Sewing

Striped Knit Dance Dresses

This year, my oldest daughter started taking ballet lessons. As with most girls their age, our daughters love to put on “shows” and regularly choreograph dances for us. They’ve been practicing a dance for our family reunion talent show for weeks and requested matching dance dresses. I used a striped rayon jersey knit to make them matching dance dresses.

Striped Knit Dance Dresses | Handmade Girls Tank Dress | Radiant Home Studio

I could have bought them something, but I thought quick, knit tank dresses would be easy enough. I ended up just creating patterns for them myself by tracing a store-bought tank they already had and adding some length. (I probably could have used the top of another pattern like I did with the knit Southport Dress here…but I didn’t think of it then.)

I cut the front and back of the tank plus some 1 1/2″ wide strips for the bindings. I folded those strips in half horizontally, wrong sides together. In order to attach the binding flat (and to avoid figuring out exact measurements for sewing them on in the round…), I sewed one shoulder seam, then added the neck binding. Then I sewed the other shoulder seam and added the sleeve bindings. If you’ve made almost any t-shirt pattern, the method is the same. Just stretch the binding slightly as you sew.

For the most part that worked well. At that point, I tried the dresses on the girls and discovered there was too much ease under the arms. That was an easy fix because I hadn’t sewed the side seams yet. I just took in the side seams under the arms and graded out to the original line.

Striped Knit Dance Dresses | Handmade Girls Tank Dress | Radiant Home Studio

I left the bottom edge raw and cut it with an uneven hem. My daughter had a unique hemline on a top that she liked so we copied that hemline. It has a rounded front and back with squared off sides.

For dancing, a turned-up hem would have weighed down the “twirliness” of the skirt. The shape of the dresses is an A-line shape, so they don’t spin out as much as a circle skirt would but they still have pretty movement.

Striped Knit Dance Dresses | Handmade Girls Tank Dress | Radiant Home Studio

Overall, the girls love the dresses and are happy to have matching dance outfits for their many performances, so I call that a success!

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Sewing

Rayon Ogden Cami Dress

I’ve been eyeing this beautiful Treasured Kermes print by April Rhodes since it was released. Blue and red are my go-to colors for both clothes and decor (as you can see from the colors in my kitchen). Every garment I’ve seen in this fabric is gorgeous. Last week I needed a more fabric to fill up my cart for free shipping, so I grabbed a couple of yards. Please tell me you do this too!

I knew two yards would be enough for a top but was hopeful that I could squeeze a sundress out of it. It was just enough for an Ogden Cami Dress!

Rayon Ogden Cami Dress | True Bias Sewing Pattern | Radiant Home Studio

I’m a big fan of the True Bias patterns I have used (see Hudson Pants, Southport Dress, and Lodo Dress). I didn’t buy the Ogden Cami right away because it seemed so basic. As usual, I always need basics but forget to sew them. It turns out the Ogden Cami is basic, but not overly simple. The details make the top. It has a half lining and the shape is nicely fitted at the bust flaring out slightly at the waist and hips. It seems to be flattering on a variety of body shapes.

The Ogden Cami pattern doesn’t come with a dress option, though Kelly shared a dress hack on the True Bias blog. I had less fabric to work with so I just cut the front and back longer instead of adding a fuller skirt.

I measured the pattern pieces at the hip to make sure that there was enough ease (there was). I measured 36″ from the underarm and marked that as my length (that hits just below the knee). Then I measured 2″ beyond the hip width and drew a smooth line from the bottom of the pattern piece to the bottom corner I marked. I used the hemline on the pattern piece I wasn’t using to create a slightly curved hem.

Rayon Ogden Cami Dress | True Bias Sewing Pattern | Radiant Home Studio

Rayon Ogden Cami Dress | True Bias Sewing Pattern | Radiant Home Studio

The cami could be a super quick sew if you skip some of the finishing steps, but I wanted a quality dress and spent the time doing all of the staystitching and understitching. Since I used rayon, I felt like it was important to finish the side seams to avoid fraying. I should have planned ahead and cut larger seam allowances for French seams but I didn’t.

After sewing the seams I decided the best way to finish them was to fold the seam allowances under to create a straight, clean edge. Is there a name for this? I couldn’t find one (other than “clean finish edge”). It worked well and overall it’s less bulky than a french seam.

Rayon Ogden Cami Dress | True Bias Sewing Pattern | Radiant Home Studio

Rayon Ogden Cami Dress | True Bias Sewing Pattern | Radiant Home Studio

Rayon Ogden Cami Dress | True Bias Sewing Pattern | Radiant Home Studio

I always find it helpful to compare sizes. My measurements are around 34, 30, 38. I cut a size 4, graded out to a 6 in the hips. I think the fit is just right.

As with all of the True Bias patterns I’ve made, I’m sure I will make more Ogden Camis! This is such a classic shape that can be layered and worn in many different ways. A simple black one would work for a night out or as an everyday top. I need more versatile pieces like this.

Rayon Ogden Cami Dress | True Bias Sewing Pattern | Radiant Home Studio

Here are a few of the best Ogden Cami’s I’ve seen around the sewing blog community if you’d like more inspiration:

This striking Silk Crepe de Chine Ogden Cami by Sewbon is one of my favorites.

I unintentionally copied, and I’m now matching with @lindsayinstitsches! I totally missed this when I was searching for inspiration.

Leslie’s linen drawstring dress is a really creative use of this pattern.

Teresa made the perfect classic black Ogden Cami. This is definitely on my to-do list.

