Striped Butterfly Tunic

Recently I came across the Butterfly Sleeve Tunic tutorial at Make It Love It, and knew it was something I needed to try.

I found some great striped knit fabric on clearance at JoAnn that both my girls would like.

And fast forward a few weeks to today…

It’s a cold wet weekend here in Alabama (as opposed to last weekend’s bright sunny 70-80 degree weather), so what is there to do but hole up in the house in your pj’s all weekend and work on projects (and maybe some laundry and other chores in between)?

Out came the fabric and pattern tracing supplies and not long after, came this cute little top.

Striped Butterfly Tunic

I will admit, it turned out much better than I thought it would.

First of all, I was not sure how well I would do working with both knit fabric AND stripes.  I mean, knit is great and all, but it’s not the easiest to sew with since it’s so flimsy (especially this one) and it’s hard to move around and get things straightened up just right.  It takes a lot of patience to get it just right.  Also, with stripes you kind of have to cut your fabric just right and line everything up exactly to make sure that your stripes match up – which can be a big problem based off of the things I just said about knit fabric. 🙂

I surprisingly didn’t have a big problem with the stripes on this top – I was able to line up the stripes on the shoulders just fine.  And even though the stripes don’t line up front and back correctly, it’s not a major problem since there aren’t really any side seams.  You simply cannot tell unless you look really really hard.  And let’s face it, it’s a child’s top – and said child is really usually pretty fast and running around all over, so who is going to look that closely to see if the lines match up?

My biggest problem was doing the hem around the entire edge.  My machine gathered my fabric when I did the basting stitch (I couldn’t change the setting so that it wouldn’t gather – nothing seemed to work).  Then when folding up around the curved edges, it kept looking pretty weird and didn’t look perfect like it should have.

I just did what I could and went with it.  Again, it’s being worn by a pretty quick preschooler… who cares about the corners?

Striped Butterfly Tunic

I debated whether or not to put the elastic around the middle to gather, and settled on doing it only on the front of the shirt.  It looks good enough to give some definition and shape but keeps it from being uncomfortable and too tight.

Striped Butterfly Tunic

Overall, I am pleased with how this top came out.  Looks like it’s a bit big in the neckline – but that’s OK.  It just means that it will last awhile.  For now, I’ll probably make her put on a tank top underneath if she wears it out of the house, but as she grows then it should still fit just fine.

Little SQ seems quite happy with it as well.  She told me she wanted to wear it all day, which is about as good as it gets 🙂

My Schoolhouse Tunic – Finally

Last year sometime I came across the Schoolhouse Tunic pattern by Sew Liberated online and after looking at it for awhile I finally broke down and ordered it (it’s hard for me to pay $15 for a pattern unless I’m pretty sure I’m going to love it and use it multiple times).

I bought some beautiful dark grey linen fabric (which kind of reminded me of the fabric of the dress on the front of the pattern – yeah, I went super out of the box on that one…) and got to work. I made it as far as assembling the bodice and attaching the sleeves – but things didn’t line up quite right and so it sat around for awhile till I was ready to tackle fixing it. Awhile ended up being about a year.

Last night I picked it back up – ripped off the arms that I originally made and drafted some new ones – cap sleeve length since I was kind of running out of extra fabric. All was going well and my top was finally starting to look right.

But then after I got the skirt part attached, I realized how disproportionate the whole thing looked – so I tried it on. Turns out the thing about it being disproportionate was just because I had made it long though on the top to accommodate my large bust – which was a good thing. I just looks a bit funny on the hanger.

Schoolhouse Tunic

Of course, with trying it on I realized how the pleats in the skirt make me look a bit poofy and possibly pregnant. Which I’m not. I’ve read others notes about how they used gathers instead of pleats but somehow I don’t think that would help very much.

I’m trying now to decide what I should do with it.  I really don’t feel like taking apart the whole skirt to fix it though, so I might just let it go for now and make some adjustments for next time.

What I’m thinking for next time… cause I will make this again (even if it’s for someone else):

  • Cut the back part of the skirt to size – leaving out any room for pleats or gathers.
  • Maybe try gathers in the front – but possibly cut the front a little smaller so that they are just tiny gathers for camoflague rather than actually making a good bit of room in there.
  • Possibly try the longer length – I made the short version of the skirt part this time, and it’s ok but might be kinda cool to make it in the longer/dress version.
  • Depending on the fabric and season – I might just make a sleeveless version.  This was my first garment with real sleeves and even though they aren’t too bad, I’m not sure I’m a huge fan.
  • Possibly changing the neckline to have a bit of a crew neck curve instead of going all the way up.  This might look better on me.

I made a dress!

I’ve felt like sewing a little more lately than usual, so I was super excited when the girls at work got me a JoAnn’s Fabric gift card for my birthday. I went that very same day and spent it all on some cute new fabric to make some dresses/tops for my girls.

I know you are supposed to spend birthday gift cards on yourself, and I went and bought stuff to make for my children, but the fun in it for me is that enjoy making and that I get to see them wear the stuff I made.

Anyway, So now that I had some new fabric to play with (not that I don’t have a huge stash that could be used) I needed to decide on a pattern. What? did I do that in the wrong order? You aren’t supposed to choose the material then the pattern? Oops… hehe

But yeah, So I came across the Embroidered Denim Jumper pattern from the Purl Bee.  LOVE IT!

Not only is this pattern super simple and super cute, I figured out that I can easily make it with only 3 fat quarters!  And if you are like me and LOVE to buy small quantities of lots of cute fabrics, then you should have plenty of these little babies in your stash already.

While the focus on their original version is to showcase the beautiful embroidery on a simple fabric, I took this to a whole different level.  I used 2 different prints and no embroidery – not yet at least.

You see, I had just bought 3 new fat quarters… 2 of them the same busy, almost vintage 70’s-ish feel pattern and a coordinating yellow/while polka dot.  So instead of the original plan to make a  simple skirt with a yellow band on the bottom, I took the yellow up for the bodice, and used the pattern for the skirt of this dress/top.

Also, I took some of the scraps that I trimmed off the skirt and made a binding for the neckline.  I like how it brought it all together.  Although I must admit that my first thought when I had this dress assembled was that it looked like a smock – you know, the ones they throw over kids in school to keep their clothes clean… yeah.

I didn’t let that smock-like feeling deter me though, I kept going.  The original tutorial still kind of had that same feeling when it was laid flat, but it took on a bit more shape when you look at the photo of the girl wearing it.


What do you think?  NK picked out her tights and shoes to go with the dress… I wasn’t so sure at first, but you know, it kinda works.

I’m really liking the way this turned out. I am thinking it would be fun to add a bow or flower to dress it up and add a bit more interest.  Or even making this again and making the skirt panels even wider so that there’s more room in the skirt.

There are LOTS of possibilities with this simple pattern.  Shoot, I may even go back and do it as the original tutorial had it… hand stitching and all.

This little dress could easily be put together in an hour or less… if you do all stitching by machine.  Add in some time if you decide to do any hand stitching at all.

I machine stitched everything except for the part where you stitch up the inside seams.  That part I did by hand in order to make the stitches as invisible as possible.  It took some time, but was well worth it.