Monday, February 28, 2011

Turning your peasant/top pattern into a square-necked nightgown

Last year I started making these square-necked nightgowns for my daughter.  I simply took a Simplicity peasant top pattern and lengthened it to below her knees.  Added a ruffle on the bottom and put a square knit neckline in place of the elastic casing the pattern has you do.  I was making another one for her today and decided to take some pictures and share the process of making this.
Start out with your favorite peasant dress or top pattern.  Sew the sleeves to the front and back.  Now you have an ENORMOUS neckline that you need to finish.  Ordinarily you would sew a casing at this point and run 1/4 inch elastic through.  Not for this cute nightie.....
 First measure the front, back and tops of the sleeves.  Write these measurements down.  My measurements were as follows:
Front---9 inches
Back---10.5 inches
Sleeve tops---8 inches
I added the front measurement to the back 9 + 10.5=19.5
19.5 divided by 2 (you will need a front and back piece) is 9.75
Now take 9.75 x 70%.  You want your neck piece small than the actual opening.  That number is 6.825.  I round this up to 7.5 inches for seam allowance. 
Now for the sleeve measure......Take 8 x 70% to come up with 5.60 inches.  I rounded that up to 6 inches for the side neck piece. 
So after all that measuring and math you now have the dimensions needed for the neckline.
 I cut 2 pieces 7.5x3.5 inches for the neck front and back. I also cut 2 pieces 6x3.5 inches for the neck side pieces.  You will need to use a stretch knit fabric for the neck band pieces.  I used a cotton/lycra rib knit for mine.

 Take the neck pieces fold them in half, wrong sides together and iron.
 Go back to the cutting board and take a ruler and draw and diagonal line forming a triangle on each end of all the side pieces.  The FOLD of the neckpiece is at the TOP of my angled line. 
 All the pieces cut and ready to sew....
 What the neck pieces look like unfolded.
 Lay one side neck piece on top of the front/back piece.  Pin into place.
 Stitch 1/4 inch....pivoting at the crease....
 and sewing down the other end....
Sew the other sides together the same way.  Remember that the short neck pieces attach to the long neck pieces. :)
 Here's the end result.....take it over to your ironing board and flatten out the seams from the wrong side.
 One side all flip over and do the other side.
 Fold the wrong sides together and press.  Doesn't that look nice!!!
 Now comes the fun part....attaching the neckband to your nightgown.  Align the seams of the front neck band to the front seams of the nightgown and pin into place.  There will be a lot of extra fabric....don't worry.......
 Take it over to your sewing machine or serger...slowly sew/serge the first few stitches....while the needle is DOWN in the fabric....stretch the neckband to fit the fabric and finish sewing/serging in place.
 When ending the first side....make sure to move the side fabric out of the way.
 The first seam all finished!!  Now turn the nightgown around and sew the back neckband on the same way.
 Here is the front and back all finished.
 Now stretch the neckline to fit the tops of the sleeves.  Move the FRONT/BACK fabric OUT OF THE WAY BEFORE you start to sew/serge!!!
 Here is the neckband all finished.  Now tuck your serger tails in.....
 Turn right side out, iron neckline and take a minute to admire your hard work!!!
 Finish the rest of the nightgown and try it on a willing model!!
 Being silly...
 Jumping for joy....
 and again....
 Where did THAT pose come from???!!!
 Finally one a little calmer!! :)
 I just love these nightgowns on her!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

~Tutorial for making ruffly pintucks~

For a long time I've wanted to try this technique on a knit dress for my daughter.  I wasn't exactly sure the 'correct' way of doing this or even what it should be called.  After seeing a dress like this on Sewing Mamas, I just had to figure out how to do these cool ruffles!!! I dived in and here is the end result.  I call these 'ruffly pintucks'. (yes....I know 'ruffly' doesn't exist as a word....but I LOVE the way it  I thought I'd take some pictures and put together a tutorial for how I did this.  Hope this helps someone.
1. Set your serger up for a rolled hem.  I removed my stitch finger and the left needle.  Turned the lower looper to 7, the upper looper to 4, and my right needle to 5.  I also turned my stitch length and width to R.

If you don't have a serger, never fear......use a short, narrow zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine.  It will work!!!  That's what I did before buying a serger.
 2.  Grab the pattern piece you want to ruffle.  I cut mine out about an inch longer than the pattern piece to allow for the tucks.  Decide where you want your tucks.  Fold up and iron creases.

 Here is the ironed sleeve ready to ruffle.  I am going to do 2 ruffly pintucks and then lettuce edge the bottom edge.
 3.  Fold the fabric wrong sides together and start serging along the folded creases that you ironed in your fabric......
 ....stretch the fabric on both ends as you stretch....see how the edge starts to curl up!!!
 YAY!!!!  First pintuck all finished!!!  Look at all those ruffles!!!
4.   Fold the wrong sides together and serge the next pintuck, remembering to stretch from the front and the back as you serge.
 Row number 2 all finished!! Isn't that pretty?
 5.  Now just run the sleeve through one more time.....stretch that fabric!!!
 All finished!!!  Now here's where I would change it next time.....I'd leave more room on the bottom edge so that the ruffles were spaced more evenly.  The bottom hem turned out better as you can see from the top picture.
 Here is the dress all completed!!  Ruffly sleeves and ruffly hem!!!
 It's her 100 day party dress!!!  She's happy!!
 This will make a super-comfy play dress this summer.
And yes, mom, the dress is too long....but good thing....she's growing taller every day!!! :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Strawberries, Stripes, Snow, & Scrambled Eggs!!

Are you tired of pictures of sewing yet!!?? :)  Just getting a head start on sewing Callie's Spring/Summer clothes this month.  It'll be here before you know it and I want to be out ENJOYING the weather instead of cooped up in front of the sewing machine!  All this snow/ice keeping me home is a great motivation for me to stay INSIDE and sew.

Here is the latest addition to her spring/summer clothes.  This pattern was originally a shirt.  I lengthened it into a dress and added lacing on the sides. 
 We were looking for a pair of shoes to put on with this dress and she mentioned the ones I had stored up in her closet.  I couldn't believe they fit her already!!!  She's wearing size 11 now!!!  Where did my baby girl go???

 She loves it and I love the fit and the way it moves.
 Boys inside playing Webkinz on their snow day.
 Callie takes a turn playing a preschool computer game and YES she insisted on wearing her new dress today.
 UGH...the backyard is FULL of snow AGAIN!!!
 I ventured outside to take some snow pictures for a friend that doesn't get to see the snow.
 There wasn't a drop of snow yesterday there's a bunch......*sigh*
Simon made scrambled eggs for me today.  He brought it to me on this tray for my breakfast/lunch!!  Super yummy AND super-sweet of him!! :)