I’ve had this lightweight terry in my stash for awhile & couldn’t stand the thought of this summer ending without putting it to good use. This play set is soft, comfy, & consist of a smocked terry tunic with ruffled straps & longer length terry bloomers. (both very easy)
Sizing: measurements are for 12 mths but I’ll give you ways to easily adjust for your child’s size
*34″ x 14″ terry or cotton rectangle (increase the length by 10″ or more for a 2T or up)
*elastic thread- (Elastic Sewing Thread 30 Yards-White)
*1 and a half” x 16″ strips of your fabric(4)
*water soluble pen-(Water Soluble Marking Pencil-Red)
*elastic for waistband and legholes
*rotary cutter-optional but I LOVE it, this is the one I used Olfa Standard Rotary Cutter – 60mm
*cutting mat-optional but another must have for me (Olfa Cutting Mat)
Start by stitching a 1/4″ hem down one of the long sides of the rectangle, this will be your top.
*Next you’re going to mark your smocking lines. Using a water soluble pen & a ruler (a clear quilting one works well) draw a line across the fabric a 1/2″ down from the hemline you just made. Repeat 5 more times but spacing your lines 1/4″ apart. It should look like this with a total of 6 horizontal lines:Now you’re ready to smock, this is really fun and SO much easier than it seems. Start by gently hand winding the elastic thread onto a bobbin. Next thread your machine and begin to sew down the first line, backstitch a bit at the beginning of the line to secure the elastic. Easy right? When you get to the end of the line don’t cut the threads, just give it a little pull, turn the fabric around & start down the next line. (see pics below) Repeat this for all remaining lines and then backstitch at the very end of the last line to secure. (If you need more help here is a video from Martha that demonstrates)
Your piece should looks something like this on the back side:
Now the really fun part, take either the sprayer part of a steam iron or a squirt bottle and wet the right side of the smocking, the elastic should start to shrink. Then use your iron on a steam setting and press the smocking while pulling the fabric tautly through underneath, this will REALLY make it shrink up! Keep repeating until it’s all smuckered up good. (The sprayer should also make your pen lines disappear)
*Next place the right sides of the dress together and stitch up the side, backstitching a bit at the beginning and end to secure. (This is a great place to adjust the pattern for a small baby, by sewing closer in you’ll be making a smaller tube)
*For the bottom hemline sew a 1/4″ in seam & when you get to the seam where you sewed up the side of the dress simply open it up, stitch it down & keep on going.*Now the straps, these are pretty easy. We’re going to ruffle them! Yay! (are you sick of me ruffling yet? I can’t stop!) Take one of your strips and stitch a 1/4″ hem down the long side, repeat on the other long side. Next stitch a straight line, on the longest stitch length, down the center. BE SURE to cut your threads long at the beginning and end of this stitch!If you hold onto the bobbin thread you’ll see that you’re able to move the fabric up and “ruffle” it. Ruffle until you get it to a length that’s good for your little one. Mine ended up being 6″ (including a 1″ seam allowance) This is also a good way to adjust the pattern to fit, just trim and ruffle the straps longer or shorter.
Attach the straps & your tunic is done!
For the pattern print the picture below to ‘fit to page’ (don’t forget to change out your elastic bobbin thread!) You’ll notice that you need to extend the pattern 1″ on each side, I wanted to make sure you could print the entire pattern on one page but there are a few tweaks you’ll need to make. The other tweak is when you cut the back piece the crotch is 2 & 1/2″ longer.
Cut out your two pieces, they should look like this (kind of like baby granny panties)
Lay the pieces right sides together and pin. Sew up the left side, then up the right side. Finally across the crotch. When you turn it rightside out it should look like the picture below:
Next ruffle your two remaining strips. Working one leghole at a time you’re going to pin the ruffle to the inside of the leg like the picture below. You’re lining up the ruffled strip and leghole with the right sides together and with the bottom edge of the ruffle aligned with the edge of the leghole. Attach ruffle by following the center line stitch of the ruffle piece.
In the picture above do you see how we have about a 1/4″ space between the line you just stitched & the edge? This is going to be the casing for the leghole elastic.
Take a piece of elastic that is the circumference of your child’s thigh (extra long if your kid has chunkster thighs like Samster!) Begin to stitch up the bottom edge of your ruffled leghole with the elastic inside of it. See above images.
*you can click on any image to enlarge it
When you’re 1″ away from sewing around the entire leghole WITH the elastic inside, you’ll sew the end of your elastic to the beginning of your elastic to secure. (therefore creating a closed loop of elastic around the leghole) Then you can finish stitching the casing shut.
For the waistband I used the more traditional casing method…
Stitch a hem around the waistline 1/4″ in, then fold that over another 1″ and stitch along the bottom of this edge leaving a 1″ hole open to slide the elastic through. Pull a piece of elastic that is the circumference of your child’s waist through the opening. (I attach a safety pin to the elastic so I have something to thread it through my casing with) Stitch it to itself to secure. Finish sewing casing shut.
You’re done! And just in time for a few end of summer romps in the park…