Author Archives: Nikki Marsh

The Taylah Skirt with added shorts

The Taylah skirt is such a versatile pattern in that in can be made in either woven or knit fabrics.  But what if we step it up a notch in the knit option and add a short option for those that like to cart wheel, hang up side down or sit wide legged?

I’ve used the Boo! Designs Pins pattern many times before so I approached Kristie and asked if she would be ok if I used her pattern to join with my skirt pattern to create a skirt/shorts combo.  She was so ok that she’s even offered a fantastic discount on her Pins pattern…but more of that later.

So how did I combine the patterns?  Firstly, make the shorts as per the Pins instructions finishing at step 5.  Complete step 15 and 16 in the Taylah Skirt pattern and join the Pins to the Skirt as per below –

Baste them together before continuing onto Step 17 of the Taylah skirt pattern and finishing the skirt.

The waist line of the Pins is a little different to the waistline of the Taylah skirt in the fact that its higher in the back and lower in the front, but this has not affected how it’s been worn.

In fact, these have been a huge hit and have since been called the “No one can see my undies!” skirt!

While the Taylah skirt is on sale, Kristie is offering her Pins Leggings pattern at a special discount…make sure you join the Bubby and Me Creations facebook group to find out what it is.


How to Hack the Willow Dress PDF Pattern

I’ve been playing around quite a bit lately with my current patterns trying to get the most out of them with different looks.  The latest pattern to receive my attention has been the Willow Dress PDF Pattern.

How to hack the Willow Dress PDF Pattern
You will need –

Firstly, measure the desired length of the finished dress.  You can use the finished dress length measurements in the chart or measure your child.

Using the front and back bodice pieces only, extend to the desired length (make sure to include a hem allowance).  At the hem side seam, measure out 1.5″ (or desired amount) and then draw a line back up to the corner of the front and back side seams.  The finished pattern pieces are shown in black.

Front  Back

Cut out your front, back, side front, side back, neck binding and either your long sleeves or armhole binding pieces.

Follow the pattern instructions from STEP 1 to STEP 11 making sure to continue right down to the hem.  Complete through to STEP 16 and then finish off by hemming your dress and you’re done!

(And hopefully your model doesn’t have a  food smile when you’re taking photos – oopsy!!)

Willow Dress pattern Willow Dress hack back



Tutu Dress

I think one of the best things about sewing is being able to recreate something that you really like. Maybe it’s something you’ve seen in a shop that you can’t really afford, or it’s something that’s no longer available in a shop.  In this instance, it’s the later.

How to make a Tutu Dress

Emily was lucky enough to receive this dress as a hand me down, but even though she loves it, it’s too big for her at the moment.  It’s a style of dress, I think, every little girl loves (I know the original owner of this dress loved it very much)!  So I thought I would make her one that she could wear now so she could twirl to her hearts content!


{Dress originally from Rock Your Baby}

What you’ll need:

  • Ari Tshirt Dress PDF pattern
  • Cotton/lycra knit fabric for dress body
  • Tulle for skirt (I used this one from Spotlight as it’s very soft and floaty) – see STEP 3 on how to calculate how much you’ll need.
  • Shirring elastic


Before cutting your fabric, you will need to lengthen the bodice to your desired length.  I measured to just under Emily’s butt and lengthened the bodice accordingly (don’t forget to add your hem allowance!).  I made the gathered, long sleeve option.  Choose your sleeve option and then cut out fabric pieces – lengthened bodice (front and back), choosen sleeve option, neck band.


Sew  up your dress section following the instructions in the pattern (STEPS 1 TO 17) but make sure you complete the bodice by hemming it.


To calculate how much tulle you’ll need, firstly measure around your finished hem of the dress.  Mine measured 56cm (22″).  Now depending on how full you want the skirt, multiply this by 2 (I did 2.5 and found it to be a little fuller than what I would have preferred), or your preferred amount.  My finished width ended up being 140cm (55″).

