Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lace Christmas Dress: Oliver + S Bubble Dress

 I was in Joann Fabrics a couple weeks ago and saw this lace in their special occasion fabric section.  It was actually pretty gorgeous, and I thought it would make a fun Christmas dress for Miss S.  I  decided to use the Bubble Dress pattern again, since it was a fun, quick dress to sew.  I also decided to add actual sleeves again, rather than just the extended, cut-on sleeve as directed in the pattern.  I've got a picture of my pattern pieces below, in case you're interested in how I modified the sleeve.

Rather than make a gathered sleeve with binding, like I did last time, I made a little bubble sleeve, using a lining and the same method as is in the pattern instructions for making the bubble skirt (essentially sewing a piece of elastic in between the outer fabric and the lining fabric).  You can see a peek of my lining in this photo of the sleeve.  I liked the effect the bubble sleeve produced, of a slightly more formal looking sleeve finish than the bias bound sleeve.

The green velvet ribbon is my favorite color in the world.  I found it at this great little shop near my house that has a really fun selection of trims and ribbons.  I bought some felt and begged my younger sister to make some little flowers to put on the ribbon.

The fabric is actually a really nice quality lace.  It is a cotton/nylon blend and has a subtle gold foiling  It's got really nice texture in person.  I underlined the lace with a cream colored lining fabric, then treated the two fabrics basted together as one in constructing the dress.  I lined the entire dress in a white cotton voile.

Here's a picture I snapped of my modified pattern pieces.  I used the sleeve and armscye from the Jumprope Dress pattern, since it's just a basic straight sleeve.  I just shortened it to a cap sleeve.  I kind of guessed on how long the shoulder seam should be and where the sleeve should start.  You can see that it wasn't a really scientific process, but more trial and error.  Then, to make the puffed sleeve at the top and bottom, I slashed and spread the sleeve apart.  I estimated how much I should spread it by measuring a puffed sleeve from a top that Miss S already had and then roughly matching that.  Unfortunately, I don't have the sleeve showing the slashes and spreads, I only have this cleaned up copy that I used for cutting the fabric.  You can probably google "slash and spread gathered sleeve" or something like that and get some examples if you're interested.

Anyway, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  Unfortunately, during the winter it will have to be worn with a sweater most of the time, since it's pretty cold, but at the rate Miss S is growing, she'll still fit it when the weather warms up.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A few projects...

I'm still in the process of getting together a cold weather wardrobe for Miss S.  It all of a sudden got really cold (for November) and snowed about 10 inches here.  I wasn't quite prepared, so I got to work sewing up a bunch of long sleeved tee shirts.  They aren't too interesting; they're just very basic long sleeved tees.  I used a pattern that I've used for myself a lot: Jalie 2805.  It is really a pretty great basic tee pattern.  It goes from size 2T up to like a size 22 in women's.  These are five of the nine I made (the others are either being worn or in the wash).  They went together so, so quickly.  It think I spent maybe a total of 5 hours over a few days.  They're going to get some good use this winter :)

I also finally made the Apple Picking dress that I've had cut out for about a month and a half.  I made this dress last year in a cotton flannel and it was a really great winter dress, so I made it again in a cotton flannel, but a different color.  This fabric was left over from the lining of a Minoru jacket that I made for myself, but haven't blogged about yet.

I wasn't sure if it was a good fabric choice, because it's a bit subdued.  When I finally got it sewn up and tried it on Miss S, I decided it was actually really, really cute.

I used blue buttons to pick up a little bit of blue in the flannel, as well as to add a little more color.  It went together great, as always with an Oliver + S pattern :)  I'm pretty happy with it

I also made the Penguin Backpack from the Little Things to Sew book.  I've wanted to make this backpack ever since I saw it.  I thought it was adorable, but was a little intimidated by the thought of sewing a backpack.  We're going to visit my husband's family for Thanksgiving, and I wanted to make a little pack so Miss S could carry toys and snacks by herself for the plane.

