Life’s a Picnic – Free Roll Up Picnic Blanket Tutorial

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Picnic without fear of wet bottoms or nasty picnic tables! Everyone is getting outside right now and we’ve got a simple tutorial for you for a BIG, fabulous, portable picnic blanket that will keep you dry and clean and snacking in style. It also makes a great emergency blanket to leave in the car, since it’s large, waterproof and warm. A roll-up picnic blanket makes a great gift for weddings or anniversaries in wedding colors, or a graduation gift in school colors! It’s really a perfect and memorable handmade gift for just about everyone.

This big, beautiful roll-up picnic blanket tutorial (finished size about 58” x 60”) needs:

Other materials can be used but be sure one is waterproof and one is cozy, and that both are durable and sewable. We’re using materials provided to us by Fabric Wholesale Direct free of charge so we could bring you this post and free tutorial, but all opinions are our own. Let’s take a look at these blanket-perfect fabrics!

Ottertex Canvas waterproof: This is a woven nylon fabric with a waterproof PVC backing. Per the FWD website, it is 0.55mm thickness and 600 x 600 denier; strong enough for military or camping applications. These fabrics weigh approximately 1.1lbs per linear yard making them convenient for transporting, while still heavy enough for extended use. Available in 32 colors! I’ve chosen Lime Green and Sunflower. I noticed both were well made. The Sunflower was slightly heavier and less flexible than the Lime Green.

The Polar Fleece I’m using is 100% polyester, and weighs approximately 16 oz per linear yard. Per FWD, the fabric is “intricately woven for a warm thick body that provides excellent insulation” and “has a unique tight anti-pill composition”. It’s available in 20 colors and I chose Neon Orange and Turquoise.

Let’s go! Use a ⅜” seam allowance throughout. You do not need to finish any seams.

1. Prewash washable fabrics and remove selvedges. Square up your edges if needed. Cut a 60” x 60” square (or as close as you can get depending on the width of your fabric). From the remaining piece of both fabrics, cut 1 flap using the printable pattern piece. From the remaining piece of the waterproof fabric, also cut 1 strap 40” x 4.25”.

2. With flap pieces right sides together sew the 3 sides including the rounded corners and leave the remaining long side open for turning. Clip curves and turn. Press (only if heat is OK for your fabric type! I chose to finger-press and then use sewing clips to hold the seam in place). Topstitch ¼” from the sewn edges. Also align the raw edges of the opening and machine-baste to hold them together.

3. Fold the strap in half lengthwise with right sides together. Sew the long edge and turn, using a safety pin or other turning tool. I’ve got a hint here if your waterproof fabric is very stiff – carefully and mindfully run a warm iron over it to make it temporarily more pliable for turning. Topstitch ¼” from the sewn edges. You can also use a 2″-wide webbing strap.

4. Locate and mark the center top edge of your blanket. With the waterproof side of the flap against the waterproof side of the blanket (so, fleece side up), align center marks and raw edges. Fold the very ends of the strap in half and clip into place just outside the outer edges of the flap, being sure the strap is not twisted (pic below). It’s recommended to stop and baste the straps and flap here.

Here’s a real-life pic of the flap and strap placements, showing the folded end of the strap. This will help the strap hang the right way on your finished roll-up picnic blanket.

5. Lay the fleece right-sides together with the waterproof fabric, which will sandwich the flap and strap between the fleece and waterproof fabrics. Beginning on the edge opposite the flap, sew all the way around the blanket, leaving an 8″ to 10″ gap for turning – this will depend on the stiffness and thickness of the fabrics you’re using, but for stiff and/or thick fabrics, be sure to leave a gap that won’t leave you struggling.

Turn right side out. Press (again, only if heat is OK for your fabric type! I chose to finger-press and then use sewing clips to hold the seam in place) and turn the edges of the turning gap under. Topstitch ¼” from the sewn edges, all the way around.

6. Attach a snap (I used a size 20 KAM snap) or sew 2 pieces of hook-and-loop tape to the flap at the marks indicated on the pattern piece.

