Thursday, August 27, 2015

Stripes Every Which Way

I've been making Elena a lot of very sweet, old fashioned classic clothes lately so it was time for some more modern fun pieces, especially things for school. I bought both of these fabrics from Mabel Madison recently. They are Stenzo knits and are just excellent to sew with. 

Both pieces are sewn from Simplicity 1435. It includes lots of options for a top or dress with 2 different styles of skirts and 3 sleeves options. I chose the double layer partial circle skirt with puffed sleeves. It was a super easy sew, especially with my new serger. I did the leggings first for a little more practice with the basics before moving on with the dress.

The leggings turned out too big for now, but that's cool because we don't need them for a while. I may take the legs in a little because I'm not a fan of baggy leggings. We'll revisit that as the weather cools off. Today was high 80's again so it's hard to think about wanting to wear pants yet. I made them in a 2 width and 5 length. The length is good.

So just like the pattern artwork, I wanted to play with the stripes and turn them every which way. I was afraid it would be too crazy, but I love it. Elena's eyes and smile got huge when she saw it for the first time so I guess it's a win. 

Stripes to the left

Stripes to the right.

Stripes going up.

Stripes going down.
We <3 them all!
I love the design of this dress and will surely use it again. The puffy sleeves would be cute with elastic in them too I bet. We already have brown and hot pink leggings as well as pink tights she can wear with this dress. I have enough of both fabrics left to make something else or at least add some accents to other pieces in her capsule wardrobe to tie this piece in. 

She definitely wanted to keep this on all day. She even wore the pants outside on this hot muggy day. She took them off once we were back inside in the air conditioning. The goofball. Apparently, this dress is also good for climbing trees and dancing. I'm glad she likes it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Another Nessie Top Hack

This is my best CINO Nessie Top yet.

An essential element of any capsule wardrobe is a white tee. Last year, I made Elena a really basic long sleeved, crew neck tee. Yawn. I even bored my practical self with that one. It did get worn quite a bit, but my sewing skills and embellishment techniques have grown so this year I wanted to do better.

This sweet knit interlock top (from Joann's) was made by hacking the CINO Nessie top again. In case you are new here, you may want to see my previous Nessie's here. It's a bit of an addiction.

So to make this one, I modified 2 pieces of the pattern and I'm going to show you how to do it too.

I started with the top portion of the front piece which is just a half piece cut on the fold. I traced both halves to get the full front.

Then I marked a diagonal line from the neck/shoulder point to a point on the bodice seam. I was going for a nice looking angle and also avoiding going all the way to the armpit because I didn't want the extra bulk under her arm.

Now that would make the neckline really high and closed in so I drew a new line with a bit of a curve to soften that.

The other change was to the lower half of the front piece. (The pattern comes with the color block options already.) I just added 1-1/2" to the center fold so I could add a box pleat.

I measured the length of the neckline along my two front pieces and the back piece and multiplied by .8 to determine the length of my new neckband. I used the width as given with the pattern piece. I cut out the 3/4 sleeves and my back piece straight off the patterns too. Here are all my pieces. There are 2 of the slanted bodice pieces of course and that neck binding piece is shown folded in half. It's a good idea to mark the center of those bodice pieces along the bottom edge.

To sew it up, I started by serging the 2 shoulder seams. Then I serged on the flat and opened out neckband to the right side because I wanted to do it as a binding instead of a band. I folded the binding to the back side and sewed it down by hand using a herringbone stitch and white DMC perle cotton. Why? Because herringbone stitch is a stretch stitch. Oh you meant "why did you sew it by hand?" Because slow sewing is fun to me and it adds a nice touch. If it's not fun to you, go ahead and sew that sucker down however you wish. A double needle would look nice and retain the stretchiness.

After that, I just overlapped the 2 bodices matching those center marks made earlier and basted them together. I formed the pleat on the lower portion and basted it too. From here on out, it's just the basic pattern except that again I hand stitched the sleeve and bottom hems with that herringbone stitch just to prove to myself that I can do slow. I have had many opportunities to practice patience lately and it's helping me to slow down in other areas as well.

That's all there is to it. I love how the Nessie dips down just a bit in the back. There's just enough curve to look nice but not make it tough to hem.

I really love the swingy shape of the Nessie top. With all of the options Jess provides in the pattern and a little bit of creativity, you can do a million different things it. Have you ever tried it? And no, I have no affiliation with CINO, just sayin' this is my favorite tee pattern. A close second is the GYCT Tinley Tee and I have one of those coming up soon too - with more hand-sewn embellishments. ;-)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Hand Embroidered Skirt & Mini Sutton Blouse for Project Run & Play

I love this month's Project Run & Play challenge for so many reasons. First of all, we're talking about Frances Suzanne picking the challenge and I LOVE those sisters. Their appreciation for vintage/classic pieces with hand work embellishment speaks to me. Second, this month there is the freedom to use any pattern you wish and I'll just say I love my freedom. And third, HAND WORK! I've added embroidery, Alabama Chanin style reverse applique, crochet edges, and beading to pieces before and those are some of my favorite pieces. Ever. There are too many to link to, but if you click the labels "embroidery", "crochet", or "reverse applique" you can see some older pieces.

So what did I make and how did I embellish it? Here is my skirt and blouse for my recently turned 4 year old.

