Cosplay/Halloween Japanese Lolita Dress

October is such a fun and busy month! I can never decide which I love more – the dressing up, the candies, the fall/Halloween decor, the change of colors in the scenery, or the fresh cool crisp air after a long hot summer. Every year, I say I’m going to decorate the house with all things fall and Halloween on October 1st and then things just somehow start happening… One of those things is the choosing of the costumes – see, when the kids are little you can dress them up in whatever costume you want – kind of like you’re really expressing yourself vicariously through the little people but as they get older they got their own ideas of what’s cool and what’s awesome. They want to express themselves which is totally fine by me. 

It’s really needing a tulle petticoat but let’s see if I’ll have time to make one after the soldier costume. Eek!
Madeline just turned 3 and she could care less if she was wearing a potato sack so I gave Logan some creative decision making this year for Madeline because I thought it’d be fun for a big brother to get to choose something cute for his little sister. He decided he wanted to be a princess since he had chosen to dress up as a prince. And me being the overthinker that I am, I literally did a little presentation for him showing him different styles of princely attire from the 1600s to Disney’s dashing princes. He said nope to every single one. Finally, I handed him a sewing pattern book and told him to pick something out. In less than a minute, he points out what looked like a traditional soldier uniform costume from the 1700s.

I drew several options to choose from after my research and he ended up picking out details from each picture! Frankenstein uniform haha!

“Logan, you know that’s a soldier costume and not a prince right?” To which he murmured nonchalantly with a “I like this one”. Ok, fine. Let’ just move onto the color.

We found some stretch red velvet $4 a yard – her princess dress and his prince’s jacket would use up at least 3 yards. Now I’m calculating the cost of the main fabric as well as the trims, the pants, and something for his Revolutionary soldier boots. So I’m watching and waiting like a tiger in the bushes to pounce on the beautiful red velvet when it goes on sale but sadly it didn’t and I’m pressed for time. Finally, I go to my stash closet and found this 3 or so yard of sky blue cotton fabric with rabbits, squirrels, abstract trees, and leaves….a busy little fabric that I’d bought at Aeon mall in Okinawa a few years ago. Ok, have you ever held a piece of fabric in your hands and suddenly fantastic visions just flash before your eyes? My visions said to me, “You will make a Japanese Lolita dress with puffy sleeves, layers of gathered skirts, ruching, more gathers all over and lots and lots of bows!” I got to sketching, drafting, and then sewing. I must admit, I have this habit of changing things along the way. Things look different in real life than in the sketches but I think the changes made the details in the dress pop. 

The original sketch.

I ended up shortening the under skirt and adding another band of gathers. The upper skirt got another 2” of ruching and originally I had the bows placed on the rushing in self fabric but after I had made the blue bows changed my mind and switched them with white bows. The blue bows got placed on the center front neck and on the sleeves and one made into a barrette. There was supposed to be gigantic bow to go on the front at the waist but I ended up replacing it with lots of smaller bows. 

Playing around with the neck band and the neck gathers.

I was also going to have white long fleece sleeves attached to the short puffy sleeves since it was freezing cold last year but it’s been in the 60s-70s. The weather truly is fickle or is it because I’m prepared? Lol. I ended up making both a light long sleeve t-shirt and a fleece sweater that Madeline can wear underneath based on the temperature. Bring it, Weather, I’m ready! The super good news is I’ll be posting the free printable pattern for the long sleeve t-shirt and the sweater here! So be sure to be on the lookout for that. 

Ok, I’m off to work on the Revolutionary soldier, and yes it’s cutting it so close since the Halloween festivities in town begin on the 27th. Oh well. Hopefully, I’ll be better prepared next year. Hopefully.
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Kids Pants with Free PDF Pattern

This is my second time grading a pattern and although I hit some frustrating moments including trying to fix the wonky curves, the categorizing/naming part of the pattern turned out to be trickier. Lounge pants? Pajamas pants? But they’ve been worn outdoors too. Yes, I usually make these pants out of cute flannel prints for around the house but I’ve also made them out of cotton, cotton jersey, denim, linen blend, fleece and also sweater fleece. So, finally I just went with something simple and less ambiguous…The Kids Pants Pattern. Ok, so the name is not so snazzy but these pants can be as fancy as you can get it to be! Like cropping the legs and adding some fun ruffles to the hem. Or sewing some patch pockets on top which is faster and easier than seam pockets in my opinion. Oh, a lady recently asked if these pants were from the bloomers I had made a while back, *right here*. Actually, the bloomers (or shorts) were made from this pattern. If I’m making shorts for my daughter, I’ll just lop off the pattern’s legs and leave a 1.5” inseam and about 7” for my son. Just play around with the length of the inseam to make different types of shorts.

For now, let’s make these simple and less ambiguously-named pants.

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Toddler Tank Top Tutorial with Free Pattern

I’m so excited to be releasing my new pattern today! This one is a bit more special to me because it’s my first time grading a pattern. I decided to use a simple yet versatile tank top pattern that I had made earlier this summer and I graded it in 4 toddler sizes ranging from 2T to 5T. It’s a simple little pattern so it’s great for a quick nap time project or if you’re a beginner in sewing with knit fabrics then this will be a fantastic practice. I’ve always believed that sometimes you just need one good basic pattern and from that you can explore many different creations. A few designs that I’ve made based from this tank top are a flared top, flared dress, shift dress, dress with a gathered skirt and also a circle skirt, and a drop waist skirt. Really, the design possibilities are endless!

I will show you later how to manipulate the pattern to create different designs but for now let’s start making the basic tank top…

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Look What’s Coming Soon!

