Saturday, October 11, 2014

Sewing for Samuel (aka Pattern for Pirates roundup)

Fall is my favorite season, though it is short here in the south! I'm trying to make the most of it, as you might have noticed by the change in my blog's color scheme :) I still have pictures of summer clothes to post, which feels weird because it's fall, so I'm going to shove them all in the next two posts. First up is Samuel!


All of these patterns were tests for Patterns for Pirates. She started off by introducing a lot of boy patterns, many made from knits, and all great wardrobe staples with RTW details. (RTW = Ready To Wear, ie, stuff you'd find in the store). They have a great, modern fit (think longer and slim, vs short and boxy) which I love!

I was so excited about Judy's Buccaneer Basketball Shorts pattern that I bought a dozen different athletic fabrics (from fabric.com) to choose from. It came in handy when she also released a men's version!



This is the Deep Sea V-Neck, with short sleeves, no pocket, and a centered V neckline. There are loads of other options and the shirt is super cute (and Samuel does like it--I asked him not to smile so I could get a non-cheeser picture). In fact, now that I remember it has a long sleeve option, I'm going to have to try to make some of these up for cooler weather!




This pattern was released in sizes 1-4 for an edition of "I love PDF", a digital magazine. It's a tank with some cute side and shoulder panels that can be made in contrasting fabric. I used some athletic fabrics for a muscle shirt, and then used some cotton knits for the striped/animal version. My husband thought the animal knit I used was too girly, so Samuel never wore it, but it was one of my favorite makes of the summer. I thought it was pretty Ottobre-ish :)





These are the Swashbuckler Swim Trunks. They were released a little later in the summer, after Samuel already had store-bought swim trunks, so I made some cute cotton shorts with the pattern.



This shirt is super cool, but you'd never know it by my version! I tested the classic crew neck version of the Wingman Shirt so you need to go check out some of the listing photos so you can see how awesome this pattern is! My fabric choices ended up making the shirt look like pajamas, so Samuel wears it as such, but you can make great day-time tees with it as well. Oh, and super cute, winged shirts too!


You will see these patterns on my blog again, as there are so many options with each pattern--color-blocked swim trunks, button-tab sleeves, pockets... And did I mention I love the fit?! Plus, my sweet boy deserves more mama-made :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fill Me Up, Buttercup

I've been sewing a lot with knits this year. I made myself a dress earlier this year, and I've been sewing a lot for the kids. Today's share is a knit dress I made for Danielle earlier this summer. It's not the usual silhouette she wears--it's A-line and not twirly, but she loves it and insisted on wearing it after the photos.



This is the Buttercup Dress from Cole's Creations. This was actually the first pattern Nicole collaborated on with her mom. Cole and her sisters learned to sew from their mom, and all 3 girls are pattern designers, so I think it's safe to say that this was a natural fit :) Since coming out with the Buttercup, they've put out another half-dozen or so patterns!



The dress has two bodice options--bias down the center front, or just around the neckline. The bias binding is knit, and the directions for how to attach it make it really easy to do. There are lots of options for embellishing this dress and I decided to add the same bias strip around the hem to add some interest. My knits are both from Chez Ami and they were awesome to work with. They're pretty beefy and just feel like quality, if that makes sense:) Though I used "plain" knits, this dress would be super cute with an up-cycled knit as the center front panel. The panel design, and how narrow they are, make them a perfect fit for up-cycling (or for using super pricey knits).


There's still plenty of warm weather here in the South, so we'll get a few more wears out of this dress this year. I've switched my sewing to fall/colder-weather items, but I have a bunch of summer stuff to post on still. Maybe someone in Australia reads my blog and will appreciate it? :)

Just because this makes me laugh :)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

3 months and Kindergarten!

Wow, I cannot believe it's been over 3 months since I posted! It's not for lack of content--I have been sewing every week. It's just gotten busy busy around here. One reason is that my girl started Kindergarten!

I was flip-flopping on whether I should make her an outfit and finally decided the night before that I wanted to. I guess I work better with short deadlines.

My big girl on her first day of Kindergarten!

I embroidered a white tee shirt for her and made a skirt to coordinate. The skirt was part of the Addison dress pattern by ModKid. It was the first time I've used one of her patterns and I am in love. The pattern was so nice and and I love the design/presentation of the pattern.  I purchased a few ModKid patterns (I've long admired the Kyoko) and am looking forward to making one up in it's entirety.


The embroidery design is from Hang to Dry Applique. I bought it a couple years ago with the thought that I would use it when Danielle started school. I used some glitter fabric from Hobby Lobby (I found it by the felt) and I can NOT get enough of the sparkle!

Look how shiny it is!!

I struggled to figure out what to pair with the pink and green because I'm not that bold with color and I hadn't realized at first that the "I" was applique and needed fabric too. Then I opened a drawer to get a new bobbin and my eye was caught by glitter sheets and I knew what to do:) 4 out of 4 of my last embroidery projects have involved glitter fabric and/or metallic thread--I think I'm addicted!



