Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Something for each one

For Margot, a stuffed cat.  She and I were browsing Pinterest together.  Well it was more like she was looking over my shoulder as I browsed Pinterest.  Browsing Pinterest is never a good thing to do with a young child, as it will lead to lots of pleas to make very adorable thing.   We saw this. 

If you know Margot, you know she LOVES stuffed animals.  So I looked at the free pattern and it looked simple enough.  I've made some stuffed animals and dolls before so I was confident this would be an easy project.  And it was.  Sort of.  First of all it is instructed you use a store bought towel.  Well I didn't do that,  I bought some towel material.  Perhaps the quality is different than this material because the material I bought was terrible!  It frayed very easily.  But I didn't know this going into it.   So I dealt with a lot of fraying and split seams.  As I was trying to stitch the nose on the first head I made, the entire center seam from the stress of stitching split open and frayed so much I couldn't salvage it.   I almost threw the entire cat away but his body was really cute.  So I made a new head.  Sigh.

The other issue with this pattern was the fact that seam allowance wasn't included.  So annoying!  But it was free.  So what I did was traced the pattern on the material with a thick marker and cut on the outside of the marker line giving me not even a 5mm seam allowance which is pretty small.    Perhaps this is why I had some issues with the seams splitting. I don't know.  I did reduce my stitch length and even sewed some seams twice.  All in all from start to finish, the entire cat only took about 2 hours to sew even with making a new head.  

I don't think I put the eyes in correctly.  It's actually a screw.  I think it should be screwed into some stuffing so that the eyes sit into the face but I installed the eyes before stuffing because I was afraid of manipulating the stuffed head too much for fear of splitting a seam like before.   I also sewed the mouth to look more straight.  I thought the down turned mouth sort of looked sad but cute (as in the picture I linked to) and an upturned mouth looked creepy.  

The important thing is that Margot loves him.  He is named Scruffy.  He's legs aleady needed repaired which again was easy enough.  Two seams started to split.  I do hope Scruffy doesn't have to return to the Emergency Room for awhile.  

For Grace, a dress.  This is Simplicity 1436.  I do really love it and so does she.

Initially I had bought the fabric for myself to make some leggings and a maternity shirt.  Then I was given 3 bags of maternity clothes so since Grace liked the fabric, I decided to use it to make her a dress.  

This is very cute on and I can't wait to get pictures of it on her.  It was a lovely sew.  No issues really.  I measured her carefully and she fit closest to a size 10.  But knowing she is tall I cut a size 12 in length.  Knowing Simplicity patterns can run large I sewed the bodice up with basting stitches to do a quick fit on her.  I was pleasantly surprised this it fit nearly perfectly.  

I could have cut a size 14 in length as it's a little short for my preference.  But I do tend to be conservative when it comes to dress and skirt length on my girls.  But she likes it  

Lastly I did not think to pattern match until I had aleady cut the skirt out.   I know!   I went back and re-cut the flap on the front.  But the front and back skirt do not match and it would have been so easy to match it. It's close.  But since the skirt is both gathered and has elastic at the waist seam I figured it won't be noticed too much.  

For the baby, I made the bodysuit from Oliver + S's Lullaby Layette.  This couldn't have been released at a more perfect time.  Two of my online sewing friends are also expecting so that makes three of us just in our little circle.  

I am not sure what my little boy style is yet.  When I go shopping for fabric it all seems so girly to me.  So I stuck with a classic look of polka dots.  This is in a very lightweight woven which will be nice for summer.  I made the 0-3 months and thinking maybe this could be what he wears home from the hospital depending in his size.  

It's trimmed it ivory snaps and the neckline is bound in  ivory bias tape.  It was an easy sew.  

The best thing is that this pattern prompted me to buy a snap setter and snaps which is something I've wanted to do for a long time.   I bought the one on the Oliver + S sight.  They are not pliers or a press but rather a tool you use a hammer with.  I suggest practicting on scrap fabric a couple times.  I tend to be a bit timid with the hammer and my first couple snaps were not installed tight enough and they popped off.  But I quickly go the hang of it.  I look forward to making more of these little bodysuits which can be made in knit as well.  The pattern also comes with pants and a jacket.  This bodysuit can be made with long sleeves and it can also be made as a shirt with out the crotch snaps.  So lots of options for this one.  

Too cute right?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

"Girls in white dresses

with blue satin sashes...these are a few of my favorite things!"

That was the inspiration for this year's Easter Dresses.  Grace's Aunt and Uncle bought her a beautiful white dress that she will wear.  I will tie a blue satin sash around her waist.  I knew I would be making Margot's Easter dress and I was just waiting to see the new Oliver + S patterns because I was hoping for a new dress pattern.

