Figgy's Blog

The girl's got attitude - Figgy's winner tutorial September 28 2012, 3 Comments

Whow, this girl knows how to pose! And another 'whow' -  it’s been a while but sometimes, good things just need their time! And this is a very special blog post: As you might know, the charming and talented Celina (mom of the cutie up there) of the blog petitapetitandfamily won our Figgy’s circle skirt design contest in July and with her cascade dress design. And with this win didn’t only come awesome prices – but also a feature tutorial for her winning design right here on our Figgy’s blog!


So, who is Celina? She's half British and half Moroccan, living, playing, working and raising two kids in Montreal, Quebec. She’s a childrenswear designer by trade (which certainly explains her exquisite aesthetic) who has worked in the industry before having her own kid’s label - Laila B. and her own children’s boutique – MossPink. Whow! As committed as she was to her business when she didn’t have kids, so committed she now is raising her two young children, designing, creating and blogging about her inspirations, life and projects. Hop on over to her blog and check out what she’s been up to lately. Click at the pattern sheet below to download instructions how to re-create this fashionable high-low dress.

Of course, we had a couple of questions to get to know her a little bit better:

Figgys:  How long have you been sewing?
Celina: I took my first sewing class when I was 13... that was ummm 23 years ago and I've been sewing ever since!!!! But I graduated from Fashion Design in 2001 and really learned how to sew and make patterns then.
Figgy's: What are your favorite things to sew?
Celina: Anything I can upcycle is my favorite, it's always a brand new challenge getting all the pattern pieces to fit in.
Figgy's: Would you consider yourself an experimental sewer or perfectionist? And why?
Celina: Definitely a perfectionist, I think that the difference between a good piece and an amazing piece is all in the details, I pay a lot of attention to the little things and I usually spend a lot time on the finishing details.
Figgy's: What's your favorite fabric to sew with? Maybe a designer or Fabric line?
Celina: Usually I'm attracted to the color or the pattern first, then I usual go for natural fibers, whether it's woven or knit really depends on what the project is. Although, knit is always quicker and easier, I have no real preference.
Figgy's: Do you have a favorite tool that you don't want to sew without?
Celina: The seam ripper is by far my favorite tool, I guess it goes with being a perfectionist! Funny thing is I always seem to be looking for it. However, sharp scissors and an iron are a must.
Figgy's: And because we all need inspiration at the pots too - do you have a favorite go-to recipe you'd like to share?
Celina: Oh boy! Cooking is not my thing, it's not that I'm not good at it, it's just that I don't enjoy it. The one meal my whole family enjoys is my spinach quiche. Yes my kids eat spinach!


Daniela & Shelly

kelly hogaboom strikes again... May 08 2012, 6 Comments

....and thank goodness she has! The last time Kelly came for a visit we all gained so much knowledge in regards to sewing with knits.  If you haven't had the chance to read through that post please schedule the time, it's worth it!  Now, Kelly is back providing us with new sewing knowledge on a topic that many sewists have been very interested in:  customizing a pants pattern to create the perfect fit.  Thank you so much Kelly for sharing this with all of us.  We feel privledged to have you visiting once again.

Banyan, Pockets

I have the honor to work with Shelly and Daniela at Figgy's Patterns and their
wonderful garment pattern designs for children and tweens - in this
case one of their latest: the Banyan shirt, tunic,
pants and shorts
. Today I have for you a tutorial for custom
sewing pants for your child. But let me give you a spiel first.

One of the best things about learning to sew clothing is you can make
exactly what someone wants, using colors, fabrics, and
embellishments just for them. You can construct the garment in a way
that fits them perfectly and feels better to wear than anything
purchased ready-to-wear (RTW). And finally - these clothes last longer
than even rather expensive retail products. Yes, it takes time to
build these skills, but today I CAN HAZ THEM, and I love to share

Specifically what I'm going to show you today concerns sewing
trousers for the tall and/or slim child.

My children have typically been slim for their age and size. When it
comes to pants, in RTW this means buying slim-fit trousers, elastic
waist pants, or using belts - all of which have drawbacks and
limitations. But in sewing we have the opportunity to create custom
fit, and here's how I did it.

