Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Introducing Dolly Emily

Better knows as "Dowy Emly" to her mama big girl Emily. I started working on Dolly Emily back in January. I had come across this blog and fallen in love with the doll that she made her daughter. You see I made a Waldorf style doll last year and if I'm being honest I'm just not a huge fan and neither is Emily.  I've also made flat rag dolls before but didn't love them either. The problem of course was that when I found the blog with what I wanted I also quickly discovered that she uses her own pattern. The closest I could find was this vintage doll pattern on Etsy. So I ordered the pattern and became overwhelmed.

I sewed the arms, legs and torso together in February and then she sat in my sewing room for months. Poor big girl Emily would sit on the guest bed cuddling Dolly Emily's torso.  Trust me when I tell you that is both a sad and disturbing site.  So I decided it was time to be brave and finish her up. Big girl Emily found me working on her and kept me motivated to get her hair, face, and clothing finished in just a few days.  She even stood and watched me work on her face and hair.
The pattern is a reprinting of an old transfer pattern that is now public domain. While I love the style of the doll the directions are almost nonexistent. Not that you shouldn't buy the pattern just be prepared to figure a lot out on your own. I spent a lot of time staring at the bybido blog while making her face and used the hair instructions from this book to make her hair.
Big girl Emily was thrilled when I finally finished Dolly Emily.  Dolly Emily's clothes are made from fat quarters that I got during Heather Ross's studio sale.  She even has on little matching panties.  Big girl Emily reminds me that they also need matching dresses but she is going to have to wait just a bit.
I really wanted to make Dolly Emily pink glasses since big girl Emily has pink glasses.  I thought about making them out of felt but ended up deciding just to embroider them on so that they would not get lost.
Dolly Emily got drug all over the back yard.  I cringed just a bit watching this but she seems to be holding up well and I made her to be played with right?

Here they are going night night together.  Big girl Emily looked at me and said "Where is her sleeping dress," when I tucked them in bed.  I promised to make one soon.  I have a feeling Dolly Emily is going to need quite the wardrobe.  I finished her up as part of the Sew Weekly UFO challenge.  Perhaps they will have a dolly wardrobe challenge soon.

Monday, June 27, 2011

One more one yard wonder.

The Sewing Mama's challenge this for June was to sew a Christmas gift. Good idea considering that I always like the idea of making gifts but Christmas usually sneaks up on me and I end up not making many simply because I run out of time. That said its also hard for me to plan that far ahead. I decided to pull out my trusty copy of One Yard Wonders to see what struck my gift giving fancy. I choose the jewelry roll for my Aunt Janet who likes to go on cruises and is willing to use just about anything that I make her.

The pattern for this product was pretty good.  I did leave out most of the interfacing.  It just didn't seem necessary for the pockets.  I only used it for the outer body piece.  Some of the instructions threw me off at first but it was very much a just follow the instructions and it will all work out in the end situation.

This was also a great project to make from scraps as all of the pieces were pretty small. This one is made from leftovers from Abby's dress.
I think I have it folded correctly here. I do wish the book had included a picture of it all folded up. I'm pleased with the finished product though. I'm glad that the challenge was specifically to make a Christmas gift. Otherwise I would be tempted to keep this for myself. Instead I will likely make one for myself before our next vacation.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Abby's Dress

Emily's good friend Abby had her 4th Birthday party today. Lately I've been trying to make most of the presents that we give to our little friends. This is somewhat self serving as it allows me to be creative and also keeps me from having to venture into the toy department of my local Target but the gifts also seem to be well received so I plan to keep it up.

This dress is my version of design S from the Japanese pattern book Girly Style. I've been just picking styles out of this book that I like rather then going in order and as I was trying to figure out some of the finer points for this dress it dawned on me that the directions or at least the drawings are a bit cumulative. So there is a tidbit for all of you in blog land. It may be easier to start at the beginning and work to the end of this particular book. Also there are no line drawings of the backs of dresses in this book like there are on most American patterns.  Not usually a big deal except that I had a bit of trouble figuring out how their little belt was supposed to work and if the dress had a zipper.   Oh Well, I think I manged to work things out pretty well just the same.