As soon as I saw the new Oliver + S Garden Party dress pattern, I knew it would be perfect for an Easter Dress.  I knew it was going to be white with blue sashes.  But I wanted something more.  That's when I got the idea to embroider the top sash with flowers.

I didn't have a real plan for the embroidery besides knowing I wanted to use pink, yellow, and green.  All Spring colors.  I didn't draw anything first or mark the fabric besides seam allowances!  I do have an embroidery book that I looked at for inspiration.  But basically I just started stitching.  And I am so pleased with the results.  My flowers are not perfect!  But I figure things in nature are not all truly perfect either.  

Here is the back.  So pretty I think.  I did add a bit of lace to edge of sleeves.  It looks to me like it's a cotton crocheted lace.  My girls are so fussy about itchy lace.  So I have to be careful.  I think this delicate lace is perfect for this dress.   

I found the perfect button in my button box.  Don't you just love when that happens?

The dress is VERY sheer.  Did you notice the blue slip underneath?  I could have underlined the entire thing.  But I really like when little girls wear slips.  I think it makes the dress feel even fancier and more special.  My original vision for the slip was pastel- either pink or yellow.  But after talking to one of my sewing friends, she suggested a blue slip before she even knew I was thinking of a pastel slip.  And that got me thinking.  And I realized I had the perfect color right in my stash.  So I just went for it.   And I love it.  For the slip pattern, I used Oliver + S Popover dress.  I modified the straps to be shorter.  I will use sew in snaps to make the straps adjustable.  

Next time, I'd interface the bottom sash.  It looks flimsy to me here though I admit to having trouble ironing this dress with all the gathers.  Still interfacing would stiffen up that waist sash.  Also for a more dramatic effect I like the idea of adding width to the dress front to create even more gathers and fullness.  But still I love the dress as is.  

This is without the blue slip.  You can see how sheer it is when I hold it in front of the window.  I may make an additional white cotton slip so Margot can wear this dress both ways!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Knitting for the Baby

I finally finished this sweater and it took FOREVER.  It's knit on tiny size 2 needles with fingering weight yarn.  I made the size 9 months sweater figuring this little guy won't we be wearing sweaters until fall.  I'm very pleased with this sweater.  It's so soft.  

I chose not to do the crocheted edge and instead did the moss stitch.  I think if I were knitting this for a newborn baby boy the crocheted edge would be okay but since I'm knitting this for an older baby I thought the moss stitch would be better.  

This edging matches the booties I already made.  

Except that these botties are newborn size so I don't think he'll wear these at the same time!  Oh well!

I've casted on for a new sweater.  This one is knit on size 6 needles with dk weight yarn.  Big difference.  It's going so fast.  

This sweater is called the Striped Boatneck Sweater from the book, What to Knit When You're Expecting.  There are lots of nice patterns in this book. 

Just in case you think I've neglected the girls, I've started on Margot's Easter dress.  Here is a sneak peek. 

White dress with accents in blue.  I did some hand embroidery on the top front sash.  My embroidery is not perfect.  I didn't pre plan this.  I just started stitching going with the theory that things in nature aren't perfect either.  I'm excited about this dress!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Book Report for my Big Girl

I made this Book Report Dress for Grace.  She needed a new dress and we thought this would be perfect to get through the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring.  We are SO ready for Spring but as is typical here, Winter is hanging on.  A new dress helps though doesn't it?

Sewing for Grace is getting harder and harder!  As she is getting bigger and bigger, the patterns are fewer and fewer.  She is nearly 5 feet tall yet still has a girl's figure.  Though at nearly 11 I imagine that will change soon.

So this is the Oliver + S Book Report dress in a size 12.  I made this dress from leftover Ponte de Roma knit I used to make myself some leggings.  This pattern is intended for wovens but my dear friend Nicole sewed her daughter one from knit and since then I wanted to make one for Grace.

This knit is very nice.  Thick, heavy, and pretty stable.  I did construct the entire dress from knit even the facings and cuffs. 

I had no trouble sewing this.  The only trouble I did run into was the neckline.  The one thing that did help was to topstitch the neckline and the shoulders.  Because the knit is pretty heavy the facing wanted to roll out even after understitching.  But topstitching did the trick.  

Also, ironing was key while working with this knit espeically the pocket/skirt part.  The heaviness of the fabric made the pockets not hang as nicely.  But ironing well really helped.   

As you can see the fit is very nice.  Everything is laying nicely as if it were made from a woven.  And she was pleased with the dress.  

Isn't she adorable?  She takes my breath away.  She looks like a little fashion model!  

Friday, March 21, 2014

More than halfway!

