I can't believe the week is almost over. I'm really happy with what I've accomplished. This is the first major sewing challenge I've been involved with I'd I love the challenge.
Friday, July 25, 2014
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Kids sewing is done for the day. I have a couple of patterns in mind but I'm not quite settled on which I want to go with which fabric. I did see TLM eyeing this purple chair fabric the other day. I love it so much and have been hoarding it but since it's only 1 yard there's not much that I can use it for garment wise for myself. It's going through the wash now and will become something cute probably tomorrow. I might put Fee (my flower decaled Brother) to work later to finish up a top for me. We shall see how my mojo is feeling.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Monday, July 21, 2014
First up, I modified the Emme skirt by Bebelambs into a bubble skirt. I love how clean the bubble skirt is on the inside. Everything is contained and pretty. As soon as TLM put it on, she asked if she could wear it he rest of the day, and she did.
Friday, July 18, 2014
I didn't actually even plan on making this dress. I'm still not quite sure how I managed to get played by a five year old. A couple weeks back we were near JoAnns and decided to pop in to check out their spring clearance sale. When we walked through the door there was a small Frozen display full of cape-worthy fabric. "I need an Elsa dress so I can be Elsa" TLM said. Next thing I know we are leaving the store with pattern, fabric, and notions. We even had three princess crowns. I'm still not sure what happened.
Now, there are a lot of fancy a Elsa fabrics out there but I opted against them. I wanted a dress-up outfit that would be comfortable to wear. Sequins and tulle can get so scratchy and hot. I decided on using some Country Classic cotton. I've used it before and though it shrinks up a bit during prewashing, I like how it feels. The 100% cotton means it's comfy for the warm weather we've been having. It did need some bling so I stitched some rhinestone buttons onto the bodice before I attached the lining.
Technically I think I used the Anna variation in the dress. Again, I was thinking comfort. A floor length dress isn't practical for playing at the park and a cape was bound to get in the way. I also left the sleeves off. We've been having a really hot couple of weeks. I used the neck facings as a guide to draft facings to finish off the arm holes.
I'm not actually very happy with hiw this turned our. I was being rushed by TLM so there's some sloppiness especially at the curbed bodice. I do like how nice the inside is finished. There are no unfinished seams. Everything is either French Seamed or encased in the bodice lining. She loves it though, do that's all that really matters. This was made to be a fun, play dress.
The one thing I love is the zipper. I'm terrible at visualizing things so sometimes I end up blindly following so directions without really knowing where they are heading. That was the case here. The zipper insertion seemed weird but I went for it and ended up with this lovely covered zipper. Love how it turned out!
This dress is worn basically any time it's cleaned. My apprehensions aside, we can call that a success. Next week I should have something different...menswear! Stay tuned.
Friday, July 11, 2014
1. Not ever pattern will work for every person
This was one of the biggest issues I had when doing this pattern. TLM fell into different sizes for height, waist, and hips. I made adjustments but even after making 2 separate pairs, the just don't quite fit right. I blame this entirely on her personal shape. There wasn't much I could ever do, without totally redrafting the pattern, that was going to make them work. But that's okay! We've all had patterns like that and part of testing is finding what works and what doesn't. I need to let the less-than-successes roll off my back a bit more.
2. If you have doubts from the start, opt out of testing.
This was presented as a unisex pattern. I was always a little skeptical about this. Turns out it was an incredibly solid boys' pattern. Every boys' pair I saw really rivaled RTW with the bonus of being customizable. If I was sewing for a boy this would have become a go-to pattern for years. That being said, I don't really like it much on girls. There's something about the super straight cut that just didn't work for me. All the doubts I had from the start ended up playing out. I need to trust my gut. Pattern testing is me working for free so if I can't go into it feeling confident in success, I shouldn't do it.
3. Related, if you don't love the pattern, don't apply.
Much the same, if I'm not loving something or if it's just wrong for me (ex. a shirred bodice for me) I should just wait. Something that is a better fit will come along. Testing just to test is a recipe for stress and ripped seams.
4. Know when to say no.
I believe in being responsible, in sticking with commitments, but you need to know when you need to distance yourself from something. When I was still planning on participating in a blog tour I was struggling because while I had positive things to say, I also had criticisms. I found myself in the awkward place between honesty to myself and respecting the work and business of the designer. At this point I should have opted out of the blog tour.
What it all boils down to is trusting my gut instead of just gleefully excepting every opportunity.
I'll leave you with one last picture. Next time I'll have something I can actually talk about.
