Tuesday, June 30, 2015

City Gym Shorts for Kids

This is the City Gym Short pattern for my 3 year old made in Sesame Street and yellow calico quilting cotton.  I love this little pattern it fits my 3 year old perfectly.  She is a tall slim toddler and there is room for a pull up diaper when she needs it but they also fit great with undies.  The has a separate waistband piece which is different from the Made with Moxie shorts I reviewed earlier.  I like the separate waistband better it just feels cleaner and smoother than simply folding the shorts over at the top.  The other difference between the two patterns is that this one does not have pockets and uses woven fabric for the bias finish.  The only construction issue I ran into was that the bias tape maker was to be 18mm and I didn't have one this size so I had to press the tape the best I could.  
 Will she wear them?
Yes, she wears them as compliantly as any three year old wears any clothing item.  I personally think they are the cutest shorts in her dresser.  I made her a dress out of this fabric over a year ago and really wanted to use it up before she decides she no longer likes Sesame Street.  I love Sesame Street and think its is adorable so Momma got her way on this one!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Prefontaine short for kids

 Pattern: Prefontaine Shorts for kids in size 5/6 years.  This is a pdf pattern and this is the second pair I've made for my 6 year old daughter.  The first pair is the floral black pair below made at the end of last summer.  Amazingly they still fit this year so I made a second pair (green) for her this summer. The pattern is pretty good, the only small critique is that there is no separate waistband piece which means that you have to fold over the top including the contrast knit bias tape finishing which can be pretty thick to fold over.  I made no changes to the pattern and the sizing is pretty forgiving considering the 5/6 fit her last summer and this summer.  I like that you use an old t shirt to make the finishing contrast tape. 

Fabric: The fabric for both pair are quilting cottons.  I am still stashbusting quilting cottons and haven't bought any new quilting cottons in what feels like ages.  I think its secretly multiplying underneath my fashion fabrics.
The pink bias tape finishing is actually an old knit shirt cut into strips as per the pattern instructions.  Its a new finish for me but it works great in using up an old t shirt.   One t shirt can yield a lot of tape. 
Will she wear it? She has worn the black pair quite a lot this summer and some last summer (takes her a while to warm up to new clothing items).  Her green pair hasn't been quite as popular but I think with some time she'll love them too.  That about sums up these shorts.  I have also recently completed the Purl Soho City Gym shorts for my 3 year old and will write that up soon since its very similar to this pattern.  The Purl Soho Pattern is a free download and I really recommend it!   

Monday, June 1, 2015

Vogue 1392 and Butterick 5982 Frankenpattern

 I completed this dress some time back but at the end of the project just felt pretty "meh" about it.  So it hung in my closet for a couple months while it waited to be hemmed and then I finally thought I'd wear it and see how I liked it.  Turns out some projects just don't always pan out like you think they will in your mind's eye but with a little distance from them you can come to appreciate them for what they did turn out to be...does that make sense to any other sewers out there?

I had envisioned this dress shape looking like this Kate Spade dress.  I tried this dress on for fun last fall while visiting Hanni in Kansas City and loved it.  So I came home and tried to make something similar. 
Fabric:  The fabric is from Hancock fabrics and is a cotton sateen.  I love cotton sateen and this one has a nice feel.  The lining is some blue poly lining given to me.  Its not very breathable but gets the job done.
Patterns: Skirt from Vogue 1392 and Top from Butterick 5982.  The top part has some puckering/stands out around neck and I've noticed this has happened to others online that have made this pattern.  I stay stitched the neck so I know that it didn't stretch out.  If there were to be a next time for this dress I'd go down a size in the shoulders, this version is a size 10.  I love the darting/princess seams here- it adds some interest and I've never sewn a dress with this darting/seaming.  Its been a while since I made this dress so I think that I graded the waist out to a 12 and that the skirt is a size 12.  The skirt is cute but I'm betting the skirt originally drafted for this dress would be more appropriate for this style.   I also shortened the length of the top thinking that I could get the waist line to look similar to the Kate Spade dress. 
Styling:  I added the belt to this dress and it made all the difference for me.  I included the picture below so that you can see the comparison.  The belt really helped define the waist in my opinion plus I wanted to wear my red shoes and two lobster pins (thanks Mom I borrowed those from the granddaughter you gave them to!).   I love any good excuse to wear my red shoes!  This dress makes a great church dress, turned out a bit too short (my fault for shortening the top part too much) for work and I only hemmed it the smallest amount possible by attaching hem lace to the edge and only just barely turning it up and hand stitching.  
Well there you go!  This Frankenpattern is finally seeing the light of day and I got some really sweet compliments when I wore it which is always nice!  I promise to be nicer to this dress in the future and instead of pushing it to the back of the closet, it will get in the regular Sunday rotation.

