Monday, June 27, 2011

Festive Fireworks Swing Top {Tutorial}

This 4th of July I knew I wanted to create something festive, cute, comfy, and cool for my little one to wear.  And...I knew I wanted it to have fireworks since we won't be seeing any real ones or shooting of any of our own!  Unfortunately, EG is scared terrified has a phobia of fireworks!  Like, seriously...I don't even know what we are going to do this weekend.  She will flip out.  Anyway, I digress.  The result of all the Independence Day thoughts floating around in my head is this Festive Fireworks Swing Top.  The pattern pieces are the exact same as my Reversible Swing Top, so you'll need to hop over to that tutorial if you need help making the pattern pieces.  The construction is pretty similar, but we won't be making this one reversible (you certainly could if you want...but more fabric adds more heat and I wanted to keep this one as cool as possible!).  I also used another online tutorial for the "firework" pocket...this super easy Round About Pocket Tutorial from Soduel.  I promise it's easy, and it turned out so cute!  This top is super duper quick to whip up, especially if you know how to set your machine to ruffle your fabric for you.  If not, no worries, it's still quick.  And, if you have a really little one (like, still in diapers), this would be adorable with little matching bloomers.  Unfortunately, I think 3.5 (especially my 3.5 year old that looks 5) is a little too old for that :(  Want to make one?  Here's the lowdown:

- Main fabric (about 1/2 yard)
- Contrast fabric for ruffle (mine was 1.75" wide by 150" long)
- Bias tape (packaged or make your own - I used just over 2 yards)
- Coordinating ribbon
- Sewing machine and basic supplies
- Hand sewing needle

1. Create your pattern pieces (you only need one set if you don't want it reversible, like mine) from my Reversible Swing Top Tutorial.  You should end up with 3 pieces like this (before rounding the edges):

2.  Set your pattern pieces out like pictured above, and loosly measure around the outside edge where your ruffle will go.  Multiply your rough measurement by 2 - this will be the length you need for your ruffle strip.  Cut a strip(s) out of your fabric that is 1.75" by your calculated length.  **Note:  I used knit fabric for my ruffle so I cut it the exact width I wanted since I am leaving the edges raw.  If you are using a woven fabric, either double the width and fold it in half to attach, or add extra to the width and hem the edge.**

If you have to cut multiple strips to get your desired length, simply sew the short end of your strips right sides together to make one long strip.

5. Sew your pieces right sides together along the side seams to make one large piece, as shown (more details on the original tutorial if you need them):

6.  Ruffle your long strip of fabric by either adjusting the tension on your machine so that it ruffles (shown below), or by sewing a long basting stitch and gathering.  Either way works fine!

7.  Once you have your long ruffle, pin it to your top right sides together with the ruffle pointing toward the middle, as shown:

8.  Attach your ruffle to your top by sewing around the entire outside edge using a regular stitch.  Make sure you are sewing just outside your basting stitch so that it doesn't show:

9.  Once your ruffle is attached, flip it to the back so that the right side is up:

10.  Topstich along the edge using a 1/8" seam allowance to secure ruffle in place:

You should now have this:

And, when the pieces are flipped behind (how they will be when worn), it will look like this:

12.  Create your bias tape, or grab your pre-packaged bias tape and cut out your needed pieces.  You need two pieces for the back ties, two pieces for the shoulder tie straps, and a piece for the front neckline.  Here were my measurements for a size 4/5:

Back ties:  2 at 12" long
Front neckline:  can't remember exactly...I just held it up to the neckline to determine length...maybe 6"?
Shoulder straps/ties: 2 at 24" long

It's very easy to decide how long you need them, simply hold a piece up where it needs to go and make sure that it is long enough to tie into a bow!

13.  You need to attach the back ties and front neckline first (so that the shoulder ties will cover up the raw edges).  Pin the front neckline in place straight across.  The back ties will be pinned on as shown:

14.  Sew your front neckline bias tape on.  Then sew from the inside corner of your shoulder to the end of the strap (to close it).  When you get toward the end of your tie, open up the bias tape, fold the end under 1/4", then close it back up and finish sewing it together:

15.  To attach your shoulder straps, find the middle point of your strap and line it up with the side seam on one side of your top, as shown:

16.  Finish pinning around your arm hole (I don't pin the rest of the straps, I just hold them together as I
sew...but, remember to sew them closed all the way to the ends, and to fold the ends under like above): 

17.  Attach the strap/tie to the other side/arm hole.  When everything is attached, you will have a finished top!  Just tie up the ties and it's ready to wear :)  If you want to embellish, keep reading...


I didn't take pictures as I did the embellishments because they are pretty straightforward.  I will, however, explain what I did...

Neckline "fireworks:
1.  Cut short strips of ribbon (I used 6 for each firework).
2. Stack them right on top of each other.
3. Hand stitch a single stitch in the middle of the stack to secure them together, then fan them out until you like how they look.
4.  Hand sew them to your top however you like.  I did a kind of star design in the middle.  You could also put a button in the middle, and that would be super cute!

Firework Pocket:
I used Soduel's Round About Pocket Tutorial, and instead of adding petals as decoration (as she did), I used strips of ribbon again.  Super cute and easy!  And, what little girl doesn't love pockets?

The result is a super swingy, festive top that your little one can proudly wear this Fourth of July (or whenever!)!  Enjoy your fireworks...since I won't get to :)  Haha!


  1. This is SO cute! I love the open back. It is very festive.

  2. That's adorable! I love the look of the pocket. I'm gonna have to give that a try soon.

  3. Very cute! I like the ruffles!

  4. This is sooo cute!! I love the back! Great job, and your little girl is adorable!!

  5. This is darling! I love the seersucker fabric! I must make this one!

  6. I love the way you did the pocket! Your daughter looks adorable in her new swing top.
    Thanks for linking up at Toddler Tuesdays.

  7. Super cute! Glad to be your newest follower.

  8. So cute! I can't wait to give this a try!

  9. LOVE this top! I finally got around to posting handmade features and it is on it :) thanks so much for linking up!

  10. Um this is the cutest shirt EVER! Love!


  11. so cute, thank you so much!

  12. My DIL wants me to make one like this only with a big bow in back to tie it together. any suggestions