DIY Elf Dolls Tutorial

Remember those giant dolls? Well they aren't pirates any more, I made them the cutest (and easiest) Elves Costumes!

Adorable Elf Dolls tutorial with free patterns

I apologize for the super long video. I've been sick and now the little one is sick so I didn't have a chance to edit it down and I thought eep Christmas is SOOON I just need to share this. But I hope to come back and replace this FB LIVE replay with a bare bones tutorial version!
Speaking of FB live if you don't already know I go live twice a week usually sharing some kind of sewing or crafting project and every once in a while cooking :) You can catch me on the Rae Gun Ramblings page Mondays at 4 PM EST and Tuesday at 1 PM EST. Supplies The pattern is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD to my newsletter subscribers. You can download the pattern here along with many other free patterns and templates.
  • The password is in every newsletter so if you're already a subscriber check your last newsletter near the bottom the go to this page to access the patterns.
  • Or if you're not already a subscriber sign up right here and when you confirm your email it should give you a welcome page with the password for my downloads page.
What to Do
  • Sew the Dolls according to the directions on the fabric panel. You can watch me sew the girl one in the video above or the boy in this video.
  • Cut the pattern pieces out. I used woven for the stripes but in retrospect I could have easily used the knit version and wouldn't have to worry about fraying. But I think the fraying adds to the pirate feel.
  • Note I'm not doing any finishing work since they are doll costume but if you want to finish your seams, edge stitches the pointy edges, press and all that feel free too!
  • I used 1/4 inch seam allowances
Boy Elf Doll Costume
  1. With right sides together sew the straight sides of the short pieces together (this will make the center seams).
  2. Open up and sew along the curve of the inseam.
  3. Iron the top edge under 1/2 inch and sew down to form a casing making sure to leave an opening for the elastic.
  4. Insert elastic. Sew ends of elastic together and close up the hole in the casing. The shorts are now done
  5. Make the vest by sewing the front vest pieces to the back vest piece at the top edge.
  6. Then sew the side seams from the markings making sure to leave holes for the arms.
  7. Top stitch the ric rac onto the right side of the vest along the front edge and neck. Now your vest should be done.
  8. Cut a length of ribbon for the sash. And attach a Holly Shoe Jingle Bell.

How to make holly shoe bells. Cute DIY Christmas craft tutorial

Girl Elf Doll Costume
  1. With right sides together sew the side seams of the dress.
  2. Fold the arm holes under 1/4 inch and sew down.
  3. Fold the top edges under 1/2 inch and sew down.
  4. Thread the green ribbon through the neck casings you have just made. I like to use a loop turner for this. You will tie a bow to close the dress on the doll. Now your dress is done.
  5. Wrap a Holly Shoe Bell around one of her pony tails and you're good to go.

Sew the cutest elf dolls and shoe jingle bells

How to Make a Dress Sash Tutorial

How to make sashes and handkerchief scarves. Sewing Tutorials

Hey all, today I'm over at Riley Blake Designs sharing how to make quick and easy dress sashes as well as these 10 minute handkerchief scarves. The are both such fun accessories perfect for adding a little pop of color and splash of interest. Head over there to learn more about the dresses I made too!  

One Hour Tee FREE Pattern

affliate-disclosure2 I've been living in these one hour tees lately. They are so easy to sew and I'm happy to say I've got a FREE pattern and tutorial for it to share!

feathers-002-titlte-ss

I sewed up some a few Sew Our Stash-es ago and I got such a great response that I decided I wanted to share the pattern. Now keep in mind that I really don't know what I'm doing. This is a homemade amateur pattern. And even though I put a good amount of time into it it's still free to my email subscribers so just be warned maybe try it out on some cheap fabric you don't love first. It's one size which should work for anyone who wears a medium or large. I based the design off of one of my favorite ready to wear shirts that's a size medium but now a days I wear larges too. So it works for both as long as you use a fabric with some decent stretch.

DIY shirt. Free women's sewing pattern and tutorial

For mine here I used this gorgeous Feathers Navy fabric designed by my friends from Simple Simon and Co. for Riley Blake Designs. I LOOOVEEE this fabric the design is so easy to wear and if you've never used RBD knits you're missing out. It's the perfect weight and stretchiness for clothing! Make sure you check out the rest of the By Popular Demand fabric line it's really gorgeous I mean who can resists arrows and triangles? I want some of all of it!

