Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The long awaited Onesie Dress Tutorial

So here is my Tutorial.  I have not been feeling myself the last week or so and have not felt up to sitting at the computer and writing up this tutorial.

It all started with this find at the local thrift store.  It was soooo cute and I bought it saying - I CAN MAKE THIS.  At the time I had not seen a tutorial for it but since then I have done a little research and have found similar ones.  Most put the skirt up really high and don't have the cute applique.
Enough about the inspiration.  I measured and figured out what you would need to make it.  After I got it all done I realized one thing that I will mention at the end, that might make it not work on a chubby baby.

TO BEGIN:  (I made this using a 0-3 month onesie, so you may want to lengthen the skirt for a bigger size)

Onesie - size 0-3 month

Skirt material - 5 1/2 inches by WOF (width of fabric = 44-45 inches)

Ruffle Material -Three pieces 1 1/2 - 2 inches by WOF  (total about 120 inches)

Applique - Left over material

Wonder under or Heat n Bond



First off you have to choose what you want to applique on the front.  I went to my photoshop files and some of the fonts I have that have images rather then letters and looked through them.  I choose a handful since I couldn't choose just one at the time.  Plus I have my cute daughter that likes to think I let her make all the choices.  So here are some of the things I found.

My daughter wanted the cute butterfly or the lady bugs but I really like the cute flower in the lower right corner,  I made the circle about 3 inches and used the other flower since I didn't feel like sewing around the cute flower in the center.  I took out the heart and used just a plain circle.  I traced them on to my Heat n Bond and cut them out before ironing.  You could just cut around them and iron them on to the fabric.  It is personal preference.  If you are doing any letters, remember it will be backwards when you iron it on.

I chose 3 scraps and ironed the heat n bond on to it and then cut them out.  (see why I think it might be better to do it by just cutting out after - I don't always think things through.)

Once you decide about where you want them, iron on to the onesie.  If you want you can iron each piece to the next piece if you don't take the backing off first.  I opted to just put them all on there and iron all the pieces together.  I guess it could have moved and so to be safe maybe just do each piece by itself.  Unless you are only putting on one piece.

Next you need to stitch around the applique.  First I find it best to put a stabilizer behind my applique.  It helps the stitches not bunch and the whole thing to go more smoothly.  There are many different kinds, the one I use you can pull off after you are done, some wash out after one use.  Second about the stitch,  I find that a satin stitch - which is a zigzag that has a very small length works best.  My machine has a specific stitch that is designed to do this.  You may want to play around with your stitch.  In cases like this I also decrease the width to about half so that it looks nice.   I decided to do it all in pink.  You could do the brown pieces in brown or the pink flower outline in brown.  I also used a rayon based thread that has a bit of shine to it. Doesn't it look cute?

Don't look too close.  My stitches aren't perfect.  I think it is the combination of the knit and the cotton.

On to the construction of the skirt.

Pick up your 3 pieces of the ruffle and sew together the short edges.  I used my serger because I like the finished edge on my seams.

Next I serge on one edge and then do a rolled hem on the other.

 I serge the edge that I am going to ruffle so I don't have to deal with serging when I am finished or any fraying as I am trying to gather up the ruffle.  If you don't have a serger you will want to do a narrow hem on the finished edge of the ruffle.  In that case you may want to use a 2 inch ruffle rather then a 1 1/2 inch.

Take your skirt material and sew together the short edges to make it all one piece.  Again I serged both edges to finish the edge.  ( you can see that better in the next picture.)

Now run 2 long straight stitches for your gathering of the skirt.  I do two so that in case one breaks I don't have to start over again.  I also find about 1/2 way and stop and start again.  I would rather do it that way then try and gather the entire width of the skirt.  It is your preference.  Do not gather at this time.  We will do that later.

Next we will gather the pink ruffle that will be added to this piece.  Because of the length of the fabric I use a little different technique to gather the 120 + inches.  I actually use a thicker cotton yarn/thread and a zigzag stitch.  Here is the yarn I use.