To calculate the length, I popped the finished bodice on Emily and marked a point where I wanted the tulle to start and measured down to her knee.  This was 24cm (9.5″).  Multiply by 2 and you have your length (48cm (19″) was what I used).

You will then need 3 pieces of tulle in these measurements (my finished measurements were 280cm (110″) X 48cm (19″)).  To make it a little easier to cut my tulle rectangles, I lined up one selvedge and used bulldogs clips to hold it (you could use pins or wonder clips).  I then used a ruler and rotarty cutter which was a massive help in stopping the tulle from moving while I cut.

1 clipped


Starting with one tulle piece, line up the side seams and stitch together.  Seam allowance is really up to you…I used 1cm (3/8″) then trimmed it by half.

2 seam


Now you need to measure along the centre width of the entire length and mark as you will need to stitch along this marking.  I’ve drawn a line along the centre using a fabric marker.  (Repeat for remaining two sections).

3 centre seam


Carefully hand wind your bobbin with the shirring elastic till full and place back into the machine.  Using the longest straight stitch setting, stitch along the centre marking line you just made.  You’ll notice it’s not that easy to see but you can still make it out.  As you stitch, the tulle will softly start to gather.  (Repeat for remaining two sections).

4 stitching centre seam


On your bodice, draw a line around the front and back from where you originally marked the placement of the skirt.  Measure down 1cm (3/8″) and draw another line.  Repeat again so you have three lines in total.

5 dress


I’m not going to lie, this part is a little fiddly.  Starting on the bottom line, you want to match up the stitched line of the tulle along this drawn line of the bodice.  With right side of the tulle and bodice together, match up the side seam of the tulle with one side seam of the bodice and evenly pin the tulle around.  The shirred stitching won’t have gathered the tulle up to a perfect fit but I found that if you used a gathering stitch and pulled up your gathering, you have a high chance of the seam breaking when getting the dress on and off.  The shirred elastic will give it some stretching ease.

You will need to gather with your fingers a little as you work around the dress – make sure to pin well!  (HINT:  I used my sleeve irong board while pinning.  I slid board in between my bodice which allowed me to pin without catching both sides of the bodice).

When pinned in place, stitch tulle to bodice along the stitching line of the tulle using a longer straigth stitch than normal, but not quite your longest (my regular stitch length is 2.2 and used 4).  (Make sure you still have your shirring elastic in your bobbin).

6 tulle attached

Repeat for remaining pieces, matching and stitching tulle to remaining line on the bodice and making sure to keep already stitched tulle out of the way when sewing.  When stitching what will be your top piece of tulle, make sure you stitch just above the tulle stitching line otherwise this will be visible when you flip the skirt down.


Flip all the tulle skirt pieces down and stand back and admire your tutu dress!

Photo 27-05-2016, 10 26 51 AM (1)

Then pop it on your little Miss and watch her twirl away…

 twirl 4 twirl 2

twirl 1 twril


The Summer Dress In Knit Fabric

“Can the Summer dress be made in knit fabric?”  This question was raised towards the end of testing and was such a great idea that I couldn’t resist trying.

You may have seen this fabric quite a lot in what I make.  It’s a cotton/spandex that I carry in my shop and it’s one of Emily’s favourites and choosing her favourite fabric means I know she’ll try it on for me!

 emily     emily1

I made this flamingo dress as a size 1 bodice and size 3 skirt and quickly saw where I needed to adjust.  The bodice could be a little tighter and the back skirt is a little too bulky around the waist for the knit fabric.  My next version was a much better fit. So what did I do?

Measuring a size 6, I sized down and made a size 5 dress with a size 6 length in the skirt.  I also cut off 1cm (3/8″) from the top of the straps to make them just a little bit tighter.  Being a knit fabric, you can afford to have the bodice area quite fitted as you have the stretch of the fabric when putting the dress on and taking it off.


