Hot Dish Caddy Rectangle + Add Straps

Ok just one more Hot Dish Caddy to go with the original I made a couple of weeks ago (link here)!  I love my circle one but thought some handy carry straps would be a great little feature.  I also needed a larger rectangle shape to carry my large rectangle dish out to BBQ’s, picnics or pot luck dinners.   A double layer of flannelette was the lining of choice this time, rainbow stripes none the less!

Continue reading “Hot Dish Caddy Rectangle + Add Straps”

Adult Colouring (Coloring) Pencil Roll


Since adult colouring (coloring) in books are all the rage at the moment I thought I better make a cute little pencil roll tutorial!  What a great way to store your pencils, they can bounce around in your bag without risking all the sharp points and they won’t rattle too!  I have to admit I am quite partial to colouring in but I usually end up colouring in with the kids in one of their colouring in books.  Drawing little doodles is fun too…no matter what you like to draw this is a great way to keep those pencils safe!


The hard part is deciding what order to keep them in…the kids had already snuck off with my new pencils so not much change of arranging them as they were!  I do like the rainbow(ish) method, it’s just fun to see if you can merge them into one another.


Then it dawned on me…should I be keeping my pencils this way around???  It would leave the points even more protected due to the bias edge at the bottom, and they are easier to put in and take out.  I’ll give this way a trial!

What you will need

  • Fabric – Two pieces, one for the inside and one for the outside.  The outside piece will be visible on both sides so make sure it is not one that has an obvious right or wrong side.  I used a medium to heavy weight for the flat layer (Black and white check) and a regular cotton blend for the pencil slots (floral). You will need both cut to 39cm (15 3/8”) x 29cm (11 1/2”)  This is depended on your pencil sizes.  See Step 1 below!
  • Bias Binding, all double fold.
    • 42cm (16 1/2”) – Bottom
    • 99cm (39”) – Sides and top
    • 76cm (37”) – Ties
  • General – Thread, Sewing Machine, Iron, Fabric pencil/marker

NOTE: Please read the whole tutorial before you start!


Step 1 – Checking your measurements


How wide do the pencil slots need to be?  I used piece of scrap fabric to check.  Mine needed to be 15mm or 5/8” wide.  This allowed a little give around the pencil but they still fit pretty snuggly to prevent them all sliding out when you open it.  Secondly I have a set of 24 pencils, 24 x 15mm is 360mm plus another 15mm allowance on each side, mine needed to be 390mm (39cm or 15 3/8”) wide. 

For the height I took the length of the pencil (175mm, 17.5cm or 6 7/8”) and added 15mm (5/8”) for the bottom bias seam, which took me to 19cm (7 1/2”).  Now I just needed to add extra for the folding flap at the top, I decided on 10cm (4”), which took the total height to 29cm (11 1/2”).


So with those sums out of the way I knew I needed two rectangles 39cm (15 3/8”) by 29cm (11 1/2”).  There they are cut out above!  While you are measuring cut your pieces of bias to length.  You should have three pieces.


Step 2 – Attaching the layers


Take your inside fabric and fold in half with the right sides facing each other.  You can see it is the short side that are now folded in half.  Press with your iron.


Lay the folded piece on top of the flat piece, lining the raw edges up at the bottom and sides.


Sew around the outside using a small seam allowance (1/4” ish), you won’t see this seam after you have attached the bias binding (tape) anyway.  That is all the layers attached!


Step 3 – Make Pencil Slots


If you are using a fabric pencil make sure it is nice and sharp, guess whose pencil sharpener I had to borrow!  It is often good to have a couple of colours of pencil if you are using patterned fabric.  I couldn’t see the white very well on the lighter areas of the flowers but the blue worked a treat.


Using a ruler (or tape measure but a ruler is easier to keep straight) mark out 15mm (1.5cm or 5/8”) intervals.  Make sure you start measuring from the outside edge of the fabric not from the seam you sewed earlier!!!


Repeat this step on the bottom edge too.


Then using your ruler join all the intervals to mark out where the pencil slots will go.  Now would be a good time to count them to make sure you have it right!  Remember not to count the gap closest to the seam on each side.

