Tag Archives: Sewing Pattern

Bitty Baby Dress

My thrifty endeavor for the day is a dress for Bitty Baby, sewn from an outgrown girls dress.  Unlike the 18 inch American Girl Doll, the more petite, 16 inch doll doesn’t have many sewing patterns. I have used 18 doll patterns in the past.  And the main difference is that the Bitty Baby is a little larger around the torso.  And her limbs are shorter.

This time, I used Kwik Sew Pattern, K3834 as a guide.  The skirt pattern piece I used only for the length, since the gathers are already part of the original dress. I thought that the stripe at the waist would be really cute.  But I’m not crazy about it, now that I’m finished.

Bitty Baby Knit Dress

It seemed wrong, but the best way to cut the front of the Bitty Baby dress, was to lay it out on top of what had been the back of the girls dress.  On this side, the waist stripe was the only detail.

Bitty Baby Dress Pattern Front

There is a small bodice detail that I cut through.  It shows on the back side of the new dress.  But I’m okay with it.

Bitty Baby Dress Pattern Back

I sewed the front to back pieces together at the sides.  I find it easier to maneuver the sewing machine around the pieces that way.

Kwik Sew Pattern Side Seams Sewn

For the lining, I cut the front lining from the remaining skirt.  And the back pieces came from the sleeves of the original dress.

Kwik Sew Pattern K3834 Lining

I sewed the dress together at the skirt in the back, and didn’t bother with velcro, since the dress is put on and taken off several times a day by an exuberant two year old.  I may hem it at some point. But the fabric is thin from incessant washing.  And I kept getting distracted.  So I was done messing around with it for the day.

You can see the faux wrap detail that was on the original dress.

Bitty Baby in K3834 Back


Cardigan Refashion

Unfortunately, many of my sweaters have fallen victim to the dryer.  I try to keep them from getting put in the dryer.  But it happens.  And then I end up with a short, fat sweater.  I don’t understand why knits shrink this way.  But they do.

Cardigan Shrunk in Dryer

I love the color of the cardigan. And my fast growing children always need sweaters.  So… I’ll take the sewing pattern that I made last week and put it to use.

How to Refashion an Adult Sweater for a Child

First, carefully cut apart the sweater, removing sleeves from the bodice.  Leave the ribbing and zipper intact for now.

Take the back bodice piece and fold it in half lengthwise.  Lay your pattern piece on top of it, lining up the pattern neckline and the ribbed neck edge. Cut.  Make sure you keep the bottom ribbed edge – you’ll need it later.

Cardigan Sewing Back Bodice

Next take the front of the sweater and smooth it flat.  Line up the neckline and the ribbing again. Cut out one side.

Cardigan Refashion Front Bodice

Then flip the pattern piece and repeat.  If you have a zipper, as shown, set it aside for another project.

Cardigan Sewing Front Left

Cut out the sleeve, lining up the wrist edge of the pattern with the ribbing.

Cut off the bottom ribbed edge of the sweater.  You should now have two sleeve pieces, with cuff edge.  Two front bodice pieces, and a back bodice piece with neck edge, without bottom ribbed edge.  And pieces of ribbing.

Cardigan Sewing Pattern Pieces

Next, attach front and back bodice pieces at the shoulder.

Attach sleeve to the armscye.

With right sides together, sew from the sleeve cuff edge to the shoulder and down to the bodice hemline.

If needed for length, sew your ribbed pieces together.  Attach the ribbed edging to the bottom of the bodice.

OPTIONAL:  Sew a zigzag line across the seam where the bodice and ribbing are attached.  This will keep your ribbed edge from rolling up when wearing the cardigan.

Supporting Seam Cardigan Sweater

Serge a piece of ribbon or other edging onto your raw sweater edge.  (I had intended to sew mine so that both ribbons were on the outside – but that isn’t what happened.  So it’s a bit quirky looking.)  Then fold over and stitch in place.  If you have time, it will look better if you do it by hand.

