Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sleep Shorts for Bitty Girl

Oliver and S patterns  has a new free shorts pattern.  I used the pattern to make my Bitty Girl some new sleep shorts.  The fabric is from some vintage crib sheets I thrifted ages ago.
 I loooovvvvveee vintage crib sheets, you usually have to cut around staining and holes but the prints are always sooooo sweet.  I tried to capture Bitty Girl in these but she is way to busy to be bothered.
 The pattern is very straightforward and comes in sizes 6 months to 12 years so if you're new to sewing this may be a great starter pattern for you.  I always love Oliver and S patterns for the clarity of the instructions and the great overall fit.  Ok "that's all I have to say about that" (Forrest Gump voice thrown in for free).

Monday, May 26, 2014

Archer + Maritime = Signature Style

It seems I've become a Grainline Pattern fanatic!  What can I say, the resulting garments just look so professional and the styles are casual and incredibly functional.  I guess these days I've been thinking a lot more about functionality/practicality rather than what just strikes me as pretty and exciting.  Meaning most of the time I am drawn to beautiful dress patterns but find that they just don't get worn on a regular day to day basis.  So I've been trying to consciously choose makes that will realistically get worn over and over through out my week.  This is just such an outfit.   
 The shirt is the Grainline Archer pattern of blogging infamy.  I made it out of a thin ikat from Joann's fabrics and its going to be my go to summer shirt.  The ikat waves remind me so much of the beach and the texture of the fabric is incredibly breathable.  As far as the pattern goes I made a straight up size 4 and the fit is great except I have a tiny bit of pulling at the bust line button.
 The shorts are the Grainline Maritime Shorts pattern.  I am in love with the way these came out.  I have a hard time finding a pair of shorts or pants for that matter that don't have that dreaded lower back gaping, you know where you bend down and are ignorant of the crazy flash show that is going on back there for the world to see.  I have no gaping in the back which seems like a Christmas miracle come early.  The fabric was given to me and is a bottom weight cotton/poly blend.  The only change I made to the pattern was to let the backside seam out a bit because, well I just needed it!  Otherwise its a straight up size 8.
 Although I'm hesitant to include this shot these are the ones I appreciate when other bloggers blog about their experiences with a pattern...sometimes you just need to know what all the angles look

And these are my new shoes, again with functionality in mind I'm trying to move toward what works best with my lifestyle.  In all honesty I am a Birkenstock kind of person through and through but I know that they just look plain goofy with some outfits so here I am back in junior high buying Keds.  This is my last entry for Project Sewn if you are so inclined you can vote for my outfit starting this Friday!

Linking up to Frontier Dreams: Keep Calm and Craft On.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Pintuck Dress, Take Two

A little while ago I wrote about the Pintuck Dress that I have been working on--designing, drafting, sewing, the whole deal.  I decided that Vintage May was a great excuse to make another version of the dress.  The design had been inspired by many of the sweet, simple dresses of the past, and a vintage sheet as fabric would complete the look.

I made a few changes to the pattern this time around.  This version has gathered cap sleeves, and rather than a zipper in the back, I added a button placket.  I'm really pleased with both changes, although I need to make a few minor adjustments to some of the details.

I'm still working on developing this as a pattern for sale, so stay tuned!  This has been such a learning process for me, everything from drafting to digitizing to figuring out how it all pieces together.  It uses a part of my brain that I don't get to use every day as a stay-at-home-mom, and I love the challenge.

And here she is looking tough with her Belle and rose tattoos.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Kenyan Fabric Finally Realized

If you don't follow Project Sewn and you like to sew garments, you really should check it out.  It is such a great source of inspiration and for someone like me, who needs small goals each week, its great to follow along.  It makes me push to get projects that have been in my head forever finally DONE!  Which is so gratifying.  So on to the makes...the theme this week is "Going Global."