True to Oliver + S form, the instructions were excellent.  I used a denim for the body, then some quilting cottons I had in my stash for the beak, feet and belly pocket.  I ordered the slider hardware on the back from Pacific Trimmings.  They were reasonably priced and shipped quickly.

I used some vintage blue glass buttons for the eyes and lined it with a blue printed cotton.  I was pretty happy with how it turned out, and it was actually quicker and easier to sew than I expected.

I've got a School Photo dress in the works, and another Fairy Tale dress in the planning stages.  We'll see if I can get them finished soon!

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Girly Field Trip Tee

I was excited when I saw the Oliver + S Field Trip Tee and Pants pattern released, but mostly excited in anticipation of using it if I ever had a little boy.  Then I decided I'd give it a go as a girl pattern.  I had two coordinating knits in my stash that I got from Girl Charlee (I love this site for knits), that I had already used for other projects for Miss S. 

I loved the little floral and figured it would make a pretty girly looking tee shirt, in spite of the more boyish styled tee.  I actually love the raglan sleeve style shirts, and I love it on girls.  I was pretty happy with how this turned out.

It was a really fast, really easy sew.  It literally went together in about an hour, start to finish.  My pocket topstitching is not perfect, but oh well, right?  The knit is also a little off grain, which makes the pocket look a little crooked, but I'm pretty okay with that.  I've got at least another version in mind, and maybe more, since it is SUCH a quick, easy and fun sew.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Figgy's Nituna Jacket as a Winter Coat

Well, being totally on top of things like I am (insert sarcasm here), I'm getting around to blogging about the fall Kids Clothing Week Challenge (KCWC) that I participated in.  I worked on a couple different projects, and here's one of them.

I loved the Figgy's Nituna Jacket pattern as soon as I saw it.  I thought it would make a really cute little winter coat, and I have had a piece of magenta wool in my stash for some time that I thought would work perfectly.  When I finally got around to digging it out, it was a little lighter weight than I had remembered it being.  It wouldn't have made a very warm winter coat, but the color was really great.  So I decided to interline it with flannel, as well as lining it with flannel, so I would get a double layer of flannel warmth.

To interline it, I just cut a piece out of the outer wool fabric, then an additional piece out of a piece of plaid flannel I had in my stash, then placed the wool (right side out) on top of the flannel.  I then pinned them together and basted them on my sewing machine, using my walking foot so the layers didn't shift.  You could also hand baste the pieces together.  I then sewed the jacket, treating the basted-together pieces as one.  The light blue patterned flannel you see in the photos is the lining, which is another layer.  The flannel interlining isn't visible in the photos.

The sizing of this pattern starts at 18 months, and even though Miss S is 22 months, she is a little small.  I looked at the measurements on the pattern envelope and decided that the 18 month size would be too big, so I graded down a size.  I think that was the right choice, because this size seems plenty big.

I chose to do the lined version of the jacket, not the reversible version, but used the patch pockets rather than the welt pockets.  It is actually really a simple pattern to sew.  There's nothing tricky about it.  You essentially sew two simple shells (lining and outer fabric), then sew them together using the bagged method described in the instructions.  The instructions are good and result in a well-finished product.

I also chose to topstitch around the hood and outside edges and hem at 1/2", rather than edgestitching as the pattern instructed.  The pattern includes a Figgy's "Made with Love" label, which is a cute touch.  I also used covered buttons on this, same as I used on the Sunday Brunch jacket.  I just kind of love the look of covered buttons.  It gives such a nice finish.

I would have loved to include some model photos, but I have a rather stubborn little model who wouldn't have anything to do with this coat.  I'm hoping she gets past that, because I'd really prefer that she actually wear the clothes I sew for her...is that too much to ask?  Anyway, we'll see how things go :)

I've got a couple other things I finished for KCWC that I'll post soon...I know, I'm totally on top of things ;)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress: Dorothy Version!

When the Fairy Tale dress came out as part of the new fall pattern release from Oliver + S, it immediately went on my list.  It's classic shape and adorable details caught my eye.