Thursday, July 3, 2014
I knew I wanted to make this skirt as soon as I saw this lobster version from Tilley and the Buttons. I actually think I had it planned for April or May but I wasn't able to find a cotton print that really spoke to me...well at least one that wouldn't eat up my monthly budget. At the beginning of June I spent the day looking for fabric bargains and doing a little thrifting. As usual, I was mostly unsuccessful, but I did come across the sheet that became this skirt.
What sold me was the "Hilfiger" all over the place and of course, the $3 price. I knew immediately that it would become my picnic blanket skirt. Now, I'm not really one who cares about name brands. I have a few favorites but as a whole, it just doesn't interest me. I have a soft spot in my heart for Tommy Hilfiger though. I reminds me of my short-lived obsession with all things Hilfiger during my Freshman year of high school. My best friend and I spent all our precious back-to-school money on over-priced Tommy t-shirts. Shirts, I might add, that didn't really fit the girls, even at 15. But they were "so cool!" I'm sure my mom just silently shook her head in dismay over this display of consumerism. That was also the year I received a coveted bottle of Tommy Girl perfume. I spent the year covered in flag emblems while smelling like the cover of Seventeen magazine. With this skirt I can channel that girl once again, but in a better fitting less pungent way.
I planned on finishing this skirt up during a long evening alone, but had to set it aside after I drew blood tice in 5 minutes. Somehow it languished in my sewing nook most of the month. It's really a fairly easy project, though the math did give me pause. I finally finished it just in time to have Mr R take photos on the Seattle waterfront. (Excuse the shoes, we did a ton of walking) I wore it all day and it was really comfy. I was glad to have shorts on under though! Beware of wind gusts in such a full skirt
The one thing I noticed is that I seem to have problems making waistbands that fit. I used the guidelines in the tutorial and ended up having to remove 6 inches to make it fit nicely. I had a similar issue with my House is Not a Home skirt. I think I removed 5" and it's still a bit loose. I think I'm just afraid of making things too tight and so I don't want to trust my tape measure. Does anyone else have this problem?
I love the buttons up the front. It's a cute little twist on a basic skirt. I do wish they showed up a bit better. I'm not really sure what a better color would have been with such a colorful, busy print.
All in all it just felt great to finish something that was just for me. July has a lot of selfless sewing in it but I just bought a new, quick pattern that will hopefully give me a chance to get a little me sewing in as well. A win is a win though so I'm going to take it, and my skirt, and run with it.
Monday, June 23, 2014
This lovely dress is the Berkley Maxi, once again by the fabulous Lynn at Bebelambs It's finally being released as an instant PDF today! The Berkley comes in sizes 2-26. I made a 20 with a FBA based on my high bust measurement. As added bonus, the Berkley Maxi, Dress, and Top pattern is on sale for $8 through Wednesday 6/25.
Mr. R picked out my fabric, all from JoAnn's. The bottom is a cotton/spandex blend. It washed up beautifully and has just a touch of stretch. I fell in love with the bodice fabric, a very sheer linen-look with embroidered flowers. It matches the floral of the skirt so beautifully. I opted to use my lining fabric, a orange-juice colored quiliting cotton, for the back as well. I wasn't sure that the elastic would work well in such a sheer material. You'll have to excuse some of the over-filtered photos. Apparently, when you take pictures of a white bodice lined with a paler orange fabric in full sunlight, the resulting pictures all give the wearer the appearance of participating in a wet t-shirt contest!
This is Lynn's first foray into the wild world of women's wear and man, she has out done herself. I tested one of the earlier versions of the dress. Mine is the maxi version with an elastic casing back and a tied back. Since I tested she has added so many great variations that add so much to the value of the pattern.
Let's look at some of the options. First, the back. The back of the bodice can be done in a shirred manner using elastic thread or, if you don't have that on hand or are still intimidated by it, you can do elastic casing. That's the option I chose. I haven't shirred before and wasn't up to the challenge this time. The elastic casing is a bit difficult, not so much in technique, but its a lot of no-roll elastic to force through your fabric. The elastic though does give some extra support. It's a fairly narrow back so that extra support can come in handy if you're a bustier girl.
I did the maxi version. I love a maxi so much. In the summer I'd rather wear a long flowy skirt than capris or shorts any day. They're just so comfy and breezy. Other versions include a high-low hem, a knee-length, and even a tunic! I've seen some incredible versions of all of these. The tunic isn't the right silouhette for me, but on different figures its adorable.
Lastly, the back. I did the knot/bow version. The straps are connected to the front of the bodice and then threaded through a button hole at the center back. The straps are extra long to allow for a nice big bow. To me this is one of the features that sets the Berkely apart from so many other maxis. The one down side of the straps being done like this is the top isn't very bra-friendly or supportive. To avoid these potential problems, the pattern offers a cross back version where the straps are connected at the front and the back. Fantastic!