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I like to sew these in a U shape (see red lines added to photo above) so that I don’t have to cut the thread at the top and bottom every time.  Pin in a few places so that it stays flat.


Here is how it will look.  Remember to test your pencil to make sure that you have got the measurements right!!!


If you look at the top you can see that I have reversed over the edge slightly a few times to make sure that the stitching was secure.  I don’t want it to come undone later, although it would be very easy to fix!


A little hard to see but there they are all done, glad I bought 24 pencils not the 36 pack!!


Step 4 – Finish the Bottom Edge – Bias Binding (Tape)


Check you piece of bias against your bottom edge to make sure it is long enough.  I like to do the bottom separately but if you want to do the whole lot in one go, feel free!  Just keep in mind that the sides have a bit of seam allowance to remove.


Pin your bias along the bottom, on the back (outside) of the fabric.  As you can see you sew in the crease nearest the raw edge, so make sure that this crease is far enough over to cover any of stitching underneath.


Trim off any excess so that the bias can fold over neatly.


Fold over and pin in place, on the right side (inside).


Sew nice and close to the edge, and there is your bottom bias attached.  There are many other ways to attach bias I have a tutorial on that here.


Step 5 – Finish the Top and Sides – Bias


First of all we need to round the top corners.  I like to use whatever is closest and this case it was an old yoghurt container that I use as a little scrap bin on my sewing table.  I have used rolls of elastic, ribbon, cups and saucers…it can be anything that is round and the size you want!


It should look a little like this.  I also trimmed of the selvage edge while I was cutting, this fabric had a quite frilly edge I didn’t want any threads getting under my bias stitching.


Pin the bias on the same way as you did for the bottom edge.  You will need to leave a little over hang at both bottom edges.  Remember that the sides have an extra 15mm (1.5cm or 5/8”) edge on them.  So pin the crease you are sewing in just on the raw edge side of the first pencil slot.

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Here you can see what I mean, you need to pin the crease roughly where the red line is.  We will trim the excess off later so don’t worry about the bias not fitting around.


It is also time for inserting the ties.


Sew the open side together, and tie the ends in a knot.  I haven’t used the knot method before I usually sew the ends folded like I did for these drawstrings, which can be little fiddly.  Then, on a blog called ‘Craftiness in not optional’ I saw that Jess tied the ends on her gorgeous Baby Boy Baprons.  What a great simple way to finish the ends and it looks pretty cute too!


Cut your tie in half, and insert underneath the pinned bias about 10cm (4”) down from the top of the pencil slots.  Put one tie above this measurement and one below.



Sew over them a few times for a bit of extra strength!


Then it should look like this! Trim off the excess around the outsides so that the bias will fold over nicely.


Fold over and pin in place just like you did for the bottom edge.


I open out the bottom pieces and tuck them in neatly.  Full instructions on my Book bag tutorial if you’re having trouble figuring that bit out.


Sew close to the edge just the same as the bottom bias, make sure your ties are tucked out of the way!


Step 6 – Add your pencils!!


You may want to put them in the other way up!  I think that way the points will be more protected.  I also made sure there were no seams in the pencil slots so that when your pencils get shorter and disappear inside you can still slide them up without getting caught on a fancy edge.


I hope you enjoyed the tutorial, have fun colouring in!

Adding a Drawstring to that too Wide Waistband

You all know those shorts or that skirt that is just a little too wide and you think thats ok it has drawstring…
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Only to realise that they aren’t actually drawstrings at all just decorative ties!  On the upside they do make it very easy to add a real drawstring of your own!  The cute little shorts above belong to my little nephew (the same one I made these Hunting Shirts for).  His mum bought four pairs for him for the summer but they are all too wide.
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While she was staying on the weekend I added a drawstring to the first pair for her, and she must have liked it because she dropped the other three pairs off on Monday for the same treatment!
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Of course I didn’t have the matching drawstring cotton ribbon they had used but you can use double fold bias binding (bias tape), or cotton ribbon.  Just don’t use silky/satin ribbon it just doesn’t stay done up.  The last thing you want is to go to the trouble to add a drawstring to have it continually slipping or coming undone.  Cotton ribbon I don’t have  but I do have quite the collection of bias binding!

