Friday, June 24, 2016

14 Women's Simple Summer Sewing Patterns for July

Have you heard about #simplesummersewing? It's the easiest sew-along ever. For all the details about the sew-along, and giveaway check out my Petit a Petit + Family post (go ahead, I'll wait). Then come right back for a few suggestions that will have you wearing a new outfit in no time. 

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Santa Fe Top from Hey June
Lou Box Top from Sew DIY
Maya Top from Marilla Walker
Willow Tank from Grainline Studio

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City Gym Shorts from Purl Soho
Zinnia from Colette Patterns
Basics Pocket Skirt from Cali Faye Collection
Parkside Shorts from Sew Caroline

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Lottie Dress from Christine Haynes
Staple Dress from April Rhodes
Groove Dress from Made It Patterns
Colfax Dress from True Bias

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Poolside Tote from Noodlehead
Reversible Sun Hat from Worthy Goods

Some great easy summer projects are popping up on instagram. Check out #simplesummersewing for  even more inspiration! And don't forget to follow @petitapetitblog and @kristi_sweetkm (me) on instagram for a chance to win our fantastic prize pack! Prize details are on Petit a Petit + Family. Now, get sewing!


Monday, June 6, 2016

Floral Linen Kitsune

Ready your sewing stations, here comes a great simple summer dress. It is the Kitsune (worn here with a Cali Faye Basics  tan line) from Charlotte Kan. The Kitsune (Japanese for fox) is a modified tube with an elastic top, and a tie waist. The simple shape makes it a very forgiving fit, and a quick sew. I made this dress from pdf assembly to finished blog photos in 3 hours. It's the quickest garment I've ever made. 

The speed can be attributed to the very clever construction, and complete lack of fussy details (I'm talking to you bias binding!). There are 3 simple pattern pieces, and the only legitimate seams are at the sides of the bodice, and the back waist. The skirt construction is true to the main design motif, the whole thing is held together by the tie in the front. 
I am a bit more curvaceous from hip to waist than what size charts would lead me to believe is typical.  I sewed a size 10 based on my hip measurement, wanting to make certain they were fully covered. Normally, I grade to a smaller size at the bust, but when I saw the simple shaping, and tiny difference between sizes, I decided to go with a straight 10. I added 1" to the skirt length. Otherwise, it is sewn as written.
The fabric is a linen floral from the Joann bargain bin. Not something I would have given a second look ('cause it's not blue) at full price, but at $3/yard I'm interested. The weight and drape are great for this design.

I made the dress you've seen so far for the pattern test, and was considering it a wearable muslin. It looks just fine, and did its duty as a pattern tester, but I didn't really love to wear it. The proportions were a bit weird on my pear shaped frame. Even my fashion oblivious husband said it needed a waist. I was feeling less like a fox, and more like an overweight corgi. Not a design flaw, just part of the process necessary to clothe a specific body rather than a general one. I could have stopped here, and forgotten the dress in the back of the closet, leaving me with a bit more experience, but nothing more to wear. That's not what I did. The Kitsune is made up of three simple shapes easily identified by the average preschooler (do they teach parallelograms in preschool?). Surely, I could figure out how to make those shapes do my bidding.
left: before alterations, right: after alterations
I started by cutting the bodice down to my true bust size. (For the record, Charlotte recommends choosing the bodice based on your chest size. As it turns out, I don't know better.) This shaved a good amount off of the volume of the top, but the skirt knot stayed in that same odd place around my lower abdomen. After a little experimentation, I determined that adding a triangle of fabric to the top edge of each tie (making them taller not longer) would compensate for my big ol' butt, and raise the knot a few inches toward my waist. This alteration makes the skirt a lot more comfortable for me to wear, and makes the proportions much more flattering on me. Problem solved!

I stuck with the original tester photos for the bulk of this post because I was having a far better hair day (am I the only one who sees it?!).
left: before alterations, right: after alterations
This is no longer the quickest garment I've ever made, but now I have a simple summer-tastic sundress destined for a boardwalk somewhere in South Jersey, rather than a dusty corner of the closet.

Check out Beth's maxi version. It's the perfect combination of length and stripes. I'm tempted to scarf up some of that delicious rayon, and make myself an identical version! If you want one too, don't delay. Today is the last day to get the pattern launch discount on the Kitsune pattern. Get 25% off with the discount code FOXY.

