Easter Hearts | Week 12 | #52wonderfilledweeks

A week or so ago I posted about how I knew it was going to be a good day because I woke up to one of my favorite fabric shops, Knitpop, offering these adorable hearts on the oh so soft (Lularoe buttery legging fabric) double brushed poly.  I snatched up several yards in white and black, rainbow and pink for a certain special little girl.  With Easter around the corner I knew I needed to make P a new dress (last year I made her this "Ariel" one and she wore it until her shoulders would not fit into it any more.  In an effort to dive into my pattern stash (yah I have one of those too....) I picked three different patterns and let the 4 year old choose which one she wanted.  Of course she not only choose Pattern for Pirates "Me Hearties" she was adamant that it have the sweetheart/color-blocked option.  This is a new one for me and while I was open to the challenge after the last week I was hoping for something quick.  I learned some new techniques, screwed some things up and worked with some new material for me (lingerie elastic).  In the end it turned out pretty cute, so cute I MAY make the Mama version, P4P Sweetheart Dress...

I haven't talked about the new and awesome idea of PDF patterns but since I had to start from scratch on this project I thought I would explain about them real quick.  You used to go to the fabric store, sit down at the pattern table and look through books by various pattern makers and write down (or sometimes in my Mom's case just repeat over and over) the pattern maker and number.  Then you'd go to the pattern files and look for the number you just found in the "look book".  Sometimes they'd have the pattern! Sometimes they'd have the wrong size and sometimes it would be miss filed and you'd luck out by checking the files just before and after your specific pattern.  Well those days are gone! Now you can purchase a pattern online from just about any pattern maker (even the big ones!).  Once you download the pattern you have so many options.  First, PDF patterns usually offer all the sizes in one pattern so no more buying different size spreads.  Second, many of the designers are offering "layered" patterns so you can print/display only the size you need.  This is where personal preference comes into play.  I prefer to print all the sizes at the same time. 

You can see all the different lines of each size in this close up.
That way once I put the pattern together (yes you have to tape all those pages together) I have every size all ready to go and I only have to re-trace a new size when needed. Each pattern company has a different way of putting their particular patterns together.  Some have you over lap pages by matching numbers, others have you make shapes in the corners of the printed pages.  It's important to read the instructions for each pattern company.  You want to make sure you print and assemble your pattern correctly or you risk your make not fitting you correctly. 

Once I put the pattern together I trace all the pieces in the correct size onto freezer paper.  I was going through it pretty quick so I ordered this giant roll from Amazon for about $40 and I think I'm set for life.  Freezer paper is great for many reasons. It's sturdy (doesn't tear easily), can be taped together since one side is paper, and can be used for stencils since the back is wax.  I have also heard of people ironing their freezer paper pieces to their fabric instead of using pattern weights.  Apparently you can do this over and over until the wax is gone.  I haven't tried this personally but I have ironed on freezer paper to use as stencils and it works amazingly well!!

Traced  and cut out pattern pieces from freezer paper

This pattern had some new things for me.  I have color blocked lots of things, but never in a "sweetheart" shape.  Because it's basically impossible to pivot on a serger you need to sew the sweetheart front bottom bodice to the top bodice with a sewing machine.  I wish I had gotten a 'crisper' pivot but I imagine that will come with practice.  I love the look of a serged edge so after I clipped my center pivot I thought why not throw this on the serger now to just clean up the edges.  It worked great EXCEPT I didn't pull the pieces taut and I ended up grabbing some of the bodice in the seam...I had to bust out the seam ripper... that would be fine but double brushed poly is very susceptible to tears and holes (read about the Lularoe fiasco with their "butter" leggings") and of course I put two tiny holes in the bodice.  I was able to fix these at the end but I was aggravated at myself for sure.  I knew better and let myself get distracted. 

Fresh off the sewing machine and the center pivot clipped.

You can barely see up near my hand where the clipped area is.  I started to serge each side from this area out.

All done and proud of myself until I realized I caught part of the bodice in the seam.

This picture is more for myself and future reference! HA!
Next I needed to top stitch the seam.  This just gives it a nice finished look.  I top stitched the back piece first and I am glad I did because it came out all wavy and junkie looking.  Nothing some steam and an iron couldn't fix but I realized that my settings were probably to tight (small stitch length and width) for a clean top stitch.  I was using the knit lighting bolt stitch and not my double needed to top stitch.  I adjusted up one click for the length and the width and the top stitching from there on out was perfect.

Picot or Lingerie elastic.
The next step was to sew one shoulder together and then add the neck binding.  This is known as sewing in the flat.  With one shoulder sewn and one open you can lay your seam out almost flat to sew you binding to.  It is used a lot in construction of baby clothes because the holes (think tiny arm and head holes) are so so small.  The problem is that the seam then is exposed...something that irrationally annoys me.  Since the pattern calls for this construction I did it. 

Pulling the serger threads back through the seam.
I decided to use some black picot/lingerie elastic I had as as test (I have a great sleepwear set I have plans for).  After you attach the elastic you then sew your second shoulder seam.  Well due to the construction the seam end where the elastic overlapped was thick and hard to sew over.   I had to hand tack down the seam on the shoulder so it wouldn't pop up funny.
It looks fine and no one would know by looking at it but I just decided that I prefer sewing "in the round" from now on and finished the sleeves this way. Because I am used to using knit binding I was a little stumped at first on how to add the picot edged elastic.  I knew I didn't want the think seam I would get if I sewed the short ends together with a 1/2" seam so I cut off 1" from each sleeve elastic and butted the ends together, sewing over the ends with a wide zigzag stitch.  This worked perfectly.  What I ended up with was a flat, circular piece of elastic that I halved and marked with clips and matched up to my halved and clipped sleeve. I serged the elastic on both sleeves and top stitched with my new and improved settings and it was perfect.

Bulky seam as a result of sewing in the "flat"
Sewing the sleeve elastic in the "round".

I opted to leave the skirt unhemmed.  Knit doesn't tend to fray and the thought of hemming a circle skirt was not appealing to me.  I almost did a rolled hem on my serger but since I don't have any wooly nylon thread (a thicker thread that fills in a rolled hem nicely) I just thought to leave it as is.  It swings easily and P loves it.  She almost refused to take it off when I was trying it on her.  

Remember when I told you I put two holes in this gorgeous dress? That's because double brushed poly is actually pretty delicate.  It's fibers have been brushed, twice, weakening them but also making the fabric oh so soft.  I fray checked the snot out of the holes in an effort to stop them from running but I know how hard my kid is on clothes so I also used some iron on interfacing.  I cut small circles of interfacing (no corners to catch anywhere and rip off and ironed them on.  Then you could see the white of the interfacing thru the dress so I busted out my trusty black sharpie and filled in the white. HA! It totally works and it is hardly noticeable.

Two little cirlces of iron interfacing on the back of the bodice.
The front before I added the sharpie ;)

I know it's a little non traditional to have a black Easter dress but P loved this fabric and since we're expecting snow this week and she'll have to wear legging underneath I figured why not? Now to raid my stash and find something for Bubba...


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