FREE one hour tee sewing pattern for woman's shirt

What You Need

These are my favorite shirts love this quick and easy free women's shirt sewing pattern

What to Do
  1. Print out the pattern and tape the pattern pieces together by matching the top edge of the paper to the line on the paper above as pictured above. Cut your fabric out.
  2. Place the front piece on the back piece with right sides together matching up the shoulders and serge or sew with a stretch stitch the shoulders with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
  3. Serge or sew the side seams.
  4. Iron the neck like and sleeve edges under 1/2 inches. Pin if necessary.
  5. Iron the hem of the shirt under 1 1/2 inches. Pin if necessary.
  6. Hem the sleeves and the shirt hem using a twin needle and woolly nylon. If you've never done this see my step by step how to hem knits tutorial.

Make a shirt in less than an hour with this free sewing pattern. Women's shirt tutorial.

I love these shirts. This is my third now (see the others) and I wear them all the time. When the weather is warm they are great on their own. Now that the weather has cooled they are perfect under a cardigan. It really is a very versatile silhouette and can give you a totally different look depending on what fabric you use! I think I'm going to try to make a version out of a fancy sequined knit next! You also might like:

The secret to hemming knits. It's the type of thread you use! Rae Gun Ramblings

My FAVORITE way to hem knits

Tips and tricks to buying a serger you'll actually use and love - Rae Gun Ramblings

If you've been wanting to buy a serger you'll want to read this!

DIY Pirate Dolls Tutorial with Free Pattern

affiliate DISCLOSURE

I made the cutest giant dolls this weekend for Teddy and I couldn't resist but make pirate costumes for them. Today I'm sharing my free pattern!

23 inch DIY giant dolls for boys and girls with free pirate costumes sewing patterns

Have you guys seen the Doll Fabric that See Kate Sew has out with Riley Blake Designs? It's freakishly adorable. It's a panel fabric which means that all the pieces are printed onto the fabric with cutting lines and instructions. I'm super in love with the fabric. Watch the replay of my Facebook LIVE of me sewing up the boy doll below. Go here to buy the DOLL FABRIC PANEL
Today I'm hanging out over at the Riley Blake Designs blog sharing the tutorial for how to make both the girl and boy pirate costumes as well as a little coordinating eye patch for your own little pirate (pirate costume available here).

Pirate Costume Pattern

The pattern is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD to my newsletter subscribers. You can download the pattern here along with many other free patterns and templates.
  • The password is in every newsletter so if you're already a subscriber check your last newsletter near the bottom the go to this page to access the patterns.
  • Or if you're not already a subscriber sign up right here and when you confirm your email it should give you a welcome page with the password for my downloads page.
Adorable pirate costumes for dolls and eye patch tutorial. Free costume sewing pattern UPDATED with full tutorial below

Darling DIY pirate dolls for boys and girls

Supplies

How to make pirate costumes. Sewing tutorial and doll pattern

What to Do
  • Cut the pattern pieces out. I used woven for the stripes but in retrospect I could have easily used the knit version and wouldn't have to worry about fraying. But I think the fraying adds to the pirate feel.
  • Note I'm not doing any finishing work since they are doll costume but if you want to finish your seams, edge stitches the pointy edges, press and all that feel free too!
  • I used 1/4 inch seam allowances

How to make a boy pirate doll with free pirate costume sewing pattern

Boy Pirate Doll Costume
  1. With right sides together sew the straight sides of the short pieces together (this will make the center seams).
  2. Open up and sew along the curve of the inseam.
  3. Iron the top edge under 1/2 inch and sew down to form a casing making sure to leave an opening for the elastic.
  4. Insert elastic. Sew ends of elastic together and close up the hole in the casing. The shorts are now done
  5. Make the vest by sewing the front vest pieces to the back vest piece at the top edge.
  6. Then sew the side seams from the markings making sure to leave holes for the arms.
  7. Top stitch the ric rac onto the right side of the vest along the front edge and neck. Now your vest should be done.
  8. Cut a length of red ribbon for the sash.
  9. Take the eye patch band and form a circle overlapping the edges by 1/2 inch.
  10. Pin the eye patch over the overlapping edges  and sew in place forming a small box (so that you catch the all edges of the band that touch the eye patch. Now your eye patch is done.

