A little over a year ago I became the grandmother to a baby girl. In my mind I pictured myself sewing endless adorable outfits similar to the ones her Mama wore back in the 1980s. Think classic children’s clothing. You know ~ cut little smocked dresses like you see in Sew Beautiful magazine. I even saved my pleater and classic kids patterns. The only problem with adorable classic children’s clothing is they are more wearable in Southern states ~ and Baby Girl lives in Newfoundland. So I’ve shelved my collection of Sew Beautiful magazines and Chery Williams patterns and pulled down the Ottobre magazines, instead. Why? Ottobre is from Finland and their designs are better suited to Newfoundland’s climate. Next week Baby Girl and her family will be in Houston, so I’ve whipped up an outfit that is suitable for the Texas heat but will also work in Newfoundland. And, I am going to show you How to Sew Leggings and a Top. Leggings are about as easy as it gets. I got my pattern from the April 2014 Ottobre Magazine. (photo source) The pattern has appliqué designs, but I didn’t use them. I made a muslin of the top but decided against it. I’ll explain below – first the leggings. My kids leggings pattern has one piece and I cut out two sides. I’m using a bold knit fabric that I found on sale at Joann’s. Notice that the back is longer than the front. That’s how you tell the difference. When you are sewing with any knits you MUST use ball point pins and needles. With right sides together, match up back to back and front to front. Pin to hold. I’ve sewn my seams on the serger because it is will allow the pants to give and stretch. If you don’t have a serger you can use a stretch stitch setting on your sewing machine or attach a walking foot. Because knits don’t unravel, you don’t need to finish the edges. Once the back and front seams are finished, line them up front to back and pin the crotch where the seams match. Pin down both sides of the legs and stitch.
You will need to sew a casing for the elastic waist. For my leggings, I serged the top edge and raised the differential feed setting. This drew it up a little and will prevent any stretching out of shape. I am using 3/4″ elastic so I am making my casing 1″ wide. I pinned the waistband all around the top. To get a secure seam I used a 4mm double needle for stretch fabrics. Double needles sew exactly like a regular needle except they put a zigzag on the reverse side. This allows the fabric to stretch. I left a 1.5″ opening to insert the elastic.
I cut a piece of elastic that is Baby Girl’s waist measurement minus 3-4 cm. To insert the elastic, use a large safety pin and thread it through the casing. Once the elastic is inserted, overlap and stitch down. Close the casing using the double needle. I turned up a 1″ hem on the pants and hemmed each leg with the double needle. Leggings complete. Now on to the smock. I originally made a muslin from the Ottobre pattern. But I didn’t like the back because it was all buttons. That started me searching through my classic patterns. I went with the bodice from the Chery Williams Baby Bubble (seen above) and then cut a skirt that 35″ across and 11″ long. I made a muslin of this but decided the neck and armholes were a little too small (because it will be worn with a onsie underneath back in Newfoundland). I opened the neck and armholes by taking away 1/2″. It worked perfectly. Once the pattern was adjusted I cut out two backs and two fronts. I used a sassy cotton fabric I had in my stash for the front lining. The deep purple is a linen which will work well in Texas and is heavy enough to wear in Newfoundland. I’ve love the way classic kids clothes are constructed. It’s a little different but in the end, it creates a beautiful lined garment. Begin by attaching the front to the back at shoulder seams. Attach the front lining to the back and back lining at shoulder seams. It will now make sense. Fold back the back lining and match up the shoulder seams. Then stitch around the neck and armholes. Once sewn, these need to be trimmed to 1/4″ so it will lay better. Be sure to leave the side seams open. They will be sewn next. Turn the bodice right side out and press. Be sure to push out the corners at the back neckline.
With right sides together, pin the front to back at side seams and stitch. Turn right side out and press. Once the bodice is pressed, top stitch around the neck, back, and armholes Before attaching the skirt it must be sewn up the back. It is best to leave a 4″ opening from the top edge. This will make it easier to take off and own. Because I’m using linen I serged the raw edges. Don’t own a serger? You can use one of these methods to finish seams without a serger. You also need to gather the top edge of the skirt using one of these methods. With right sides together, pin the skirt to the bodice front. Pull away the bodice lining. Once the bodice and skirt are attached fold under the bodice lining, pin to hold, and hand stitch at the seam. Once this is complete the entire bodice will be enclosed and there will be no raw edges. And Baby Girl now has some new togs. The lightweight dress can be worn when she is in Texas. Add the leggings and a onsie underneath and it’s perfect for Newfoundland.
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And, aren’t those leggings about as sassy as they come? Sewing something for someone else is just another way that I stay true to my sewing self.