Linking up to Sew it Chic in a Week at Gray All Day.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

A Graduation Ayashe Set

 This big girl is graduating Kindergarten next week!  I wanted to make her a fancy dress for her graduation or "congraduation" as she calls it, but she did not want a fancy dress.  Instead we settled on this Figgy's Ayashe Set.  I made her the longer sleeve version of this top (in the very same fabric) this past winter and she loved it, wore it every week.  So when we were working out (negotiating) what I would make her for "congraduation" she saw this fabric and wanted a summer version of the top.  I was good with that, plus I knew I had this pink cotton/linen blend that would work well for a skirt.  So I called it fancy enough and know that she will get a lot of wear out of this outfit this summer.
 Pattern: This pattern, oh this pattern, I love the resulting garments, but the first time I made the top I found some of the instructions a bit confusing.  This was the third time I've made the shirt and I really only glanced at the instructions.  I will say though that I have come to expect a little more hand holding type instructions from Indie pattern designers and this was wasn't quite up to that standard.  In a few places I'm pretty sure I found some errors but am too lazy to really go back and study the instructions.  I do know for sure that the outside packaging calls for 1 inch elastic for the skirt and the instructions within say 3/4 inch.  Just a heads up to anyone out there, the garments are adorable- in particular we LOVE the top but the instructions might be a bit confusing or sparse for a new sewist.

The top comes together pretty quickly and easily and I do need to note that the instructions have you set the sleeves in after the side seam is sewn up and really this isn't necessary, you can set them before you sew the side seam.  If you wanted to, this top would be a great showcase for an alternate fabric on the yoke or ties.  Lots of cute potential and its a woven, which I love.   The tie on this one is one of two options for the neckline, this winter I used the mandarin collar finish and I think I like this tie better. 

The skirt is kind of a fussy little make.  You are supposed to make buttonholes for your buttons but since the back waistband is elastic I found working buttonholes unnecessary and just sewed the buttons on.  BTW the elastic back waistband is a fantastic idea and Figgy's has you extend your elastic a bit so that as your child grows you just let the elastic out.  I left off the optional belt loops, she never wears belts.  I added about 1 1/4 inches to this skirt and only turned it up 1/2 inch total to hem it so if your child is on the tall side you may want to add length too.    

The necktie makes a cute bow!
 Fabric: The top is quilting cotton from my stash and the skirt is cotton/linen blend I've had for ages. 
He's been her constant playmate for her entire life!
 Will she wear it? She loves it, wanted to keep it on to play in, however we are going to try to keep it clean until "congraduation" and then she can wear it until her hearts content.  Its always so much fun when they love wearing what you make them.  I find that these days its probably better to get some input from her before I make anything for her. 

On another note, the pictures of this girly with her dog just make my Momma heart smile.  She loves our dog and he loves her too.  Such sweet pals.   
These two have a special bond.  We sure do love our dog Buster.

Monday, May 11, 2015

M6991-Undecided and M6729-Swimsuit Success

We are having a hot pink week around these parts.  I don't know what that's about, mostly me just trying to stash bust and match appropriate fabrics with appropriate patterns- an exercise in concentration for me.  I've had both of these fabrics in the stash for more than over a year.   

Pattern:  The M6991 Wrap Front top.  I read the reviews of this pattern on Pattern Review paying careful attention to learn from others who've made it before me.  I went down to a size 8 as per others suggestion.  It does indeed run big, because I think even in a size 8 the shoulders are pretty big on me and the sleeves were very big as well.  I ended up cutting the sleeves off as seen in the pictures because the volume of the long version was pretty silly looking on me.  If you make this pattern be sure to mark your fabric carefully and note that the front is twisted back on itself- so you definitely need a fabric that is the same on both sides.  I can't say that I am sold on the shape of this top, it looked funny when paired with my black pencil skirt.  I just don't know about adding volume around my tummy and hips, I usually try to avoid things like that.  