First, I measured my client - in this case, my eight year old son.
Here are his measurements in inches, with the corresponding Banyan
pattern size in parenthesis:

Height: 51 1/2" (size 8/9)
Chest: 24 1/2" (size 6/7)
Waist: 22" (size 4/5)
Hip: 23" (size 4/5)

In making pants, the next thing to consider is where your child tends
to like to wear his or her clothing. In Nels' case, he wears in
between his hip and his waist. Both these body measurements are in the
4/5 size. And since his height corresponds to size 8/9, I'll simply
adjust the fit to correspond to a size 4/5 body girth and a size 8/9

If you trust the pattern's draft, you can adjust the pant fit
according to the pattern's waist size. Let me describe another method
to determine which size to grade to, or a way to double-check waist
sizing at a selected size.

On a flat or pleated - that is, non-elastic - pair of pants, the
length around the front waist, side seam to side seam, should
correspond to front body's wearing waist, ideally bisecting the
side-body. Said another way, the front body section of the pants'
waistband should reach halfway around the body at the wearing waist.

Flat-front pants with pockets, or pleated pants, take a moment to
figure out, but it's pretty simple really (see below). This
pattern has a 1/2" seam allowance. So measuring 1/2" in from the top
raw edge, I drew lines (shown in red) from the center front
(dashed line at left), skipping over the pleats (which
will reduce to zero once sewn
), and extending to within 1/2" or
one seam allowance, of the side seam.

But - we're not finished! Remember, the pockets will extend the front
waist of the pants. In the case of this pattern, figuring the added
length is very easy: simply fold the pocket piece in half (as the
pocket will be when finished
) and measure the distance from the
slanted raw edge to the side raw edge - AT the size selected (shown
here, 4/5). Add these red-line measurements up.

The Math

For the 4/5 size, the finished front pant measurement was 12"
(and, spoiler alert!, when I finished the pants, they were 12"
). Obviously your cutting, tracing, measuring, and
stitching abilities will all affect the outcome of this method, and if
it seems too complex put it aside, or write me an email. However,
thinking this way about clothing is a good technique to learn.

On to tracing and cutting. When making a smaller girth to height, the
pant leg is a fairly simple adjustment: since I wanted the length of
the 8/9 size, plus 1/2", I simply traced from the crotch point of the
4/5 size in a smooth curve onto the thigh of the 8/9 cutting line
(you can see my resultant cutting line below, in red).

Grading A Smaller Size Inseam, Outseam

For the other side of the pant front leg, the difference between a 4/5
and an 8/9 is so minimal - about 1/8" as marked, I didn't do any
grading at all but just cut along the 8/9.

Pocket On Pant Front

Layout: This pant pattern only includes one back pocket. You can see
my pocket piece near the center of the photo, waiting to be cut after
I cut the rest and unfold it (this is a great opportunity to cut a
bias pocket if you have a cute pattern on your fabric, stripes,
corduroy, et cetera
). I added 1/2" to the length of the pant legs
for a bit of growth room. To do this, I simply extended the bottom hem
of the front and back pant leg - using the large ruler you see laying
on my pant front pattern piece.

Laying Out

One more comment about cutting. The waistband for the Banyan pants and
shorts is a bit of genius. It is a three-part waistband, with a long
back waistband fully-elasticized and corresponding to the side-seams
of the pants, and a left front and left right flat (i.e.
) waistband. In a case like this I typically cut
the front waistbands a bit longer, to make sure I don't run out of
room later. Waistbands can be kind of a pain and I'd rather add a
little extra now, than rip out stitches and/or add darts and/or cut
new pieces later.

After cutting according to your adjustments, the rest of
construction follows the pattern instructions
. I'll continue here
to write a bit about constructing the pants. You can skip to the
bottom of the post if you'd like to see the fit difference my
adjustments made.

To prepare the pants for sewing, I marked darts, pleats, and pocket
placement, interfaced appropriate sections, and pre-serged a few

For marking, I prefer either water-soluble marker or chalk or thread.
I used pencil in this case as I knew it would wash out.

I typically insert a needle through the pattern to get perfect
placement of marks. Here you see the inner pocket placement upper
edge. After pushing the needle through the paper, I carefully lift the
pattern and mark, on the right side, the pocket placement.

Transfering Markings, In This Case Pocket Placement

Pocket placement markings on the right side of the garment. The little
bump at waist-edge is the dart head.