DIY girl pirate. Free sewing pattern for pirate costume

Girl Pirate Doll Costume
  1. With right sides together sew the side seams of the dress.
  2. Fold the arm holes under 1/4 inch and sew down.
  3. Fold the top edges under 1/2 inch and sew down.
  4. Thread the black ribbon through the neck casings you have just made. I like to use a loop turner for this. You will tie a bow to close the dress on the doll. Now your dress is done.
  5. Tie a double knot of ric rac to make your dolls necklace (alternatively you can sew it into a circle).
  6. Make an eye patch using steps 9-10 of the Boy Costume instructions above.
Child Sized Eye Patch
  1. Use the same size eye patch as for the dolls.
  2. Measure your child's head and subtract 2 inches for the band piece. Use the same width as for the dolls.
  3. Assemble the eye patch just like the doll eye patches (steps 9-10).

SO cute giant dolls for boys and girls and free sewing pattern for pirate costumes.

Teddy, my 2 year old, and I are totally smitten with these dolls. Like I'm already planning on getting more of this fabric and making other fun outfits for them smitten! They are just too cute.

DIY giant pirate dolls. Great sewing project would make a fun gift.

This tutorial originally appeared on the Riley Blake Designs blog.  

60 Minute No-Fuss Apron Skirt Tutorial

affiliate DISCLOSURE

I've always loved the way those wrap apron skirts look. But I hate wrap skirts, I'm just too worried they're going to come undone. I have seen people add a zipper to the back or side but I hate committing to a size in a way that zippers require.

How to make an apron skirt without a zipper. Sewing tutorial 60 minutes with full step by step video instructions.

This skirt has the look of an apron skirt but slips on (and stays on) without a zipper and still has a flexible fit. You could say it's my new fav.

60 minute DIY gathered skirt tutorial with step by step video instructions. Great sewing project.

What You Need

This can be easily adjusted to a kids size by decreasing the width (I'd use I length of 44" for kids under 8 and over 8 I'd just do a very full skirt and do the same width) and changing the length.

  • Skirt Fabric 2 pieces 44 X length of desired skirt plus 3 (for me this was 27 inches) I used Bittersweet Main Orange
  • Band Fabric 1/2 yard I used Bittersweet Floral Green
  • Elastic enough to stretch across your back (for me this was 10 inches)
Watch the video tutorial for step by step instructions and footage of each step. Or see the written instructions below.

60 minute big bow skirt tutorial. Easy sewing project.

What to Do

  1. Make the sash. Start by cutting or tearing your fabric into 3 pieces each 6x44 inches long. Then cut one of those pieces down to the the length of the distance of the front of your waist (basically from one side to the other for me this is 17 inches).
  2. Next sew your your short edges of one of your long pieces to the short edge of your middle piece right sides together.
  3. Repeat with the other short edge of the middle piece and the other piece of fabric right sides together. Now you should have a long strip of fabric.
  4. Next fold the sash in half right sides together. Sew down an angle at the short edge and then down the length of the fabric with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Leave the other short edge open for easy turning.
  5. Turn your sash right side out. I like using a loop turner for this.
  6. Iron your sash making sure to tuck the open end in at an angle.
  7. Sew across the end to close the hole up. Set your sash piece aside.
  8. Sew your your skirt by sewing the side edges of the skirt pieces with right sides together.
  9. Finish the top and bottom edges of the skirt with a serger, zig zag stitch or pinking shears.
  10. Gather the top edge of the skirt. For a slower treatment of how to gather see my awesome cheater gathering trick.
  11. Pin your elastic to the back edge of your skirt gather your skirt to the elastic. Sew the elastic onto the skirt while stretching the elastic (this is easier to understand when watching the video).
  12. Attach the band to the skirt.

How to sew a sash onto a skirt for a big bow. Great sewing tutorial for 60 minute gathered skirt.

I love that this skirt looks like a dress but that you can change the top for a completely different look or change up the type of sleeves for different occasions or weather!

How to make a gathered skirt with bow sash. Sewing tutorial with full video instructions

I also think it's fun to sometimes wear the bow in the front and other times wear the bow in the back!