One thing that I didn't notice in the other reviews about this top was that the center front is pretty high up, meaning there is real potential for flashing your tummy whenever you raise your arms.  That's what I'm trying to demonstrate in the picture below- dangerously close to coming up above my jeans.  I am not a fan of that so I will have to wear a tank underneath this top.  
Fabric: This fabric is a very thin rayon challis from Fabric Mart.  I bought it ages ago and it is a J Crew fabric.  I originally bought it thinking I'd make a skirt from it but when it came it was so sheer that I didn't know what to do with it.  So this top was perfect because of all the folds in the front of the top you can't see through the front.  I am really wondering what this shirt will look like after I hand wash it, will it go back to a pretty shape?  To avoid washing it a lot I might put it away until fall when I can comfortably wear a t-shirt underneath it.

 Styling: As you can see I really didn't style this top, just put it on for pictures.  I'm guessing it might be good for work with black dress pants, as I stated above, it looked pretty weird with my black pencil skirt.  I may have to wear it a few times and play with the styling before I figure out what it pairs best with.

Now to the thing that I am most proud of today....I MADE A SWIMSUIT!
 Pattern: This is McCall 6729.  I have seen this pattern and doubted my abilities in the past but this was the year I was determined to make my girls swimsuits.  I thought this pattern would be a good starting point and it was.  I knew it would be too short for my tall 6 year old gal so I slashed the pattern at the waistline mark and added a little over 1 1/2 inches to the suit, then after holding the pattern up to my daughter's torso I added a little over 1/2 inch to the very top neckline.  If you use this method, note that the crotch wraps around from the front to back.  It turned out to be the perfect length.  You'll have to take my word for it.  To get the estimate I needed for length I also measured a swimsuit my daughter tried on at a store.  It always pays off to keep a tape measure in my purse!   

Plus I added a bit more coverage to the bum, but it wasn't necessary.  I added about a 1/4 inch to the back leg curve and then used 1/4 inch elastic instead of the 3/8 recommended.  Next time I will cut it out as the pattern indicates and then just use 1/4 inch elastic to finish the leg openings.  

I fully lined the suit in polyester swimsuit lining. I didn't want there to be any exposed crotch seams so I layered the pieces this way, Front of suit right side up, back of suit wrong side up, back of suit lining right side up and then front of suit lining wrong side up. I pinned them all together at the crotch, stitched and then flip the front lining up and over the trimmed seam. Worked great. 

Fabric: I have had this floral swimsuit fabric for over a year and bought it at 90% off the original price at Hancocks.  Its perfect for my daughter who loves bright colors and pink in particular.  The lining is just plain white swimsuit lining and I lined the front and back of the suit.  The elastic is 5/8 inch fold over elastic from Hobby Lobby.

Will she wear it? Yes!  She likes it and its perfect for swimming lessons.  Has more than enough bum coverage and chest coverage!! Yippee!

So there you go, making swimsuits is very doable!  Don't think I will go back now!

Linking up to Sew it Chic in a Week.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Vogue 9091 or Let the Summer of Culottes Begin!

Big girl had to get her photo bomb moment.
 I have joined the culotte fan wagon!  I was very uneasy about how these would turn out- one never knows with something like this- will the sizing be ok? will they look completely goofy, what is a culotte anyway??  I had lots of uneasy feelings while sewing these, therefore it took me much longer to sew them, I just had a hard time motivating myself.  But when I put them on I instantly loved them and need about four more pair for the summer.   Btw you may notice a few photo bombers, they were in full tilt while I was taking these pictures.  
 Pattern:  Vogue 9091 view B.  I should say that I have very specifically included which view I made because I made a muslin of view C and it was pretty awful on me.  It would probably work for someone who hasn't had two children and is still toned in the lower abdomen but for me, no way.  The reason I like view B is because the pleating in the front lies down well and is smoothing for that area.  I sewed a size 12, for reference my hips measure 39 inches and my waist 29.  The waistband is snug, but not uncomfortable at all.  One change I made was to attach the waistband to the culottes with a 3/8 inch seam allowance.  I just wanted a smidge more height on them.  The hips are loose so with sizing there is wiggle room there.  Pattern went together fine, no problems with pieces lining up or strange directions.

