Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New Knit Brand In Town + Any Size Knit Playdress Tutorial

Today's a bit of a twofer for fabric fans: hot fabric news AND an easy outfit tutorial to go with it!  Let's start with the news....

Timeless Treasures, a favorite maker of quilting cotton, and long time sponsor here at Sew Can Do, is now making knit fabric too!  

I sew with knits more than anything else and I'm always looking for more high quality options that won't send me to the poor house.  They've recently released a handful of prints in their City Knits collection (which I'll be sharing more about next month) and several collections under their sister brand Dear Stella.  I used a pair of the new Dear Stella Fresh Dew prints for today's tutorial, my Any Size Playdress.    

The project design was inspired by the knit play dresses seen at European shops like Hanna Andersson and Boden.  Pretty prints paired with comfy loose style.  The best part is making the pattern for it, in any size you want, is a breeze! 

The neckline binding is done using the main fabric for a professional looking finish.  The sleeves are part of the bodice to shorten construction time and have a fold-up cuff for a little extra detail:

The dress has a very classic, yet casual shape that's just as at home on the playground...

as it is somewhere like a family dinner or church thanks to the thanks to the versatile floral prints of these knits:

In the Know on these Knits: Both the TT & Dear Stella lines are 95% cotton+5% spandex with a 50%, 4 way stretch and 60 inches wide.  They're medium weight (5.6oz sq yd, so about 9.3oz per actual yard) and have a nice recovery, so they work well for all sorts of projects.  I found the shrinkage was minimal and the quality very good.  The price point per yard is quite reasonable at under $16/yd too.

Now, let's get to the play dress making!

- 1/2 yd* knit fabric for bodice (mine is Fresh Dew Peach)
- 1/2yd* knit fabric for skirt (mine is Secret Garden White)
- Loose fitting t-shirt to trace
- Tracing paper
- Pencil

Notions: pins, rotary cutter/shears, ruler, iron, twin needle, ball point needle, marking pen, thin string, coordinating colored thread.

Optional: Walking foot, paper backed fusible tape

* The amount of fabric needed will depend on the size desired.  I made a girl's size 7 with these amounts.  

Start with the t-shirt and tracing paper to make an easy pattern.  Fold both in half and place the shirt on the paper along the fold.

Trace around the shirt, adding about 5/8 inch around the neckline:

Then adding an inch and a half to the shoulder and side areas.  Determine the length based on on where you want the bodice to hit (empire, natural waist or drop waisted).  For this dress I ended up doing 3 inches below the underarm.  

If the back side has a much higher neckline than the front, do a second paper pattern and redraw the neckline for the back by fold the shirt in half with the back side out, using that neckline as a guide.  Doing a full piece pattern makes it a lot easier to center on prints like this one.  Use patterns to cut a front & back from the fabric:

With right sides facing, stitch front & back together at shoulders and sides using a 3/8 inch seam allowance.

You can use a zig-zag, knit stitch, overlock or serge for the seams.  I prefer doing a triple stitch. Like the name says, it's a straight stitch, gone over three times, so it's easy to do and found on any basic sewing machine.  Trim down the seam allowances (I always use pinking shears to make it quick & simple).

To do the neck binding, lay the neck hole flat, with the side seams matched up to measure it.  Mine was 18.5 inches total. 

Cut a strip that is 2 inches high and 1 inch narrower than the neck opening.

With right sides facing, stitch together the short ends with a half inch seam allowance.  Mark both the neck band and the neck hole into quarters and with right sides facing, pin together at markings.  Stitch using a 5/8 seam allowance, stretching the neckband slightly to fit as you go, using a triple stitch.  

After the band is stitched on, flip it up and over to the wrong side and pin.  Edge stitch close to the original seam with a triple stitch.  Trim down the raw edge on the inside if needed.  

So often a spandex knit is perfect for the main pieces, but distorts or doesn't lie right when used to bind necklines or do cuffs.  It can be challenging & expensive to try to find solids or rib knits to match.  This was just perfect and blended right in with the bodice.

To add the sleeve cuffs, cut two bands that are 4 1/2 inches high by the width of the sleeve + 1 1/2 inches.  Stitch together the short ends, same as the neckband, 

This time, fold the band in half once done.  Mark the cuffs and sleeves in quarters. 

Match up the raw edges of the cuffs to the edge of each sleeve, aligning the cuff seam with the underarm seam and pin.  Stitch together with a 5/8 inch seam allowance.  Pull cuff down and then fold up to hide the seam and press along the fold.

To do the skirt, cut at least double the width of the bodice (ours was 26 inches total so I cut two 27 inch rectangles that would then total 54 inches).  I wanted ours to be just below the knee, so did an 18 inch height.  Stitch the panels down the sides with a 3/8 inch seam.

To do the gathering, the easiest way is to take some thin string, like crochet yarn, close to the raw edge, and stitch around it with a long and wide zig zag so it encases the string, but doesn't stitch over it:

It will end up like this and be much easier to pull, gather and even out than doing basting stitches or trying to attach elastic:

Gather evenly until it is the same circumference as the bodice bottom and then pin together, right sides facing, matching up the side seams.  Stitch together with a 5/8 inch seam allowance.  Pull out string when done.

Time to finish the hem. I find using paper backed fusible tape makes this super easy.  With the skirt turned inside out, press some tape along the edge.  

Peel off the paper and fold the fabric down and press.  No need for pins!  Stitch the hem into place.

The dress is done and ready for playtime!

