was to cut the curved portions of the pattern off, cutting straight across at the corners, as shown below.  Discard the top portion with the arm curves.  You will now be left with just the rectangular piece for the back bodice.  *Note:  You can certainly leave this piece as is to make the ballerina top, I just simply wanted to see more of my little one's sweet summer tan...and make it just a tad cooler for our HOT Alabama summers!

For the ties:  I used the pattern specified measurements and added 3".  They were attached per the pattern, and the buttonholes were added to the back bodice per the pattern instructions, with the only exception being that they were added to my rectangular piece (rather than the full bodice piece).

Phew!  Now that we have our pattern pieces cut out, it's time to assemble the top.  I really only took pictures of the drawstring portion of the top from here on out, because the rest is pretty self explanatory.  Due to the changes in this top, the construction is obviously different from the original pattern.  

Basic construction of the top (differs from pattern construction):
1. Hem up your layer pieces.
2. Sew bottom layer front/back right sides together.
3. Sew top layer front/back right sides together with a 1 inch seam allowance (to allow for creation of the drawstring casings).
4. On the top layer, zig-zag or serge the edges of your seams on both sides:

5. Press the seam flat, and sew each flap of the seam (technical term??) down from the top to bottom using 1/8" seam allowance.  This will create your casings.  Repeat on the other side.

6.  Cut your ribbon (or make your own ties) to the length you prefer (remember you will be scrunching it up, so it doesn't have to be as long as you think), use a safety pin to thread them through your casings (from bottom to top), and stitch/backstitch across the top right next to the edge to secure them to each side.  You will have two ribbons on each side of the top for ruching and tying into bows.  **For more detailed drawstring instructions, refer to my Peek-a-Bow shorts tutorial if needed.**

7. Baste your top layer and bottom layer (with right sides already sewn together, so you will have two circles of fabric) together along the top with the right side of the bottom layer to the wrong side of the top layer (just how it will look when it is finished).

8. Add the ruffles!  I did this with the layers basted together, and I just flipped up the top layer to keep it out of the way.  I did this to make sure that the top layer would cover all of the "exposed", unruffled fabric beneath.  I used 6" tulle on a roll and folded it in half for 3" long ruffles.  I machine gathered enough tulle to create a ruffle all the way around the bottom and attached it about 1.5" from the bottom hem.  I added another ruffle all the way around about 1.5" above the first.  For the rest of the ruffles, I just added them to the sides of the top (going about 1/4 of the way around, just enough so that they showed on the sides where the shirt is ruched) rather than going all the way around because they would have been covered anyway.  Total, I had 2 bottom ruffles all the way around, and 3 shorter ruffles on each side.

9. Assemble the top.  Attach bodice piece to bottom pieces right sides together.  For help on assembly, you can refer to my Easter Frills Twirl Dress pattern (I refer to this because the Little Lizard King pattern is totally different in this aspect).

Again, I would highly recommend that you purchase this sweet little Ruffle Top Pattern {and then have fun mixing it up!}.  It is adorable as is, and I know I will use this again and again!!  If you decide to mix it up, you'll have another sweet little top (or lengthen for an ADORABLE dress...) that will thrill any little ballerina {or girly girl} in your life! 

Hop over to my Facebook page for more pics!


  1. What a fun remix. That turned out so cute!!!

  2. This is absolutely adorable! I have seen the Lizard King Patterns but have not bought one yet. I may have to go buy one right now! Thank you so much for sharing this, I love it! I am your newest folower and cannot wait to see what else you creat!

  3. This is lovely - and a great tutorial - thanks for sharing.
    Lowri :-)

  4. The judges chose this as one of their top Ten. Now its up to you to vote!

  5. This is so pretty! I love the tulle! Please stop by and link up to my Share the Wealth Wednesday Link Party! I'm your newest follower!

  6. lovely! I am crazy about tulle!

  7. How could I not stop by and leave a comment on this adorable project? And why is it that grown ups aren't encouraged to wear tutu blouses with billowing tulle?

    In other words, I think I want one.

    Great job!

    Stephanie from Deviantly Domesticated

  8. That is way too darling! I can't wait till my little baby girl (7mo.) is bigger so she can wear stuff like that! Love it.
    Stop by sometime

  9. That is such a beautiful top! and a great tutorial to show us how you did it too!

    I would love if you came over and linked this project to my weekly Round Tuit party at:
    Have a great week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  10. Thanks for linking up to TAke-A-Look Tuesday over at Sugar Bee Crafts - - I featured you today!! Mandy,

  11. My daughter would LOVE a top like this! Thanks for the how-to!

  12. LOVE this! Simply adorable! I've pinned it... hope I have time to try to make this one before long. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  13. Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a great week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  14. This is PRECIOUS! I can't wait to make one for my daughter. She is 2 and keeps talking about being a "bal-a-weena" Thank you for putting in the time to do a tutorial. As a beginner sewer, I appreciate this!
    Lori @

  15. Very cute top. I featured it on my blog tonight.

  16. Your blog is so adorable!!!! I am definitely going to be following you!! If you would like to check out my blog also I would LOVE that!! And follow me too!! I am excited to share new ideas on recipes and about mineral make-up!! And giving away free giveaways on make-up! So look out for it...

  17. Hi Jess,

    This top is adorable!
    All of the little girls
    will love to have one
    of these!

    Pink Sparkles for your week,
    Stephanie ♥

  18. So sweet - thanks for the tutorial too!

  19. Wow, I am totally in love with this!! I just featured it on my blog today. Here is the link:

    Have a great day!

  20. I'll say it again... LOVE this! Thanks for sharing them at For the Kids Fridays! I have featured your post on this week's link party! Stop by and grab an A++ button. LOVE to have you sharing with us again this week. And... starting this Monday, I invite you to come share at Super Mom Mondays!

  21. This is soooo cute! So pretty. I just saw your comment on my FB today from Hope you got to make the ballet tutu flip flops!

    Fancy Frugal Life