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There’s a special treat on the blog this week: the fabulous Karen LePage of One Girl Circus is guest-blogging! Welcome, Karen!

 

Little Bee Summer Tutorial

We had a lot of interest in the sleeveless Little Bee Babysuit at Spring Quilt Market, so we thought it might be time to put together a tutorial to show you how simple it is to “summerfy” it yourself! Plus, we’ll show you how to apply the trim in a different way for super-fast construction using a serger.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Marrakech Knits - Little Bee for Summer

In a beautiful coincidence, Cherie wrote a tutorial to make a similar adjustment to a woven pattern earlier this year.  She did such a great job, we’ll just build on it here for our knit babysuit.

Make a sleeveless Babysuit.

For the Sleeveless Little Bee Babysuit, you’ll only need to trace 2 pieces: Front and Back. To adjust the arm openings for summer baby arms and not sleeves, let’s remove some of the shoulder width. I pulled in the shoulder on my sample by 1/2″ by measuring 1/2″ in from the armhole edge and marking, then re-drawing the curve for the top half of the armhole.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Use a Seam Gauge to measure easily

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Mark before you cut to adjust your pattern

Repeat the process for the back – or copy like I do, by lining up the pattern pieces and cutting both at the same time.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - cut together for a perfect match

Now you can cut out the pieces.  For the “binding” we are going to use a t-shirt style finish.  To simplify cutting, I usually cut a couple of strips across the entire width of the contrast fabric 1 3/4″ wide.  Press the binding fabric in half lengthwise right away so it’s ready to apply.  That way, you can avoid measuring and save time while still achieving a nice finish.

Construct the Babysuit.

Begin as in the pattern instructions, stitching the shoulder seams right sides together.  Press the seams open (if sewing on a regular machine) or toward the back (if using a serger to construct).

Next, measure the binding against the entire front of the baby suit neckline/wrap opening.  Cut the binding 1/2″ -1″ shorter than this total measurement. Repeat for the arm openings. (I already finished the arm openings in this photo).

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - measure twice, cut once

Find the center of the binding and clip or pin to the center back of the babysuit neckline, aligning all raw edges.  Stitch the binding in place, gently pulling the binding in place to match the neckline as you go. (Use a 3/8″ seam allowance, as in the original instructions. I like to use a 5-thread safety stitch for my serger construction stitch.)

Repeat for the arm openings, matching the center band to the shoulder seams.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - stitch on a serger if you like

Press the seam allowance under, exposing the folded edge.  You can topstitch in place, using a 3-step zigzag (as in the camel print top photo at the arm openings) or leave it as is.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - press with steam

Repeat to finish the armholes.  Continue construction at step 4.

Using this method is really fast, but there’s a bit of a downside (isn’t there always?) and that is a pretty bulky underarm seam.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Reduce Bulky Seams

 

I like to flatten that pileup of fabric with some strategic topstitching.  Press the side seam allowances toward the back, then, using your sewing machine, stitch a box to control hold those 6 layers flat.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - press bulky seams toward back

There, that’s better.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Stitch seams in place

 

Measure the bottom edge in the same way as for the neck/wrap and arm openings, but this time, you will sew the band into a circle. Find the opposite edge from this band seam and match to the center back of the bottom edge. Match the seam itself to the center front. (This will cover the seam when snapped, and distribute the binding evenly while attaching.

You’ll end up with a seam all around the bottom like this:

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Bottom seams

Which you will press like the top bindings to resemble this:

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Finished bottom

Now, attach the snaps and you’re done! Next time, we’ll help you transform the Little Bee Yoga Pants into summery shorts.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Summer Little Bee in Meadow Knits

3 Responses to “Summerfy your Little Bee – A Tutorial”

  1. Natasha says:

    Lovely tutorial!

    Really gorgeous new fabrics, when will they be released? :)

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