Saturday, October 27, 2012

Das Experiment (attempt #1)

Months ago, I pinned this little Atelier Assemblé dress to my Pinterest board. I loved the idea of aligning piping in the bodice with pleats in the skirt. In my own version, there are four lines of piping instead of two. My idea was also for the lines to have a more natural curve, but in the finished dress, unfortunately they look pretty straight.

For the bodice, I took this pattern. The skirt is just a rectangle with four pleats in the front, and four in the back. The fabric is Ironwood from Lotta Jansdotter's Echo line.


I don't think it looks too bad for a first attempt, but in a next version, I would like more curve in the piping, and I would like the pleats and piping to be more towards the middle of the dress.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Guest post over at Caila's

Today, I'm guest posting at a wonderful blog called Caila Made. Caila is running a great Fall Patterns Series, and asked me to discuss my favorite fall pattern: Dear My Kids' Double Breasted Coat pattern. So if you're interested in some tips for making this coat, head over here.

Also check out the previous reviews, written by the likes of The Train to Crazy, Probably Actually, Designs by Sessa, A Little Gray, Imagine Gnats, and Caila herself!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Peplum bubble dress: Patterns and tutorial

I didn't get to much sewing this week, as I spent most of my spare time on drawing the patterns and writing the tutorial for the peplum bubble dress
I made patterns for ages 1 to 6 (including 18 months), with the help of Winifred Aldrich's great book.

The bodice is a very basic model with a blind zipper, and bias at the armholes and neck line. The pattern has regular shoulders instead of the cap sleeves I used for my own two versions.

I hope the patterns and tutorial are clear and correct; please let me know if they're not! 


- fabric: bubble dresses and skirts look best in thin fabrics such as poplin, double gauze, and lawn cotton. Quilting weight cotton also works, but it's best to stay away from heavier fabrics such as canvas, heavy linen, and corduroy. Knit fabrics tend to fall rather 'flat', and do not give the 'bubbly' look you might be aiming for.
- fabric for lining of the skirt
- a blind zipper, preferably at least the length of the back of the bodice, preferably a few centimeters longer.


The pattern pieces are free. All you need to do to get them is become a follower of this blog (via Google Friend Connect, or email, or Facebook) and download them here.
[Note: this is a new and improved version of the pattern, put online on March 28, 2013]

Make sure you print the patterns on letter size or A4-size paper, at 100%, so with no scaling (click here if you don't know what I'm talking about). Cut the pieces out, put them together with  tape, and you're ready to get started. 

The pdf-document contains the patterns for the bodice back and front, and the skirt's lining. It also contains a table with the measurements for the outer skirt, which is a simple rectangle.


The new version of the pattern contains a table with the measurements of the finished dress. Compare these with the measurements of a dress which fits your child well in order to get an idea of which size to make. The bodice gets a bit more narrow towards the bottom; keep in mind that you'll have to be able to pull the dress over your child's shoulders!

If you do want to shorten or lengthen the skirt of the dress, it is best to shorten the skirt at the bottom (not the top). You will have to shorten the lining as well as the outside skirt. So for instance, if you want the dress to be 3 centimeters shorter, you'll have to cut off 3 centimeters from the lining, and three centimeters from the outside skirt.


If you want, you can replace the pattern of the bodice of the dress with that of another dress (e.g., one with sleeves, buttons, ...). One thing you'll have to keep an eye on is that the bottom of the bodice has the same width as the top the lining (!) of the skirt, as these parts need to be stitched together without any gathering.


Note: all seams are 1 cm (0.4 inch), and are included in the pattern.

0. Cut all the pattern pieces, and serge or zigzag the following edges:

  • the sides of the front and back piece of the bodice (indicated in red)
  • the schoulders of the front and back piece of the bodice (indicated in red)
  • optional: the inside of the back pieces.I like to serge these together with the zipper later on, but if you don't like this, then now is the time to serge the back pieces. (indicated in green)

1. First, assemble the bodice. Put the back pieces on the front piece, right sides together. Stitch sides and shoulders at 1 cm (0.4 inch) of the edge.

2. Install the invisible zipper in the back. There are plenty of tutorials online for how to install an invisible zipper (e.g., this one). Important note: if you bought a zipper a bit longer than the bodice (like I suggested above), installing the zipper will be super easy! More specifically, you will not need to 'close' the fabric under the zipper (as it runs accross the entire length of the bodice) and you will not need to lift your needle to pass the zipper thingy, as you can just open the zipper all the way until the thingy is under the bodice. You're welcome.

3. Next, finish the armholes an neck line with bias binding. First stitch it to the wrong side of the fabric (good side bias on wrong side fabric) and then fold it over and topstitch on the right side.

4. The bodice is finished! Now, let's make the skirt. Put the pieces of the lining with right sides together, and stitch the sides. Open the seams and press. Repeat for the pieces of the outside fabric (if you use only one rectangle for the outside of the skirt, there will be only one 'side' to stitch of course).

5. A little confession: I was so eager to finish this dress that I forgot to take pictures of the next steps. In my defense: this was around midnight. So for the next steps, I will be using pictures of that other bubble dress tutorial.
Now we'll put the lining and the outside of the skirt together. We'll start with the bottom, putting the right sides together. First, gather the outside fabric so it is reduced to the same width as the lining. Here is a little tutorial with some tricks on how to do this perfectly. Stitch the bottom of the skirt and the lining together, and turn.

