KCW: A Summer Nighty-Nightgown

Since it’s finally gotten warm enough around here to take the big duvets off the beds and switch to lighter quilts, Kiki has been asking for a summer nightgown.  Since both Kids Clothes Week and Pajama Day at preschool happen to coincide this week (two very momentous occasions in our house), it seemed that this project’s time had come.


I looked at a ton of nightgowns online, and after seeing this pin, I settled on the Nighty Nites pattern by Olive Ann Designs.  It’s such a simple and sweet design — and quick to make, which is a big plus these days.


After seeing lots of really lovely nighties made from vintage sheets, I ventured over to the thrift store to see what was to be found.  I got lucky and found three really cute sheets — all for about $3 each (!) and with lots of yardage, so my girls will have plenty of new nightgowns in their future.


I love the flutter sleeves.  And there’s no gathering to do, since the whole neckline is an elastic casing.

The pattern calls for a shirt-tail hem, but I just cut it straight across flaring up slightly on the sides to save time.  I think it’s a worthy shortcut.

Instead of using regular bias tape to finish the armholes, I once again used the Imagine Gnats Bess Top trick of using strips of jersey knit.  This is such a nice time saver, and I like the idea of having the soft, comfy knit strips on the inside of this nightgown.

The bow is satin ribbon from my stash, tacked on.  Kiki is very happy that it doesn’t come untied!  Now I just have to remember to fray-check the ends of the ribbon before it starts unraveling.


Wouldn’t this look cute cute short as a top?  The pattern includes a blouse length version that I may have to sew up for both girls as summer tops.  Maybe with fun trim or tiny pom poms on the flutter sleeves and hem, like this adorable top from Lauren Dahl?

Next time, I might bring the armholes up about an inch and widen the front at the chest a tad.  What do you think?


Kiki reports that this was a hit at school on Pajama Day.  Hooray for that!


And that’s it for me this Kids Clothes Week.  It must be cocktail time 🙂

Seeing Double

Caroline Party Dress, Mouse House Creations

It’s birthday season at our house.  Kiki and Lulu’s birthdays are two days apart — so the first week or so in May is pretty big around here.  When I asked them what they’re thinking for birthday dresses this year, they both told me they wanted to match.  Totally match.  I was quite surprised, and here’s why . . .

I should start by saying that the reason I sew is, without a doubt, my amazing mom.  She sewed all kinds of clothes for us (my sister and I) all through growing up — and we loved it.  And, she sewed for herself, too.  Really chic stuff.  People were always talking about how talented and creative she is, and very rightly so.  I wore her handmades even through college.


(That’s me on the left, circa 1978!)

So when I had my first baby, sewing seemed like the right thing to do.

But . . . there was one thing we didn’t love.  We weren’t wild about the matching dresses she made and had us wear at the same time.  This will not come as news to her — we were clear about this at the time. (Sorry, Mom).  There was just something about it that was kind of embarrassing.  It wasn’t a big tragedy or anything — just a minor bone of contention.


So, imagine my surprise when my own daughters insisted on matching dresses.  I suggested using the same fabric but different dress patterns.  No.  Maybe the same dress in different fabric?  No, no.  “We want to match, Mom. Really match!

What can I say?  This one’s for you, Mimi.

Caroline Party Dress, Mouse House Creations

These days, Lulu won’t wear anything the doesn’t have a skirt that “spreads around,” so I knew I needed to come up with something that has a really full skirt.  After admiring the birthday dress creations of both Gail and Tara, I decided to jump on the Caroline Party Dress train.  (And I’m so glad I did!)

Truth be told, I originally bought this very lovely and fun Cotton + Steel Vintage Floral lawn to make something for myself.  But when I opened the package, both girls squealed and insisted that they must have it.  How could I argue?  So, I ordered a little more and got started.

Caroline Party Dress, Mouse House Creations

I sewed up a size 5T for Kiki and 4T for Lulu, following the measurement guidelines in the pattern.  As Gail did, I added extra length and width in the skirts, to assure fullness and dramatic twirlability.  That worked out well.

Caroline Party Dress, Mouse House Creations

(You can see the wind kicking up Kiki’s shirt here!)

The accent fabric is Cambridge Cotton Lawn in Mango by Robert Kaufman.  Great stuff.

Caroline Party Dress, Mouse House Creations

I decided to follow the trend of cutting the underskirt about and inch and a half longer than the outer skirt.  I was very pleased with the whole thing until I finished the first dress and realized that the underskirt seam allowances were visible on the outside of the dress. Crap!  How did I not think of that????

Caroline Party Dress, Mouse House Creations

I couldn’t wrap my brain around how to insert the zipper and still have the back seam allowance end up on the inside.  In a panic, I reached out to Rachel from Stitched Together, who made a longer underskirt like this for one of her daughters, and asked her how she did it.  I learned that she cut the zipper off where the bodice meets the skirt and sewed the skirt as one solid piece, in the Hanami Dress style.  She referenced this post as another example.  I wondered if the dress would fit easily over the head with the shortened zipper — it definitely would have.  I’ll have to try that next time.  Thank you so much, Rachel — for the help and for sharing your gorgeous dresses!