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Just in case you wanted to see proof here it is!  And you wouldn’t believe that I paid NZ$20 for nearly all of this lot!  Someone was clearing their stash and sold it all on Trade Me (NZ Ebay), lucky me!  You might recognise the patterned bias on the far right too, that one I made myself for my Make your own bias tutorial!

What you will need

  • Shorts/Skirt/Pants to be altered
  • Bias Binding (Bias Tape) or Cotton Ribbon (A shoe lace would work too!)
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine (can hand stitch but will take longer)

Step 1 – Prepare you drawstring

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I laid my bias in place to work out how long I wanted it.  It will need to be pulled to tighten but you want to make sure you leave enought for the bow.  Then cut your bias to length.
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Starting from the middle of the bias sew the fold closed using a regular straigh stitch close to the edge.  Bias often has one side slightly narrower side, so becareful and make sure you catch both sides!  A zigzag stitch can be used to ensure you get both layers and you can even use a contrast thread.  Check out my Struggling with bias post if you’re interested.
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Once you get near the end of the bias, fold in the raw edges and sew to just shy of the edge.
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Then with the needle down in the fabric lift the presser foot and pivot the bias to line up witht the fold.  Lower the presser foot and sew along the fold (just in from the edge), lock stitch and you are done!  Repeat for the other side of the drawstring.  You won’t see the join in the middle as it will end up in the centre back of the waistband.
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There is your drawstring ready to go!

Step 2 – Insert drawstring

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Use a small safety pin to feed the new drawstring through the existing hole from the decorative ties.  You can cut the ties out first if they are in the way.
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There may be a seam in the centre back (or on the sides), that was topstitched to prevent the elastic from turning inside.  I had to unpick this to get past it.  I only unpicked a small section at the top of the waistband that was just big enough to fit the drawstring through.  The very first pair I did wasn’t stitched here so it went straight on through, but I wasn’t so lucky with these three.  Although it only took a few seconds to unpick 2 or 3 stitches and away I went!
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Now you can cut out the decorative ties carefully with scissors.
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I will be keeping those to upcycle on another project!
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The last little thing you will need to do is stitch the drawstring in place in the centre back.  This will prevent the drawstring pulling out if you accidentally only pull on one side, just make sure it is even on both sides!  I used dark stitching so you could see it and also because these little shorts have contast stitching all over, so it matched nicely.  I like to start at the seam between the waistband and shorts, lockstitch (reverse over a couple of stitches) sew towards the top of the waistband then reverse back down to the seam and lockstitch again.   Trim off the excess threads and you are finished!
Adding a Drawstring to that too wide waistband (17)
There you have a quick and easy solution!  I did all three in about 20 minutes and that was with stopping to take photos, so it definitely doesn’t take long.
I would love to see your fixes!

Make your own Bias Binding – Single & Double Fold

I have always wanted to make my own bias binding but it just seemed so difficult to get it straight.  Then I discovered that you use a bias making tool for that!

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I bought mine online from fishpond.  Monkeybrother Fabric Sewing Quilting Bias Binding Maker Tape Maker Tool Set – 4 Different Sizes. Updated 8 October 2016 – These are no longer available but they now have Estone Set of 4 Bias Makers which are the same,

This is an affiliate link it costs you nothing but if you use it to make a purchase I earn a commission for sending you to their online store.  Working towards the dream of blogging for a living…one day!

Making Bias Binding a

Now for making the bias!

What you will need,

  • Fabric (woven fabric) I am using an off cut but fat quarters work well too
  • Bias Maker Tool
  • Roller Cutter, Ruler & Cutting Mat.  You can use scissors but it will be a little more time consuming to get the pieces even.
  • Iron
  • Thread
  • Regular Sewing machine.

Step 1 – Cut Your Strips

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I find it easier to use a square piece of fabric so have cut my piece into a square.  Then I folded it into a triangle, taking care to make sure it was folded accurately.  The ruler shows the grainline of the fabric.

Bias Diagram

The black grid shows the direction of the woven fabric (grainline & weft). The bias is the red line and is cut at a 45° angle.

