Mar 14, 2015

Elise Dress, Sewing Pattern, Sew-A-Long, Final Countdown!

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So who is still with me? Have you finished your dress or top yet? Have you been waiting till all my posts are finished so you can decide which new features you want to incorporate? Were you waiting on some AMAZING fabric to arrive?


If you've been sewing along with me each day, your skirt is complete, and all you have to do is gather and attach it to the bodice. You're nearly done!



Don't forget that the back bodice piece is wider than the front of the bodice. But you want the front of the skirt and back of the skirt to have equal fabric. This means that the front half of your skirt is more tightly gathered than the back. If you were to gather equally around the entire skirt, you would have too much fabric across the back of the skirt and not enough in the front.



If you haven't started yet, don't worry. This dress really is a quick sew. You still have time to sew one up and enter to win a $50 fabric shopping spree from Allegro Fabrics! To enter, post your pics to the album in our facebook sewing group so that we can all admire your creation. You've got the whole weekend to complete your project and share.

...and dont forget to find some awesome shoes... life is too short for anything less than epic shoes...

Mar 13, 2015

Elise Dress, Sewing Pattern, Sew-A-Long, Day 5

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Today is the day we sew the skirt portion of the Elise dress or top, and it's still not too late to get started. The sewalong runs through the weekend and you can still get the pattern for 25% off with the code ELISESAL

But first Im going to tell you a little story... I had this awesome fabric I wanted to use for the skirt. See how epic it is?

But the fabric repeat was 12" and the size that I was making required fabric cuts 13" long... oh, and I love fussycutting to match up the side seams, because I am silly like that. But alas, I did not have enough fabric to just chop 13", skip 11" and then chop 13 more. Nope, I only had a yard. So what is a girl to do? Abandoning my fussycutting plans was not an option. There was no time to procure additional fabric.

That left me with two options:
  • I could cut one perfect panel into two pieces and do a 4-panel pieced skirt, with my epic fabric having the dominant "apron" location front and center. But I've already shown you stripwork in the pattern, so that left me at option 2...
  • Add an inch of fabric to the length of my panels. I had bodice fabric left over, so why not. Plus it's a great way to tie bodice fabric into the skirt. There you have it, today's modification is "how to make fabric shortages into I-meant-to-do-that masterpieces!" (or do it on purpose). Even if you arent in this predicament today, one day you will be, and then you'll thank me.
Adding length to the panels is as easy as you might imagine it to be. I need 1" added to my fabric length, but keep in mind that with seam allowances, I will lose 1/2" from the top and 1/2" from the bottom. That means the strips will be cut as wide as my skirt panels and 2" long.


Lay strips right sides together with the main skirt fabric. Sew along the bottom to attach. Finish seams, press towards skirt fabric and topstitch. See? now you have fabric that is exactly the length you need! I'm off to work on my ruffles... I'm doing a single-edge ruffle because after the extra effort needed to make this a 13" long skirt piece, I'm not about to hide that green strip at the bottom!

Can you spot that seam right down the middle? That's the side seam of my skirt. Perfect fussycuts make me ridiculously happy.

 
Enjoy planning and sewing your skirt! Whatever you do, I'm sure it will be beautiful. If you are making a paneled skirt, you’ve got some cutting to do, and you want to figure out the order of your panels. If sewing a single-fabric skirt, your job is super easy, unless you're taking on the challenge of  crazy fussycut seam matching. Don't forget to add your hemband or ruffles. The ruffles can be a little labor intensive, but SO worth it.

