April 10, 2014

Kids Clothes Week Spring 2014- Day 2 & 3 (and a half!)

I've done fairly well keeping up with a bit of sewing each day, and I've even managed to get outside with my kids and make dinner. Let's not talk about the state of the laundry, though.

I have a goal this KCW of using stuff I have- refashioning, upcycling, or using fabric from my (small) stash- rather than buying new fabric. It is time to clear some things out and make these piles of junk into something useful! So, for day 2, I refashioned (or upcyled... I really should find out the difference) this shirt I picked up at the thrift store a while back. If you haven't seen a rhyme or reason to my thrifting yet, I'll let you in on a secret. It's all about the fabric. If I'm looking for something for me then yes, I'm looking at fit and lines and all that stuff, but if I find something with a fabric I just love I know I can usually make it into something cool. Which is exactly why I bought this shirt that I knew I'd never wear- at least not in its current state.

It had a deep scoop back that meant there wasn't enough fabric to make it a little dress, so I finally decided to lop off the bottom as is and gather it into a skirt. It was basically the easiest thing I've made in a while. I used some fabric from the top to make a flat front/elastic back waistband, gathered the bottom portion and sewed it on. Easy as pie and my little lady is in love.

But then I didn't have anything she could wear with it, so I figured for day 3 I'd take a swing at the Celestial Tee from Figgy's that is included in Parcel #2 from Perfect Pattern Parcel. I had a cream tee I bought on clearance for $5 to work with. I loved it in theory, but the pleat detail on the front did a weird something over my boobs that I just wasn't digging. The problem is, this shirt wasn't quite wide enough to fit the pattern piece. I thought I'd try doing a contrast sleeve band like this, but it wasn't even wide enough for that. So I thought and thought and wasted way too much time brainstorming (I'm an overanalyzer- like bad) and came to the conclusion that I could try making it a raglan style sleeve, using another shirt to create a contrast sleeve. I literally just cut the pattern from the armpit diagonally to the neckline and added seam allowances. I also brought the back hem up for a less dramatic hi/low hem. Once I sewed the sleeve to the main bodice I followed the pattern. I wasn't sure how the pleats would look with the raglan sleeve, but I'm actually really loving that they seem to have the same angle to them, which makes it look intentional.

I toyed with the idea of using a linen with metallic stripes, but wasn't sure how a woven would work with a knit pattern. I used a thin knit with some texture instead (from a hand me down base layer type shirt), but now that I've sewn it up I'm pretty confident this pattern is loose enough that a woven sleeve would be just fine.

I didn't have enough fabric for a neckband so I cut the original hem from the main shirt and used that. It made a more narrow band but it worked! Talk about using what you've got!

I'm wishing I would have made a size smaller, since this pattern has a lot of ease and Charly is skinny as a rail. I guess she'll get to wear this for a long time:)

I finished the hemming on the shirt this afternoon, which brings us to today. I'm currently working on a pair of bubble shorts for Caroline and have another peplum top cut for Charly. My goal is 7 items this week- fingers crossed!

In the mean time, we are enjoying some fabulous weather, and it is all I can do to not skip naps and spend the whole day outside. Once summer hits the humidity comes with it, so these nice spring days are a precious commodity! Today we managed to get out for a run this morning and spend the late afternoon doing sidewalk chalk.

This goober declared herself "a ragamuffin princess" and I'd have to agree!

April 9, 2014

Sewing for Perfect Pattern Parcel #2- Charly's Spring Look

Here is part 2 of the looks I created using the patterns from Perfect Pattern Parcel. If you missed it, the first one is here. I couldn't stop myself from making more than one of these great patterns- so I used two to make Charly this outfit.

Charly always gets more home sewn stuff because she is the oldest and doesn't have hand me downs. Thus, every season change (or growth spurt), I'm brainstorming things I can make for her. These days all she wants are dresses, but she also thinks shirts that are flowy or have a little flounce are dresses. I knew the Hanami top would fit the bill for a "dress" and I was dying to sew up some Hosh pants. The Bimaa is one of my absolute favorite patterns so I figured I'd like another LouBee pattern.

I scoured the thrift store for some fabric and wound up finding this gem:

It is rayon, which I thought would make for a nice flowy Hanami, and I like the small print. So 90's, but hey, thats coming back right? Right? Or did I hear that wrong? Anyway, there's enough fabric left for a whole other project, so you may be seeing this again soon.

The top sewed up beautifully. I opted for the crossed back to give it a little something something. I love the look, but the buttons are a bit hard to reach on the inside flap. I lengthened the bodice and skirt each by an inch for my tall skinny gal. I also opted to leave the sleeves unlined and just serge a rolled hem on the edges to make them a little more drapey. 