My husband went to Kenya in 2010 and brought back this gorgeous batik printed fabric.  He bought it from a group called Amani ya Juu which focuses on the development of peace and empowerment for women. They don't typically sell fabric but my husband inquired about it for me and ended up bringing home a lot of this print as well as a print with giraffes.  I really wanted to make a garment from the fabric but the weave is just too loose and I just know after sewing this bag that it would have been a real pill to sew into a garment.  I used the Noodle-head "Go Anywhere Bag" pattern and love the result.  The pattern is very straightforward  and simple.  I used a denim needle on my machine because of the thick layers and that helped.  The olive colored canvas is from Denver Fabrics and is very sturdy.
The top is, once again, my mash-up of the Grainline Scout and Megan Nielsen Crescent Top.  You can see my first one here.  I am loving this franken-pattern, I tell you it is sooo comfy and you can wear it tucked in, out, belted.  I am including pictures of it each way so you can get an idea.  
I'm always nosy like that about patterns, wondering how it would look styled differently, so I guess I'm assuming some of you are nosy like that too!  The fabric is from Hancock's and is a rayon challis.  The print reminds me of all the wildlife my husband saw while in Kenya.  He even fed a giraffe, see those warthogs in the back ground, always makes me think of Pumbaa.

The skirt is the Cascade skirt also from Megan Nielsen.  I chopped a good bit off of the back since it was a bit much for my frame.  The fabric was thrifted, I have no idea what it is, it breathes and is very drapey resulting in a comfy skirt for summer and a nice alternative to shorts.  I am so glad to have finally used some of my fabric from Kenya, after all its been in my stash for FOUR years...ack!  So I wonder do sew-alongs like Project Sewn give you that final push you need?  


Vintage Inspired Bitty Girl Dress

I've been trying my hand at drafting and boy is it a long and slow process to perfection!  This dress for my 23 month old (soon to be two year old sob sob!) has gone through many iterations and I feel has many more to come but I finally made one that I feel good about posting.  The shape of the dress is inspired by all those Eloise Wilkin's books that I love to pour over.  Her drawings of childhood capture me.  
I wanted to draft something that could be a great summer woven top and dress but could also be converted with long sleeves to the cooler months.  It sounds like a lot to expect from one pattern but I'm certainly going to try it!  I took some notes from a couple of thrifted vintage dresses we have, they have shorter hemlines which let cute little legs poke out and cute little bloomers stick out too!  The fabrics used here were thrifted, I always feel so lucky when I happen on polka dot fabric, what kid doesn't look adorable in polka dots!  
Bitty girl needs some new summer clothes and I think this top/dress will fit the bill.  The hope is that one day this will be digitized and formatted for here's hopin' and wishin'! 
This little bit is always on the go go go so here's what I see most of the time...her back running away from me!  She's my built in work out.  So have any of you out there drafted for your children?  And do you also have the hope of digitizing your work one day?  
Linking up to Frontier Dreams Keep Calm Craft On.  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Day Tripper, Day Tripper, Yeah

I've had that song going through my head ever since I made this top.  The pattern is the Day Tripper by Shwin Designs, which I purchased as part of Pattern Anthology's Just Add Jeans Collection.

A few months ago I found 1.5 yards of a bold floral rayon at a thrift store for only $.99, and it seemed ideal for a lightweight summer top.  It's a little difficult to find blouse patterns that only require a yard and a half of fabric, so when I saw that the Day Tripper could be made with a woven I decided to give it a try.  And I have to say that I'm pretty pleased with the results.

The pattern has a high/low hem with dolman sleeves and a scoop neck.  There are three different lengths to choose from; I'm glad I made the longest length because even that only hit at my hips.  I always have a fear of having my shirts be too short, so this was a good length.  

The pattern was designed to be made with knits, but says that it can be made with wovens also.  However, there are not many details provided on how to accommodate the different types of fabric, so if you're a beginning sewer, you may have a little trouble finishing the top.  

