Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Heidi & Finn Colorblocked Dress

Elena is really into dresses lately, and I am taking full advantage because I know this is a short phase. My older daughter was the same way - nothing but skirts and dresses when she was 3 and 4. Then she turned 5 and didn't want to wear dresses again until she was about 11. Dresses are so great in summer anyway.

This dress is made using Heidi & Finn's Colorblock Dress in a 2T with no modifications at all. The blue top fabric and brown bottom fabric are cottons from my inherited stash. The center floral came from the thrift store 2 weeks ago. I have about 3 more yards of it so I'm sure you'll see more of it. It's so soft and sweet. The scrap of trim was also inherited, as was the white flower button on the back. So this dress cost maybe 30 cents. Love, love, love it. 

 This is a nice simple pattern that gives great results. There is nothing at all complicated, and it takes no time at all to sew it. Probably an hour if you take out the constant interruptions I always have.
She didn't think the daisies smelled very good.
Time to dance.

Thanks for stopping by. I am almost done with the modified Greenpoint Cardigan I mentioned. That should be here tomorrow I hope. I wonder if my little model will be so cooperative again. Fingers crossed.

Monday, July 21, 2014

KCW Days 1 & 2

This post is a 2 for 1. I'm participating (at least to some extent) in Kids Clothes Week and also Skirt Fixation's Knit Sew-Along. I love sewing with knits. I'd say at least 50% of what I sew anymore is knit.

Elena doesn't really need anymore summer clothes so I'm trying to make things that will transition into fall - things that are good for late August into September. So Day 1 (Sunday) was spent prepping patterns, choosing fabric, and cutting. Day 2 (Monday) was sewing. It took a total of 1-1/2 hours with lots of interruptions to make a Hey June Greenpoint Cardigan and Crafterhours' Monkey Bars Skirt.

This little skirt was done in 20 minutes flat. It is made using Doodles interlock from Joann's. I didn't make the undershorts because it will be easier to layer with tights or leggings into fall this way. She can wear separate shorts in the meantime. It's hard to tell the color, but it's shades of gray with a lavender cast to it.

The cardigan combines the Doodles interlock with some ponte also from Joann's this past winter. Based on measurements I made a size 1 because I wanted the snug fit. I did the 3T sleeve length. It just fits. I hope it lasts a couple of months at least. But again, another quick easy pattern (no hemming so yay!) so I plan on making more. It's nice to have lightweight layering pieces for mornings and evenings and our church. Man, it's cold in there!

It works well all together, and it'll be so useful split up as well. Sorry no pictures of her in it. We've all got summer colds and someone wasn't feeling like getting her picture taken - not even for gummi bears. I'm thinking about making another cardigan for tomorrow so come back to see what else can be done with the Greenpoint Cardigan pattern. Well, if it works out that is.

Edit on 7/24 to include pictures wearing the outfit:

Friday, July 18, 2014

So Much Topstitching & So Many Pieces!


32 Pieces! And I didn't even line it like I was supposed to. 

So much topstitching. My first time doing so much topstitching and with 2 rows, using the triple stitch for added emphasis, and in a contrasting color (aqua)! That's a lot of stress trying to keep it straight and evenly spaced. I learned that evenly spaced is even more important than straight so if that first line veers off a bit, just go with it and make sure the other line follows. The drape of the fabric and the curves of the body will help hide the crookedness, but there is no help for uneven spacing. There is also no way to take it in after the fact so making a muslin would be highly advisable - except I didn't. So God was with me and helped me out a lot because it fits pretty great by some miracle. I did try it on a million and half times along the way too.

The scarf makes me feel a little more covered up and comfortable. Somehow I feel naked in this dress. The waistband really highlights my curves and makes me feel self-conscious. Which made taking pictures 3 times, in front of my neighbors, super extra ridiculously awkward. The sun was just too harsh earlier in the day. I told my neighbors that the problem wasn't the dress, it was my face. Haha.

The pattern is Butterick 6053. There was one major problem with the pattern. The front center skirt piece said to cut 2 on the fold so I did. Once I sewed all 4 skirt front pieces together (but before topstitching), I held it up and it wrapped almost all the way around me. What is going on here I thought? So I went back to the pattern and looked at their layout (which a normal person may have done earlier) and low and behold they didn't cut it on the fold. So that is a major printing error I'd say. I wasted a lot of fabric and a lot of time on that. But here's the bigger problem: I had to cut them down to make the skirt fit the waistband, but I didn't get the bottom quite right so then the hem band was too short by about 4 inches. I was p***ed!! I cut a small piece and added it in because I didn't have enough fabric left to recut completely. Because of the fullness of the skirt, probably no one will ever notice, but I know it's there.


I also had to add several inches of length to the skirt pieces. I had to cut  the pattern pieces and add it at the middle and redraw the side lines so as to keep the bottom circumference the same. That's what made that hem band not fitting even worse. I spent a lot more time redoing those 4 different skirt pieces only to not have that thing match up anyway! Arrrgg.