Reversible big bow skirt tutorial. Step by step video with sewing instructions. How to sew a skirt in 60 minute

See more great project made using Sue Daley's gorgeous Bittersweet Fabric line for Riley Blake Designs.

Harry Potter Wand Holster Tutorial

I have wanted to make a wand holder for a long time not but totally put it off. So I'm SUPER excited to share this tutorial today because I adore how it came out!How fun a wand holster to carry your harry potter wands. Great sewing tutorial and how to make DIY wands too.

Too fun! DIY Harry Potter Magic wand holster. Sewing tutorial.

Get the Harry Potter Shirts here

This tutorial is a little more complicated sewing than I normally share because of the zipper and all the steps but it's still not that hard of a project but if you prefer to just purchase one you can get one here. Oh and if you don't already have a wand to put in your holster I have a super fun and super easy Wand Tutorial.

Have your wands at the ready at all times with this Harry Potter inspired DIY wand holster. Sewing tutorial

My little guy has been carrying a wand around since we made them. He took one on a walk today and it made my geeky Harry Potter loving heart explode.
What You Need
  • Holster Fabric
  • Strap Fabric - adults will need two strips of 3"x44" fabric, one strip for the kid size.
  • Small Zipper (optional)
  • D- Ring (optional)
  • Snaps (optional)
What to do Before I start I just wanted to say I wanted mine to be adjustable and have a zipper pocket so that makes things a little more complicated. BUT you could leave out the zipper and just make your strap the right size for the wearer or even use a safety pin instead of snaps and that would save some work. 1. Cut your fabric out. You can see the general shape I used. I meant to make a free pattern but I totally forgot. I will update this post with a pattern that can be downloaded if you want to save it or pin it and check back later. 2.  Make the straps. For the adult size sew the short ends together. Iron your strap fabric in half  (so it's skinnier) and sew down the length.  Turn right side out and iron. 3. Make the Wand Pocket. The wand pocket fabric should be about 3"x 7" depending on your wand length. Do the same as you did for the strap.

Steps to making a wand holster

4. Tuck in one side of the wand pocket tube and sew closed. Position on the holder piece and sew down along both sides. Make sure it's just one layer of fabric NOT folded. 5. Open both holster pieces and with right sides together sew across the V to connect them at the bottom edge.

How to make a Harry Potter wand holster tutorial

6. Mark where your zipper should go and then with right sides together sew the the raw side edges closed of the non- zipper and and up to where the bottom of the zipper will go. You do want to leave the top edges open. (If you want to skip the zipper just sew it all and leave the top openings.)

Make a zipper pouch wand holder

7. Sew in the zipper. 8. Turn right side out and tuck under the top edges on both sides.

How to make a Harry Potter wand holster adjustable. sewing tutorial

9. Cut off 3 inches from your strap, loop it through the D ring and tuck it into one opening. Sew closed. (If you are making a fitted strap you can skip the D ring and just sew a strap that is the correct length tucking in top openings)

Sew an adjustable magic wand holster perfect for harry potter fans.

10. Sew the raw side of the other strap in the other opening. At this point you can use a safety pin to make your strap adjustable or put in snaps. Just mark where you want your snaps and add them.

How awesome, magic wand holsters. Perfect for Harry Potter lovers. This would be great to take to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

We've all had fun running around with our wands this Summer. And yes the kids love it as much as I do ;)

Must make these! DIY Harry Potter Magic wand holster. Sewing tutorial. Fun gift idea.

I'm excited to be sharing this as a part of Nap-Time Creations' Summer Fun Series! See all the other awesome projects being shared today. And make sure to scroll all the way down for the HUGE Harry Potter giveaways. Summer Fun #6 Make a treat, bookmark, wand holster or stacking dolls. Learn kids photography tips all on Nap-Time Creations Photography Fun for Kids - Sugar Bee Crafts Milk Dud Cake Mix Bars - Kleinworth and Co Turtle Bookmarks - Lulu and Celeste Wand Holster - Rae Gun Ramblings DIY Stacking Dolls - Nap-Time Creations Head over to Nap-Time Creations/Summer Fun to see all the posts in the series. And don't forget to enter the giveaways!!!

Harry Potter everything. Great book nerd gifts and book swag.

