I discovered Project Run & Play recently after seeing a post on another blogger’s page and it peaked my interest. Try my hand at a featured pattern for a chance to win free fabric? Where do I sign up! I’m all for new sewing challenges and this project was definitely a new challenge for me.
How it works: Each month a previous year’s contestant chooses one of their free patterns/tutorials for everyone to attempt. You can either follow the pattern/tutorial exactly or mix it up and let it be inspiration for your own creation.
February’s challenge was the Mademoiselle Muscle Tee by Susan from Living With Punks. The free pattern was a 5T, so I knew I’d already have my first challenge at the start by figuring out how to downsize it. Something I had yet to do. Please check out her blog! She has some great stuff there!
I decided to be brave. Test unchartered waters. Why not? I decided to alter the pattern and then do a crossover back modification. I also thought it would be a great top for a dress using the skirt from the three-part Harmony Dress I had seen on pinterest from iCandy – Handmade. I’ve had that dress pinned FOREVER to make one day, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Check out her blog! It’s fantastic with tons of tutorials for very cute stuff! Her directions for her version of the dress are linked above. Check it out and give it a whirl! Her tutorial even has a giant bow sash that is adorable.
I love crossover dresses/tops, so that’s where my idea started. I had a really cute dark grey/white knit in my stash and a pale pink, slightly stretchy cotton type fabric. To be honest I can’t remember what type of fabric it is, just that I got it on clearance at Hancock fabrics. [UPDATE: after some asking around, I believe the pink fabric is cotton birdseye pique!] I believe I also got the knit at Hancock fabrics.
The first thing I did was sketch out a rough idea of my crossover tee. I printed out the size 5T free Mademoiselle tee pattern & then I made some adjustments to the pattern based on calculations. Yay Math? :-/
Since I was making this for my 4 year old (who tends to wear a size 3T bodice), I pulled out her measurements to give me the most accurate sizing. For the top I knew I needed three pieces: the back and two front pieces that would cross over. Since her chest is ~21″, I divided this in half to get 10.5″ for the width of the front & back pieces. I added 3/8″ x 2 for the seam allowances to get a total of 10 7/8″. I rounded up to 11″ to make it easy on myself. I decided that I would make it interesting and have the crossover in the back with a slightly higher neckline in the front. So I basically used the back pattern piece for my version’s front. Since the pattern piece is cut on the fold, I divided 11″ by 2 to get 5.5″ and adjusted the pattern to this width. I also took off a small amount (about 1/2″ at the arm hole curvature). Then I shortened the pattern so that it was closer to my daughter’s nape to waist measurement with a few added inches for seam allowances/etc.
Still with me???? Then I attacked the back pieces – which I used the provided pattern’s front piece. Whew. I think my brain needs a minute to catch up. I basically traced the pattern onto freezer paper and scooped the neck hole down and over, made the width 11″, and adjusted the arm hole (just like my front). I used this pattern to cut 2 pieces of my fabric in mirror images.
I waited to calculate the neck & arm bindings until I had sewn up the shoulder seams.
I did, however, measure and cut the skirt at this time. My daughters waist is 19″, so I doubled this to account for the elastic gathering to get 38″ for the width. (I realize now that I forgot to add in a seam allowance. Oh well, luckily that won’t matter much due to the gathering). I took my daughter’s waist to knee measurement and added 6″ for the elastic casing/hem. 12″ + 6″ = 18″. In summary, I cut a skirt piece that was 38″x18″.
I cut 19.5″ of the 2″ wide elastic next. 19″ (waist) + 1/2″ (seam allowance).
**Before starting…. A reminder when sewing with knits, use a ball point needle and walking foot if AT ALL POSSIBLE! Trust me on this one. Or you can use your serger if you have one. Of note, I did much of this with my serger but it can just as easily be done with a sewing machine alone.**
Now to start sewing!
For the top:
1. Place the top pieces RST (right sides together) and sew/serge the shoulder seam with a 3/8″ seam.
2. Measure the neck length & arm hole circumference for the bindings and cut according to calculations.
My calculations were:
Neck binding = 34.5″ (length of neck from side seam of 1st back piece, around neck of front piece, and to side seam of 2nd back piece) – 3″ (to allow for stretch) = 31.5″ x 2.5″ (the suggested width of the original tee pattern)
Arm binding (cut 2) = 10″ (arm hole circumference) – 2″ (to allow for stretch) = 8″ x 2.5″ (the suggested width of the original tee pattern)
3. Starting with the neck binding, placed WST (wrong sides together) lengthwise and pin along the neck line on the R side of the top fabric with raw edges aligned.
4. Sew/serge along raw edge using a 1/2″ seam allowance
5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 for the arm bindings and press seams well
6. Sew/serge side seams using 1/2″ seam allowance
7. Serge or finish (using zig zag, etc) bottom seam of top using 1/2″ seam allowance
Yay! You can put aside the top for now…
For the skirt:
1. With RST, using a finishing seam (such as french seam, zig zag, etc) sew or serge side seam with 3/8″ allowance
2. Using a 1/2″ seam allowance, sew/serge around the top & bottom of the skirt
3. With the skirt wrong side facing out, fold top seam down 3″ and pin
4. Place the pre-cut elastic 1/4″ above the finished/serged edge of the fold and trace along the top of the elastic using chalk or a marking pen
5. Sew along the traced line.
6. Sew 1/8″ above the finished/serged edge of the fold to create a casing for the elastic, be sure to leave ~3″ open to thread elastic through!
7. Using a bodkin or safety pin, thread the elastic through the casing.
8. Hand sew the ends of the elastic together using ~1/2″ seam allowance
9. Sew closed the remainder of the casing
10. Even out the gathers and place a two line of zig zag stitches near the top & bottom edges of the elastic to create “faux” smocking.
Connecting the Top to the Skirt:
This is where I diverged from the iCandy tutorial….
1. With skirt and top both wrong sides out, slide top over skirt until bottom edge of top is aligned with bottom zig zag stitch of the waist “faux” smocking and pin.
2. Zig zag between the previous two lines of zig zag stitches, sewing the top in place.
3. To hem, press bottom seam 1/4″ to wrong side, then another 3/4″ (or to desired length based on your calculations)
3. Hem the bottom of the skirt to desired length.
Ta Da! And there you have it. My mashup of the Mademoiselle Muscle Tee with a modified crossover back and the 3 part harmony skirt from iCandy Handmade. Let me know if you have any questions and I can attempt to help!
-Cutting/sewing/matching knit stripes is anything but easy
-Adjusting a pattern just takes a little bit of vision and math
-Sometimes it pays off to take chance and trust yourself! 🙂