I used a lightweight apparel lining rather than another layer of rayon. I love the finished look of the fully lined bodice, and the edge stitching keeps everything in place nicely.

The pants are a stretch twill from Joanns. I love the pop they give with this neutral top. I neglected to measure my little lady before cutting and sewing them. Oops. They were baggy and the bum was saggy so I had to make some alterations, but I'm confident that if I'd followed directions they would have been fine as is. Just as I suspected they were simple to construct and came together so fast. The adjustable waistband saved my bacon and is great for my skinny kid! 

I'd definitely make both of these patterns again. The Hosh is a great staple skinny pant that can almost pass as leggings but has a more polished look. Charly is suddenly vehemently against jeans, so I'm happy to have a pants pattern with a bit of polish but lots of comfort, too. 

So... are you convinced that you NEED these patterns yet? 

Perfect Pattern Parcel #2

Get all five (and the bonus shorts if you pay $24 or more) by clicking the link below. 

Perfect Pattern Parcel #2

Want to see more? Check out what these bloggers are making with the patterns!

April 8, 2014

Kids Clothes Week Spring 2014- Day 1

And all of the sudden I'm back! Posting for Perfect Pattern Parcel earlier today (and again tomorrow) and now Kids Clothes Week is upon us and I'm hoping to stay somewhat up to date with my projects this week. Yesterday was day 1, and since I'd done a bit of prep work by cutting a couple projects out, I managed to finish one of them.

This peplum top was made using the Pippa Peplum pattern from See Kate Sew. I used this pattern to sew a couple dresses for someone recently but this was my first time sewing up a Pippa for one of my girls. Charly gasped when she saw it this morning and immediately declared it was her Snow White dress. I have no idea why she's calling it that, but I couldn't have asked for a better reaction!

I made it using this shirt that I bought for myself at the thrift store a couple of years ago. I have no idea why I bought it. I don't usually wear those colors or that silhouette, which is why its been sitting in my dresser nearly the entire time I've owned it. Lucky for me neon is in and this bad boy was just big enough to cut a top for Charly out of. I was able to cut the bodice and sleeves out of just the fabric from the sleeves of the original shirt!

I used the bottom of the shirt as the skirt portion of the top by measuring the height of the peplum pattern piece and cutting that much off the bottom of the shirt, following the curve. Because of that the bottom has a bit more fullness than the original pattern but it saved me the pain of hemming. Hooray!

So that's day one of Kids Clothes Week for me. I've got two more patterns cut and ready to sew, and about 20 more I want to make. I'd love to make one thing each day, but I realize that may be a bit ambitious for me at this point. Can't hurt to try though, right? Wish me luck!

Sewing for Perfect Pattern Parcel #2

I'm excited to be a part of the Perfect Pattern Parcel blog tour today! You can read all about what Perfect Pattern Parcel is here- or there are more details, including links to purchase the parcel at the end of this post.

The fine ladies behind Perfect Pattern Parcel sent the pattern bundle to me and asked that I make at least one item to feature on their blog tour. I was kind of, just a little bit, excited to get sewing... so I made three. And took waaayy too many pictures. So I figured I'd split it up into two posts so as not to have 20,000 pictures in one.

My sweet Caroline is 11 months today, so in celebration of my almost one year old I sewed up a birthday dress using the Caroline Party Dress pattern!

I wanted something sweet and summery and a bit feminine. I scoured the thrift store for a piece to refashion (my first and favorite source for fabric, in case you haven't noticed) but didn't find anything that fit the bill, so I made my way over to JoAnns and found this striped pink, red, and burnt orange linen that nearly jumped into my arms when I saw it. It reads a bit more pink in pictures, but the red/orange stripes are definitely noticeable in person- hence the orange headband to adorn that still-so-bald noggin. It really does match, I promise!

The pattern sewed up quite nicely and had lots of attention to detail that makes me happy. I'm a bit of a perfectionist sometimes, so when a pattern has directions for finishes that look sloppy inside I usually free style and use a technique that I know will give a nice finish. This one had a beautifully lined bodice and great directions for edge stitching to keep your lining from poking out. The invisible zipper instructions were great too- it was a bit different than how I've inserted them in the past but the result was smoother.

I did make a few changes to the pattern. I made a bias cut bodice so I could have the chevron formed by the stripes on front and back. To do that I added a seam allowance to the center front bodice piece and didn't cut on the fold, then cut both the front and back bodice pieces at a 45 degree angle. I ironed interfacing on all my bodice pieces to be sure they didn't stretch or get wonky while I sewed, stitched the front bodice pieces together first, then followed the pattern after that. I also added some length to the skirt because I like a wide hem. I've found that with woven fabric a hem of 1.5-2" tends to lay more flat and not need ironing, and it gives me the option of letting some of the hem out if the dress/skirt gets too short.

