Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Little Bear Cub Hood

When I first saw Oliver + S's Little Things to Sew, I wasn't too excited.  I didn't think I'd like making accessories and toys for kids and babies...but I was wrong :)  I should have known that anything with Liesl's name on it would be delightful.  I know this sounds cheesy, but seriously, it's like her patterns are magic.  Everything she designs is absolutely adorable, and the way the patterns are drafted and the instructions written, they're almost impossible to mess up.

I made the Warm Hood from the Little Things to Sew book.  I also have the mittens half sewn (meaning, I have one mitten fully sewn and one not started.  Awesome, I know :).  I made it from a cream-colored blizzard fleece I bought at Joann.  I would have loved to use wool, but Miss S has eczema and I've read that wool can irritate it, so I used the polyester fleece and lined it with a light pink flannel.  I love how it turned out.  She looks like a little bear cub when wearing it.

It went together so quickly and so easily, and it keeps her warm.  This would be a great baby gift...I'll have to keep it in mind.

Blog posting might be a little scarce for the next month or so.  We're getting ready to move into a house that requires some remodeling and we've got to be out of our current place by the end of the year, so it's looking like it will be a little crazy for the next little while.  Hopefully things will calm down after that (but really, does life ever calm down?)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tova the Second

Here's my second version of the Tova top.  I wore the first one last week and really liked it.  Being made from a lightweight cotton shirting, it didn't keep me very warm as we're headed into winter, so I decided to make another from a cotton flannel shirting.

I got this plaid shirting at the same local quilting shop as I got the fabric for the little Apple Picking Dress.  It's got gray and yellow lines on a cranberry background.  It is definitely warm.  I wore it a couple times this week and it did a great job of keeping me warm.

The drape is certainly different between a lightweight cotton shirting and a heavier flannel shirting.  I think the version from the lightweight shirting is more flattering, but I'm willing to accept a little less flattering for something warmer on cold winter days :)

I cut the yoke on the bias instead of on the straight grain, just to add some interest.  I like how it looks.  I think it highlights the fact that the yoke is there, as it can get a little lost in  a busy print.  

The top went together even faster than the last one I sewed.  It is really well drafted and is a very quick sew.  I probably spent 2 1/2 hours on it, which is not too bad for a new shirt, right?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Oliver + S: After School Top and Jeans

I was excited to get this pattern when it came out, because I was looking for a basic top and pants, with some cute details, like Oliver + S is famous for.  I sewed both the top and pants in size 6-12 months.

I found this red print at my local quilt shop.  It's from the Henry Glass Anthology line.  I love this color of red, but generally look awful in it myself, so I decided to use it to make Miss S a cute little top.  The scale was better for little people clothes, anyway :)

I used flower shaped mother-of-pearl buttons for the front and back closures.  I got them from the same Etsy seller that I've bought a lot of my other buttons from.  I like that they echo the shape of the little flowers in the print.

The pattern went together pretty quickly.  It was drafted beautifully and all the parts together well.  I was a little disappointed in the fit of the finished product, though.  It is not the fault of the pattern, it's just that I think this style is probably better suited to larger sizes.  The neckline was a little wide (no doubt to get it over babies proportionately-very-large heads), so when being worn, it looks a little too large.  I do love the style, and will definitely try it again when Miss S is a little bigger.

I made the little pants out of a lightweight blackish denim.  I ended up shortening them a little, which I probably should have done before I cut the pattern pieces, as the piece at the bottom side of the legs ended up much shorter than was originally designed in the pattern.  I'll have to try to remember that next time...

I love the little details on these jeans.  Aren't the ruffled pockets cute? :)

I used a heavy topstitching thread on these pants, the same as I used on the Sailboat Skirts.  It makes them look more jeans-like.  I think this pattern would work equally as well in a lighterweight fabric for less jeans-looking pants.

All in all, I think this is a really cute outfit, but it probably won't get much wear from Miss S, due to the wide neck on the top, and the fact that I usually dress her in knit type pants while she is still little for comfort.  I'll definitely pull this one out again as she gets a little older.

First Tova Top (Finally!)

Way back in May, I was super, super busy with a high pressure contract design project I was doing from home while my baby slept.  And she didn't sleep very well...at all.  I was really stressed out and was having an incredibly difficult time trying to keep up with everything I needed to do.  I had absolutely no time to sew, so instead of sewing, I bought patterns and fabric.  Awesome, huh?  :P

One of the patterns I bought (and I blame this mostly on the pressure and lack of time to relax :/ ) was the Tova top.  I had seen quite a few versions floating around the web and everyone said it was really hard to get your hands on the pattern, because the availability was very limited.  So when I saw it was up for sale, I bought it.  It was definitely more than I would normally spend for a pattern, but I really liked it, and I may not have been completely sane at that point in time.  I finally (after 6 months) got around to sewing a version.

