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    News — Girls Patterns

    Tutorial: Dolman Sleeves - How to Tweak Your Pattern to Make Hemming a Breeze

    Tutorial: Dolman Sleeves - How to Tweak Your Pattern to Make Hemming a Breeze

    Dolman sleeves are an easy-sew option when you want more coverage than a sleeveless dress or top without the added time and effort of sewing set-in sleeves.

    This sleeve type is a feature of both the girl's and women's Pearlie Dress & Peplum Top PDF Sewing Patterns.

    Some of you have mentioned that you find it tricky to turn and hem the sleeves when sewing your Pearlies, especially at the base of the armhole.

    If this is your least favourite step (and especially if you are working with a type of fabric that doesn’t allow you to manipulate the area easily) you should definitely give this method a go!

    In this tutorial, I’ve used a regular machine set on a stretch stitch to sew the side seams of the Bodice. The tight corner would make it hard to sew with an overlocker/serger but you could instead finish each side of the Bodice Front & Back with a zig-zag or overcasting stitch on your regular machine before sewing them together. The shoulder seams, skirt seams and neckband can, of course, be finished with an overlocker/serger as usual.

    Also, note that the pattern instructions (for the original gathered skirt Pearlie) have you attaching the Skirt Front & Back to the Bodice Front & Back before sewing the side seams. But in this example, having already sewn the Bodice side seams, I’m going to attach the skirt in the round.

    (Note: if using the circle skirt add-ons for the Pearlie Dress or Top  you would, as per the instructions, be attaching the skirt in the round.)

    Step 1: MODIFY THE BODICE PATTERN PIECES

    The Bodice pattern pieces have you cutting the hem allowance horizontally out from the base of the armhole in a straight line. Instead of cutting them in that way, “mirror” the shape at the top of the side seam where it intersects with the armhole in a downward facing “v”. You will need to go 1cm (3/8”) down from the intersection. It would be best to do this by tracing off your pattern pieces with the revised shape and using it as your new template rather than just eye-balling it while cutting!

    Step 2: SEW SHOULDER SEAMS & SIDE SEAMS

    Sew the shoulder seams, finish seam and press.

    Sew the side seams using the stretch stitch on your machine. (You could mark the stitch lines with a soluble marker to help with accuracy).

    Use some sharp scissors to make a small snip half way into the corner of armhole where the stitch direction changes. Press seams out.

    Step 3: PRESS SEAM ALLOWANCE

    Press armhole hem all the way around. The photos shows you what it looks like from the inside.

    Step 4: TRIM EXCESS

    You can snip off the little bits of excess fabric that peep out from under the hem if you wish.

    Step 5: READY FOR HEMMING!

    You can see that the armhole hem allowance is sitting nicely even before stitching. This was our goal here, so YAAY!

    Your armholes are ready for hemming in your preferred way using a single or twin needle or zig-zag stitch.

    Tutorial: Making the Peach Patterns "Pearlie Dress" With Easiest Ever Fold and Sew Knit Neckline

    Tutorial: Making the Peach Patterns

    Fans of the the Peach Patterns Pearlie Dress & Peplum Top will know that this pattern is already a really quick sew. Having said that, attaching neck bands is usually the number one cause of heartache associated with sewing patterns for knit or stretch fabrics.

    At some stage you will definitely want to try and make a neck band for your Pearlie Dress. There are two options (narrow and standard) and, really, they are fun to make. But if you're in a rush or are new to sewing with knits then you might like to give this method a try. 

    Making your neckline in this way creates a slightly different look: less "t-shirty" (if that's a term?) and a little more dressy.

    All you will need is a twin sewing machine needle for stretch fabrics and two spools of thread in the same colour. Fusible hemming tape is optional but not required (we made ours without using hemming tape). 

    Enjoy these pictures of our Pearlie Dress taking a twirl in the park and then scroll down to check out our tutorial for the "Easiest Ever Fold and Sew Knit Neckline". (I made this Pearlie dress with the slim fit bodice option. However as you can see there's still some ease in the bodice as I sized up to allow room for growth.)

    HOW TO MAKE THE FOLD AND SEW NECKLINE FOR YOUR PEARLIE DRESS OR PEPLUM TOP:

    Supplies:

    • Twin sewing machine needle for stretch fabric (My preferred needle for finishing necklines, armholes and hemming knit fabrics is the Schmetz Size 75/4.0mm Twin Stretch Needle.)
    • Two spools of thread in the same colour.
    • Optional: Fusible hemming tape to press and hold the fabric around the neckline seam before sewing. (As mentioned, I made my dress without using the tape.)

    Step 1

    Extend the neckline area of your Front and Back Bodice pattern pieces by 1/2" (15mm) evenly all the way along (see diagram below).