A few tips as you get started:
  • When possible, I always try the bodice on the child and then measure to where I want it to hit when worn. While patterns are a great starting point, some children are very short or tall, or you may just have a preference for a longer or shorter style. Remember to account for the seam allowances!
  • The length given for tops is a shorter length. If sewing a top, consider adding 2-3” inches to allow for longer wear.
  • This pattern is written with a ruffle hem or hem band. If you choose to omit this (such as in the case of a border print fabric), you must add inches to the skirt length.
  • Before cutting the skirt, lay out your bodice on the floor with your fabric folded the width that the skirt will be. This is a great way to get a feel for how the garment will look when sewn. Now is your chance to make changes, adding length or width.
  • For a super full skirt, add some fabric width and plan to use a pettiskirt for extra fluff.
  • If your skirt fabric is light in color, consider sewing a light “slip” in, at least the top 2/3 of the skirt.
  • Should you decide to use tulle for the skirt ruffle, keep in mind that it has to be gathered much tighter than regular fabrics. You will need 2-3x the ruffle strip lengths, but you wont have to hem!
  • Some people like to use clear elastic for gathering/ruffling fabrics. If you find that the required stretching leaves your ruffle strips longer than you need, just blast them with a bit of steam and the elastic will shrink right up
Tomorrow, we sew the finished skirt to the bodice, topstitch and share our finished creations! Here's a little inspiration for you as you plan your work on your skirt. The first is a simple hemband, second is with the hemband omitted (extra length added), and third is stripwork with double edge ruffle. All modeled by my tiny miss, Aria Elise <3

Do you have any tips/tricks to add? Maybe you learned something during this project that you’d like to share? Perhaps you have some questions still unanswered. Join us for discussion in our facebook group! I’ll be checking in throughout the day and I’m always happy to help if you get stuck.

Mar 12, 2015

Elise Dress, Sewing Pattern, Sew-A-Long, Day 4

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It's Day 4 of the Elise sewalong! See how easily this project is coming together? Today we are working on our optional back bodice loop modification and completing our dress (or top) bodices.

The Elise was designed as a halter, but some have asked how it can be made with straps that go over the shoulder instead of typing behind the neck. There are a couple ways of doing this, while maintaining flexibility in fit and both are fairly simple and straightforward. You may want to make the halter straps longer by a few inches as they have to go further, then you'll need somewhere to tie them. However, the halter strap length was somewhat generous to begin with.

One way to achieve this is to add two buttonholes with a space between. Then, the straps are threaded through the holes and tied in a knot or bow. If you chose to make the halter straps wider, they can be threaded through the buttonholes and tied in separate knots, like a reverse knot dress. (Photo courtesy of Dream Tierra)

But the truth is some people are not fans of buttonholes. Some worry about warping or stretching out, others have a machine that doesn't cooperate with doing them. Some just haven't taken that leap yet, and that's okay.

So for those people, and others who just prefer an alternate method, we suggest sewing two small fabric loops into the back bodice. You can do this with two 5" lengths of bias tape or make your own loops. This takes just a few minutes, and is an easy modification with no risk involved!

In the same manner you used to sew the halter straps, create two 5" long straps. This can be done with fabric cut on the bias or not. Bias cut fabric will yield a little more stretch, but is not necessary. I like shortcuts, so I usually make a single 10" length and snip it in two. Fold in half and press flat.
In all reality, this can be done with lengths as short as 3" each; you will just end up with shorter loops, which is ideal for tiny sizes. What a great way to use up those bias tape scraps you have lying around!


Reference the strap placement chart from the pattern (page 11), to determine the maximum distance from center that loops should be placed. You can place them closer together if you prefer, but don't put them any further apart. Position as shown at the top of the back bodice LINER piece and pin in place. See how the fold is angled inward a bit? Baste to secure. You can make the loops shorter, if desired (or if working with smaller strips).
 

Trim any overhanging loop length.

Place back bodice piece on top and sew as directed in pattern, backstitching on the loops for added strength/durability.

Unfold and have a peek. Now you have a complete front and back bodice, ready to be sewn together.

Finish sewing the remainder of the bodice per the pattern instructions. Don't forget the side sashes. I've done it too many times to count (like today, for one...)

