Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Knit Bow Top - Guest Post at Couturier Mommy!

Head over to Couturier Mommy today through Thursday for a three part tutorial on how to make this sweet knit bow top!  So excited to be posting over there :)  For part one, making the pattern, click here!  I'll walk you through all the steps from start to finish...so hop on over!  Making the bow front and assembling the shirt will be posted on Wednesday and Thursday!

{Edit}  Here are the links for each part!

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!

Our Week {or so} in iPhone Pictures...and a little sneak peek!

What have we been up to the last week or so (since Father's Day...)? Here are a few pictures to sum things up...

Baseball game with Daddy on Father's Day!

EG started a summer art class, and this was her first project.  Love it!
*Also, this is a little sneak peek of my guest post for the Beach Bash...hiding behind the artwork!* 

Wacky Wednesday project at the Botanical Gardens this week was making a fairy wand :)  She loved it!  And the stickers?  From the dentist...she did an awesome job!

Dive-in movie (Tangled) at the pool :)  What better way to spend a Saturday night??

Well, here's an idea of what we've been up to this week (since I haven't blogged, ya know)!  Also, the weather has been TERRIBLE almost every day, with only tiny bits of sunshine this week.  Thankfully, that allowed for lots of sewing (and three completed projects with tutorial photos)...now I'm just waiting for nice enough weather to take pictures of the finished products!  Heading out now to photograph a 4th of July project that *fingers crossed* should be up tomorrow!  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Please Vote!! Top 10 at Me Sew Crazy!

Hey everyone!  Just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know that my Ballerina Dream top made the Top 10 in Me Sew Crazy's Pattern Remix contest!  Now...I need your votes to win!  I'd appreciate it so very much if you'd hop on over and vote for my top :)  Thanks so much for your kind words and continued support!  It means a lot!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Country Chic Cottage's Beach Bash: Exciting new series I'll be a part of!


Are you looking for some awesome summer ideas and tutorials?  I'm talking art, crafts, clothes, food, swimsuits, cover-ups, and other fun stuff...yep, that awesome!  If so, then hop over to the Country Chic Cottage Beach Bash from the end of June to mid-July for tons of inspiration and tutorials!  I have a particular interest in this Beach Bash because I was asked to guest post...yippee!  I'll give you a heads-up when my post goes live (not until July), but until then you can enjoy all of the other fabulous guest posts starting on June 27.  Be there, and, if you feel so inclined, I'd love it if you'd grab a button to the left so that you can let all of your friends know to join us for the bash!

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!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hello Summer! Ideas and Inspiration

In my last post I shared with you my obssession with Pinterest (follow me here), and I thought I'd share some fun summer stuff I've found to hold you over while I finish up a couple projects to share!  Funny, I thought that I could get more done during the summer, but we seem to be going all the time!  I promise that I have an awesome project for Me Sew Crazy's Pattern Remix contest to share with you.  In case you're wondering, the pattern that I'm "mixing up" is Little Lizard King's Double Ruffle Knot Top.  The due date for entry into the contest is Sunday so it HAS to be finished by then!  In the meantime, here are some awesome summer-inspired ideas via Pinterest...


How fun would this be??  (from here)

You should definitely check out Pinterest for great ideas like those above, and thousands of others!