Monday, 25 June 2012


Dolmaniacs Sew-along: Turn that top into a dress with KID, MD

With two more sleeps til our trip and twelve million things to do before then, let's roll this Dolmaniacs Sew-along up with a fantastic guest post from Kadiddlehopper! Fancy making your Dolman top into a dress? Katie will show you how...

I'm so excited to be guest posting here on Kitschy Coo! I have long been an admirer of her patterns and designs. My kids love her clothes, too!
I'm Katie and I blog over at Kadiddlehopper. I sew for myself and my 3 kids, so I'm always looking for a fun, stylish pattern that I can whip up in a naptime. If I can personalize it with fun additions, so much the better, and the Dolman Top is absolutely perfect! It's an easy sew, with tons of ways you can really make it your own.
Today I'd like to show you how I took the Dolman Top pattern and made a trendy elastic waist dress for my daughter - perfect for everything from a trip to the mall to playing on the playground.
You'll need:
Your Dolman Top pattern by Kitschy Coo, cut or traced to the size you'll be making.
1 yard of jersey knit fabric. Lighter weight will drape better.
Coordinating ribbing for the neckband and armbands if you wish, about 1/8 yard or just scraps. Interlock also works well for this.
1/4 inch elastic long enough to go around the waist of your child.
The first thing you'll need to do is prepare your pattern pieces. For this you'll need to do a little measuring.
You can either measure the child you are making the dress for, or if you have a dress that fits the way you like, you can measure your dress, as I am. The shoulder point is a good place to measure, as necklines can vary between styles, and are hard to determine on a wiggly child.
Be sure to measure from the seamline on your pattern, down in a straight line, parallel to the foldline and the side seam.
Now draw a complete line across both front and back pattern pieces at the waistline you've determined. This will be your waist seam line (in red on the above right picture). Add a 1/2 inch seam allowance below the seam line on your pattern (in black on the right picture). This will be the new cutting line for your bodice. The 1/2 inch seam allowance is important. It will become the casing for the elastic at the waist.
Now that you have your bodice pieces prepared, we need to make a skirt pattern. This will be a very simple skirt made of a couple of rectangles. To determine the measurements for your skirt, first measure the bottom edge of your bodice pattern piece. The back and front are the same for this pattern, so you can measure either one. I'm making the size 3T/4T and mine measured 6 3/4. I wanted a bit more fullness in my skirt, but not too much, so I added 1/2 times as much width - making my final measurement 9 3/4 for the width of the skirt. There is already a 3/8 inch seam allowance, so you don't have to add it to the width. For the length, measure your child or a skirt that you like the length of, then add 1/2 inch to the top for the casing and 1 inch to the bottom for a hem allowance. For my skirt, I wanted 11 inches of length, so my final pattern piece was 12 1/2 inches long.
Here's the final pattern piece. Yep, big rectangle. You'll cut two of these with the fold on the long edge. You can see my "on the fold" arrow on the left side of the picture. I like to trace out a second pattern piece, so that I won't forget to cut out two for the skirt, but if you are less absentminded than I am, you don't have to do that.
The next step is to assemble the bodice, just as if you were making a Dolman Top. Follow the instructions on the pattern, up to #16, the point where you attach the waistband or hem the bottom - don't do those things! You're going to be putting on a skirt! You can choose to either hem or band your arm openings - totally up to you. I hemmed mine, but it would be cute either way.
Here is what you should have at this point. The Dolman Top is totally finished except for the raw edge at the bottom that is waiting for the skirt. You have two skirt pattern pieces awaiting assembly, so lets get those together!
Start by assembling your skirt. Make a tube by stitching the side seams (the shorter edges) right sides together.
You should have a simple tube of fabric when you are finished. If you have a print that has an up or down direction, chose the one you want to go up and stitch two rows of gathering stitches at the top edge. Gather the skirt onto the bodice right sides together and pin it in place. You don't have to be too fussy about perfect gathers here. The elastic at the waist pulls it in a little and evens things out nicely.
Sew the skirt to the bodice using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. DON"T USE YOUR SERGER FOR THIS STEP! You do not want to trim off any of your seam allowance - you'll need it for the casing. Use your regular sewing machine (see Amanda's tute) using a lightning stitch, triple stitch or very narrow zigzag. Once you have sewn the seam, finish the edges together using a wide zigzag or your serger, just don't trim the fabric, serge right along the edge.
When you're finished, it should look like the picture on the left. Be sure to carefully press the seam up toward the bodice. Take your time doing this. You'll be stitching up your casing here and you want it to be nice and even.
Now you'll sew the casing. From the wrong side, stitch along the edge of the casing allowance, attaching it to the bodice. Again, you'll want a straight line, so the triple stitch, lightning stitch or a very narrow zigzag will work here. Make sure your zigzag width is 0.5 or less, otherwise it will make your casing too narrow. For reference, I used a lightening stitch. Sew around the casing, but leave a gap at the end to insert your elastic. I like to put a pin in place to remind me to stop sewing short of where I started. In the right picture, you can see the green pin where I have stopped my stitching. The red arrow indicates where my stitching began.
Now you're ready to feed in the elastic. Cut it to your child's waist measurement. I like to feed my elastic with a safety pin on the introducing end and a long corsage pin across the back end, (left picture) to prevent it from being pulled through. Nothing is more annoying than losing your elastic in the casing and having to start over! Once your elastic is in, make sure it isn't twisted, then overlap it about 1/2 inch and zigzag across the end to secure them together. Even up the elastic in the casing and stitch closed the opening you used to insert the elastic.
Here is how our waistband looks from the outside. You should have something that looks like a dress now! All that is left is finishing the bottom edge! You can hem it if you like; be sure to review Amanda's tutorial about that. Remember, you added a one inch hem allowance at the pattern stage. You could also add a band to the lower edge. Use the pattern instructions for the waistband, but make the circumference of the band the same as your skirt.
Finished! Put it on your child and enjoy!!