Fold up your blanket using the instructions below to determine where to place the corresponding snap or hook-and-loop tape, mark placement and set the remaining snap or sew the remaining tape! You’re done!

Here’s how to fold: With fleece side up and flap at the top, fold into thirds lengthwise, then fold widthwise in half, in half again, and in half again! Snap and go! We’ve got image and GIF versions below.

I hope you love your picnic blanket, don’t forget to check out Fabric Wholesale Direct for these great fabrics we used, and if you love downloadable sewing patterns, check out our selection of more than 100 patterns for baby, child, women, men, and home at www.tiedyedivapatterns.com.

Reversible Baby Dress Pattern – answering FAQs!

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Our Perfect A Line Dress pattern for baby is Tie Dye Diva’s top-selling pattern on Etsy year after year. It’s beginner friendly, low on fabric needs, and reversible so you get two dresses from one sew! I get two questions most frequently about this pattern (and its big sister pattern, Perfect A Line Dress for Girls sizes 2 to 6):

  1. Can’t I just square off the rounded straps?
  2. Do you have a video of Step 5?

So how ’bout we answer both of these questions with a big YES right now?

Squaring off the Straps.

The straps of the Perfect A Line dress have a rounded shape as a design element and to keep square corners from ‘flapping up’. We know they are just a little tricky to sew and so Rachel has some great tips for sewing rounded straps in this past blog post.

Perfect A Line Dress with rounded straps

If you still feel like it’s too much, or you just want to mix it up with some squared off straps, here’s how. (Spoiler: Here’s what you don’t do: chop off the tip of the straps to make them square, they’ll wind up too short.)

Perfect A Line Dress with squared straps

First, draw a line through the buttonhole on the back and button mark on the front of the pattern. On the back, keep the line perfectly lined up with the buttonhole. On the front, keep it parallel to the Fold line. Don’t worry about how long to make it, just make it long, it’s a guideline.

Next, draw a second guideline exactly perpendicular to the first guideline. Again, just make it long. Do this for front and back, even though this only shows back below.

Then, draw new side edges for your strap parallel to the first guideline and have them meet up with the second guideline. Check that the distance from these new edges to the center line is the same on both sides. It will vary a little from size to size but is about 1.25″ on the size 5 we’re sewing here.

Last, blend the curve on the front between the neckline and strap just a little, and note that you may need to shave off a tiny bit of strap on the outside edge.

That’s it! As I mentioned, the corners of square straps tend to be a bit flappy, so I prefer to put 2 snaps or 2 smaller buttons on square straps.

Video of Step 5.

Step 5 is where you cleverly flip your dress around so the side seams align and you can finish your reversible dress with little or no hand sewing. While there are step-by-step photos in the pattern, video learners, I hear you. Here’s a video of Step 5, starting actually with Step 4 for good measure.

Happy sewing! You can find the reversible Perfect A Line Dress Pattern for Baby and Perfect A Line Dress Pattern for Girls 2 to 6 for digital download at www.tiedyedivapatterns.com

Pretty Pearl, Easier to Sew than Ever

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What’s that saying, ‘no grit, no pearl’? It means you have to go through some tough stuff to get a beautiful jewel. Admittedly, the button bib on our Pearl dress pattern provided a little bit of that tough stuff! Buttonholers tend to get hung up on the seams, making this step more difficult than it has to be. Also, the front opening means ‘arms up’ or ‘bottom up’ dressing, which is a challenge with little ones! So let’s take a look at a simple change that makes Pearl easier to sew and wear without any of that grit!

If you bought Pearl in the last 3 years, your pattern is updated in your account. If you bought before then, you can download a PDF of this tutorial here, or read on!

The one simple change: add a button back and skip those buttons in the front!

First, add 1” to the width of the Back piece and cut 2 Main and 2 Liner instead of 1 each on fold.

Make the sashes and bib as usual and set aside.

 Sewing the bodice is exactly the same process as before, it just looks different because the back is now 2 pieces. Lay each main fabric bodice front right sides together with a main fabric bodice back and sew the shoulder seams. Repeat this step to join the bodice front liner and back liner and press all seams open.