    You can do this by either:

    A. Placing your original pattern pieces on some tracing paper/pattern paper and drawing the modified lines around the pattern pieces before pinning them to your fabric; OR

    B. Pinning your original pattern pieces to your fabric and using an erasable fabric marker to mark the extended cutting lines on your fabric.

    It will help to use a tape measure to mark some points at 1/2" (15mm) all the way along the new curves before connecting the points with your marker.

    Step 2

    After sewing the Front and Back Bodice pieces together as indicated in the sewing instructions, press the shoulder seams and then press down the neckline area wrong sides together by 3/8" (1cm).  (Note: if you choose to use fusible tape for this step, follow the manufacturer's instructions to apply and press the fabric/tape together.)

    Step 3

    Insert your twin needle into your sewing machine, thread it and sew around the neckline 3/8" (1cm) from the folded edge. Sew carefully making sure you catch the raw edge on the wrong side of the fabric with your bobbin thread. (If you are new to sewing with twin needles you may want to have a practice on a piece of folded fabric first to ensure that you are using the correct seam allowance). 

    Give the neckline area a press and that's it! Finish the remaining steps of the sewing instructions and enjoy your new Pearlie :)

    Pattern: Peach Patterns Pearlie Dress & Peplum Top for Girls Sizes 1-12

    Fabric: "Alaska White" Digital Print Knit Fabric from Dizzy Daisy Fabric Studio

    If you have a go at this tutorial I'd love you to share your pictures in our Peach Patterns Sewing Group on Facebook or on Instagram with the hashtags #peachpatterns #pearliedress

    Tutorial: Making the Peach Patterns "Leilani Romper for Girls" With Elastic Straps or Ties

    Tutorial: Making the Peach Patterns

    Do you love the Peach Patterns Leilani Romper for Girls and want to make it a little easier to get on and off? Grab a cuppa and sit tight because this is for you!  In this post we’ll run through two ways to add elastic to the shoulder straps/ties of the romper so that it can be pulled on and off easily without having to undo anything or mess around with the ties.

    Two methods to choose from

    Fixed Elastic Straps are for those who want a clean and simple look without ties. With this method small lengths of elastic are inserted into short straps which are then sewn into the front and back of the shoulders between the romper top and the ruffle overlay.  Check out our previous blog post for lots of photos of our romper with fixed elastic straps in action!

    OR:-

    Elastic Ties are for those who love the look of the longer ties but also want the convenience that the elastic gives (the best of both worlds really!). After sewing some elastic into the lower part of the ties, you then go on to sew the ties in the same way that you would the regular shoulder ties. The elastic in the ties allows them to stay tied up whilst being pulled on and off over the shoulders.

    What you need to make elastic straps/ties

    The supplies you will need are:

    • A fabric loop turner. You can buy one of these cheaply online or at your local fabric store.
    • A small amount of narrow elastic. I have used 6mm (1/4”) wide elastic for my straps because this fits easily into the fabric tubes which you will create to make your straps or ties. A soft and pliable style of elastic like braided or knitted elastic is best for these techniques.
    • To give added strength to the area where you will be attaching the elastic you may also want to fuse some lightweight interfacing to each of the four shoulder caps of your OVERLAY (or FACINGS for the basic romper option). Small squares of approximately 2cms (3/4") will do the trick. Follow the directions to apply the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric.
    • A safety pin which will help you guide your straps/ties into place for sewing.

    Which steps are replaced in the sewing instructions?

    The straps/ties are inserted after Step 6 in the "Leilani Romper for Girls Sewing Instructions" when the TOP and OVERLAY (or in the case of the Basic Romper Option, the TOP and FACINGS) have been sewn together.

    For both the methods below I sew the TOP and OVERLAY or FACINGS together around the neckline and armholes but leave the shoulder caps open as specified in the pattern instructions. Do not trim the neckline seam until after the straps/ties have been sewn into place.

    First Method: How to Make Fixed Elastic Straps

    1. Cut two lengths of elastic according to the suggested amount for your size in the "Elastic Cutting Guide" below. 

    2. Cut two rectangles of fabric which are each the same width as the SHOULDER TIE pattern piece and twice the length of your elastic pieces (because you will need to gather each tube up to a half of its size when the elastic is inserted).  

    3. Make your fabric tubes according to the “Loop Turner” method described in Step 7 of the "Leilani Romper for Girls Sewing Instructions". Turn them right side out and press.

    4. Insert a piece of elastic into each fabric tube until the raw edges meet at one end. Sew back and forth across the width of the fabric/elastic (within the 1cm or 3/8” seam allowance) to secure the raw edges together. 