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By folding your square in half into a triangle you have a crease marking the bias line!

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Cut down the fold line to make it into two triangles.  Work out how wide you want your bias to be.  I am doing 1” (2.5cm) and cut your strips on a 45° angle from the grain line.  You will need to check what size your bias makers are!  I am going to make my strips 2” wide, this will make a 1” single fold bias or a 1/2” double fold bias.

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Cut your strips parallel to the cut you made on the crease earlier.  Measure the first one carefully and cut it.

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Do a quick test to make sure it is the right size for your bias maker!

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You can then use your strip as a pattern piece for all the rest.  Saves you measuring it out every time.  If you have a special fabric ruler (on my wish list!) then you can just use the measurement guides on that!

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Cut as many strips as you can fit.  You can see I have left the top triangle out as it is getting pretty narrow and would mean a lot of joins in a small area.  Carry on with the other half of your fabric until it is all cut.

Step 2 – Joining your strips

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Pin your strips with the right sides facing, overlap the points as shown in the photo.  Check out the next photo to see where you sew!

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Sew from where that two layers meet in the corner to the same place on the other side.

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Check that when folded out it looks like this!

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Press the fold open from the wrong side of the fabric.  If you fold them both over in one direction it will create a small piece that is 3 layers thick which won’t sit as nicely.  By folding it open it will only ever by 2 layers thick in one place.  Once the bias is folded the angle of the join will stop the seam folding up on top of itself, and also retains the ‘give’ the bias has.  This give is what allows it to go around corners.

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Trim off the pointy edges and you are done!  Now to join all the other pieces.  I find it much quicker to sew all the joins then press.

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There you have a long flat pieces of soon to be bias binding!

Step 3 – Bias Maker Tool

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Time to use the bias maker tool.  Feed the corner into the widest end of your bias maker, and pull through.  If you are having trouble there is a hole on the top that you can use a pin in to help pull it through.

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Here you have it pulled through a bit.

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Head over to your iron and press the iron down onto the little end you pulled through.  Then slowly slide the bias maker down the length of your fabric strip, following it with your iron.  To keep it even make sure you stay the same distance from the bias maker tool with the iron.

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Keep going until the bias maker comes off the end of the strip.  The joins in your strip shouldn’t effect the way it folds, but can sometimes need a little extra pressing to make them sit flat.

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And there you have it single fold bias!

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It always amazes me how much you get out of such a small square of fabric!

Step 4 – Double Fold Bias

To turn your single fold into double fold bias binding you need exactly that…another fold!

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So back to the iron we go.  Fold your bias in half so that the raw edges are hidden inside.  Press and carry on till it is all folded.

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And now we have piles of double fold bias!

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And a close up just in case!

Step 5 – Storing Your Bias

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I like to keep the pieces of cardboard from store bought bias and re-use those.  You could use any card you like (cut up a cereal box etc) to fit where ever you store your bias.

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I also like to trim the pointed ends straight before winding it onto the card.  You can always do this before you use it but I like it to be ready when I want it later!

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Just wrap it around and around your card.  This will keep the folds in place so it will store well and be ready for use when you need it.

Get ready for a  whole new world of decorative bias!

Colour Block Nappy (Diaper) Cover

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To make these gorgeous nappy covers I used a free pattern from ‘Made’.  You can follow this link to see her tutorial and free pdf pattern.  The blue one was made using Dana’s instructions but I made a few changes to create the colour block version.

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When I made the blue version I didn’t like the raw edges left on the side seams and crotch seam.  So I zigzagged those to prevent fraying, you could overlock too but the seam allowance was very small at the crotch (1/4”).

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So I decided for the colour block version I would French seam these seams for a neater finish.   I also used French seams in this dress if you want to check them out!

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Would you believe this is inside out?  Looks pretty neat and tidy right?