Pocket Markings

For the darts, I used the same needle method to mark the termination
of the darts on the wrong side of the pants. I make these
markings simultaneously on both left and right pattern pieces.

Dart Placement

Given there is a 1/2" seam allowance, I give myself license to mark
the dart heads by notching. Below in the center of the picture you can
just make out my 1/8" notches, which will be matched up and stitched,
right-sides together.

Pleats/Darts, Notched

Now, the front pleats. Here you can see I notched and drew the pleat
headings with red, and used my trusty pencil for the pleat termination

Pleats, Pants Front

After marking and/or notching, I interfaced and pre-finished a few
seam allowances. I used a serger for finishing on this project. For
this pattern, I recommend finishing the edges of the cuff pieces, the
edges of the fly extension/guard (center of photo, rectangular
), and all four crotch seams, front and back pantleg. For
interfacing, follow directions in the pattern - interfacing one of
each waistband, the fly extension/guard, and the fly extension on the
front flaps of the pants (at left). Interfacing the fly
extension on the pants front will make a lot nicer fly - promise.

Readying Pieces

We will be serging/finishing more seams as we sew.

Now we get to stitch a little! Here is a finished dart:

Darts, Knots

After sewing I steam-press, then carefully knot the thread and use a
tiny dab of anti-fray glue.

Now it's time to make the pocket!

Rock It, Pocket!

In this picture you see the pressed front pleats (left), and
the pressed pocket with finished embroidery. The embroidery is my
son's drawing of Uranus, traced onto one of my favorite little
helpers, Sulky's Fabri Sticky-Solvy. I keep my sticky
stabilizer scraps (like the red type you see here) so I can
use it for all kinds of stabilizing jobs. It washes away easily and
makes things a lot easier than tracing, basting stabilizers, etc!

Creating the fly:

Sewing Fly

I use an extra long zipper whenever possible. That way I can sew
without coming anywhere near the zipper pull. Just be careful not to
cut the top of the zipper off until you're about to secure that top
raw edge. If you aren't going to need to zip up the zipper during the
rest of construction, you can stop at this stage and apply safety pins
along the zipper tape so you don't accidentally pull the zipper pull
right off the cut zipper tape (ask me how I've learned this, the
hard way!

Finished Fly, Zipper Not Yet Clipped

Here you see the finished inside of the pants, including the bar tack
in white. The pattern calls the piece in foreground a fly extension -
I've also heard it called a fly guard (my son calls it "wiener
protection", which I think is awesome

Outseams: I like to stitch, serge, then topstitch. This is easy to do
as the inseams aren't sewn and we can work in the flat with ease.
Outseam with pocket:

Side Seam, Before Serging & Topstitching

After serging and topstitching, I serged the pants hem. Again, easy to
do as we've not yet sewn the inseam:

Serging The Bottom Edge Of Pants

Now to stitch, then serge, the inseam! Here you see the crotch curves,
already pre-serged. We'll have a very tidy finish when we're done.


Finally - it's time for the waistband. This is a bit picture-heavy,
but I'm trying to demonstrate how to do a quick, yet good-looking and
sturdy, waistband.


I sewed the outer waistband on first (you can see the
water-soluble blue pen for my fly stitching, here

Applying Inner Waistband

Next, I stitched the inner waistband, at 1/16" larger seam allowance
so no stitches would show on the outer edge of the garment. Don't
worry if you don't get this perfect. The only person who's going to
inspect your waistband is you. Here you also see the gap in the inner
waistband for inserting the 3/4" elastic.

After Attaching Second Waistband

Waistbands both attached.

Waistband, Clip-To-Length

Trimming. Remember when I said I made my front waistbands a little
longer than the pattern? Here's where I correct if needed.

Grading At Waistband, Before Finishing & Topstitching

Grading seams eliminates bulk. It makes a big difference for wear and
comfort, and it can also make a huge difference if you have more
construction steps. Here, we're just about done with the pants, so
don't skimp! The general rule is, leave the longest seam allowances
where they will be facing the public side of the garment. So here in
the foreground you see the inner waistband, behind that the pant
front, and behind that the outer waistband.

Topstitching Waistband, Where To Start?

Topstitching the waistband. I start here on the underlap where you
won't be seeing the overlapping stitches.