See more about each prize and sponsor at this giveaway post and be sure to enter the other equally awesome prize pack while you're there! Winner must have a US address or be willing to pay for international shipping. Prize Pack #1 a Rafflecopter giveaway So many awesome Harry Potter gift ideas. Great for readers Prize Pack #2 See more about each prize and sponsor at this giveaway post and be sure to enter the other equally awesome prize pack while you're there! Winner must have a US address or be willing to pay for international shipping. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sew Our Stash Summer Tops

You guys, I sewed myself THREE new tops this month!!! Two I totally love and the other I'm trying to decide.

DIY knit top. This is my favorite shirt.

So this is one of the ones I love. I actually made it earlier today. I have a favorite shirt and I drafted the pattern based off of it and I am in love. I plan on making at least 10 more. Also ignore my crazy squinty eyes and wild hair the weather was nutso but when you sew your Sew Our Stash items the last day you need to write up your post you get what you get haha.

Sew Our Stash monthly selfish sewing challenge.

It came together so quickly and it's one of those easy to wear styles that I need so badly in this stage of my mommy hood.

Sorbetto Top Sewing Pattern

The top I'm unsure about you may have already seen. I used some SUPER gorgeous Riley Blake fabric from their Desert Bloom line. I had originally planned on making a dress with the fabric but decided I needed more tops. I just don't love how this turned out. I think it's frumpy and not flattering. I took TONS of pictures in this shirt and there were only 3 where I didn't think I looked really blah. I still really love the fabric so I feel like I wasted it you know. I think part of the problem was this style probably needed a lighter weight fabric but also the cut doesn't seem to work for me. I don't think the lines hit the right places to be flattering on me. Also I think it's too big despite taking it in. I don't know what do you guys think? You can see a couple more pictures here.

handmade wardrobe perfect tee

And the final top is another version of the first this time with the Idle Wilde print on the front and solid black on the back. I'm not sure if you've ever sewn with Riley Blake knits but they are dreamy. I have a few skirts (with big white sections) and I can wear bright neon undies under these tight pencil skirts and they don't show through but they are still super soft and have a great drape.

Two fabrics for a fun DIY knit shirt

So that's what I made for Sew Our Stash this month. I'm quite proud. I'm super anxious to make more of those tees! Make sure you check out what Bev from Flamingo Toes made this month for herself! And keep tagging those pictures  #sewourstash

10 Minute Pillowcase Tutorial with Video

affiliate disclosure

Throw pillows are one of the easiest ways to update the look of a room and they couldn't be easier to make. Today I'm sharing a 10 minute pillowcase tutorial.

Just made a bunch of these. Great video tutorial for fast pillowcases. Perfect for DIY home decor. Also how to figure out how much fabric you need for throw pillow covers.

I made the ones photographed here in about 10 minutes total. Yup that's for ALL of them. These darling pillowcases are that fast and that easy to make. All that is required is a few straight lines of sewing so this is a really great project for beginners.
See the full direction on this video tutorial (click here if it doesn't load above)! If you're more of a written direction type of person you can see them all here.

Desert Bloom fabric projects including easy DIY pillowcases

For these pillowcases I used a bunch of the fabrics from the awesome Desert Bloom fabric line by Amanda Herring for Riley Blake Designs. I fell in love with the Desert Medallion print so I used that in gray and white. I'm such a sucker for text fabrics I needed one in the Dessert Text in gray and I actually have been using it in my "library" and it goes perfectly with my other bookish pillowcases that I made! I also made myself a Sorbetto top out of the Desert Medallion Red with the Dessert Blue Hexies for the binding because you know matching your throw pillows is totally what cool people do ;) You also might like:

The secret to hemming knits. It's the type of thread you use! Rae Gun Ramblings

hands down the best trick for gathering fabric on the sewing machine - Rae Gun Ramblings

great top patterns to sew for women
Let’s connect! You can also find me hanging out here.
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Vinyl Bottom Market Bag Tutorial

affiliate disclosure

I have to say I'm totally smitten with this vinyl bottom market back and you will be too! I'm sharing an easy DIY tutorial and free pattern so we can all have new awesome totes.

My new favorite diy bag. Great free sewing pattern and easy tote bag tutorial

I fell in love with the Greatest Adventure line when I first saw it and I think it makes just the perfect every day tote for this boy mama. The problem though was that this didn't come in a laminate and it was very important to me that the bottom of my wipeable and water resistant.

