Did I ever tell you how my child waits until the last minute to ask me to sew something for Mini-Me? I do seriously believe that when ideas come to her mind, she believes there are no limits to my abilities. Also, I believe, that I don’t have any sense of bounds where my granddaughter’s needs are concerned, no matter how little time I have. It’s a no-brainier, when my child has an idea for an outfit for my granddaughter, I just cannot say no, and whatever it is, has to be top notch. This tulle skirt came about because Jennifer dreamt up an idea for a pearls and tulle Christmas Photoshoot. Each year she does a different theme, this years theme required a skirt that gave all the fluff I could give for a child yet not make it look like a toddler tutu.

 Well you know what I did….I did what any Mimi would do.  I took care of my business and made a gorgeous, beautiful tulle skirt for my Mini-Me.  Doesn’t she look absolutely magnificent in this 25 yards of tulle fabric!!!

The skirt is made up of 10 yards of double layered lightweight tulle on top and 10 yards of doubled netting on the under-layer sewn onto the satin base circle skirt at the halfway point closed by a zipper and the waist is 2 layers of 1.5″ elastic encasing the top edges of the tulle.

For the gathering, I used my gathering foot on my machine to knock this puppy out in less than 40 minutes.  I’m very happy with the photoshoot my daughter lined up, this is one lovely picture.

Early in June this year, I had a conversation with my daughter.  It went something like this…..

Child- “Hey, Mom, your Mini-Me is going to a summer camp!!!”

Me-     “That’s great, I remember you going to camp.  She is going to have so much fun!!! “When is she leaving?”

Child-  “In about two weeks!”

Me-     “Great, does she need anything?”

Child-  “No, I got it all taken care of, thanks though.”

Me-     “Okay, great!”

         .!!!!!!…………………..FAST FORWARD 2 WEEKS……………………..!!!!!

Child-   “OH, Hey, Mom, your Mini-Me leaves Sunday.  She needs something simple for a “Disney Princess Ball” they are having at summer camp.  Can you throw together a cape or something to go with her princess wand.?”   

Me-   “(((((!!!!!! WHAT!!!!!!)))))”

The Princess and the frog

Do you honestly think I would just throw together some old stinkin’ cape or just any ole thing for my Mini-Me to “represent” me at a “Princess Ball”.  If any of you have any idea the stakes on the table when you are 9 and headed off to a “new-to-you” summer camp.  What goes through your mind at the thought of all the other girls wearing those gorgeous cheap “STORE BOUGHT” costumes and here you come in with some pieces of fabric thrown together.  That is a bad look on our craft.  There is no way!!!! Absolutely, no way I would allow her to go down in flames like that!!!  I had to do something, right?

the princess and the frog
I had to go all out, I had to let it be known that I am GrandMa….not to be mistaken for having the time to do for others, yet no time to really concentrate on my ONLY grandchild’s costume.  Oh, no, a statement must be made.  Who out there knows what I mean?  Who out there, knows what its like to WANT the best and know you can make it?  I took the picture of the dress and Mini-Me and I went shopping for all the parts.  

She actually made sure I got the colors correct.  I just made sure the fabric was proper for the outfit.  JoAnn’s Casa collection always is there for these type of costumes.  They always make sure the right colors are in stock for the Disney princess costumes.  

I did manage to pull out all the stops on this one and even create the petal layers on the front bodice and add trim to all the edges.  Although, I did run out of some of my trim on some areas.  But, who would notice that part, unless I told them.  She was so very happy with this outfit, that her mom cried when she saw it while I was sleeping.  Since, I did stay up all night Saturday working on this one.  Only to take a short catnap Sunday morning at 6am until Mini-me was able to try it on before driving the two hours to camp.  

I do think, I earned probably a ga-zillion Grandma Browny points on this one here, both from my daughter and my mini-me.  

I, just might be more proud of this than I am my own makes.  I was beaming with pride when she twirled……here in this video:  “Princess Tiana Twirls”. 