Lay each bodice front/back and bodice liner front/back with right sides together, matching raw edges. Sew from front lower edge, around the neckline, to the lower edge of back bodice. 

Clip corners, turn right side out and press well. Topstitch the seam.

Pin the bib in place aligning the notches to the bib seam as before. Topstitch around the sides and top of the bib, securing it to the front bodices as you go.

Make the sleeves, finish the bodice, add the hem band per the pattern. Before the last step of joining skirt and bodice, create a placket in the skirt. You can use your favorite method, the ‘usual TDD’ continuous lap placket or try this wide, flat version, which uses exactly the same method but is al little differently proportioned:

Locate the center back of your skirt. Mark a line 3” long. Staystitch all the way around it just 1/8” from the line.  Carefully cut down the length of the line. Open the slit into a straight line.  

Cut a placket strip 6-1/2” x 3-3/8”. Lay the open slit against the placket strip with right sides together. Your placket piece will be just a bit longer. Pin well and then stitch the placket strip to the skirt 1/8” from the raw edge, right over the existing stitches. Go slow and sweep open the pleats with your fingers so that you don’t stitch creases into the seam. We’ve got a video for this at https://youtu.be/KNomKW6TFTs.

Press the placket strip up toward the seam and also press the long edge under 1”. Fold and press again so the folded edge just covers the stitching line. From right side of the garment, edgestitch on the placket, catching the folded edge on the other side. 

Fold the skirt with right sides together so the placket is folded flat as shown below. Sew an angled line of stitching through the placket from the bottom to the folded edge.

Last, from the right side of the skirt, turn the left-hand side of the placket to the wrong side of the skirt fabric and baste into place. Trim any extra placket sticking up at the top. 

Gather skirts, join to bodice, sewing the seam through all 3 layers and finishing the seam. 

Gather skirts evenly. Sew the seam through all 3 layers and finish the seam. Topstitch.

Sew buttonholes or set snaps on the left back bodice: top buttonhole ½” from the top edge and beginning 3/8” from the inside edge; bottom buttonhole ½” from the waist seam and beginning 3/8” from the inside edge. Snaps go caps on outside, socket or stud on inside. 

Overlap bodices by 1” and sew the buttons/set snaps on the right bodice, with the center of the button/snap ½” from the folded edge. Snaps go caps on inside, socket or stud on outside.

Place one or two additional buttonholes/snaps evenly between the first two.

Enjoy your lovely Pearl!

The Pearl PDF dress pattern for girls includes sizes 12 months to 10 years and is available on our website.

How to Sew a Faux Fur Pom Pom

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Fur pompoms are trending again, adding a touch of whimsical floof to hats, backpacks, key fobs, and more. They also make great little creatures and cat toys! Faux fur pompoms are so easy to sew, you don’t need to buy them. Here’s how.

For this faux fur pompom tutorial you’ll need:

  • Faux fur, any kind will do. Long pile, short pile, stretch or no stretch. A 6″x6″ piece will make a pom 3″ or more inches across, which is a pretty big pompom, so you don’t need much.
  • Fiberfill or other lightweight filling (yarn scraps for example)
  • Yarn, embroidery floss, narrow ribbon or other string for hand sewing and fastening to your project
  • a yarn needle

Find a plate, canister, or something to trace a circle the size you want. In general, the finished pom pom will be about half the diameter of the circle your start with, though the pile of your fur will make a big difference. If you want to get mathy about it, a rough estimate is

Finished Pom Pom Diameter = ½ Cut Circle Diameter + (Pile Length x 2).

For example, both these poms were made with a 5″ diameter circle. The low pile minky fur finishes about 2.5″ diameter, the high pile faux fur is just under 6″ diameter because it has 1.5″ pile.

Mark the circle on the wrong side of your fur. Use scissors (not a rotary cutter) and snip just the backing fabric around the circle to cut it out. Rotary cutters will give your fur a bad haircut, don’t do it!

Thread your needle with about an arm’s length of string/yarn/ribbon. Don’t double it over, just pull the lead end far enough that it won’t come undone as you sew.