Love this bag. great sewing tutorial with free market tote bag pattern

I put it down on the floor all over and it just grosses me out to do that with regular fabric. So what I did instead was cover it in a layer of vinyl and it worked like a charm! What You Need

Free pattern and tutorial for awesome diy vinyl bottom bag. Great sewing tutorial

What to Do
  1. Sew the bottom of the main fabric together to make the bottom edge of the bag. If your fabric is directional pay attention to that.
  2. Do the same for the pocket fabric
  3. Serge (or zig zag) the top edges of both the main fabrics and the pocket fabrics.
  4. Iron the top edges of the pocket piece under 1 inch.
  5. Lay the clear vinyl over the right side of the pocket piece. Fold over the top edges and clip into place. I made a video about how to do this and how to sew with vinyl (the next step) you can watch it on guest post on the Riley Blake Designs blog!
  6. Sew across the one of the top edges with a 1/2 inch seam allowance making sure to catch all four layers (folded fabric and folded vinyl)
  7. Repeat on the other top edge.
  8. Lay the now vinyl covered pocket over the open a main fabric and pin at the bottom seam.
  9. On one side find the center and sew a line down the center of the pocket piece attaching it to the main fabric. This will create two smaller pockets on one side of the bag.
  10. Next make the straps. Iron each strap piece right sides together lengthwise and then sew using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
  11. Turn right side out (I love using my loop turner for this, see about my loop turner love here). And then tuck the ends in and iron.
  12. Measure 4 inches in from the edge of the pocket and pin the strap to the main fabric about an inch below the pocket. Measure 3 inches up from the top of the pocket and place another pin.
  13. Pin the other side of the strap 4 inches in from the other edge.
  14. Repeat for the other side of the bag.
  15. Sew the straps on forming an X box at each end to reinforce the stitches. Sew along the sides from the bottom of the strap up to where you marked 3 inches above the pocket finishing in another X box.
  16. Serge both sides of the the bag fabric so that you finish the edges and attach the pocket to the main fabric. It should still be opened up at this point with the bottom seam in the middle.
  17. Next Iron the top edges under 3 inches.
  18. Sew a line across the top edges at the bottom edge of the fold (about 2.75 inches down from the fold).
  19. Sew another line 1/2 inch above that.
  20. Repeat on the other side of the bag.
  21. Next with wrong sides together fold the bag in half so the bottom seem is at the bottom. Tuck the side edges of the bag under to hid the serging and clip together.
  22. With a piece of tissue paper under the vinyl sew from the bottom of the casing to the bottom edge of the bag. Repeat on the other side.
  23. Peel off any remaining tissue paper.
  24. Thread one piece of ribbon in from the right side looping back in from the other side and then knot. Repeat with the other ribbon but starting at the left side.
  25. Now add snaps onto the large pocket side. Position the snaps right in front of the straps so that you attach them to the thicker part of the bag.

So many great details in this free sewing pattern. Vinyl bottom bag tutorial

It's really a pretty easy bag to put together I just did it in a couple hours. Today was my first day using it and I have to say I seriously love it. I might have to make another for when I head out with out the little guy.

Just made this and love it! This DIY tote bag has everything. Free pattern and tutorial

You also might like:

The secret to hemming knits. It's the type of thread you use! Rae Gun Ramblings

hands down the best trick for gathering fabric on the sewing machine - Rae Gun Ramblings

this is how I always do chocolate covered strawberries!

Elastic Back Panel Tutorial Sewing Fit Hack

Whether you want those handmade dresses to fit a little long, are pregnant, or just fluctuate in weight, this Elastic Back Panel Tutorial will be your new best friend.

I do this all the time now. Easy way to make sizing flexible for growing kids, weight and weight fluctuating adults. I made some dresses before I was pregnant that I was able to wear through my pregnancy great idea for maternity sewing. Easy tutorial for inserting an elastic panel into any dress pattern.

It seems one of the main reasons so many of us put off sewing for ourselves is that we aren't what we view as the optimal size. I know that I'm bigger than I'd like and the idea of putting all the work into making a dress that I honestly hope won't fit for long doesn't sound appealing. Sure I can sew with knits but sometimes I just want to use a cute woven cotton like these amazing Vintage Kitchen prints from Riley Blake.