Topstitching Waistband

Have I mentioned how much I love linen? It is so crisp it's easy just
to finger fold and sew. Remember though to fold enough of a seam
allowance and stitch so that the waistband won't ravel later. And go
careful over those zipper teeth. My 1950 Singer is a champ, but my
newer, pricey Juki will grind on a metal zipper tooth, break the
needle, and scare the camp out of me.

Topstitching Waistband

Still topstitching. Again, my desire isn't topstitching perfection so
much as sturdiness and no waistband ripples. That said...

Inside Of Pants Waistband (Top) And Public Side (Bottom)

Even my quick and dirty results look pretty nice. Go check your RTW
pants and compare! The waistband is also delightfully light, thanks to
that grading work.

A few words on tidy thread tails. I like to make invisible knots so
there are no ugly thread snarls or tails. Here after inserting and
stitching the elastic, I pull both thread tails firmly to the inside
of the garment. Then I thread a needle and stab it right through where
the thread tails end, emerging a little further down through the
inside of the waistband...

Adjustable Elastic, Invisible Knotting Pt. 1

Then I pull the threads all the way through (you can see a little
loop just before I snug them up

Adjustable Elastic, Invisible Knotting Pt. 2

After snugging and snipping, the thread tails are secure and invisible!

Adjustable Elastic, Invisible Knotting Pt. 3

Okay, now for a few comments on the finished garment and fit. Here you
see my adjusted version:


Banyan, Front

Banyan, Slim Fit

And here's the 8/9, made without adjustment:

Testing 8/9 - Hands On Hips

Testing 8/9 - Backside

Testing 8/9 - Front, Too Large

While the Banyan trouser, by virtue of an elasticized back waistband
and a fair amount of dart and pleat action to boot, is designed to
have a full seat and thigh, you can clearly see superior results after
adjusting for proper size. The too-large waist of the 8/9 pants meant
using a shorter elastic in the backwaist, leading to an overly-full
thigh and very bunchy bum.

And finally: here's how the pocket turned out:


This rendering of Uranus is a simple drawing of my son's, taken from a
larger solar system sketch he drew. My son selected Uranus for his pocket
as it's one of his favorite planets, with its "sideways" axis of
rotation and complicated ring system. This sketch may be a little less
than cosmically-complex, but the "ring system" does glow
in the dark

Thanks for joining me in my tutorial, and if you have any questions,
please do email or comment below!


Thank you Kelly!!!  I hope you come back again soon because YOU rock our socks :)

binding ofelia and a giveaway! March 24 2012, 27 Comments

I promised Jen would be back with another wonderful tutorial for all of us and this time she's teaching us a wonderful way to add a gorgeous binding to the Ofelia.  Pair this with her adorable tie and you have the perfect brother sister set!

From Jen:

The Ofelia  pattern is my all time favorite little girl dress pattern. Its FOUR pieces, easy to sew, only takes a yard of fabric, is stylish and well, Amelia my daughter loves it. Which means she already has four hanging in her closest. But they are getting small and are ready to pass down. Since I've already made them with the cute ribbon down the front, I thought I’d try something new!

Digging into my scrap bins, I found the answer.  Below I’ll show you how to create this super cute patchwork binding as well as how to attach it three different ways. This is also a great way to add length to a dress if you have a tall lanky girl like I do.

By no means am I the expert in binding the hem of a dress. I've learned by trial and error. The point of this tutorial and showing you three different ways is to get you motivated! To get you to sew! To look at these, and think “Hey that’s not so hard-I can do that!” Because really, that’s what it takes, a little motivation, a little confidence and a desire to try.


So do it.

Try something new today.

Make a cute dress for your little one and then make it your own with special little touches!



  • An almost complete Ofelia Dress (You can win a PDF download of this!)
  • Scraps of fabric measuring 1-4 inches by 5 inches
  • Regular sewing materials (machine, thread, cutting mat, rotary cuter, ruler, etc)

The first method is what I most commonly see in today’s patterns. It’s great to use if you want the inside seam to be completely hidden and if you don’t have a serger.


Step One: Making the binding

  • Measure the bottom of your dress to determine how long your binding should be and add ½ inch.
  • With your scraps sew them together to make one long strip that equals the width of the dress (mine was around 40 inches)


Step Two: Press and Square Up

  • Press your seams, which ever way suits you. (I press mine to the side-I like the texture it gives)
  • Square up the binding using a ruler and a rotary cutter. I found that five inches wide on all of these worked best. I made the 6/7 size dress-adjust the binding according to the dress size and preference.