The skirt is a basic, two-layer skirt with tabs to pull up the front overskirt. I altered the construction slightly. Instead of gathering the over and underskirt and attaching them to a bodice, I sewed the tops together with the right side of the overskirt facing the wrong side of the underskirt. Then I flipped them right sides out and sewed a casing by stitching through both layers 3/4" from the top and leaving a space open to insert the elastic. The elastic was inserted into the casing between the two layers of the skirt and then the casing was sewn close. Easy peasy! The tabs have the buttons sewn right on them, so no buttonholes, perfect for a late-night project! Though I do love making buttonholes. :)


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Hello Kitty Birthday

My sweet girl turned 5 recently and I wanted to make her a special dress. For her birthday, I like to do something a bit "more"--more ruffly like last year's dress, or more twirly and more pink like this year's. :)

I chose the Peppermint Swirl dress from Candy Castle patterns, so I had Danielle pick the Hello Kitty fabric she wanted for the main print. She chose a sweet pink gingham Hello Kitty fabric and I used a sparkly pink to coordinate. I also used a tone-on-tone white and a hot pink fabric with white spots on it (that reminded me of the strawberries) to round out the flounces.



I didn't get the best pictures--I was sick that week and was rushing to get the dress done on top of the party preparations. That's okay though, birthdays are more important than blog pictures :)

I used a size 4 slim bodice with a size 5 length. It's slightly empire, with a sash between the bodice and the skirt. And oh that skirt! There are 16 flounces, each made of two pieces. I got excited to make her a dress with a 9 foot hem, thinking it would be super twirly. In the middle of hemming it, I wondered why it was taking so long...then I realized I had read the bias requirements too quickly--I used 9 YARDS, which meant the hem was 27 feet around!!



It makes for one very twirly dress! She loved it and it was over-the-top enough for a birthday :) The fit was good but the dress was a little longer than I expected. It hit an inch or two below her knees. That's probably a good thing though--when she gets to spinning, the dress lifts up quite a bit!




She loved her dress and so did a lot of the moms at the party. One of them said she was going to talk to me about a dress for her daughter's birthday. I think she will be scared off when I tell her what I would charge for a dress that takes 4+ hours to make and uses several yards of fabric! It was totally worth it to see my daughter shine on her special day though (cue cheesy/creepy photo effects):



And just because, here's one more picture of that pretty skirt:


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Ruffle Pop Skirt

As always, so much to share, so little time! I was asked this weekend how I found time to sew. I guess it comes at the expense of blogging :) It used to feel like an item wasn't really done until it was blogged about. Now, that's kind of lessened as I have other ways to share what I work on (the ladies at work are oh-so-patient with me!) But since this blog acts as a sort of journal for me, I'd like to do better and play catch up. For real life, as my now-5-year-old would say.

This is a little outfit I put together for one of Danielle's friends at school. She was having a Hello Kitty themed birthday party and I noticed the birthday girl and her sister often wear appliqued shirts, so I thought handmade would be appreciated.



I have been really wanting to make Tie Dye Diva's Ruffle Pop skirt, and when I found a hot pink coordinating print for that bright blue HK print, I knew it was a match. Some eyelet lace made it an even quicker sew. I didn't feel up to embroidering a shirt so I went with the suggestion of some online sewing "friends" and added a plain t-shirt to go with it. Danielle picked the pink and I like it.

To round it all out I made a headband. I used some ruffle elastic that I found while looking for inspiration for the baby gown I made recently. (I wish I could have ordered it in time to use for that outfit). I ruffled a long strip of the blue fabric and used this Kitty Feltie design from GGDesigns to add a Hello Kitty-ish kitty to the middle.

The design comes with a no-mouth option, but I also left
the ear detail off as well.

I glued the ruffle onto a felt circle, then sandwiched the seam of the headband (which was just the ruffle elastic with the ends sewn together) in between the base felt circle and another piece of felt. A little glue on the bow, and more hot glue to put HK in the middle, and I was done!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pink Knit Dahlia

I have so much to catch up on blogging about that I had a hard time picking one to start with! Since I've loved sewing with knits lately, I decided to share this top I tested for Golden Rippy. It's called the Dahlia top and it's a quick and cute sew.

Ignore the floppy flower, mkay?


This pink heart knit material is one of the first knits I ever bought. I didn't know much about knits, so I randomly bought different kinds back when fabric.com still sold fabric for $1.95 a yard! I lucked out, because this knit is super soft and has great recovery. The edges curled which made it tricky to do the bands, but a little starch and patience and it all worked out. I got it about 4 years ago, thinking I would make shirts for my nieces, but they are a bit older than my Danielle and may have outgrown pink and hearts. My girlie 4 year old still loves both though :)



The top has cut-on sleeves, so it's just a front, a back, and some bands at the neck, arms and hips. I don't know if the designer shortened the neckband at all in the final version, but you can see in the picture above that it's a wee bit long. I love the length and the easy look of this top!



The flower is a cute touch.


I used felt for the base and just pinned it to the shirt--I don't think it will be a permanent addition for this version. You can find the pattern here: Golden Rippy Dahlia Top

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Winter Street Dress Blog Tour

If you've popped over here for the blog tour, hello! I usually sew for my kids, but I have made it a goal to sew for myself some this year. So when Deepika was looking for ladies to test a dress, I thought it would be the perfect motivation for me. This is the Winter Street Dress, designed by Deepika, the found of PatternReview.com and drafted by Maria Denmark.