I had both of these fabrics in my stash.  The one with the white background was a gift from a friend and the pink one was a Christmas gift this year.  Yes I get fabric for Christmas.  My husband wraps my gifts in it because he knows me so well.  Please try not to gag too much upon reading that.

The only major change I made was doing a fully lined bodice so that I didn't have to do quite so much bias binding.  I still used self made binding at the neck though too help bring things together a bit more.
Without a great idea of how the back was supposed to work I decided on an invisible zipper because I'm pretty good at putting them in.  I also decided to do a wide back tying sash instead of the narrow belt in the book.  I liked the look of the one in the book but couldn't figure out how it was supposed to attach and didn't want to give a dress with a loose little belt to a 4 year old.

I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.  Hopefully Abby and her mommy will like it too.  I think Emily is still a little upset that its not for her. 

If your waiting with baited breath I can also tell you that I think I have a wearable pair of shorts to get pictures of soon.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Vogue Dress

This is my go at Vogue 1250. It is a DKNY pattern that has been all over pattern review lately and seems to look pretty dang good on everyone. So imagine my disappointment when the first set of pictures we took made me look like I was smuggling a spare tire. Don't worry though after some deep breathing, much looking in the mirror, and  reassurance from my always patient husband I discovered that this dress does not work well with black slimming panties. I know that seems counter-intuitive but they somehow made my tummy more prominent. So just when we all thought there was nothing left to say about this pattern there you go be careful of the shape wear it seems to drape better over a more free approach to undergarments.

As for sizing I did my usual 14 in the chest tapering to a 16 for the waist and hips.  For my non-sewing buddings I will point out that pattern sizes have nothing to do with ready to wear sizes.  I'm happy with the fit and amount of ease. I prefer body skimming to body hugging though so I can see how someone who wanted a very tight dress may need to go down a size or two.   For my tastes and comfort level this is just right. I just need to get over the fact that as a woman who has had 2 kids I'm never going to have a perfectly flat tummy.

I made this one out of some ITY jersey from  Picking fabric for this pattern is a sort of an interesting quandary since you want something with lots of drape that will also look good skimming your lower half.  I think this works pretty well though I would be interested to try one in a less dressy fabric one day.  I feel just a bit overdressed running errands in this one.  Interestingly enough though I've had it on all day and I feel like people are being nicer to me then usual so perhaps its the perfect errand running dress after-all.
I plan to make at least one more of these out of sparkly gold jersey to be one of my cocktail dresses for our cruise. 
Oh and by all means ignore the weird faces.  This was our second photo shoot and I've had a headache all day so I wasn't exactly channeling my inner supermodel. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Refashionista Bubble

This week the Sew Weekly challenge is to refashion something in your closet that is not getting much love into something that hopefully will. I choose a berry colored droopy linen dress for my project. I bought it last year because it was on sale and I loved the color. The problem being that it was at least a size too big. Well that and that I could never figure out what to do with the long scarf like crinkle sash.

My original plan was to make a paper bag skirt using this tutorial. That didn't quite work out though. I decided to sew the 1.5in top elastic in only to realize that made it nearly impossible to make the paper bag part over the elastic. Then I didn't care for how the bottom looked so I sewed 0.5in elastic there to create a bubble effect. I'm not totally sure about this look either but I like that its both comfy and a little different.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hi Kitty Romper