The fabric is a light brown medium weight denim from the thrift store. Score! It's very soft and feels great. The whole dress is actually super comfortable considering it's a fitted dress. I love the shape of it. I think I'll make it again some day, but probably without the topstitching. I could also use the skirt lining pieces instead to make a slightly easier skirt and eliminate some pieces.  But then I'd have to add the length again, so we'll see. So as with most of these Big 4 patterns, I like the style and I was able to make it work, but it wasn't easy.

And finally, since my little photo-bomber was color-coordinated, I'll include one of her too. She's wearing her September tunic and bubble pocket shorts.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Elena's Incredibles Birthday

Elena loves Disney's Incredibles. She asked for a superhero birthday so I did my best to make her an outfit for the party. How could I say no when she says "super-rero" so dang cute.

I used the CINO Nessie top pattern again, but changed the armhole to a small dolman sleeve to make it even quicker. The neckline is perfect on the Nessie, and the A-line shape and slight hi/low hem makes it just girly enough. I've used it a bunch of times already like here and here and some unblogged and some on Instagram. It's a fave.

For fabric I used another one of those Police Athletic League t-shirts my mom salvaged. I had never done a freezer paper stencil so it was a comfort knowing I wasn't potentially wasting fabric if things didn't go well. But things went great! I was surprised how clean the edges were and how easy it was. I will definitely do that again.

For the shorts, I used a pair of my oldest's outgrown yoga pants and my self-drafted leggings pattern. I went with a 4-1/2 inch inseam and slashed and spread the pattern out at the center and inseam to make a wider leg. The pattern piece looked like this:

They have a casing with elastic at the top and double-needle hems. Quick and easy.

And no superhero is complete without a mask so I drew out a couple shapes and sizes. I had enough black felt on hand to make 2 child sized and 4 adult sized masks. I checked around online and found that the most popular method is to cut 2 layers and slip some elastic between on the sides and stitch around all the edges. Everyone enjoyed wearing those.

Now I know that Edna Mode (in the movie) says, "NO CAPES." but I couldn't resist making one out of some red crushed velvet. I used a Simplicity costume pattern and it looks adorable. The velvet also makes it workable as a royal cape for a princess. I forgot to get any pictures of it. Duh. So maybe this fall/winter it will make an appearance with a princess dress.

Again my OPD (Obsessively Practical Disorder) took over with this project. I couldn't make a "costume". I had to make something wearable and useful. But I still think it's fun and most importantly, Elena really loves it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Velveteen Rabbit & Ruffles

Just when I was afraid my newly 3 year old was growing up too fast and looking too preschool-aged, I made this outfit and am so glad she looks like a toddler again. This has to make my Top 5 All-Time Favorites list for sure. I love the ruffles, the embroidery, the natural colors, just everything about it.

The top pattern is Butterick 5877. Looking at the cover photo you can't hardly see the double layer of ruffles so I'm glad I looked at the line drawings. This is a wonderful pattern with great options. I think this is the best Big 4 pattern I have ever used. I had no difficulties whatsoever. Even the sizing worked out well - a straight up 2T actually fits well.

The fabric came from the thrift store and I'm guessing it's a linen and rayon blend. So natural looking like linen, but soft and drapey like rayon. Gorgeous. Or like Elena has started saying, "Glorgeous." What a great word. It combines glorious and gorgeous and that's how she is seeing things lately.

The shorts are my knock-off the E&E Bubble Pocket Shorts. I used a brown interlock and they are nice and comfy and she loves them. I like that they add some volume to my skinny-mini so she looks rounder and softer.

OMG - how cute is that bunny?! I copied him off of this post at Helmoja ja hepeneita. I found her blog through a linky party/contest that An of Straight Grain ran recently. What a find. She makes great stuff. Please don't scrutinize my bunny too closely. I can't draw to save my life. I sketched him on with disappearing marker and then used a mix of basic stitches to embroider him. He reminds me of the bunny from Velveteen Rabbit. I love that book so much. The whole outfit gives the feel of that era I think.

And speaking of An of Straight Grain, I totally thank her for my "glorgeous" gathers in the above picture. Her method is fantastic. I've always run 2 rows of basting stitches, but she has you run them farther apart and then sew between them. She also has some good tips on how to divide the gathers nice and evenly. It works great.

This outfit makes me excited about sewing again. I needed that because I've been working on a pretty complicated dress for myself and I have no idea if I'm going to like it in the end. It has something like 31 pieces (no kidding, and I'm not even doing the lining!) and tons of top stitching. What if I don't even like it after all that? Then I'll sew up another variation of this pattern - probably the tunic length with the circle skirt, cap sleeves, and the contrasting bottom band. That will be fun and I know it will turn out well.