Clever Charlotte–Sewing Patterns for Modern Children's Clothes Blog
15 Jun 2011

Charlotte’s Summer Reading List

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Hello! From my Pinteresting Finds post a few weeks ago, a number of you were interested in seeing my complete list of books I will be attempting to read this summer.  These books are great for readers in the 2-3-4th grades or read aloud by an adult to younger children.  Quite a few of them have only recently been re-released.

For optimal reading enjoyment, I highly recommend spreading out a picnic blanket in a breezy spot along the edge of the Tweed River, with a tall glass of strawberry lemonade in hand.  I hope you’ll pick one or two of these great finds to read along with me!



14 Jun 2011

Charlotte’s Pinteresting Finds – v1.3

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What’s Charlotte liking this week? Find out each Tuesday as she spots trends and captures a little slice of goodness from Pinterest.
School is out! I went strawberry picking this morning and could not wait to find some yummy recipes for my sun-soaked rubies. I found lots of goodies, as well as few more nature-inspired, kid-friendly snacks to share with you this week. Bon Appetit!

Pinteresting Finds, Week of June 13, 2011

Sources: /one/ Whole-wheat homemade goldfish found via various /two/ Strawberry Mice found via /three/ Butterfly Garden found via /four/ Treetop found via

Want to see even more of what Charlotte is looking at this week?

09 Jun 2011

A Starling Shirt (sans Flounce) + A Brief Lesson on Piped Edges

1 Comment Inspiration, Starling Dress & Shirt, Tutorials

I have been anxious to try this shirt out for a number of reasons. First, we haven’t really talked up the fact that the Starling Dress, featured on the pattern cover, can also be modified easily to make the Starling Shirt.  Second, I really wanted to start showing you some variations in styling without the flounce to illustrate the pattern’s versatility.  Finally, I had this vision of adding piping around the yoke and didn’t want to back down simply because I had never worked with piping before.   What a pleasant surprise!

This shirt is definitely a nod to my ever growing love of “modern vintage”.  Here the shirt’s modern cut is paired with old fashioned crocheted doilies, picked up from a local vintage shop for just a few bucks (I cut apart the individual medallions you see here from a larger piece.)    The main body of the garment is a raspberry colored chambray cotton–both airy and soft–and the yoke is unbleached muslin. Originally, I intended to use a crisp white shirting fabric for the yoke, but changed to the muslin when I realized the pure white contrasted too much with the creamy crocheted pieces. As I mentioned above, I opted to trade in the flounce for a bit of color around the yoke with the piped edging, though I kept the front placket for additional interest.  For the piping, I used Alexander Henry’s Dasha fabric, which has a crazy mix of colors when looked at in a larger piece, but provided a nice bit of interest when scaled way down for the piped edge.

I should probably mention that I made the size 2T shirt for my daughter, pictured here, who is hardly a size 2T (in terms of Clever Charlotte’s patterns or in most ready to wear lines).  Never mind the fact that N. will be 3 at the end of the month…my point is, if it looks like the shirt’s a little big on her, that is because it is.  I am hoping it will be a better fit for when she goes off to school this fall.  Oh, and I should also add that she’s wearing a pair of Finch shorts from our spring collection.

A Brief Lesson on Piped Edges

I chose to make my own piping, though like bias tape, you can purchase ready-made versions in really bland solid colors at your local fabric shop.  It was really easy to make the piping (even easier than making your own bias tape in fact), so I would definitely recommend trying it.  All you need is a thick string or narrow rope (I bought mine in the upholstery section of JoAnn’s).

The fabric strip to cover the string is cut on the bias (that is, on a 45 degree angle to the selvage edge) in a width that is equal to the sum of:

(1) the circumference of your string (use your tape measure to get a general idea),


(2) your seam allowance x 2 (so 1″ in my case since I have 1/2″ seam allowances).

The length of the strip and the string you will need will be equal to the length of the seam or edge to be piped plus 2-3″ extra for good measure.