The sheath dress fit-along has come to a close.  If you are on my YouTube channel and are part of my IRL fashion sewing group, you are well aware of all the work and fun that has been had in completing this dress. I did a complete fitting tutorial and multiple instructional videos on changing the necklines, adjusting the pattern and working your way through fitting the dress.  This all began last summer (2015) with the white shirt, then the pencil skirt, then the denim jacket.  I wanted to thank all of you for continuing to follow along with this “one-woman” shop.  I have been through a few ups and downs on the road to bring you these tutorials, and have tripped up a few times.  But each time I have reached out to you via social media, you have not let me down.  My list of to-dos, and in-completes is really long, as long as my heart is big, for sharing.  My husband is probably the most patient man in the world.  He knows how passionate I am about sewing and doesn’t complain.  Am I a “Stedford” wife?  I would say not! Because if I were, you all would not see very much of me at all….here’s to my husband for his kindness, love and unwavering patience!!

Now, for the goods-  “This lovely dress!!

The fabric was provided by Sew Much Fabric in support of my idea to bring to you this Sew-To-Fit Along.”   Of course we all need a great fitting basic sheath dress. I sure needed a new one in my wardrobe, but breaking down and making one took some work from me, and of course some prodding and direction from my great Wardrobe Consultant, Roz Ghaither, the owner and operator of Sew Much Fabric.  I’m not all sappy about her y’all, I just love working with people who put customer service at the top of the list.  I’m a sucker for good customer service.  I named this post “I Am Not a Stedford Wife!!” because that is the mold I felt I was being forced into when told to “stick to the basics”.  EWWWW!!!

sew much fabric smfabric.com, fit-along, wardrobe fit-along, wendybydesign

A great deal of participation, help and support came from my fun loving loyal fans and followers over on periscope for this endeavor.  I know YOU ALL are very loyal and very supportive of every single thing I do.  However, I must admit these ladies help me with my to-do list, and are constant reminder “bells” to keep me focused and on track.  That live connection is just so gratifying for me and really motivates the creative genius that I am.  As I prepared for this photo session, I asked myself:  “Can I vamp this dress up a little.” …it just reminded me so much of my “corporate” days.  I almost felt like I should have splashed a little paint on the front.  Then I decided to do a little Peri-photoshoot and get help from my live viewers.  They encouraged the pie plate and bowl ensemble.  I loved every thing about this shoot.  Even the relation to the elusive “Stepford Wife” icon.

My granddaughter was the stylist in all this to make sure I had to right shoes and jewelry for the shoot.  You know how it is when you prepare to go somewhere…it is easy to get dressed and prepped. However, doing a photoshoot takes practice and skill.  This area is not my strong suit, so I seek help wherever I can find it, even if it means trusting my “Mini-Me.”

The apron will be reviewed more in a later post.  It has its own story to tell.  WendybyDesign was the one to host an apron Sew-Along back in December that got me to sew this one.  I love it.  Thanks Wendy.

wendybydesign apron sew-along
Sheath Dress Construction Details:
This dress has been detailed so exhaustingly in videos on my youtube channel, that it is hard for me to honestly talk about its construction any further.  Please just enjoy the pictures and know that any questions you could possibly have regarding this dress is already documented in the videos on my channel.  If there are any questions you have directly please leave a comment and let me know so I can make public any content that hasn’t been release.  Trust me, it has all been filmed or broadcast on Periscope.  I only did Tissue Fitting, which is detailed extensively in my Youtube videos.  
  1. Pattern is Vogue 9025, size 14
  2. Alterations: FBA, Broad back, waist lengthened, Armhole made smaller, hips adjusted for larger rear end.
  3. Zipper excluded because fabric stretches so well.
  4. Lined completely
  5. Lowered and reshaped the neckline- video here.
  6. many more…..

  •  I don’t mean to send you on a wild goose chase.  It’s just easier at this point to direct you if you have questions, rather than go into trying to determine what might be a good topic to discuss with the dress fitting and pattern work. 

 Thanks for understanding.  Much appreciation to you all!!!!  Please enjoy the pictures!!

If I wanted to take this dress apart and knit-pic every single wrinkle, it would be ridiculous.  I could have worn a body slimmer to take care of the back rolls….yeah right!!??  Whatever, you just hold that thought.  In the mean time, lets be real, this is a ponte knit, very nice I might add.  Beefy with wonderful recovery.  The fit is wonderful, considering I did not do a muslin.   Now, I’m gonna go eat some pie. 
stepford wife

PJ’s for game day. Win or lose, it’s always so much fun to watch our Texans football games with the family. Even more fun when we dress the part.

