Mar 15, 2011

Little Girls Summer Top

This sweet and girlie summer top will be perfect for the warm summer breezes we're so looking forward to.  Loose and comfy for running and playing in,  this top offers plenty of give from the jersey knit fabric it's made out of.

I used an old jersey knit pillow case to sew Addie's top.  A simple cotton pillowcase would work as well, it just wouldn't have the stretch a jersey knit does, so allow a little extra room for movement and comfort.  

With the pillow case turned inside out, lay it out on your work surface and fold it in half.  Use a generous fitting top as a cutting guideline, fold your top in half and lay the folded edge of the top along the folded edge of your fabric.  Cut around the shape of your top, adding about 1/2" for seam allowances.

Unfold your fabric and separate the front and back pieces.  Trim the front neckline, using your template shirt as a guideline.  Arrange the front and back pieces with the right side facing each other.  Pin at the shoulders and along the sides, sew in place.
Now comes the fun part!  Cut 1/2 inch strips from the leftover scraps of your cloth.  Cut them as long as your fabric allows.  Taking three long strips at a time, sew them together at one end.  After I stitched the three strips together, I pinched the stitched end under my sewing machine presser foot and braided the strands together.  I found this was a really convenient way to hold my fabric steady as I braided.  Once your braid is complete sew the loose ends together.

Pin the braid around the neckline, and sew in place.  Repeat with more braiding around the arm holes.  I love how this turned out, it gave the top a finished look without the pain of properly finishing off this jersey knit.

When you're stitching your braid in place and you come to where the two ends meet, just make sure the individual strands of the braid are well secured so there is no unraveling and trim any excess.

And on we go to embellishing!  To stabilize this summery little top, I used a medium weight iron on interfacing.  Iron the interfacing over the area you intend to embellish.  I wanted my decoration to sit off to the side and to wrap around the side of the shirt, so I did the same with my interfacing.

This is where I got rather frustrated.  I wanted to stitch the image of a peacock feather onto my little lady's shirt, and the stitching went really well.  I had an image that I used as a general guideline, then I gently penciled the very basics of that image onto the top.  I used metallic blue, green, and purple thread to stitch the stem and each individual "strand" of the peacock feather.  Up close it looked amazing...but you couldn't really see the design from even just a few feet away.  I was so disappointed, not only had I spent all the time putting this together, I'd spend money on that metallic thread, and it just wasn't turning out the way I'd envisioned. 

You can see there is something there...but it just doesn't pop out like I'd hoped.

Even from up close, it's hard to see exactly what I was going for.

So, in an effort to selvage all my hard work, I bought some embroidery floss to see if I could get the design to pop.  I hand stitched over some of the metallic designs, and whew!  I am so relieved!  Behold, my peacock feather inspired summer shirt:

Pretty big difference, don't you think?  Obviously, if you were planning on making a shirt like this you wouldn't need to do all the metallic stitching first!  I certainly wouldn't!  I would still do the iron on interfacing to stabilize the fabric and just make it easier on yourself.  Just knot the embroidery floss, and follow any pattern you like.  Once you've finished with one section, knot and trim the excess thread.  Keep going until you're pleased with the outcome.

I think this would be just adorable with a pair of peacock green cropped tights, don't you?

I'll be linking up to:

Tea Rose Home
Penny Pinching Party
Super Stinky Boys


Marilyn said...

THIS IS AMAZING!!! I absolutely LOVE IT.. How creative and CUTE.. Awesome job Jen.. I really love this.. ;))

Jen said...

Thanks Marilyn, you've got me smiling this morning!

Brian and Melissa Degelder said...

SO SO CUTE!!! WOW Jen!! your amazing!! lov u!

Jen said...

Thanks Melissa! I'm sure Miss K would look *adorable* in her own little summery top!

angelfitch said...

Hi Jen! I'm visitng you back, and I love this top!! You did an amazing job!!

Amanda said...

wow, i think it looks amazing!! i could for sure take some lessons from you on sewing!!

Jen said...

Thanks Amanda and Terry!

{darlene} said...

you have skills!!!!!!!!!!

Robyn said...

Oh it's adorable! great job~! So glad you shared this penny pinching idea!

Marnie said...

What beautiful work, so creative. Thanks for visiting, I'm your newest follower.
x Marnie {3pickles}

Jen said...

Thanks Robyn and Marnie! Welcome here, so glad you joined in Marnie!