This skirt is from the Simplicity 9889 pattern printed in 1990 but doesn't seem to exist anymore. I made a 2 width based on measurements and a 4 length because if I'm going to put this much hand work into it, it had better fit all year and maybe even next year. But maybe I should have read the instructions better because it allowed for a 3-1/2" hem (!)and mine is only 3/4" (oops). I like the midi length though and think it will be nice and cozy for fall and winter. I left off the suspenders, but followed the pattern otherwise. The yoke provided the perfect frame for some hand embroidery. I free hand drew the flowers on with some thought about keeping things symmetrical. It worked out pretty dang well. I mostly used back stitches and a sort of herringbone stitch. Sort of. It's all very freely done. I like to consult the experts but do my own thing. 

Girls Suspender Skirt Pants Reversible Vest Knit Top Simplicity 9889 … #Etsy #VintagePattern

The border at the bottom was created by doing long slanted stitches all the way around in light pink and then the opposite direction in green. I tied those together by doing some running stitches in darker pink at the intersections. Then the whole thing felt a little stiff so I ran it through the washer and dryer a couple of times and it softened up nicely. I'm sure it will get even softer with each wash.

The hem embroidery does show on the backside, but not on the yoke. The yoke is self-faced and is handstitched for a clean finish inside. 

The blouse is the recently released Mini Sutton Blouse by True Bias. It is a sweet little top that I'll be making more of over the years. This is one of those patterns where I tend to think the style is simple enough that I could draft it myself, but the real value in buying it comes in learning some nice finishing techniques. I learned some new things with this top and love how clean it is inside and out. It will make a great blank slate for embroidery touches.

I almost forgot to mention fabrics. The skirt is made of more thrift store corduroy just like the pants in my last post. The embroidery is standard embroidery floss. (I found a gallon ziplock bag of various colors at the thrift store this spring.) The blouse is made from a cotton sheet from you guessed it, the thrift store. It doesn't feel like a sheet. It feels like premium quilting cotton. The brown buttons are from my inherited stash. So this outfit comes in at less than $4. Dang girl, how do you do that? 

And now lots of pictures because I simply cannot choose.

This is going to cost me a couple of marshmallows this afternoon and a trip to our Church festival this evening. The joke is on her though because we'd have gone to the festival one way or the other.

If you'd like to keep up with my sewing adventures, please follow me on Bloglovin' or Instagram.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Josephine Blouse and PAB Skinny Cords

Man oh man. I bought the Violette Field Threads Josephine blouse pattern about a year ago and have been wanting to make one forever. I finally did, and I LOVE it! You have the option of adding the ruffle to the placket or not, and I am so glad I did. I was worried you wouldn't be able to see it with a busy print, but it is a beautiful detail. This is such a cute blouse - ruffles, pintucks, collar, puffed sleeves - oh man, I can't stand it.

The neckline doesn't look so wonky in real life.

I should mention that the colors and exposure of these pictures is all over the place. I am working only with my HTC phone camera, which does a pretty good job, but the lighting was crazy outside. When a 4 year old WANTS to do pictures, you do pictures. Immediately, lest the opportunity pass. Plus, we lucked out with a 72 degree day so no one had to get sweaty in fall clothes. There were pictures taken in full sun, full shade, and dappled shade. All kinds of craziness that a cell phone just can't handle. A photographer and editor I am not. But a bake a mean chocolate, chocolate chip muffin (gluten free) and there was a fresh, warm one with Elena's name on it at the end of the picture taking.

The fabric for the blouse was free to me from my favorite source - an older woman who isn't sewing much anymore and is destashing. Love that. Someday, I will have to find someone to pass my stash along to. Hopefully, one of my own kids, but we'll see. Anyway, it feels like rayon but it frays much, much more than any rayon I've used before, so I'm guessing it's more of a poly/cotton. Very nice feeling with good drape. I also used it to line the pants pockets and for the waistband facing. So let's talk pants.

The corduroy for the pants was from the thrift store. There was enough to make these pants, and a soon to be finished skirt, with some leftovers. I bought it for $2 at the thrift store last year. Score. It doesn't have any stretch to it, but I was a rebel and used it with the Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop Skinny Jeans pattern anyway. I got that pattern a couple years ago in the Sew-Fab Bundle. (Don't they do those anymore?) Elena is so slim, and I measured carefully and compared the pattern pieces to some other non-stretch pattern pieces (Twisted Trousers namely) and went for it. I made a flat out 4T and they are great on her. I've rolled them up here but the length should be very good for this whole winter. I'd love to make some again in stretch denim or corduroy.

Of course, you know I made some changes. I have to, just for fun. So I went with more feminine pockets since the tan cord was so gender neutral. These are off of a Japanese pattern and I've used them a few times now. I also did away with the faux fly and button closure, because skinny-mini doesn't need it and I'm a take the short-cut kind of girl.

This outfit gets me excited for fall. School starts next week for my big kids and for Elena in a few weeks. Once school starts, it feels like summer is over anyway. I've had a lot of time to plan Elena's fall wardrobe, a capsule wardrobe kind of thing. Melissa Malice of Rebel and Malice is doing a Time for School Capsule Sew-a-long. There's a Facebook group that is a lot of fun and very helpful.

I've been working on another outfit for Project Run & Play with Frances & Suzanne this month so that will be coming soon. It's all about hand-sewing so be sure to check that out next week or follow me on Bloglovin' so you don't miss out.