Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sweet Bitty Dresses

I tend to have a lot of smallish fabric scraps left—not so small they should just be tossed, but not enough to make a whole project.  I did realize, though, that making doll clothes takes a pretty minimal amount of fabric, and since the Peanut has been playing with her dolls a lot lately, I decided to try to make some more clothes for them.  I’ve made a couple of things in the past, but they were fairly involved.  I wanted something that could be done more quickly, so I turned to my favorite pattern ever: The Sweet Little Dress.  I’ve made several dresses (the owl dresses, the blue dress, this dress refashion, this pink baby dress, and this polka dot dress) for the girls.  It’s a great pattern that can be interpreted several ways, and is easy to embellish.

I took the dress pattern in the smallest size and shrunk it to 75%.  I also made it ever so slightly narrower by taking a slight bit out of the middle (fold).  It worked perfectly for Bitty Baby!


The first one I made (above) I just made with some random fabric—I wanted it to be decent enough that it was wearable if it did turn out, but I didn’t want to waste my favorite fabric scraps if it didn’t work right.  (Also, sorry for the terrible photographs—it’s been dark for a couple of days and I finally gave in and took some with the flash).

I left the sleeves loose (without putting elastic in the ends)—it was going to be too labor-intensive, and would make it harder for a three-year-old to dress the baby.  I added a ruffle but didn’t shorten the dress enough, so it’s a bit long.  Also, it looked pretty plain, so I added a heart applique.  It actually looks pretty bad in person, but my daughter didn’t complain.  She also correctly recognized it as a heart, so I thought that was positive.

When I was sure it would work, I made another dress.  I used one of my favorite fabrics and added a solid-color sleeve.  (Actually, once I did that I wondered if the first dress would have looked better if I’d used the pattern for the body of the dress and the solid green for the sleeves, but I digress).  Also for the second dress, since the sleeves looked a little odd in the first one, I lengthened them.  I really like the way it turned out, and am pretty tempted to go purchase more of the fabric (it was leftover from a different project) so I can make a matching dress for the Peanut…but that goes against the reason I was making doll dresses in the first place.

_DSC1658And I made a matching headband, too.  You can’t see the back half, but it’s made of FOE (foldover elastic) so it stays on her head._DSC1651.

Then I made another dress.  This is why my husband accuses me of doing things obsessively.  I had this fabric left from making a dress for the Little Miss (though she’s since outgrown the dress) and I got a coordinating fabric with tiny dots.  I also branched out and added a little ribbon trim near the bottom of the skirt.


The dress also fits the Little Miss’s doll, who is of similar size to Bitty (though with larger feet and better cuddling)._DSC1660.

And a real plus to making this dress for dolls—the elastic around the neck is so stretchy that it can go on feet-first.  It was really easy for my daughter to put on her dolls…

…and Bear.


Poor Bear.  I think he’s a he-bear, but he loves his girl enough to take one for the team.  This dress, in case you haven’t seen the Little Miss’s nursery, is made out of the leftovers from her curtains.  The red dotted fabric might be my favorite fabric ever—it’s so versatile, and red makes me happy.  It’s also, coincidentally, the Peanut’s favorite color at the moment.  I made this dress for the Little Miss, since it matches her room, but the Peanut loved its redness and claimed it as her own.

I tried to make a fancy placket with buttons, and there’s also a fancy ruffle near the bottom.  Really, the possibilities are endless, but I needed to stop somewhere._DSC1653.

I though four dresses were plenty for a while.  I already had to get a bunny to stand in for the picture.  I’m actually pretty pleased with how many critters this pattern seems to fit (and right now as I type this, Elmo is wearing the red dress since we wouldn’t let Bear sleep in it…for his own sake).

And if your initials are CHG, you’ll want to stop reading at this point.  The rest of you (the other one reader?) may continue.


The Peanut with her dolls._DSC1664.

I found a cute fabric at JoAnns and made one for a friend of the Peanut who has an upcoming birthday and who, if I remember correctly, is getting a Bitty Baby for Christmas.  The main reason I’m including this in the blog (at the risk of ruining a surprise) is that I really like the ruffle at the bottom—I did the same style as on the red dress, but because of the contrasting colors it photographed a lot better.  So here it is.


Argyle Sleep Sack

The Little Miss needed an additional sleep sack—yes, she’s old enough to be allowed blankets in with her when she sleeps, but she doesn’t really have the ability to cover herself back up at night if she wakes up and is cold.  Sleep sacks are great, but since her sister’s seasons were different than hers (at least at this age), Little Miss’s toes are pushing the bottom of her existing sleep sacks.