For my Minnie dress, I did not topstich the front because I wanted the faux collar to be able to stand away from the bodice a bit. Ruffles and plain front bodices look best topstitched to keep them looking neat and finished.
Today's post is a great time to mention a couple of things of note when constructing the bodice. When creating the casing for your elastic, feel free to move it up to the very top just under the topstitching, whether you do back loops or not. I actually prefer it this way when adding back loops. If you do this, be aware that the seam allowance and loops (if you added them) can add a little extra bulk. This can be reduced by trimming the back seam allowance down to 1/4" before finishing bodice construction.
Something you will also notice is that the back bodice piece is wider than the front piece. This is done on purpose. It allows lots of stretch for comfort and fit, while keeping the front fitted to the body. It's easy to second-guess yourself when you sew the back and front pieces together. But don't worry, you're doing it right!

The bodice is DONE. High fives for everybody! Share your pics in our facebook group and tag them #elisesewalong so that we can find them easily. It's not too late to join us. This dress really is an easy sew and the sewalong runs through the weekend. Jump on in and sew something lovely.
 

Don't forget that one lucky participant will win a $50 Gift Certificate from our awesome sponsor, Allegro Fabrics. They are also offering our customers a special 20% discount on their fabric purchases with the code: 8allegro8

Mar 11, 2015

Elise Dress, Sewing Pattern, Sew-A-Long, Day 3

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So far, we’ve taken some time to plan our projects, cut fabric and sew the sashes and straps. Hopefully, you’re starting to get excited as you see your project coming together.
Today, we are working on the bodice front. The pattern gives directions for leaving the bodice more basic with only the center sash, or adding a bust ruffle for some pizazz. But today we are going to show you another variation that can completely change the look of your project.
Collars are all over everything recently. Since this dress does not have a place for a traditional collar, a faux collar can add a fun vintage/retro look. I made an adorable Elise dress inspired by my baby girl’s favorite character. Can you guess who?

To recreate this look for the Elise dress, the faux collar will replace the optional bust ruffle. You’ll want to print an additional front bodice pattern piece but do not cut it out. We will be using this to make a faux collar pattern piece based on the shape you prefer (rounded or squared off).

Please note that sewing the faux collar, we will use a ¼” seam allowance to reduce bulk. Add ¼” to the FOLD LINE of the pattern piece, then cut out the piece as you normally would, including this extra ¼”. Turn face down so that you can draw on the back without the distraction of printed lines and such.


Refer to the pattern to locate the center waist sash height for the size you are sewing. Subtract ¼” for the edge you will fold under before sewing to the bodice. Measuring from the bottom of the pattern piece, draw this line on your pattern piece.

This is actually something I do anyway when fussy cutting a bodice. It would be a shame to cut an amazing bodice only to discover that part of what you framed up so nicely is going to be covered by the sash! You may also find it helpful to mark the seam allowances with a dotted line, so that you know what will be hidden once sewn up.


The next step is to draw your collar. Start by deciding if you want a rounded edge or more squared off corners. For my Minnie dress, I did sharp edge corners.
Mark where you want the collar to rest in comparison to the remainder of the bodice (represented by a green line on my pattern piece). Add ¼” seam allowance and you have your pattern piece!
Please note that for the angled line (or curved if applicable), you will want to start drawing your slanted or curved line ½” from the top (because the top ½” will be sewn into the bodice seam allowance when constructed).


Look at that; you drafted a pattern piece! Now use it to cut 4 collar pieces (2 with pattern piece face up and 2 with piece face down).


Place pieces right sides together in sets of 2. Sew only along the sides marked in green on the pattern piece. The top and bodice side edges stay open.


Snip the corners (or a few places along the curve) and turn right side out. Press flat and topstitch 1/8” from edge.


Turn collar pieces right side out and top stitch 1/8” from the edges.


If you haven’t already done so, sew the center sash piece to the front bodice piece, per the pattern instructions.


