Bella Sunshine Designs Sweet Lilly Pintuck Tunic and Dress

This pattern could not have come by at a better time. I have been searching for a button up bodice with a gathered skirt since I bought this fabric a month ago, and then when I saw the tester* call for The Sweet Lilly Pintuck Tunic/Dress by Bella Sunshine Designs I was very excited. There is a slight vintage feel with this pattern.

I made a size smaller than normal as per our aligned sizes because it’s a semi-fitted bodice, but went with my daughters usual length for this dress. The fabric is cream Gertie printed crepe de chine (CDC) cherries. I used lipstick rayon (100% rayon) for the waistband and ruffle accents with hot pink plain chiffon (100% polyester) for the sleeves and white top pop poplin (80% polyester/20% cotton) for the lining. Although not instructed to, I lined the skirt with poplin because this fabric is very light weight and see-through.

Pintuck tunic front

Pintuck tunic back

This pattern requires precision with the pintucks and top stitching. Given it is a kids pattern there are some very fiddly, small pieces, particularly for the sleeve construction. I made it harder for myself by the fact I chose chiffon and CDC to work with, very slippery indeed. I ended up doing french seams for the sleeves as the chiffon frayed and to keep it all nice and neat.

As this is the tester version, a few tweaks have been made prior to release. Mainly the bodice was taken in and was offered as a tunic and the original lengthened by 3 inches to make the dress version.

Miss 4 was happy to gift it to miss 2 as she thought it looked “cute” on her. Miss 2 was also happy with this transaction. The girls pretty much have the same chest measurement at the moment which is why it fit my youngest so well.

IMG_1435 (2)

I quickly made a second version for miss 4 in the dress length this time. I used some petal metro linen (100% linen) with eyelet lace for the bottom band of the skirt portion and white broadcloth (100% cotton) as a contrast. For lining I used white top pop polin (80% polyester/20% cotton). At the centre ruffles I used a small border of lace to match the hem ruffle and tied the whole look together with square pink buttons. I only added three to the back as opposed to four but that was the last packet at the store.

Sweet lilly pinctuck front

Sweet lilly pintuck side

Sweet lilly pinctuck details

I’m very lucky to be a mother of 2 beautiful girls. The clothes in our house are truly loved and well worn so I figure all my time and effort is well worth it.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.


Bellamie Boo Couture and The Swinging Dress

I was chosen as a tester* for The Swinging Dress by Bellamie Boo Couture. It’s a cute design with a bit of a retro feel.

the swinging dress front 4

Swinging Dress Back

It’s a relatively easy sew as the back calls for shirring or “faux” shirring (elastic sewn through channels). It has an angular collar and halter neck ties.

I used some coral spots and stripes waves scale poplin (100% cotton) from the stash for my tester version. I chose to make the version with the bottom band, and was lucky to have some co-ordinating broadcloth (100% cotton) too, not an exact match but close enough. The bodice is lined with white top pop poplin (70%polyester/ 20% cotton).

I chose not to make the optional sash as dear daughter hates having knots tied behind her back as “it bothers her when she sits”. I figure a white or pink ribbon will suffice if need be as they are less bulky.

The dress is lots of fun but I found the back coverage a little low for my liking and I think the original lengths of elastic provided during testing for the back were too big and so the back sagged, but has been revised in the final pattern. The neck straps were also bit short to tie into a substantial bow in the tester version but has since also been altered to correct for this.

I chose to cut the tea length for my daughter who has had a major growth spurt and is a bit above average in height for her age but found the dress a bit short regardless, for what is considered ‘tea length’. I went back and added another band at the bottom with the main fabric, the same width as the existing band. I feel like it is more age appropriate at a longer length because she can play freely and I know she will get lots of wear out of it this way. Plus she seems to want most dresses at a longer length. Must be a phase, lets hope it continues well past the age of 16!

                                             Swinging dress altered front 2      Swinging dress altered side

I also made a matching fabric knotted headband (above) using a free pattern from Sugar Bee Crafts. I chose this pattern because it is for woven fabric when a lot of others online are for knits.

Since testing, I also changed the straps so they are attached to the back bodice to keep the back held up a bit more and lessened the gaping that was occurring at the front neckline.