One word of warning, the Berkley Maxi is drafted for a B cup. It's advisable that a muslin be made for the bodice along with either a SBA or a FBA. I made 2.5 muslins (my first one I chose the wrong size). I ended up having to do a 1.5" FBA. I'd never done once before and was a little nervous but the pattern includes a worksheet that made the whole thing fairly simple. Once I did the FBA I didn't have any fitting issues. I was concerned about not having a hip measurement to go by but the skirt is designed with a lot of ease so there weren't any issues thankfully.
A final note. This dress holds the honor of being the first me-made garment that got the question "where did you get that?" Can there be a higher compliment?
Monday, June 16, 2014
Now, moving on to the sewing. This is the Emme skirt from Bebelambs. The skirt comes in some great variations: Simple, Drop Waist, Color Block, Ruffle, and Ribbon Trimmed. It comes in sizes from Newborn all the way to a girls' size 10.
My first Emme was a color blocked version. I was able to use some scrap material picked up at a garage sale by my mom. (The Emme is a great little scrap-buster). Now I had some sizing issues, but this had absolutely nothing to do with Lynn's pattern. I thought that the Little Miss would be wearing a size 5/6. I cut and assembled the color block version before TLM had arrived and then measured her waist...to find out she was a 3! Well this was a surprise. I didn't change the skirt at this point. Instead I just used the elastic sizing for a 3. Theres some strange bunching at the waist line, but nothing to severe.
I did a second Emme in an ACTUAL size 3. The fit is great. For this one I used a thrifted Tommy Hilfiger sheet...DESIGNER! I am absolutely in love with this skirt. I used the simple skirt pattern and added the optional side seam pockets in a contrasting red. (ETA: Apparently the pockets didn't make it into the final pattern draft. Any side seam pockets from another pattern could easily be added) I opted to topstich the pockets to the front of the skirt with red thread. TLM can be very particular and I didn't want the pockets to flop around and annoy her. Instead of hemming, I finished the bottom with some double-fold bias tape I had in my stash. I love the cute All-American feel of this skirt. I'm actually working on a skirt for myself made from the same sheet. These will most likely be our 4th of July outfits.
I love this pattern. It's a simple, quick sew, (a simple skirt can be made in about 30 min). Like all of Lynn's patterns, this is targeted toward beginners. It is a simple skirt, nobody is reinvinting the wheel here, but there are endless variations possible making this a fantastic wardrobe builder. I'm already plotting to modify one of the styles into a high-lo skirt and will also be using it as the base of a tank top dress.
Now, full disclosure, some people aren't going to care for this pattern because there are no actual pattern pieces. Everything is done by measurements. I personally love not having to deal with tiny pattern pieces. Having all the measurements gives so many opportunities to really make the skirt your own. Now, I'm sure some people can whip up a self-drafted skirt in no time flat. This isn't the pattern for you. But, if you're a beginner or someone who doesn't want to deal with the work involved with self-drafting, then Lynn has done all the hard work for you.
The Emme skirt realeases today! It's on sale for $5 USD until midnight EST Wednesday June 16th. Do yourself a favor an snatch it up.
Friday, June 6, 2014
Readers, I LOVE this dress. It's super fun, surprisingly comfortable, and probably my best fitting garment to date. I'm actually wearing it for the first time today and still loving it. I'm not sure if there's much that beats a fit-and-flare for instant femininity. I feel like such a girl.
You'll probably recognize the fabric. It's once again a part of my $2/yard haul. I just can't get enough of those chairs! I purchased nearly 5 yards of it so I still have plenty to play with. I'm thinking TLM will soon have a matching skirt.
The pattern for the bodice is Butterick 5982. This pattern is great because it comes in multiple cup sizes so no full bust adjustment, yay! The bodice is lined with what I think is muslin. My mom sent me nearly a full bolt of the fabric so I decided to use it. It's not fancy but it's nice and breathable and feels good on my skin. I'm really happy with the zipper insertion. I've only done a couple of them. I had to do this one twice because I used my zipper foot backwards! As much as use that thing for non-zipper things, you'd think I'd have figured it out by now.
My fabric was incredibly narrow, around 42" after pre-washing so I had to abandoned the lovely bell-shaped skirt. Instead, I did a self-drafted dirndl skirt. Can you call it self-drafted when you took 2 rectangles the width of the fabric and sewed them together? Hmmm...seems sketchy to me but I'm going to do it anyway. I self-drafted the skirt.
