Showing posts with label Clothes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Clothes. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Skirting the Issue 2014

Hello, all! If you are visiting from Simple Simon & Company, welcome! I am thrilled to be working with Liz and Elizabeth again- not only are they talented seamstresses and all-round lovely people, they also launch some of the best sewing events in all of crafty blogland. In past years, I've had the pleasure of making over an ugly vintage pattern, upcycling an old maternity shirt, and being a guest judge for the fourth season of their needs-no-introduction Project Run & Play.     

And then there is Skirting The Issue

This is my second round (my first was in 2012 when it first kicked off) and, as before, I am honored to be part of this meaningful and fulfilling movement to bring handmade blessings to girls to whom such treats seldom come. 

Here is where you can read my first Skirting The Issue post (2012). I wrote a tutorial to make a dressy wrap skirt 
and compiled a roundup of my archived skirt tutorials and garment sewing techniques. 

Today, I am sharing another wrap skirt. 

I like wrap skirts for when I am sewing for people who are not physically present for me to measure and draft for. They are also good for people who are still growing and changing in size and shape. 

Like children. 

This summer, the kids decided they no longer wanted to wear swim robes to the pool. Too stifling for summer, they said. Instead, they declared that they needed swim wraps like the one I always wore. So I made them one each, in their size. 

This is a very easy skirt to make. Because they were intended for use in and at the pool, I made all three in swimsuit fabric. However, they can easily be made in any regular knit fabric for everyday wear.

I made Kate's first. 

Kate requested the pull-up version, so she wouldn't have to do any wrapping or tying. 

Here's how easy it is to make. First, make a knit-covered waistband that fits the waist. See this post for how to make and attach a waistband like this. Then I cut a piece of swimsuit fabric wide enough to wrap around the hips almost three times. Note that it is curved, not straight, so that it drapes the curve of the lower body. The more curved it is, the more flared the final A-line shape will be.

Finish the bottom hem and sides (but not the waist-edge) of the fabric. I made a rolled hem.

Fold the fabric so that its waist is roughly the circumference of the actual waist measurement. This might be an inch or so bigger than the waistband. 

Pin the panels of the skirt together so they stay closed while you attach them to the waistband. Attach the waistband according to the tutorial linked to above, including topstitching the SA in place on the WS. This finishes the skirt.

The older girls opted for the actual wrap-tie variation,

in which ties wrap around the waist 

and secure the skirt with a knot or bow at the side,

or the back (or wherever is convenient, really).

The draft is exactly the same as the pink skirt, except that
  1. instead of an elastic waistband, there are two angled ties
  2. the top corners of the skirt piece are snipped off, to connect to the ties.

Here is one of those corners, showing how it attaches to the tie.

Flip the angled end of the tie over, so that the RS of both the tie and skirt are touching. Sew them together at this seam. Then fold the waist of the skirt over twice and topstitch to make a folded hem. Continue this on the top edges of both ties for continuity.

Finally, finish the bottom edge and sides of the skirt (I used a rolled hem again), continuing along the bottom edges of both ties.

You can see the toptitched waistband and rolled-hemmed sides in this shot. 

Finished skirt.

in two versions,

for swimming, lounging and everything else that summer might bring.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spaghetti Strap Tank Dresses

Made these quick summer dresses for the kids to wear while we're in Singapore. These are about the easiest dresses to make. However, they are also the easiest dresses to fit badly. I've often seen these on kids with terrible armscyes - huge and droopy and gapey. Very scary. 

Anyway, I've made these before - see here and here.

These are cotton knit dresses, so they're stretchy and comfortable. The front neckline is bound first,

and then the back neckline,

and then the armholes are bound, with the shoulder straps sewn as extensions of the armhole binding.

I thought I'd show you three methods for binding armholes like these. 

Method 1 is this very casual, inelegant, but fast method - bind the armholes while the front and back of the dress are still separate, and then sew the ends of the bias tape into the side seams when you sew those seams to join the front and back of the dress together.

This is not at all a polished way to bind anything, but it's convenient if you aren't sure how long the straps should be. This is especially so if you are using knit fabric for the straps - they tend to stretch while sewing, no matter how careful you are. So if they end up too long, you can easily unpick them and reposition the binding to get shorter straps.

Here are some of the other cotton knit versions.

No, I didn't iron them - just chucked them directly into the suitcases after sewing.

Kate has worn her old frilly rose dress almost to tatters, so I made her a replacement in turquoise/teal.
And, um, I don't think I even finished the hem. I'll need to get scissors sometime and do it. 

Method 2 is the elegant method of binding armholes, which is the method everyone should use, always. But it isn't practical if you're also trying to gauge the fit of the straps while sewing. Anyway, for this method, you complete the side seams of the dress first. Then you sew the bias tape/binding into a loop with RS together. This is assuming you already know how long the shoulder strap needs to be and can confidently make the loop the exact size necessary. Then you position that bias tape seam exactly over the side seam of the dress, and bind the armhole the usual way. 