Here's what I've been up to since I last posted.   

I've been making lots of diaper covers.  It's so easy now that JoAnn's carries all the supplies.  And since I cloth diapered before, I knew exactly what I wanted in a diaper cover and using a couple of the patterns I created my perfect diaper cover.  

I am knitting baby a sweater.  Since this little dude (yes, it's a boy!!!) will be born in the middle/end of the summer, I knit him the 9 month old size hoping he can wear it in the fall.  It's supposed to be a close fitting sweater.  It still needs the edging and I think I will use the same yarn I did for the booties.  

Here's a link to the pattern I am using:

I have had this sweater saved in my favorite folder in Ravelry for a loooong time.  So nice to use it.  So far it's a lovely pattern.  The yarn I am using is perfect.  Fingering weight.   Merino wool and nylon makes is so soft and perfect for baby.  

This is a little sunsuit.  This pattern is the Tea Party Pattern from Oliver + S.  I believe it's the first pattern ever put out and I never bought it because I didn't see my girls wearing the dress version of this.  But the sunsuit for a boy is just too cute!  Luckily for me, this is now a downloadable pattern.   This is the 3-6 month old size but I do want to make the 0-3 as well.  

Here's what I have coming up (hopefully)

Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls.  This is a kit by Gail Wilson.  I've made several of her dolls before.  They are very detailed oriented and not for the beginner.  But the hard work is worth it because the dolls turn out so nicely.  

These are the Oliver + S new Spring Patterns.  Margot's Easter Dress will be the center pattern made in white accented with robin's egg blue.  And the layette set couldn't have been realeased at a more perfect time!  And the other dress I hope to make for Grace.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

It's been a long time!

I've been busy sewing things that I couldn't show you because I wasn't ready to share my secret.  I am pleased to announce Baby #3 is on it's way!  Due in early August, I am sort of expecting a late July arrival with this one.

So here are some things I've sewn to accomadate my already changing figure!

This is a heavily altered Deer & Doe Plantain T-shirt.  It's lengthened, with width added to the front.  I also raised the neckline.  This is made from a thick sweater like knit fabric.  It's very comfy.  I did choose the size closest to my measurements and find it tight through the arms.  Also the sleeves were not long enough to hem.  So that is a FYI for all you ladies with bigger, longer  arms. 

This is the Oliver + S Late Lunch Tunic.  I love, love, love this and am wearing this right now.  I did do a FBA on this and am glad I did. 

This is Butterick 5964.  It is a maternity pants pattern and it runs so ridiculously big.  I cut a 14.   My measurements put me between a 12 and 14 so I chose the 14 figuring with the Simplicity patterns my mistake has been to choose the 12 when the 14 would fit better.  Well I couldn't have been more wrong.  After taking this is a ton, it's probably closer to an 8!!

Complete with the lovely maternity panel.  I am glad I picked a nude color knit for this.  I'll be able to wear this with a white top for Spring and I think it will look nice.  

I did make a pair of polka dotted leggings using this same pattern (size 8 this time) and I love them.  I'll have to snap a picture of it next time I wear them.   The maternity "fashion" that I can afford is so horrid.  Pants are only available in black and tan (if you are lucky) and the quality of fabirc is so poor.  Plus it's expensive considering the low quality fabric, the few options and the fact that the pants have no waistband, no button or no fly.  Seriously I am not paying $35 for that!  So I plan on making most of my clothes for this pregnancy.  

This is the Oliver + S Getaway Dress made from a lovely rayon.  I hated this dress in the beginning.  I struggled with the pockets so much.  I ended up making them 3 times.  But after the pockets it was smooth sailing.  I did sew this with a smaller seam allowance to accomodate my changing figure.  If I still like this dress next year it will be easy enough to take it in in the sides.  It was bitterly cold the day I wore this dress so I have tights, boots, and a cami on underneath it.  I love this dress with bare legs and strappy shoes.  It's sexy in an understated way.  I would also love this dress on my not pregnant figure!  But I still felt very stylish in this and even got some compliments from people who didn't know I was pregnant!  Yay me!

Close up of those pockets!  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

My favorites of 2013

When I look over my favorites I realize everything about these items was right for the person I sewed it for.  The fabric (weight, color, pattern), the pattern, the fit, and how it was styled all worked perfectly together to make a garment that I loved and was loved and worn by the recepient.  When looking through the items that didn't make the list I really loved most of them but there was something maybe not quite right about them.  Maybe the fabric weight wasn't quite right.  Like the Music Class Blouse I made for Margot out of quilting cotton.  It was cute and worn but it wasn't perfect.  Now the one I made Grace made my list this year.  It was made from poplin.  It was light and crisp- lovely to sew and looked so nice on. Or maybe the fabric I used was from my stash (remember I inherited a bunch of fabric a couple of years ago) and I didn't love it but was trying to use what I have.  So anyhow, in no particular order, my favorites are

I love this whole outfit but espeically the blouse and this is one pattern (the Rollerskate Dress and Tunic) that I was not wild about initially.  Boy was I wrong!  The shorts (Sailboat pants made into shorts) are made from weaver's cloth I inhertied and the blouse is made from fabric I bought second hand but I suspect is very old.  Both such lovely fabrics.  