I used some of the Fresh Dew Peach to make a matching bunny plush by drafting my own softie pattern:

I think they make a pretty cute pair:

And of course, since I made a bunny softie to go with the dress, we had to have super cute bunny shoes to complete the look.  I bought these from Boden and thought they'd be the perfect finishing touch for the outfit.  Shimmery silver and cute bunny features, but a nice rubber sole so they're as versatile as the dress:)

I was not financially compensated for this post.  I received knit fabric from Timeless Treasures to try out & use as I desired.  The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.   For my complete disclosure policy, click here.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Birthday Blowout Craftastic Monday Link Party

Happy Monday Crafties!  Spring weather is here and with sunshine all around and everything in bloom I'm really feeling the season.  I'm also celebrating my birthday week with a new tutorial and a big fabric giveaway on Friday, so be sure to come back the rest of the week!  

Now it's time for you to link up and share whatever you've been doing - crafts, sewing, knitting, DIY, decor, recipes, anything made by you is welcome:)

Last week I shared a great way to share our sewing skills with those less fortunate via the 1 Million PillowCase Challenge, plus an easy tutorial for making pillowcases with directional prints.  Find out about both HERE.

Let's see the latest Craftastic Picks!!

KBB Crafts & Stitches did this beautiful cross stitch lavender sachet:

Nephi Handmade created these adorable crochet frog keychains:

Pieced Brain made this colorful Cake Mix quilt.  So vibrant!

Reviews, Chews and How-Tos offered up these low carb mushroom cap pizzas:

Home Cooking Memories showed how to whip up some strawberry mint smoothies:

If you're one of this week's features, be sure to grab my Featured On button over on my Buttons Page to share the good news. 

Want a Chance to 
Be Featured Next Week?  

Link back to the party somewhere on your blog.
I can't feature your post if you don't share the party.  
I also feature these projects on Sew Can Do's Craftastic Picks Pinterest board 
AND share each of them on Twitter too for even MORE exposure for YOUR blog!

Follow me there to see more great projects (and see if yours is one of them)!   
Ready to link up your crafty creations?
Party rules are simple: 
  • As long as it's crafty, and made by you, it's Craftastic (no links to giveaways, shops, link parties or other people's work).  Add the link to your specific post. Product reviews, plagiarized or sponsored posts for random items will be immediately deleted.  
  • Grab my party button & put it on your post, party page or blog somewhere.  If you want the chance to be featured, this is key.  The button code can be found HERE.
  • Check out some of the other fabulous links and share some crafty comment love.  We all love getting comments!!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

1 Million Pillowcases Challenge & Easy Pillowcase Tutorial

During the Easter season our family has tried to focus more on giving & charitable work. I've been looking for more opportunities to use our skills in more ways and teach my kids some sewing at the same time.  So the timing couldn't be better to share the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge!

I heard about this charity challenge through Crosscut Sewing Company.  Last month, American Patchwork & Quilting kicked off a donation drive of providing 1,000,000 pillowcases to charities like shelters, hospitals, clinics and missions.  Participating quilt & fabric shops have joined in to promote this charity drive, host classes and serve as local drop off locations for pillowcase donations.  

Crosscut Sewing Company is one of these shops.  This Massachusetts based fabric store and sewing studio (that also has a fantastic online shop for the rest of us), was generous enough to provide me with fabric & directions to make a pillowcase to donate. They even sent me some matching thread and notion goodies as a surprise.  All in the name of a good cause, which was really generous:

I was able to pick out the fabrics from their vast shop offerings, which was fun too.  I choose this happy ice cream and coordinating clock print from the Boardwalk Delight collection by Dana Willard.

The only thing I didn't think about in advance was that this was a directional print, which meant the usual way of sewing a pillowcase up "burrito style" would make the print sideways on the finished pillowcase, which I didn't want.  As a result, I did this handy tutorial variation.  With this, it's just as easy to do with fabrics that have a distinct direction and maximize all the fabric choice options.

How To Make A Directional Print Pillowcase 

- 3/4yd main cotton fabric
- 1/2yd cuff cotton fabric

- Optional: 1/8yd small trim cotton fabric
- Rotary cutter/shears, iron

Cut the main piece to be 21 1/2 inches high by the width of the fabric.  Cut two 16 inch high cuff pieces and two 2 inch high trim pieces (also the full width of the fabric for those).

Press each the trim strips in half, wrong sides facing and match up the raw edges with one edge of the cuff fabric (right side up).  Place the main fabric on top, right side down, and sew with a 3/8 inch seam allowance.

Roll up the main fabric and wrap the other end of the cuff fabric over it:

Pin and sew over the original line of stitches:

Pull the main fabric out through the open side:

Repeat these steps on the other end, pressing the trim ends flat:

Now, fold it in half widthwise with the right sides out and stitch along the top and bottom sides with a 1/4 inch seam allowance and trim down the raw edge close to the seam:

Pull the pillowcase inside out and stitch 3/8 in from the seam edge to encase the raw edges for a nice finish inside:

I loved the idea of using craft skills to help others in need and thought this would be a great opportunity to get my kids involved too.  Once I finished mine, I got my kids sewing some with some fabric from my stash to make a couple more:

They were so proud of what they made and in gaining a little confidence sewing.  I sew a lot for my kids, but it felt really good to be sewing with them and doing it all for someone else made it more special.  

Now that we've gotten ours done, we're ready to donate.  I'm excited to have the kids help deliver them and update the counter with our contribution.

Last time I checked the counter it was at 715,021, so many more pillowcases are still needed to reach the million goal.  This is such a fun & easy way to do a little something for someone else that could use some kindness at a difficult time.  I hope you'll join us!  To find a participating shop, check the counter, download free patterns and watch a how-to video, visit the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge website HERE.

American Patchwork & Quilting 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge - I made a difference YOU CAN TOO! Click here to learn more.

I was not financially compensated for this post.  I received fabric from Crosscut Sewing Company, to make a pillowcase to donate to charity.  The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.   For my complete disclosure policy, click here.


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