KCW – Heart appliqué red wool dress


Kid’s Clothes Week is in full swing and to kick it off I made a much needed warm winter dress for my daughter. The pattern I used was the Oliver + s school bus t-shirt size 4 which I modified to have a gathered skirt and a neckline finished with facing rather than a neckband.


For the fabric I used some bright red wool interlock from here, and on the elbows I stitched on some dark gray cotton knit hearts, perfect for Valentines Day!


To create the skirt first I trimmed the shirt front and back to the desired bodice length plus bottom seam allowance (I used a 1/4″ seam allowance). This seam should be where you want the skirt and bodice to join each other to create the waist of the dress. Next measure from this waist seam down to where you want the skirt to end plus seam allowances on both the top of skirt and bottom for the hem (I used 1/4″ for the top seam and made my hem 1″. Total length for my daughter was 16″). Lastly, I took my daughter’s waist measurement and multiplied by 3 (for my daughter 21″ x3 = 63″.) This was to be the total circumference of the skirt. I cut out my skirt in two pieces which were 31.75″ wide x 16″ long. (31.75″ + 31.75″ = 63″ skirt circumference including 1/4″ seam allowances). Sew your two sides together, gather the top, and pin to the bodice right sides together evenly distributing the gathers. Sew this seam together with a 1/4″ seam, hem up the bottom as stated in the pattern, and voila, a dress!


I love the brilliant red of this dress.


And who doesn’t love heart elbow patches?


Now for some action shots!



What a great start to KCW! Anyone else sewing like mad this week?

Sketchbook & jumprope polo mash-up ~ a tutorial


Have you had one of those “A-ha!” moments in your sewing? This shirt was one of those moments for me. I had been wanting to sew a pull-over polo style top for my son and I had several patterns that were very close but not exactly what I wanted. And so after digging through my pattern stash I realized all the steps needed to create this top were already done for me, and all I had to do was “mash” them up!


The patterns I used are both Oliver + s; the sketchbook shirt and the jump rope dress, both in size 2 sewn from Robert Kaufman nautical boats chambray in color indigo. This mash up is super simple, requiring very little in the way of changes to the actual sewing instructions. If you’ve got these two patterns, you can make this top! 


This shirt is pretty much the sketchbook shirt but with the jump rope placket. Here’s what you do:

From the sketchbook shirt pattern cut out the following numbered pieces as specified by the pattern unless I state otherwise # 1 – shirt front* (cut one with center front on the fold), 2 – shirt back, 4 – shirt yoke, 5 – shirt collar, 10 – shirt pocket* (I cut out two and rounded the bottom corners), 11 – short sleeve.

From the jump rope dress pattern cut out pieces # 3 – right placket, and 4 – left placket.

Now you simply follow the directions as outlined in the patterns but in a different order. Here’s the order for you!

Start with the jump rope dress instructions and follow these sections in this order;

  • “Prepare the placket”. You will be using the sketchbook front pattern piece which you cut on the fold in lieu of the dress front pattern piece. 
  • “Right placket”. You may want to swap the sides on which you sew the left and right plackets for a boy’s shirt. I forgot to do this and so my buttons/button holes are on the “girl” side of the shirt.
  • “Left placket”.
  • “Finish the placket”.


Now switch to the sketchbook shirt instructions and follow these sections in this order;

  • “Make and attach the pocket”. Since I had rounded bottom edges I basted 1/2″ from the edge and used the stitching as the folding line which I then ironed in place. If you want buttons on the pockets; mark the center top of the pocket and stitch a buttonhole 1/4″ from the top edge before stitching the pocket onto the shirt. 
  • “Assemble the shirt back”.
  • “Assemble the shirt and finish the yoke”. You will only have one shirt front piece since you cut it on the fold. This doesn’t effect the sewing instructions.
  • “Prepare the collar”.
  • “Attach the collar”.
  • “Attach the sleeves”.
  • “Finish the short sleeves”.
  • “Hem the shirt.”