Align top and sides with bodice piece and baste to secure, just as you would do for a ruffle.


Now attach halter straps, per the pattern instructions. If you made your straps with flutters, be certain that the flutters are out of the way!

 
Making sure that flutters our out of the way of your seam allowance, sew the front bodice lining to the front bodice and stop (same as you would do with a ruffled bodice from the pattern).


You can turn the bodice piece right side out to admire your handiwork, but don’t press anything with your iron just yet. We will be completing the bodice tomorrow and ironing things into place will be done then.


I hope you enjoyed today’s sewing. Share pics in our facebook sewing group and tag them #elisesewalong so everyone can find your post.
I’m loving all the fun and creative things you are all doing and I’m super proud of those of you who may have been a bit intimidated at first, but are jumping in and sewing this pattern for the first time. As a designer, it is SO very rewarding to see how each person can use the same pattern to craft a special one-of-a-kind handmade garment. THANK YOU for sewing along with me and sharing your special creations!

Mar 10, 2015

Elise Dress, Sewing Pattern, Sew-A-Long, Day 2

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If you’re on track, you’ve got your fabric all cut out and ready to sew. If you haven't cut it all out yet, I'll let you in on a little secret... neither have I! Life happens and kids are crazy or don't nap, or color themselves with marker while you made lunch today. I get it, for real. So if you are just getting started, don’t worry, it’s not too late.

Today is a super easy day: Sashes and halter straps (with optional flutters!) are on the to-do list. Sashes will be sewn as directed in the pattern, but you may wish to add a little something extra to your halter straps.

 Flutter straps are all the rage right now, and it isn’t surprising because they are absolutely adorable. This is an easy modification to make, and I’m going to show you how.

My favorite flutter for this kind of strap is a single-sided ruffle because a single layer of fabric adds less bulk to the halter strap. A tapered curve at the start and finish yields a beautiful result. Because of the curve, I find it easiest to do as a narrow rolled hem on a serger.

If you are skilled at hemming on a curve, feel free to do this by hemming the edges the traditional way of folding the edge under twice 1/4 inch and sewing to secure. If you aren’t familiar with hemming on a curve, simply skip cutting the tapered edge, hem the long outer edge and then tuck and sew the unfinished ends when sewing the flutter into your straps.

Other options and ideas for hemming the ruffle:

  • hem the edges with bias tape 
  • serge or zig-zag over the edge to prevent fraying
  • then sew ric rac or piping on the right side of the fabric, turn under and topstitch. 
  • Skip hemming entirely by using gathered lace for your flutters instead!


Keep in mind that this dress is designed as a halter, meaning that the straps tie behind the neck. Because of this, the flutter/ruffles will be shorter than they would be if they were to go over the shoulder and to the back of the bodice. You don’t want them interfering with the straps tied behind the neck.

Please note: I do know that some of you are very excited about the back bodice loops we are going to show you. If you are doing back loops, you may wish to add a couple extra inches of ruffle to your straps.

Now that you’ve considered all the options, it’s time to start those flutters (if you have chosen to add them). Cut and iron the straps as directed in the pattern, but do NOT sew them closed. Set aside. For serged rolled hems or ric-rac trimmed flutters, cut strips as follows, according to garment size. For traditional hemming, add ¼” to the length (smaller number).

For bias tape hemming, subtract ¼”:
3-6m: 2.25 x 6.5”
6-12m: 2.25 x 7.5”
12-18m: 2.5 x 8”
18-24m: 2.5 x 8.5”
2: 2.5 x 8.5”
3: 2.75 x 9”
4: 2.75 x 9.5”
5: 3 x 10.5”
6: 3 x 11”
8: 3.25 x 12”
10: 3.25 x 12.5”
12: 3.5 x 13”

Once cut, taper 3-4 inches along both short ends of the flutter piece.

Hem in the method you have selected for your design.


