Tag Archives: ruffles

Making my own sewing patterns

I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get a sewing machine. I love it. And now, I want a serger. Seriously, I can’t stop thinking about making clothes. I remember back when I was about 10 or so, I used to draw all these ridiculous dresses and outfits I wanted to make. I should have studied fashion design.

I’ve figured out how to draw out my own patterns using clothes that currently fit my daughter. Everything I’ve made so far is pretty much limited to an 18 month size… But I figure I’ll work out 24 month size soon. πŸ˜‰

Here are the things I’ve made for Miss Penelope, all using repurposed/upcycled materials. Woohoo! I still haven’t made it to the fabric market as there’s absolutely no way I would be able to navigate the place with three kids in tow… Someday… But until then, I’m cutting up all the old t-shirts and bedsheets I can find!

Asymmetric pleated dress made from a t-shirt

2 layer dress with deep v-back made from a t-shirt and bedsheets

Bubble dress made from a t-shirt

Shift dress made from a pillowcase and an old skirt

Tunic made from a bedsheet and t-shirt scraps

I think I missed my calling…

As I’ve been getting to know my sewing machine better these last couple of months, I’ve come to the realization that I may have missed my calling as a baby clothes designer… Good thing I went to school for 10 years (post-high school) to get my PhD in Art History, huh? πŸ˜‰

Anyway, I tried my hand at another tutorial for a gorgeous dress I saw on Pinterest–that wonderful, evil, time-sucking, procrastination tool. The tutorial can be found on the Tidbits blog. I adore this dress. It’s beautiful. But reading through the tutorial, I was worried for a couple of reasons. A) I wasn’t sure if I could handle doing the sleeves, and since I’d done the edging on a tank dress before, I decided to make it a tank dress. B) She said that she used up 6 old t-shirts in the making of this dress. Because my sewing skills are still quite limited, I wasn’t sure if I was willing to risk RUINING 6 valuable t-shirts if I royally screwed this up. Despite these concerns, the ruffles on the back of this dress made me want to squeal with delight. So I had to try it. I decided to do just two colors–this way, I’d only be ruining 2 shirts.

I took a dress that I already had for Penny and made a pattern… And once I had the pieces cut out (which was way easier this time around), I got sewing. And I immediately got ahead of myself and sewed the front and back pieces of the skirt together before realizing that’s one of the last steps on the tutorial. Oh whoops… But I’d already cut up one t-shirt, and there wasn’t enough material to cut out another skirt. Plus, I’d already zigzag stitched the seam so it wasn’t like I could just rip out the straight stitches and sew the pieces back together later. I wouldn’t be able to sew the two triangular pieces onto the back of the dress… And after spending quite a bit of time staring at the pieces, trying to figure out what to do, I finally decided to just move forward. I’d figure it out later!

So I started making ruffles… Lots and lots of ruffles! Sewed the ruffles on, put the edging on the neckline and the armholes (are there more technical terms for these?), sewed the bodice onto the skirt… And I found that I love this version of the dress so much more than what I’d originally set out to make! This is much more my style than the original (thus, Penny’s style–haha!), and I just adore it.

Front of dress
Back of dress

Β It’s just the tiniest bit big on her, so it’ll be perfect once the weather warms up. Now, my only problem is is that Miss Penelope isn’t walking yet. I need her to walk on her own two feet so she can wear this dress and maximize the adorableness of it.

After I posted photos of this on my Instagram, a friend of mine emailed and asked if I could help her make a dress like this for her niece, so I scanned the pattern I made and emailed it to her. Until I can figure out how to put a PDF file up on my blog, feel free to email me and I’ll send you the pattern! It’s for an 18 month size dress. It includes a single piece for the top/bodice and the piece for the skirt (which you’ll have to cut 2 of–one for the front, one for the back). That’s it! I’ll get up a proper tutorial soon, with photos and all, but right now, I’m in the middle of working on Version 2 of a peplum jacket for Miss Penelope using an old Ikea couch cover! πŸ˜‰

Here’s Version 1, made from a pair of her daddy’s old khakis.

I love it, but it fits her quite snug right now. I’m not even sure it’ll fit her once the weather warms up a bit more and she can actually wear it out of the house… Version 2 features both pleats AND darts. It’s been a major pain in the ass… But I’ve learned a lot and I’m almost done!

Ruffles and Ruffles

I’m feeling particularly proud of myself today. I started and finished something on the sewing machine–something terribly cute! I used the tutorial available at Dana Made It (a site that I’m loving these days), and here’s the finished product:

There are definitely quite a few mistakes in it, but the nature of the ruffles helps hide them! I can’t wait to try it on Miss Penny when she gets up from her nap–not that I want her to wake up from her nap… πŸ˜‰ What I love even more about the skirt is that I upcycled an old crib sheet. I only used a small amount of the fabric, and since it’s a crib sheet from the boys’, I have two of them! What to make next with this great fabric???