    5. Gather the excess fabric along the length of the elastic by pushing it towards the sewn end until the raw edges meet at the other end. Sew back and forth across the width of the fabric/elastic (again within the 1cm or 3/8” seam allowance) to secure the raw edges together.  The photo below shows your finished straps, ready to be sewn into the romper.

    6. Take your romper (which is turned inside out) and insert one end of a strap into one of the gaps in the shoulder caps (attach a safety pin to one end and use it to guide the strap into place if you need help inserting it). Match the raw edges of the strap with the raw edges of the shoulder cap and pin in place. Sew the gap closed (forwards and backwards).

    7. Take the loose end of the strap and pass it across the side seam of the romper underneath the OVERLAY or FACINGS and to the opposite shoulder cap being careful not to twist the strap.  Insert and sew it into the gap as per the instructions above.

    8. Repeat  Steps 6 & 7 with the remaining shoulder strap on the other side of the romper.

    9. Trim the neckline and armhole seams, turn the romper right side out and pull the straps up into place.  Press around the neckline and armholes and topstitch as per the "Leilani Romper for Girls Sewing Instructions".

    Second Method: How to Make Elastic Ties

    1. Cut four lengths of elastic according to the suggested amount for your size in the "Elastic Cutting Guide" below. 

    2. Cut four rectangles of fabric using the SHOULDER TIE pattern piece from your Leilani Romper pattern. (Note the pattern piece is long enough to allow for the gathering in this method but you could add 5 cms or so to the length of the ties if you want them to be a similar length to the standard Leilani Romper shoulder ties.)

    3. Make your fabric tubes according to the “Loop Turner” method described in Step 7 of the "Leilani Romper for Girls Sewing Instructions". Turn them right side out and press.

    4. On your fabric tube, make a mark or place a pin at a point twice the length of your elastic piece from one end.

    5. Insert a piece of elastic into the fabric tube until the raw edges meet at one end. Sew back and forth across the width of the fabric/elastic (within the 1cm or 3/8” seam allowance) to secure the raw edges together.

    6. Gather the excess fabric (from the marked point only) along the length of the elastic by pushing it towards the sewn end until the marked point meets the end of your elastic which is inside the tube. Sew back and forth across the width of the fabric/elastic to secure the inside end of the elastic within the fabric tube. (You can add embellishments like the bead in the photo below before tying a knot in the other end.)

    7. Repeat the process above to make the remaining three SHOULDER TIES.

    8. Insert and sew the SHOULDER TIES into your romper following Step 8 of the "Leilani Romper for Girls Sewing Instructions".

    Tie the shoulder ties as normal when wearing the romper and leave them tied up to pull the romper on and off.

    PLEASE NOTE: The Elastic Cutting Guide Below contains suggested lengths only because of the different preferences for where you or your child will want the bodice of the romper to “sit” on the body.  Longer elastic = lower bodice and shorter elastic = higher bodice.

    Peach Patterns Leilani Romper for Girls PDF Sewing Pattern Elastic Straps and Ties Cutting Guide

    And that's it! I hope you enjoy making your easy on/off romper :) 

    Thanks for visiting and don't forget to check out our previous blog post with more pics of our Leilani Romper with the fixed elastic straps. And if you make one we'd love you to drop into the Peach Patterns Sewing Group and share some pics with us or share them on Instagram and tag your photos with #peachpatterns #leilaniromper.

    I’m grateful to our brilliant pattern testers Natalie @taliajane_designs and Tanya @sewvolution who enabled me to develop this tutorial by sharing their techniques and suggestions with me.  

    Peach Patterns "Leilani Romper for Girls" with Elastic Straps

    Peach Patterns

    Lots of you have asked how to sew your Leilani Romper for Girls with elastic straps or elastic ties so that the romper is super easy to get on and off. Adding elastic to the shoulders is a simple pattern hack which is great for all ages but especially for teeny little romper wearers who are potty training or learning to be independent dressers.

    Before we get down to business with the tutorial (check it out in the next post here) I hope you'll enjoy all these lovely pics of our very own Leilani Romper made with the fixed elastic straps in a cute sailing boat print rayon.

    All the planets aligned for our photo session: a sunny late summer afternoon; a model who was in the mood for some serious posing and a little car trip which had been planned to Sydney's beautiful Rose Bay Wharf - the perfect backdrop.

    It's a LONG way to London from here!!

    Thanks for visiting and don't forget to check out the tutorial on making the Leilani Romper for Girls with elastic straps or ties in our next blog post. And if you make one we'd love you to drop into the Peach Patterns Sewing Group and share some pics with us or share your photos on Instagram and tag them with #peachpatterns #leilaniromper.