Also, can I just brag for a second about those stripes on the bodice? I love the lines on the front and sides formed by the matched stripes. When I first bought the fabric I was envisioning a horizontal stripe on the skirt, but once I got home and started cutting I realized that the stripes actually ran parallel with the grain. I'm happy they do because I love this look even more!

I love the option of the belt loops, underskirt, or peter pan collar with this pattern. So many options! This is one I'm sure I'll make again!

Wanna see what else is included in Perfect Pattern Parcel #2?

Perfect Pattern Parcel #2

Hanami Top or Dress by Straight Grain
Hosh Pants by LoubeeClothing
Celestial Tee by Figgy’s
September Tunic & Dress by Too Sweets Patterns
Caroline Party Dress by Mouse House Creations

BONUS pattern:
Prefontaine Shorts by Made With Moxie

I've got two more pieces ready to show you tomorrow and plans to make a couple more this week for Kids Clothes Week. These are fabulous patterns and a fabulous cause. I love supporting indie designers, and Perfect Pattern Parcel gives you the opportunity to do just that while also supporting charity. Yeah- part of their mission is donating to Donors Choose, so money spent on these patterns is money going to great people and great causes. Oh, and it gets better. You choose the amount you pay! There are so many great pattern designers that I want to support but my budget doesn't always allow for it. This is a great way to give what you can and know that it is going to a good place. You can even select how much goes to Donors Choose and how much goes to the pattern makers. Could they make this any more fantastic?!?

Oh wait. Yes. Because there is also a free download for Parcel #2 paper dolls! What a fun way to get your kids in on the design process- or just keep them busy to give you a little extra sewing time ;)
Charly and I had a great time coloring and playing with them one day and I've got plans to print some more!

Here's a little sneaky peak of the look I have to share tomorrow. She's at the age where matching is just about the coolest thing she can think of, so having a doll that has the same clothes as she does is her idea of a good time.

You can get your own paper dolls here, and all the patterns by clicking below!

Perfect Pattern Parcel #2

March 17, 2014

Caroline's Blessing Dress

I recently happened upon these pictures of Caroline on her blessing day (similar to a christening) and realized I had never posted about her dress. I made it! I made Charly's (and the pictures of her wearing it are here) so I figured it would be a sweet little thing for each child to have their own handmade by me. Of course, in the three years since Charly's blessing day my tastes have changed some and my skills have improved, so they look very different from each other. It's kind of fun for me to see the difference in difficulty and style after so short a time, not to mention seeing how much this little lady has grown- her blessing was nearly seven months ago!

 I made this dress using Made By Rae's Geranium Dress pattern. It's one I know and love- and bonus, the newborn size is available as a free download! I Used the newborn bodice from the download, drafted a flutter sleeve based on the one from the paid pattern (since the free one is sleeveless) and altered the skirt portion to be pleated instead of gathered. Oh, and did I mention it was a refashion? Yep, I made it from this shirt a friend passed on to me. The cut didn't look very good on me but the fabric was too too perfect for the occasion. So ethereal!

 It's hard to see in most pictures, but I kept the original hem because I loved that pleat detail. And it saved me the pain of hemming such slippery fabric! This is the best picture showing the entire dress.

Of course, that was before I did the embroidery. I did a self- drafted design (ok, I was winging it) of french knots in a sort of starburst coming from the neckline. In gold embroidery floss, which I previously didn't know existed but I absolutely love the look of. I used it on this dress too. If you are so inspired to use it, be warned; it is tricky. But worth it, I think. Also worth mentioning: embroidering a traced-but-not-cut pattern piece would be infinitely easier than embroidering a sewn garment. Just sayin.

I've been anti baby bonnet in the past, but the Storybook Woods Bonnet changed my mind. I love the look of this little cap. I think it is simple enough to be masculine for a boy and easy to doll up for a girl. I loved it enough to make a winter version, even. This one is made from the same lightweight cotton I used for the lining of the dress. I added a simple flower with more gold french knots, and just the tiniest bit of pink for the flower center.

Naturally, I was finishing the buttonholes just hours before her blessing was to take place. I just hate buttonholes so so much. Anyone with me? They shouldn't be that difficult but for some reason they are. I seam ripped right through the stitching, making a tear in the fabric that I could only sort of fix. You know how the Amish intentionally make quilts with imperfections? Something about acknowledging their imperfection before God... does anyone know what I'm talking about? Anyway, we'll say that's why it's there. Keep me humble, haha.

For the sake of documentation, here is our little family of four on Caroline's blessing day (which was July 28, 2013- also for the sake of documentation). It is mind blowing to see these little people change and grow.

We sure love this sweet little lady! She's bigger and crazier but just as sweet today.

Thanks for reading!