To finish the shirt go back to the jump rope dress and use the markings for the buttons/buttonholes to sew them onto the plackets. If you included buttons on the pockets mark and sew them now onto the shirt centering them beneath the pocket’s sewn buttonholes.


And voila! Adorable pull-over polo shirt!


And now for a few action shots!



What a great shirt to wrap up my boy’s summer sewing with! 

Did you find the tutorial helpful? If anyone needs clarification please do let me know! I’d love to see any mash-ups you create with it 😉

A sweet dreams mattress tutorial


I almost didn’t think it could be done, but here it is at last; a handmade organic rubber and wool twin mattress! Martha Stewart eat your heart out. In case you may be wondering why anyone would ever want to make a mattress, may I direct you to some information on conventional mattresses here, here, and here. Unfortunately conventional mattresses are a petroleum derived chemical bomb that are chocked full of toxic substances that we breath in and absorb through our skin as we sleep. Studies even reveal a link between mattress off-gassing and SIDS! This is some scary stuff that I absolutely want to avoid where I can. So when the time came to buy my daughter a big bed I was faced with a dilemma; buy the conventional mattress (at 40% off!), buy an organic mattress (for $1bazillion) or try to make my own. And so I embarked on the epic quest of making an organic chemical free mattress and hopefully this will help you get started on making one of your own too!


For this mattress we’ll be using rubber as the base. There are a few places online that supply real rubber (like from a rubber tree) mattress topers in various thicknesses and firmness. I decided to get a 1″ medium firmness topper for the base of my mattress from here. I would recommend getting a minimum 3″ thickness for a mattress intended for an adult.


Since this rubber is a natural material and subject to biodegrading I decided to sew a cotton slipcover for it to help protect it. The slipcover was sewn from an old duvet cover found hiding in storage. Done and free 🙂


For the shell of my mattress I used cotton ticking from here. Ticking is traditionally used in mattress making plus for furniture and pillows. It’s a thicker densely woven fabric which helps keep your stuffing from escaping. You will need about 5 yards for a twin sized mattress.


Cut two rectangles the dimensions of the mattress plus 1/2″ seam allowances. Then cut one very long strip 7″ tall and long enough to go around the entire edge of one of the rectangles. I had to piece this long section together to make it long enough to go all the way around. Sew it on with a 1/2″ seam and then placed the rubber mattress inside as the first layer of the mattress.


Next comes the wool. This is what a 20 pound bag of organic wool looks like. And also this is what a cute boy looks like. 😉 I bought the wool from here. You’ll want around 18 -20 pounds for a twin.


Layer the wool on top of the covered latex pad…


…until all 20 pounds of it is neatly laid down.


Look at all that wool! Looking pretty comfy already.


If you’ve never smelled wool before, it’s seriously wonderful. It has a sweet honey straw smell that I adore! I decided to accentuate the earthy wonderfulness of the smell by spritzing some lavender chamomile essential oils throughout the wool. Essential oils aid in relaxation and sleep, as well as have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. If you decide to include essential oils go ahead and spritz them into your wool!


Now it’s time to close this sucker up! Lay your second cotton ticking rectangle on top and pin the entire circumference to the side, taking in the height of the side if you’ve got too much slack. You don’t want the fabric to be droopy.


Once pinned to satisfaction get some thicker thread such as cotton hand quilting thread and a sewing needle and ladder stitch the circumference.


All sewn up! We’re almost done.


Last comes the tufting. This is an optional step but it helps keep the stuffing inside from shifting or clumping, so I decided to do it. I followed this tutorial here, using buttons to help with the pressure exerted by the thread.


Look at those button tufts!


The finished mattress. Success! You will want to use a water resistant/proof mattress protector to keep moisture from getting into your mattress. I made one from an up-cycled wool army blanket which was water-proofed with lanolin.

This was definitely the oddest thing I’ve ever sewn. What’s your most adventurous sewing project that took you way out of your comfort zone?


Seashore Sundress Angled Seams ~Tutorial~


It’s tutorial time! Here’s how to do the angled front and back seams for the Seashore Sundress by Oliver + S that I sewed for KCW day 4.