6. Now, we'll do the same thing with the top of the skirt; only this time, we'll sew them with the wrong sides together. Very important: stitch them together at about 0.7 cm (0.3 inch) instead of 1 cm (0.4 inch).

7. Now, we'll put the bodice and the skirt together. Do this with the right sides together, at 1 cm (0.4 inch). If you used 1 rectangle of fabric for the outside of the skirt, make sure that the seam is in the back, right underneath the invisible zipper. If you used two rectangles, make sure that the seams of the skirt allign with the side seams of the bodice.

8. Serge the seam you just created, and turn the dress. Oh la la!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Guest post from Sisterhood of the Crafty Pants: Faux Peter Pan collar

Today, for the first time, we have a guest post! Natalli is one of the five (yes, 5) sisters behind the Sisterhood of the Crafty Pants, a great blog about sewing and much more. Recipes, bargain deals, crafts, cakes; the sisters have it all. Thank you, Natalli, for sharing this great tutorial!

Hello, I’m Natalli. My four older sisters and I share all of our ideas and creations over at Sisterhood of the CraftyPants, and I’m really excited about posting here on StraightGrain! Today I’m going to share a tutorial for a tee with a faux Peter Pan collar. I love a pretty little collar, but as the mom of a 6-month-old, I’m all about comfort. So when I saw this top from Boden,  I had to create my own.

Here’s how I did it:

Optional: I altered the neckline of my t-shirt, because it was a crew neck. I just cut it off and made a little rolled hem to finish the edge.
1. Measure the width of the top near the neckline and mark the center.
2. At the shoulder seam, measure about an inch in from the neckline and mark.  

3. Measure 2.5” from the center line and mark, then measure 2” down from the neckline and mark where the two measurements intersect (hope that makes sense!)

4. Use the marks you’ve just made to pin some lace trim in a little curve. Start at the center, then slope down until you reach the cross mark then curve back up to the shoulder mark. 

5.  Pin some white trim just inside the lace. Do the same on the other side. The trickiest part is making sure both sides are the exact same.  

6. Sew the trim down. 

Optional: If your top has a pocket, sew some trim to the top.
And you’re done! So easy! I dressed mine up a little with a pretty brooch. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bubble mania

A few weeks ago, I put patterns and a little tutorial online for making a bubble dress. I've been so overwhelmed by all the positive responses! From hundreds of (re)pins on Pinterest, and  Shwin & Shwin and Sewset putting a spotlight on the dress, to Singer Brazil promoting it on their Facebook page and, last but not least: many fellow sewing fanatics and bloggers letting me know that they enjoyed making the dress. Thanks to all of you - you cannot imagine the gratification this warm response has given me :-)

Today, I'd like to share some pictures of awesome bubble dresses made with my pattern and tutorial.

Adrianna of Crafterhours made a bubble dress in Rashida Coleman Hales' marvellous Washi fabric. What a sunny little dress this is!


Mary Jo of All This For Them made two stunning bubble dresses. The left one is my favorite :-)

Anne Riggs also made a couple of bubble dresses, and is selling them in her Etsy shop! The dress on the left is in vintage Laura Ashley fabric. Sam of Sam Making Lists (the funniest blog I've ever read!) made a very sweet version for her cute little daughter (right hand picture).

Mrs. Kanuckles made one in a knit fabric and shared it in her flickr-account. It's less bubbly in knit, but I like it a lot! And finally, Jeannie made the dress in the same fabric as I did (Echino Chelsea Lion) for her daughter Juliette.

If you also used the pattern and would like to see it featured here, just send me an email or put a comment below this post, and I'll update it! Thank you Adrianna, Anne, Jeannie, Kelly, Mary Jo, and Sam for allowing me to use your pictures :-)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Peplum bubble dress, attempt #2 (KCWC days 3-5)

On days three to five of KCWC, I gave the peplum bubble dress a second go. This time, I lengthened  the bodice by 2 centimeters (0.8 inch) and finished the neckline with bias instead of facing. And, most importantly: I used the fabric in which I had been dreaming the dress for a couple of weeks: Nani Iro Fuccra double gauze, from Kicoli's Etsy shop.

 I think it definitely looks better with the longer bodice. In the next weeks, I'll be trying to find some time to draw some patterns for ages 1 to 6.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Peplum bubble dress, attempt #1 (KCWC days 1-3)

On the first three days of Elsie Marley's Kids Clothes Week Challenge, I worked on something which had been on my mind for a couple of weeks: a peplum bubble dress.

The dress might just look like this bubble dress, but with a lower waist, but actually, there are quite a few differences. The bodice gets narrower towards the waist instead of wider; there's a blind zipper; instead of fully lining the bodice, it is finished off with fine bias at the arm holes and facing at the neckline; and the sleeves are cap sleeves. In other words, I drew the pattern from scratch.

I'm pretty happy with this first attempt. The bodice should be a bit longer for a true peplum effect, and I'll also be changing the collar (facing never seems to work well in these small sizes).
I'm also pretty happy with the fabric (Pat Bravo Summer Love, from Hawthorne Threads). I had my doubts after I bought it, but in this dress I think it actually looks nice. The next one, though, will be in some gorgeous Nani Iro flower fabric. Can't wait to get started on that one :-)

If anyone is interested, I can make a tutorial and patterns for this dress (?).

Monday, October 8, 2012

Origami raglan sleeves tutorial

This week, I'm a guest at a wonderful blog called The Sisterhood of the Crafty Pants. If you want to know how I created these origami sleeves...

... go check out my little tutorial :-)  Thank you, CraftyPantsSisters, for having me!