Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Sally Dress in Waverly Bloom

I wanted to make one new summer dress for Elena so I returned to a favorite pattern. I love the Very Shannon Sally dress and have made 3 or 4 over the years. This time I went with short sleeves, no pockets, and ribbon embellishments for the bodice.

The beautiful and summery fabric was found in the remnant bin at Walmart. I know it's Waverly and I think it's called Bloom in Orange. I suppose it's a premium quilting cotton because it has nice weight to it, but there was not much info on the label. I had originally made pockets out of a lightweight aqua gingham check, but they stuck out so much that I had to remove them. I've made Sally's with pockets before so it's not the fault of the pattern at all, this fabric was just too heavy weight.

Sally is always a quick and easy sew with no closures and nice finishes inside and even options on just how nice you want the inside to be. I took the quick route and just serged the seam allowance on the sleeve seams instead of doing the clean finish.

Some of my favorite summer things: little girls in cotton dresses, books, spending time outside, sun-fried over-chlorinated bleached out hair, and flowers. This hits them all.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

All You Really Need for a Girl's Capsule Wardrobe

I'm pretty sure that Elena could be happy with 3 t-shirts, 3 pairs of shorts and her favorite romper. She has 3 or 4 swim suits and 1 cover-up that she likes too. That is all she has been wearing this summer. It's a little sad for a sewist like me, except that I have become more and more minimalist in the past year so I am happy to see she is too.

I am happy to report that 2 out of the 3 pairs of shorts she wears are homemade from last summer. The tops and romper however, are not. Lucky for me, I have been so busy this summer that I haven't had time to cry about it. I'm pretty happy that she dresses herself and seems to have stopped the multiple outfit changes each day that were happening in the spring.

I want her to have clothes that not only meet her physical needs, but that she loves. I am starting to plan her fall wardrobe and have spent some time looking at Pinterest and also at the websites of lots of my favorite ready to wear brands: H&M, Old Navy, GAP, Tea Collection, Osh Kosh...

The thing that strikes me the most when I look at these websites is how few different shapes there are. Everyone makes a basic t-shirt, and raglan shirt, a button-down or pop-over style top, some knit dresses of either the fit and flare or swing style, leggings, joggers, and jeans. That's pretty much it and the main differences between brands comes in the colors, fabrics, and graphics (and quality). If I can source fabrics in colors and prints that she loves, I already own plenty of patterns to hack.

So in making my plans for this fall, I am keeping in mind the fact that my girl is happy to wear the same things over and over and also that she will be wearing a uniform to kindergarten 5 days a week. If I'm only going to get to make her a handful of items, I want them to be really great with special details. I will take my time making them and make them special.

This striped tunic from Tea Collection uses basic striped fabric and a simple design, but adds embroidered flowers. I can totally see hand-embroidering some flowers for Elena.

                                                Yumi Embroidered Dress

A floral raglan t-shirt like this one from Carter's doesn't have any special details. It's all about the large print and making sure it's soft and cozy.
                                             Kid Girl Long-Sleeve Floral Raglan Tee |
A swing dress like this one from Old Navy is a simple hack of a basic t-shirt pattern. I was thinking of using a solid white and adding lace and then dying the whole thing one color. Of course I'll have to wait and see what her favorite color is that month and hope it lasts.


A chambray shirt dress would be cute and fun to layer with leggings and a cardi later in winter. I already have some speckled chambray that would be a lot of fun and could use the Sisboom Ethan shirt for a pattern hack.

We will need a few new pairs of leggings to accomodate her ever-growing legs. I hope to add some details to those in the form of knee patches, lace cuffs, or a tuxedo stripe.

For fall, that is all that we will need I think. I don't need to buy any patterns, no matter how cute they are and how many inspiring pieces my fellow bloggers sew up to entice me. I will try to remain strong in my minimalist ways. I will instead make it fun and hopefully blog-worthy by adding artistic handmade touches. And in the meantime, I will be sure to keep myself and Elena out of the mall and Target, etc.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Simplicity 4237 & 1616 Mash-Up Skirt

Jersey maxi skirts have become a staple in most of our closets. They are easy to make and easy to wear. Dress them up, dress them down, but how do you keep them interesting and how do you keep from tripping on them?

I've used Simplicity 4237 (out of print but available secondhand) multiple times to make skirts of different lengths so using it again was a no-brainer. I did my usual change to the waistband piece by halving it's height and inserting 2" elastic instead of doing the fold-down yoga band. It feels sturdier for my mom-belly this way. The other big change was to use the bottom hi-low shape of Simplicity 1616 view B and to shorten the whole thing to a long midi/short maxi. This way I don't have to hitch up my skirt to run up and down the steps all day. I think this is brilliant because I still get all the swish of a maxi skirt but the higher front feels so practical.

Since S4237 isn't easy to come by, you could just use S1616 but cut the front and back pieces in half adding seam allowance. I haven't compared the actual pattern pieces, but I might next time I need to make a skirt. For now, sorry, too much trouble to locate the specific pieces in the envelope and open tissue pattern pieces and fold them back up neatly. Do you forgive me for being so lazy?

This fabric is a medium weight rayon (blend?) jersey from CaliFabrics (but they don't have it anymore). It has held up really well. I've been wearing this once a week since late May and it still looks new. Yes, I'm super behind on blogging. My last post was weeks, almost months, ago. Sorry about that, but summer is NUTS around here. I think it is for most of us so I'm sure you understand.

Did you notice the handstitching of all of the vertical seams? I sewed up the 4 seams and then before hemming or adding the waistband, I used pearl cotton to handstitch x's across the seams to spice it up a little. The goal was to add a little texture while remaining monochromatic and neutral. That's my best suggestion for anyone interested in capsule wardrobing. It really didn't even take all that long.

The inspiration for this stitching came from this pin. 

That's it folks. That's my favorite new skirt I've been meaning to show you for weeks. Summer and blogging just don't mix. I'd like to welcome all my new followers. Thanks for joining me here. I have more to post, just need to find the time to do it.