Darling DIY sewing dress. Elastic back panel tutorial for flexible fit (like maternity).

That's why I love this little trick for making part of the back stretchy. As a bonus you don't have to deal with a zipper or buttonholes. I did this to dresses I made right before and during my pregnancy and I can still happily wear the same ones I did at 9 months pregnant and I'm probably 35 lbs lighter now. So that is some decent wiggle room!

How to tweak a sewing pattern to add an elastic back panel for flexible fit, maternity clothes, or even longer lasting kid sewing. Easy step by step DIY tutorial.

I actually started using this trick years ago to all the nieces' dresses (for example here and here)  I made for them. It makes the fit last for super long like they have worn some of their dresses for 3 full years. As long as you start with a generous skirt length as the kids grow the stretchy back will allow for room and it will just be a slightly shorter dress.

Great step by step sewing tutorial for how to tweak a sewing pattern to include an elastic back panel. Great for maternity clothes or just to make kid clothes last longer.

Start By Adjusting Your Bodice Back Pattern Piece

You can do this to pretty much any dress pattern that has a bodice attached to a skirt. What you need to do is convert your bodice back piece so that it's the finished width plus about 4.5 inches. That will give you 4 inches for the elastic panel and 1/2 inch seam allowance. So read through the direction of your pattern if it's made for you to put in a zipper see how much is allowed for that subtract it and then adding 2.25 inches to the center back edge. Alternatively you can take a bodice back that you have used with knit (stretchy) fabric and add the 2.25 inches to that. Note I prefer to do this with bodices that are lined or single layers without facings. Basically you can't have weird pieces hanging underneath (or you probably could but it would be annoying).

Love this idea to add an elastic back panel to DIY sewing dresses so they always fit no matter your weight changes! Great tutorial with lots of steps and pictures

What You Need

Must try adding an elastic back panel for flexible fit (like maternity and kids clothes). DIY sewing tutorial.

Assemble Your Bodice

The first step is to put your bodice together so you can do it how you prefer. I'm just going to give the directions for a lined bodice like I did here. You can do sleeves set in or sewn in before side seams you just need to have a finished bodice with 4 inches extra space in the back to put in the elastic. I do 4 inches both for kids and for adults.
  1. If your bodice front has darts sew those in to both the bodice pieces and the lining pieces.
  2. Sew the front pieces to the back pieces at the shoulders with right sides together (you should have two back pieces and one front piece). Repeat for lining.
  3. With right sides together sew around the neck edges and and arm holes. If doing sleeves you can put your sleeves in before or during this step if you have cap sleeves or do set in sleeves later.
  4. Turn right side out by reaching in through the center back and pulling the fabric of the other side through.
  5. Press with an iron.
  6. Open the back up and and sew it together matching the lining fabrics to each other and the back fabric to each other. Not like this ;) This is just to close up the back.
  7. Now you should have a finished bodice that is a closed tube with an extra 4 inches.

I do this all the time now. Great for maternity, kids, or just flexible fit clothes sewing. Easy to follow tutorial for putting in an elastic back panel.

Putting In the Elastic

Basically you sew rows of elastic across the back. I like to zig zag over my elastic and do the rows in 1 inch increments with the bottom row as close to the stitching line to attach the skirt as possible.
  1. Turn your bodice right side out. I like to serge around the bottom edge just to hold everything in place and pin along the back center seam.
  2. Using your fabric marker draw a vertical line parallel to the center back seam but 3.5 inches to the left. Repeat 3.5 inches to the right of the center back.
  3. Draw a horizontal line 1/4 inch from the top edge.
  4. Draw a line 1/8 inch from where you will attach your skirt to the bodice at the bottom edge. For example I used a 1/2 inch seam allowance so I put my lowest line at the 5/8 inch line.
  5. Now draw lines about 1 inch about in between those two lines. Depending on how high your bodice is it might not be perfectly 1 inch but I think that's a good gap although I've done larger and smaller gaps before.
  6. Set your machine to a zig zag stitch that will sew on and through the elastic making sure it sews through the elastic at at least one side of the stitch.
  7. Position your elastic on one of the lines that run horizontally across your bodice. Back stitch a few times and then pull the elastic as tight as you can. I usually put have my left hand hold the fabric that is behind the needle and I pull it that way while using my right hand to pull the elastic away from the needle and feed the bodice in. You might want to practice this on some scrap fabric your first few times.
  8. While the elastic is pulled as tight as possible zig zag over the elastic sewing it down to the line stopping at the vertical line you drew and making sure to back stitch.
  9. Cut the elastic and threads.
  10. Repeat for every horizontal line you drew.
  11. Now you should have your bodice piece with a gathered elastic back panel.
  12. You can attach the skirt but make sure to allow for some ease in the skirt through portion that attaches to the back panel. I stretch the elastic out while I sew the through that area so it can stretch over my shoulders and bust without a problem.