Since Miss S doesn't know much about Halloween yet, I can still decide what she'll be, rather than hoping she'll go along with her mother's suggestions.  I've been planning to dress her as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.  I figured this pattern, with it's classic details would perfect for a Wizard of Oz dress.

Since it's a quite involved project, being a fully lined dress with crinoline, I didn't want the dress to be just a Halloween costume.  I wanted her to get some additional wear out of it, too.  I plan on adding a little ruffly white pinafore or apron, along with a basket and little dog to finish the costume out.

I don't know if I'm getting away with doing double duty, but she did wear it to church on Sunday and only one person mentioned that it looked like a Dorothy dress...so maybe I'm not getting away with it.  Oh, well, I'm going to pretend that Dorothy wasn't the only one who ever wore a blue and white gingham dress and  keep dressing her it anyway.

What do I have to say about this pattern...well, it's a little time consuming, but the end result is so adorable I think it's worth it.  It almost kills me with cuteness :)  It seems simple, but is so well designed.  The proportions and shape of the collar, the fullness of the skirt, the wide hem, the tulip sleeves, the built-in crinoline, the trim and bow at the waist all add up to a really special dress.

The pattern says it is a fitted bodice and recommends making a muslin, but I didn't (I'm a risk taker ;)  I made a size 12-18 months, even though Miss S is 21 months, she fits into the 12-18 month measurements better.  I actually ended up cutting about an inch off the bodice length.  I'm happy with the fit of the bodice, but I wouldn't call it fitted.  In fact, I'll bet Miss S will be able to wear it next spring as well.  So if you're unsure or if you do want a fitted bodice, I'd definitely recommend making a muslin.

I used a lightweight cotton voile for the lining and a light blue tulle for the built-in crinoline, which you can see in the picture below.  It adds some nice fullness, but is not overly exaggerated for everyday wear.  It reminds me of a classic little girl's dress from the 50s or 60s. I think I'll definitely make it again, sometime, because the result is just so darn cute!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Gray Velveteen Sunday Brunch Jacket

The Sunday Brunch Jacket and Skirt pattern was one of the first patterns that caught my eye from Oliver + S.  This was before I had any kids, and was not interested the least in sewing for kids (oh, how times have changed :).  I saw this pattern, and the Jumprope Dress, though, and couldn't help but notice how adorable they were.

So it's been on my list to make for a long time.  I was a little intimidated by it, but I shouldn't have been.  It's just as well drafted and has just as excellent instructions as the rest of the Oliver + S patterns, so even though it appeared trickier, it went together beautifully.  I used a charcoal gray pima cotton velveteen that I purchased from Fashion Fabrics Club.  This velveteen is absolutely gorgeous!  When it arrived, it was a little stiff, but after a trip through the wash, it came out incredibly soft and plush.

It has the added bonus of having a beautiful print on the back side, which worked out perfectly for an unlined jacket like this.  It's got a little burgundy, mustard and cream rose print, which I think adds a nice detail.  I know no one will see it, but I still really love it.

The plush velveteen will also make it a lot warmer to wear, even though it's not lined or insulated with anything else.

Because of the reversible print, I went to the extra work of binding all the seams.  It wasn't difficult, but definitely took longer than if I had just serged the seams.  I do love the extra touch it adds, though.  I bound all the seams with a warm yellow polka dot quilting cotton I had in my stash.  The instructions for the bound seams are great and result in a very professional finish.

I really debated what to do with the buttons.  I knew I wanted fabric covered buttons, but had a hard time deciding between covering them with the velveteen side of the fabric, covering them with the reverse printed side, or covering them with the yellow polka dot.  In the end, I decided on covering them with the velveteen body fabric, because it just looked so luxurious.  I think I made the right choice, but I may end up making a little flower pin for the outside just to add a fun touch.