Working on the wrong side of the fabric, make tiny stitches all around the outside of the circle, about ¼” from the raw edge. Stitches about ⅜” long work well, but this will depend on your fur fabric, needle, and string.

or you can kind of make your stitches all different lengths like I did – oops haha

Finish with both ends of the string on the wrong side of the fabric. If your pompom hasn’t started to curl up, pull the strings a little to make a cup. Stuff very lightly with your desired fill.

Pull to close and knot the string ends. Use them to fasten the pompom to your project.

Your pompom wuvs you

That’s all there is to it! I hope you’ve enjoyed the faux fur pompom tutorial. They look great with our Fun Fleece Hats Pattern, like this one sewn by Geneviéve O.!

This was store-bought pompom, which was the inspiration for this tutorial!

Now, go raid that remnant bin and pompom all the things!

Sew a Peplum Jacket from Clementine Pattern

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It’s been a while since we’ve had a pattern hack here at TDD blog, but this one is worth waiting for and perfect for the holidays! Especially if you love wovens (or are afraid of knits) this is perfect for you. We thank Heather at @made_cerahnaomi for turning our darling Clementine into an adorable woven peplum jacket / cardigan perfect for covering up holiday outfits or just any time!

Start with our Clementine Dress and Top pattern. It comes in sizes 12 months to 9/10 years with tunic and dress lengths, neckline options, short and cropped long sleeves, pockets and more. We’re only changing the ‘skirt’ portion so cut out the bodice and bodice liner in your choice of sweetheart or regular neckline per the pattern and your choice of sleeve length and view and sew it on up stopping at the end of Step 4.

Choose double or single peplum style, you can see both in the images above. Both styles can fasten at the bodice with 2 buttons or snaps. The single peplum style can optionally button/snap all the way down.

Heather made hers in really cute and versatile cropped lengths but you can make any length you want. Just measure from your child’s shoulder to where you want the jacket to finish and subtract the following based on size.

SizeSubtract from your desired finished length
12-184.75″
18-245″
2T5.25″
3T5.5″
4T5.75″
56″
6/6X6.25″
7/86.5″
9/107″

Cut 2 peplum pieces the length you found in the prior step and the width indicated in the pattern for the skirts (page 4 of Clementine pattern). We’ll call this the ‘lower peplum’ even if you are only making a single peplum. If you are making a double peplum, also cut 2 upper peplum pieces 1.5″ shorter and the same width.

Example: Suppose I’m making a size 5 and I want the finished length to be 17″. I subtract 6″ from the chart above to get 11″ in length. From page 4 of the Clementine pattern, the width to cut for size 5 is 26.5″. So I cut 2 lower peplum pieces each 11″ x 26.5″. If I’m adding upper peplum I cut 2 each [11″ upper peplum length minus 1.5″] = 9.5″ x 26.5.

Join the lower peplum pieces at one short edge, and join the optional upper peplum pieces at one short edge. Hem the lower edges of both peplums by turning under ¼” and pressing, then under ¼” again and sewing close to the fold (or you can serge the edge and fold over once as Heather has done). If you choose to have your single peplum jacket button all the way down rather than just the bodice portion, add 1.25″ strips of interfacing to the short edges of the peplum. Hem the short side edges of both peplums by folding over ¼”, then over 1″ and sewing close to the fold (or by serging the raw edge, then folding under 1″).

Gather and attach each peplum to the bodice following the same instructions as gathering and attaching the skirt given in the pattern. For the double peplum style, begin with the shorter peplum, then the longer peplum. This will give a better look than gathering both together.

Sew and finish per the pattern, adding snaps or buttons to just the bodice, or all the way down if you prefer for your single-peplum jacket.

Enjoy your peplum jacket!

Hope you have enjoyed this adorable hack! Please give Heather at @made_cerahnaomi some love for sharing this free tutorial! You can find the Clementine dress and top pattern on the Tie Dye Diva website.

Black Friday Sale is on – save 40% sitewide!

