Monday, September 30, 2013

Twin Minnies (Twinnies?)

My sister and her husband's family headed to Disney World recently and she asked me to make some Minnie Mouse themed dresses for her girls with fabric she supplied.

I used the Fair & Square Dress pattern by Tie Dye Diva because I wanted the dresses to fit well and I needed a pattern for two fabrics. The red polka dot was some sort of synthetic blend and kind of yucky to work with, but I thought it looked pretty Minnie-esque. My sister also supplied some heat & bond and some yellow rick rack for embellishements.

I'm not normally a rick rack girl, but I think it definitely suited the look and was very much needed to spruce up the dress a bit. For the applique, I found a silhouette with just the right proportions (and learned about Hidden Mickeys) here.  I printed it out at the size I wanted, fused some Heat 'n' Bond to some plain black fabric, pinned the mouse head to the fabric, cut it out, ironed it to the dress and then zig-zagged around it with my sewing machine. This blog post on Sew Like My Mom does a great job of explaining how to do applique neatly.

I also added a little surprise in the package for the girls:

I ordered these bracelets from Kinsley River Designs (whom I discovered through a mutual friend). The necklace Danielle wore with her birthday dress was made by Alana as well and I've ordered several custom items that will show up on my blog with future outfits. She's super talented and is competitively priced and it is too easy to get addicted to what she makes!

Until my sister sends me pictures of the girls in their dress (hint, hint Shawna!), here's proof that I made two of these dresses (my twin body forms aren't nearly as cute as my nieces...)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Astra Peasant Dress

5Berries recently released the Astra Dress, which I had the pleasure to test a couple weeks ago. It's a tiered peasant dress, similar to Simplicity 2377 which I've blogged about here and that I show in my Ruffler Foot Tutorials.

The biggest differences are that this pattern includes long sleeves and has a casing on the outside waistline to cinch in some of the fullness. My husband thought the sleeves were a bit poofy, but I think they look wonderfully comfortable.

I think they're just right :)

Danielle has been wearing uniforms to pre-K, so we haven't really purchased "regular" clothes for her for the fall. So I'm super excited that I've had the chance to make some long-sleeve dresses for church. I normally am behind in my sewing, not ahead of the seasons!

Let's pretend this picture is her looking
proud of me for sewing ahead, mkay?

I never intended these two fabrics to go together, since they are the same scale, but I think it really works for this dress since the tiers are all the same height.  I am pretty pleased with how this turned out.

You can see the fullness (though it's
not really shorter in the front like it looks)

I will definitely be making this one again, though I may mash it up with another pattern so that I can skip the waistline casing. Or I could just slim the bodice down and take a little width off the top tier. We'll see. I use patterns so I don't have to do the figuring myself :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

South Carolina Rose

A couple weeks back I got an email asking if I'd like to be a pattern tester for Ellie Inspired's new shirtdress--um, yes! I had filled out a form to be a pattern tester but didn't expect to get a chance as so many people have caught on that pattern testing is fun. The dress is the Texas Rose Shirt Dress and it is beautifully drafted. The size 4 fit perfectly with no adjustments or pattern revisions


I used a print I originally bought to make myself a dress before Danielle was born. It's cream with little dark green scissors all over it. It is SO much better suited for her coloring than mine, so I'm glad I chose it for this project. I used a dark green broadcloth as contrast for the sash, sleeve tabs and covered buttons. This was actually the first time I have ever made covered buttons and it was pretty easy. I used these that were from my mom who probably got them from her mother or grandmother:

35 cents? I wish they still only cost this much!

I love the amount of detail in this outfit. There is just enough to be interesting, but it's not so fussy that it would be cumbersome to sew again. I even went a step further than my normal and used cream thread for topstitching.

You should be able to see the contrasting topstitching in this picture

Besides that cute double ruffle skirt, I LOVE the ruffles down the front. I might just add some to every pattern I sew from here on :)

Forgive the face--this picture shows the sleeve tab
and those cute, cute ruffles down the front

I am really quite pleased with how this turned out, and it's going on my favorites list. I will warn you, Laura's instructions are very concise and include illustrations instead of pictures. I found them to be refreshing, though! If you are worried about it being difficult, Pattern Revolution hosted a sewalong that has tons of information and pictures that should make it easier. It's too late to join the sewalong, but the information is still super helpful and there is an alternate sleeve and Peter Pan collar available in the post for Day 1.