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  It's very comfortable and fairly flattering for a flowy top.  It went together really quickly and the fit was right on.  I sewed size XS in a cotton voile that I got from Fashion Fabrics Club.

One reason I think this pattern works so well is because the shoulders are well fitted, and the armholes are cut high.  So even though it is flowy and loose, it's not big and floppy all over.  I've made some wadders that were floppy...very floppy...

 All in all, I like this pattern a lot.  I've got another in the works, out of a cranberry, gray and yellow plaid flannel.  I guess I'd better make a few more to make my pattern investment worthwhile :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Warm Winter Dress 2: Oliver + S Apple Picking Dress

This is the second dress I decided to make in the relieving-my-paranoia-that-Miss-S-will-freeze-to-death series :)  I made the Oliver + S Apple Picking dress in a warm flannel.

 I wasn't so sure about this pattern when it first came out, but I took another look at it, and I'm glad I did.  It has some really cute details and I think it's especially cute in the teeny tiny size.

I was reading the back of the pattern, looking at the recommended fabrics, and I saw that flannel was recommended.  I wouldn't have thought of using flannel for this pattern, but I think it worked really well, especially for a warm winter dress.

I found this cute brown and pink flannel at my local fabric shop.  They are mainly a quilting fabric/sewing machine dealer, but in the back room, they usually have a random, but fun, assortment of fabric.  I was originally looking for a gray and pink plaid flannel, but they didn't have one, and I like this just as well.  It seems like all the dresses I'm making are unintentionally in the same brown and fuchsia color scheme.

I made View A with the 3/4 length sleeves and double ruffle at the bottom.  I love the cute little gathered sleeve...

The neck bow and double button placket.  I used some small, cream colored vintage glass buttons from the same seller on Etsy that I used on the Sailboat Skirts

I really like how it turned out.  I think it will be comfortable, easy to move in and WARM :) Stay tuned for Warm Winter Dress #3...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Miss Mouse for a Day

I have a little book that I bought at a church youth fundraiser called The Smart Little Mouse.  It's an old children's book with really cute illustrations.  The mouse in the story strongly resembles Miss S, so for Halloween, I decided to make her a little mouse costume.  

I used Simplicity 2506 for the costume.  It was a perfectly adequate pattern, but I think I've been spoiled by the fantastic instructions that come with the Oliver + S patterns.  I made it in a short pile, midweight upholstery velveteen that I got at Joann on super clearance for less than $2.00/yard.

 I used a light pink flannel for the belly, ears and tail.  I also made the little booties that are shown on the pattern cover, but Miss S tries to pull anything that is on her feet off, so I just gave up on them :)

We were visiting my husband's brother and his family in New Orleans over the weekend, so we brought the costume along and dressed Miss S up for a Halloween party there.

We had a great time in New Orleans.  We visited Lake Pontchartrain, the French Quarter and Saint Charles Street.  My husband originally was planning to run a half marathon with two of his brothers, but due to flight delays, we arrived in the middle of the night and got to sleep just an hour before he would have to get up to run the race.  He was too exhausted and opted not to run, which I think was the right choice.  We still had a lot of fun, in spite of the travel issues.

Holly's skirt arrived and she sent me pictures.  I think she looks great and I'm glad it fit her okay.  It's always a gamble to sew something for someone when they can't try it on.  The dimension I measured incorrectly was length, so it ended up a couple inches too long.  She just re-hemmed it, and it looks perfect.  Isn't she cute? :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tribute to an Old Piano Teacher and a Best Friend

I love pencil skirts, but since having a baby, I've found that most of my old pencil skirts don't fit quite right anymore (having a baby was definitely one of the biggest, but best, life changes I've experienced :)  Anyway, I had this fabric that I bought from Fabric.com a couple years ago when they had a huge amount of Vera Wang fabrics for sale.  At one point, all the Vera Wang fabric clearanced for $1.95/yard, which was awesome.  I bought a lot of incredible fabric for an even more incredible price, and this was one of the pieces.  It's been sitting patiently in my stash wanting to be a pencil skirt for a very long time, and I figured it was time to make its dreams come true :).