 

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Pattern Review, Sewing

Marigold Dress in Chambray

Back in January, I discovered the Marigold Dress pattern by Blank Slate patterns. I was familiar with Blank Slate before, but it’s not one of my go-to pattern companies. I had seen the Marigold before, but it was Abbey’s short-sleeved chambray version that grabbed my attention.

Marigold Dress in Chambray | Blank Slate Patterns | Radiant Home Studio

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks!)

With a nursing baby, I’ve struggled to find dresses that work for me. I actually spent hours looking for any type of dress that was nursing friendly a few weeks ago. We had a last minute Christmas party and I didn’t have anything in my closet that seemed appropriate and no time to sew. In the end, I settled for a very stretchy knit A-line dress that definitely wasn’t appropriate for nursing in public. I had to find a place to hide just to feed the baby.

When I saw the Marigold and realized that it would work for nursing, I remembered how thankful I am for the ability to sew what I need. You would think a shirt dress would be relatively easy to find, but it just seemed to be “out of style” this season and impossible to find.

Marigold Dress in Chambray | Blank Slate Patterns | Radiant Home Studio

I started sewing in January, and what should have been a 3-hour project took 6 weeks of sewing in 10-15 minute spurts. It was definitely not the most efficient method of sewing since I had to keep finding my place every time I got started again. But with a 6-month old baby, you sew when you can—even if that means it’s only 15 minutes here and there.

I chose some Kaufman Chambray for my Marigold Dress. It’s lightweight and has a nice drape. The fabric is slightly sheer, but I always layer tank tops and bike shorts or a slip under my dresses so it seemed fine. I wouldn’t recommend it for a dress or skirt without an extra layer though.

The Marigold pattern has lots of options. You can make it with longer sleeves, a belt, skirt only, or as a peplum top. I chose to make a short-sleeved version of the dress, with the longest skirt length. I think it will be a great year-round style. I can wear it in the summer as it is and also layer it with a sweater and leggings on a cold day.

Marigold Dress in Chambray | Blank Slate Patterns | Radiant Home Studio

The pattern instructions were well-organized, especially considering all of the options available. I was able to follow the instructions for my style without confusion. Though I prefer illustrations, I found the photos clear and helpful for construction. I should have looked through the pattern for information on seam finishes before cutting. The collar, placket, and shoulder seams are all clean and hidden, but the side seams need to be finished. My serger seized up last month so I ended up sewing french seams on the sides of the bodice and skirt. I would have cut slightly larger seam allowances if I had planned ahead.

I made a size medium with no alterations. My bust and measurements were right in line with the size chart and my waist is a couple of inches larger. Since the elastic in the waist can be adjusted to the right size, I didn’t worry about that. The finished fit is great, and I don’t think I would make any changes. It’s a flexible style and will continue to fit as I lose baby weight or if I gain a few pounds.

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Pattern Review, Sewing

Waxed Canvas & Leather Zipper Bag

Last year I made a waxed canvas zipper bag for my 12-year-old son’s birthday. My husband mentioned (more than a couple of times) how nice it was. I got the hint, and he got one for Christmas.

Waxed Canvas & Leather Zipper Bag | Gentlemen's Travel Case by Betz White | Radiant Home Studio

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks!)

For my son’s zipper bag, I used canvas and waxed it myself using Otter Wax. For this bag, I ordered some pre-waxed canvas and a leather strap from The Confident Stitch. (This is a new-to-me fabric store. They have some great stuff and the owner is super helpful, so definitely check it out!) They have several colors and weights of waxed canvas. I chose the 6.25oz in olive green and it was exactly what I needed for this project!

I also ordered a 3/4″ leather strap. It was very nice quality and I will definitely purchase this item again for other bags in the future.

Waxed Canvas & Leather Zipper Bag | Gentlemen's Travel Case by Betz White | Radiant Home Studio

The pattern is the Gentlemen’s Travel Case from Betz White’s book Present Perfect, which is the same pattern I used for the pouch I made last year. There are lots of similar zipper pouch patterns that would work, but I really like the interior pleated pocket and the exterior pockets on this pattern. It’s a nice size, deep enough for some bigger items, but not too big. I sewed it as instructed, but substituted a metal snap in place of the hook-and-loop tape on the side pocket. I also left off the decorative trim next to the zipper.

Waxed Canvas & Leather Zipper Bag | Gentlemen's Travel Case by Betz White | Radiant Home Studio

I actually made 2 of these at the same time, one for my husband and one for his brother. I think it was faster to sew them that way. I already had the fabric, interfacing, and patterns out, so it went almost as quickly as making one. I had a yard of both the waxed canvas and the lining fabric, which was plenty for two zipper bags.

Waxed Canvas & Leather Zipper Bag | Gentlemen's Travel Case by Betz White | Radiant Home Studio

I used the waxed canvas on the entire exterior and on the lining pieces that are next to the zipper (for stability). I can’t remember if the pattern recommends interfacing the exterior pieces, but there’s no need to interface waxed canvas. It’s pretty stable and perfect for casual bags. Though I love Otter Wax for small projects, I really appreciated using the ready-made waxed canvas. It saved a lot of time and I didn’t have to worry about waiting for it to dry and cure. I can’t say I’ll never wax my own fabric again, but it’s good to have options! For bigger projects and things that are time sensitive, I will definitely be ordering again.

Waxed Canvas & Leather Zipper Bag | Gentlemen's Travel Case by Betz White | Radiant Home Studio

The Confident Stitch also has some heavier waxed canvas that would be great for bigger tote bags. I’ll be looking for a project to experiment with the heavier weight waxed canvas when I get a chance. You can click the image below to see what other fabrics and notions they carry!

Confident Stitch Notions

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