I don't have any pictures of the inside but believe me, it's a thing of beauty. Not an unfinished edge to be seen. The hemline and zipper are all encased in the lining. The hem is once again hand stitched. I'm a little over hand stitching for a bit. I've done MILES of it thus month. Both skirt seams are French seams. I love French seams. They are so pretty and that extra touch makes me feel professional.
I've got some fun things on my docket including my first Moneta by Colette Patterns. You guys, I'm so pumped to get my fabric. It should arrive tomorrow and it's awesome! There's also some small girl's projects that may or mayy not show up here. Join me again soon and happy sewing!
Saturday, May 31, 2014
Saturday, May 24, 2014
I'm also not convinced that kids' sewing is cost effective. Indie patterns will cost more than a pair of RTW shorts before you even begin to add in supplies. I know when I sew something for myself it has lasting power. Anything I make for TLM will have MAYBE a year of wear time, and will probably not make it past the summer. Add in the fiddly-ness of tiny clothes and I'll probably just turn to the $5 shorts and t's from The Children's Place.
Occasionally though, a fabric comes around that I just can't say no to. That's the case with this amazing pirate fabric, part of my $2/yard Craft Warehouse haul. I saw it and immediately had visions of an old school jumper/pinafore complete with large, yellow, plastic buttons and maybe a kangaroo pouch on the front. Paired with a simple white shirt, it would be the perfect summer outfit for my rough and tumble LM.
Well, you know how plans are. TLM vetoed my lovely jumper deciding that pirate shorts would be a much better idea. Enter the Sycamore shorts pattern by Sew Like My Mom. Free pattern + bargain fabric = kids' sewing win. I pulled out some brown brick fabric for the accent pockets. Looks kinda like the side if a pirate ship right? And saved me a trip to the store.
These were great to sew up. One quick note. I did have troubles deciphering the cutting instructions. I ended up with everything I needed but I'm pretty sure I didn't do it "right". Other than that, the construction is brilliant.
The wonderful pockets are created to have no raw edges. This does make them a bit bulky at the bottom. When I make another pair I might see if there's a way to reduce this bulk. I was a little skeptical about the 1/4" seam allowance but it worked perfectly. The brilliance come with the casing and hems. They are all measured and pressed before the shorts are put together allowing you to measure when they are flat. I'll definitely steal this technique for other pants and shorts I make. It was truly the easiest time I ever had with an elastic casing. The only change I made was to use button hole elastic instead if no-roll. It's what I had on hand and gives me some wiggle room since TLM isn't around to measure. I reduced the casing to account for the thinner elastic.
I'm sure there's at least a couple more pairs if Sycamore shorts in my future. Who can say no to those pockets? And why don't more girls' clothes have pockets??
As always, there are more adventures to come. See you soon!
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
What I do know is that her room will have a "big girl" makeover. Now, TLM is a tiny girl, and though she's five she's not really big enough to justify a twin bed. So, we're going to squeeze one more year out of her current, toddler sized bed. But the bedding MUST go. It currently has this set purchased at Ikea a couple of years ago. While it's cute, and will probably be up cycled into pajamas, it's just too "baby" for TLM.
When deciding what fabrics to choose I went directly to the source. Her request? Pink with white unicorns. Okay, I didn't really see that coming from my Ninja Turtle loving, Ironman obsessed LM but okay, no problem. Surely there are veritable TONS of unicorn fabric.
No. There is not. I think I found a total of three unicorn fabrics in all of the interwebs. Then I came across this Riley Blake collection on Fabricworm.com. Perfect! But not available! I waited, not patiently at all, for the email announcing it's final arrival and quickly snatched up 1 yd of pink unicorns and another .5 yd of the contrasting rainbows. So glad I acted quickly, it doesn't appear like the pink is still available, though there are a couple other colorways. Wish I had purchased just a tad more to accent her curtains but hindsight and all that.
The construction was pretty easy, not much more than making a pillow case. I used the old Ikea cover as a guide for the measurements splitting up the front to allow for the contrasting edge. The cover is backed in soft, butter-yellow flannel from JoAnn's for maximum cuddliness. After the ruffles I wanted to add at the front seam line were soundly vetoed, I pulled some pink single-fold bias tape out of my stash and top stitched it across the seam. The bottom has an opening of about 12 inches to allow for removal of the actual duvet. I followed the lead of the Ikea cover and left it open, no buttons or ties. I just double folded and stitched the raw edges to give it a clean finish.
This was a very quick project, finished in less than two hours but will make a huge difference in TLM's room. I also threw together the pillow case here. I had just enough fabric left to add the trim to the existing pillow case.
Thanks for stopping by! Next in the pipeline we have word searches, pirates, and more chairs. See you then.