Polka Dot Peplum in Knit

I told you I like this pattern. It’s the First Day Dress Pattern from MADE – again! I like it so much I sewed up a second peplum in the same week.

polka dot peplum sewn by #fromwholecloth

When Dana recently posted a bunch of finished garments from her pattern, there were several polka dot peplums. They looked so darn cute I was inspired to make my own. Polka dots + peplum = perfection! And alliterative overload.

Peplum #2 is made from a knit fabric. The fabric was in my stash – I believe I purchased it from Girl Charlee. It doesn’t have much stretch, so I’m guessing it’s all cotton.

polka dot peplum sewn by #fromwholecloth

Knits are a staple in my daughter’s wardrobe and I was hoping to add this pattern to the knit repertoire. Knit was not included among the recommended fabrics for this pattern, and I was curious if it would work or if, for example, the peplum skirt would fall flat in a knit fabric.

I wanted a quick way to determine if the pattern would support this kind of fabric without expending too much time or using more fabric than necessary, so I some modifications from the full pattern instructions for this “muslin.” I didn’t fully line the bodice — essentially I made more of a “facing” by lining enough of the top bodice portion to allow me to enclose the raw edges of the neckline, armholes and the back slit. I didn’t pay close attention to the length of the facing when cutting it, and I ended up with just enough to cover the back opening. Phew! I didn’t line the skirt at all.

Despite taking a quick and dirty approach to the bodice, I decided to fully line the sleeves. The underside can sometimes be seen when the top is worn, and I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity for a fun surprise underneath, and I was concerned the knit fabric might cause the sleeves to droop in an unflattering way. I really like the perky sleeves that you achieve with woven fabrics in this pattern, and I was hoping to mimic that in the knit top. I ended up using a woven fabric to line the sleeves, both because the color worked well (it’s a yellow polka dot print) and I thought the woven fabric would lend structure. Also, since my knit exterior fabric is not particularly stretchy, I wasn’t concerned about the combination of different substrates creating a wonky or misshapen outcome. I also added piping between the bodice and skirt on this peplum. Just for fun and an extra dash of color.

I should mention that while I often size down when sewing a kid’s woven fabric pattern in knit, I didn’t size down in this case – both because of the more fitted style of this particular top and the fact that the knit I used is not very stretchy.

You think this is a jump rope? Heck no - it's a microphone!

You think this is a jump rope? Heck no – it’s a microphone!

My verdict — I think the pattern works well with knit, bearing in mind I used a lighter weight knit with limited stretch. I’m pretty confident it would work just fine with a medium weight knit, too, but you might lose some of the peppiness in the skirt because of the additional fabric weight. Also, next time I sew this in knit, I’ll just line the whole bodice. Making the facing was intended as a shortcut for this muslin, but a full bodice lining doesn’t use much more fabric and I didn’t really save any time with the facing. The full lining would also eliminate any bumps or shifting that the facing might produce.

I’m so glad to have another pattern option for sewing with knits!

In case anyone was wondering… how do I know when my daughter is ready to call it quits on our photo shoots? She launches into crazy eyes poses!

polka peplum5Polka Dot Peplum


Yep, time to call it a day!

Pretty Peplum: First Day Dress & Top Pattern

first day top sewn by #fromwholecloth

I admit, I’ve been converted.

I have historically not been a fan of the peplum. Perhaps because I don’t believe it would be a particularly flattering style for myself, and so my mind just clicks off at the thought of them.   The whole volume at the hips thing; it’s just something I try to avoid. But when Dana of MADE posted the creations by the pattern testers for her new First Day Dress Pattern, I was immediately smitten with the peplums. (You can check out her post here.)

I could not resist the power of the peplum. It went like this: read Dana’s post, ooh & aahh, buy pattern, choose fabric, cut, sew, smile.

first day top pattern sewn by #fromwholecloth

The First Day Dress and Top Pattern was released about two months ago. I liked it when I first saw it, but since I already have several little girl dress patterns (not all of which I’ve sewn yet — *confession*), I decided to hold off on purchasing it. But the peplum …. well, the peplum’s a bird of another color — it’s a top not a dress! I’m completely justified in my purchase! Ahem, of course, that’s not to say I won’t be making the dress versions included in the pattern, too.

first day dress and top pattern sewn by #fromwholecloth

In addition to my new found peplum-adoration, I just adore this fabric. It’s Dainty Daisies from Joel Dewberry’s Bungalow collection. The top is lined in a solid olive by Amy Butler.

I seriously dodged a major fashion faux pas here; I cringe just thinking about it. Scroll back up and take a look at the back of the peplum and the placement of the large daisy flowers up top. Folks, I almost used this piece for the front of the peplum (the front and back bodice pieces are cut the same). I would have given my daughter flower boobs — can you freaking imagine?! Thank goodness I noticed it while I still had a chance to make this the back of the shirt. It’s much more appropriate for those flowers to be placed on her shoulder blades! Gulp.

1st Day Peplum

Let me tell you, this thing’s got SWING! You just have to twirl in a top like this.