I should confess, I don't normally care for drop-waisted styles, but I didn't see that in the description at first because I was so excited to test. Then, when I got the dress finished, I saw the shape and absolutely love it. I don't know if it's the fullness of the skirt or that the waist isn't dropped too low, or what, but I really love how this turned out. Almost forgot, here's a shot of the back:

Thursday, August 29, 2013

BubbleGum Dress

I participated in my first ever sew-a-long earlier this month and had a great time. It was through the Candy Castle group on Facebook, and there was a pretty generous deadline (it was a few weeks total to sew the dress). I didn't post as much as I would have liked to and I got behind a few times (even though we had several days for each step), but I finished on time and LOVED seeing all the beautiful dresses that others made.

I'm not normally a big mixed print kind of girl, but I had so much fun with the bright colors and all of the ways that prints can be used for this dress. I have to admit, though, I was a bit jealous of some of  the bias trims the other ladies used. There was one with lace edges and a lot with crocheted edges and they were so pretty.

I really like the effect of the blue I used but I realized after the photoshoot (of course) that I had tied it wrong--the tie should go around the back and I ran it across the front. Oh well. Next time Danielle wears it I'll get it right.

I really like this pattern. Actually, for the sewalong there was a modification--the skirt was made much fuller than the original (and the contrast band at the bottom may have been added for the sewalong as well). I like the poofed sleeves, the bias trim, the contrast band, the full skirt. I think I made the wrap cross a little higher so it would have a bit more modesty. The sizing had two sizes as one (3/4, etc), which I'm not a fan of, but because this is a wrap style it works for the bodice (and I have to adjust for length all the time anyways). And I need to adjust where the loop and tie are attached so it sits right at the waist seam, but I will definitely be making this dress again.

Haha, I pretended I was a real photographer and staged props!

The fabric combinations are endless, the original pattern has a slimmer skirt that would be fun to try, there's a ruffled neckline option, it can be made in a knit--this is seriously a solid investment.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Knit Ruffle Dress

I sure have been making a lot of dresses lately! One of them was this knit ruffle dress I tested for 5Berries. It's just long enough to be worn as a dress but if Danielle grows anymore before it gets cool here it will definitely need to be worn with leggings.

I forgot to put the bow on before taking these pictures--it goes in the center of the ribbon and is a cute touch. The dress is pretty straightforward, though there is only one ruffle (the bottom one) on the back, which I thought was a nice detail.

The sleeves are a nice length, and I'm happy to already have some long-sleeved dresses in Danielle's wardrobe for church this fall/winter..

Once the ruffles are attached, this dress goes together fairly quickly. I'd like to make more for Danielle, but I have so many other projects going on that I think it will have to wait until next year. Besides, I don't have many knits in my stash appropriate for kids--this one was intended as a shirt for me, but I think she wears it better than I could :) Here she is dancing in it:

Oh, almost forgot. Here's what it looks like from the side. I don't think the ruffles really poof out like this--I think this is ruffled up from her impromptu dance break.  I think this is such a cute, girlie look and who doesn't love a pattern for knits?.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

5Berries Testing

I'm so ashamed! One of the shops I test the most for happens to be the one I blog the least about, for no good reason. Anna, the designer for 5Berries and Dress Patterns 4 Girls has created some really cute designs, including the Eva peasant dress I blogged about here and the Gatsby dress that I haven't shared pictures of yet. The Juliet dress (pictured above) is her newest pattern. It's hard to tell with my crazy prints (which look good together in natural light but not with my camera flash), but this dress has a poofier upper sleeve and a slimmer lower sleeve, reminiscent of Juliet (from the famous play).

A lot of her dresses do tend to be variations of the peasant dress, but she offers some cute details and her sloper for this style is my favorite. There is just the right amount of flare in the A-line and the neckline is lower in the front than it is in the back. I've used her basic peasant dress with some length added to make nightgowns for Danielle the past two summers. The dress shown below was a test that turned out a little short, so that ended up as a nightgown as well, just one that has a cute flutter sleeve detail :)

Besides dresses, she also has some patterns for rompers, skirts, pants, etc. I tested the Emily capris back in April (I think?) and the bow detail is really darling. Make sure you secure the bow in the loop though, or you will lose one and never get around to making a new one and then the pants won't do much good, mkay?  Sigh, these pants went with everything my pink-loving daughter owns.


Anna was a tailor who made custom women's clothes before moving to the United States, so some of her methods in her earlier patterns didn't make sense to me (like hand basting where to hem).  When I emailed her to ask about some of her construction "oddities", she asked for more feedback like that! I'm impressed with her commitment to make her patterns the best they can be, and easy for anyone to understand.

If you haven't tried a 5Berries (or Dress Patterns 4 Girls) pattern yet, you really should! They are easy enough for a beginner, while still having some unique styles (isn't this Ava dress pattern darling?) Oh, and she's started making some patterns with knits too. Bonus!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Seaside Sailor

I have been sewing up a storm but unfortunately don't have pictures of my recent projects to share yet. I didn't want to post just for the sake of posting, so I was happy to find I had a legitimate past project to share. (Although I have no clue how I forgot to post about it before!)

