Sunday, 1 May 2016

Spots and stripes

I first combined these  multi-coloured spot and stripes fabrics when making a little dress and knickers set for my first grand-daughter nearly two years ago. Unfortunately the dress didn't survive long enough to be photographed, I assume it got eaten by the washing machine. I managed to take a photo of the knickers before their demise, which you can see on this post

However, I still like the combination, and, as there was no set to use as a hand-me-down for a younger grand-daughter, I decided to make another set, albeit in a larger size. This time, I added a sun-hat.


The details of the free patterns I used are after the jump.

The knickers, as for the last time I made a similar outfit, used Dana's Perfect Diaper Cover pattern. This is her revised and improved pattern.  It really makes a nice pair of pants for a baby, my favourite pattern. I used the largest size, 12-24 months, and added a bit of height, as I thought there is quite a lot of difference between 12 and 24 months. I probably added a bit too much, as they are very roomy. The pattern comes in several sizes to fit 

Dana suggests two ways of making them, one, without bias binding, with a wider seam allowance on the legs and top for turning in hems, and the other using bias binding round the legs and waist. As you can see, I've done a bit of both. Using bias round the legs does make it a bit easier to insert the leg elastic, but I didn't find that necessary round the waist, which in normal circumstances under a dress is not visible.

I made the bias binding using my new bias binding maker. I don't know why I didn't buy one years ago, it does make it so much easier. You still have to cut the strips on the bias (and join them if necessary), but then you just thread through the bias binding maker and iron as you go, and, hey presto, lovely home-made bias binding!

I really liked the combination of the diagonal stripes (because the tape is cut on the bias) with the spotty material of the knickers.

For the dress, I used the tutorial from Jess from Craftiness is not Optional for her Ice Cream Social Dress. I used my stripey material for the shoulder straps, the spotty material for the main part of the skirt, and then I added a frill of the stripey material.

To do this, I cut the skirt a little shorter than normal, and then cut a strip (actually a joined strip) a bit longer than the full skirt width. You could make this very frilly if you wanted, with about 1 and a half times or even double the width of the main part of the skirt, bit I think mine was about a quarter or a third as long again, just so I could gather it slightly. In fact, the frill is twice the depth shown. I doubled it over (i.e. the hem on the frill is as deep as the frill). So I will be able to let it down later if required.

It is quite an easy dress to make, with a very good tutorial from Jess. The only thing I would say is that I found it a bit tricky both times I made it placing the shoulder straps. It required a certain amount of trial and error to get them fixed in the right place. In the end, I attached them about an inch apart ON THE UNSTRETCHED ELASTIC at the back, and about 4 inches apart on the front (also ON THE UNSTRETCHED ELASTIC). I had to decide how to attach them. I thought they would not be very secure if I just attached the inner, elasticated side of the straps. (Especially after the first version two years ago disintegrated in the wash.) But if you attach the whole strap width, the dress elastic  wouldn't stretch properly. In the end, I attached the inner sides (i.e. the side of the straps nearest the neck), and then stretched out the dress along the width of the straps to sew across the whole width of each one, so both the dress and the strap would have some horizontal stretch. I'm not sure if this is the best way. Possibly you could just attach the inner side with a few stitches, and the outer side likewise. Apart from that, it was very easy!

Finally, the hat. For this, I used my favourite hat pattern, the Scrappy Sun Hat from Jessica (a different Jessica I think!) from Running With Scissors.  I can't find that I ever posted about the original one I made in the smallest of the three sizes, so I've just done so now, and you can find pictures of that first one here. The most recent one, to match the sun dress and knickers, was the second size, as its new owner is just two years old. (However, I think the same size will fit her 16 month old cousin too.) I haven't had it modelled yet on a child when I had a camera handy, but toddler I happily put it on her doll to be photographed.

This hat is easy to make, following the tutorial and using the free PDF pattern. I just think it looks really attractive. This time, I purchased some stretchy red elastic for the under chin strap, 10mm wide. It's called satin effect bra strap / lingerie elastic. You can't see it on the photo but it looks pretty.

Finally, pictures from a friend, of Toddler I in the stripes and spots dress, with a couple of her little friends!

And here's the hat:

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