Thursday, 21 June 2012


Proto-pants begets Proto-suit

Whence before I attempted to distract you with detritus in the background, I will now distract you with detritus in the background and terrible lighting.  I will take pictures of the next version through rain-streaked glass.
protosuit front

These are actually Proto-pants V2-- tighter and higher than their forebearer.  I doubt you've noticed, however, being unable to tear your eyes away from Inadvertant Sports Bra.  I don't even know how to fix this travesty.  Ideas?


I will now cleanse your visual palate with a picture of my new short and blonde hair.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012


Dolmaniacs Sew-along: Colourblocking your pattern

colourblock dolman 3

Colourblocking is still a bit trend this year. And a dolman top is the perfect shape to colourblock as you don't have to worry about what colour to make a set-in sleeve or to piece it.

colourblock Dolman 4

I farmed four old tees for their fabric (and so I could retain the hem like yesterday's post), but you could use normal fabric too.  Let's adapt the pattern!

colourblock1 divide pattern

Trace off another front and back piece.  Starting with the front piece, measure the height from the shoulder seam at the neck point to the hem.  I am making a four colour top so I take this measurement and subtract one inch (the hem allowance) and divide by four.  A three-colour would look awesome too, so if you want to do that instead divide by three :)  Starting at the shoulder seam, measure down this number and draw a line perpendicular to the centre front fold.  Then measure down from this line and draw another perpendicular line, and then another.  The top three pieces will be equal, the bottom piece will be one inch taller.  Transfer these lines to the back piece.

colourblock 2 split pattern with SA

Cut along these lines.  You will now need to add seam allowances in.  The top piece get's SA at the bottom edge, the middle two pieces get SA on both edges, and the bottom piece gets SA on the top edge.  If you want to, trace all four pieces with the SA added but as they are straight lines I'm just going to add them as I cut.  It helps that I have a clear ruler!

colourblock 3 disregard hem

As I am using t-shirts, I'm going to retain the hem just like yesterday's post so the bottom piece is overhung by one inch. If you are hemming, line it up right along the bottom edge.

colourblock 4 add seam allowance

When I cut the top edge, see how I use my ruler to add the seam allowance?

colourblock 5 add SA 2

And repeat the process for each piece, remembering that the two middle pieces get SA on both edges.

colourblock 6 sew together

Once they are all cut, piece them together along each straight edge. Remember that they should always be right sides facing so no seams end up on the wrong side!  Then press all of the seams down towards the hem.  If they are pesky and want to pop up, you could topstitch them down using a slightly longer stitch (3.5+) from the right side, but I didn't find it necessary.

colourblock 7 side seams

Now assemble your shirt as per the general instructions.  When you sew the side seam, sew from the armpit down to the hem so the seam allowances that you pressed down stay facing down. Pay particular attention to getting your stripes to match up!

colourblock 8 finished top

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


Dolmaniacs Sew-along: A straight-up refashion of a men's shirt to a kid's shirt

Dolman refashioned top 2

Welcome back to the sew-along.  I'm loving all your tops I've been seeing here, there, and everywhere.  You guys are prolific.

Today I'll be showing you the fastest Dolman ever, using an old shirt of Steven's to make a top for Jamie.  The reason it's so quick?  I'm retaining the original hem!  Off we go...