When her sister was younger, I purchased a pattern and made one, then later made a lighter-weight one with some alterations to the pattern.  I made even more alterations this time, and I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.

The zipper is random—I saved money by repurposing a zipper I had in my stash.  Also, the bias tape around the neck and arms is just random white fleece tape I had sitting around—I didn’t feel compelled to purchase anything new when I had enough at home.  So imagine that it is a fun, coordinating color.


I have been trying to, every time I sew something, do something better than I did last time.  On this project, I finally have started to have some success with bias tape (though I don’t really know how to start and stop it—anyone?  A little help please?)  I also tried to line up the pattern nicely when I was cutting it out.  It mostly lines up near the zipper, which I’m proud of.  Of course, you’d have to be color-blind to think it actually matched, but the pattern is at least similar.

The pattern I used was Burda 9640.  It calls for a separate yoke, which I didn’t do (I taped the pieces together after the first time I made one—I think it is just to accommodate a smaller cut of fabric?)  Also, the original is lined, which I wasn’t interested in doing.  Thirdly, the sizing is absolutely enormous!  The top half (arm and neck holes) are, like, the 6 month size.  I cut the bottom to the 12 month lines, and it’s about three inches longer than my Halo 24 months sleep sack.  I think the first one I made was sooo long I actually cut the bottom off (several inches) and reattached it in a year when she had grown._DSC1637

And some pictures of the sleep sack in action (though a true action shot would involve it being slept in)._DSC1639_DSC1641_DSC1642

Sweet dreams, my precious little one!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Red Ruffle Wreath

Upon first seeing a ruffled wreath made with circles of felt, I knew I needed to have one.  I put it off a while, as it seemed pretty labor-intensive (and was—it wasn’t difficult, but did take a chunk of time).  I used this tutorial—well, once I got the gist of what I was going to do I didn’t really need to follow the tutorial exactly.


To save my sanity, I invested in a circle cutter for fabric, and it worked amazingly!   I feel more ruffly flowers in my future—but not for a while.  I’m taking a little break.


But I did break my own personal cardinal rule of crafting: never make something that requires a pair.  I always get tired after one and don’t typically go on to make another.  This is why I don’t knit socks.  That, and I can’t knit in the round.

Anyway, I persisted and ended up with a matched set._DSC1510.

I enjoy them, which is good—they’re pretty the only Christmas decoration that made it up this year besides the sad tree in the corner.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Such a Doll

A new bundle of joy was created at our house.  After spending a long time looking for a suitable boy doll for a friend, and coming up unsuccessful, I took matters into my own hands.  I wanted to find a soft, huggable-but-still-dressable doll, so I came across a Simplicity pattern (while JoAnn was having their 5 for $5 sale on patterns).  I typically make things that 1. only involve straight line sewing, 2. don’t involve any hand sewing, 3. definitely don’t involve embroidery, and 4. don’t have the words “dart seam” in the instructions.  I tried anyway.  Since I didn’t tell my friend I was going to try to make a doll, I decided it gave me the buffer to entirely scrap the project, if necessary.

It wasn’t necessary.  Completely surprising myself, I came up with something that resembled a doll.DSC_1004

The embroidery on the face is, how do you say, imperfect.  We’ll just say that it gives the doll character.  It’s only the second time I’ve ever embroidered something, and I made it up the first time too.  Luckily the pattern draws the face out for you (though I changed the eyes) and gives descriptions of the different embroidery stitches it requests you use.DSC_1008

And the little guy even had an outfit!  The bottom half is actually a diaper—I made it orange, like a cool cloth diaper.  The shirt used bias tape for the edging so it didn’t require any hemming (or hawing), and for the first time in my life, I actually got the stuff on right.  I always choose the wrong side onto which to sew, and any niceness the bias tape might have added is undone by my random stitching through the middle.


And there’s a coordinating hat, too, but I don’t love it so it’s not in all of the pictures.  I think the pattern I picked for the shirt and hat band is a little busy, and the silhouette of the hat makes him look a little like he’s wearing scrubs.DSC_1001

I was ill-prepared for the most difficult part of making a doll, though.  Step one is to embroider the face, so the poor little guy has to smile hopefully at you the entire rest of the time as you attempt to assemble his body.  Poor little one—I didn’t ever figure out how to attach his ears.  And it was a little sweetly creepy to have him smiling at me through my entire sewing project.