I'm really pleased with the final product.  I think it will be a great fall jacket and, being a neutral, will go with a lot of different outfits.  It will also be practical for an almost-two-year-old, since it's cotton and can just be thrown in the wash.  I kind of wish I had one myself :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Oliver + S Playdate Dress for Autumn

I really love seasonal sewing.  I think it's no coincidence that pattern companies (well, and fashion) have big releases in the spring and the fall.  I'm always so excited to see new patterns coming out, and I'm very inspired by the change of seasons.  Often, though, the excitement hits before the weather changes.  I can't very well be dressing Miss S in wools and jackets when the weather is still averaging 80 degree highs, right? :)

I made the Oliver + S Playdate Dress in a lightweight cotton, with fall-ish colors as a transitional dress that she can wear now, and when it gets colder with tights.  I've had this piece of fabric in my stash for a long time.  It's actually a really nice, super smooth pima cotton, I would say comparable to Liberty.  I got it at Fashion Fabrics Club a couple years ago, and I think it works great for this dress.

I used a yellow polka dot for the flat piping around the yoke, for the hem facing and for sleeve bindings.  The  original pattern doesn't call for sleeve bindings; it only calls for a hem on the sleeve, but I wanted to use the yellow print again, so I decided to make sleeve bindings.

I used a covered button for the keyhole opening at the back neck.  Also, rather than make a fabric loop, I cut up a hair elastic and sewed it on.  I read about this tip somewhere, but I unfortunately can't remember where I read it, so I apologize to the original inventor.  It's a great trick, though, because it's stretchy and can accommodate various button sizes, and you don't have to go the hassle of making a fabric loop or thread chain.

I wanted to pick up the lavendar color in the print, so I used some little purple flower buttons that I found at Joann.

I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out and I think it will get some good wear this fall/winter.

Here's a preview of some upcoming projects: above, the Fairy Tale Dress, Wizard of Oz version...

Fuchsia corduroy Hopscotch Skirt...

...and a Sunday Brunch Jacket out of the mos gorgeous, soft double-sided velveteen.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Husband clothes!

So my husband is really picky about his clothes, but absolutely hates shopping.  So he'll wear his clothes out, literally, before he'll go shopping.  He's also pretty hard on clothes.  This has created a little bit of a problem, because he would need new clothes, but couldn't be convinced or coerced to go shopping.  I finally decided to take his worn out clothes and cut them apart and use them for patterns to make new clothes.

I've been making jeans for him using a worn out pair of jeans for a pattern for about three years now.  This is the latest pair (actually made this spring, I just didn't get around to blogging it).  I also made his shirt from an old one that he got paint on.

I've found that some of my most successful sewing projects have been items I've sewn using an existing item of clothing for the pattern.  The fit issues are already worked out, and the style issues are as well.  It's actually really a gamble to pick up a pattern and invest hours into sewing something that you don't know will fit or suit you.  When you use an existing item of clothing, at least you know what you're getting.  The drawback is that you don't have instructions, but if you've sewn similar items, it usually turns out okay.

The jeans were made with a denim from my local fabric store.  I was a little concerned initially, because the denim had a little stretch to it, but it has not been an issue at all.  I used three different colors of topstitching thread, but the details are a little hard to see here.  Also, my husband was working in the yard just before I took the pictures, so disregard the dirt on the knees of the pants :)

The shirt went together pretty easily, also.  I remember being totally intimidated by button down shirts with stand collars, but they're actually not terribly difficult to sew, if you use good methods.  I've found this tutorial to be really great for achieving a professional looking result.  Also, I've used interfacings from Fashion Sewing Supply and found them to be really excellent.  I used to be hesitant to even use interfacing, because it inevitably either bubbled or was stiff as a board, but these are really excellent interfacings.  I've got quite a few in different weights and they do a fabulous job.

I also used this tutorial for the yoke, and it worked out really well.  It gives a great, clean finish on the inside and outside of the shirt and is easy to do.  I got this fabric from Fashion Fabrics Club.  It claims to be 100% cotton, but I'm not entirely convinced that it is, because it's a little stiffer than a 100% cotton should be.  I'm not complaining, though, because it doesn't wrinkle much.