I also used a stretch interfacing in the straps called Tricot Fusible which has a one way stretch to it, which is all I needed.  (It was also the only stretch interfacing my local fabric store had).  Being a tighter fit, there is going to more pulling and stretching of the straps so the interfacing will help the knit keep its shape.  I cut the interfacing for the straps with the direction of the stretch going across the body.


And lastly, I used my walking foot when sewing step 7 to evenly sew through all the varying thicknesses of the straps between the bodice pieces.



What other options could you use to make the Summer Dress?  Maybe woven fabric bodice and skirt and knit fabric for the straps?  Or a woven fabric skirt and knit fabric straps and bodice?  I would love to see what you come up with!

The Willow Dress PDF Pattern

I love working with Jen from One Thimble so when I had the opportunity to work with her again I absolutely jumped at the chance!

I have had the idea of the Willow Dress floating around for awhile and even though I was in the middle of working on the Violet Dress (I generally like to finish one pattern before starting a new one) I pitched the idea to Jen and she liked it so all of a sudden I was working on two patterns at once!  Ahhh, nothing like a bit of pressure to get the adrenaine pumping – ha!

croppedBodice fabric available here.

Using a knit fabric for the bodice, the top section features a ruffle through the shoulder and around the armhole with a binding finish on the neckline and armhole.  The skirt section is simply a woven fabric with an elastic waist attached to the bottom of the knit bodice.

My pattern testing group did a fabulous job with their versions of the Willow Dress.

IMG_7478Two Little Chooks

willowv1_1Candice Ayala

12249782_10153803178699679_6347344075596273347_nAmanda Flor

willow14Carly from Miss Edee Designs even added a tulle over lay for the skirt – stunning!

While we were in the testing phase, it was suggested that long sleeves would make this a more year round dress so long sleeves were added, which I am really happy we included them.

IMG_9216Zyzo Australia

willowv2_4Candice Ayala

The Willow Dress PDF Pattern is available now through the One Thimble ezine along with 10 other PDF Patterns plus heaps of articles and tips to make your sewing soar!

How To Line the Chloe Cardigan

The Chloe Cardigan was initially designed for the use of a stable, knit fabric.  It didn’t even cross my mind to use a woven fabric until I presented it my testing group and was then asked the question.  To make sure I wasn’t lying to them, I quickly made one in a woven cotton and made the following little jacket (it’s not really a cardigan anymore, is it?).

As we are now in winter in Australia and some parts are colder than others, Kristy from Charlie Patch Creations made her test version with lining.  She sized up to allow for the extra layers and made such a cute jacket.

So how do you line your own version of the Chloe? 

Firstly, you’ll need fabric for your outer and fabric for your lining.  I would recommend making at the very minimum one size up depending what fabrics you have chosen.

You will need to cut out all the pattern pieces in both the outer and lining fabrics, EXCEPT for the front and back facing pieces as you won’t need those.

And one of the best things about lining the Chloe is that you don’t need to finish any seams, you can just trim them instead.

Follow the instructions of the pattern from STEP 1 to STEP 8 for both the outer and the lining.  If you are having a collar, complete STEP 10 to STEP 11 for the outer fabric only.  Make sure you also complete STEP 15 for the outer fabric.
You’ll now have two jackets (I’ve used piping as a contrast on my outer jacket as it’s an 8oz denim and was looking a little plain).

 With rights together, pin the lining to the outer jacket, ignoring the sleeves.

Stitch around the edge making sure your sleeves are out of the way and you leave an opening somewhere along the bottom edge so that you can pull the jacket to the right side once complete (but not yet!).

I like to use this method for the sleeves.   It’s a little tricky and can be fiddly but I think it’s worth it in the end.  You need to line up the edges of the sleeves with right sides together.  Start by matching the sleeve seam and slowly work your way around the sleeve.  Stitch together.