Why yes that is a floating pillow next to me, two guesses who's holding it!
Fabric: This is more rayon challis from Hancock, I used it not long ago to make palazzo pants.  I love this print.  
Can you spot the kid?  In fact there are two kids here- find them?
 Styling: Oh my goodness I really searched through pinterest to figure out how to style these since it was new to me and had the potential to go really wrong.  I noticed that some were paired with heels, others with flats and some with booties.  I chose my wedge sandals in the hopes that it would make them look summery.  I like the pairing.  Will probably have to wear flats for work.  The tee I'm wearing here is another me-made.  Its the Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tee which is a free pattern you receive when you sign up for her email newsletter.    It is such an easy make, can't even tell you how fast this one was, I didn't even finish any of the edges because the fabric is nylon spandex and in my opinion looks fine as is. 
So there you go, another work appropriate outfit to put into rotation this summer.  This will not be my last pair of culottes, I'm a convert to them!  Anyone else out there coming over to the culotte dark side??

Friday, April 24, 2015

Back to Work Basics

 The title of this post about sums it up, I'm back to work and need basics that can be mixed and matched without much thought.  I'm working through my stash for these pieces and am trying to make them all play nice together.  Oddly enough, going through my stash to coordinate I've discovered I buy a lot of fabrics in the blue color family.  So I'm trying to stay somewhere within a blue/black/white spectrum.  That way I can easily mix them up and throw in my red shoes for good measure. 
Blue Top (pictured above)
Pattern:  This first top is Simplicity 1690.  Its a basic little top with only three pattern pieces.  I love that!  The pattern went together easily.  I graded the pattern an 8 at the shoulders, 10 at the bust and 12 at the hip line.  The only observation I can think of about this pattern is that the bias binding facing at the neckline is a bit wide but I like the result.  The hemline has a nice touch with a split hem on each side. 
Fabric:  This is a rayon challis from Hancocks fabrics.  It was leftover from my recent maxi skirt make.
Styling: I've paired this top with work pants and this black pencil skirt.  I have enjoyed wearing it more than I initially thought I would.  My first impression when I looked at this top was that I had made a top suitable for scrubs.  But after wearing it I think I will have to make another one!

Pencil Skirt (in all pictures)
Pattern:  The pencil skirt is Simplicity 2154.  This is one of Simplicity's vintage patterns.  It went together great.  I used a size 12 at the waist, 14 in the hips and graded back to a 12 below the hips.  It has a side zipper, waistband, and vent in the back.  The instructions don't include lining and I didn't use a lining.  In the summer it gets pretty hot here and I like wearing slips under skirts because they are easier to launder and it saves my garments from over washing.  It seems I need an adjustment for a bit of a full tummy but I've tried some tutorials that address this problem with other skirts and didn't have great results.  If anyone knows a really good method for that fix I'd love to hear it!  I'm inclined to just ignore the problem since its only a minor nuisance and just pick a more relaxed fabric next time I make this skirt!
Fabric:  My Mom gave me this fabric, it is a cotton with stretch.  Not sure what exactly it is but it feels like bottom weight and is crisp. 
Styling:  A pencil skirt like this is so versatile.  I made mine on the longer end.  I might shorten it a smidge next time.  I'm not sure what this skirt won't go with since its a basic black pencil skirt, I know I'll get a lot of use out of it. 
Light Blue Top (both above and below)
Pattern: The top above is Simplicity 1366.  I've made this pattern twice before and its very easy.  It has a boxy shape and dropped shoulders.  This one is a size 8, which I think I should've graded to at least a size ten in the bust and waist.  I like the shape of this top and have been considering trying a different pattern like this one except without the dropped shoulder- mainly this one from Butterick.  I'm just curious about the differences between the two patterns and really like this way this top looks and would like to see if I can copy it.  

Fabric:  The fabric was given to me and I'm not sure of its content, I think it is mostly polyester with some cotton.  It looks like chambray and feels like a light weight cotton.  It doesn't wrinkle easily which is great. 

Styling:  I've made this top a couple times before and made the hem narrower on this one.  I wanted a bit more length so that I can tuck it into the skirt.  This type of top is a great blank canvas for a statement piece necklace.  I have only one statement piece necklace so I might have to do something about that!
So there we are, three more back to work basics to add to the rotation of work wear!