Knit Chevron Playdress

Chevron Dress

This was an experiment to see if I could whip up a knit playdress without too much fuss. My nine-year-old’s top priority, when it comes to clothes, is comfort. I can’t say I blame her. But this means she wants only knits, and it can be difficult to get everything she needs/ wants in the knit variety.

After a not-great experience with thin jersey in the past, I wanted to try knits again, this time with a beefier weight. It can be hard to find a good selection of knits in stores (certainly around here), so I ordered a few things from Girl Charlee, which I’d heard good things about.

One of the things I love about Girl Charlee, and they’re not paying me anything to say this, is that you can order swatches of fabrics so you know what they’re like before you order. They have a very interesting and varied selection, and the site is well-designed, not overwhelming like some fabric sites.

The thermal knit tunic I made recently is also made with Girl Charlee fabric. Their prices are very reasonable, and they have a half-yard clearance section that’s perfect for trying things out, like this dress.

I was going to try making a T-shirt, but Little Miss wanted a dress. She asked for a full skirt, but since there was only half a yard, the best I could do was a tank dress. For the top I just traced a tank top she already had. The bottom is just a rectangle with the ruffling added.

The pattern placement isn’t perfect, true, and there’s not quite as much space in the booty as I’d like. Ample booty space is one of the few things on my list of girl clothing musts. But I may have to let it slide, because I think it’s time to move on to other projects. Next time, I’ll get enough fabric for that full skirt.

I just turned over and zigzagged the edges. Not fancy, but I rather like it. I may try another finish next time. For more on my sewing, click here. More coming soon.

Still reading and loving My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss. Highly recommend! Meanwhile assembling simple costumes for the school’s book character parade. The kids asked to be Marie Antoinette and Marco Polo (!). Luckily the thrift store gave us a big leg up, but I still have a little work to do.

Knit Fabric Neckline

Semi-Homemade Halloween Costumes

Homemade Halloween Costumes

It’s that time of year again. Time to slap together a costume or two! I thought I’d list some of our past hits as inspiration for you.

I don’t put a lot of fuss into making costumes, but I do like them to be comfortable and reusable. My favorite method involves hacking items we find in the thrift store. It’s inexpensive, much of the sewing is already done, and the fabrics are often more comfortable than those used in store-bought costumes.

For details on these costumes:

Center: Turtle Costume

Clockwise, from the top:

Ninja (Ninjago)

Anastasia Romanov (Russian princess)

Knight Tunic and Helmet



One more idea for you. My niece is evidently going to be a mermaid, and I loved the look of this simple costume her mom showed me.

I hope these inspire you. This reminds me, I have to get my kids to commit to their costumes now, too. If they had their way, they’d probably get 10 costumes and choose one at the last minute. Ha!

Pajama Top Hats and a Nightgown Dress

Here are a few items I finished up for Kid’s Clothing Week over at elsie marley. I made them the same way I did this hat except this time I cut out the picture I wanted and appliqued it on the hats. These are all made from outgrown pajama tops, though the little dog applique came from a normal, completely wrecked, but favorite T-shirt.

Here in Germany it has just now gotten really warm, but before that, the kids needed spring hats while biking. These thin ones are perfect for tucking under a helmet.

Next up is a dress for my 8-year-old, or is it a nightgown, or is it a shirt for me? We haven’t decided. It started out life cut out to be a Go-To Dress from The Train to Crazy, like this one. But the fabric is really too stretchy and thin to work very well for that pattern, so I thought I’d make it into a nightgown by adding knit bindings. By the way, very good knit binding instructions here.

The knit bindings were kind of wide so they ended up looking more like a funnel neck and sleeves, which is fine. And bonus!–the whole thing fits over my head and works as a top. Maybe I’ll steal it.

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, seeing as how it sat so long just cut out and being nothing and seemed to have no future.

A few more sewing items to come as well as pics from the Waldorf basar. We’ve been doing some exploring nearby within Germany, so hope to share more about that soon. It’s only about 6 weeks now until we move back to the U.S. I can’t believe it.

Go-To Dress


I started this dress for my daughter way back in September, during kids clothes week challenge hosted over at elsiemarley, one of my favorite blogs. The idea of the challenge is that for one week you’re supposed to spend an hour a day doing some kind of work on your sewing projects for kids. I did work on the dress every day for a week, but I didn’t get so far, and since then have been pecking away at it for a few minutes at a time. Finally my daughter said, “Why don’t you just give it to me for Christmas?” Ummm….okay. She’s six.

This was my first time sewing anything much with knits. The free pattern is from the blog The Train to Crazy, which has lots of other great stuff as well. It’s a really cute pattern—–the trickiest part is getting the waist elastic done properly, which requires zigzag topstitching, gathering, and elastic placement, all at the same spot. Mine is definitely not perfect in that area, but you know, it’s knit, it’s a playdress, and who cares. I’m sure you can find other mistakes if you’re looking, but please, don’t look that closely. I don’t think my daughter will. Sorry I can’t show a picture of her in it since she hasn’t seen the finished product yet.

I got the fabric from the local stoffemarkt (fabric market) in Hannover, which comes through a few times a year. It was a good deal, and I have the mirror image of the dress already cut out and ready to go, if I can get motivated. I didn’t end up being in love with the color combo. I think I might like the mirror image more.

I read up on knits before starting: good tutorials here and here. It boils down to using the right stitch (according to your machine), a special knit needle, and a fabric stabilizer. I couldn’t find any fabric stabilizer in Hannover, so I used a lot of regular old starch, which worked fine. It definitely made a difference in the ease of sewing. I have a very basic Necchi sewing machine, which has a few stitch options which are great for knits. Love that machine. If you live in Charlotte, NC, you can buy one at Himebaugh’s. They are so nice there.