What you’ll need

  • Fabric – I used remnants I had left over from other projects
  • Bias Binding 1 metre (roughly 40”) half for each leg hole
  • Elastic – I used 3mm width for legs & 1cm for the waist.  The lengths vary on the size you are making.  Check the pattern.
  • Sewing Machine (no overlocker needed!)
  • Thread and usual tools


Step 1 – Pattern

Made Nappy Cover Colour Block (2)

Print and prepare your pattern as normal on all but the fold edge.  You will need to add 1cm (3/8”) to the fold measurement for seam allowance.  For a little more room for the french seams you could add 1.27cm (1/2”).

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This is what both pieces should look like!

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*NOTE:  For the regular covers you can fold the extra edge over and use the same pattern


Step 2 – Cut Fabric

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Lay your two different fabrics on top of each other, with the wrong sides facing each other.  That way you can cut both pieces at once, and they will be ready to sew the first seam too.


Step 3 – Sew Centre Seam

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Sew the centre seam (straight edge) with a narrow seam allowance.  I used 1/8” (sorry metric users my machine has imperial measurements on it!).

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Then press the seam so it looks like this.  The fabric will now be right sides facing each other.  I press the seam to one side and then fold over the other side.  but as long as it looks like above it doesn’t matter how you get there!

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Sew this with a seam allowance a bit larger than the first seam, so that it encases the first seam totally.  Now you can just press it flat, it will generally want to go one way over the other so roll with it.

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Here is the post pressing view.  Now just repeat for the other half, making sure you use the same seam allowance again otherwise they won’t match at the bottom.


Step 4 – Sew Crotch

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I have pinned my two pieces right way around and trimmed off the tabs.  We won’t be needing those as we are using bias on the leg holes.

French seam this in the same way.  This has very little in the way of seam allowance so keep it a small seam.

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Step 5 – Sew Side Seams

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Again have your nappy cover right way round and pin the sides in place.  I have trimmed of the tabs on this end too.

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Once the seam is finished the two layers probably won’t line up perfectly.  Don’t panic will fix that now!

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You can see I have just trimmed the long side a little.


Step 6 – Line the Leg Openings with Bias

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I did this a little differently than Dana, mainly because that is how I have done it many times so it was quicker for me!  It is a similar technique as in the Capped Sleeves Tutorial if you would like a more detailed explanation.

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To join the bias  fold over the end of the bias by about 1cm (3/8”) place this folded edge so it lines up with the crotch seam.  Then start sewing from this point right around.  You can see that in the left photo.  Then trim the left over bias so it overlaps a little and sew over it to hold it in place (right photo).

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Now fold the elastic inside the bias and pin in place.  Leaving a 5cm (2”) opening at the start.  I don’t trim the elastic to size till after I have sewn the casing.  I f you want use the measurement from the pattern you could mark it with a pen, and cut on that mark once you have pulled it through.  I compared it to the first blue pair I made to gauge the size.

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Make sure your pins are catching both layers of the binding, you need to be sure you are sewing both layers.  Sew the bias closed (leaving the gap), nice and close to the edge of the binding, you don’t want to catch the elastic.

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Now you can pull the elastic through to the desired size.  You can see I leave a pin in at the short end so I don’t pull it through!

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Here it is all gathered up.  You can trim off the excess elastic and sew it together.  I just overlap the two ends and zigzag over it a few times.

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Pull your elastic in to the binding by stretching the leg hole open, and fold the binding over the join to close the gap you had left.  Again pin in place and sew as before.

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That is one leg done, one more to go!


Step 7 – Label (Optional)

I really liked how Dana had her label on the outside of her Nappy Cover so I added one too.  I would do this now before adding elastic to the waist!

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Step 8 – Waistband

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Fold over by  1/4” and press, then again by 1/2” and press.  Then sew in place leaving a 1” gap to insert the elastic.  Insert the elastic and sew the gap closed.

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Woo hoo you are finished!  Now just a few more smaller ones for all the little babies this summer!

Betty Bodice Dress with Pleated Front (Unlined)

You can also make the Betty Bodice Dress without worrying about lining.  Nice and light for those hot summer days that should be arriving here shortly!

Betty Bodice Dress T2 a

I will be bringing you many different options for the Betty Bodice Dress, over the coming weeks.  For this dress I used a pleated front and gathered back, which I am loving the look of!

