Sunday, August 7, 2016

A New Dress for Little Girl

My little one turned four this summer, which means I have been combing through my children's pattern stash trying to make up everything that she is about to age out of!! I have quite a few and I will be doing well if a finish say, three....we'll see how it goes!  My days, weeks, months can get away from me in the fall!

This dress is the Oliver and S Badminton Dress.  I love this sweet little dress, its like a really spruced up pillowcase dress.  The pattern, like all Oliver and S patterns, is very thorough and any mistakes I made were usually from inattention.  Whenever I complete an Oliver and S I want to make it right away again because the results are so great, now I'm thinking of a brightly colored one!

The fabric for this was from my stash for children's wear and I have to say I have been very intentional in the last few years to widdle this stash.  These prints are fall inspired prints that I have been holding on to for the right make, only to realize that there is no time like the present!  How much longer will they willingly wear squirrels and foxes?

My thought in the fall theme was that she can wear it with leggings and a long sleeve t-shirt when the weather begins to turn. 

I am going to enter this in the Pattern Review Sewing for Children contest just because I enjoy participating in their contests.  I don't expect to win since there are always amazing entries. 

Little girl seems ok with the dress, she's a little hard to impress these days but meh, that's ok I'm hoping when I make big sister something in this same print that she'll be motivated by the matchy matchy sister factor! Fingers crossed!
Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

A Sewing Legacy

This is my August post for Fabric Mart Fabrics.  

I have posted it here for those of you who predominately follow this blog- meaning my family and friends ha ha!  So here it is...

While visiting my parents this summer I discovered a little piece of my family sewing history!  My Mom asked me to go through a few boxes of old patterns she was thinking of getting rid of and being the pattern hoarder collector that I am, I dug through them and found some family history that even my Mom had forgotten.

I found this pattern with awesome 70's styling (look at those espadrilles) and when I pulled it out of the envelope I recognized my Mom's handwriting.  The note says "You can send this back in your next letter."

My Mom said that she and her Mother often wrote letters (weekly) and that she was sure she sent the pattern to her Mom to make.  She also said this pattern was a favorite of hers and she made it for friends as well.  Back in the day she added hand painted embellishments around the bottom of the skirt.  She was a wrap skirt fanatic and has passed that love to me! 

After discovering that this pattern had not only been sewn by Mom but also my Grandmother I knew I had to make it up!  While laying out the pattern I even found their alteration notes written on the pattern.  My Mom and Grandmother were a good bit taller than me so they had to add a couple of inches to the bottom of the pattern, not me! I did however included that 1/2 inch they suggested to the waist line!

Around this time of year I also love to sew something on the fancier side since my husband and I try to go out somewhere nice for our wedding anniversary.  So I chose to make this up in a gorgeous, and I mean gorgeous, bronze charmeuse.  It is like liquid chocolate, I love browns and a brown that shimmers, even better! 

I feel I would be doing any new sewist a disservice if I did not put out a disclaimer that silk charmeuse can be a real booger to sew if you don't have a few tricks up your sleeves.  My biggest and best trick is Sullivan's Spray stabilizer.  I seriously wouldn't even look at silk charmeuse without this stuff- it helps that much.  When you apply it, it dries transforming your fabric into a well behaved sewing participant, otherwise phhbtt, it runs amuck.  The texture it gives you is closer to a cotton voile and after you complete your project you simply hand wash it and voila, back to slinky, flowy fabric!

I originally heard of the magic of this stabilizer from Colette patterns blog.  It can be a little pricey but for the money and time you will invest in sewing silk, it's totally worth it.  I have heard/read of other methods that may be a little less expensive but so far this is the method I prefer.

Another tool to incorporate are silk pins.  I really would not use anything but silk pins when working with charmeuse because the silk is very fine and it is actually difficult to get regular craft sewing pins to pierce the fabric. This is the kind I use.

Another thing that I have learned through trial and error in working with silk charmeuse is that choosing patterns that don't require too much fiddly handling of the pattern pieces or too many design details will make your life easier and increase the chances of your project's success.  Now maybe I am speaking as a less skilled sewist, but for me these guidelines have saved me some headaches and some silk!
For the top, I used Simplicity 1366, a Cynthia Rowley pattern.  This is a really simple pattern, the front and back are cut from the same pattern piece.  For interest I cut the top out with the matte side of the fabric as the right side.  I omitted the facings and chose to make the tiniest hem, this tutorial by Megan Nielsen details how to make a rolled hem and is essentially the method I used.