If the finished length is longer than a single strip of your bias tape, plan on mitering the corners of several smaller strips together at 45 degree angles.

Preparing the fabric to cut the bias tape

Once you have the strip cut out, lay the string or cord down the center and finger press the strip closed.

Wrapping the cord with the bias tape

Using the zipper foot on your machine, sew along the string so that the stitches are snug up against the string but not crossing over onto it.

Securing the cording with a zipper foot

Once you have the piping cord sewn, all that remains is to lay it onto the seam or edged to be piped (with the raw edges of the bias strip flush with the seam allowance of your project) and sew along the string again using the zipper foot.  Because you used a bias strip, the cording should have a lot of give to turn corners and curves effortlessly, without unnecessary bunching.

Pin the piped edging along the seam or edge and sew in place using a zipper foot

From the step pictured above, the next step in making the Starling Shirt is to place the outer curve of the yoke on the shirt’s neck edge/bias strip, right sides together, and finish according to the pattern instructions. Once the yoke piece is flipped back on itself, the lovely piping will be revealed, sandwiched delicately between  the main body of the garment and the yoke.

I hope you find a chance to experiment with piping soon.  It is such a clean finish to an edge and, as shown here, can add a nice punch of color without overdoing it.

Happy sewing!

07 Jun 2011

Charlotte’s Pinteresting Finds – v1.2

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What’s Charlotte liking this week? Find out each Tuesday as she spots trends and captures a little slice of goodness from Pinterest.

Hola, compadres!

I am feeling particularly global this week.  School is almost over for the summer(!), so I sat down over the weekend to draw up my summer reading map.  I can’t wait to travel to far off lands and meet natives in their natural settings, all courtesy of the Village Library.  First up, I am going to follow that bear from deepest, darkest Peru, Paddington, through the wilds of London.  There’s no telling what mixed-up shenanigans this culture-shocked ursa minor will find himself  in.

For another fish-out-of-water story, how about The Swiss Family Robinson, a classic guidebook for sustainable living.  A truly resourceful family, who, though Swiss, was not in fact named Robinson.

Do you have any other international tales of adventure to recommend for summer reading?

Pinteresting Finds, Week of June 5, 2011

Sources: /one/ Things I like Things I love found via /two/ Mint Home found via /three/ Little White Dog found via /four/ Rachel Austin found via

Want to see even more of what Charlotte is looking at this week?


05 Jun 2011

Sandpiper Capri Tutorial

3 Comments Design Updates, In the Workroom, Patterns, Sandpiper Capri & Top


Our Sandpiper Capri is a unique pant design that leaves the side seams open to the breeze. While different from the standard pants patterns you have probably sewn, the Sandpiper Capri is extremely easy, if not easier, to sew.  Once you understand how this pant is assembled, you will find it a quick and rewarding project and your little girl will love dancing in the results.

In this tutorial, I walk you through the basic construction of the pants so that you can follow along with your printed pattern.  To help you with this, I’ve cross-referenced the steps by number from the written instructions.

The Sandpiper Capri basically consists of 4 pattern pieces: Front, Back, Front cuff, and Back cuff.  In this example, I’ve chosen a striped cotton fabric for the main fabric and polka dot print for the lining. To start, I adhered the interfacing to the wrong sides of the lining waistband.  Next, I sewed the Front to Back pieces along the inseam of both the lining and the main fabrics (Step 4A).

Sandpiper Capri: Step 4A


Once the seams are pressed, line up the crotch seams for each side of the pant.  The picture below shows the main fabric being joined at the crotch seam (Step 4B). Repeat for the lining fabric.

