Thursday, June 26, 2014

Retro Reproduction Dress: Kansas City

UPDATE:  the free, basic version of this pattern is now available here

One of the reasons that Elizabeth and I started this blog was so we could share our sewing projects with each other.  Since we now live over 700 miles apart, it's a little difficult to get together for an afternoon of sewing, or fabric shopping, or collaborating on other creative endeavors.  This blog gives us an alternative space to do some of that, as well as makes us conscientiously carve out time for joint projects (which, as moms, can be so hard to do for anything that's not kid-related).   But the point in saying all of this is that projects like the Retro Reproduction dress are why we blog:  Elizabeth was inspired by a style, drafted the pattern, made several versions (here and here), shared it with me, I digitized and graded, and here is my version.   And all of our collaboration was online!  And now we get to share it with anyone else who might be out there reading!

So without further ado...

 I had been wanting to make a color-blocked dress like this for, oh, eight or nine months now, so this was finally a great excuse to do so.  When we release the free pattern, we'll be sure to include a tutorial on how to make this variation.

The multicolored fabric was a thrift store purchase-- about four yards of 60" wide for $1.00.  I love finds like that!

The back of the dress has the same pattern as the front:

 And I love the geometric sides!

Most importantly, for a three year old, the dress is great for running around and playing:

 We are working on making this into a free pattern (sizes 2T-4T), and it should be available within the next few weeks.  So check back with us soon!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Our Favorite Sundress and Retro Reproduction Dress

Update:  the free pattern of the Retro Reproduction dress can now be found here

I know a pattern is a "keeper" when my daughter wants an exact replica of a dress she wore the summer before...that is the case with this red polka dot and floral sundress.  Last summer I made Simplicity 2469 out of this same floral/fruity fabric and a different red polka dot.  She wore it constantly and it has quickly become her "go-to" sundress this year as well.  We pair it with these shorts and we are good to go!

This is really a tried and true pattern for us.  I also made one in Crafty Chloe fabric by Heather Ross.  I haven't seen this fabric line featured anywhere on sewing blogs but it is super cute and based on an illustrated character drawn by Heather Ross.  You can see below the Simplicity pattern made up in Crafty Chloe fabric.  If you want to know more about the Crafty Chloe character go here.  Its an adorable blog with crafting ideas for kids.  We have this book in the collection and really enjoy it.  

It warms my little Mommy heart when I get a request for an exact replica of a dress I've sewn before and its also great when the pattern is at hand and I have yardage left over from the first time I made it!  

Now on to Bitty Girl's dress (below).  This is the dress that I'm now calling the Retro Reproduction dress since I copied it from a vintage dress that both of my children have worn.

In my last post about this dress I said it really lends itself to applique and you can see that here.  The whale applique is from an old crafting book I have and its hard to distinguish but I added water spouting from the top of it with black stitching.

Again I LOVE this shape on tiny ones, their little legs sticking out and bloomers peaking out...Love it.

I said in my last post that I would try to offer this as a free pattern and I still plan on doing that, I've got the original scanned into the computer and now to clean it up and create a pattern that is easy to use!!  It will happen soon, its just that most of the time going out for ice cream, playing in fountains and in general nurturing little human beings comes first!  Plus this week my youngest is turning two!! Two!- I tell you, so hard to fathom how the days are long but the years are short!  

So tell me, exactly how interested are some of you in making this pattern, any ideas for what you'd like to applique on the front of it?  My hope is to offer it before mid-August.  Starting with sizes 2T and 3T (with Hanni's help of course-right Hanni!?).  

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

Monday, June 16, 2014

Washi Dress

So I know that I am really late to the Washi Dress party-- but better late than never, right?  I've actually owned this pattern since last October, and it only took me a good eight months or so to get around to making it.  I don't know if I have much to add to what's already been written about it, but hopefully it will be of some use to someone who is considering the pattern.  So here it goes:

 Overall, this is a very simple dress: no buttons, no zippers, nada.  I used a lawn cotton from Joanns, and while the drape is lovely, it is also a little see-through for a dress-- so to make things easy (haha) I decided to do a full lining on the dress.  Which, like any good sewing project, turned out to be more complicated than I anticipated.  Using the directions from the expansion pack, view C, I hemmed and hawed and hacked my way through the full lining.  And the results are decent, and the parts that are not so decent are at least hidden. 

There is always a fear with an empire waist that it looks too maternity-ish, but I think the belt really helps decrease any mid-section poofing.  Overall, it's a great dress, one that can be worn casually or dressed up a little, and I'm glad it's part of my summer wardrobe!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Bitty Girl's Retro Reproduction Dresses

Update:  the free pattern for the Retro Reproduction Dress can now be found here

When my first daughter was a toddler I found the most adorable vintage dress at a thrift store in Kansas City.  The tag in it said "Debby Dare" size 2.  I've tried to research this brand and all I can turn up is a reference to it on the Kansas City Garment Museum website.  I had no idea KC had a garment district and related museum!  Danny and Debby Dare was apparently a children's clothing line produced in Kansas City.  My oldest daughter wore this dress until she out grew it and I sooooo wanted to reproduce it at the time but didn't have the sewing skills I needed.  But now I do!  And I've gone a little crazy reproducing this dress for my youngest daughter.

This is my oldest daughter close to two years old wearing the dress (above). 

And this is my now 23 month old wearing the same dress (above).  Can you imagine the quality of this garment since it still looks wonderful after all these years of wearing by small children?  Incredible.  So different from today's clothing.  
Back to my reproductions of this dress.  I've made three so far and love them to pieces.  
This one is made from a piece of vintage sheet given to me by my Mom.  She shortened our bed sheets when we were little and never threw away the pieces.  Lucky me!
 I guess you'd call this an A-line jumper.  I adore the shape of it on Bitty Girl and just put little bloomers underneath.

 We are supposed to be feeding the geese but she always eats the bread so we make sure there is a good piece (without mold) on it for her!

Now here is the next version (below).  This is also a vintage fabric from my thrifting stash.  The dress really lends itself to an applique and I have another version with a whale on it.  I will try to share that one soon.
These dresses have been some of my main go-to items to dress Bitty Girl in this summer and I've been toying with the idea of scanning the pattern into a document and offering it for anyone interested.  It would be a great beginner garment if you're new to making clothes for your children.  If you're interested let me know and maybe that will be the motivation I need to take the plunge!

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