Super cute DIY dress with great sewing tutorial.

I have attached a fully gathered skirt like the one on this cat dress but I've also done a non-gathered aline skirt for a few dresses I made while I was pregnant. I still wear these often post-babe.

Hands down the only way I'll gather when I'm sewing. Great trick every sewist should know and use.

If you are doing doing a fully gathered skirt I highly recommend using my cheater gathering method to gather your skirt piece it makes it so easy to get the gathers even while never running the risk of snapping your basting threads.

how to easily add an elastic back panel to a dress. great sewing tutorial perfect for kids clothing, maternity wear, or anyone who likes flexible fits and comfort in their clothing.

Now let's talk about this dress. Don't you just LOOOOOOOVEEEE the fabric? The cats are Kitchen Cat in Yellow from the Vintage Kitchen line designed by the super talented crazy creative Andrea Muller of Jolijou for Riley Blake designs. And the sash was made out of Kitchen Harlequin Teal from the same line.

You'd nee guess this DIY dress is stretchy in the back. Great sewing tutorial for how to make an elastic back panel. Perfect for maternity clothes or just flexible fitting.

I am a huge fan of Riley Blake cottons they just have the perfect weight in my opinion. Thick enough that I don't have to line the skirt but not too thick that it feels heavy with one layer.

vintage kitchen fabric

Make sure you check out the other awesome creations made from these cool fabrics. I wish that I was a quilter so I could have used all the different prints and color options I really love them all! Here are all the blogs that have been a part of the blog tour for this fabulous fabric line.

3/7/2016

Julia – Riley Blake Designs

www.rileyblakedesigns.com/blog

3/7/2016

Andrea – Jolijou

www.jolijou.com

3/8/2016

Nina – Hedi

www.hedinaeht.blogspot.de

3/8/2016

Anja – Nähkitz

www.naehkitz.de

3/9/2016

Swafing Fabrics

www.blog.swafing.de

3/9/2016

Carrie Beri Bee Designs

www.beribeedesigns.com

3/10/2016

Herzenssachen

www.linababedierste.blogspot.de

3/10/2016

Andrea – anlukaa

www.anlukaa.blogspot.com

3/11/2016

Emma – Frühstück bei Emma

www.fruehstueckbeiemma.blogspot.com

3/11/2016

einchen – doppelnaht

doppelnaht.blogspot.com

3/14/2016

Anorina – Samelias Mum

www.sameliasmum.com

3/14/2016

Bev – Flamingo Toes

www.flamingotoes.com

3/15/2016

Amy – Diary of a Quilter

www.diaryofaquilter.com

3/15/2016

Julia – lillesol & pelle

www.lillesolundpelle.com

3/16/2016

Andy – A Bright Corner

www.abrightcorner.com

3/16/2016

Sabine – farbenmix

www.farbenmix.de/inspiration

3/17/2016

Simone – KaeptnStupsnase

www.kaeptnstupsnase.com

3/17/2016

Sarah – Mädchenkram

www.mein-maedchenkram.de

3/18/2016

Melissa Corry

www.happyquiltingmelissa.com

3/21/2016

Jessica Stewart

www.snickerdoodlestew.com

3/21/2016

Bine Guellich

www.waseigenes.com

3/22/2016

Lindsay Wilkes

www.thecottagemama.com

3/22/2016

Sandra – Flaupa

www.flaupa.blogspot.com

3/23/2016

Amanda Niederhauser

www.jedicraftgirl.com

3/23/2016

Ina – pattydoo

www.pattydoo.de

3/24/2016

Ruth Sodl-Warter

www.rogeruethsgarden.com

3/24/2016

Marissa – Rae Gun Ramblings

www.raegunramblings.com

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