Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Babies' Pleated Pinafore Pattern

Elaina's pinafore
This post is about the humble pinafore. A well made pinafore, in my opinion, is one of the most useful and versatile items of clothing a little girl could have.

It can be made from warm fabric and paired with a frilly blouse, stockings and a cardigan for winter. It can be made from the lightest of cotton fabrics and worn with nothing underneath for the warmest of summers. It can also cater for almost any season in between. It can be made stylish with pleats or straight as an A-line. It can have one, two or three pockets to embellish. It can fasten with buttons or it can fasten with snaps. It can be decorated with lace or rick rack or piping. It can be made plain and simple or very, very fancy. With so many options from one simple pattern, why not try it out!

My pinafore pattern was first designed as a gift for a sweet new baby. I made it up in a green plaid with a white lacy blouse to go underneath. You can read about it in this post: Elaina's Dress (baby blouse and pinafore).

My original pattern was drawn on a scrap piece of kitchen paper, so I decided to draw it properly and add some extra features to make it a little more special. I kept the main design the same; three large box pleats across the front and the back of the pinafore to give a fairly full skirt with two press stud fasteners at the shoulders. On my new design I added two cute pockets and a piped trim around the neckline and arm holes.

This pattern is very straight forward to sew. It has a front and back facing to finish the neck and armholes neatly. The only slightly tricky part is the piping. With some care and a zipper foot, piping is not as difficult as it might look!

It is sized for a baby aged 6-12 months. Size 0 in Australia. I know that babies in the age group can vary greatly in size, but another great thing about pinafores is that they are generally a little loose (so they can fit over shirts and undergarments). So if your baby is very large, the pattern will probably still fit and if your baby is very small, they will be able to grow into the pinafore for months to come (maybe even up to age 18 months for very small babies).

The finished measurements are: Chest - 58cm, Shoulder to hem length - 43cm

To make this pinafore, you will need:
- 1 metre of winter fabric (any width)
- 40cm of lining fabric
- 2 metres of piping
- 4 decorative snap fasteners

You can purchase the pattern and full instructions on my Etsy store by clicking on the link below.

Baby Maddi, 10.5 months
Such a cute little model!
Note the cute rounded pockets!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Free Nappy Bag Pattern and Tutorial

Nappy bags are an almost inescapable part of being a parent. They come in many shapes and sizes and at many different prices. Even if you try to avoid having one, you will still have to carry around nappies, wipes, spare clothes, wraps, bottles, dummies, change mats, toys and other things. So why not embrace the nappy bag and make yours truly unique?

I spent some time recently searching for a free nappy bag pattern to replace my old one. I found an attractive pattern and made it up, but it turned out just too small to fit all those things mentioned above. Most other patterns were rather complicated or required special bag fixtures for the straps and handles. So I designed my own. 

Click on the link below to download the free PDF pattern.
Free Nappy Bag Pattern

You will Need:
- the pattern
- 1 metre of outer fabric
- 1 metre of quilt wadding or batting
- 1 metre of lining fabric
- 50cm of 0.8cm wide elastic
- 1 magnetic bag snap kit

All seam allowances are 1.5cm unless otherwise indicated.


1. Print and assemble the pattern. Follow the instructions given on the pattern.

2. Cut out your fabric. Start with the outer fabric. Cut 2 main bag pieces on the fold. Then cut the bag strap to the measurements given on the pattern.
Cut out the quilt wadding in the same way as the outer fabric (both bag pieces and the strap).
Cut out the main bag pieces from the lining fabric.
To cut the inner pocket, fold the pattern down on the dotted line and place it 5cm back from the fold of the fabric. You can see this in the image below. This will give the extra fullness needed for the pockets.

Cutting out the inner bag pockets
3. Place your outer fabric on top of the quilt batting. Pin in place and using your sewing machine, quilt the two layers together. You can do this in many different ways. I have run diagonal lines across my bag to create diamonds. You could simply sew vertical lines about 10cm apart across the bag, or get creative and use wavy lines or even free form quilting.
The quilting holds the outer fabric and the wadding together as one piece of fabric while adding some stiffening to the bag.
Do the same for the bag handle (see image below).

Quilted bag strap
4. With right sides together, sew the darts on the bottom corners of the bag pieces. Do the same for the bag lining and pocket pieces.

5. Pin your two quilted outer bag pieces with right sides together. Make sure you match the dart seams. Sew around the outer edge (see image below).

6. Make the pleat at the top of the bag by folding the pleat line in to the centre line on both sides. Pin pleat and stay stitch in place. (You are making a large box pleat.)

Quilting, outer edge seam and pleat pinned at bag top
7.  Turn under top edge of bag inner pocket piece twice to create a tunnel for the elastic to run through. Thread the elastic through.

8. Pin the inner pocket to one of the lining pieces around the outer edge. Take in the extra fullness at the top of the pocket by drawing up the elastic. Create small pleats the the bottom of the pocket to fit it onto the bag lining. Stay stitch around the outside to hold the pocket and lining together.

9. Measure three even sized pockets and sew vertically down from the top of the pocket to the bottom of the bag. If you want more pockets, simply sew more vertical lines. I made my pockets the right size to fit  2 disposable nappies, nappy sacks and a wet wipes pack.

Pin the pocket to the lining
 10. Place the two lining pieces with right sides together. (The pocket will be between them.) Sew around the outside edge leaving a 10cm gap along the bottom through which you will turn the bag later.

11. Fold the bag strap in half long ways and sew down the side. Turn right side out and over stitch around the outside to hold it in place.

Bag straps after over-stitching
 12. Create the pleats on the tops of bag lining.