Sewing Texans Football lounge pants and pajamas on sewtofit.com

These are the coolest pjs I have made. Not because they are Texans fabric, but because I get to sew and enjoy the things I love with my “Mini-me”.

Sewing Texans NFL Football lounge pants and pajamas on sewtofit.com

Man, I get so much joy from sewing with my granddaughter!! It takes me back to the days when I watched and sometimes joined in to help my mom. Though, I think then, she did most of the sewing.

Sewing Texans NFL Football lounge pants and pajamas on sewtofit.com

I made my pair using the easy Simplicity pattern 2414. It’s a pattern meant for cargo pants. But I just left off the pockets. What drew me to this pattern is that the waistband was separate and had 3 elastic channels plus buttonholes and a drawstring.

Sewing Texans NFL Football lounge pants and pajamas on sewtofit.com

For Mini-me I self-drafted a pair from a sloper I use from my Cameo Professional pattern design software by Wild Ginger.

We sewed these on the sweet, 780 sewing and embroidery computer on loan to me from the lovely folks at BerninaUSA! All the serger finishing were done on my Bernina serger (bought by me 30 years ago!!).

Sewing Texans NFL Football lounge pants and pajamas on sewtofit.com BerninaUSA

The eye cover is copied from another pair I had. The sweet detail about them is the nose guard that helps keep the light out.

Sewing Texans NFL Football lounge pants and pajamas on sewtofit.com

These are the lounger/pants my students sew in my beginner sewing classes. They are roomy and very comfortable. Make yourself a pair. (I almost sound like a commercial. 😇. That’s pattern reviews for you.

Sewing NFLl lounge pants and pajamas on sewtofit.com with the Bernina 780 for BerninaUSA

Catch me at the game next week, I’m confident our boys will do better.

Saints and Dallas fans need not comment!!

In September of last year I took Mini-Me to an ASG (American Sewing Guild) meeting with me while I taught on bodice fitting.  Mini-Me is totally in tuned to these types of conversations, however, during this meeting she was into the “iPad” games she was playing.  As the meeting came to an end, I was engaged in a conversation with another member about a “mermaid” costume she had made for her granddaughter.  OOOH boy!!!  Mini-Me’s ears peeled up and before I knew it she was standing beside me looking at the digital pics, exclaiming that “we” must make one for her.  Needless to say, she was not happy to hear me tell her to wait until next year, a concept not known by your average child…”next year!!” really Mimi?  “Yes dear, I will get it done for your birthday.” I exclaimed. 

Fast forward nine months and Mimi has come through on her promise…whew!  It was a close call.  Although I got some input from my fellow ASG member and the fin pattern she made, I still wanted the ensemble to be convertible and easy to take off for swimming.  Thus, the three piece was designed. 
 

Someone was really happy!!!  And so was I.  It was a big hit at the birthday party.  She was able to jump into the pool a couple of times before removing the overskirt and swimming in the suit alone. 

The details:
Pattern Description:  McCall’s 3566(OOP)  Two-piece bathing suit and cover-up skirt. There are several variations for the tube/bandeaux/tank top, and one bikini top. The bottoms are for shorts or bikini bottoms.

McCalls 3566 Swimsuit/Mermaid costume www.sewtofit.com

Pattern Sizing: She may have fit into a pattern size 4 with alterations, but since I only had a size 10-14, I pretty much re-drafted the pattern or you can say “severely” graded it down since it was a straight grade across sizes. Compared to the RTW grading system I learned in school, this is a straight grade.  That just means there is a set measurement between sizes no matter how large are small the sizes range. I explained this in a little more detail in “Making the Grade.”

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  I made a few modifications to get the mermaid look, by adding a sequin trim to the front of the tank top and adding the shirring to the waist of the tank.  For the bottoms, I added a 2inch band to make sure it went high under the tank top. (for some reason, I did not write down her bodice length) 

Skirt:  I made the skirt using the basic pencil skirt drafting technique. I measured 4 places- waist, hip and knees and ankles with the measurement for each point in order to determine the the cut.  Then I just slit the back up the middle and inserted the modified “godet” fins with ruffle trim insert.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I did not follow any instructions. The insertion of the elastic was done on my Bernina 234 serger first, and then I folded over the elastic to the inside and finished the hem with a regular zigzag on my Bernina 640 . I stretched the elastic slightly under the rear-end to get it to “cup” under. For the straps, I included elastic inside to keep them taut when wearing. I learned this in my knits class in school, and it seems to work very well for all my swimwear. All elastic used on this suit was 3/8″ swimsuit elastic. I buy this stuff in bulk!!! because everybody likes me to make their swimwear.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love everything about this pattern. I have been using it for a long time. It’s a great versatile base pattern to own.

