Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Romantic Smocked Top

This is the flower power top from the book Designer Smocking for tots to teens.  The fabric is from an end of bolt sale at my local sewing store.  I actually finished the smocking on this top a while ago but then it sat in the sewing room waiting for me to put it together.  That tends to happen more often then I care to admit with smocked pieces. 
This was also the first time I tried real bullion roses.  I had done buds before but never full roses.  As you can see I enjoyed them so much that I made a lot of them.  They turned out to be much easier then I had ever thought they would be and actually pretty fun to make.
The back of the shirt buttons with sweet little flower buttons as do the straps. I'm glad that it buttons up the back because I could not find a size chart in the book and made a 3 width with 4 length only to find that a 3 was really quite wide for Emily. Right now I have it overlapping several inches in the back to make it work. Hopefully this means it will work for two summers.
Here she is modeling it with the skirt that she had on that day. At the moment my plan is to have her wear it with a cute little jean skirt that was handed down to her from her friend Beca. There is an adorable ruffle capri pattern with the top in the book but Emily is still unwilling to wear pants without a fight and I don't want the top to go unworn just because she thinks pants are for boys.

Now for a bit about the book itself. Can I begin by saying that I am not thrilled with it. While they are correct that there are pattern for babies to teens in it all 10 projects are not. In fact most projects only come for about 4 sizes. I also cannot find the size chart. If you know where it is please feel free to tell me how silly I am and what page its on. Thanks to Samantha the location is in the comments. The other thing to know is that the directions for most things are spread between the front of the book, the back of the book, and the pattern sheet. Not the best layout in my opinion. All that said the projects are cute and unique so I'm sure that I will be making more things from it over time. Too bad most of my favorites don't start till a size 6 or 8 so it might be a while.

Anyways, hope you like it. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Soccer Feliz

My friend Erin used to be a dancer and is one of those adults who still loves to take ballet bar classes. Erin has a little girl M who turned 5 this week. M loves to move to music and dance at home but has not yet found the dance class love. What M enjoys is play soccer. Last year I made M a dress for her birthday and I guess we are starting a tradition because this year I did as well. This year however I found girly soccer fabric that I simply had to buy for M. I mean really if its soccer you like you should have a soccer dress right? I also let her pick the pattern. She picked Feliz from the book Sewing Clothes Kids Love.

I even had enough fabric left to make a reversible bucket hat.
The hat is my first project from the Oliver +S book Little Things to Sew.
Not that it should come as a shock to anyone but the directions for the hat were wonderful and while a few steps were a little flitzy all in all it was fun to make. There are so many super cute projects in this little book its just not even funny and while I don't plan on making all of them I do have plans for several more in the coming months. My only advice for the hat would be to decide which side you want to be the outside most of the time and do your final step with the stitching on that side. I think that side looks just a touch better though both sides of mine are very cute.

I've probably made Feliz 6 or 7 times at this point so I have made some changes along the way. I always add length. I just think it looks cuter as a longer dress so I make them almost ankle length. This helps them fit for a year or two.
For this one I also finished the back of the under layer with my serger and then used shirring instead of an elastic casing to pull it in. This was mostly because I was almost out of elastic and did not want to have to run out and pick up more. I also merged the shoulder strap pieces into one piece and decided to have them fasten in the back with snaps rather then sewing them into the back. This was because I did not have access to M while sewing and I wanted to be able to make them shorter if needed.
I hope you like it. I don't have any model shots but Erin stops buy sometimes so if you ask she may be willing to send me some or post some over on her blog. I'm sure she would also want me to point out that she is very supportive of her daughter's love of soccer.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lucky Girl Dress

I stumbled across this adorable lucky girl tee at Target last month and thought it would be the prefect start to a nice easy upcycle for St. Patrick's day. I bought the smallest size which was a 4/5 so this year it has a totally 80s drop waist oversized vibe but I'm hoping to get to years of wear out if it. The little bit of rainbow stripe fabric came in a scrap box that I won and the green interlock is the last of a 2 yard cut for Chez Ami.
This really was super easy to do but I decided to do a little tutorial because all the circle skirt directions I have seen use string and a pivot point which is making things harder then they need to be in my opinion. Though certainly if you think that way is easier rock on!

I began by taking the bottom hem out of the tee so that I did not have to cut the picture.

Next measure the front bottom of the shirt from one side seam to the next. I'll be calling this measurement A.

Cut two waist band pieces that are A+.5in wade and about 3in long.

Then divide A by 3.14 to get the inner radius of the skirt. Will call this R.

Fold your skirt fabric in half then in half again just like in this picture.
Now measure from the point of the square distance R several times and make a dot. In my case R was 3.75.
Connect the dots to draw 1/4 of a circle.

Then measure from the circle to how ever long you want your skirt to be and make another set of dots.
Connect the dots again. Carefully cut along both lines without unfolding the fabric.

Then unfold and it should look like this.
Sew the waist band pieces together using a 1/4in seam allowance then sew the waistband to the skirt making sure to cover the holes from the original stitching.
Sew the top of the circle skirt (inner circle) to the bottom edge of the waistband with right sides together. Finish the bottom edge with a rolled hem.

Finally give the dress to the lucky little twirly girl and watch her go.

I love how this style of skirt moves when she runs, jumps, and twirls.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Emily in Wounderland

Remember a few months ago when I confessed that I have some lovely vintage patters that get very little love? Well I am working on that so when no big dill announced that she was doing Once Upon a Thread month Simplicity 8279 popped into my head. Amusingly enough I was terrified by the live action movie version of Alice in Wonderland growing up. I'm pretty sure my parents spent a few nights really wishing they had never let me watch that. However, I love the story and Alice's sweet little dress.