Step Three: Attach

  • Press one side up a ¼ inch
  • Pin the binding to the bottom of the dress raw edges together and right sides to right sides.
  • Join the ends of the binding by sewing a ¼ inch seam and creating a circle. Press.
  • Attach to the hem using a ¼ inch seam


Step Four: Finishing

  • Press your seam down towards the binding
  • Fold the biding in half so the pre pressed ¼ inch seam just covers your stitch line (photo 2)
  • Pin in place and top stitch using a 1/8th inch seam allowance

This next method is my favorite and the one I call the “down and dirty”. It’s quick, easy and still looks neat and professional. I also totally thought I made it up-yeah I know, total dork…


Follow steps 1 and 2 above to make your binding.

Step One: Attaching the binding

  • Create a circle by sewing your end seams together with a ¼ inch seam (do this by measuring your dress hem width and adding ½ inch)
  • Fold the binding in half with wrong sides together. Press.
  • Pin to the hem and stitch a ¼ seam
  • Serge


Step Two: Finishing

  • Press the seam towards the bottom/binding
  • Top stitch using an 1/8th inch seam

(Note: Some people press up and stitch above binding-do what you like best just make sure to catch the serged seam allowance in your stitch)


The last method is probably the most traditional. It’s a double fold and adds weight and some thickness to the hem. It would be good on a heavy weight fabric such as wool. It also creates a narrower hem.

Follow steps 1 and 2 in the first set of directions to create your binding.

Step One: Create the double fold and attach

  • Fold the binding in half wrong sides together. Press
  • Open the binding and fold one side all of the way to the center line. Press.
  • Fold the other side towards the center but leave a ¼ inch gap.
  • Fold in half and press. One side will be slightly wider than the other


Step Two: Attaching

  • Open the binding. Pin the narrower side to the hem of the dress with right sides together matching the raw edges
  • When you get to the ends, turn one end up a ¼ inch (photo 1 below)
  • Place the other end on top to over lap (photo 2 below)
  • Stitch in the fold line (photo 3 below)

Note: You can also create a circle by sewing the end seams together as shown in method 1 and 2


Step Three: Press and Pin

  • Press the seam towards the bottom
  • Fold up at center seam; this should naturally fall above the stitch line
  • Press and pin in place


Step Four: Finishing

  • Top stitch 1/8th inch on top of the binding on the right side of the dress

TIP: Increasing the stitch length to create a longer stitch will give the garment a more professional look



Bonus Head Band!

Remember the tie tutorial from the other day? Well, all you have to do is slip it on a headband and your little girl has a super cute bow headband. Depending on how thick the headband is, you might need to make the center tighter by sewing a ½ inch seam allowance instead of a ¼ inch.


You could also attach it to various clips! I would add a touch of hot glue to the top of the clip to secure it. Amelia only wanted them on the headband, so I just fed the clip through to demonstrate; which actually worked just fine in my hair!


Hopefully this tutorial has inspired you to sew something pretty for your little one! To get you started, Shelly & Daniela will be giving away a free PDF pattern of the Ofelia dress to one lucky winner!!!  Perfect timing for this Holiday season.

Just leave a comment on this post to enter. It would be great to hear what you are working on now or what you’d like to work on soon! For an extra entry follow us on Facebook or Pintrest!  Please also make sure your email is in the comment or is linked to your comment! A winner will be chosen by random on Monday!


little boy bow tie tutorial March 20 2012, 2 Comments

I am excited to announce that our favorite guest blogger, Jen Carlton Bailly is back with 2 new really fun and rewarding projects and today she'll be sharing 1 of them.  With wedding season around the corner, along with Easter and Passover, I'm sure a few parties will be happening and Jen has designed the most adorable boy accessory for all of those special occasions or just for fun on a Friday night.  Today she is sharing the "Little Boy Bow Tie Tutorial".

From Jen Carlton Bailly of

One thing I love to see is a little boy in a bow tie with a rumpled shirt and jeans. It’s probably the love of all things from The Preppy Hand Book in me. But it’s also teaching our boys that dressing up and looking nice is cool and awesome!

Ready to create this simple tie?  It’s a little bit over-sized and oh so cute!


