Summer Picnic Top

Thanks for joining us for our favorite day of the week:  Phat Friday!

It’s the end of June & summer is finally arriving in the Pacific NW!  We’re living on popsicles & anything for dinner that doesn’t require turning on the stove.  If you can take your feet out of the kiddie pool for a short bit, I have a quick sewing project for you – a cute summer top for your toddler.  She’ll be styling at your next family picnic in no time.  All you need is a couple fat quarters, some ribbon & a t-shirt that already fits your  child.  (we’ll use it to make a super easy pattern.)

 Start by cutting your main fat quarter in half, so that you have two pieces measuring approx. 18″ x 11″.  Isn’t this flower fabric totally adorable?!  It’s from Camelot Cotton’s Stitched Garden line & you can find it in our shop here.

Next, cut two 8″ x 18″ strips from the other fat quarter.  Fold each in half, wrong sides together, and press.  This will becoming the contrasting band along the bottom of your top.

Lay one band piece on top of one main fabric piece with raw edges matching along the 18″ side.  I used my serger to stitch together.

Press the seam toward the main fabric piece & top stitch to hold in place.  Repeat for the second set of pieces.  Set aside.

Let’s make a super simple pattern using a shirt that you already know fits your child well.  Lay the shirt down on a piece of paper & trace the curve of the arm hole.  I added a half in for seam allowance.  Mark a straight line across the top & a straight line down from the end of the curve.  It doesn’t matter how long the pattern is since we’ll make our own adjustment at the arm hole when we mark our fabric.  Just for reference, my daughter is a skinny 21 month old & the widest part of my pattern is approx. 8″.  Cut out your pattern.

Fold your fabric in half so the contrasting strip is folded on itself along the bottom and the fold is on the left side.  Lay your pattern on top with the curve on the right side & the pattern aligned with the fold along the left.  Mark the curve of the arm hole on your fabric.

Lay your ruler right on the point at the bottom of the arm curve & angle it so that it reaches the bottom right corner of your fabric.  Mark this line & cut.

Cut out your top.  Repeat for the second piece of fabric.

With right sides together, stitch up the straight sides of the top, stopping at the arm curve.  If you aren’t using a serger, be sure to finish your seams with a zig zag stitch.

Open up the top & press the seams to one side.  Press in approx. 1/4″ along the curve of the arm hole.  Steam helped a lot with getting the curve to be happy.  Be careful not to burn your fingers .. I’m speaking from experience here, friends.

Press in another 1/4″ & top stitch.  Repeat for second arm hole.

We’re nearly done!  Let’s make a casing for the ribbon by pressing in each top portion approx. 1/4″.  My ribbon was 1/2″ wide, so I pressed in another 3/4″ & top-stitched along the edge.  Make variances for the width of your ribbon.

Thread your ribbon through each casing with a safety pin.  I trimmed my ribbon & slightly melted the edge so it wouldn’t fray.

I threaded the ribbon so that there’s a tie on one shoulder.

Isn’t she the sweetest with those daintily crossed little ankles?  And those curls are just delicious!  Alright, I know I’m totally biased … but I just can’t get enough of her cuteness! 🙂

Here’s a variation where I added a couple layers, including some eyelet lace & made a little patriotic dress.  She loves the fabric & I love the ties on each shoulder.  I finished the arm holes on this dress with bias tape & the ties were made from the same.

If you’ve made something from one of our tutorials, we would love to see your pics in our Flickr group!
We’re counting down to Independence Day with some fun decor projects on the blog next week, so be sure to check back!  Happy Sewing!
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We’re linking up this tutorial to a few blog parties here

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