I caught a small breeze!
For the wrap skirt I used the shiny side of the charmeuse and converted the gathers at the waist line to inverted box pleats.  I also used french seams throughout and lace hem tape to finish the hem and hand stitched the hem in place.

Sewing charmeuse is not for the faint of heart but it yields such elegant and special results.  And the vintage family pattern just elevated the experience for me. Handling this pattern, smoothing it out on my fabric, pinning it where they pinned it, and folding it back up, I felt a connection to the women before me who have infused me with a love of sewing, and that is an awesome feeling!

Soon I hope to have a post on a new Oliver and S dress that I just completed for my 4 year old!  It was made with the idea of it being transeasonal since we are still pretty hot here, until then, happy sewing
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Summer sewing

 This girl needed a special outfit this summer.  She was recognized for a story she wrote for a state competition and I wanted her to feel special.  I used NewLook 6465. 

She approved of the fabrics, both stash fabrics, and I was able to make the skirt reversible, which she loves. 

The pattern is a good one, for my tall girl I had to add at least 1 and 1/2 inches to the length of the top.  I slashed it midway and lengthened there.  I love simple little outfits like these.  The pictures were taken on the run which is the pace of our lives these days! 

Accepting her awards.
My sewing has been productive but I have been taking my time to make sure my projects are nice inside and out, so the sewing seems to go slower.  This shell top is from a silk sent to me in a mystery bundle by FabricMart.  I hand washed it beforehand and it behaved nicely when sewn up.  It was a really short length and narrow as well so I found a pattern that I thought I could squeeze a top out of.  The pattern is McCalls 7322

I can't decide if it looks better tucked in or out.  My husband says out.  Its very flowy and soft and slightly sheer so I wore a silk camisole (made for an upcoming Fabric Mart post) underneath.

I love simple luxurious things like carefully made silk shell tops.  I used french seams through out and for the neck and arms I finished them with bias binding made from the fabric.  I used a pattern piece dug out of an old vogue pattern that helps guide the bias binding making process.

There are tutorials out there for this method but I love having the pattern piece.  It makes the process more accurate for me when working with silk. 

Well that's what I've been up to lately and I am looking forward to making a few more special items for my daughters- especially since the eldest has already started school (!) and soon my Fabric Mart post will be up!  Happy sewing!

Thursday, June 2, 2016


 I haven't been posting much but I have been sewing, maybe not as much as my normal but still sewing.  Projects like this one have been on my mind and finding time to complete them, scarce. 

I have had this Fabric Mart plaid for maybe a couple of years.  Its a JCrew fabric, cotton with a crinkle to it.  I actually had to iron the fabric with starch to get it to submit to cutting and sewing.  But it is a really nice light weight, soft cotton- perfect for summer heat. 

I had my husband snap these pictures really quickly before work so I wasn't thinking about changing the camera settings, that's why there's a blue tint. 

The pattern for this top is a good one,  it took some concentration to figure out the fly button closure but in all the instructions are good.  I love the details of this top and truly hope I can make one more before the summer is up. 

Other projects are slowly being completed but sometimes there's too many other fun things to do when your children are small and the summer days are long... so until next time, happy sewing!!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Easter Dresses

These are the Easter dresses for my girlies, they are posted late here, made on time for Easter and one was not even worn out until the Sunday after Easter because of illness!!  So it goes...

These were made entirely from my stash which made me feel proud since I have desperately been trying to bust that stash of all kid related fabrics.  Who bought all that fabric anyway?!

 First up is my seven year old.  She is wearing Simplicity 8064.  
It went together very well, and the only real issue I have with it is the elastic configuration at the small of the back.  Some how it plus the button at the back of the neckline are supposed to hold the dress up but in reality it all relies on the button at the neckline.  That is a lot of dress to hold up on your neck.  I even cinched the elastic and took it up a good bit but in the photo below you can see it needs more taken up.

There's a cute little peter pan collar hidden under the neck bow, but I felt the dress really needed that extra green splash of fabric to break up the pink.  

