Tuesday, June 1, 2010
We've had lots of birthday parties to attend lately and I usually make embroidered hooded bath/beach towels (here's a tutorial for you or you could buy one here) for the kiddos since they're a good gift for a wide variety of ages, but we've been friends with this little one for her previous two birthdays and I couldn't remember if I had already made her a hooded towel, so I decided to break the mold... just a bit... with a smocked terry cloth swim suit cover up, and a beach towel backpack (I'll give you a peak at that some other day).
The cover up is easy to make using elastic thread, there's just a few things to know before you get started.
1) I read a bunch of tutorials on how to do elastic thread smocking. Some said wind the thread tightly on your bobbin, some said wind it loosely. Some said iron it when you're done, some said wet it when you're done. The moral of the story is you have to try it out on a scrap of the fabric you're using for your project first. I used terry cloth here, so in this application I found it works best to wind the elastic thread tightly around the bobbin & then spritz it with water when you're done sewing to get a bit more gather out of it.
2) Because it will gather so much, your fabric should be the width you measure + half.
3) The elastic thread goes in your bobbin only, use regular thread on top
Okay, so with those few things in mind, all you do is cut a rectangle of fabric the width of the child's chest measurement + half, and the desired length + 1" to account for gathering and the bottom hem. I overcast stitched along the top & bottom length of the rectangle and then hemmed the bottom only. If you're concerned with the smocking being straight (I would be if I were using any fabric other than terry, but a little wavyness isn't terribly obvious on the terry) mark about 6 or so lines across the top of your fabric with disappearing ink, spaced 3/4" apart. Sew along your lines. When you're done, spritz the elastic with water, then sew the sides together to form a tube. Using more terry, or cording, or braided puffy yarn (like I did), make straps for your dress and sew them about 3" in from the edge of the dress. If you have an embroidery machine, definitely stitch a cutesy design near the hem (I bought this popsicle design from Digital by Design on Etsy. It coordinates with the beach towel I used for the backpack I made to give with this cover up). That's it!
I'm thinking I could even pull off an adult version of this... what do you think?