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Let’s get the party started! Save 40% off site wide at www.tiedyedivapatterns.com with code BLACKFRIDAY through December 2 only! You can save on our brand new Brooklyn Boot Skirt, pick up a Copeland Cardi pattern to go with (they look great together) and grab the New York Minute dress pattern to make for the holidays. Save on our new Sugar Dot Dress and One and Done Romper for kids, and check out our holiday/gift section for some great inexpensive gift ideas. All at 40% off the entire site, enjoy!

Simple Sporty Sleeve Stripes

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A couple of simple sleeve stripes can really pull a colorblocked tee together, or elevate any handmade tee or sweatshirt to something special. And they’re super easy to sew. Here’s a tutorial!

I’m using our Zee’s Tee pattern for kids, sized up one size to make a sweatshirt for my son. I didn’t have quite enough of this gorgeous olive sweatshirting to make the body and sleeves, so I chose gray rib knit for the sleeves. I wanted to be sure the finished tee didn’t give away the fact I ran out of the body fabric so planned a gray neckband. Then, hmm, how else to incorporate the two colors? Originally I planned to use the pattern’s included chest pocket in gray. Then a womens’ sweatshirt ad that Amazon keeps pushing on me popped into my head (not affiliate link, just in case you want to check it out). Thanks for the inspo, Amazon! But I’m still not buying that shirt.

I love the result. Here’s how easy they were. I measured the sleeve across at the short sleeve cutting line. It was about 12″ and I added an inch for wiggle room. I decided ⅝” wide was the width of the stripe I wanted and cut a stripe ⅝” + ⅝” to make the stripe and added ¼” + ¼” for seam allowances for a total of 1-3/4″ wide. I sewed this into a tube using a ¼” seam allowance, turned right side out and pressed so the seam was in the center of one side of the tube.

Then I decided my sweatshirting was waaay too bulky for all that and threw it away, LOL. But if you’re using a lighter weight knit like cotton lycra or other jersey and want finished edges for your stripes, by all means follow the instructions in that last paragraph to cut and sew 4 stripes for your tee.

For my bulky knit and casual look, I decided that raw edges would be fine. I cut four stripes each 14″ x 3/4″ wide. Why 3/4″ when I had already said I liked my stripes ⅝” wide? To account for post-wash curling of the edges beyond the stitching line, leaving the area between the stitching lines as the visible stripe.

There’s nothing fancy about sewing the stripes on, the wrong side of the stripe goes against the right side of the sleeve. A little Wash Away Wonder Tape held it in place beautifully. Then I placed the lower stripe ⅝” beneath the first.

Then I folded the sleeve in half to make sure my stripe edges would meet perfectly when the sleeve seam is sewn and trimmed that excess.

A simple edgestitch holds the stripes into place. I used a longer straight stitch because the sleeve has plenty of ease so stretching shouldn’t be an issue. A zigzag, decorative stitch or coverstitch would also be gorgeous.

Zee’s Tee pattern is a boxy cut, slightly oversized T-shirt pattern with chest pocket, yoke, and colorblock views, with both long and short sleeves. The pattern includes sizes 12 months to 11/12 years.

A Winning Outfit for the Races (on the Cali Fabrics blog)

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When I received an invitation to a company “Day at the Races” I knew I’d want to sew up a special outfit. I had spotted this Robert Kaufman London Calling horses print a while back, and it was a perfect pairing for our Chocolate Chip Skirt pattern for women. Topped with navy rayon challis blouse (and a fascinator of course), the outfit was a win! Come see details on the Cali Fabrics blog.

Sewn with Aloha (on the Cali Fabrics blog)

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I’ve mentioned before how much I love sewing the designer fabrics I find at Cali Fabrics, and how I like to see if I can sleuth out how the designer originally used it. The Tori Richard designer shirtings were easy – anyone who loves Aloha shirts the way my husband does is familiar with the brand, which has been making quality Hawaiian-style shirts in Honolulu since the 1950’s.

I used the Wardrobe By Me Men’s Tropical Shirt pattern (afflink) for its similarity to the Tori Richard styles and it was a great sew! See my whole post over at the Cali Fabrics blog.