Once hemmed, use your preferred gathering method to ruffle one long raw edge of the fabric. Gather to half the original length. Repeat with the other flutter. At this stage, I like to press the gathered edges flat for easier pinning and basting.


Unfold the straps you have already cut and pressed. ¾” from the raw short end, pin the flutter right sides together with the straps. With strap fabric facing up, flutter should be face down.

Repeat for the other strap, making a mirror image. I find it helpful to position and pin on both straps at the same time since they flutter in opposite directions. Otherwise, you could end up with two right or two left straps. This would totally happen to me. I've sewn skirt on dresses inside out... more than once... Sew a basting stitch to attach flutter approximately 3/8” from the raw edge.
 
Now refold the straps and sew closed in the same manner as plain straps.
See how easy that was? Have other creative strap/flutter ideas to share? Post in our facebook sewing group and inspire others!


If you haven't done so, get your bodice pieces cut out. You will need them for tomorrow.

Mar 9, 2015

Elise Dress, Sewing Pattern, Sew-A-Long - Day 1

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It’s here: The Elise Sewalong! I released this pattern a year ago, just in time for Easter. The fans of Little Lizard King quickly sewed up hundreds of adorable dresses. You’ve shared pictures of your prized creations with us and we thank you for reminding us why we do what we do!

Of course, the absolute truth is that I design for you because I sew for my own baby. I find such joy in the things I make for her, that I grade the patterns, write the tutorials and then have other passionate sewing mamas test for fit, so that you can rest assured that you are getting a pattern you will want to sew over and over again.

Over the last year, many of you have also asked a few “how do I go about…?” questions. This has inspired us to create this sewalong, to both celebrate the anniversary of this sweet pattern and also show you how to make a few modifications.

But first things first. If you don’t have the pattern yet, well go buy it! Here’s a coupon code to save you some cash: ELISESAL

Okay, so pattern is procured and I know you’re itching to jump in and sew... BUT, give the pattern a read-through first. There are a few options that will change certain steps, so reading through the entire tutorial before you start cutting is a must. Now is a good time to toss your fabrics in to wash if you haven’t already.

As we work our way through this sewalong, I encourage you *not* to work ahead. I am going to be showing several modifications that you can use with this pattern. If you overachievers skip ahead in the pattern, you might find yourself saying, “darn, I would have done that if I had known!”

The sewalong will teach you how to add flutters to the straps, and how to add loops to the back of the bodice for kiddos who aren’t fond of wearing halters. We’re also going to go over how to do a vintage/retro faux “collar” type of detail in place of the optional bodice ruffle. All of these are done with what I would consider scrap-size fabric pieces, so it won’t really have much effect on your fabric requirements, but it’s worth considering when digging through your fabric stash and planning your project.

Let’s see those fabric pairing photos! If you’ve already decided on your fabrics, hop on over to the facebook group and share what you’ve selected. If you need help deciding, show us what you’re considering and ask for opinions. I can’t wait to see what you all come up with.

Timeline for the sewalong blog posts will be as follows:
Monday: Introduction and fabric cutting
Tuesday: Straps (with flutter modification) and sashes
Wednesday: Front bodice details (with faux collar modification)
Thursday: Bodice construction (with back loop modification)
Friday: Skirt construction
Saturday: Attaching skirt to bodice
Sunday/Monday: Show us your lovely creations! (or catch up if you need some extra time)

Stitching begins tomorrow, so now that you’ve washed and dried your fabrics, get them cut out. There are prizes to be won and of course, the best prize of all, is the beautiful handmade garment that you will create. If you haven’t sewn an Elise already, you’re about to learn why it’s an LLK favorite.