The technique is pretty simple.  You begin by placing the yarn under and over your presser foot (see next picture).  Trying to keep it in the middle of the zigzag is the key.  My foot has a handy divot in it that makes it easy to keep it in the right place.  Then you zigzag the entire ruffle length.  Do not stop in the middle like I suggested on the skirt.

Then you will need to attach the ruffle to the bottom of the skirt.  I always attach the two pieces before I start pulling on the gathering.  I pin at half and then half again over the entire piece.  It makes it easier once you start gathering the ruffles and makes it look more even.
Here is a picture of what I am trying to explain, but I don't think it makes any more sense.

Find the middle of your ruffle and the middle of your skirt and match together.  Do it again so you don't have too big of gaps in between.  Then pull on the yarn/thread you used to gather the ruffle in.  Adjust around so that it looks even.

Then pin in between the pins you already have holding on the ruffle.  It just makes it easier to keep all the cute ruffly ruffle together while you sew.  Then sew about 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the edge.  Making sure that you are catching both layers.  I think I usually go about 1/2 inch but I usually just go along the outside of my original gather so I don't have to unpick the gathering stitches when I am done.  (Now you can see why I serged both of the pieces before I put this together.  I really don't love serging over ruffles or taking the chance that something might get cut with my serger blade.  It is just easier and has a finished edge.)  If you have not serged then you should probably sew a zigzag along the edge to finish this edge.

This is where my mother (who does read this blog occasionally) would say - you need to iron this part.  Uhm, I was so excited to get to this part that I forgot, but Mom is right and I should have ironed mainly to makes sure that my seam was straight when I started the next stitch.  (LOVE YA MOM)  Now we need to top stitch along the edge about 1/8 to 1/4 inch (basically catching the ruffle underneath
See how it looks behind where I am sewing in this next picture?
This will hold the ruffle down and not let it go flipping up.  And it adds that extra touch you see in the store bought items.  (That is one of the other things my mother taught me, do the finishing touches and it looks so much better.  I am a firm believer in this one.  This is what makes my stuff almost look store bought and gives it those loving touches.) Details, details, details.  Don't just throw it together, but make sure you do the details and then not only others will love it, but you will too.  (Sorry - I'll get off my soap box)

Now we need to determine where we want the placement of the skirt.  I drew a line on the onesie and also marked the center (and on the back center) to let me know where to place the seam of the skirt.
I kind of eyeballed this by putting my unfinished skirt at this level and saw if it was going to go below the snaps in the front.  I figured it would cover the bum pretty good.  Plus it is going on a new baby and she probably won't be getting out and showing her bum too much.  Plus you have the onesie there underneath like all babies do to cover those ugly diapers.  I also looked back at my original one and saw that it was above the sides about 3 inches or so.  Either way it is going to look cute.  The ones I have seen online have put it a lot higher and those looked way cute too.
SO here is where I am in a pickle.  The next part I did the whole gather thing and pinned it to the onesie  (I forgot to take pictures - I was so excited I was almost finished) and then sewed it with a very small zigzag stitch on my machine that is designed to be used with knits to keep them from stretching too much and breaking.  But I'm not too impressed with this.  I know this is going on my newborn, but if I were giving it to someone else I would be worried that by the time I got it to them it wouldn't fit their baby is she was at all chubby.  So I have done some research and you can decide what you would do.  I think I would do a larger zigzag to attach the skirt to the onesie.  One tutorial by barefoot in the kitchen uses an elastic (in step 8) to help it to stretch. and then sews the skirt on with a zigzag stitch.  In Cut Out and Keep she does much the same but uses the size of the onesie as her guide for the elastic in step 4.  I think my method might work better if I used a larger zigzag so that the fabric and onesie stretched together with out that popping sound.  You may chose to do it how you want. Lila Tueller Designs put that elastic "thread" in her bobbin and gathered it that way (see her tutorial in step 5).  That might be the way I try it next time. 

But then you are done!!!  Put it on a cute little girl (which I can't wait to do in a month and half) and see how cute she looks.

Here are some pictures of closeups and the final product.

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