Swinging dress straps front

             Swinging dress straps side Swinging dress straps back

The end product is a fun, twirly dress that my daughter loves and as a bonus comes in women’s sizing if you fancy the style. In all honesty however, I didn’t make a second version of this dress because I found the bodice wasn’t a good fit, having said that, I recently tested another pattern from this designer and the bodice was a good fit on miss 2. I may just need to tweak it slightly next time.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part in the testing process.

Annie Blue Floral Maxi by Violet Field Threads (VFT)

I think I have mentioned previously that I really adore the style of VFT patterns. I have a few more patterns in my stash ready to be made up but chose the Annie dress as it fits miss 4’s criteria of wanting dresses down to her toes, thus I chose the maxi length.

Annie front

Annie back

I used some bubble premium cotton sateen (96% cotton/ 4% spandex) for the bodice and lined it with white top pop poplin (80% polyester/ 20% cotton), and had similar fabric in my stash to the blue floral romper photo, dark blue rose cotton poplin (100% cotton), so used that as the skirt portion.  Pattern pieces are provided for the bodice and romper but for everything else requiring rectangles, measurements are supplied.

Additonally, instructions are provided to make the braided straps but I managed to find some white ready made triple braid, albeit it was a bit thick to sew through but I got there in the end.

I followed the instructions as specified for all steps and the dress came together quite quickly. The back is only partially elasticised and slightly on the big side but I did make a size bigger so we could get more wear out of the dress and eventually when it gets too short for a maxi I can cut it to tea length.

I waited for miss 4 to try it on before hemming as I wanted to get the length right. My fabric was 145cm wide which ended up being the perfect length for my girl so I serged it and then turned the hem up twice and stitched. I only had 1m of fabric and I think from memory I was out by 2 inches for the width of the skirt, but not noticeable as it is so full anyway.

When I showed her the almost finished dress prior to hemming, her response was priceless and that is why I sew for my girls. She said “Oh thankyou so much mummy, I love it, does it go down to my toes?” , “Yes it does”, I reply. Then I got the biggest hug and kiss and that makes it worth it :). It made for a very successful dancing dress when she wore it and she felt like a million bucks.

Annie back 2

I made miss 2 a dress to match the colour story of this dress and will post about that soon.

Cover Your Eyes, There’s Two Fluoro Check Dresses

Two dresses in one post today because I used the same fabric for different versions. Both girls got something from this mix and match pin fluoro check poplin (65% poly/ 20% cotton) that miss 4 picked out. The bodice bow and straps for the smaller dress were made using white top pop poplin (80% poly/ 20% cotton).

fluoro check front

Starting with miss 2. Her dress was made the same way as the red mosaic dress. I added interfacing to the bow this time so it doesn’t flop around the place and top stitched the four sides. It was also hand tacked at the two upper corners to the bodice.

I lined the dress with white top pop poplin as the fabric is a bit indecent otherwise. I cut 2 x rectangles, each measuring 27 cm x 41 cm and did a couple of tucks at the waist seam rather than gathering the waist as I didn’t want to add too much volume here.

The hem was finished with a narrow machine hem.

And that’s it!

For miss 4 I drafted a pattern using a RTW dress she really loves. I say drafted but really it’s a bunch of rectangles and some shirring and I was under instructions that she wanted it to her ankles thus the addition of the extra bottom panel, because she has had a significant growth spurt since I started this dress back in June.

The bodice is made up of front and back rectangles each measuring 26 cm x 59 cm, using the same dimensions for the lining and treating them as one layer for the shirring. I folded over the top edge by 0.6 cm twice to do a narrow hem but first attached my straps so the ends could be concealed. The straps were each made up from a 2 cm x 15 cm rectangle, sewn right sides together and turned right side out. I tucked in the raw edge of one side and stitched closed and then tied it in a knot. I sewed on a white bow at the bodice front where the straps are attached.  I did 13 rows of shirring within 6 cm for the bodice, both front and back.

The second tier is 2 rectangles of 18 cm x 92 cm with the lining pieces slightly smaller at 18 cm x 70 cm. The third tier was made up of 2 rectangles of 18 cm x 134 cm and the lining was 18 cm x 70 cm. Other than the “bodice tier”, for the others, lining and outer fabric were sewn separately in the round to make a tube and then gathered to fit the tier above and attached.

dress measurements

She tried on the dress when it was completed and it was short for the length she had asked for. I had to scavenge another layer from scraps to “make it work”.  The final tier was 13 cm x 134 cm (same as the tier above and therefore wasn’t gathered, oh well) and was left unlined. The hem was overlocked first and then turned up 1/4″ and stitched.