Now, I've just got to put together a few more of these to replace some of the more offensive shirts in my husband's wardrobe.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Simplicity 2444: The Kid Dress

The ward (or congregation) I attend has undergone some organizational changes recently, and I have received a new assignment to work with and teach the 1 1/2 to 3 year old kids during church.  I'm really excited about this new assignment, because the kids that age are so fun.  They are also super active and require a lot of chasing after.  I quickly realized that my current wardrobe of pencil skirts wasn't going to work well :)

So I figured I'd better find some clothes that allow for bending, sitting on the floor, playing, reading stories and chasing toddlers :)  That meant some full skirts.  I've seen several renditions of this pattern in the blog world, and they all looked great, so I thought I'd try making one.  I liked the fit and flare silhouette and the unusual darts in the bodice front, as well as the classic shape of the dress.

I made a couple changes to the pattern.  I cut the skirt front and skirt back, as well as the bodice front and bodice back on the fold, and moved the zipper from the center back to the side.  I used an invisible zipper and it actually went in really well.  I used the tutorial from the Seams, Closures and Hems video by Liesl Gibson, and the zipper went in beautifully and was, indeed, invisible.  I've used her method several times, and it always sees to work really well.  I used a lightweight cotton pique fabric from Fashion Fabrics Club that I ordered earlier this year.  I believe it is a Marc Jacobs fabric.  It was great to work with.  You can see the weave in the picture below.  I always thought pique was just that really heavy, textured cotton that you see a lot of, and was really confused when so many patterns recommended it as a fabric to use for dresses and blouses.  I now realize that they're probably talking about this type of pique!  You learn something new every day, right? ;)

As a side note, I have to say that I really love Fashion Fabrics Club.  Their shipping is pretty slow, but they have a great selection of, for the most part, really high quality fabrics.  I've ordered from them many times and am almost always happy with almost all of my order.  Their prices are really good for the fabrics they offer.  I've found that often they carry some of the same fabrics as Fabricmart, but at a much lower price.  Anyway, that's all :)

The fit of this dress was quite good, I just had a couple issues with it.  One was that the lower bodice in the center seemed kind of baggy.  I don't know if it had to do with the shape or position of the darts, but the rest of the bodice felt fine, except the lower center.  The other issue I had was that the neckline seemed to gape a little.  If I'm standing straight with my arms down, it's fine.  If I move around a lot, it starts to gape.  Maybe I should have cut a smaller size, but I didn't want the rest of it too tight, as I need full range of movement.  Oh well, they're minor quibbles.  All in all, I'm really happy with it.  I tested it out on Sunday, and it performed beautifully for floor-sitting and toddler-taming!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Knit Top for Me: Vogue 1306

As much as I love sewing woven tops, I really like to wear knit tops better.  I find that I always reach for knit tops when I'm getting dressed.  I get a little bored with straight up tshirts, even though I wear those a lot too, so I'm always on the lookout for a good knit top pattern.  When I saw this Vogue Rebecca Taylor pattern on Little Bettty's blog, I loved it.  I bought the pattern online from a BMV sale (my fanatical self was fortunate they were on sale right then), because I didn't want to wait for a Joann sale.

The pattern called for a stable knit, and I think that is key to success.  I had a pretty stable cream bamboo knit in my stash that I used (and obviously didn't iron before or after I made the top).  I think that this pattern would be kind of a nightmare to sew in a stretchy, spandex-y knit, because of the details (which, in my opinion, make the top).  The instructions are great and result in a really nicely finished product.  I'm not sure if I'd ever sewn with a Vogue Designer pattern before.  I've always been kind of intimidated by them, but I really am happy with how this turned out, and with the techniques specified in the instructions.

I really passed over this pattern when it first came out.  I'm not sure why, because I really like it now.  Maybe my eye hadn't adjusted to the style yet.  I also modified it a little to minimize the hi-low hem.  I know they're trendy, but I'm not super trendy :)  It still has a little mullet hem in back, but I think I trimmed a couple inches off the original pattern in back.

I'm also wearing a pair of jeans I just finished, but haven't blogged.  I still need to do that.  They're a copy from a favorite pair of Lucky jeans I've had for a while.  I used the press'n'seal method of copying them and I'm really happy with how they turned out.  Stay tuned...  :)