Method 3 is an especially good way to bind an armhole if you want the straps to be adjustable. We used it in this version of the tank dress, with tied shoulder straps. This is made with polyester jersey and it's fabulously drapey and cool, almost like a swim wrap. 

Sew up the side seams of the dress first. Then bind the armhole with one long strip, leaving long straps on either side of the necklines as shown.

Then tie the ends together to the desired length. Couldn't be easier.

All ready for summer! Or Singapore. Same thing.

Here are partial templates you can download to sew your own dresses, if you want. There are no seam allowances included, so you'll have to add your own. Read pg 3 for notes on how to finish the templates and add the SA, as well as the sequence for putting the dress together.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Stretch Gym Shorts

I've been wanting to make these gym shorts for a long time but life got in the way.

The girls all do classes at the local gym, and they all dislike leotards. So the alternative is to wear sport-camisoles with gym shorts. And these gym shorts are also lovely as modesty undershorts when the girls wear skirts and dresses. They're made with lycra-blend fabric i.e. what you'd make swimsuits with, so they're stretchy and streamlined.

And I love the fit. 

Love, love, love.




In action

Here are our templates, if you want to make your own. The size charts for the two sizes are in the notes (page 3), along with instructions on how to assemble the templates, add SA and cut out the other pieces for the waistband and hem cuffs.

Here are the pictorial step-by-steps.

First, I will show you the traditional way to sew shorts. I like this method a lot because you sew the crotch seam last, which just sits more comfortably and correctly on your behind. 

So, first you sew the short little inseam, connecting the front (that's the shorter half) to the back (that's the taller half). This is one leg of the pair of shorts. Then you repeat to make the other leg. They are mirror images of each other.

Then you turn one leg right side out, so they are now not mirror images of each other.

Then you insert the RS-out leg into the WS-out leg so that the RS are together. 

Then you line up the U-shaped crotch seam and sew it, connecting both legs together.

Then you turn it RS out, sew the hem cuffs and waistband. 

You can refer to this ancient tutorial on shorts for more detailed sewing instructions. 

Here is the second method for sewing shorts.

In this method, the curved crotch seam is sewn first, and then the inseam. I very rarely use this method, for no reason other than I just don't. However, it works perfectly well on these shorts, so knock yourself out.

First, put both pieces of the shorts together (each piece is still one leg), as shown, with their RS touching. Sew both  of the curved crotch seams (one is the front half and the other is the back half of that U-shaped crotch seam).

In the picture below, the hem cuff is shown for reference - it is easy to visualize that the hem cuff will span the entire circumference of the leg opening.

Next, open up the shorts (it will be a distorted tube) and bring those crotch seams together. The short inseams will also come together naturally.

Line up and sew those inseams together.

Now, we'll make the waistband.

Sew the ends (overlap 1/2") of the elastic together to make a loop. 

Using 1/4" SA, sew the short ends of the waistband together (RS touching) to make a loop whose finished circumference matches that of the elastic.

Turn the waistband RS out, lay the elastic within it, and fold the waistband over,

so the elastic is completely encased. Pin the elastic in place, close to the folded edge of the waistband. Make quarter marks around the cut edge of the waistband. Also make quarter marks around the waistline of the shorts to match up with those on the waistband.

Flip the waistband upside down so its folded edge is below, and pin it to the RS of the shorts, lining up all the raw edges. Pin in place.  While the shorts are still WS out, sew around the waistline to attach the waistband to the shorts. Use a 1/2" SA. See this post for how to attach this kind of knit waistband.

Here is what it looks like from the RS of the shorts.

Top-stitch just below the waistband to hold the SA folded down in place.

Now we'll make the cuffs. Fold each cuff in half lengthwise, and sew the short ends together, using a 1/4" SA. You will now have a double-layered rectangle that is 1.25" wide. Trim the corners and turn RS out. Repeat to make the second cuff.

Each cuff will be attached to one leg opening. Fold the cuff in half as shown, and align its free ends (where you sewed the end seams) with the (invisible) side seam of the shorts (I marked it with a dark dot in the photo below). 

Remember that those free ends will form a slit in the cuff on the side of the thigh as shown:

Flip the cuff upside down so its folded edge is towards the waistband, and pin it in place around the leg opening. Line up all the raw edges. Using a 1/2" SA, sew the cuff around the leg opening. You might want to stretch all the layers together as you sew, to allow the stitches some give after they've contracted. 

Fold the SA upwards and topstitch on the shorts (not on the cuff) to hold the SA folded up and in place. 

The finished shorts.

All ready to be packed away in our suitcases.

Kate and Jenna are dress- and skirt- girls, so I made the gym shorts for them to wear under those dresses and skirts. Emily is a pants-girl, and wanted a different kind of shorts. 

So I made here these loose ones, like bermudas, with inset pockets and fake fly topstitching.

No templates for these. Too tired to trace them out and explain the pockets and stuff.