But overall, this is an incredibly easy shirt.  A a couple of notes regarding the construction: 
  • I made a size medium, and it was HUGE.  I know that it's supposed to be a boxy shirt, but it was boxy to the point of being unflattering.  I took about four inches off of the sides between the underarms and the hips, but left the hips a size medium.  
  • I finished the neckline, sleeves, and bottom hem with bias tape.  I attached one side of single fold bias tape to the wrong side of the hemlines, then flipped it to the outside and stitched again.   It provided a nice contrast, and helped make the busy fabric seem a little more grounded.
I wasn't sure if I was going to like it, especially since high/low hemlines aren't always flattering on me.  But overall I really like it, and will probably make a few more of them for the summer.  As I said a moment ago, it's really easy, and there are some days that easy projects are all I can do.  So there you have it!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The 5 Minute Cartwheel Shorts Tutorial

I've debated about the name of this post, its not necessarily a sewing tutorial since there is no sewing involved and its barely what I would consider a tutorial since it takes all of five minutes to make.  But lets just call it a good idea I'd like to share.  

Do you have a lot of these hanging around from the winter season?

You know, worn out, well-loved kid leggings, complete with holes in the knees and stains.  Don't throw those out, especially if your daughter loves to wear sundresses as much as mine.  I like my daughter to play without the worry of flashing her undies every time she jumps, kicks, sits down, swings etc. so this is how I turn worn out leggings into cartwheel shorts. 

1.)  Fold leggings together lining up the legs and knees.  

2.)  Measure, or guesstimate how long you want your cartwheel shorts to be and cut.
3.)  You are done, you now have cartwheel shorts to go under sundresses.  The raw edges won't unravel because knits don't unravel but if you don't like the raw edges you can turn them under and stitch it down with a twin needle or a long stitch.  I don't mind the raw edges since they are going to be under a dress anyway.  And there you go, no more undie flashing worries whilst playing!

Monday, May 12, 2014

A dress for red shoes.

Before Easter a sweet friend gifted me with a pair of adorable red shoes.  She knew that I'd admired the shoes, and went and picked them out for me.  I tell you, she's a gem, a wonderful person, and when a wonderful person gives you red shoes, of course you have to make a dress to match them!  This dress is an out of print Butterick pattern (B5316).  The fabric is a sateen cotton from Hancocks fabrics.  
I was really unsure about the fit and overall look of the dress but after letting Hanni screen the pictures I felt much better about it.  Does anyone else have that look at your sewn garment for so long and can't decide if you like it or not?

I had to tweak the fit of the dress especially the box pleats on the front of the skirt.  I didn't find them entirely flattering so I converted them to pleats that point toward the center of the dress.  I read in one of my pattern fitting books that those pleats are much kinder to the abdomen than box pleats.  I also took some length off of the bodice as well. 

I am adding this dress to the Project Sewn sewalong pool.  I think it fits the "floral frenzy" theme quite well!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Peach Parisian Top

After months of waiting, and setbacks, and having our hopes dashed over and over again, it's finally happened:  spring is here!  And that means spring sewing, especially tops.

A few months ago I bought Pattern Anthology's Just Add Jeans collection with the intention of having a closet full of tops ready for spring.   We'll just say that it's still a work in progress.  But I did want to share one of the finished products with you today:  the Parisia3n Top.

The Parisian Top is the contribution of Go To Patterns to the Pattern Anthology.  It's a simple scoop-neck tee with a Peter Pan collar and 3/4 length sleeves.  But despite its simplicity, it produces lovely results: a top that is perfect for spring, fits perfectly, and has a timeless look.

This particular top is made from a peach-colored eyelet knit that I bought at a thrift store (if you haven't noticed, I love using thrifted and recycled fabric for projects:  it's cheap and sustainable!)  I think I bought three yards for $1.  Can't beat the price!

The collar is made from vintage fabric, I'm guessing from the 60's?  The peaches and pinks and browns compliment the peach eyelet nicely .

And finally, it pairs perfectly with shorts for the warmer spring days!

This top fits well, I think next time I'll use a knit with a little more stretch for a slightly better fit, but I love the way this one turned out!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Leopard Print Archer

I completed an Archer by Grainline Studios and I love the way it turned out.  The fabric is a cotton voile from Hancock Fabrics and granted, its a little busy, but I'm pleased with the overall result.  I plan on wearing it with rolled up sleeves all summer.
I want to gush a little about this pattern (thanks Hanni for gushing about one previously!) I am so impressed with the way this garment came together.  I can't even imagine how a person designs and comes up with all the pieces for a shirt like was very well thought out making it pretty straightforward to sew.  And if there is any doubt about any part of the directions there are enormously helpful tutorials on the Grainline website.  I highly recommend the short video on constructing the collar.  So if you are at all afraid of this pattern the Grainline website is there to hold your hand.

