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Tutorial: Winnie Pinnie...What´s Knot To Love

Jane REuter

I fell in love with the Winnie Pinnie pattern the moment I saw it.  It provides a modern twist on a classic style...it's eye catching and unique, yet timeless.  Better yet, the pattern looks equally as cute when made as a top as it does a dress.  

For this first version. I followed the pattern and directions as written, except for a few basic modifications to the skirt.  I wanted to include several fabrics from the Nicey Jane fabric line by Heather Bailey for Free Spirit.  So, I added a strip work skirt to show them off.   I love how sweet this fabric line looks combined with this pattern and I adore it even more in this field of wild flowers.

As I was sewing my original Winnie Pinnie, I couldn’t help but imagine what it would look like with a tie in the back instead of the buttons.  The pattern hack was super simple  (directions below) and I love the outcome.  It give is such a different look and I love getting more than one look from a pattern.  I chose a solid green woven cotton as my fabric choice because I wanted the modification to stand out.  I decided to go with a bright green color.  I always admire items made from this color and yet I seldom use it.  I'm so glad I did because it is so vibrant and fun.

On to the good stuff….directions:

  • The first thing I did was simply lay down my back bodice piece and evaluate it.  I looked at how much overlap the upper back button tab piece already had in the pattern.  I then determined how much I would need to lengthen that piece to have it long enough to tie.  I made a size 8 width and I added 5” to the end of the first tab.  For smaller sizes, you can decrease this.

  • I then marked the center point of the new edge of that part of the back pattern piece and brought it to a gradual point and trimmed it down.

You will now cut your 4 back bodice pieces using the new piece you created.  Follow the directions from this point on, except, omit the top button and tie the extended pieces in a knot.  This was such a fun little hack and I'm extremely happy with it.  I hope you guys will give it a try and share your pictures on the Little Lizard King Sewing Pattern facebook group. I mean why knot?  Get it?  Lol.

Tutorial: Amsterdam & Decorative Trim Straps

Jane REuter

Amsterdam has quickly become a staple, summer pattern for many reasons.  The design is perfect for those hot summer days, the back is delicate and unique and it is a simple sew with stunning results!!!  As I began planning out numerous Amsterdam dresses and tops for my daughter’s closet, I began to think about ways to change the look.  Surprisingly, I found a hack that made the Amsterdam even a little quicker and provides so many more design options.

In lieu of making your own trim, it states in the original pattern that premade trims can be used.  For this Amsterdam, I did just that!!  However, instead of attaching it as straps, I attached it to the exterior of the bodice neckline as one long piece once the dress was completed.   I am in love with the final result and it’s such a simple hack.  

Trim Calculations

To determine how much trim you’ll need, use the following formula:

(Strap length from pattern x 2) + neck curve measurement – 3” = strap length

You will also need to cut a piece of trim 1.75” long for the back bodice loop.

Instructions

The only modification you need to make is to omit the strap construction and placement.  When sewing the front bodice main and lining pieces together, sew along the arm curve and neckline as indicated in the instructions.  However, the straps will not be basted in between.  

When your bodice steps are completed it will look identical to the original except there will be no straps.  Construct the back bodice as usual and sew the front and back bodice together at the side seam.

Adding the Trim

Find the center of your trim and pin it to the center of the bodice neck curve.  Work your way out each direction pinning the trim to the bodice neck curve.  Sew directly over the top of the trim from one end of the neck curve to the other in a coordinating thread color.  Make sure to backstitch at both ends to reinforce it.

Make It Your Own

The trim option greatly expands the design options of the Amsterdam.  Get creative. Add something dainty and sweet for a soft or vintage looks.  Maybe add something larger for a unique look.  Don’t be afraid to add suede, leather, or something more edgy.  You could even add a few beads to the trim and hand sew it in places on the neckline.  Just make sure to make it strong enough.  Braid coordinating fabrics or add a crocheted bib with crocheted lave straps.  Whatever you decide to add…..we can’t wait to see it!

Tutorial: Mayari for Mamas, A Knit Waistband for the Mayari Skirt

Cassie Banks

The Mayari skirt is one of my favorite patterns.  It's super versatile and can be dressed up for special occasions or dressed down for casual wear.  That's why I couldn't resist sewing up a maternity version to wear during my last few months of pregnancy.  In this tutorial I'm going to share with you how to attach a knit waistband to the Mayari skirt!

Let's get started!

First, subtract 4 inches from the 1st tier to account for the maternity waistband we’ll add with a ½ inch seam allowance.  Alternatively, you could subtract roughly 3/4 inch from each layer when cutting the layer pieces (this is perfect for the 5 layers).  If making the 7 layer version you would subtract roughly 0.6 inches from each layer and if making the 3 layer version you would subtract 1.25 inches from each layer during cutting.

I wasn’t necessarily anticipating how much the length would need to be adjusted.  This pattern is designed for the waistband to sit at the natural waist and the pregnant belly really makes a big impact on the overall length of the skirt.  You may need to subtract less than 4 inches if you pregnancy is early on or you may need to subtract more if you belly is on the larger side.  You can get a rough idea of the ideal finished length by measuring from the bottom of your belly to below your ankles where the skirt will hit when finished.

Remember you don’t need to cut the waistband pieces listed on the pattern instructions, we will create a knit waistband in just a bit.

As far as construction of the skirt goes, you will proceed from here as per the pattern instructions, gathering and attaching each layer to the next, finishing seams and top stitching.  I did wait to hem the bottom layer until I was finished in case the final length needed to be adjusted yet again. 

Now we’ll cut the knit waistband.  Choose a knit with a good amount of stretch and remember that if you have only a 2 way stretch cut so that the stretch is horizontal rather than vertical so it can stretch across your belly.  I would suggest a 4 way stretch jersey knit or similar.

Cut a knit waistband by measuring your waist then multiplying by 0.8

For example:  At 30 weeks by waist is 44.5 inches x 0.8 = 35.5 inches

I cut my maternity waistband 13 inches for the height so that folded over the waistband will be about 6 ½ inches.  I like my bands a bit wider so they don’t roll down but you can definitely do more or less here based upon your preferences.   You can also cut the band out of 2 pieces of knit that are equal lengths, allowing for an ½ inch seam allowance on both sides (1 inch total) and proceed from there. 

 

Take the short ends of the knit and sew them together (one seam for a continuous loop with one long piece of knit or 2 seams if you cut two pieces of knit).  I used woolly nylon in the bobbin to allow for a bit more stretch here.   Now take the seam allowances and press them flat.  Fold over the band to create a continuous loop.

 

To attach the waistband to the dress I matched the seam to the center back, however if there are two seams they could be matched to each side seam.   Take the knit band and divide it into 4 quarters first by identifying the halves and then each quarter and marking with a pin. 

 

If you are a very small waist size you may need to gather the top of the skirt as you will not be able to stretch the band enough to attach to the top layer.  Fortunately for me, at this stage in the game . . . my knit waistband is quite large and therefore I was able to attach it to the top layer just by stretching as I sewed, again using woolly nylon in the bobbin.  I attached it by placing the knit waistband over the top layer of the skirt with the raw edges together.  I sewed slowly, paying attention to the quarter sections and stretching the knit as I sewed to attach.  I used a stretch stitch.  Once the waistband was attached I finished the seam with my serger. 

 


Finally, I hemmed the bottom layer of the skirt.  I did end up using a deeper hem, again due to not anticipating the impact of my pregnant belly on the final length of the skirt.

I hope you are able to use this tutorial to make your Mayari skirts maternity friendly or just simply to add a knit waistband if you desire!  I can't wait to see what you all sew up!