    Tutorial: The "Pearlie Dress & Peplum Top": Sewing Perfect Gathers

    Tutorial: The

    Sewing perfect gathers between the bodice and skirt on your Pearlie Dress or Peplum Top isn't hard and will give your finished dress a truly professional edge.  There are several ways to get nice even gathers when sewing knit fabrics but the one we use in the pattern is a real "game changer" (I'm quoting the Pearlie pattern testers here!).  

    This method is also an especially good confidence booster if you're new to sewing with knits because it's simple and has such great results.

    **** Haven't got your Pearlie Dress pattern yet? Hop over to One Thimble and grab a copy either as a standalone pattern or, better still, as a package with the other great patterns in One Thimble Issue 16. For more inspiration and to see all the amazing Pearlies that have been posted by our lovely customers, join the Peach Patterns Sewing Group and One Thimble Sewing Enthusiasts group on Facebook. ****

    This tutorial outlines the very first steps you will take to sew your Pearlie Dress or Peplum after cutting your fabric pieces. Taking a bit of extra time and care here will set you up for success with the rest of your sewing.

    NOTE: There are two bodice and neckband options in the Pearlie Dress pattern and for this version I used the "relaxed fit" bodice and the "standard" neckband.  The dress was made in a straight Size 8 and the fabric details and links are at the end of the tutorial.

    SO, let's get started:

    ASSEMBLE YOUR SUPPLIES

    The things you'll need are a stretch needle, your regular thread, some shirring elastic and an empty bobbin case. 

    Insert the stretch needle into your sewing machine shank and thread it with your regular thread.  Take the empty bobbin and wind your shirring elastic around it by hand until the bobbin is full.  The idea here is to wind the elastic on firmly but without stretching it too much.  Load the bobbin with your shirring elastic into the bobbin case as you would with regular thread.

    SEW YOUR GATHERING STITCHES

    Set your machine to the longest stitch length.  On the right side of your SKIRT FRONT and BACK pieces sew a row of stitching just under the top raw edge. (Make sure you start (and finish) sewing just over 1cm (3/8") in from the side seams (as marked on the pattern pieces). This will ensure the seam allowances at each side of the dress are free of gathers.  And yipeee (!) you'll notice the fabric will begin to gather a bit as you sew.  The real magic starts, though, when you sew another row of stitching just under the first one.  Hold the fabric as flat as possible without stretching it too much and sew completely parallel to your first row.  Your fabric will gather up nicely - step back to admire!  

    Here are some front and back views of your fabric after this step:

    Your shirring elastic will most likely have done the trick to reduce the width of your skirt pieces to match the width of your bodices.  You can check this by laying the pieces parallel as in the photo below. If they're still too wide, however, simply lay the skirt pieces on your ironing board and give the gathers a few shots of steam while holding the iron just above the fabric (don't press the actual fabric).

    FIND THE CENTRE POINT OF BODICE & SKIRT PIECES

    Fold your BODICE and SKIRT pieces in half and mark the centre of each with a pin as shown in the photo below.

    SEW BODICE and SKIRT PIECES TOGETHER

    A little word of caution here so you don't do what *someone I know* (ahem) once did whilst sewing her Pearlie Dress i.e. sew the BODICE FRONT and SKIRT BACK together.  The SKIRT BACK is the longer of the two skirt pieces and needs to be matched with its partner, the BODICE BACK.

    Taking your SKIRTS and BODICES, match the centre points marked by your pins and aligning the raw edges, pin your pieces right sides together.  I use LOTS of pins and remove them as I sew!  

    (You will notice (as the photo below shows) that the bodice fabric has a tendency to bunch up when it's pinned to the skirt.  Because of this you need to take extra care when sewing over your gathers to keep smoothing out the layer of (bodice) fabric underneath.  If the bodice fabric does double over and get caught in the stitch line, there's no need to unpick the whole seam: simply unpick and re-sew the affected area.)

    Sew your skirt and bodice pieces together just under the second row of gathering stitches. For the sake of precision I use a regular machine to do this step and then finish the seam with my overlocker (serger) afterwards.

    Sewing machine:

    Overlocker (Serger):

    PRESS SEAM UPWARDS

    And that's really all there is to it! After a quick steam and press with your iron (lay fabric wrong side up and press seam upwards with tip of iron), you have gorgeous gathers and (after doing a little happy dance!) can go on to sew the rest of your Pearlie Dress.

    The knit fabrics used for this Pearlie Dress are Art Gallery Solids in Crystal Pink from Bebeloush Designs for the bodice and Rainbow Pastel Watercolor Moroccan by Micklyn on Spoonflower for the skirt. (I chose the Spoonflower Cotton Spandex Jersey as my base fabric for this print).

    Don't forget to grab your copy of the Pearlie Dress sewing pattern over at One Thimble

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