Pattern: Kitsune by Charlotte Kan
Fabric: Floral Linen (sold out online, check the bargain bin in store) from Joann Fabric

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

One Pattern Three Ways & Kid's Clothes Week

It's a very busy week in sewing land. I'm making the most of Kid's Clothes Week and my latest post for Petit a Petit + Family with my favorite kid's t-shirt pattern. Head on over to the Petit a Petit blog to see how to transform a simple t-shirt pattern into 3 unique summer staples for boys.


Luckily, this little project coincides with the last Meg (Elsie Marley) directed Kid's Clothes Week (KCW will continue with Julie as its new host). Since my daughter started kindergarten I've fallen off the KCW wagon a bit. It's so easy to whip up a dress for a toddler and take a few quick photos. It's harder to negotiate picture time between school, and homework, and park time (though much easier to find an hour to sew!).

Kid's Clothes Week was my first entry into a virtual community of any kind. Before KCW I kinda thought the internet was a place where people said mean things anonymously. But that is definitely not the case. My first, timid Flickr based experience with KCW set the tone for many very supportive and enthusiastic interactions to follow. Seeing something I made on Meg's blog made me realize the power of virtual connections. Thanks Meg!
This is the first thing I ever sewed for Kid's Clothes Week back in 2012. I made it with my first indie sewing pattern, before I had a serger. After I took the photos, part of the neckband fell off, and J never really wore it! I like to think my t-shirt construction has come a long way since then!

Here are a few of my favorite KCW makes:


You can see my other KCW makes here.
You can read my contributor post to KCW here.
And don't forget the whole point of this blog post, One Pattern Three Ways, here!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Art Gallery Denim Alder Shirtdress

I had so much planned for this little space this month, and now I'm just not sure where the weeks have gone. There was a whole lot of packing and unpacking of car and suitcase, so I guess I will blame my silence on travel. Such is May.

This is the Alder Shirtdress View B from Grainline Studio. I've made this pattern a few times before (View A, View B, modification), and I think we all know it intimately by now. If you're new to shirtmaking, this is a great place to start as it has a collar and button front but no cuffs, giving you practice with the important bits of the button up before you go the whole way. As a bonus you get a complete outfit when you're finished, as opposed to a shirt, where you may find you still need some pants.
The main fabric is Art Gallery Denim Infused Hydrangea from Fabric Worm. Based on the name I thought this fabric would be be more purple (don't ask me why). It's not. It's a perfectly washed blue. The hand and drape are fantastic for a fabric whose durability and price point justify their use for everyday. I may make something in every color (or at least all of the blues) before the summer is through. In the past I have been a devotee of the Joann Fabrics light weight denim, but this is better. Mainly because of the drape, and far better color choices, making it worth the advanced planning ordering online requires. Or in my case the panic at the last minute when you realize you needed it yesterday, and can't find anyone able to ship it quickly. Mine is from Fabric Worm. They went above and beyond to get it to me fast. Or at least made it seem that way which is almost just as good.

The accent fabric is Liberty London from a long out grown kid's project. With any luck I will not out grow this little piece of it. The roses were pilfered from my community garden (No one said I couldn't pick them. No one said I could.) before I even realized their parallels to the garment.
Size/Fit: I made my standard size 6 at the bust graded to an 8 at the waist based on my measurements. I could easily have made a straight 6, but I ascribe to the better safe than sorry school of sewing. I am only capable of isolating one variable at a time, two if I really put my mind to it, and my bust/waist/hip couldn't be further from a linear equasion.

Alterations: Raised the armhole 3/4". Raised waist 3/4", lengthened the skirt 3/4" to compensate for change and maintain length. Raised bust dart 1" as usual. The biggest modification is the addition of pockets! All that volume and no place to put your phone? Unpardonable! Phone is safely by my side in my very generous pockets.