Cotton Cardigan

Sewing Tips

  • Serge the raw seams in this project if using a true sweater knit.  
  • Use a walking foot if you sweater fabric is thick or has an uneven texture.

How to Make a Pattern

I haven’t had much luck finding basic patterns for my children.  There seems to be a large selection of “boutique” style patterns.  But for simple things like t-shirts, jumpers or plain cardigans, I haven’t found much. So, it’s another DIY moment: How to make a pattern from a ready to wear garment.  This example is a cardigan.

cardigan sweater size 2T


  • A garment that fits
  • Paper scissors
  • Craft paper
  • Water soluble marker
  • Ruler
  • French curve
  • Fabric weights

How to:

Roll out a piece of craft paper large enough to accommodate the first piece you will trace. You’ll flip the piece, so make sure the craft paper is wide enough for front and back.

Flatten the sleeve on top of the craft paper.  And trace around the sides and hem with the water soluble pen.  Use a ruler to keep the lines straight.  Mark the end points of the armscye (curve where the sleeve meets the shoulder).

tracing sleeve

Flip your sleeve to make the other side. Repeat tracing.

Cut out your partially finished sleeve shape with paper scissors, leaving room for your incomplete armscye.

Fold the sleeve pattern piece in half lengthwise.  Lay the sleeve on top and line up the french curve with armscye and the marks on your sleeve pattern piece.

french curve at armscye

Slide the sleeve out from under the french curve.  And draw your line.

sleeve pattern piece folded lengthwise

Draw a seam allowance around your sleeve.  One quarter inch shown here. And add a label.

Cut out the armscye curve along the line you drew, with the piece folded in half so that the curve is a mirror image on each half.

sleeve pattern piece with label and seam allowance

For the front cardigan pieces, trace again, marking the end points where the bodice will meet the sleeve.

front bodice without armscye

This time, place your sleeve piece, folded lengthwise on top the pattern piece, as if it were a completed cardigan. Draw around the curve so that your pieces will match perfectly.

adding the armscye curve to front bodice

Label the bodice piece.  And draw your seam allowance. You can place your completed piece on top of the original to check for accuracy.  The pattern piece should be slightly larger.

completed pattern piece bodice front

The back of the bodice has the least accessible seam lines.  So you will need to fold it in half carefully lengthwise.

Trace as before.

tracing the back bodice

Label the center back of your pattern piece to Cut One on Fold.  Add seam allowances.

back bodice pattern piece

And you’re done!


  • Use a french curve and ruler.  Hold the pen against them, so that you don’t mark your original garment.
  • Use a water soluble pen, in case you do mark on your garment.
  • Don’t be afraid to adjust your pattern the first few times you use it.  Anything that has been worn can stretch.
  • Use fabric weights, not pins.  Pins tear craft paper.

Organize Sewing Patterns

I have been keeping my cut sewing patterns in gallon size ziploc bags.  It works.  But it isn’t an elegant solution.  The bags are sliding all over.  And I put them in a baby wipe carton.

So, I finally bought a box of file jackets.  And I’m putting the pattern instructions and pieces inside.  And printing a copy of the pattern cover and taping it to the outside. I prefer to print from a .pdf file, because those often have on one side, all the information that is on two sides of a pattern envelope – the yardage, line drawings, and photo. (But not so much this time.)

sewing patterns organize

When I use the pattern, I make a notation on the outside as to what size I’ve cut and what alterations have been made, along with the date. My example is from the fleece pants that I made earlier in the week.

I only have about six of my patterns set up this way.  But it’s working well so far.

Fleece Pants for Toddler

As usual, my toddler needs new pants.  I used the Taylor’s Pajama Pants pattern by Create Kids Couture.  I used fleece, and made regular pants, not pajamas.

fleece pajama pants

The pattern printed out and fit together nicely.  I cannot speak to the efficacy of the instructions, because I didn’t read them.  I just verified that I should use a 5/8 inch seam allowance, and a self casing at the waist.

fleece pajama pants pattern

I laid a pair of pants that fit out on top of the sewing pattern.  Unsurprisingly, the pattern would need to be smaller to fit my child, smaller in width even than the 12 month size.  I also made the legs shorter, because as written they would have pooled around the ankles.  And my little person looses her mind if her pants are too long.  It’s as if she’s being attacked by ants, the way she carries on.

fleece pajama pants pattern alteration

I cut off about an inch on the pattern outer leg, and redrew the fold line.