Fabric Used:
This is swimwear Lycra from Hancock.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
As I have found for me when using McCall’s, the pants crotch is “always” too short, and this was the same for even my GD.

Tank top: I added a sheered band around the bottom to match the skirt as part of the whole ensemble. I could have left that part off, but without the skirt, it would not have still looked “mermaid-ee”

Skirt- was just a pencil skirt made from her measurements and the “fins” inserted as a “godet” inset in a slit up the back.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I have sewn this pattern multiple times over the years, either as panties, or swimwear. Mostly though as a bandeaux and panties (view G with modifications) A really all-around pattern for the entire family. 

Did I ever mention how much I enjoy teaching sewing to my grand-daughter?  Have I ever mentioned the amount of intense satisfaction I receive from watching her complete each step of the construction process?  I am not sure if I shared that with you all yet….so I will begin again.
I present to you my grand-daughter…better known as “Mini-Me.”

 To all the ladies who met my granddaughter at PR Weekend inAustin, TX….”Mini-Me” was elated to be around so many people that sew!!!! My goodness she was so excited and just booming with excitement meeting all of you. This little girl here could have hung and chatted with every level of seamstress there…!!! She would not have missed a beat understanding “every concept and detail of construction that was discussed.

Pattern Description: Simplicity 1510This dress is listed as special occasion in three lengths with a bolero. She chose to make dress C, w/o the bolero.
Fabric Used: She chose a cotton quilting fabric from our local Its-A-Stitch. I tried a “quilting” fabric from JoAnn’s when she was younger for a dress I made…and needless to say, “Never again.” With all the work I personally put into that dress to have it fade, I decided to buy the best quilting cotton, quilters use. From now on I want the dress last through multiple childhood washings.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? This is a really nice rendition of the picture on the pattern, yet, much more casual. I like our version better.. It seems if you use a dressy fabric for her age, then it would not be a “sundress” or play dress and just might be age appropriate.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Of course the reading of the instructions were done by me, she can read some, but these instructions are for Greek majors.. Thus, I circled the easy stuff for her, and she was able to complete “ALL” the straight stitches and even used my Bernina 640 to make the buttonholes on the straps. (One touch buttonholes—“a wonderful invention”) She also cut out the entire dress. I only went back and checked to make sure the cutting was “O.K.” to achieve success and not deter her with being too nit-picky.

She also sewed her hem, the straight sides of the zipper (after I setup the machine and placed the needle) She was able to help mark all the pleats and learned about the importance of marking and pressing.

She was so very proud of her work and so was I. Before we have only used the “Kids Can Sew” program which I used to teach some years ago. This is why she has her own garment labels to adhere to her creations.

Pattern Sizing on envelope: The sizes are listed for children up to a size 16 (34″chest) on the pattern…and are sold in plus sizes as well up to 16 1/2 (36″chest) That is a very generous size range for one pattern, considering the big four usually only give just a few sizes. We cut a size 14. Afterwards, I realized that they are fitted the same as for adults and thus I should have gone down a size and cut the size 12, because it was just too roomy, and showed too much for it to be a sundress… I guess if it was closed up on the shoulders and sleeves then a larger roomier size would work. I had to then remove the excess from the side seam.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: My granddaughter is quite the designer, however, since this was her first time out using a “big girl” pattern, we did not make any changes.

I did make sure to shorten the straps substantially for coverage.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The dress is really nice. I love it. I feel it is about time we get so many nice “girls” patterns for the in-between kids.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would recommend this wholeheartedly and without hesitation we will sew it again. Best way to learn for her is to do another one just the same.

Conclusion: I love teaching my Granddaughter to sew. I think every child should learn to sew, it helps with following instructions, math and reading a ruler…which she knows from sewing.