You can see from the original pattern that the seams in the front and back are straight up and down. Here’s a few pictures of how I modified the seams; this is what I’m going to teach you how to do!


First off, I’d highly recommend tracing all your pattern pieces rather then cutting your pattern. We’ll be slicing and dicing and you may wish to keep your pattern intact. Plus if you make a mistake, it’s no big deal and you can just start over with a fresh re-trace 🙂 I traced my pattern onto tracing cloth, which can be sewn together. This isn’t necessary but will make some steps in this process easier on you.

First, trace all pieces in the size you are making. You will need to trace two copies of piece 5 -Side Panel. We will be making separate side front and side back pattern pieces.


Once everything is traced and cut, sort out these pieces: 3 – Front Ruffle, both 5 – Side Panel (you cut out two remember?), 6 – Front Panel, and 7 – Back Panel. These are the pieces we will be modifying. The rest can be set aside.

Let’s start with piece 6 – Front Panel. With a straight edge find where you’d like your new seam to be. I drew mine (for a size 3) at 5/8″ from the top edge down to the bottom corner of the piece. This line will be the actual seam. Once you like where your new seam is, cut it on the line.


You now have two pieces, on the right is the new Front Panel. The left piece I’ll call very technically “Leftover Front Panel Piece”.


Clearly mark on your pieces what they are and set them aside for now. On to the back panel.

Grab piece 7 – Back Panel. Lay your newly cut Front Panel on top of the Back Panel, lining up the top and fold side edge. Don’t worry about the Front Panel being much longer then the back, just make sure the top edge and the fold side edge line up. Trace the cut line and cut your Back Panel.


This is your new Back Panel on the right, and Leftover Back Panel Piece on the left.


Clearly mark your new pieces and set aside your Leftover Back Panel Piece. We’re going to finish your Front and Back Panel pieces now.

On the sides you cut you will now need to add in your seam allowance. Oliver + S uses a 1/2″ seams so that’s what we’ll be using. Retrace your pieces to include the 1/2″ seam allowances. Remember to mark your new Back and Front Panels with the fold markings so you don’t forget to cut them on the fold!


Your Front and Back panels are complete! Yay! Now to construct the Side Front and Side Back Panels. First we’ll do the Side Front Panel.

Grab one of your piece 5 – Side Panel’s and your Leftover Front Panel piece. Sew the two together right sides together with a 1/2″ seam, making sure to match the notches. The bottom and top edges will not line up, but don’t worry, just match your notches and you’ll be fine :). Once sewn together you will see the Leftover Front Panel piece has a little tail that extends past the bottom edge of the Side Panel. Cut it off so that the bottom edge is even with the Side Panel’s edge. Don’t worry, we’ll adjust the Front Ruffle piece to make up for it. This is your new Side Front Panel! You still need to add in your 1/2″ seam allowance, so smooth out your new Side Front Panel (it won’t want to lie completely flat but just smooth as best you can paying special attention to the width at the very top and very bottom of the piece so that no width is lost during the re-trace) and re-trace it with 1/2″ added to the old “Leftover Front Panel” side of the piece.


You’re done with the Side Front Panel! Now to construct the Side Back Panel.

Get your remaining piece 5 – Side Panel and your Leftover Back Panel piece. Sew them together right sides facing with a 1/2″ seam starting at the bottom edge of the pieces and making sure the bottom edges are aligned. Smooth your pattern pieces open and re-trace it with 1/2″ added to the old “Leftover Back Panel” side of the piece. You just finished your new Side Back Panel piece!


Hang in there with me! We’re almost done. Now we have to modify piece 3 – Front Ruffle to make up for the tail we cut off. Extend the top edge out by 1″ and with a straight edge connect the extended edge down to the bottom corner. Re-trace this piece with these changes.


Guess what? You’re done! Now you just have to actually sew the dress 😉

I hope you like my tutorial! If you have any questions please feel free to leave me a comment!