Fabric: Art Gallery Light Weight Denim in Infused Hydrangea from Fabric Worm

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Scout Tee Gathered Skirt Dress

This dress represents the nexus between Pinterest as an innocent diversion, and Pinterest that makes you straight up crazy. I saw this (follow link) little piece of chambray perfection from Samuji long enough ago that it isn't on their website anymore. But it is still stuck in my head. Sometimes pinning a picture of something I want is enough like possessing it that I can get over my wantiness for it. Virtual possession was not nearly enough for this dress. So, of course, 3 hours before spring break began, when I was supposed to be packing up kids and cat for a week at the farm to celebrate Easter with my family (and plant peas), I decided to try to squeeze a copy of that dress out of 1.5 yards of linen chambray earmarked for something else. No big deal. Right?!
I suspect my inspiration had a closure of some sort up the back. I wanted this to be pull on, so it's a bit less fitted. I used the Scout Tee as my jumping off point for the bodice. I've made it a bunch of times (hereherehere) so I know the fit at the shoulders is spot on, and have played around enough with the sleeves and neckline to know that I could get the effect I wanted in the end. The skirt was the wild card. It seems simple enough, two gathered rectangles with pockets, but the proportion of a garment this simple is crucial. I took the skirt off a few times to get the height just right.
Here are the insides. A fabric like this frays easily, and I don't want it to fall apart from careless washing (which is the only kind I do). I french seamed every seam so this garment would stand the test of time. The Sew Mama Sew tutorial for making french seams with in-seam pockets makes the whole mind bending right side/wrongsides thing pretty simple. I'm hoping the simple styling of this dress will keep it in regular rotation for a long time to come. 

The fabric is Robert Kaufman New Castle Denim from It is a chambray lover's dream come true. I might never buy another fabric. Everything can an erithral yarn dyed blue right? The accents at the binding are Libery of London. The big print is a scrap of Basics Tank, and the small floral is a lovely gift from my Secret Valentine. 
All in all I'm pretty happy with my reproduction. I do wish my skirt were a little fuller and more flared. Normally I'm over zealous when skirt gathering. This time I was a bit too conservative in the cutting, and a bit too short on fabric to do the skirt gathers justice. I'm considering buying more fabric and taking another stab at it just for the learning experience. Afterall, experimentation if half the reason to make your own clothes.


Fabric: Robert Kaufman New Castle Denim from
Pattern: Modified Scout Tee from Grainline Studio


Who is playing along with Me-Made-May? I'm hoping to wear a me-made everyday in May, I'll be posting a few times a week on instagram. I'd also like to make a couple of more involved projects that have been on my list since last spring. We'll see, I already feel myself getting distracted by another Alder Shirtdress, and some delicious AG Denim!

Friday, April 29, 2016

True Bias Mini Colfax Dress

This adorable little ray of sunshine (camouflaged as a parking bollard) is my tester version of the Mini Colfax Dress a great summer dress patter just released by True Bias. Just like the (not Mini) Colfax Dress this design features a slit yoke at the neck, visible arm and neck binding, and a faced hem. I made View A, View B also includes some very clever patch pockets. The Mini Colfax is a satisfyingly quick sew, a refreshingly small PDF, and I imagine the color blocking potential will make this a popular style for the junior set. 
The fabric is from a vintage piece gifted to my stash from my mother-in-law's stash.  I imagine it was purchased for Great Great Grandmom's kitchen curtains, but I think it works well as a dress. Its light weight cotton with a two tone flower pattern that is almost embossed into the fabric (is that possible?). Yellow is not a common color in our wardrobe, so I decided to really own it with a yellow cotton lawn that is not vintage but also from my stash. 
This dress is as effortless to wear as it is to make. I've got plans for a few more, so we always have one to throw on this summer. Kelli's got two beautifully boho blue versions on her blog today, and a discount code!

Pattern: Mini Colfax Dress by True Bias
Fabric: Vintage Stash

Monday, April 25, 2016

DIY Bead Necklace Tutorial

Today on Petit a Petit + Family I'm sharing a quick and simple tutorial to make your own bead statement necklace. It's a great project to do with kids, but I confess I made this one for myself. Looks like I'll have to make another. You can make your own with a few simple supplies from the craft store. Get the full tutorial HERE.

L is also wearing a Beachcomber Sweater I made a few years ago. The Beachcomber is an easy wearing pullover sweater, that's more like a t-shirt than a proper sweater. It's designed to be knit with Billow ( this one in Comfrey) from Knit Picks. This bulky yarn is a quick knit, and very reasonably priced. It's also 100% cotton making it perfect for summer wear. The pattern is on sale in the SweetKM Etsy Shop from now until Friday! Get your copy HERE.