This pattern also allowed me to complete the sewing mama's monthly challenge of trying a new skill. I tried not one but two for this little pattern. I learned how to properly install an invisible zipper and how to apply lace with my serger. The zipper I'm sure I will do again but truthfully while it is faster to put lace on this way I think I prefer doing it with my machine.

Oh how I love this dress though. I found this Alice quilter's cotton last year and just had to have it. Of course then I got it home and realized how wild it was and couldn't come up with a project. The white dot fabric came from a clearance bin at Joanns. I actually didn't have to buy anything to make this. I had everything down to the little bunny buttons in my stash.
I wanted to add a little extra detail to the bodice so I made the front bodice out of white batiste and made corded pin-tucks. The pin-tucks have dark pink and blue embroidery floss as the cording to add a touch of color.

Now here are a ridiculous number of pictures of Emily modeling the dress.  It is very short but I really didn't have enough of either fabric to lengthen it.  Plus I think little girls look cute in very short little girl dresses.  Maybe that's just because I was a little girl in the late 70s/very early 80s.

I managed to catch her mid twirly jump here.  She is so funny sometimes.  I could totally see her running off after a bunny.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Princesses and Butterflies

So this particular outfit began with this cute little jumper that I made Emily this fall out of my Rapunzel fabric. Its made from the Carla C pattern.
It was adorable, I loved it, so did Emily, and then a few things went wrong. First the linen blend fabric that it is made out of shrunk more even after a good prewash then the cotton liner. Then Emily got taller, the girl really is all legs these days. Finally Emily ripped one of the buttons trying to change clothes during nap one day.
All that lead me to make the jumper into the little elastic waist skirt pictured above. I just took out a little of the width so that it wouldn't be asymmetric, added an elastic waist, and put wide red poly ric-rac around the bottom. Of course a cute skirt needs a cute top which lead to this.
Orange is not my favorite color but I had Emily with me at Joanns that day and she loved this light orange butterfly fabric. The shirt is Vaahtokarkki better knows as design 15 from otto 1/2010. It is an adorable pattern that I mostly followed the directions on. There was recently a sew a long on this blog so I did not take pictures of all the steps only the one area where I did not follow directions. I had made this pattern before and feel that it runs a bit small so I made a 104 all over with no added seam allowance except for the front placket. Trust me when I say you must add them there.

Since I have been into making dress shirts lately I have totally fallen in love with the way those pattern do the shoulder yoke so that both the back seam and shoulder seams are contained. Here are some slightly blurry pictures of the process. For starters you have to cut two of the shoulder yoke pieces both on the fold.

Sandwich the back piece between the shoulder yoke pieces.
It should look like the above picture when finished
Shift all the extra fabric out of the way so that you can sandwich one of the front pieces between the two shoulder yoke pieces. Be careful of your gathers and make sure the front pieces is positioned so that the arm whole is on the outside. I find that it helps if I take a second to think about where the piece needs to be when the shirt is finished. This seems fiddly the first time but once you get it its easy I promise.

When you turn it right side out this is what the inside front seam looks like. Then just repeat the process for the other side and continue following the directions.
As you can see here Emily is quite pleased with her new outfit. I guess jumping works for modeling shots. Maybe when she's older she'll do nice still poses for me where she isn't screaming macaroni and cheese or guacamole.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sketchbook Shorts

Wow! He looks just please as punch to be getting his picture taken doesn't he? In his defense this was the second time I'd made him try on the very same pair of shorts.
The shorts are the Oliver + S sketchbook shorts. Made to go with Elijah's Easter shirt made from the same pattern. Sizing was a big challenge as his waist put him in a size 6 but his height put him in a size 12. I ended up tracing a size 8 with size 12 length and rise. I'm thinking this didn't quite work as they are really fluffy on him but they will do for now. As a side not the way the pattern lines are drawn on the sheet makes it harder then usual to merge sizes.
Truth be told as much as I loved the shirt on this pattern and will continue to wholeheartedly recommend it as a shirt pattern I do not love the shorts. While they do have a fax fly the waistband is one piece that you top stitch and put a button on. In addition the directions are very good for doing an all around elastic waist but lacking if you just want to do a plain front. I guess mostly I just think they look like little boy pants to me and Elijah is not such a little boy anymore so we'll be using these for church this summer but I will be trying out an otto pattern for additional shorts.

Oh and if your playing along with the home game that is one more Easter garment done. Now I just have to finish Emily and myself.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Boy Undies

Did you know that the That Darn Kat undies pattern has a version for boys with a real working fly. Just like with little girls undies happen to be a great way to use up fabric scraps for boys. These are just some of the pairs I made for Elijah. He loves how comfy they are and that they don't bunch up in his pants like boxers do. Technically the pattern only goes to a size 8 but since length is not an issue in undies these fit him and likely will for while.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Princess and the Pea

We have called Emily princess pea since she was still living in me because she would get mad and kick the mattress at night as it pressed into her space.  So when No Big Dill decided to do a story book themed month I just had to post this.
I actually made it over a year ago.  The mattresses are all scraps of fabric that I loved and hated to part with.  The pea is a big green button.  The princess is a fabric scrap and the rest is just creative use of trim scraps.
I'd love to take credit for the idea but the truth is that I was inspired by this tutorial.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope you like it.