Birdy School Tunic + Recipe

Well with T-minus 4 weeks and counting til little man joins our family, I have been working on finishing as many projects I have lying about the house as possible as well as organizing and scheduling as much work as I can after my "maternity leave".  Not that you can really get maternity leave when you are self employed, but I do plan on doing as little as possible work-wise half of Aug and all of Sept.  The projects around the house though are anything crafty that I know I need 2 hands for, with the thought being, come 4 weeks from now I will be doing everything one handed for quite some time.  So that's been painting and moving CJ into her big girl room, making artwork with her, painting little man's room, making him a mobile and artwork too, and this tunic for CJ.

I have been crocheting it for some time now.  I would crochet it when I was putting her to bed.  So I might get a row done each day while sitting in the rocking chair and letting her fall asleep. I have always tried to use that time to do something for her or the family and not work.  It definitely takes longer, but devoting 10-15 mins for family crafting everyday is better then nothing I think.

The tunic is a cropped top crocheted with a Tunisian Entrelac technique and a fabric skirt bottom.  The top is basically 4 panels; front, back, and 2 sleeves that are all trapezoids.  But instead of crocheting them separately and seaming, I crocheted one then joined the next as I crocheted it.  Once the whole yoke was assembled, then I added an inch in length on the arms and body (much as you would if it was a top down sweater).  The stitch pattern is a crossed Simple Tunisian stitch right out of my crochet encyclopedia.   I wanted something simple knowing I would be putting it down often and I didn't want to forget and have to go look it up every time.  The top opens and closes along one of the raglan seam with pink buttons to make getting it on and off easier.  Plus, CJ loved picking out her own buttons. The yarn is Universal Yarns's Nazli Gelin Garden 5 which is a cotton thread. I only needed 2 balls for the top.  It is a great thread to crochet with it having a really nice sheen and soft to the touch.  I used a H Tunisian hook (finally a reason to use my nice Tulip bamboo one that I love) and a D hook for the edging.

Fabric was something I picked up at JoAnn's about a year ago on a whim. I used less then 1/2 a yard.  The skirt is really simple trapezoid shape that is a bit wider then the cropped top so I could gather it in pleats when I sewed it into the top.  I added a bunch of ribbon on the inside (around the seam of the top and skirt and skirt side seams) so that CJ could rip it off easily and I wouldn't have to worry about my seams coming undone in the wash.

I couldn't be happier with the results!  Only hiccup is that it took me months to crochet and I have no idea where my notes are on the design.  Meaning... NO PATTERN for you guys.  Between my baby brain and things still left on the to do list, I know that even if I found my notes it would be a year before I was ready.  That said I can give you a few pointers if you wanted to use it as inspiration for your own design.  The whole concept is based on this quick free project of mine for one of CJ's dolls.

1.  Panels are 2 trapezoids (one for front and back, one for sleeves).  Body trapezoids are 5" at neck, 10" wide at bottom, and 3.5" high.  Sleeves are 2.5" wide at the neck, 6.5" at the bottom, and 3.5" high.
2.  Armhole width is 1.5".  That's the length you crochet to join the front and back together to make the body.
3.  Chest circumference ends up being 23" and 1.5" in length below the armhole.  That fits CJ who wears 3-4T in size.
4.  If you want to try and your little girl is not CJ's size, here's the number's I would use for your schematic.  Take a dress that fits her well, measure the chest circumference.  That's the measurement you want to fit when everything is assembled.  Now measure the neck opening width and depth.  The neck width will be the short side of your front/ back panel trapezoid.  The neck depth (times 2) will be the short side of your sleeve panel trapezoid.  Measure the Armhole depth, that will be the height of your trapezoids.  Measure the armhole width (usually between 1/2- 2"; mine was 3/4").  Multiple this by 2, and that's the length you need to connect the front and back together.  Divide the chest circumference by 2 and subtract the armhole width twice and you get the long edge of the front/ back trapezoids.  Measure the circumference of the sleeve at the joining to the body subtract the armhole width twice and that's the long edge of the sleeve trapezoid.  Clear as mud I am sure!
5.  Make a swatch and measure your gauge.  Using proportions figure out the row and stitch counts.  If you need help with that check out my Baby Sweater Class.  I go through all that in detail in that class.  (btw, its on super sale right now for only 9$, from the usual 15$)
6.  The 2 skirt panels I made are 15" wide at the top and 18.5" wide at the bottom and 14.5" long.  That includes 1/2" side and top seams and a 1" bottom seam.
7.  Again if your little girl is not a 4T, measure the bottom width of a dress that fits (that will be your long edge for your skirt plus 1" for seam allowance).  Measure the length of the skirt (add 1.5" for the seam allowance) and that's the depth of the skirt trapezoid.  Add 3-4 inches to the width of the finished top for your skirt's short edge.

Hopefully that quick recipe will give you some tips if you wanted to use this as inspiration for your own design.  And if you wanted to convert it to fit you, you totally could by just using your measurements instead.

I'm off to keep plugging on my to do list before little man decides to make his entrance.


Voie de Vie said...

Ok, that is just super cute!!!!

Take it easy between now and mid-August, and then definitely take a reduced/maternity schedule.

You and little man be well. :)

Z said...

Soooo adorable!!!!!

Heldasland said...

your model is so cute, what a wonderful design