I serged the inside seams.  And used a zig-zag stitch for the waist casing.  I didn’t bother to hem the pants, because fleece doesn’t ravel.  And, it’s likely that my child will only wear these pants for a month before it gets too warm to wear fleece.

I have a second pair of pants, in brown fleece, in progress.  I only needed 5/8 of a yard to make each pair of pants. And… I still have black and brown fleece left over from making my jackets.  The American Girl Doll might get to have a black fleece sweater or pants too.

Pattern Tracing

Today I traced a pattern for the first time ever.

Pattern Tracing Craft Paper

It was time.  I have bungled the cutting of my favorite pattern of late, Kwik Sew 3721.  I’ve made the cardigan three times.  Twice I intended to use view B, for a hip length cardigan.  But I cut out one piece at three quarter length, view A, instead.  This wastes a lot of fabric.  So, I finally purchased a roll of craft paper (kind of pricey) and tried the pattern tracing method explained by Kim at Ubercrafter.

I began by laying out the paper on top of the pattern to get the length I needed, as shown above.  Then I taped the two sheets together (24 in width), and flipped them over so I wouldn’t be drawing over tape.

Then I drew a line with sharpie across at the length for view B.  It did not seep through. So perhaps I have a different type of sharpie or thicker paper than Kim.  I marked on either side where the line should go.  Then I traced all the way around the rest of the pattern, picked it up and used a straight edge to get the hemline.

Pattern Tracing View B

Now I have the awkward many letter size sheets view A, and the two sheets of craft paper for view B.  This should prevent me from wasting more fabric when I want the shorter length, so long as I choose the right set of pattern pieces.


  • Use a straight edge as a guideline unless you have a very steady hand.
  • Flip your paper so you aren’t drawing over tape.  Then add more tape afterward, on top of your writing, if necessary.
  • Clean your straight edge with rubbing alcohol afterward so that you won’t get any permanent ink on your fabric in the future.
  • Label everything.

Corduroy Jumper for Toddler

The project du jour is a jumper for DD2, McCall’s Sewing Pattern M6154. It’s purpose is to be warm, cute, and bust some fabric stash. To be fair it’s more project of the week, because having a two year old in the house means there is no way I can sew it up in an afternoon.  But I prefer to call it the project of the day.


The floral fabric is leftover from a vest disaster. I made a vest so horribly unflattering that I gave it away. It’s cute fabric though, and should prevent the grey -green corduroy from looking drab.

I had planned on using my brand new roller foot.  But I discovered that it doesn’t fit my machine.  I don’t know if I ordered the wrong part, or ordered the correct part, and was sent the wrong thing.  I’ll have to follow up on that later, and return it.  For today, I didn’t want to spend the scant amount of time during which my child behaves long enough for me to sew returning a part.  I used the walking foot, as advised by More Fabric Savvy.  I could look things up on the internet.  But I like to have actual book references for sewing so that I don’t get distracted by all of the shiny things on my netbook, like Facebook, and Pinterest, or ads that move and flash.


I used sew in interfacing. I’m sure the fusible interfacing will turn up now that I don’t need it.


The pocket instructions are convoluted. I gave up on them and marked the top fold line, snipped to it, and then sewed a casing.  Then, threaded the elastic through the casing, and attached at each end.  Then turned under the edges and stitched.  It was ridiculously time consuming. Before I could finish, my toddler was wanting to help. If the children don’t rave that the pockets are amazingly cute, I won’t make this style again.

I am not completing the sewing steps in order because I want to avoid repeated thread changes.  So far so good with that.

Tomorrow (I hope), gathering the bodice, and attaching it to the yoke.  Or something.