Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake & Blueberry Muffin Suits

This is the post in which I show you pictures of Kate's funny costumes, and then in the next post, I'll share with you what I know about, and do with, knits. 

First, here's my inspiration photo- this was a page in one of Kate's books:

This is Kate's Strawberry Shortcake suit: a shameless copy.

All the fabrics in it are knits - so the whole outfit is soft, stretchy and comfortable and can be pulled on over the head by Kate herself, so I don't have to help her get dressed.

It's a two-piece: the top is a short A-line dress with a layered hem and a gathered skirt.

It has puff sleeves layered over - but not sewn onto - regular long inner sleeves.

The strawberry applique was done in fleece.

The bottom is a pair of pants with a smooth knit waistband like these.

The only thing I feel a great need to change is the strawberry hull attachment to the neckline. 

It stretches along with the rest of the ribbed neckline to pop over Kate's head, but this also makes the hull segments pop up. 
Looking at it, I know now how to cut the neck curve so it sits better the next time around, not that I forsee making another of these. For this particular suit, though, I'll just hand-stitch it down in spots so it lies flat.

This is the Blueberry Muffin suit:

and an identical pair of pants:

This is also an A-line dress, but with just the gathered skirt and no layered hem.

It has a square neckline, with ribbing and a pale blue insert, like the book illustration,

and layered sleeves like the Strawberry Shortcake suit.

I used a combination of different kinds of knits - T-shirt knit (only two-way stretch) for the pants, solid interlock, pile knit (the ones with the polka dots), and ribbing. I buy my knits from various places, including Joann Fabrics, Mill End Textiles and online stores, but I much prefer to be able to touch and stretch them before I buy them. 

What you see here is the pre-wash fit i.e. I didn't pre-shrink the fabrics before sewing with them. This is a bizarre personal preference, but I like sewing with knits before I wash them. It minimizes some of the edge rolling, and odd distortions that are peculiar to certain types of knits. I lay out and cut my patterns from the snug-fit slopers with no fitting ease at all. After the first wash (and therefore a little shrinkage), the fit is usually just right all around - a teeny bit more snug than for a woven garment, but perfect for a knit one. In the next post, I'll mention something about the stretch factor of a knit fabric and the more orthodox methods of determining how to draft patterns for knit fabrics. These are certainly more systematic than my no-prewash-and-no-ease approach.

While I was sewing these outfits, it occurred to me to pay attention to what I was actually doing with the knits so I could write some kind of tutorial on working with these lovely, stretchy fabrics. That's coming up in the next post!


  1. I bet she LOVES these!
    Beautiful work.

  2. Awesome, LiEr. I look forward to your next post.

  3. Ohhh, I which this post was in time for mardigras.
    My daugther wanted a strawberry shortcake outfit. I sew the hat and a petiskirt, but this one would be much better.
    Sooo lovelly :)))

  4. What cute outfits! I love her smile in the Strawberry Shortcake outfit - she is clearly thrilled!

  5. From my granddaughter moments ago: "I like the strawberry one!!" :) (No request for me to make her one... whew!) ;)

  6. adorable!
    and I'm looking forward to the post on knits. I know just a smidge, and I want to learn more.

  7. Adorable! My little strawberry shortcake would love these outfits.

  8. That costume would be perfect for every little girl! Lovely cartoon and amazing costume!

    Love, Soffy!

  9. My daughter would LOVE these outfits!! So cute!!

  10. The neckline on Strawberry Shortcake is perfect, wonderful touch. I just read the post on knits as well, extremely informative. I always learn so much from you, great attention to detail.

  11. These are fantastic! Yet another project to plan for... Did you find those cute knits at Joann's?? The selection at mine is abysmal.

  12. @maria
    Thanks, Maria! I found the solid color knits and ribbing at Joann, yes. But the striped and spotted ones were from Mill End Textiles, a regional (Midwest, I think) chain. And also yes, Joann doesn't seem to have a decent enough stock of spotted/striped type knits- just motif-y printed interlocks and solids. Pity.

  13. So so so so so so cute!

    Those outfits are just adorable! I can not express how cute I find these ... :-)

  14. My two year old is waffling between wanting to be Lemon Meringue or Blueberry Muffin for Halloween. I'm a novice sewer, and I despaired of finding a simple enough way to make the latter for her. Yours is perfect inspiration!


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