I used a cute little heart button for the neck.  Seven year old approves of the dress which is a win!  I fully underlined the skirt and the top portion includes a lining. 

Next is the three year old.  This is an out of print McCall's pattern that I made for my other daughter when she was three.  It is pretty adorable and I probably should've made the front a sash instead of a bow but the fabric was cut out and people, Easter was coming fast and this needed to get done!  So two bows it was, one in the front and one in the back!  

Two year old approved and I love this tea set fabric, love it.  So not too much to say this pattern is OOP, it was a good one with a full lining which I love.  You can't tell it from this picture but the bodice has a lapped front and the illusion of being a wrap.  Sweet dresses like this are my absolute favorite for my kids.  Ok thats about all I have to say! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Two Knit Dresses

I completed two knit dresses for my Fabric Mart post this month and I have to say that I think I will live in these dresses this summer!  They are comfy and don't take an exorbitant amount of time to complete- win, win!

I posted all of the photos on that site that don't include the full extent of my two girls shenanigans, but for fun I thought I would post all of the outtakes here!

 Spontaneous hugs and floating fists often make an appearance in my pictures!

 We are covered in pollen during this time of the year and you can see a nice big pollen laden hand gave me a hug. 

 I have a model mimicking me in the background!

 Your arm is a perfect frame for my face and then Mom turns around to say "ok that's enough!"

So many bloggers seems to accomplish such professional pictures, for my part I am just lucky to be alone in a few pictures!! Ha!

Sewing details for those interested:

Black dress:
  • The black dress is McCalls 7348 made in a gorgeous black rayon/nylon/spandex blend from Fabric Mart.  
  • The changes I made to 7348 include narrowing the skirt portion of the dress so that it would fit on two yards of fabric.  I ended up removing 7 inches of circumference from the bottom edge of the pattern.
  • I didn't hem the sleeves or hemline.
  • I shortened the neckline binding pattern piece by about an inch. 
  •  Used size 10.
Aztec blue print dress:
  •  McCalls 6886 in a cotton/spandex blend from Fabric Mart, soft and so breathable. BTW this fabric is on sale on that site for just 4.00 a yard!  Here's the link.
  • Graded pattern from 10 at bust, 12 at waist to 14 at fullest part of my hips. 
  • Shortened neckline binding a bit, had to "draft" my own since this is not an included pattern piece.
  • Miscut the sleeves therefore stripes don't line up but I'm ok with it since the pattern is so busy. 
  • Did not hem the sleeves but hemmed the bottom hem.  
So happy with these two makes, two great fabrics and two easy patterns.  The end products are very comfy to wear and I know that there will be another maxi dress like the black one soon!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Mini Spring Wardrobe

Every time Pattern Review has a Wardrobe contest, I love perusing the storyboards of the participants and dreaming up my own mini wardrobe. It's so inspiring to see how other sewers interpret a pattern and fabric choice. And for me, there is something so fun about taking all of my patterns, spreading them out and then taking my fabrics and laying them alongside the patterns and matching them all up. I consider it the sewing person's version of Sudoku- at least that's how I try to explain it to my husband. 

I tried making my own storyboard this time by pasting the line drawings from the patterns to a Word document, it worked so-so and I'm sure there is a better way to do it, but its fun to see all the shapes in one spot. 

For this months Fabric Mart Fabricista project I chose four fabrics to mix and match and make a mini wardrobe. I noticed a lot of yellows on the Fabric Mart site and was enamored with a couple of prints that I found intriguing.  As I was choosing my fabrics I double checked with Julie at Fabric Mart to make sure that they coordinated as I envisioned they would and she was able to steer me toward some combinations that worked better than others, that's always soooo helpful when choosing fabrics online. I know that they would be happy to help you coordinate should you have the same questions!

Look Number One:

I am kind of an eyelet nut, I love, love, love anything eyelet so when I started planning my mini wardrobe I chose this yellow eyelet as the foundation of my collection. The eyelet is a Maggy London fabric and is available here. This a beautiful eyelet, great quality, and not only am I an eyelet nut I am also an eyelet snob, I will not sew with cheap eyelet. I made that mistake once with an Easter dress for my daughter and I was so perturbed when the eyelet pattern snagged on everything and began to unravel from the fabric. Therefore, if I detect a cheaply made eyelet I will just do without rather than spend my time lovingly crafting something only to have it poop out after one wear. This eyelet is the good stuff, no worries about snagging the pattern.