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This one is sleeveless too, don’t worry I’ll be adding a sleeve pattern piece soon.  I have been working out the finer details of how I want it to look.  You can see a gathered capped sleeve option in my first trial dress.  Look at that gorgeous girl, I can’t believe she is 7 already!

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I finished all the seams with 1cm single fold bias tape.  I had only used the single fold as a trim before, but what a neat way to finish a single layer garment!  I have added a tutorial at the bottom of this post.

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Loving the tie back at the moment!  I made the opening larger to allow for the narrower bodice and still being able to get it on.  It can be pulled over the head or by stepping into the dress and pulling u from the bottom.

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I like the bigger opening, nice and breezy for summer!

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The pleated front with a gathered back gives a great shape to the dress.  I love the slim fit of the longer bodice and the front pleats keep it nice and flat on the front but still allow plenty of room for movement.  It’s no good if you can’t play while wearing it!

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I topstitched the first 15cm of the pleats so it would wash well and be easy to iron back into shape afterwards.

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I have a free pdf pattern in a Size 8, with a full tutorial to go with it!  You can check it out here.

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Wonder how many dresses she will need this summer?  Not nearly as many as I want to make!!

Tutorial: Using Bias Tape to finish the edges


You will need single fold bias tape (binding).  I used 1cm (3/8”) which fitted quite well.


Gently iron the bias open, you don’t want to remove the folds!


It should look like this afterwards.


Pin on to the edge of your garment, leaving a little edge so that the crease closest to the edge is roughly the same as the seam allowance away from the edge (1cm – 3/8”).


For the join iron over a small fold on the underneath layer.


And pin in place.  For a loop piece (e.g. neckline or armhole) I don’t pin down the overlapping piece, I start sewing from just beside the overlap on the underneath side.  Sew all the way around and hold the last piece straight as you sew over the join.  This will prevent any puckering if the bias tape gives slightly while you sew.


Since this example is straight I just sewed from one end to the other.


Trim off any excess that won’t be covered when you fold it over.  See next steps.


Ensure your fabric stays flat, and iron over the fold.


It should look like this.  Take care not to iron out the remaining crease.


Fold at the first crease, then fold over so that the bias is on the inside of the fabric.


Press in place making sure a little of your fabric is visible from the inside.  That way you won’t get the bias tape peaking out on the right side.


Sew in place! I have used black and neon green to make the stitching visible.  Although the green is still quite hard to see.  I sewed this on the inside, but you could also use your machines guides and sew on the outside (tends to give a neater finish).

All finished!!

Struggling with the Bias Binding?

There is nothing quite as frustrating as attaching your bias binding to turn it over and see it hasn’t been caught on both sides!  Out comes the quick unpick and after the joy of unpicking you get to try to sew it again.  This is a risk more on the corners and even though I pin them extra it still happens sometimes.  I have a cute solution!


Here are the different methods I have used previously on the blog to attached bias binding!

First Method

Place the binding on and sew both layers at once.  This is OK for small straight pieces of bias binding, like on my Expandable Pockets.  If you are putting bias around corners I’d recommend using the second or third method, or a combo of the first and second!

20150725_130646 Second Method

Unfold the bias and pin open onto the right side of the fabric, sew down the first fold.  Then fold over the edge and pin.  Sew right next to the bias to catch the back layer.  Get more details on my Bandana-ish Bib Tutorial there is also a great video link there!

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Third Method

Here is another cute way to attach it without the risk of missing it on one side!  Above you can see the two ways I already attached bias binding, and for this method you start off the same way as the second method.  See the instructions in Bandana-ish Bib Tutorial.

Instead of stitching right next to the binding zigzag over it!  I chose a fluoro green (which I bought to make a ‘Fluoro Dance Party themed costume, here are the supplies on Instagram!) as a nice contrast and to make a feature of it.  The photos are not doing the colour justice it is very Flouro!  I love it!

Bandana-ish Bib Zigzag

I think it gives a great effect on this Bandana-ish Baby Bib, a nice feature and way to add a bit colour.  Of course you can always use a matching colour if you don’t want it to stand out, but why???

Let me know if you have any other ingenious methods of attaching bias binding!