When I showed this skirt to my little sister, she said it looked like a skirt that our old piano teacher would wear, just in a different color, but she liked it anyway.  I'll just consider it a tribute to her :)

I have a wonderful friend named Holly.  We were roomates in college, and other than my family, she is my best friend.  She's gorgeous and amazing and a true friend.  She came to visit me about a month ago, and mentioned she liked a pencil skirt she saw in a magazine picture.  I told her I'd make one for her birthday and I knew this was the perfect fabric to make it from.  It's not going to get to her by her birthday, but hopefully she'll like it enough to forgive me for that.  Holly's skirt and my skirt are identical, except Holly's is longer, because she doesn't have short Shetland pony legs like me :)

The fabric is a mustard yellow wool-blend glenplaid weave.  It was great to work with.  I really love sewing with wool.  It moulds so nicely and is very forgiving of mistakes.  I pressed everything from the wrong side, so I didn't leave any iron marks.  It may be hard to see from the picture, but the fabric has a little bit of a pile in the darker checks.  It makes it feel kind of velvety, but it also is prone to crushing if you're not careful ironing it.  The pattern I used was Burda 8155.  It's a basic pencil skirt with back zipper and straight waistband.  The pattern originally had a slit, but I don't like slits in skirts, so I changed it to a vent.  It also was not lined, but I added a chocolate brown lining (Holly picked the lining color, and it looks great).

I used dark brown leather button for the back.  I know it doesn't match, but I like how it looks with the fabric and skirt style.  I also did a lapped zipper instead of a center back zipper, because I like how they look better.  I used a method from Threads magazine, Issue #134.  It's a great way of putting lapped zippers in and if you can find that issue, I'd highly recommend checking it out.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with how the skirts turned out, even if they do look like my old piano teacher's skirts :)  I got 2 skirts out of 1 1/2 yards of designer fabric for a total cost of about $7.00 for both skirts, including lining, button and zipper!  Not too shabby...

Maybe Holly will send me a picture of her in the skirt when she gets it and I'll post it if she does.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Little Tiny Sailboat Skirts

My other sister-in-law is having a baby girl (any day now) and for her baby shower, I made a little Oliver + S Sailboat Skirt in dark denim.  It was so cute, I had to make one...well, actually, two...Sailboat Skirts for Miss S.  I made another exactly like the one I made for my sister-in-law in dark denim, then I made one in a tan fine wale corduroy that I've had in my stash for a few years.  I used the size 6-12 months, and cut the elastic a little smaller to fit.

There's a little kickpleat in the back to give a little more room to move and sit.  The front waistband is flat, but there's elastic in the back for comfort and flexibility.

The front buttons open so it is easier to put on.

I love these little skirts.  They look so cute on.  They look kind of like doll skirts and kind of like adult skirts.  I think they're absolutely adorable.

I used some vintage shell buttons that I got from this Etsy seller (still on the card!).  I love the pattern and color of these buttons.  The off-white looks great with both the dark denim and the tan corduroy.

(Obviously, I like them...unfortunately, they're almost gone)

I edgestitched the edges with a heavy thread to make it stand out more.  I like using Coats & Clark Heavy Duty thread to do topstitching, because my machine handles it well and it shows up well.  I also used a topstitching needle, otherwise my machine jams up with thread this heavy.

Anyway, I think they turned out cute!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress in Corduroy

Before Miss S was born, I was totally paranoid about her freezing to death, since she was due in December.  I was on bedrest and couldn't go shopping to buy her any clothes, so I ordered a bunch of little fleece jammies from Target, and that put my mind at ease.  She's older now, but I still worry about her being too cold.  So I thought I'd better make her some warm little dresses to wear to church.  I absolutely love Oliver + S patterns, and I made a Jump Rope Dress for a baby gift for my sister-in-law.  It turned out adorably (it was the version with short sleeves and a belt and I made it in a little white and baby pink striped cotton, but neglected to take any pictures), so I thought I'd make one in a warm corduroy for Miss S for fall and winter.

I found this little brown and fuchsia printed corduroy at Joann.  It is a baby wale and super soft.  I got the solid fuchsia baby cord for the collar, placket and trim at Joann as well.  I was a little nervous about sewing with the corduroy, since it's difficult to press without crushing the pile, but I just used a scrap of corduroy face up on my ironing board, then pressed the dress from the wrong side and it worked out just fine.

Liesl's instructions in the Oliver + S patterns are fantastic.  The placket and collar are clearly explained and come together perfectly.  The thing I love so much about these patterns is that they always turn out so well.  It can be incredibly discouraging to spend hours on a sewing project and end up with something you just want to hide under the bed (or better yet, in the garbage can...), but these always seem to work out.

I also love the sweet little details, like the gathered pockets with binding, the turned up cuffs and the placket. It makes the finished project just that much more cute!