Sewing

Lodo Dress for Maternity

So, I’m about 6 months pregnant and have been working on some maternity sewing for summer. We have very few maternity store options in town. I’m able to get basic jeans and solid colored t-shirts, but that’s about it. If I want anything with printed fabric, interesting styles, or quality construction, I have to make it myself (or load up 6 kids and drive over an hour…).

Sewing a Maternity Lodo Dress | True Bias | Radiant Home Studio

I remember trying to make maternity clothes several years ago. There were very few instructions online and no patterns available. I did manage to take an empire waist dress and make it fit by adding extra width and gathers in the front. I also adjusted a knit wrap shirt by making it wider and longer. It was all just a guessing game though. There are so many more options now! Lots of indie designers have easy to sew knit clothes that can be adjusted for maternity, and there are tons of tutorials for maternity sewing.

The first pattern I hacked to fit over my baby belly this time is the Lodo Dress from True Bias. It’s a casual knit dress, with a basic straight shape. I bought it as soon as it was released, knowing I could make it work for maternity wear without a lot of changes. I used an organic cotton interlock fabric from Cloud 9. The weight and stretch are perfect for this dress.

I chose to start with a size 10 in the bust and shoulders based on my current measurements. I also cut the longer length because I knew I would end up cutting a bit off while making adjustments. To make room for my baby belly, I measured across the front of a maternity t-shirt that fits me well and graded out in the waist to that size. (Something like this tutorial from Melly Sews.) That ended up being around the size 16 waistline. I cut the back of the dress just one size bigger in the hips and didn’t change the waist.

I sewed most of the dress together (which was really quick & easy!) and then basted the side seams to check the fit. It was way too big! I’m not sure why the t-shirt fit and the dress didn’t, but I ended up cutting off a couple of inches on both sides. In the end, the waist and hips might only be 1-2 sizes bigger than the top. My belly isn’t small at this point, but with the stretch fabric and loose fit, there was still plenty of room for my baby belly.

I gathered up the sides of the dress front below the bust line to add more length over my belly. Then I cut about 4 inches off the bottom of the dress back, so that the hems were the same length. I ended up with a nice knee-length hem.

Sewing a Maternity Lodo Dress | True Bias | Radiant Home Studio

If you want to make a maternity Lodo Dress (or any dress of a similar style, like Caroline’s Coffee Shop dress), my best advice is to cut a little bit more width than you think you will need and try the dress on as you go to make adjustments. Every belly is a different shape, so it helps to make changes as you go.

Besides the side seams, I also ended up taking in the center back seam near the waist where my back curves to support my growing belly. I suppose that would be a swayback adjustment, but it was easiest to try the dress on inside out and pin where I needed to take in the fabric.

It took some trial and error to get the fit right, but a second dress would go together really quickly now that I have the sizing figured out. And even better, I think I can easily take out the side seams and redo the hem so I can wear this after pregnancy too!

I have another easy maternity hack, using the Rumi Tank from Christine Haynes, to share next week…

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Sewing

Sewing a Woven Girls Tank Top

I did some summer sewing for my growing preteen daughter this week. She’s always loved my Wiksten Tanks and has asked for something like it several times.

Sewing a Girls Woven Tank Top | Radiant Home Studio

I haven’t found a pattern like it in a preteen girl size. I’m sure one exists somewhere. Since it’s a relatively easy shape though, I decided to draft my own pattern for a woven girls tank top.

I used a bodice from another pattern to make sure the shoulder width and arm hole depth were right. From there I drew a slight scoop neck and gave the sides an A-line shape. The bottom hem is slightly rounded. I wasn’t sure if the head opening would be big enough to slip over her head, so I added a small slit opening and button loop on the back. (Here’s a tutorial for a similar back neck opening.)

Sewing a Girls Woven Tank Top | Radiant Home Studio

Sewing a Girls Woven Tank | Radiant Home Studio

For fabric, I used 2 Art Gallery cotton prints. The blue is Bonnie Christine’s Blooming Brook in Moon from the Wonderful Things collection. The green and purple print is Bari J’s Sunswept Canyon in Sage from the Sage collection. 

I used french seams on the shoulders and sides. To finish the armholes and neckline, I used bias strips to make a bias facing, similar to the Wiksten Tank pattern and others. On the blue tank, I added a small chest pocket. It was really easy to put together and I only spent about an hour cutting and sewing. I might even let her try to make her own next time.

Sewing a Girls Woven Tank | Radiant Home Studio

Sewing a Girls Woven Tank | Radiant Home Studio

She loves the tank tops and has gotten a lot of wear out of them already this week. I know some kids will only wear knits for comfort, but the woven fabric is much cooler in hot weather and also looks nice enough to wear to church and other events.

If you’d like to make something similar, you can trace the shoulders and armholes from a ready-to-wear shirt or another bodice pattern. Then just draw basic A-line tank. If you’ve put together similar tops for yourself, it’s really easy to make one in a girls size. I’d suggest a lightweight cotton or chambray for the best results.

Sewing a Girls Woven Tank | Radiant Home Studio

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Pattern Review, Sewing

Waxed Canvas Gentleman’s Travel Case

My oldest boy turned 12 this month! Twelve is a big year around here. The boys count down the years until they are invited to attend the church men’s retreat and be counted among the men. To celebrate, we bought him a few special manly gifts, but I also wanted to make him something. I waited until the last minute, but I was still able to make this in an afternoon.