Your jacket is going to look a little strange once you’ve sewn the sleeve and you may even wonder how this is going to all turn out the correct way, but stay with me!

With the opening you left in the bottom of the jacket, carefully reach in and pull the jacket out to the right side.  When you pull the sleeves through, they will be perfectly hemmed and no top stitching required.

With your jacket now the right side out, give it a good press and complete STEP 17 to STEP 20 giving you a lined Chloe Cardigan/Jacket.

The Penny Dress PDF Pattern

Earlier this year, (and late last year) I had the absolute pleasure of working with Jen from One Thimble, with the inclusion of one of my patterns, the Penny Dress PDF Pattern.

As well as a recent update of her website, Jen has also just released the latest edition of One Thimble which means that the Penny PDF Pattern now reverts back to my store.

The pattern ranges in size from 1 (18m) right through to size 10 and features front pockets and a back button closure.

You can find the pattern in my shop in the tab above 🙂

Chestnut Pants

Do you remember my recent Instagram post of the pants I was making with the upside down cherries?  Well now I can finally share what I was making…

I was fortunate to pattern test recently for these fabulous slimline pants called the Chestnut Pants from Angela at Crafting Zuzzy.

Even though Emily is now 2, her waist is quite slim so I made the 12-18m size and just tightened the elastic by about 1/2 inch.  I didn’t need to touch the length at all.

The pants have a flat front waist and elastic in the back.  They also come with two different back pocket options.

My plan was to put red piping around the pockets, but that meant a trip to Spotlight with a 2 year old, so I skipped it!

And anyone that has tried to photograph a toddler will know that you need to give them something to hold…today’s effort was a biscuit!

These pants are perfect for my busy toddler and I love the slimline legs!  I will be making many more of these for Emily as its such a quick and easy pattern.

Angela has a competition running on the Pattern Revolution site where you can win your own copy of this pattern, otherwise grab your copy from either Etsy or Craftsy.

Oh, and you didn’t really notice the upside down cherries, did you?!?

How to Sew a Facing to a Sleeveless Bodice

When I first started designing the Penny Dress, I wanted little shoulder ruffles but I also wanted to have a facing (or lining) for the bodice only which gave me a construction problem as there is no back seam to this dress.

I know of the method of sewing a facing and leaving a shoulder unstitched to be able to pull it all through, but this method would not allow for the shoulder ruffles I wanted.

After searching and searching, I asked in a pattern designing group if there was a possibly different construction method that I could include my shoulder ruffles and the answer was YES!

The method was shown to me in pictures with an explanation, but being a visual person, I really needed to test this out quickly as I was like, whaaaaaat????

I did it slowly thinking that there was no way this was going to work, and it was seriously like a light bulb moment…something that seemed couldn’t possibly work, was in actual fact quite easy!

So this is the method you will find in the Penny Dress PDF Pattern but you can certainly use this method for other designs as well. 

Once you try it, I think you’ll be hooked…check out this YouTube clip for a clearer explanation.

Next Pattern Release – The Penny PDF PAttern

I am so excited that the next pattern to be released for Bubby and Me Creations, the Penny PDF Dress Pattern, will be through One Thimble!  For those that are not familiar with One Thimble, it’s a digital sewing magazine (e-zine) made by sewing enthusiasts for sewing enthusiasts.  

Over the next few weeks, before the e-zine is released, I will share with you some gorgeous creations made by my fabulous team of pattern testers.

Make sure to mark the 13 February in your diaries as that’s the release date for the next edition of One Thimble!

The Penny Dress features gathered pockets in the front with the same design lines in the back.  The back also features a placket and button loop closure.

This first one is made using the beautiful Michael Miller Wee Wander border print.  How well does this pattern work with a border print?

This next dress is made using fabric from the Cotton and Steel Mustang range and, although a little hard to see, those small dots are actually gold metallic. 

I have another that features piping that I will share soon, once I can get some nice photos of my little miss wearing it!