  • Scraps of fabric in varying widths at least 12 inches long
  • 1 piece of 4 by 4 inch solid fabric for the center of the tie
  • 1 piece of 4½ inch by your child’s neck measurements (shirt on) plus 1 ½ inches in solid for the neck strap
  • 1 piece of 1 inch Velcro
  • 1 piece of fusible interfacing cut to 6 by 7 inches (I used Pellon 906F)
  • 1 piece of card stock cut to 6 by 7 inches
  • Point turner or knitting needle to poke out corners
  • Liquid Stitch


Step One: Making a String Block (as it’s know in quilting)

  • After cutting your card stock and fabric strips, lay them out over the paper at a diagonal to determine your order. Most of my strips did not measure over 2 inches wide
  • Set your machine on a really tight stitch width. I usually sew at 2 for this I set mine at 1. This helps to perforate the paper and make it easy to tear off



Step Two: Sewing the fabric to the paper

  • Lay the middle strip down, then your next strip on top of it right sides together
  • Sew a ¼ inch seam
  • Fold over your strip and press flat with a dry iron
  • Continue this process on each side until you have covered the paper


Step Three: Squaring up your block

  • Turning your block upside down-paper facing up, use your ruler and rotary cutter to square it up trimming the fabric


Step Four: Taking of the paper

  • Since you used a nice small stitch, taking the paper off will be like tearing a perforated coupon out!
  • Stick your finger under the paper, and gently tug. The paper should come lose, bend it back and gently tear.
  • Continue until all the paper is off.

(FYI: If you are a garment sewer, you actually just became a quilter too! You did your first quilt string block!)



Step Five: Interfacing and Sewing

  • Following the manufactures guidelines for your fusible interfacing, attach it to the back of your block
  • Fold the block in half on the 7 inch side right sides together
  • Your block should measure 3 ½ by 6 inches
  • Make a 1 ½ inch mark in the middle at the raw edges (this will be were you will turn your tie inside out.
  • Stitch all the raw edges with exception to where you marked
  • Make sure your stitch length is back to where you normally have it
  • Clip the four corners on the diagonal being careful not to cut into the stitch line


Step Six: Turn out and Top Stitch

  • Turn your block inside out, take care to poke out the corners with a point turner (as pictured) or a knitting needle
  • Press flat (the flatter you get it the nicer it will look)
  • Top stitch using a 1/8th inch seam allowance

TIP! Increase your stitch length a bit when top stitching. You’ll get a nicer looking stitch.



Step Seven: Forming the Bow Tie

  • Pick the side of the tie that you like best
  • Find the middle and pinch in place
  • Stitch down the middle to hold it in place (I went back and forth a few times to ensure it was secure)


Step Eight: Making the Center and Neck Strap

  • Using the 4 by 4 inch piece of fabric, fold it in half and press
  • Open it up; fold the sides in to meet the center and press
  • Fold at the center and press
  • Top stitch
  • Fold in half and match raw edges
  • Stitch a ¼ inch to form a circle
  • Turn so the raw edges are facing in
  • Complete the same process for the neck strap
    • Measure the neck WITH the shirt on (add 1 ½ inches to this)
    • Cut out
    • Fold each end up by ¼ inch
    • Follow above directions with exception to the last three points
    • Top stitch along all edges

Step Nine: Finishing the Bow Tie

  • Slip the ring onto the tie by compressing it


Step Ten: Finishing the Strap

Note: I realize that not everyone is going to like to glue on their Velcro. This just happens to be my favorite product right now. It dries clear, is super strong and I don’t have to have stitch marks! Do what works best for you.

  • Taking your strap position the Velcro at the ends
  • Add a dap of Liquid Stitch and apply the Velcro to the fabric.
  • Take note of the 3rd photo below-one piece will go on the top side, the other on the bottom side
  • Let dry for recommended time


Step Eleven: Completing the tie

  • Fold your strap in half
  • Feed through the back of the tie


Step Twelve:

  • Try it on
  • Admire your work and enjoy creating a hand made wardrobe

 (Zeke calls it his “party boy tie”)


Here is the same tie using one fabric. Do what you love or better yet, what your little guy would love best. Involving him in the process will probably help encourage him to keep it on longer!



Thank you so much Jen for gifting us with another terrific tutorial!  Thank you Z for being SO DARN CUTE!  Look at those eyes.  Stay tuned because Jen has one more wonderful tutorial coming our way for the upcoming holiday.

