Tuesday, July 31, 2012

{Sewlebrity Crush} One Handed Swim Suit Cover from Family Ever After

Hello! Today is the last day of Sewlebrity Crush, and I'm bringing up the rear. No, I don't have a crush on myself, haha! I originally posted this tutorial on Kojo Designs as part of the Color My Summer series. Stay tuned for tomorrow's recap... there is going to be a giveaway from The Fat Quarter Shop for $100.

Do you remember the awesome reader entry from last summer's Color My Summer? It was a one-handed swim suit cover, and it was brilliant. I loved it because I'm constantly juggling bags, food, and kids at the pool. This is exactly what I need- something easy to slip this on only using one hand! There were a bunch of requests on how to make the one-handed sarong. I have scoured the internet for a tutorial, but I've been unlucky finding anything. So, I decided to figure out how to make it myself! And it was so easy.

Here's how I incorporated my lovely color.... GREEN! 
I'm on a mission this summer to re-purpose and use up my fabric stash before I buy any more. I made this cover-up using materials I already had. The cover-up would have looked extra cool with a green knit, but I challenged myself to get creative and add green with what I already had... hence the fun little bustle!
 (one of the ruffles in the picture is wrinkled; it's not like that in real life though, you'll see)!

Let me show you how I made this!
aka- I was totally winging it. I had no plan, I was just getting a little scissor and sewing happy as I went along! This is definitely a project you're going to want to try on as you go.
*The great thing about working with a knit on this project is that you don't have to be totally accurate with your cutting, etc. This is a forgiving project :) Also, when working with knits, it's a good idea to get a special dull needle. But, I'm lazy and I just used the one in my machine, and it worked great.

1 yard knit fabric (I'm 5'2" so get 1.5 yards if you're taller)
scrap fabric if you want to add the bustle
regular sewing supplies + optional ruffle foot

1. I started by draping the yard of fabric around my body, and trying to visualize how it would all come together. I fashioned this with the selvages perpendicular to the ground.

 2. I free hand cut away part of the fabric that I didn't want, because it would be too bunchy at my back. So, the edge of the right of this picture is the selvage. That is the part that would be parallel to the front of my body. On the left side of this picture is the fold, and that will be at the back of me.

 3. Trim off your selvages.

 4. You don't have to hem knits, because they don't fray. But I did anyway, because I like the look. Like I said, I was making this up as I went. Turns out, I didn't need to hem that little portion on the left. Just hem the curved party where you cut away the fabric.

5. Then go ahead and hem where the selvages were. This will be the front of your cover-up, and it will overlap once it's on.

6. Now it's time to take care of that little straight portion where I told you not to hem. We are going to sew that right sides together, then gather it up. This will be the portion of the cover-up that you twist with your hand and place over your head.

a. Place right sides together, and sew 2 rows of basting stitches (set your stitch length at the highest number). Don't backstitch.
 b. Find the bottom threads on each end of the seam, and pull to bunch up the fabric.
 c. Now sew a normal straight line over your gathers, backstitching. You can do that twice to reinforce everything. Yours should look something like this now. I had to trim off the extra fabric where I did the unnecessary hem at the beginning of this tutorial.
 d. Turn right sides out, and this is how it should look now.

 7. Here is a look at our progress.
 Here's another look. At this point, if you didn't want to add any other embellishments, you could almost be done. You would just need to hem up the bottom. How easy was that!?!?

8. If you want to add the ruffles, here's how I did it. 
Using 3 t-shirts that don't fit me anymore, I cut 7 strips 2 inches wide.
 Then using my ruffle foot, I ruffled them at every stitch. (You can watch videos on youtube if you don't know how to use a ruffle foot. This was my first time using it, and I LOVED it)!
 Here's all my ruffles.

9. I measured approximately 10 inches in the back, centered it, and pinned it.
I calculated how long my ruffle pieces were before cutting on my white fabric. You don't want to cut off too much and be stuck without enough ruffles. This triangle was cut on the fold, so it was twice as big when I unfolded it.

10. Now you can start sewing your ruffles on to your backing piece. I just layed them down straight, pinned, and sewed. This was very un-technical!
 Layer your second row of ruffles so the seam from the first one isn't showing. Sew and repeat til all ruffles are sewn.

11. Trim off excess fabric.

12. Pin right sides of the cover-up and ruffle piece together, and sew!

13. I forgot to take a picture, but here's where you would hem the rest of the bottom edge. I just rolled over twice and sewed at the edge of my presser foot.

Here's how the finished product looks.

To add one more element of green, I made this simple fabric flower.