I feel like this is one of those projects I’m really glad I did (partly because I like the outcome and partly for the experience), but I am in no hurry to repeat.  I think it’s back to making skirts and dresses.  Oh, but if anyone is good at hand-stitching (particularly the allusive-to-me ‘ladder stitch’), I’d love to see how you do it.  I think my problem might just be a lack of patience.  A perfectionist I am not.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sister Sunsuit/Sundress Pair

I found a tutorial online of how to make a sunsuit (or “bubble,” as I call it). Since the Little Miss has been wearing these almost exclusively this summer, I decided to try to make one. The first one I made was a refashion of a baby dress, but this one is from scratch. I purchased the remainder of the fabric on the bolt and it turned out to be exactly enough for the bubble for the baby and a simple sundress for the Peanut.DSC_0497

The sundress is basically the Sweet Little Dress (the same as this dress and any other dress I’ve made) but without sleeves. I made straps (thanks, Rae!) and ran some elastic through the top.DSC_0420 DSC_0465

For the bubble, I used this tutorial but changed the bottom. I based it off of an existing outfit that the Little Miss has. Pretty proud of myself for that, and for getting the snaps to line up!

DSC_0471 DSC_0474 DSC_0476 DSC_0496

And totally randomly, the morning after I made these, the Crafterhours blog posted the same idea—making a dress for the older girl and making it into a romper for the younger! I love it!

Foray Into Foldover

I saw this Five Minute Skirt tutorial which used fold over elastic (FOE), and wanted to try it. Since it’s cut on the bias, it uses quite a bit of fabric, and if I’d make it for myself, it would use even more fabric. What’s a girl to do? So I made one for the smallest, most willing model in our house.DSC_0517Did you think I meant the baby? She’s small but not particularly cooperative when it comes to sitting still and being photographed. Sorry about Bitty’s lack of a shirt—she has a few she could wear with this skirt and I wasn’t inclined to make anything else once I finished.

And since the reason I bought FOE in the first place was to make headbands for the Little Miss, I made a coordinating one for Bitty.DSC_0519 Here’s the skirt. It’s not really quite so odd-looking—I took the picture at an angle. I did fudge a little bit on the proportions, as Bitty’s ratios aren’t quite the same as a person’s (and that’s just her leg length—to say nothing of her man shoulders!)DSC_0520 It took more than 5 minutes, but was not particularly involved.

Dress to Sunsuit Refashion

A couple of years ago, I bought this fabric and made a little sundress for the Peanut.  I was early in my sewing, and instead of actually making straps or anything fancy, i used ribbon.  I did use the excess fabric to make a diaper cover (which is nothing to write home about—you won’t see any close-up pictures of it.)100_6286 Here is the Peanut in the dress.  She was such a cute little baby! (I think she’s 12 months in these pictures).100_9027    100_9049

A glimpse of the diaper cover:100_9054.

Then along came the Little Miss, whose sizes—and seasons—didn’t match up with her sister’s.  She was able to fit into the dress this summer, though it was longer than it had been on her sister.  Also, since she’s four months younger, she’s not cruising and spends her days crawling.  Dresses are not so conducive to crawling.  I found this tutorial of how to make a sunsuit, and decided to refashion the dress into a sunsuit.  Easy peasy—I just needed to make the bottom of the skirt into legs.  I learned how to attach snaps, shirred the leg openings, and made nice straps for variety.  Here’s the Little Miss, showing it off:DSC_0710

When I get a chance, I’ll add a picture of the garment sans baby.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Ruffle My Feathers

Here’s my version of the Turkey Dressing/Can Can skirt made by Dana at Made.  I also love the fun, brightly-colored versions at Brown Paper Packages, but wanted to stick to the shades of brown, as I’m sewing for this fall’s wardrobe.  The girls already have enough summer dresses that we might need to find an additional church to attend just to have a chance to wear all of them!  Anyway, I’m moving on to my fall sewing and these skirts were first.  I fell in love with the turkey skirt the moment I saw it, and was elated to find that I could purchase the pattern.

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Although the ruffles are fairly labor-intensive, the most difficult part for me was making the gathered tiered skirt that is the base of the skirt.  Gathering the ruffles was fun and gratifying.  One of my favorite parts of this project was the chiffon, which was soft and doesn’t fray, which means I didn’t have to do anything special to the edges of the ruffles.  My rotary cutter got quite a workout!

I made a skirt for the Peanut and a smaller skirt for the Little Miss.  I can’t wait for the girls to wear them!


Stay tuned for more!DSC_0019

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sweet Little Polka-Dot Dress

Again inspired to make more variations of the same dress pattern, and driven by the fact that the Little Miss outgrew her only red dress before the summer even got started—and waay before the Fourth of July, I created a little dress.  I based the design off of this dress, but didn’t make it out of a knit.


Let’s also discuss how much fun I’ve had shirring with elastic thread in the bobbin!  It’s all I can do to not shirr everything.   DSC_1626 DSC_1698. DSC_1700. DSC_1701. DSC_1709. DSC_1735.