Bag outer and lining with pinned box pleats
13. Attach the magnetic bag snap to the inside of the bag lining. I used some wadding to help hold the snap in place as my lining fabric was quite thin. Make sure that you place the snap down from the top of the bag so that the highest point of the snap is at least 2cm from the edge as you will need a 1.5cm seam allowance. It is very difficult to sew the top seam if you place the snap too high.

Magnetic snap in place
14. Pin the bag strap with right side to the right side of the outer bag. Stay stitch both ends in place.

Bag strap pinned in place 
15. Place the outer bag inside of the bag lining. Right sides should be together. Match the pleats and bag side seams. Make sure that the strap is tucked between the outer and the lining and away from where you stitch. Pin and sew around the top edge of the bag. Clip the curves before turning the bag through the hole left open in the bottom of the bag lining.

Bag top seam (you can also see the wadding that I have used to support the magnetic snaps)
16. Turn the bag through the hole in the lining.

Bag turned through to right side.
17.  Pull the lining to the outside and pin the hole at the bottom closed. Stitch across the hole. Put the lining back down inside the bag.

Stitch the turning hole shut.
18. Over stitch around the top of the bag to hold the lining down inside and prevent it from rolling to the outside.

Bag over stitching around the top

Your bag is now complete. You can begin filling it with all the fun things you get to carry around as a parent!

Completed nappy bag!

For other patterns by RP Original hop onto  my Etsy store here!

Friday, 25 September 2015

The Making of a Toddler's Party Dress

This project was a real challenge. In general I stay well away from satins and chiffons, preferring to stick to cotton fabrics. Why? Satin and chiffon are so slippery. Slippery to cut out, slippery to pin, slippery to sew, tricky to iron, tricky to unpick. Slippery and tricky. They do however make some of the most adorable clothing for little girls. Who could resist making a pretty pink party dress for a little girl?
The base pattern for this dress is very simple, making it a great pattern to keep for day dresses as well. It consists of a simple square-necked bodice, flutter sleeves and a gathered rectangle skirt.

To turn such a simple design into the ultimate party dress, I have used a selection of special fabrics. The dress features an embroidered organza overlay on the bodice, embroidered lace, two different coloured chiffons (one for the skirt and sleeves and one for the sash), and a baby pink satin for the base of the dress. I have also used a stabilising cotton lining for the bodice.

After fighting with fraying fabric and lots of gathering stitches, the final product is well worth the effort! A beautiful dress for special occasions; weddings, parties, church or high tea with the ladies.

You can purchase this pattern on Etsy by clicking on the link below. Included are full instructions with photos to help you through!

Party Dress PDF Pattern

This pattern is sized for girls aged 12-18 months.

Enjoy some of the images below from our photo shoot with little Alice!

My model eating the props!

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Pin-Tucked Dress for Toddlers

If there is one dress that I've designed and made in the last year that I really really love, it would have to be this one! I love pin tucks. I love the way they have a sweet vintage-detail look. They can make the simplest of fabrics or designs seem not-so-simple and even a little special.
Even though this dress is essentially a sleeveless A-line with a collar, the pin-tucks add something really nice to it. I think so anyway.

I've always found pin-tucks to be rather daunting when I see them in a design... all those even rows of tiny tucks all pressed one way. The reality isn't so bad. With some care they can be quite easy to sew and if you want really tiny tucks you can even buy a special presser foot to do it for you! My pin-tucked dress features fairly large tucks though, perfect for the beginner.

This dress is sized for children aged 12-18 months.

You can buy the PDF pattern and full instructions by clicking on the link below.
Pin-Tucked Dress PDF Pattern

To make this sweet little dress you will need:
- 1 metre of fabric
- 20cm fabric for collar
- 5 buttons
- 1 metre of lace

Skill level: Medium difficulty

My little model for this dress is Alice. She loved playing with the flowers while we tried to get some good photos!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Toddler's Gypsy Dress

I've finally finished up another PDF pattern to add to my Etsy shop. This time it's one for the girls!

I love this sweet little dress. I've called it a Gypsy dress for want of a better name as it features layers of gathered skirts. This pattern is one of the simplest that I have designed. It only has two pattern pieces for the bodice and the skirt is cut using rectangles of fabric.
In fact, the bodice pattern is so simple that it could easily be used as a base to design a multitude of other dress styles... bodice with a simple gathered skirt, bodice with a pleated skirt, bodice with ruffles, bodice with lace... let your imagination carry you off!

Skill Level: Easy... very easy!

Size: 12-18 months

Materials Needed
- 1 metre of fabric
- 20cm lining fabric
- 3 buttons
- 3 press stud sets

You can find full instructions and a PDF pattern for sale on Etsy. Or click on the link below!
Gypsy Dress PDF Pattern

I love working with little Alice as my model! She had a wonderful time with these balloons!

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

German Shorts for Toddlers

Who can resist the cuteness of a baby in suspenders? These shorts are the first pattern to make its way onto my Etsy store 'RP Original'. A cute rendition of German Lederhosen that gives a 'real boy' look while maintaining the adorable cuteness of a rapidly fading babyhood. The H-bar and crossed over back help to prevent the suspenders from falling off of baby's shoulders. They can be dressed up with a button-up shirt or dressed down with a t-shirt. I loved seeing my little boy in these shorts and hope you will too!

Skill Level: Medium Difficulty

Size: 12-18 months

Materials Needed
- 1 metre of fabric (any width)
- 27cm of 2cm wide elastic
- 4 buttons

You can find full instructions and a PDF pattern for sale at RP Original on Etsy.

RP Original: my new Etsy store!

This post represents a very exciting new development in my life as a designer of children's fashion. I have officially opened my own Etsy store: RP Original. My store will sell PDF patterns for babies and young children.
You can view RP Original by clicking on the link above. Keep an eye on my blog to see new patterns when they become available!