1. Cut 5 circles from fabric, about3 inches in diameter.
 2. Fold in half once for the rounded petal look (shown below), or fold in half twice for the poined petal look (shown above).
 3. With a hand-sewing needble, do a running stitch on the bottom of each petal, connecting each petal onto the thread as you go.
 4. Once all the petals are strung, embellish with a bead large enough to cover the raw edges. Glue your barrette to the back, and... done!

I hope this tutorial comes in handy for you beach and pool bums this summer!

Monday, July 30, 2012

{Sewlebrity Crush} Dolman Color Blocked Dress from Sew Much Ado

 I am sew excited to introduce my Sewlebrity Crush...
Abby from Sew Much Ado!

In my eyes, she is a "Sewlebrity," and here's why I've got a "Crush" on her!
I love this girl because her tutorials are so organized, clean, and easy to follow. She makes sewing look easy (even when it's not)! I think she has a knack for adding her own style and element of surprise to her sewing projects. A lot of her tutorials are things that I want to make, which are very practical and would be awesome to have (like her Swiffer cover, genius)! She also sells designs and sells the CUTEST patterns. And last, just wait until you see the pictures of her darling little baby below! I seriously want to squeeze her cuteness!

Today, she is sharing a tutorial for the cutest little Color Blocked Dress!

But first, here are a few other reasons why I have "fallen in love" with her blog.
 Gathered Car Seat Cover
Reusable Swiffer Pad
Abby, thanks for being my Sewlebrity Crush. You rock!
{To see the amazing line up of my other crushes, go here}
Now here she is, with her fabulous tutorial!
Hi! I'm Abby, and I blog over at Sew Much Ado, where I share sewing patterns and tutorials. I'm super excited to be a part of Rach's Sewlebrity Crush series, and to share a tutorial with you today! I've been following along all month, and I'm sure you'd agree that it's been a fantastic series!

So what are we making today? A Dolman Color Block Dress! I made this one for my 2 month old, but the instructions will work for any size or age - you could even make it into a tunic or top for yourself!

Let's get started...


- 3 different solid colored fabrics from same color family (all pastels, all jewel tones, all neons, etc) - amount needed will vary based on size of dress/tunic you're making

- 2 buttons

- existing well-fitting dress or tunic to trace

*Seam allowances to be 1/2" unless otherwise noted.*


1. Start by stitching your solid colored fabrics together into a size that's slightly larger than your existing dress (remember that you'll need a piece large enough to cut a front and back).

2. Fold front and back fabric pieces in half and lay flat with folds aligned.

3. Fold your existing dress in half down the midline and align it with the folds of your fabric. Trace around lower portion of existing dress, adding room for seam allowance. When reaching the upper portion of the dress, trace outwards as pictured, creating a dolman sleeve. The traced sleeve should begin lower on the fabric than the existing dress. Since our dress will have a boat neck, trace only a slight curve on the neckline.

4. Cut out both layers of fabric along traced line.

5. Use a pen to mark where edge of shoulder will be. You can use the existing dress to find the point or hold the dress up to the wearer.

6. Serge or zig zag stitch along entire upper raw edge of front and back and on each sleeve area to bottom of sleeve.

7. Place front and back pieces right sides together, matching serged/zig zagged edges. On each side, stitch a few inches from the edge of the fabric toward the shoulder mark. Stop stitching about 1" from shoulder mark. These amounts will vary with each size, so use your judgement.

8. Press each seam allowance open, and press front and back necklines 1/2" toward wrong side.

9. Topstitch 1/4" from pressed/stitched edge on each side.

10. Press each sleeve area 1/2" toward wrong side, tapering off where serged/zig zagged edge stops.

11. Topstitch 1/4" from pressed edge on each side, creating sleeve hem.

12. Right sides together, stitch front and back together at side edges. Serge or zig zag stitch raw edges and press seam allowance.

13. To make loops for buttons, cut two pieces as long as your loop needs to be, and 4x the width you would like your loop. I cut my pieces each 1"x4".

14. Press each loop piece in half, then open and press each long raw edge in to center fold. Press again along center fold.

15. Stitch close to open edge along length of each loop piece.

16. Fold loop in half and stitch to inside of dress back along neckline, 1/2"-1" in from shoulder mark. It'll help to try the dress on at the point - the loop needs to be close enough to the shoulder mark that there's enough room for the neck when being worn, but far enough away from the shoulder mark that the dress will comfortably stay in place when being worn.

17. Fold loop over to dress front to mark button placement on each side and stitch buttons in place.

18. Hem dress as desired - I serged the raw edge and pressed it 1/2" toward the wrong side. If not using a serger, I would press the raw edge to the wrong side and then press again to get a nice clean hem.

Voila, you're done!

Thanks again for having me, Rach! I hope you all enjoy the rest of your summer and come visit me soon!

Sewlebrity Crush is sponsored by the wonderful Fat Quarter Shop.

Stay tuned for a big giveaway on August 1!