As with Dana’s other patterns, the instructions are thorough and make for an easy sew. Since Daisy is starting to size out of size 2T, I made this in a 3T even though she met the size 2T measurements. My only modifications were to cut the neckline slightly wider and also cut the back slit 5 inches long, rather than 4 inches. (Thanks to Erin at hungie gungie for that pointer!) The finished garment is intended to be fitted through the bodice, which makes it extra feminine, so these modifications assisted a bit in helping pull the dress over Daisy’s head and shoulders. I also finished the hem using a method I learned from The Cottage Mama patterns, as opposed to the method shown in the pattern. It feels a bit funky at first, but once you get the hang of it, it makes finishing the hem on a lined dress a breeze.

I would definitely recommend this pattern. Not only does it produce a great looking result, it has several options included (A-line dress/top, swing dress/top, with and without sleeves), so you totally get your money’s worth out of this pattern. I still can’t believe I completely overlooked the peplum option when the pattern was first released.

first day dress pattern sewn by #fromwholecloth

She likes this top. I like this top. Everyone’s a winner here. Power to the peplum!

first day dress pattern sewn by #fromwholecloth

Twofer: Elsie Marley Creative Assignment

About a week ago I signed up to participate in the latest Creative Assignment hosted by Meg at elsie marley. Meg is the creator of Kids Clothes Week, and more recently has launched a series of “creative assignments”, so clearly she has a knack for inspiring community projects.

Her creative assignments are just that – she assigns a theme and provides (minimal) instruction and then off you go to create something in response. Let the assignment take you wherever you want. If the assignment tickles your creative spirit, all the better.

The theme for this particular creative assignment is “twofer” – two things stuck together. Each participant had to contribute one word, and then Meg used a random generator to create pairs of words for each participant to use for their twofer assignment.  My pairing:


I was quite happy that Meg’s instructions included the following assurances:

 Don’t over think this. Don’t make a 1:15 scale model or a full size quilt! But do make something, even if it is just a sketch. Don’t be self conscious, please. Your idea might be crap, my idea might be crap, but that’s perfectly fine. That crap idea? It might just lead to a super fantastic one down the line.

The first thing that came to mind when I received my word pair was: a spoon being used to eat the sky – like clouds that look like ice cream scoops, and a spoon digging in. But then that seemed so literal and obvious to me. So what did I do? Nothing, until today when the assignment is due.

And then a couple of ideas struck me, and I couldn’t decide which to choose. So you’re getting a twofer of (hopefully) creative responses:

(A) First, the attempted creative response of spoon posing as rocket ship blasting through the sky. This was inspired by my son’s ability to turn any item into something else to support his imaginative play.


(B) And now for the attempted creative photography of spoons holding the sky. No laughing.

twofer spoons + sky #creativeassignmenttwofer #elsiemarley #fromwholecloth


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I’m glad I joined in on this creative assignment. It was like a pop quiz without the possibility of a failing grade; just what you need to clear out the cobwebs in your creative channels. Up for the challenge? Follow Meg’s elsie marley blog and join in on the next creative assignment.

Motherhood Musings: 5th Birthday

Dear readers, I thought I’d take a break from sewing talk to share some of my recent thoughts and observations on motherhood. If you’ll be so kind as to indulge me…

Tiger Towel 1

It’s official. I am now the mother of a five-year-old.

Five seems so big. In a way that his first through fourth birthdays did not affect me, I am suddenly struck by how much older he seems to me. And despite the still thumb-sucking, and the requests to be held and hugged and to snuggle, and the way he often reverts to calling me “mama” rather than “mom, and even if we’re holding off on kindergarten for another year, it is like there is no denying that five years old is no longer a little, little boy.

Five is big. Five for him is full of ambition, even when he’s still working on all the skills necessary to achieve. Like wanting so much to ride his bike without training wheels, and tie his shoes. Five means getting dressed by himself but still struggling with socks. Five is being so proud to be a big brother.

But five has a certain fragility to it. It is a tightrope walk between toddler and big kid. More big kid than baby, yes; but the steps toward big kid are often uncertain and slippery. While we wait in line at the grocery store, he boasts to strangers, “I just turned five.” It is an announcement that belies his usual hesitancy about talking in public or drawing attention to himself. It is as if he’s trying out his five-ness on them. Looking for assurance that he’s on the right path.

Selfishly I feel a strange and unwelcome sentiment that turning five has suddenly and irreparably catapulted us down the road toward his adulthood. Like a super-sized gravitational pull toward a time when I won’t be the answer for all his questions and worries. When I check on him for the last time before bed each night, I have to fight the urge to whisper “stay little” in his ear. I am embarrassed by how unsettled I feel by this. And yet I recognize it is one of the quintessential hypocrisies of motherhood and aging in general. We want our children to grow up and figure things out on their own. Just not too soon. We want them to be independent, but to need us too. We want to matter.

I must sound ridiculously dramatic. I know. But I was blindsided by how this birthday was tinged with some bittersweet. I’m going to chalk it all up to a fleeting melancholy due to all the changes culminating at this time of year — the end of summer laziness, a new school year for my son, my youngest starting nursery school, new work obligations for me, shorter days, longer nights. Life moves on, as it always does.

And, the truth is, I still really, really matter to him. And we’re lucky enough to still be at the stage where a tiger towel and cake pops pretty much assure my “best mom” status. But more on that next time.

Thanks for listening!