Sandpiper Capri: Step 4B


Now the Fronts and Backs of the lining and main fabrics are sewn (at inseam and crotch) and it is time to sew the main and lining pieces together. Before doing so, place the twill tape where you have marked at the tabs of the Front waist (see pattern piece for placement). Sew the twill tape just inside the 1/2″ seam allowance as shown below (Step 5A).  Once the twill tape is secure, I like to pin it to the right side of the fabric away from the seam allowances so that it doesn’t get caught in the seams I plan to sew in the next step.

Sandpiper Capri: Step 5A


With right sides together, sew the lining pieces to the main pieces all around the edges of the garment. (Step 5C)  You see below that I pinned the Back main fabric to the lining fabric starting at the bottom left, continued up the pant leg to the Back waistband, across the waistband, and down the other pant leg.  In the photo, you can also see that I have repeated this pinning on the Front leg pieces.  After pinning in this manner, sew these seams.

Sandpiper Capri: Step 5C

Trim all seams just sewn to approximately 1/8”. (Step 5D)

Sandpiper Capri: Step 5D


Next, reach into one of the pant legs and pull the entire garment right sides out. (Step 5E) You are left with a garment that has no raw edges except where you will attach the cuffs.  Press around all the edges of the garment for a crisp finish and topstitch to secure the main fabric to the lining.

Now, on to the cuffs. Sew the front cuff to the back cuff and press seam allowances open (repeat for both main and lining cuffs). (Step 6A)

Sandpiper Capri: Step 6A

Before attaching the cuffs to the bottom of the pant leg, you should choose whether you want your cuff to match or contrast with the pant leg. Here, I have chosen to contrast the cuffs/pant legs and, therefore, I pinned the polka dot cuffs to the striped pant legs (right sides together)a. (Step 6D)

Sandpiper Capri: Step 6D

Next, I match the striped cuffs to the polka dot cuff (rights sides together) with the end of the pant leg sandwiched in between. It is a bit difficult to see from the photo above that the striped cuff is under the polka dot cuff, but it is.  Now I am ready to sew around the cuffs from one edge of the pant leg to the other, pivoting at the corners of the cuffs, leaving that portion of the cuff that is atop of the pant leg open.

Once sewn, I trim the cuffs all around to approximately 1/4”, leaving a 1/2″ allowance at the opening. (Step 6E)

Sandpiper Capri: Step 6E


Then flip the cuffs to the right sides. (Step 6F)

Sandpiper Capri: Step 6F

When you do this, you’ll be left with a hole at the bottom edge of the cuff where you turned it through. Press, then topstitch around the entire cuff from one edge of the pant leg to the other, making sure to catch the seam allowances to close this hole. (Step 6G)

Sandpiper Capri: Step 6G


The only steps that remain to complete the garment is the addition of buttonholes and buttons at the waist.

There you have it–the Capri pant!  Hopefully these pictures of an actual garment make it clearer to you how to tackle each step. I promise it is super easy and fun! Send us pictures of your finished Sandpiper Capri pants… we’d love to add them to our project gallery to inspire others.

Happy Sewing!

31 May 2011

Charlotte’s Pinteresting Finds – v1.1

1 Comment Charlotte's Pinteresting Finds, Inspiration

After much cajoling, Charlotte, our resident fashion muse, cruise director and clever fox, has agreed to provide us with a little window into her crafty and colorful life. What’s Charlotte liking this week? Find out each Tuesday as she spots trends and captures a little slice of goodness from Pinterest, one of the most powerful tools for organizing internet inspiration out there. So, let’s not waste another minute. What’s Charlotte liking this week?
Greetings, everyone!

What is the universal symbol for party these days? Why, bunting, of course!  Whether it adorns your bedroom, your birthday cake or yourself, bunting adds instantaneous fun to any occasion. Hang it up for a few days or leave it up as a more permanent installation, bunting is a great way to chase away whatever ails you.  Give it a try!

Pinteresting Finds, Week of May 31, 2011

Sources: /one/ mimis circus found via /two/ emma lamb found via various /three/ found via /four/ sparklepower found via

Want to see even more of what Charlotte is looking at this week?