Grace's Music Class Blouse is made from poplin.  She wore this A LOT.  She tried to wear this to Church the other day and sadly it's too small.  This is the size 12 that had been lengthened.  

This is the Lisette Continental skirt.  I LOVED this skirt.  I made the size based on my waist measuremnt which is shockingly large given my overall weight and fitness.  But it was the right thing to do as this skirt is so comfortable and I wore it again and again.  

I included this one because I am so proud of the workmanship on this one.  This is probably the hardest thing to date that I've even made.  The collar construction was hard as it had A LOT of right angles.  But the results were nearly perfect and this is worn ALL OF THE TIME!

Sewing for a fashion concscious tween is hard.  But this Ice Cream Social dress was another hit.  And I think it's because of the styling.  When we added the belt, the dress was perfect.  Although it looks cute without the belt over skinny jeans she had never worn it that way.  She wore this one over and over as well. 

I loved both of the girls' Easter Dresses this year but I've only included Margot's because I've made the Fairy Tale Dress (the one Grace is wearing) 3 times and loved each one.  I especially love Margot's Easter dress, the Pinwheel Dress, becuase I had a very distinct vision for the dress and wasn't satisfied until I added the second oragnaza flounce to the "slip" part of the dress.   I love how the organza overlay looks on this.  I am also especially proud of my workmanship on this.  I did french seams on the entire organza dress and it's beautiful inside and out.

This sweater is Sweet Peasy.  I've been wanting to make this for a long time and so glad I fianlly did.  It was a completley satisfying knit.  The color is so perfect for Margot and she wore this a lot!

I loved these After School Pants as well.  This pants pattern is one of my all time favorites.  It makes such a cute pair of pants.  These were made up in a light weight twill.  She wore them until she outgrew them and that included letting the cuff down. Why do they grow so fast?

I love this blouse.  It came out just as I wanted it to, very fitted!  This blouse proved to me I am finally figuring out how to dress to flatter my figure.  While I don't have the trimmest waist despite eating well and exercising, I do have narrow hips.  This blouse conceals my thick waist but accentuates my narrow hips giving me an overall slim appearance.  Yay!

This is probably my most favorite thing I sewed this year.  Again, I had a very strong vision for this dress and it came together perfectly.  The fabric is a bottomweight brushed sateen which I love.  The hefty weight of the fabric gives it a luxiourious feel to it.  I am finally experimenting with adding details (lace, piping, and ribbon) and it's those details that push this dress from just another cute dress to a really speical dress. 

This set was probably my most viewed item on flickr!  I thought long and hard on what fabric to use for  a tween.  Usually I have Grace select fabric herself but this one I did all on my own.  The shorts are grey and the stripes in the blouse are actually lilac and that combination is really lovely in a soft muted way.  Again, I think it's the details (the flower and polka dot piping) that make this outfit extra special.  This outfit was worn so much I had to ask Grace to wear something else once in a while!

Another Class Picnic blouse and shorts (I do love this pattern)!  I love this color combination for Margot.  It suits Margot perfectly.  It's sweet and bright and fun.  

I made this dress for myself for Lydia's bapstism.  I love it because the colors, the print, and the style suit my personality pefectly.  The fabric is rayon.  I just love rayon for it's ease in both sewing and washing.  Plus it's got lovely drape yet is very comfortable to wear and affordable to sew.  And, I got to buy a fun new pair of heels to go with this dress.  Unfortunately I have not worn this dress much only because I don't have that many occasions to dress up. 

This whole outfit makes this list.  The sweater coat (another very fun knit) and the Jumprope (view b).  Perfect, perfect, perfect!

So I have my sewing room decluttered, reorganized, and the Bernina is back from the shop all repaired and ready to go.  Now what to make?  I do seem remember January and February as "slow" sewing months.  There is nothing I need to make.  No holiday party dresses, no playclothes needed with Spring being MONTH and MONTHS away.  No new pj's are needed, they each just got a pair at Christmas.  So what's a girl to do?  Maybe sew for herself?  I do have that lovely indigo chambray waiting to be made up into a Late to Luch Tunic..