Overall both dress are simple sews, just time consuming with the shirring and gathering and hemming.

Scrapbusting… Self-drafted Skirts, a Molly top and some Gathered Pocket Shorts

This post is a quick summary of what has been made using some of my scraps in keeping with my self-imposed “use up scraps” rule. I found out recently my daughters kindergarten will accept fabric for their crafts, so small, unusable pieces for me, are now re-directed to them, away from landfill. Anyway, that’s besides the point.

Today miss 2 is benefiting from the scrapbusting exercise.

First up is this ruffled skirt using DS picadilly medallion and ditsy in pink (100% cotton) fabric left over from miss 4’s circle skirt. Cutting the ruffle layers was okay but I had to piece together a few pieces to make the waistband due to my fabric shortage. As I didn’t have enough fabric, the connectors between the ruffles were made from white top pop poplin (80%polyester/ 20% cotton), as was the middle ruffle. For documentation purposes, the 2 connector pieces were 10cm W x 42cm L and the 3 ruffles were each 10cm W x 52cm L and gathered. I would have liked more gathered ruffles but when you have minimal fabric to work with it’s a “make it work” moment. The ruffles were finished with a narrow machine rolled hem. I cut 2 waistband pieces (outside and inside) with a final measurement of 5cm W x 42cm L. I top stitched the seam allowance at each connector and at the waistband and stitched in the ditch at the waistband side seams to keep the elastic from twisting.

Triple tier picadilly skirt

Second is a two tier simple skirt using this tutorial from The Stitching Scientist. The modern tribe poplin 9312 in ink (100% cotton) and white top pop poplin (80%polyester/20% cotton) fabric is what is left from this dress for miss 4 and one of my pre-blog dresses. I followed her tutorial but made my skirt 34 inch wide as that is all the fabric I had. Sensing a trend here!!!!! Not much else to say.

tribal 2 layer

Third is a chevron top using the Molly Top Pattern from Made For Mermaids. I followed all the measurements and directions provided as there aren’t printable pattern pieces, and it went together really quickly. The fabric, spots and stripes chevron #1 in orange (100% cotton), was left over from a dress I made miss 4 last year, obviously pre-blog, but that has since also had a refashion and I cut it down to a more practical skirt for her too. This pattern is so cute and I love the ruffles on the straps and the tie back that goes through a loop. It’s not obvious but I had to cut the back in two sections because I was short on fabric, turned out pretty well though!

                                             orange molly M4M frontorange molly M4M back

Fourth are these delightful pair of shorts using the free toddler gathered pocket shorts pattern from Little Quail. The fabric is cotton sateen left over from my cape project (stay tuned for that awesome pattern, next post on Monday). The black is premium cotton sateen (96% cotton/ 4% spandex) and the check is black printed sateen pluses (97% cotton/ 3% spandex). I followed the tutorial exactly and didn’t use the optional waist tie. Great wardrobe basic for her.

Black gathered pocket shorts

Cyan Lily Dress by Mandy K Designs

I feel like I am really pumping out these kids clothes at the moment. I think the motivation is higher because they are such quick projects, most of the time, and I can get nice results using small pieces of fabric.

Don’t tell my daughter but this dress is made from those small pieces, kind of! For the bodice I actually used a navy knit t-shirt, size small, as I actually bought it for myself a while back along with some elastic gold sequins to make a fancy top – well we all know how that plan went. The skirt fabric is what was left over from one of my dresses pre blog..

cyla dress front 2

cyla dress front 3

The pattern is the Cyan Lily dress from Mandy K Design. The bodice can either be made in knit or woven as can the skirt. I chose the knit bodice to eliminate making closures. The bodice is self-lined using the burrito method as per the instructions to ensure all seams are enclosed. There is a tiny bit of hand stitching necessary to finish the seam where the back neckline attaches to the back bodice. The back neckline requires fusible interfacing but I didn’t have any so chose to omit it, but like the instructions mention, it would have helped to keep the shape of the neckline a bit more. The skirt is made from some modern tribe poplin 9312 in ink (100% cotton), which has been lined with white top pop poplin (80%polyester/20% cotton) as the fabric is transparent in the sun.

cyla dress back

I didn’t have much of the tribe print remaining after my dress so had to narrow the width of the skirt by 7 inches in the end, but it still turned out. I chose to do a narrow machine hem for both layers. I also decided to attach hand made belt loops at the side seams in case we decide to style it with a belt.