Anyway, I ended up opening the back skirt seam from the zipper on down, flipping the seam allowances inside and re-stitching.  On the outside of the dress, you definitely can’t tell that the seam is flipped under the zipper.  I also flipped the side seams about 2 inches below the top of the skirt on down to the hem.  It’ll be our little secret 🙂

Caroline Party Dress, Mouse House Creations

These days, I’m crazy for matching the pattern on center back seams, zippers and button plackets.  The method I’ve used in the past involved pressing the seam allowance on the pattern piece and the first cut piece, which seems pretty fiddly, to tell you the truth.  After finding a nice shortcut for matching the pattern on the button placket of Kiki’s last O & S Hide & Seek Dress, I wondered if I could do the same for the zipper here.  The answer would be yes!

Here’s what I did . . . First, I cut the right side of the bodice from the fabric.  Then, I drew a line on the pattern piece 1″ from the center edge (to include the seam allowance for both right and left sides of the zipper, since the seam allowances are 1/2″).

Caroline Party Dress, Mouse House Creations

Then I placed the cut right bodice piece on top of the fabric laid out for the left bodice piece, matching the print.  I laid the pattern piece on top so that the raw edge of the cut right side piece matched up with the line I drew on the pattern piece.


(Since the cut piece gets lost in the pattern here, I drew in the white lines so that you can see it.)

Then, I just slid the right bodice piece out of the way and cut the left piece.  That’s it!

Since the skirt doesn’t have pattern pieces (just rectangles cut to a certain measurement) all I had to do for back skirt pieces was cut one side, and then match the pattern, overlapping the center edges by 1″, and cut the other side.

Caroline Party Dress, Mouse House Creations

Check out this matching!  Who knew it was so easy??

Oh, and I also added flat piping at the waist.  It’s just enough to break up the busyness of the print.

I’m happy to report that the girls are thrilled and cannot wait for their birthdays.  I think this may also have something to do with the eagerly anticipated arrival of big girl bikes.

Caroline Party Dress, Mouse House Creations

Thanks, Mom, for showing me how much fun sewing can be — even when your kids are less than cooperative!

Caroline Party Dress, Mouse House Creations

KCW: A Peppa Pig Dress!

Peppa Pig Dress, Flashback Skinny Tee Dress, Made By Rae

If there are two things my girls love, they are (a) Dressing up and (b) Peppa Pig.  Lulu needs to change costumes every hour or so, and is always asking for new dress up clothes.  One request she has made repeatedly for a long time is to have a “sparkly dress just like Mummy Pig.”

Peppa Pig Dress, Flashback Skinny Tee Dress, Made By Rae

Do you remember this episode?  It’s Mummy Pig’s birthday, and she does have a truly fabulous dress.  It sparkles in such a hilarious cartoony way.  It’s no mystery why Lulu needs one of these.

I picked up some random sparkly pink fabric some time ago to make my daughter’s dream come true, but never got around to it for some reason.  Bad mom.  I know.

But then, Kids Clothes Week comes around again, and the theme is Wild Things.  Animal inspired clothes?  Oh yes . . . this is the moment.  It’s as if the sewing gods heard Lulu’s cries for this dress and delivered an unmistakable sign to me to get off my duff and make it happen.

Peppa Pig Dress, Flashback Skinny Tee Dress, Made By Rae

So, where’s a mom to start?  This is clearly a job for Made by Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee. I’ve made a couple dress versions of this pattern and it hasn’t failed me yet, so it seemed like a no brainer.

I dug the sparkly pink out of my fabric stash and was surprised to find that it’s quite sheer.  Hmm.  Needs a lining.  And, it’s not all that stretchy.  How shall I handle the neck band??

I grabbed some thick and spandex-y tan knit I got from Girl Charlee a while back.  I cut front and back pieces from both fabrics and started thinking about how to put this thing together.

I decided to forgo the neckband all together and just sew the neckline with the main fabric and lining right sides together with a zigzag.  I also used stretch thread in both the needle and the bobbin.  As I was stitching around the neck, I started worrying that it wouldn’t be stretchy enough and that Lulu would have a hard time getting it over her head.  So, I took a detour and sewed a little slit in the center back.

Peppa Pig Dress, Flashback Skinny Tee Dress, Made By Rae

This seemed the perfect opportunity to use that daisy button that’s been waiting in the button drawer for just the right dress.

Peppa Pig Dress, Flashback Skinny Tee Dress, Made By Rae

(Is it me, or does Lulu look like teenager in this photo??  How does that happen?)

Anyway, when it was time to finish the armholes, I decided to use Rachael‘s trick from the Bess Top pattern.  She has you use strips of jersey knit instead of bias tape.  This is such a great way to do it — the knit is way easier to maneuver around the curves.  You don’t even need to press the strips before you sew.  Just line up the raw edges on the outside of the sleeve, sew around the arm hole, overlapping the ends of the strip about half an inch.  Then flip it to the inside and sew.  You can even leave the raw edge of the knit hanging out since it won’t fray!  Hurrah!

Peppa Pig Dress, Flashback Skinny Tee Dress, Made By Rae

In the end, I decided not to hem this dress at all.  I was afraid that the sparkly pink would melt if I got it near the iron.  So, I cut the lining to be about 1 inch shorter than the main fabric, and left it at that.

Peppa Pig Dress, Flashback Skinny Tee Dress, Made By Rae

Can you guess what Lulu said as soon as she put this dress on for the first time?  “But Mom, what about the sparkly shoes???  Will you make some for me?  Now???”

Peppa Pig Dress, Flashback Skinny Tee Dress, Made By Rae