This tutorial is fitted to one of our favorite rock star kids, Claire. (Our photogenic little friend is also featured in her mom's new book The Toddler Cafe: Fast, Healthy, and Fun Ways to Feed Even the Pickiest Eater by Jennifer Carden--totally worth a read if you like to cook and have fun with your kids!) If you don't find a vintage valance you like, you can always hem a regular curtain and add a casing. (Those skills are described in Subversive Seamster, but for now, we are sticking with the super easy basics!)
Step 1: Getting Started
Time to make: less than 1 hour
Level of difficulty: Seamster level 2 + (i.e., you are comfortable using a sewing machine)
Start Item: Cute vintage valance
Start Category: Household
Finish Item: Kids top
Finish Category: Kids Clothes
Refashioned or From Scratch: Refashioned
Tools You'll Need:
- Vintage curtain valance (the kind with a casing that goes on a rod--not a tabbed curtain), ours was 120" x 13" (plenty of material for lots of tops!)
- 22" of 1" wide pajama elastic (chest measurement minus one inch)--the width of the pajama elastic should be at least 0.5 inch smaller than the width of your casing
- 1 yard double fold bias tape (or ribbon) for the straps
- Sewing Machine
- Safety Pins/ Pins
Step 2: Spring Cleaning
We cut a length of valance/future top to 46"Â, which is double the length of the desired circumference. We will use this extra length to gather the top. (You can do a little more or a little less, depending on how full you want your top.)
Step 3: Casing the Joint
A close up of how to stitch it is below...stitch it good (ahh, stitch it)!
Trim off the extra elastic and turn the top right side out, with the seam in the back and even out the gathering. It should look like the second photo below.
Step 4: Shoulder to Shoulder
With the seam in the back, have your lovely little friend try the dress on (or if she isn't there, make your best guess--with all the gathering the fit is actually quite forgiving--and pin the straps on the front and back of the top, about a quarter of the way from either side (two pieces for each shoulder). Stitch them into place.
Step 5: Sew Close
Step 6: Finish It Up!
Do it your way! If being made for a younger child, valances can make great dresses too! Get creative!
PS. You can check out more tips and projects for toddlers at the Toddler Cafe blog: http://www.thetoddlercafe.blogspot.com/