This is what I’ve been working on lately and I’m so excited to give you a preview! Normally I would just make a pattern in the size that I need but after getting asked if there were other sizes available I decided to have a go at pattern grading and to my surprise I had so much fun doing it. It was my first time grading so I started off slowly with a simple yet versatile pattern in 4 toddler sizes.

I added the finished garment sizes so that you can go up or down a size depending on how loose or snug you would want it. Madeline is 2 but I ended up using the size 4T because she doesn’t like clothes that are snug.

You can also base this tank top pattern to make a flared top like I did here.

 

Or a gathered dress like this one.

I will show you later how make a shift dress and a flared dress from this tank top pattern. I always believe that you just need one good basic pattern and from that you can create so many designs.  I love that the options for this simple and basic tank top are endless…just add some imagination!

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DIY Bow Barrette

Adding a cute little hair accessory can really complete an outfit and the bow barrette is one of my favorites! You can make them in any size using whatever scraps of fabric you have. I recently made a matching dress and top for Grandma and Madeline from this beautiful printed knit fabric from Joann and was left with odd little pieces of scraps. I can cut out the bow pieces in any direction of the grain of the fabric and it doesn’t effect the shape of the bow at all so I was glad to be able to use up whatever little bit of fabric scraps left from cutting out the garments.

Originally, I had planned on using the big bow as an embellishment on Madeline’s dress but I love big, statement making accessories so on the head it goes! I use alligator barrettes for Madeline since they’re the only hair accessory that she will tolerate in her hair so I always get the 10 piece packs from Walmart for about $2. I also use a little bit of felt to attach the barrette and whatever design I am using on top. The shape of the felt really depends on the design – for flowers, I’ll cut out a round shaped felt and for something like a bow, it’ll be a rectangle. I will add a tutorial on how to make a barrette using artificial plastic flowers but for now let’s make this pretty little bow for her hair!

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Summery Peasant Top with Flutter Sleeves – Free Printable Pattern Included!

 

Nothing says sunshine, flowers and all things summer like a cute little peasant top! I love that it’s so cute and girly yet comfy enough to hop, skip, run and climb in. I drafted this pattern thinking of summer play clothes for Madeline that is also easy on my fingers to change her as I’ve been taking a break from Humira for several weeks now because Valtrex wasn’t working well while I was on it. Ugh. Don’t get me started on that *in my Jeannie Darcy voice*

Popsicles, milkshakes, watermelons – drips and stains – yes, plenty of affordable play clothes needed Miss Madeline. I always go through the fabric section at Walmart and that was when I chanced upon this solid knit fabric which was shockingly $1 a yard. It’s quite thin as in able to see the characters on the diaper thin but I think as something to wear around the house or out in the yard it would be okay. As you can see in the pictures in this tutorial, I didn’t serge or zig zag any of the edges and I just threw it in the washer without a laundry bag.  Pretty impressive for $1 fabric! It sews pretty well and held nicely in the wash. I think it would also be great for layering under laces. I was able to cut out two sets (2 peasant tops and 2 shorts) so that made it 50 cents a set. Love!

I made the shorts using my toddler bloomers pattern with a slight adjustment on the waist to create a casing for the elastic. But for now, let’s get to the peasant top!

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Adjustable Bow Tie for Kids Tutorial

A few months ago, Logan’s school was holding a Valentine’s Day concert for the 2nd graders. The theme was Love and each student was asked to wear red. Dressing up little boys is pretty easy – throw on a button up shirt, pull on some slacks, slick back hair with gel and you’re done! I thought to myself -how can I make his outfit a bit dressier? Then I remembered a neck tie I made him a few years back with an elastic neck. The elastic was a big mistake because it had to go over his head thus ruining his hair. I am going to make him another tie but this time with Velcro to the neck straps – that way it won’t mess up his hair. I will be posting the printable template for the Adjustable Neck Tie with Velcro soon so be on the lookout for that.

For his Valentine concert, I decided to make him an adjustable bow tie. The bow required very little fabric to make so you can use whatever fabric scraps you have lying around. I also inserted a piece of fleece to make the bow kind of puffy since I was using broadcloth. If you don’t have any fleece scraps, you can use felt instead or a stiffer fabric altogether.

Let’s get started…

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Reversible Fleece Hat with Ear Flaps Tutorial – FREE Printable PDF Pattern

Fleece hats with ear flaps are a perfect winter wardrobe staple. They’re so quick and easy to make for your little one and they also make great gifts. I love fleece not just because they’re so soft and warm but also because they’re easy to maintain. I turn the fleece garment inside out to reduce pilling, wash in cold water and tumble dry low.

This hat is a toddler size and because the pattern pieces are small you can use up the scraps you have. I used Blizzard fleece and sweater fleece – the ivory Blizzard fleece was leftover fabric pieces from sleepsacks I made for baby Madeline a few years ago. There is also a video tutorial available for this fleece hat.

Ok so let’s get started…

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Toddler Bloomers with free PDF Pattern (Unisex Shorts Option)

The bloomers were re-drafted from the Grandma&me matching lounge pants I made
The bloomers can be made into shorts as well. I used 2×2 knit waistband and some fabric paint to decorate it.
Bloomers with matching elastic neck ruffles top

These bloomers are super easy to make and the best part is they can be made into regular shorts for both girls and boys by skipping the elastic-cinched hems. You can add pockets, cute little bows or even lace edgings. The fun is endless! 🙂

I made this pattern based on my little girl who just turned 2 on September 30! The finished garment measures 24.5″ in the waist – Madeline’s waist is 19″ and she was able to wear them all summer and they still fit her quite well. I sized these roughly 18m-24m but each child is different so take the finished garment’s measurements into consideration so that they’ll fit your little one comfortably. Are you ready to make these? By the way, I’ve included a video tutorial as well. 🙂

Let’s get started!

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