She’s off to the Races

Super cute DIY summer girl's dress

Anyone else feel like it is the summer of the racerback? Maybe it is that Rachel has been working on sewing up two different women’s patterns and I couldn’t resist making up this version for M. Racerbacks are  a fun and easy summer staple.  This one comes with options for a dress or tank.   M loves dresses, so I went for the dress.

This project only had one big hitch and it wasn’t the pattern.

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I picked up a cute heart knit at my local Joann’s to make the racerback out of and threw it in the washer with several other cuts that were on my table.  I always prewash my fabrics, especially being careful of the knits.  They do tend  to shrink, and sometimes not a small amount.

When we first put the dress on M, I was thrilled.  It was a perfect fit and a great length covering her knees.

When I returned 2 weeks later the dress had been washed and worn and washed and worn.  Well let me tell you, that the fabric did not shrink enough when I washed it before sewing.   She now has a tunic length top, with a slightly wonky hem, which is still ok and mighty cute, but a little disappointing.

Cute DIY Girl's summer dress

I learned my lesson and may put knits through a couple of cycles before sewing them.  Rachel sometimes washes play clothes in hot water, but I did also use hot water when I prewashed knowing the trauma these play clothes go through.  So a word to the wise, be sure your knits are really shrunk before sewing!

Cute DIY Girl's summer dress

The pattern offers a couple binding applications. I did use option #1 for applying the binding.  I really like the sew it on,  turn and use your double needle to sew it down.  If you have never used a double needle I suggest you give it a whirl.  You may never go back!  You’re getting the real pictures today 🙂 These clothes get played in! And sometimes there are Popsicles.

I also sent along several pair of little legging shorts that I had also made in every color so that she could slide them on under her dresses and not worry about playing around the yard or at the playground.  You know, a girl needs to be prepared. Turns out it was a good thing she had those on hand.

Racerback dress

I am sure that we all have fabric shrinking stories that can make your hair curl.  At least this one was not too terrible and totally works.  Now she will need those little shorts.  Good thing she has multiple colors to choose from.

There will be some Racerback Tanks in our future for sure. Anyone else sewing up racerbacks this summer?

Happy Sewing, Donna


{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Kristina & Millie June 15, 2014, 10:01 pm

    such a cutie! Good to know about pre-washing. I usually run in cold water but now will run it in hot just in case!

  • Jan June 15, 2014, 11:29 pm

    Personally, it’s hot water AND the dryer too!! You never know when that particular outfit becomes the Favorite. The one that you are lucky if you can spirit it away to be washed overnight – and it had better be dry and ready to wear in the morning!! I had many a day like this with my Dear Daughter – and even though she is only 12 mos. it looks as though her DD may also be so inclined!!
    I guess if you were really worried about that hem line you could trim it up even and add a ruffle for length (back to a dress from a tunic).
    Thanks for sharing what you have learned, it’s a good reminder

  • Amy mayen June 16, 2014, 1:00 am

    I love the fabric you chose! I gotta say I’ve been very lucky in the shrinkage department- I’d say I pre-wash about 50% of the time. Getting better though, and thanks for the reminder! I love that pattern too. I bet fold over elastic would work too. I’m getting addicted to that stuff!

  • Pam @Threading My Way June 16, 2014, 6:20 am

    Maybe I’ve been lucky, but I haven’t had problems with fabrics shrinking. I always pre-wash, but only ever in cold water. Then again, I only ever use cold water for all my washing and I don’t use a clothes dryer, thanks to our sun and mild climate. Thankfully it was a dress which could then become a tunic. Even though problematic, the fabric is very pretty.

  • Ajaire June 16, 2014, 9:29 am

    The tank is cute and looks like it’ll be worn a ton. I have some of that fabric and used a tiny bit for some undies. I shrink by running a cycle of hot that ends with cold. The difference in temp makes things shrink a little extra usually. At least the fabric holds up really well. I’ve been pretty impressed with what little wear it has at this point and I made the underwear for valentines day 🙂

  • Annie June 16, 2014, 11:28 am

    Cute hearts print for a little girl! I am so surprised to hear how much it shrunk. I usually use warm water for wash and then dryer, and never seen that much shrinking! But I have not worked with knits a lot, so I better be careful in the future as I want to try more knit projects!

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