Feb 13, 2015

Perfect Ten Top - BLOG TOUR & New Pattern Release

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blog tour header Wohoooo!!! We're kicking off an amazing release of the most AWESOME knit top pattern ever: The Perfect Ten!!! To keep the excitement going, there will be an all-star blog tour the entire week long! The Perfect Ten is a jam-packed pattern with 6 bodice options, 4 sleeve options, 5 sleeve length options, 2 hem options, 2 neckline options AND is for sizes 12 months through girls 14!! Talk about the PERFECT pattern! If this is your first dip in the knit pool, have no fear- lots of great tutorials and tips will be shared throughout the blog tour. And, without further ado- we've got Jessica B from JAB Creations here to share with you how she does her stellar enclosed neckbands. She does almost exclusively knit items for her clothing shop, and they are always top-notch garments made with a great, professional finish! Keep reading, the blog tour links are posted at the end and you won't want to miss out!!! Blog Tour Schedule Hi, my name is Jessica and I am the owner and creator at JAB Creations Clothing. I have only been sewing for 3 years but took to knits about a year ago and truly explored and learned a lot. They are truly not a scary thing at all! My first knit project was a huge fail!!! I could not even get the shirt on my daughter due to the hole being too small. Needless to say I had many fails and gave up for awhile. However I gave it another shot and with the help of Little Lizard King I have truly learned the art of knit and bindings! Step 1: Cut your binding as indicated in the pattern. Fold short ends together and sew with a zig zag stitch creating a tube. jab Step 2: Find the 4 quarters of the neckline and put pins in those areas. The back seam will be your starting point. Take your Binding and attach it to the bodice matching the center back of the bodice to the seam of the tube binding. Then match the other 3 quarter points. Pin in between the points stretching slightly. Then sew with a zig zag stitch. It should look like this after sewn on. jab2 jab3 Step 3: Next you are going to fold your binding wrong side to wrong side so that it touches the edge of your bodice. Then flip it over and use the amazing magic clips. If you don't have magic clips don't fret, it is still possible with pins but your life will be a million times easier with magic clips. Fold and clip all the way around the bodice. jab4 Step 4: You are almost done are you excited! Ok, so last step is sewing it. I will be honest this is the hardest step but with patience and taking your time it is possible. First things first, if sewing with a sewing machine I am going to suggest this random foot (I think is a stitch in the ditch) that works wonders for me. you are going to be sewing on the right side of the fabric which can be tricky since you have to catch the binding on the wrong side. jab5 So go slow, use your fingers to make sure the bottom is covering your original zig zag stitch (great way to tell if it will catch), and just slightly give some tension as you go. Do not pull. Tension and pulling are different. For this I use a 3.5 inch length stitch. Since I use this special stitch in the ditch I have to move my needle all the way to the left on my machine. So I move it to the left, lower my presser foot so that is butted up against the seam of the binding and bodice, and I go slowly. Sew around and you are done!!! jab6 Did you miss catching areas? If so, use your finger to rub then somewhat over the seam on the inside and stitch just over that area making sure to stitch over your original stitches. That will allow it to look clean and barely noticeable on the outside. the inside is not always going to be pretty but it is functional. If you have a coverstitch machine try doing this technique with it as well! I have the janome 1000cpx and use my 3rd needle to the left and a center guide foot and it is magic! jab7jab8 Thanks for letting me give you some insight on my love of binding and knits! Good luck; you can do it!!!    
The Perfect Ten Knit Top Blog Tour
Friday, February 13th: Kickoff release with Little Lizard King, special tutorial by JAB Creations
Saturday, February 14th: The Cutest Babe on the Block with Harper Creek Boutique
Sunday, February 15th: Sweet and Stylish with Beri Bee Designs
Monday, February 16th: Oh Sew Chic with Daydream Believers
Tuesday, February 17th: Puppy Love with Stitched by Crystal
Wednesday, February 18th: A Knit Panel and Flutter Tutorial by Chasing Mermaids
Thursday, February 19th: A Colorblocking Tutorial by That's Sew Kari
Friday, February 20th: Sassy Style with Blink: Life & Clothing and a Tour Wrap up with Lily Shine Boutique