This is the Seaside Sailor dress by Tie Dye Diva. It was a pattern test I did a couple months ago, and, honestly, the first pattern I've used of Jen's, though I had purchased a few of her other patterns. I can't believe I waited so long to try a TDD pattern--they are fantastic!!

The instructions are exceptional! They are clear and well-written and provide lots of details without being overly wordy. She explains the reasoning behind many of her techniques and, best of all, anticipates and addresses questions someone might have as they sew this garment. And the fit? Oh the fit!

One of my biggest pet peeves lately is that it's taken for granted that there isn't a lot of "fit" involved in making children's clothes. That's garbage--I want my kids to wear clothes that fit them, even if they will be changing sizes in a few months. I want their clothes to cover them properly and I don't want big gaping armholes. I want my daughter's dresses to come down to her knees--this means she can wear them longer and she's 4, bloomers peeking out the bottom of her dress won't fly at this age! The fit was great with this pattern, and when I made pants for Samuel's dedication outfit, I used a Tie Dye Diva pattern because I was confident they'd be drafted properly and I only had enough material for one shot.

Finally, I really liked the finishing and details in this garment. The ties are attached under the collar so you don't have to worry about them being a choke hazard, and they fit through a loop in the front, so you don't have to try to keep them tied. I'm not sure how many sailor dresses one needs in their daughter's wardrobe at one time, but you can't go wrong with this pattern! Oh, and for the littlest ones, there is now a baby version of this pattern--it's too cute!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Almost Instant Gratification

I haven't fired up my embroidery machine in a while (in fact, I'd have to dig through my blog archive just to find the last time I used it). But I got antsy this weekend as none of my sewing projects were working the way I wanted them to, and I switched gears. It felt SO good to knock some projects out quickly!

First up, I added baby Andrew's name to a set of dinosaur burps I had already appliqued. These are going to my sister's friend (whose first son, Adam, received these burp cloths).

Font used is "Burst" from 8 Claws and a Paw
Brontosaurus and Triceratops appliques are from Planet Applique

I wasn't going to tilt the letters at all, just place them along the dinosaur's back, but the "d" didn't want to play nicely that way. So I rotated a few of the letters just a tad to make them fit better.

I also added a little friend's name to her beach towel. Soleil turned 2 recently and her mom brought this over for me to add her name to. I recognized the "hello kitty" font immediately and knew I had the font to match it. I decided to curve Soleil's name around the sun and thought it was especially appropriate as her name means "sun".

Font used is "Mandi" from 8 Claws

I used the capital "L"s for more depth. In order to position the letters, I measured the circle and made a shape in my digitizing program to use as a baseline. Then I removed the circle and saved the file with just the letters in her name. I was pretty pleased with her it turned out.

It felt really good to finish up two projects in less than the time it takes me to cut out some of the stuff I sew!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Popover Sweetie

My friend Jodi stopped by this weekend for a refresher on her sewing machine and when she snuck away to go do a lactation consultation (try saying that 5 times fast!), I sewed up a little Popover Sundress I had already cut out. It didn't take long at all, and I had it ready for her to take home to her daughter by the time she got back to my house. Jodi, being as awesome as she is, sent me some pictures:

I love the photos she sent and I'm thrilled the dress fit. (It ties at the shoulders, but this little lady is a very petite 5.)

This little girl is a doll and her mama said she loved the dress

The dress pattern is a free pattern from Oliver + S and gives you a great sense of what their patterns are like. Even though it's a simple dress, the way the yoke is "lined" makes a nice finish on the inside and is an example of some of the wonderful construction you can expect from an Oliver + S pattern. But enough about the pattern, here's another picture of Jodi's beautiful girl:

How cute is she? And how great is that backyard for photo shoots? The wood fence, the beautiful pool tile--I've already invited myself over to take pictures have Jodi take some pictures for me there :)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Items for Sewing To Rebuild

Sewing to Rebuild has been done for 2 weeks and I just got my box sent off today. Wow. I didn't mean for it to work that way, but I ended up getting a stomach bug not once but twice over the past two weeks. I'm feeling better now and managed to finish up most of the items I had cut out.

For boys, I made some Comfy Shorts using the pattern Designs By Moo provided for this project. I didn't care for the size of the pockets, so I left them off most of the pairs I made. I managed to get 5 pairs done, ranging from sizes 4 to 6.

2 pairs were done in a fun states print and 3 were done in "boy" chevron from Riley Blake. I got a ridiculously good deal on fabric recently and grabbed a dozen yards of chevron prints. I don't know the fashion status of chevron (though it seems to still be in) but I love stripes, and chevrons are like stripes with extra fun and a little spunk.

