Simple Summer Dress

While avoiding a sink full of dishes making my blog rounds a few weeks back, I saw that Anngela at Anngela's Pretty Little Things made a dress for herself using an existing dress as her "pattern" ...and it looks pretty awesome. And pretty, and awesome. Voila! Inspiration for the Simple Summer Dress.

I've never actually made any clothing for myself from scratch since adult clothes have to "fit" and that always intimidated me. Darts, pleats, curves... so many ways to screw it up, and I'm a "wing-it" kind of sewer... I don't really know what I'm doing. hehe (Nervous laughter) Once I saw Angela, I got the If-she-can-do-it-I-can-do-it motivation I needed and headed for Walmart. The real fabric store is like 40 minutes away, ugh, no thanks... Walmart it is!

I had an idea for a causal knit dress in my head and found a great grey and black stripe (among the bolts and bolts of pleather and Disney character fabric). It was double width! Sweet. $6 later, I was off.... to daycare, dinner, a couple timeouts, cleaning, baths, teeth brushing, stories, blankies, lights out... and finally sewing.

I used a simple shift dress I wear to work as my pattern.  I laid the dress on top of two layers of fabric. The two layers were right sides together.  I then pinned around my existing dress, hugging as close as I could to the edges, only pinning the two layers of my fabric together.  I used A LOT of pins. Then I trimmed with a really large seam allowance in case I had to adjust.

Next, I shimmied inside my newly pinned fabric all while stabbing myself and cursing.  (kids were asleep) It fit!  I only had to adjust the arm holes/shoulders.... as in, I cut them off because I decided it would look better as a tank dress.

I then shimmied back out... more cursing... and sewed up my 2 side seams, trimmed the extra seam allowance fabric, and hemmed the bottom (with a stretching stitch so I could walk easily... I sewed the sides with a regular stitch).

After that, I put it back on and tried to figure out how to make knit bias tape to finish off the arm holes and top.  Um... still have no idea. Anyone?  3 tries later and some time with the seam ripper, I bought regular bias tape. I added it around each arm hole, then across the front and back.  It worked fine.  The neck hole is large enough that it doesn't have to stretch.

To make the straps, I used two strips of double fold bias tape per strap (4 strips total).  I opened them up so they were still folded in on each side, but not in the middle, and sewed the folded sides together with a top stitch.  Then attached them to my dress.  Last thing was a couple fabric rosettes.  

It's done and I have a real piece of clothing in my closet I made that I'm actually going to wear.  Still can't believe it.  You should give it a shot.
 (I think I'm looking for ants... yeah, that's it.)
Did I mention, it will fit your curves exactly since it's custom made for you...
 even if you have to bend really far to the side to pretend you have curves.


Plum Cute Ruffle Top

So back when I discovered that craft blogs existed (it wasn't that long ago... I don't know, maybe I was living under a rock) I found this sweet top from Sparkle Power.  I think it sat in my bookmarks bar for about a year before I finally decided I was a little tired of making skirts and wanted to try sewing up a shirt for once. I should organize one of those bucket lists of crafting before my bookmarks bar is taken over and my bank's website gets lost in the shuffle. Just a thought. I probably won't get around to that for a year or so either.

If you're looking for an easy first shirt to make, this is a good one. It's made exactly like a simple elastic skirt with sleeves. You could quickly turn this into a dress too just by making the shirt part longer. Easy peasy.

The plum purple fabric and pink ribbon were leftover from a Rapunzel skirt project gone awry. (Anyone else have Tangled memorized? Right now I could probably recite the entire movie to you... along with Dirty Dancing..."Nobody puts Baby in the corner!"... but that's a whole different post.) Maybe one day I'll show off the purple/pink-tulle disaster. For now, I'll just continue to post mostly good stuff so it looks like I know what I'm doing.

I cut the flowers from an old stained baby outfit that was in my Goodwill pile. Two nights while they snoozed, some Heat'n Bond, and stitching later... done! Does that count as thrifty too?  Hmmm.


Jimmy Buffett gone Village People

After my thrifty finds shopping last month and finding the giant shower curtain, I had a vision in my head of some beach pants for my little man.  The vision was something like this, minus the sexy factor.
My kid is a baby after all. Sexy would just be creepy. (Let's just take a moment and admire Kenny there... Ahhhh, ok, enough.) I was going for a baby version in the spirit of the above pants.  Think Jimmy Buffett baby pants (JBBP? No?).  Instead, I got something like a bad Village People costume.

I started with my shower curtain from Goodwill and a remnant of a Hawaiian print I got at Walmart.
Then, I took a pair of his pants that fit a little big and used those as a template.
I folded the pants and the shower curtain in half and aligned the bottom hem of the pants with the side of the shower curtain so I wouldn't have to hem : )  And align the side of the pants with the side fold of the shower curtain. Then I cut roughly along the pink dotted line.  Remember to add lots of room to the top so you can fold over your elastic casing.
Then, I took the leg I just cut out, flipped it over and traced out another leg.  You need two after all.
Now, you sew the crotch parts together.  I stopped taking pictures at this point and crafted my disco-tastic pants sans camera.  Here is a great tutorial on how to make kid pants if you want to give it a shot.

Here's what I learned while constructing these pants he will never wear again.

  1. Don't use such bright bold fabric for the cuffs... looks a little too costume-ish.
  2. Move the pockets up to where he could actually use them... if babies actually used pockets.
  3. Leave more room in the rise!  I made this mistake last time too. Doh.  I thought I left enough room, but his booty is still quite cramped in there.
  4. Go drawstring next time.
So, even though they came out way not like I wanted, I still got a good laugh.. and learned something.  To quote my husband, "You're not going to make him wear those, are you?"