Waxed Canvas Geltemen's Tavel Case | Betz White Present Perfect | Radiant Home Studio

(Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting my business in this way!)

All men need a bag for their toiletries, right? I looked at a few free box pouch patterns but didn’t really find what I was looking for. Then I remembered the Gentlemen’s Travel Case pattern in Betz White’s Present Perfect and went to work making it. It’s very roomy, probably bigger than a 12-year-old needs, but it will grow with him. I love the extra pocket details and zipper tabs. Both make it a very practical and useable bag.

I love sewing with waxed canvas, especially for men. It looks rugged and stays nice for many years. Since this will be stored in the bathroom and most likely get wet, the wax will protect the canvas and keep it clean. I had plenty of canvas in my fabric stash, along with some denim scraps and a masculine cotton print for the lining.

Waxed Canvas Geltemen's Tavel Case | Betz White Present Perfect | Radiant Home Studio

I made my husband a waxed canvas messenger bag about 3 years ago. He carries it to work daily. Though the inside is showing signs of wear, the waxed canvas still looks as good as new! I make my own waxed canvas using Otter Wax. Here’s a tutorial I posted, showing how you can make your own waxed canvas.

I waxed this bag after it was completed (and after the gift was opened….told you it was last minute!), but in hindsight, I would have added the wax as I sewed.

Waxed Canvas Geltemen's Tavel Case | Betz White Present Perfect | Radiant Home Studio

I followed the directions in the book but omitted one of the outside pockets. I also added a metal snap instead of the hook-and-loop tape suggested in the pattern. The exterior and lining are constructed completely and then the lining is dropped in and finished with hand sewing. I was a little bit worried about hand stitching all the way around the zipper, but it didn’t take long and it looks great. Overall, I’m really happy that I used this pattern. It makes a great gift for both the young and older men in your life.

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Book Reviews

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup

For Christmas, I bought my 10-year-old daughter We Love to Sew Gifts, by Annabel Wrigley. I’ve been following Annabel’s Instagram feed for a while now and I love the projects she does with the kids that come to her sewing studio. It’s the right balance of modern style with fun details that little girls love.

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for helping to support my business in this way!)

I’ve bought a few kids sewing books for my daughter. My biggest pet peeve with kids sewing books is when they don’t teach proper finishing techniques. The We Love to Sew books don’t do this. Annabel assumes that kids are smart enough to sew the “right” way and the projects are finished nicely, yet she still talks to them in a friendly way. One instruction starts, “Starting at the tippy top of the line…”.

The book starts with instructions for basic sewing techniques & terms. Then it includes 23 projects with varying degrees of difficulty. Annabel doesn’t shy away from teaching new techniques or using new materials in the projects. There is some appliqué, interfacing, & embroidery. She also uses felt, yarn, and oilcloth, in addition to quilting cotton and canvas fabric. The end of the book includes full-sized patterns for tracing or copying. (Check the Amazon preview. You can see several pages!)

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

My daughter has worked on a few projects by herself. She has a basic knowledge of sewing and was able to follow instructions on her own. This week, we worked on making the Scrappy Patchy Pencil Cups with a couple of friends.

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

We started with 3 girls, but one had to leave early. I think it took about 1 1/2 hours for them to finish sewing. That’s about as long as a 10-year-old attention span lasts while sewing, so it was just right for them. I pulled out a bunch of scraps that coordinated, but I think they added a few that weren’t exactly in the color scheme. 🙂

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

I helped with some of the cutting (they can do it, but it’s neater and faster when I do). The girls did all the sewing of the fabric strips. They also did all of the decorative stitching, which was their favorite part of the project. It allowed them to experiment with all of the fun leaf and flower stitching patterns. I did the edge sewing on the top and bottom, which they also could have done. They wanted neat lines and knew I could sew straighter.

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

Overall, we enjoyed the project. There was a lot of room for creativity in choosing fabrics and fancy stitches. And the girls were proud of what they made!

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

Based on my experience, I think a 7 to 10-year-old could do these projects with mom assisting. A 10 to 12-year-old with some basic sewing skills can manage the projects alone, and an older girl can most likely teach herself to sew using this book, the sewing machine manual, and some determination. There are several books in the We Love to Sew series, and we will definitely be purchasing more in the future!

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Sewing

Butterfly Blouse Dress for Oliver + S

Hooray! It’s finally Spring! As I was sorting and planning my girls’ Spring wardrobes, I realized my youngest daughter could use a couple of dresses. I could have used a pattern I’ve already made, but where’s the fun in that?

As I browsed through the Oliver + S pattern shop, looking for something new to try, I was drawn to the Butterfly Blouse. Those sleeve ruffles and peplum are so sweet. Even though it is a blouse, I thought it could be easily modified to make a dress…

Butterfly Blouse Dress for Oliver + S | Radiant Home Studio Butterfly Blouse Dress for Oliver + S | Radiant Home Studio

The modification was easy! For more photos and instructions for making a dress from the Butterfly Blouse, read the rest of my post over on the Oliver + S blog today.