It wasn't hard to find inspiration to create this. It has been hovering in the 90's, and add the east coast humidity, you want to wear as little as possible, and still be decent.
My first idea was to attempt a bathing suit, but I wasn't inspired by any of the lycra choices in my area.
We don't have a pool, so I figured that a nice cotton fabric would hold up to the sprinkler. And now that it is finished, I don't see why it wouldn't hold up to a pool either.
Disclaimer: I finished writing this tutorial on a few hours sleep, so if something sounds wacky please let me know so I can fix it!
Photo submitted on Trendy Treehouse Shutter Love Tuesday!
1/2 yard cotton fabric
old pair of underwear (to cut up and use as pattern) OR print this pattern
or if your child is in diapers use this pattern
1/2 inch elastic
1/4 inch elastic
coordinating color thread
ribbon for straps (I used double fold bias tape!)
I'm going to start with the bottoms first, because they are the most time consuming, and require the most explanation. You can follow my tutorial on the bottoms and use a pair of underwear that currently fit your child, or are a little snug. We will be cutting them up, so make sure they can be wasted. If you prefer to print out a pattern, you can find a good one here. There is another pattern and tutorial I found here, it seems very simple, but it's best for children in diapers. If you print out either of these patterns, I suggest you also follow their instructions on how to make the bottoms.
I started with a pair of underwear that have seen better days.
Trim off the elastic around the waist and the legs. Separate the front panel, back panel, and the middle (crotch)
Fold your 1/2 yard of fabric in half.
Fold your front panel in half and lay the folded edge of the front panel to the folded edge of your fabric.
Add 1 inch all the way around your front pattern piece. Cut it out. (it looks a little distorted because of camera angle, but it is evenly 1 inch added around)
Fold the back pattern piece in half and line up the folded edge of your pattern piece, to the folded edge of your fabric. Again, add 1 inch all the way around, and cut it out.
I have no idea why I don't have a picture of the middle (crotch) piece, but fold it in half lengthwise, line the folded edge up to the folded edge of your fabric and cut this piece out 2 times.
When laid out, your pieces should resemble this. You should have one front, one back, and 2 middle pieces.
Take your back panel and have it facing right side up. Take one of the middle panels and have the wider bottom line up to the back. Arrange it wrong side facing up (or right side touching right side) Tack it with two or three pins to hold the piece in place.
Now flip it so the wrong side is facing up. Place the second middle piece on top, wrong side facing up. Line up the wider edge of the middle piece and pin it. You should now have the back panel sandwiched in between the two middle pieces. Stitch 1/4 inch seam across the top where all pieces meet.
With the back panel facing right side up, roll it up in between the 2 middle pieces.
Take your front panel right side facing up with the leg openings positioned facing you. Sandwich it between the two middle (crotch) pieces. Line up the edges, pin it and sew a straight stitch with 1/4 inch seam.
Open it up. Your middle (crotch...I really dislike that word for some reason) should be facing right side up on both sides.
Fold it to sew up the side seams. Right sides are facing right sides. Stitch up the side seams with 1/4 inch seam (some say it should be 1/2 inch, but I don't see why?) I trimmed the access with pinking shears.
You don't have to turn them right side out yet, but I was so excited that they really started looking like what I was hoping they would!
With your piece turned inside out, attach the 1/4 inch elastic to the edge of the fabric all the way around the leg opening. You can pin it, but I kept it in place with a teeny amount of fabric glue. You don't have to glue it, my pins are getting pretty dull, and the glue was just an easier way for me to hold everything in place. When you are pinning or gluing it to the edge of the fabric, very slightly pull the elastic as you are attaching so it has a little give.
Secure the fabric and elastic with a zig zag stitch. Get it as close to the edge as possible, by putting the edge of the fabric slightly to the right of the middle line on your presser foot.
Fold over once towards the inside and pin it.
Top stitch a zig zag stitch around the opening of the legs.
This is what your finished leg opening should resemble.
You will need your 1/2 inch elastic for the next step.
Next we will make a casing for the waistband. Fold over your fabric 1/4 inch and press it. Fold it over again 3/4 inch and press. Stitch it closed, but leave an opening so you can thread your elastic through the casing.
I just wanted to show my new tool for threading elastic. The jury is still out if I like it or not. It hold onto the elastic well, but it's kind of slippery when you trying to push it through.
Zig zag stitch the elastic ends together. Stretch it out so the elastic is distributed evenly in the casing ans sew your opening shut.
The finished product.
Your in the home stretch now, the top is a piece of cake. (piece of cake if you shirring happens without a hitch)
To find the measurements of your top panel, measure the circumference of your child's chest. Take half that measurement and add 6 to 8 inches. Adding 6 inches will give a nice gathered shir, but adding up to 8 inches you will give you more stretch. When I made this tutorial, I only added 6 inches, but I wish I would have gone for the middle road and added 7.
To find the width, I just measured from the armpit to the bottom of her rib cage in the front. That more than enough allowed for hem allowance.
My daughter is a 3T, so my panel was 18 inches long and 6 inches wide.
Again, where's the picture on the next step? Beats me.
Lay out your panel and sew up the side seams. The top hem, I trimmed with my pinking shears and folded over 1/4 inch. If you want to be a little more polished than I was, you can serge the ends or overcast stitch the ends first and then fold over 1/4 inch. I don't like folding over twice when I'm shirring because for me, it gets too bulky. For the bottom hem, fold over 1/4 inch press, fold over 1/4 inch again and press. Top stitch it around. It is ok, to serge or overcast the ends here too, and just fold over once like you did the top hem. Do what works for you.
Shir 1/4 rows around the top. I don't mark my lines, I use the presser foot as a guide. I shirred 12 rows starting 1/4 inch away from the top edge, and left 2 inches at the bottom unshirred to create a ruffle. If you are unfamiliar with how to shir, you can find a tutorial here. If you have a drop in bobbin like me, you will want to use this tutorial.
This is my favorite part after shirring. Set your iron so it can blast steam. It's like magic when it shrinks up.
Add some straps at the shoulders and use the existing shir lines as your stitch lines so they all blend together.
Your done! Enjoy!
I'll link up to most of the parties posted at the very bottom of my main page, at the link to button on the navi bar, or you can find them here.