Heartfelt Valentine's Day Jumper Tutorial and Giveaway

Welcome to Little Goodall!  As a mother and designer, I am looking forward to bringing you day to day news from the Little Goodall studio as well as content from the wild and wonderful world of kids design. Let's kick things off with a fast and fun tutorial.  Do you sew?  I hope you do!  This jumper is simple and fun and super quick and made of one of my personal faves, felt (get it? heart-felt? tee hee).  It's gotta be fast because you need all the time you can get to give those little ones some Valentine's day love (and probably help them make their V-day cards for school).  Also, you can win my sample!

Heartfelt Valentine's Day Jumper Tutorial

Let's get going!

1. Pattern and Fabric: I used a vintage pattern, but any simple jumper shape with shoulder buttons will do, like Simplicity 4927 for sizes 3 and up or Simplicity 2900 for Infant and Baby sizes.  You may also be able to trace around an existing jumper for a pattern if you are clever.  The red felt is from my local Jo-ann Fabric store, they carry red wool felt in stock year round (the wool felt will look way prettier than acrylic although it's more expensive).  I used 1.5 yards for my size 1-2 jumper.  You will also need some matching thread and tiny rickrack (ribbon, or seam binding also will work ok) for the heart "strings", and thread to match that as well.

2. Additional Materials:  Pull out your scrap bag and dig for cute fabrics for those hearts - I used wool felt again, but you can experiment with knits or cotton prints  for some super cuteness (if you go with a woven, either make peace with the fray or seal the edges with Fray-Chek or a similar product).

3. Cut the Pattern:  We're moving right along!  Open your pattern and find the front and back, it's all you will need.  Mine are cut on the fold.  Cut it out as is, with seam allowances.  You should end up with one jumper front and one jumper back.

4. Seam Allowances:  Next we've got to get rid of the seam allowances on the hem and neck/armholes area.  We don't need them because we're using felt and going fast fast fast!  Find a fabric marking pencil (a white colored pencil will do in a pinch) and a ruler, and check your pattern for the seam allowances - mine are 2" at the hem and 5/8 around the neck.  Mark them on the WRONG SIDE of the fabric with the pencil and ruler.

Then cut them off!

Then do the neck and armholes.  Don't do the side seams, you will need those!  When you are finished, press the front and back so they are pretty and flat.  We are almost to the fun part.

5. Hearts!:  Find a piece of scrap paper and draw some hearts, then cut them out.  I like the old-school method of folding it in half and cutting them freestyle, but you could trace around something heart-y you have around the house or print a million off the internet.  Just find three sizes so you have some variety.  Trace them onto the wrong side of your fabric scraps (ballpoint pen works great on felt if you haven't a fancy fabric marker, pencil works well on cottons) and cut a bunch out.  I cut two at a time, it is nice if you have extras to play with to get the best layout.

6. The Fun Part! Create the Design: Open your package of rickrack and iron about a yard of it.  Cut it into three or four lengths and arrange them on the right side of your jumper front.  Go crazy with the hearts - move them around until the mix of colors works for you. Put them on the strings and have some flying off into space.  If you have a crafty little one, they could get involved here too. Share the love!  Little girls love color and texture and hearts, so you can't go wrong.

7. Stick and Stitch: Once it's perfect, pull out your cell phone and snap a photo for reference as to what goes where.  Lift off the hearts and set aside.  Use a glue stick or disappearing fabric glue to tack the green stems in place.  Thread your machine with the green thread and stitch in place with a single straight seam down each one.  If you are really short on time or really hate to sew, you could also use washable fabric glue and glue them down flat out.  Now pull up that cell phone snap for a guide and use tiny dabs of glue to tack the hearts in place for stitching (just a tiny dab!  you are only holding them in place so they won't move around while sewing).

Stitch down the hearts, just a single seam down the center so the edges are loose and 3-D.  I used contrasting thread but you can match the colors if you like.  Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of each one so the threads won't come loose!  Production tip:  As you sew all the hearts, leave the threads long after each one.  When they are complete, go back and clip all the threads from the front and the back of the fabric.  Carry the whole thing to the ironing board and press it from the wrong side.  Turn it over and admire!

8. Side Seams:  Put the right sides of the front and back together, and stitch up those side seams.  If things are not matching up exactly after sewing, just trim off the extra bits. To reduce bulk, lets also trim those seam allowances down to 1/4" and angle the corners in for a clean finish since we will not be using facings.  Press the seams open.

9. Reinforce Shoulder Closures:  Whether you are using buttons and buttonholes, snaps, velcro or even ribbon ties, reinforcing the shoulder straps is a good idea.  Take a small felt scrap and cut it to fit the shape of each shoulder strap.   If planning on using buttons, make sure it is at least 1" wider than your button from the tip of the strap to the inside edge, so the entire buttonhole will comfortably fit on the reinforced part.  I just pinned it in place (to the wrong side of the fabric) and cut around the edge, using the strap as a pattern.  This is easier if the jumper is still inside out. Once it's done use a dab of glue to hold it in place, or a pin, whatever you are most comfortable with - it just needs to stay put until the edge finish is sewn..

10.  Finishing The Edges:  So you have a lot of options here - if you love to hand sew, use a blanket stitch with embroidery floss.  If all you have is a straight stitch machine, a neat topstitch 1/4" from the edge will do.  A zig-zag looks nice as well.  I still sew on my workhorse of a Kenmore 10-stitch I received for Christmas in the third grade, so I used this as an opportunity to try out some of the "fancier" stitches.  Those of you with embroidery machines, you know who you are.  Use a scrap to try your options and see which one you prefer.  I liked this little scalloped edge:

Go ahead and use whatever finishing stitch you prefer on the hem (work from the right side of the fabric) and then all the way around the neckline and armholes in one continuous seam, starting at the side seam of one armhole.  Take your time, love is in the details!

11.  Almost finished! - Closures: This is another place you have a lot of options.  I went with a basic buttonhole on my machine.  Mark the beginning of your buttonhole at least 1/2" from the tip of the straps on the back of the jumper.  Since we are using nice felt, you could also straight stitch a long narrow rectangle and slit it down the middle for your buttonhole, or blanket stitch it, whatever.  Felt will not fray and you have two nice layers you are stitching through.

If you are going with snaps, velcro, whatever, this is the time to do it.

Finally, fold the back straps over the front straps and mark through the buttonholes where the buttons should be sewn.

Sew your buttons in place.  I covered buttons with contrasting felt (if you don't know how to do this and want to, Google "make covered buttons" - there are a million tutorials out there).  Any cute button will work, you don't have to do the covered ones, and since you only need two this might be a good time to sort through your button jar.

Now head to the ironing board and give the whole thing a final pressing.

Voila!  Your are finished!  Find your little sweetheart and try it on.  Darling over a little turtleneck or peter pan collared blouse with a pair of tights and Mary Janes.

Would you like to win my sample?  It's a size 1-2 and measures 26" around the chest.  Just leave me a comment if you would like to enter and I'll announce the winner next Thursday (Valentine's Day!).

Thanks for stopping by, please come back! I am new at blogging and I promise I'll get better!

                       -Molly