Everything went together really smoothly, from PDF cutting and taping, to sewing up the completed garment. All in a nights work practically. According to the designer, the inspiration for this dress came from Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffanys, which is evident from the neckline. It would be cute to make a black version and do a copy cat photo shoot but chances of that happening are …….minimal.

cyla dress side

Pretty in Pink Lame Skirt and Jacquard Dress

I thought I’d post these two outfits here in the one post as there isn’t too much to say for either and they share the common theme of the colour pink because I happen to have girls that love pink.

First up is the lame three tier ruffle skirt. I made this outfit to match big sister at a recent family event. I used the left over japanese tissue lame in rose white (45% nylon/55% metal), pink bridal tulle, stash lace and metro linen in petal (100% linen).

3 tier ruffle skirt

   3 tier ruffle skirt details

The close up is a true indication of the colours.

I essentially made this skirt up as I went along. I first made the linen layer with a 103cm x 24cm rectangle joined together with french seams and finished with a machine rolled hem. Then I attached two layers of soft stretch tulle to minimise irritation against the skin. Each layer was a rectangle of 176cm x 23cm with french seams and the hem left raw. Third layer was the lame cut at a completed size of 129cm x 16cm. I had to piece this together with 3 separate pieces as I only had scraps left from the Haven dress. I french seamed the short edges and did a machine rolled hem. The final layer was some lace of a length of 129cm. As you have probably noticed, although I did try and keep consistent with the lengths of each layer, I was using stash and scrap fabric so often just went with the lengths I had. All layers were gathered individually before layering and attaching on top of one another.

lame front

             lame front 2 lame side

The waistband was made up of two rectangles each 61cm x 8cm, joined with french seams and then attached to the skirt layers. I machine stitched the waistband on the inside leaving an opening to thread through a 47cm length of 2cm wide elastic and then machine stitched closed. It turned out pretty cute but was in desperate need of a matching top. I took the easy way out and purchase a plain white t-shirt and removed the sleeves. I added two layers of the soft stretch tulle at the upper armholes and 2 layers of thin lace at the neckline, finished off with a pink ribbon bow, all from the stash. I wanted to carry the tulle and lace them through from the skirt and think I achieved a complete outfit. I also made a matching hair clip so she was wearing handmade from top to bottom.

lace top front                  lace top details 

Outfit two is a pink jacquard satin (unknown fibre content) dress. I was originally making this for my eldest as more of a tunic but once it was finished the proportions looked off so I have kindly gifted it to my baby but it now requires some fit adjustments.

jacquard dress front

                       jacquard dress front 2  jacquard dress side

I used the purple rose party dress pattern from nestfullofeggs. For the bodice and I only extended down the length 5 inches as opposed to 6 inches as instructed. The jacquard frays so much that I serged all my individual fabric pattern pieces before even beginning construction. I chose to line the bodice and just used some stash white top pop poplin 8925 (80% poly/20% cotton) using the “bagging” method so that all seams were enclosed, and then I understitched wherever possible. I inserted a 20cm (8″) white invisible zip for the closure.

The skirt was constructed using a top and bottom ruffle layer of jacquard each 112cm long x 3 inch wide finished with a machine rolled hem. The eyelet layer was 133cm long as that was the length I had and used the entire width of the eyelet. Each layer was attached to a middle tier which was the width of the bodice of 70cm x 3 inch wide, except the top jacquard layer. Each tier/layer was closed in the round first and then attached to one another.

It probably isn’t too noticeable from the photos but the neckline is in fact too wide for this cherub and falls off her shoulders. I am contemplating how to alter the dress without having to take it apart. I am actually thinking of sewing some ribbon at the back shoulders to keep the dress from falling off until she grows a bit so she can wear this before it gets too short otherwise I may cut out a wedge from the centre back where the zip was and adding a button and loop closure. What do you suggest?

jacquard dress back