Woven's To Knit: Patriotic Style

Welcome back to our Wovens 2 Knits series! I decided to join this week’s patriotic theme and sew up some Independence Day cuteness for my kiddos. I had a yard of the red,white, and blue stars fabric from BWD Fabrics, and my girl has been begging for a maxi skirt. This is the first summer that she’s been into maxi dresses, and boy, is she INTO them. As in, the first one I made for her CHANGED HER LIFE, MOM. (We won’t talk about how she’s five and hasn’t called me Mommy in forever. Waaah.) She thought it would be cool to make a skirt too (you know, to mix things up a bit ;) ) and I was up for the challenge.

For her outfit, I used the Mia’s Tieback Dress from Simple Life Pattern Co. as a starting point. I knew I’d need to make some changes since knit weighs significantly more than woven cotton, and I didn’t want this to be too heavy for her to wear comfortably. To do this, I slightly reduced the gathering factor of each tier.  Basically, when you make a gathered tiered skirt, you increase the circumference of the fabric strip every time you add another tier. That’s what gives it that awesome twirly goodness and makes it nice and full at the bottom (but not too full at the top). Usually when gathering wovens for tiered skirts and dresses, I like to increase my measurements by a factor of 1.5 or 2 - this means that if my top tier starts with a strip of fabric that is 30” long, the next tier will be 45 or 60” long, depending on how gathered I want each subsequent tier to be. Make sense?

To make the switch to knits, I increased the tiers by a factor of about 1.3 (you can round the figures as you calculate each tier - no need to try to measure a strip that is 30.532 inches!). You’ll notice that the gathers are pretty minimal and loose, but the effect is still there. Since the Mia Dress has the skirt attached to a bodice, I needed to add my own waistband. I cut a strip of rib knit that was 4” tall x about 22” wide, and cut a piece of 1.25” elastic that was 20.5” long to fit my daughter’s waist. I encased the elastic in the waistband, and attached to the top tier. I’d recommend using at least a 1.25” elastic (I might go up to 1.5” next time) to support the weight of the skirt, and I’m actually going to go back in and shorten the elastic a little bit - it needs to be tighter than usual to hold up the skirt, too.

To finish the outfit, I wanted a simple top so I used the LLK Perfect 10 top (sleeveless view) and added flutter sleeves. The Perfect 10 pattern is one of my favorites for all of its options and great fit; I added the flutter sleeves from Love Notions’ Miss Mary Mack tunic. I used the binding strips as a facing for the armholes instead of as armbands (and just trimmed the excess), and it worked great. One outfit down, one to go!

One of my go-to designers for patterns for my little guy is Peekaboo Patterns. There are lots of great boy patterns to be had, including one of my faves, the Castaway Cargos. I’ve made them as drafted, and Castaway pj pants made from flannel are staples in our house, too. To make these from knit isn’t terribly complicated, especially since the pattern already includes a knit waistband with encased elastic (just as I added to the skirt above). I like the way these look when they’re made from a stable knit that’s got substantial weight and not a ton of stretch, so for this pair I upcycled a pair of men’s sweatpants. The sweatshirt fleece is perfect for this, and the star fabric was a perfect contrast to peek out of the pockets and on the waistband.

I opted not to hem these (sweatshirt fleece won’t fray), and instead added a three-thread coverstitch just above the hemline for decoration. I shortened the legs by 1” to remove the hem allowance that was included in the pattern and make sure the shorts hit my guy just right. I sewed these in his usual size, a 3T, and the fit was great. His tank is the Maui Muscle Tee, also from Peekaboo Patterns and also a summer staple for us.

Two outfits done and I still had a good bit of my star fabric left, so I made a quick outfit for my brand-new niece, who we’ll be visiting on the 4th. For the onesie, I appliqued a star onto a Carter’s brand onesie. Super easy! And for the skirt, I used the peplum from the Peekaboo Twist and Shout (I wanted it to be a short-ish skirt for the baby, so I cut the skirt about halfway between the peplum and dress lengths included in the pattern). I needed a waistband for this, too, so I snagged the knit waistband measurements from the Happy Buns Britches and voila! Instant tiny baby skirt! All that remains is a small pile of scraps and a square big enough for one more applique - not bad for a yard of fabric that was less than $10 and patterns I had in my stash! Now I’m off to spend my savings at some of the awesome sales that shops are having for the holiday! Need a list? You can find it here.

Hope you have a fantastic weekend, wherever you’re celebrating!