I also made some elastic-waisted skirts in "girl" chevron. It's the same print I used for dresses for my nieces, but this is new yardage since the other was gone. I tried to make the most of my yardage, while still making the largest sizes possible. The skirts are sizes 6, 8 and 10.

I was originally just going to stick to the skirts, thinking the style would be quick and the fabric would make it cute without embellishment. Well, I started getting distracted and ended up cutting out a couple dresses. I only got one finished in time (I use that term loosely, seeing how I was 2 weeks late), and it was the Nelle dress from Brownie Goose in a size 4.

The yellow/white are skirts, the yellow/aqua in the middle is the dress

Brownie Goose patterns are super popular on Facebook right now, and I do think the styles are cute. There were some things I didn't care for about the pattern though. Once I add a review of it on Pattern Review, you can check it out--it will show up in the widget to the right.  The quick and dirty was that there were a lot of conversational style instructions to read through just to get to the actual steps, and the armhole needed to be raised as it was too low and gape-y as directed.

I managed to stick to my original plan enough to get 2 pairs of ruched shorts and 1 hi-low skirt made. The hi-low (not pictured) was size 11/12 and the Dora shorts were size 2 and size 4 (they take hardly any yardage at all!)

I did get quite a lot made (though not as much as I wanted to) and it was such a joy to sew for others. The final tally was 5 pairs of boy shorts, 2 pairs of girl shorts, 1 hi-low skirt, 1 Nelle dress and 6 elastic-waist skirts--that's 15 kids who hopefully will be happy to have something handmade. I should rephrase that--that's 15 more kids, as the Sewing to Rebuild project collected over 600 items to help those affected by the tornadoes in Oklahoma. That is awesome!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Samuel's Dedication Outfit

My baby boy got dedicated at church on Father's Day weekend. We would have liked to have him dedicated at a younger age, but circumstances didn't work out for that. (Long story, with the meat of it being that we wanted to find a new home church and get him dedicated after we were members).

I love how sweet he looked--just what I was going for

Samuel was a bit of a handful during the ceremony, wanting to talk and make noises and jump off the steps at the front of the church, but that's what you get with a 2 year old!

You can see that he was done before Pastor was

There was no dress code for the dedication, but we wanted to dress up and I couldn't pass up a chance to make a special outfit! I ended up sewing 3 pieces for him--a button-up shirt, a pair of basic, elastic-waist pants, and a little tone-on-tone tie. I skipped the vest I was going to sew after trying on the shirt and pants, because I thought a simpler outfit would be more appropriate for the occasion, and seemed more innocent. At least he looked the part.

He looks like he's being good, but my embarrassed
face shows the real story!

I made the shirt using the Sketchbook Shirt pattern from Oliver + S. This was the pattern I used to make his Mater shirt (still no modeled pics, sorry), and I used it because it was already traced, even though I wanted a much different fit since it was intended to be worn tucked in and under a vest. I took width out of both the front and back pieces (and thus the yoke and the collar), so that it fit slimmer through the body. In the interest of time, I extended the center fronts so I could just fold them over for the placket, instead of cutting and sewing the placket on separately. I miscalculated the amount to add and had to use interfacing, but I still saved time. I removed some of the ease in the sleeve cap as I think the pattern has too much for my tastes. And I lengthened and re-shaped the hem a bit. It ended up looking really cute and fit exactly the way I wanted it. And they say kids clothes don't require fit!

The tie was a super quick, super cute sew from a free tutorial I found online. I made it using a tone-on-tone white seersucker that had a gold thread running through it. I think it was subtle and classy :)

The pants were special: though they were basic, elastic-waisted pants, I sewed them from one of my husband's old uniforms. Because he was being a stinker I didn't get a very good picture of the outfit on him, but he looked like a little angel and people were surprised that I made the outfit (I always take that as a great compliment).

This was him saying
"No more pictures"

All that effort and I didn't buy white shoes! I have to admit, I thought the light-up Cars shoes fit his age and personality and were a cute touch.

Oh, and you can now follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Friday, June 14, 2013

SQUEAL! (Guest posting)

Palak at "Make it Handmade" has posted my "confession" over on her blog tonight, and I am smiling so big it hurts. This is my first guest post and I am just so flattered that she asked me, and that she made such nice comments about my projects. PLEASE, go and take a look at her blog--not just my post, but all her awesome tutorials and cute projects.

It is just such a nice feeling to know that there are people out there who read my blog, and appreciate the time I spend on it! (Even if I only get to post about once a week ;) ) I am so inspired by what others create and I love being part of the sewing/crafting community.

If you are someone who reads this blog regularly or maybe just visits every once in a while, or even if you have just stumbled over here for the first time--THANK YOU! 

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