1 pattern placement

Find a top that's wide enough to fit your pattern.  Admittedly, this might be tricky if you're sewing the 7/8 but there's another post on the way about piecing that will offer some solutions.  Steven's shirts tend to be mediumish but slim fitting, a boxier and larger size would have more width to play with.

2 hem allowance

 If you want to retain the original hem, overhang the pattern by one inch (the hem allowance in the pattern).  Make sure that the front and back of the shirt are aligned along the hem, I had to do some serious ironing first to get it flat and even.  If the original shirt is off the grain or twisted, I would recommend cutting it apart at the side seams and then cutting the front and back piece separately.

3 back neck

If the shirt's okay and you are cutting both layers at once, make sure that you are using the back neck. You don't want two pieces both with the front neckline!

4 front neck

And then amend one of the pieces using the front neckline so you have a front and a back.  I also cut the neckband from the fabric left over in the upper back of the shirt , so I had a perfect colour match.

5 align hem

Sew up your top exactly like the instructions I posted last week, except when you get to the sewing up of the side seams.  As we're not hemming or applying a waist band we'll be sewing all the way down to the bottom and preserving the existing hem.  Make sure that you have carefully matched them up at the bottom as this will be your finished edge!  Then sew your side seams as you would have before.

6 tack side seam

Press the seam allowance at the bottom towards the back piece, then front and back stitch a couple of times to tack it down.

7 tacked seam

Finished stitches will look like this.  Repeat to the other side seam and you're done!

8 finished top

Sunday, 17 June 2012


A trio of titchy togs

tiny togs 

This week I had an order for a trio of the tiniest clothes.  I should have put a fifty pence piece in the pic for scale, newborn to six month is so small.  I find it baffling that my guys were once that little, especially as Jamie is right up at my armpit now. Every single male on my side (ie my dad and my brothers- small family!) is less than five nine so it'd be cool / novel to have a son that was tall.  Our best bet for taller-than-you-average bear, however, is Maia.  She is quite a bit taller than almost all of her peers, and taller than Jamie at the same age.

robot shirt detail

The Discovery Channel should do a documentary about these robot tees as part of their Unexplained Phenomenom series- why don't I sell more of them?  I have a fairly steady stream of orders for the rest of my apparel-ey wares, but robot tees are few and far between despite being so freaking adorable.  Is it because of the light coloured base?

Saturday, 16 June 2012



Now here's something I didn't think I've ever do...
bathing suit proto

But then I was thinking that if I'm going to, you know, actually wear my Wonder Woman bathing suit in public I should probably be okay with wearing something similar on the internet. But I will distract you with all sorts of detritus in the background.

So: one-piece, two-piece, different two-piece, burka?

Friday, 15 June 2012


The postman always rings thrice. And once again for good measure.

We're taking a well-earned breather from Dolmania for the next couple of days, but don't fret- there's all sorts going on.  And by 'all sorts' I mean stuff that is predominately self-absorbed.
journal full

First off, I won this luscious teal leather journal in a giveaway from Crafty Ady.  Did you know that this is my favourite colour?  And that I have a penchant for celtic knots?  Just check out the tattoo on my back.*

journal inside

Just look at that lovely card inside the cover.  The giveaway was in celebration for the Diamond Julibee....  Anti-Monarchists: do you seriously want to deny people gorgeous Jubilee journals? I think we'll be changing a few minds today.

journal spine

I love it. I will never deface it by writing it in.  Please join me in a chorus to Crafty Ady of 'You must start selling these'.

m passport

Let's see, what's next... Maia's passport finally arrived, which is most fortuitous as I was starting to stress about it.  I think they will stamp a 'LOL' in her passport instead of a visa.  To be fair to the poor small girl, British passport photo rules are soooo tyrannical that this truly is an outstanding photo.  We practised 'serious faces' for ages.


Let me introduce you to The Best T-shirt in the World (In Theory).  98% of you won't know what it is referencing but 2% will be like OMGOMGOMGOMGIWANT IT.  I say it's the best t-shirt in theory because it is made of terrible tissue jersey with no stretch; I am not modelling it because it looks hideous on.  Know what? Don't care, still awesome.


And finally, here is the belt buckle I have procured for the Wonder Woman bathing suit.  After much staring at my stomach I am rapidly chickening out of making a two-piece.  Have I ever mentioned that I put on more than 5 stone (70 pounds / 30 kilos) when I was pregnant with Jamie?  Not conducive to two pieces.

*On second thought, don't. It bears no resemblence to a celtic knot any longer and looks more like a coaster for a cup of tea.