MADE and it jogged my memory. You see up until this week we haven't even really had warm summer weather. So, when the weather got warm enough for us to actually fill up the kiddie pool for the first time yesterday, and I saw on the weather channel that the weather was actually going to stay nice and hot all week, I thought I better get these things done!
You see, by the end of next month it will already start to get chilly again. Last summer we even had many mornings where we woke up to temps of only 5 or 6 degrees celcius. We have to enjoy this weather while we have it because it is never long enough!
So last night I spent 30 mins making two of these cover ups and today we spent the afternoon at the spray park.
I was going to call this swim cover up the "Two For One" cover up, because you can easily get two dresses out of one beach towel. If I had been smarter I could have even gotten a pair of shorts for Little Dude, but when I cut my straps I cut right into the middle of my leftovers. Don't do that.
- beach towel (I used one that was 35 inches by 66 inches)
- sewing machine and all the fixins'
Keep in mind that I cut the pieces here for two dresses.
For your pieces:
Measure your child from mid chest to where you want the cover up to fall. Add 1/2 inch.
Cut from one end of your towel that length (if you have a standard beach towel that is 35 inches wide this will probably be the perfect width for a child from 3-6)
To make sure the width of your towel is perfect for your child, take their chest measurement and multiply by 1.5. Any more than this and your dress will be too wide. A towel will not shirr as much as a dress.
For your strap length, measure your child from mid chest, up over their shoulder to the same spot on their back. Add 1 inch. For the width I used 3 inches. Cut two.
Use 1/4 inch seam allowance unless otherwise noted.
Let's do our straps first. Fold each one right sides together and sew down the long end.
Grab your dress piece and fold the top raw edge down 1/4 inch and then another 1/4 inch enclosing the raw edge and sew.
The bottom of your dress piece should be the finished edge of your towel so no need to hem! Love that!
We are going to shirr next. Starting 1/2 inch or so away from your top edge begin shirring. I did 9 rows for my almost 5 yr old and 6 yr old. I also did them 1/2 inch apart. As you can see my shirring does not look very tight. This is before it has been ironed and also remember a towel will not shirr as much. The thinner the towel the better, this towel was about a medium thickness- I didn't like the thin ones. I shirred this before doing the side seams. Because the towel is thick it will be difficult to do over side seams.
If you need more instruction on shirring see my In The Garden Dress Tutorial.
Right side in fold your dress and sew side seam. As you can see this is the finished edges of my towel so no need to zig zag.
This can either be your back seam or one of your side seams. I don't like back seams so I did a row of stitching on the fold opposite this side seam to make another side seam. It's up to you!
Steam your shirring to tighten it up and try the dress on your child and measure where you want the straps. I placed mine aprox 4 inches from each side seam (shirring stretched). I just did a quick row of zig zag stitches but you could attach your straps in a nicer manner. The towel really hides most of the stitching so I wasn't too concerned about it.
If you still feel your shirring hasn't tightened up as much as you would like, spray your cover up with water and throw in a hot dryer. This will sometimes tighten it up a bit more.
You're done! Fast and easy!
You can also do a simple sundress exactly the same way using the same measurements. If making a sundress, make sure you add in another inch or more to make your hem when cutting your fabric. Remember we didn't have to hem the towel.
Add your photos to the Flickr Group, I'd love to see them! :)
Also, a HUGE and heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you that read this blog. I wasn't sure when I began that really anyone would read it and can't believe we reached 1000 followers today! Your wonderful comments and kind emails make me want to share the things I'm making at home with all of you! Seeing all of your awesome pictures also really make me smile!
As I get older I realize more and more how important I think it is to make at least a few hand made things for my children and my home. Special things sometimes come from a store, but more often the most special things were made by someone that loves you.