Friday, February 26, 2010

A Pillowcase Dress from 3 Fat Quarters

A fat quarter is a piece of fabric that is 18" x 22". It is a quarter yard, but it is cut differently than you'll get if you ask for a quarter yard at the fabric counter at Joann's. This tutorial for a pillowcase dress takes advantage of the way that a fat quarter is already cut, so you'll have less cutting to do, less waste, and a ton of cute prints to choose from.

Since the top of a pillowcase dress is adjustable, this dress will fit little girls from size 2T through 6. The finished dress is 21" long and 17 ½" wide. A size 8 child on the slender side could easily wear this as a top. If you are unsure about sizing, just measure your little girl or one of her dresses.

Let's get to it!

You will need these notions and tools to work with:

2 fat quarters of fabric in your main color
1 fat quarter in a coordinating color
Coordinating thread
Scissors and/or rotary cutter
Ruler and cutting mat
Marking tool (if desired)

The Steps

1.     First cut 4" off your coordinating color of fabric to make a 18" square. You will use my "How To Make 4 Yards of Bias Tape From a Fat Quarter"
method to make bias tape out of this 18" square.

2.    Cut the 4" x 18" strip of fabric that you just made into 2 strips that are 2" x 18" each.

3.    Lay out your 2 matching fat quarters one on top of the other.

Then fold them in half lengthwise.

4.    Print up the armhole template and cut along the solid lines. Lay it against the top and right (cut) edges.

    Cut out the armholes through all four layers at once.
    This is what you'll get:

 5.     Pin your two 2" x 18" pieces to the bottom of the dress pieces, right sides together.

6. Stitch with a ¼" seam. Finish your seam with a zig-zag stitch.

 7.    Press the seam toward the darker fabric.

8.    Pin the dress pieces right sides together along the side seams.

    Stitch from the bottom of the armhole to the hem. Finish your seam with a zig-zag stitch.

9.    Now go ahead and make your bias tape using the 18" square and the "How To Make 4 Yards of Bias Tape From a Fat Quarter" tutorial.

 10.    Pin bias tape to the right side of each armhole.

11. Stitch in the crease, about 3/8" from the edge.

12. Turn the binding around to the other side and pin. Put all your pins on the right side of the dress. Be sure that your trim is wrapped tightly enough around so that your stitching will catch it on the back.

13.     Top-stitch along the edge of the trim, sewing it down on the back at the same time.

14. Making the casing. Fold the top (neckline) down 2" toward the inside of the dress. Press.

 15. Open up the fold that you just made, and press the edge down about ¼".

Then fold it back along the 2" line and press it again.

16.     Stitch the casing down on the inside, close to the edge.

 17.     Making the ties. Cut two pieces of bias trim that are 35" long.

 18.     Open up the ends of the trim, and fold the edge to the inside. Refold and pin.

19. Stitch close to the edges.

20. Insert the ties through the casings using a safety pin.

21. Hemming. Press the bottom edge to the inside ¼", and then again ¼".

    Stitch a narrow hem.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My website is up!

I can't believe it. I actually have a website. Of course, I'm sure my husband thinks it's about time. He's been staring at my back every night for the past week as I have been glued to the computer. I pretend to watch TV with him at the same time, but he knows I really have no idea what is going on.

So my website has a photo gallery, a place where you can email me, and a link to this blog :). But the best part is that now my patterns are now available for purchase and instant download, instead of just purchase and wait for the emailed file.

I really want to hear what everyone thinks of it. Don't be shy!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Win a copy of the Button Up Bolero!

My Button Up Bolero is now done. I am so excited by the way it turned out. You know, the whole reason I started working on this, is because we were planning a trip up north (Tallahassee :) ) and I wanted a fleece jacket for Chloe. I did NOT want to bother with putting in sleeves, however. And I wanted something that I could work on in the car. A whole pile of cut up fleece later, this little design was born! It is very easy, and doesn't requre a sewing machine, just fleece, embroidery floss (or yarn), and buttons!

I think sometime soon I'll post the instructions for folding it up. They are so fun.

For now, here's another picture. Scroll to the end for two chances to win a copy of the pattern...

I need blog followers! So if you follow my blog, you'll get a chance to win. On March 1 I'll choose one random winner from among my blog followers. If you are already a blog follower, then you're already entered.

I really need twitter followers! So follow me, and you'll get another chance to win. If you tweet about this giveaway, you'll get another chance in this category (up to one per day). Just leave me a comment to tell me you did. On March 1 I'll choose another random winner from among the twitterers.

Thank you so much for your support, and I hope you win! (Be sure to watch my blog and tweets to see if you did.)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Simple Blanket Stitching Tutorial

Here's a little tutorial I wrote up for The Button Up Bolero. I wanted to post this just in case anyone wanted to brush up on their blanket stitching in advance!

The pictures are small so this won't be a mile long, but you can enlarge them if you need to.

1. Cut a strand of embroidery floss that is as long as you think you can handle. It will go fast. Then thread the whole strand of embroidery floss through your needle. Tie a knot at the end.

2. Choose where you will begin stitching.

Working from the back, stick your needle only part-way through the fleece and then up and out from the edge, so that your first stitch is inside the fleece.

View from the front, see how the needle didn’t go all the way through the layer of fleece?

Pull the needle and thread through. On the back you will see the thread knot.

3. Now poke your needle down in from the front in the same spot as your thread knot.

When the loop is almost tight, slip your needle through it so that when you pull it tight, your thread end is still coming from the fabric edge.

4. Now move about a centimeter away from your first stitch and make another stitch, still working from the front.

Just before you pull the fabric tight, stick your needle through the thread loop from the back to keep the thread end running along the fabric edge.
5. Repeat step 3 above until you come to a stopping point or are almost out of thread.

6. To tie off, just make a little knot on the back of the stitching and slip the end under a stitch or two.

7. To start again in the same place (because you needed more thread), prepare your thread as in step one and poke your needle through the back at the bottom of your last stitch.

Run your needle under the last horizontal thread segment so the thread will come from the fabric edge again.


  8. Continue blanket stitching around until all edges are finished, or at least all of the edges that will show.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Button Up Bolero

I'm so excited. My newest pattern is almost ready. It's going to the testers today! Here's my preliminary cover page. I'm waiting for better pictures from my darling photographer :).

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The DIY Dish

My favorite source for patterns - - has just launched a new website, and they are giving away 2 sewing machines to celebrate! Here's a little video about it:

So check it out. Hope I win!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cute as a button!

This is my adorable little niece Jane - and she's wearing another version of Cadie's Wrap-Around Dress that her mom made. I love seeing how other people put it together. I really like the shiny ribbon and little flower. Great job Julie!
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