I actually made two versions. My first try was in a ponte knit, and while it's an appropriate fabric for the dress (see Detective Houndstooth's gorgeous version using ponte), it didn't work for my figure. The structure of a stable knit highlighted my curves in a very unflattering way.

I wrote Deepika, feeling very discouraged and thinking this silhouette just would not work for me. She suggested that maybe it would work in a drapier knit. There are inverted pleats that offer a little tummy camouflage if needed, without extra fullness if you're slim. The skirt has a tulip shape and the pattern is drafted for a C cup and an above the knee hem. So, in theory, it should have worked for me. She didn't pressure me to re-do it, but I decided to try again and I am so glad I did!!




The neckline--the part that I need the most practice with when sewing with knits--has a wonderful method of construction which leads to a nice-looking, no gape neckband. Deepika includes a link to a video showing the method, or you can also read about it in her tip on Pattern Review: Narrow Binding on necklines and armholes for knits




I did make some slight fit tweaks. The dress actually turned out pretty good in the size made by using the measurement chart (L top, blended to an XL waist, with an XL skirt), but since my first attempt was so horrible I thought I should use it as a muslin and learn a bit about fit in the process. I have an ample bum, so I increased the width of the back skirt by 3/4" (on the fold) in order to make deeper pleats in the back. In the ponte they looked like they were straining, but the increased depth of the pleat and the drapier knit make them behave much nicer.



I also made a swayback adjustment, though I imagine the bunching I get at often get in the small of my back is due to my bum curve and not necessarily a sway back. Deepika sent me this swayback alteration for knits to check out. I traced the size I needed for the back and then marked a dot 1/2" up from the bottom on the center fold line. I used a ruler and drew a line from that dot over to the bottom corner of the outer edge. I did something similar for the skirt, removing a wedge that was a 1/2" deep in the center back, tapered to nothing on the outer edge. The result was great! I have some store bought knit dresses I like to wear with a belt, but they always bunch up--you can see this doesn't. The only issue I had was that I used the same pattern piece to cut out the front skirt and accidentally made a sway-front adjustment, oops!



So I have to wear the belt with this version, but the dress looks super cute without it--check out Sew Crafty Chemist's version.

A few other adjustments I made--I added 1/2" (on the fold) to the back bodice as a cheater broad back adjustment. I don't know if I actually needed this. Trumbelina's post on her dress has great details and illustrations on how to do one properly and is another super-cute, non-belted version.  I also added 1/2" width to both sides of the sleeves, as my arms often feel like sausages in RTW clothes. I probably didn't need that extra room but it's so nice not to have snug sleeves! I took a smidge off the sleeve cap to account for the extra length of the armscye from my width adjustment--the sleeve should fit in the armscye without gathers.



I also made 3/4 length sleeves by adding some length to the cut line for the flounce. We're entering spring here in the South but our office is air-conditioned, so these will be perfect. 

I did not change the hem length and found in my first version that I would not need to change the hem length of the long-sleeves either. I did not change the bodice length either. I'm only 5' 2", so keep that in mind if you are not so short! It looks high in the front in the next picture, but it hangs straight in real life.



I do not love the side view quite so much, but that is not the fault of the pattern--this is actually the most flattering dress I've worn since having kids! My mummy-tummy combined with a once-petite, now-full hourglass shape can be difficult to dress in one-piece garments. I thought that I could only wear dresses that were super full on the bottom or were empire-waisted. This dress has a seam at the natural waist and the fullness is due to the inverted pleats, proving me wrong. I already plan to make another version of this dress!

Thank you, Deepika, for your help and encouragement in making this dress. And thank you for understanding that women want to feel nice in their clothes, even if they are not in perfect shape :)

Be sure to catch all the version of this great dress on the blog tour. Here's the whole schedule:

Sew Crafty Chemist 4/2/2014
Detective Houndstooth 4/3/2014
How Good Is That? 4/4/2014
Trumbelina Sews 4/5/2014
danikate Designs  4/6/2014
Sherril's Sewing Saga 4/7/2014
Sharon Sews 4/8/2014
Stitchin' in My Kitchen 4/9/2014
sewing forward 4/10/2014
Hellou's Handmades 4/11/2014
Crafted By Carrie 4/12/2014
Greetings from Beyond the Basic Block 4/13/2014
JanMade 4/14/2014
Julia Bobbin 4/15/2014

**A note--My dress seems to be fuller in the front and fit differently from some of the other versions (and the line drawing). I did select the XL waist and XL skirt sizes based on my measurements and using the chart in the pattern. The tutorial has you use clear elastic at the waist seam to stabilize it. I don't believe I stretched the knit to make it look gathered, though that is possible. Rather, I think it's just the way my weight is distributed and the way the knit hangs. I assembled the back skirt the same as the front and you can see that looks a lot smoother. Regardless of the reason, I'm glad for the way the dress hangs in the front on me!
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