Enjoy preparing for your future event and Happy Sewing!


Ayashe: How to lengthen the blouse to a tunic or dress length February 13 2012, 6 Comments

I have a very opinionated little girl.

Over the last years I have learned that with kids everything is a phase. Right now, my daughter is going through an intense phase of not wearing anything but dresses. Pink dresses I might add. I surrendered - getting her into separates is a fight not worth fighting.

I love the Ayashe blouse and how quickly it goes together. How lovely would it be as a tunic or dress? Have you wondered the same? Here a little tutorial on how to lengthen the style.

Here is what I used:

1. Swedish Tracing Paper - I love that stuff and it literally revolutionized my sewing - I am not kidding. It doesn't tear like regular paper or tracing paper, will cling to the fabric, so there is no need to pin the pattern to the fabric AND it totally eliminates the need to carefully cut the pattern pieces prior to cutting into the fabric! Besides that it folds/stores well and can be ironed. A total time saver and therefore a win in my book!

2. Vary Form Rulers - a set of curved rulers that helps strike beautiful curves and is indispensable for paper pattern making. Easier on the budget though is this styling ruler that's kind of all-in-one if you are just starting out to make pattern adjustments.

3. C-Thru Ruler - a straight ruler that is a little easier to handle then a quilting ruler. Yet the later would work the same and if you go with the aforementioned styling ruler, you'll be set anyways.

4. Pencil

5. Measuring tape (not shown - it hung around my neck while I took the picture :))

6. The Ayashe pattern, of course.

The pattern weights are optional and I only used them to accurately trace the blouse pattern from the pattern sheet.

Now let's get to it: Lengthening the main body parts of the Ayashe blouse.

Can you see my traced blouse pattern piece lying underneath my tracing paper? If you want to start out with the tunic length right away, make sure to start tracing you pattern towards the top edge of your tracing paper to leave enough space to lengthen the hem, at least 9" though.

First, elongate the Center Front (CF - that's the straight line, not the curved one) in a straight line.

Measure 6" (for size 2/3 and 4/5) down along the extended CF line, and mark with with the pencil.

Here what we recommend per size for a dress ending above the knee:
5" (18mos)
6" (2/3 and 4/5)
7" (6/7) and
7.5" (8/9).

Generally, if you want the outcome to be longer, add a bit more as it is so much easier to shorten, then to lengthen a garment.

At the marking, draw a line in a right angle towards the side seam. It's important that this line is at a right angle - otherwise you'll end up with a funky point or dip in your garment.

Now on to the side seam. With your Vari-form or Styling ruler, find a curve you feel will elongate the existing curve nicely. Cut the little corner like shown above to create a nice line. Don't worry too much, there is no single 'right' curve here. Yet, be careful as to let the curve swing out too much as it will be harder to hem a very dramatic shape at the end.

Now, measure along the new side seam beginning with the original hem, the same length you measured along the CF and mark on that line. In my case, it's again 6".

Then strike a short line in a right angle towards the CF and let it cross the straight hem line.  Again, drawing a right angle at the side seam will ensure your side seams will sew together without a weird angle poking out or dipping in.

Use your Vary-Form or French Curve and find a smooth curve connecting the new hem line with the right-angle-line we just drew.

Your new hem line is almost finished! Final steps is to measure 1" and 3/4" up from the new hem line. Mark both.

Lay your ruler parallel to the CF, intersecting the 1" mark - as shown above,  and transfer the 3/4" mark down to the new hem line.

Join this with the 1" marking. This little angle will help eliminate excess fabric when you hem the dress.
Repeat the same steps with the back piece of the Ayashe and....

Your new dress pattern is finished!
Well done!

Curious to see how mine turned out? Here's the final outcome of my pattern adjustment.
A happy camper in a pink floral dress made out of Liberty Art fabric.

Need any tips beyond the instruction booklet on how to put your dress together? Don't forget about Shelly's three part sew along Ayashe post here, here and here! Also did you see Jen's gorgeous hand embroidery for Valentine here? Now, we can't wait to see how your Ayashe turned out? Please share on our flickr group.


On a side note: Do you love Liberty Fabrics as much as we do? We are preparing a little surprise give away on this blog - so come back again soon!