I am entering this top in the Project Sewn pool.  The theme for this week is "The Leading Lady Challenge" and try as I might I had a hard time thinking of a leading lady so I'm calling this "inspired" by old Hollywood since it has a leopard print on it.
One more little navel-gazing thought...the whole time I was sewing this garment I was thinking about all those people out there that have sewn all my husbands button up shirts.  I know the wages given are not fair since the garments are so inexpensively priced.  There is so much that can be said about the topic of fast and cheap fashion and there are no easy solutions to it but I hope that by just being aware and trying to make thoughtful choices maybe we can alleviate someone else's load to bear in life.  I try not to sit on too high of a horse about this subject because I feel very privileged to be able to make some of my clothes but I do try to be thoughtful.  Maybe I should call this my "up on my soapbox Archer."  Ok that was indeedy a soap box and kinda serious and this is sewing so moving on...

If you want to make this shirt I say go for it, its very do-able and you will feel all kinds of proud when you complete it!!

Also linking up to Keep Calm and Craft On.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Lulu Dress and Top

I have long been a fan of the creativity of Jess at Craftiness is Not Optional .  So last week, when I received an email from her telling me that I had been chosen to be a pattern tester for her new Lulu Top and Dress, I kind of felt like I had won the lottery.  (Ok, I'd probably be much more excited if I won the lottery, but I was still pretty excited).  So this past week was spent sewing up a couple of versions of the pattern and admiring the work of the other testers and having fun while doing all of it.

This is a GREAT pattern-- easy and quick to sew, versatile, can be every-day wear, and it's really, really adorable.  The pattern has two options, a top and a dress length, and then a number of variations that can be added: cap sleeves or sleeveless, a tie bow, faux button placket, top pocket, and skirt pockets.  It's also a great opportunity to combine fun fabrics!

The first version I made was the top.   I used an upcycled t-shirt for the top, and some vintage hand-me-down fabric for the skirt. I also added the top pocket. It fit perfectly!  For the top, it only takes a 1/2 yard of fabric for the skirt, so it's a great way to use up some of the smaller pieces in a fabric stash.


 After the top turned out so well I of course needed to make a dress.  Once again I used an upcycled tee for the top, and then for the bottom I used this pink fox fabric from Joann's.  I had been hoarding this fabric for a number of months, and this finally seemed like a worthy project to use it on-- and it didn't take nearly the yard that it called for, so I still have enough left over for something else.  

I LOVE how this turned out.  I could say more but I'd just be gushing.  So I'll leave it at that.  And here's one more picture showing off the pockets:

 And one more just because it's so cute:

The pattern was just released today, so go check it-- it's a great project for this weekend!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Marrying Patterns

I've wanted to marry these two patterns for what seems like ages.  This is a mash-up of the Grainline Scout Tee and the Megan Nielsen Crescent blouse and I think I found my new bff for the summer.  The Scout is a definite tried and true pattern for me and I've even made one with great success for my Mom too...really need to blog about that!  I love this basic woven tee soooo much I've made several in rayon challis and they are incredibly functional, comfortable and dressier than a knit tee.  

I've also made the Megan Nielsen Crescent blouse in the past and really enjoy the feel of that top as well, in fact its on the list o' things to make for this summer again.  But this combination of the bottom panels from the Crescent and the Scout top turned out exactly like I hoped they gratifying!
Basically all I did was slash the Scout around my waist area making sure to line up the front and back at the side seams and measure up from the bottom of the Scout (because it has a slightly lower in the back hemline) and added the panels with no other adjustments.  The fabric is a mystery, it was given to me and I thought it might be silk but a burn test just melted it.  Its lovely regardless of what it is, very drapey and two favorite qualities for fabric.  
There will be so many more of these to my question is what patterns have you married (or hope to marry) with great success?