The pattern for the skirt is a Simplicity Cynthia Rowley, number 2215. This pattern doesn't include a lining piece so I jimmied one myself, can't say that I recommend my method, but it worked for me this time! Next time I need to properly reference a book on constructing a lining but for this one I folded out all the pleats and cut a front and back shape roughly the size of the skirt minus some of the pleat volume. It gets the job done and still looks decent on the inside. The pockets on this pattern are a great addition and the construction for the invisible side zip with the pocket are great.

The top for this look is McCalls 7285. The fabric is a really beautiful J. Crew cotton/linen voile. It is very sheer so lining it is a must- that is unless you make an awesome kimono from it or a shell top and pair it with a silk camisole! It is a very light and airy fabric- it floats like a voile, rather than puddling like a challis. I lined the bodice with a poly lining and left the sleeves without lining. I love the abstract botanical motif on this fabric and the print works great with this skirt. 

Look Number Two:

The fabric for this top is a poly/cotton Maggy London Jacquard print.  I picked some of this up awhile back for apparel and when it arrived I immediately ordered a bunch more for curtains! I love a floral jacquard and the coral color is one of my favorite colors. The beige is sheer so I used a lining for the bodice but left the sleeves without. The pattern is Butterick 6175.  I used the view with the bell sleeve and I love the way this top turned out.  

Does your photographer ever say "hey you have a long string on you" and then snap your picture?  Mine does, but its a great way to show off the shape of your sleeves!!

Look Number Three:

This is my husbands vote for favorite look. The fabric for this top is another Maggy London print, and is found here. It's a poly twill, which I wasn't quite sure what that would mean when I chose it, but it's a thicker fabric than the others used here and has good drape as well as a slight stretch. The cut edges do fray a bit so you will need to serge, zig zag or use pinking shears to finish them I did a little of it all when making two garments from it.

The pattern here is Vogue 9109. I've used this pattern before and was excited to envision this fabric as this tank. 

Look Number Four:

Now this is where I need the most help from all of you...I am not sure if this outfit is a success or a big old pattern!? Can I wear this out or is it just way too much for the eye? My husband says, "ummmm its nice." Which is sweet, supportive husband speak really means "oh dear me, please don't let her wear that on our next date, please God please." After looking at these pictures I like the look, I do think it might be a bit much for a small town- I'm not sure the twinset trend has made it down here yet, but I'm ok with looking a little different.  

On a side note I am teaching my dog, Buster, to talk when I say "speak" and I asked him for his opinion since he was so determined to photo bomb my pictures (and he's usually so camera shy!). The first time I asked he smiled at me, the second time I asked he refused to look me in the eyes....not sure how to take it.    

The culottes are McCall 7133 and I like them pretty well, I turned the box pleat into a single pleat, just a personal preference. I suspect they need a little more back crotch length because they pull weirdly to the front a smidge when I walk.  I am still working out how to make pants that fit, its definitely a longggggg and winding path.  But culottes are a safe place to start since the fit is more forgiving.  As far as a culotte pant, this pattern is a very easy pattern to sew and has center princess seams down the middle back of each leg. I also added pockets.         

I know when you're avoiding my gaze Buster! Are you pouting because you haven't been to the groomer's lately?  I guess thats a possibility!

Look Number Five:

There's not much to say here that I haven't already said but I love to print mix and although these two might not be a perfect match I'm good with them!

Look Number Six:

Again not much to say here except, I hope this culotte trend hangs around for a few years because they are really comfortable and easy to sew.

One thing to note, I'm planning to sew so many pieces in a short amount of time I purposely chose patterns that I felt were very easy to sew. So if you are a beginner I'd recommend each of these patterns. There aren't many pieces involved, probably the culotte had the most pieces and the shapes are pretty forgiving. 

Well that's my Mini Spring Print Mixin' Wardrobe and I hope I've inspired you to try your own! I am thrilled with the results. The fabrics were beautiful to work with and now I am all set for the Spring! Yippee!