Monday, September 22, 2014

"Eggplant Purple Retro Reproduction Dress" or "How I Stash Bust"

Once again I've made a Retro Reproduction dress!  Surprise! Surprise!  This is another circle pocket version made up in corduroy.  The length of corduroy was left over from a project last year and I didn't have enough length to cut out the front and back of the dress so I slashed the front across the breast and added piping.  This is a great way to eek out another dress from a small or odd shaped piece of fabric.  

The piping and bias tape are me-made and are the reverse side of black and white striped fabric.  I started to use the right side but didn't like how sharp the contrast was, when I turned the fabric over I realized the stripes appeared to be gray which I loved.  This is one of the sewing tricks I like to use when I'm not 100% satisfied with a fabric in my stash, I just turn it over and see if I like the reverse side or "wrong" side better.
 I'm thinking that the next iteration of this dress might just have to have some gather or pleats on the center front under that slash line...  The bottom is bias tape finished and that adds a little extra length that this growing tidbit needs.

 You may notice those awful bug bites on little girl's arms and legs - those are from the massive amount of mosquitoes in our back yard.  We have battled and battled those darn critters but they are the meanest mosquitoes I've encountered.  They care nothing about any kind of "gentle" kid friendly repellent.  Hopefully they will subside soon when the weather cools.  
I just had to include this picture of little bit bending down, it really puts me in the mind of Eloise Wilkin drawings.  Her illustrations are always my favorite.  Well, here's to one more Retro Reproduction dress to transition into fall, I'll say it again, its such a quick make that its really sew little trouble to add pockets and bias tape.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bubble Pockets Pattern and Tutorial

Back in July, I used the Retro Reproduction pattern to make a corduroy jumper for my daughter.  To change it up a little I added bright "bubble" pockets:  large pockets that had an exposed lining and were gathered at the bottom, and were accented by piping.  After reading lots of positive feedback (thank you!), it seems that many of you would like to be able to add bubble pockets to your Retro Reproduction dresses as well-- so here's the pattern and tutorial.

Click here for the pattern.

Just as a note, I only drafted one size bubble pocket, and it was originally used on the size 4 Retro Reproduction dress.  Since the pockets don't affect the fit of the dress at all, they can really be any size you'd like.  So to make the pockets larger or smaller, simply change the scale when you print the pattern pieces.

So without further ado...

Bubble Pocket Tutorial 
The pockets should be added to the Retro Reproduction Dress before the side seams are sewn together

1.  Print and cut out the patten pieces.   For each pocket you will need one pocket lining and two pocket exteriors.  For the lining: fold your fabric with wrong sides together.  Place pattern piece on top of the two layers, pin, and cut.  Now you should have two pieces, mirror images, for the left and right pockets.
For the exterior:   Fold your fabric with wrong sides together. Place the pattern piece on top of the two layers, pin, and cut.  Repeat for the pieces for the second pocket.  You should have four exterior pieces, two sets of mirror images. 
Be sure to cut the notches in the exterior pieces, this is where your gathering stitches will go (see step 2). 

2.  On the top edge of the pocket lining, fold over 1/2 inch towards the wrong side and press.

3.  On both exterior pieces use a gathering stitch and sew between the notches, 1/4" from the edge.  Do not gather the stitches yet.

4.  Next prepare your piping. At one end of the piping, pull the cord out approximately 1/2 inch, and then clip the cord.  This will allow you to tuck the piping into the seam allowances later on.

5.   With the right side of the fabric up, line up the unfinished edge of the piping with the unfinished straight edge of the exterior piece.  The end of the cord that you clipped should be inside the casing.  This end should line up with the end of the straight edge, with the empty casing extending beyond the fabric. 

6. Baste the piping to the exterior pocket piece.  Using the stitch lines on the piping as a guide, sew as close to the cording as you can without stitching on it.

7.  With ride sides together, pin the two pieces of the exterior pocket together.  Make sure the side with the piping is on top.  The piping will now be sandwiched between the two pieces.  Sew the two pieces together, stitching on top of the basting stitches.  This will allow you to sew as closely as possible to the piping without seeing it.

8.  Open the two pieces, fold so that the wrong sides are together, and press. 

9.  Pull the gathering stitches on both the top and bottom pieces so that the exterior pieces fit the curve of the lining.  The straight edge of the exterior pieces should run diagonally through the lining, meeting at the opposite corners.  On the top corner, tuck the piping casing behind the lining.  Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, baste from the top right corner all the way around to the bottom left corner.

10.  Prepare the piping by again pulling out the cording and cutting off approximately 1/2 inch.   Line up the piping with the top right corner, with the empty casing extending beyond the top of the fabric .  With unfinished edges aligned, pin the piping along the entire curved edge of the pocket.  Baste.

11.  On the front of your Retro Reproduction dress, mark along the side seam where you want your pocket to be placed.  Pin the unfinished straight edge of the pocket along the side seam of the dress.  Baste.  Turn the edges of the piping and pocket to the wrong side, so that the seam allowance is in-between the pocket and dress, and just the piping is exposed.  Pin.

12.   Starting at the top inside corner, top stitch along the folded top edge of the pocket, and then "stitch in the ditch" between the pocket and the piping. 

And you're done!  When you sew the front and back of the dress together the raw edges of the pocket will be enclosed in the seam allowance. 

We'd love to see what you're creating with the Retro Reproduction pattern!  So feel free to link up your creations to our flickr page, found here.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Grainline Alder Number Two!

This is my second Grainline Alder dress and its sewn up in a quilting cotton that I've been saving for just such a project!  When I saw that this dress could be made in quilting cotton I knew immediately what I would use from my stash.  I've been saving this print not wanting to use it on my kid's clothes because after all they would only wear it for a season and I can wear this for- well a long long time!!  I'm showing it belted and unbelted because I always appreciate seeing dresses like this both ways.  But I prefer it unbelted.

The last one I made was a size 4 in the shoulders and size 6 from the bust down but with this one I kept it a size 4 in the shoulders, size 6 in the bust and shaved off some of the width from the waist and hip.  I also lowered the hem at the side seams by 1/4 inch since I felt I needed just a bit more coverage.  

The pose above is called "come back here we're not finished with pictures" and "look there's plenty of dirt to dig in right here- not over there!"  Pictures outside are always a bit trickier with an on-the-move two year old.  
And this smile is called "that's right- there's where I want you to play!"  I can't think of much to say about this dress since I blogged about my first one here.  but I am looking forward to wearing this year round since I plan on wearing leggings and a cardigan with it this winter and I think it is the perfect pattern for a great summer sleeveless shirt.  My quilting cottons better watch out because I'm still on a stash busting craze and I'm eye-balling all those piles of fabric!!  Be afraid my little crazy stacked mounds of fabric, be very afraid!


Monday, September 1, 2014

Oh, the Cuteness! Aster Cardigan Edition

I will be the first to admit that I have a children's pattern buying problem.  I have purchased way more patterns than I will ever have time to sew, and so I always hesitate to buy another one.  But with a pattern like the Aster Cardigan by Willow & Co, there is no guilt involved-- it is a pattern that is cute AND practical and I know it will be made and worn often.   

The pattern is a simple cardigan with 3/4 length sleeves and a Peter Pan collar-- great for the cool weather that lies ahead here in the midwest.  The peplum bottom, sleeve button tabs, and heart applique were my own additions.   This is an easy pattern to modify or embellish, so there are many possibilities to make it your own style.  And I always love patterns that allow me to highlight a little bit of fun printed fabric!

Here is a view of the back with the peplum bottom:

And finally, because my daughter is three, we ended up with a number of pictures like these!