I actually made this romper right after I made this one. I thought it was just about the cutiest thing ever but Emily informed that she did not like it at all and would not be wearing it. Grumble. I put it in her drawer and hoped she'd change her mind. She ended up picking it this Saturday when she had a party at a play place. I made her pick between her three shorts outfits and I'm pretty sure she picked this one because she hadn't worn it before.  Oh well at least its been worn once now.  Its a little big so hopefully it will fit again next summer.  If not maybe baby Meredith will like it.
I got the basics of for this one from the big girl romper tutorial on crafterhours. I made a few changes though. First I used the girl shorts pattern for the bottom part.  I also wanted to make sure she could get in and out on her own so I made really long straps and then put elastic in them instead of doing the tie ones.  After all we want the little girl to be able to go potty all by herself if she needs to.  I just did rows of shirring at the top which seems to work just fine for Emily.  Lastly, I made a cotton Lycra yoga style waistband instead of using elastic.  She does end up wearing this a little low but she puts all waistbands below her toddler tummy anyways so it works.
Now onto way too many action shots.  I'm trying to become better at using my camera and editing pictures so I had a good time playing with these.

Too bad Emily got tired of having her picture taken.

Oh and don't worry I'm still working on my shorts pattern. Hopefully I'll have a new and improved wearable muslin later this week.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Making Progress Shorts

I'm working on shorts. That is really the best way to put that too. You see shorts are hard because the crotch curve really has to fit properly as do the waist and butt. Now I suppose if you fit the size chart perfectly this might be no big deal but I am not a curvy girl and lack some needed junk in the trunk so this is quite the challenge.

I'm working with Kwik Sew 3614 which is a basic fitted shorts pattern. Below if my first muslin. It is a size large with no alterations. They did not fit well. The waist was too high and too big where it hit among other things.

Initially I decided to take all of the rise out of the middle. This lead to a muslin that was too tight so I decided to lower the top and then take more of a wedge out of each side. The crotch curve itself was pretty close to OK there was just a lot of extra fabric.

Once I got these changes done and another muslin that I thought was pretty good I decided to go for a wearable muslin. I made it out of some leftover fabric from a while ago. They are close. Annoyingly close. They fit better then most of my ready to wear shorts. Looking at the pictures though you will notice that they are all from the front. That is because the back is still a bit too big. The waist is also still just a touch too loose though it hits wear I like now. I'm going to do another muslin later today with  an inch removed from the back of the pattern. I got the book Pants For Real People and it is proving very useful to this process. Fingers crossed. I've got big plans if I can just get the pattern right.

Wish me luck. Hopefully I'll have some better shorts to show you next week. Strangely, I'm enjoying the puzzle of this. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Very Vintage Dress

This is quite likely the oldest pattern I have ever used. The seller listed it as late 30s or very early 40s. It has no actual pattern markings and was originally twenty-five cents. It also says "quick and easy" on the cover which it was not.

I had planned on making the shorter version but Emily saw the pattern envelope and asked for the long one. This added the the challenge since I had already purchased the fabric. The outer fabric is some very cheap probably mostly poly voile from and the attached slip is made out of light pink batiste.   I like the look of the outer fabric but truth be told it was a nightmare to work with and if I had it to do again I would have skipped the slip entirely and just made the whole dress out of batiste with a full lining.

Its decidedly more Emily's style then mine but it is beautiful and I'm glad to have made it. I learned a lot plus the smell the voile made when I tried to iron it reminded me of being a little girl in the late 70s and early 80s. I think my mom made me a yellow dress out of about the same fabric. Who knows perhaps the people at found bolts of it in a basement.

I think the back of this dress is particularly sweet. This was also my first time making an embroidery floss button loop. Turns out it was just like making a twisty friendship bracelet. Glad I got all that practice in middle school.
All this fluff is from the slip and the skirt.  No netting it is just that fluffy.

I think the incredible twirl power is Emily's favorite part.  The skirt was hard to gather and put together but I think it could twirl over her head.

Here is Emily telling me that I was done taking pictures.
Hope you like the dress.  I'm entering it into the pattern review vintage pattern contest.  Some of the things that those ladies are making are just amazing.  It doesn't hurt to enter though right?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Girl Shorts

Shorts have become a bit of an issue with little Emily. She prefers dresses to put it mildly and thinks that all shorts and pants are for boys and babies. However, she is tall and mostly legs so some things need to have shorts under them. Enter the concept of girl shorts. Unfortunatly, girl shorts is a poorly defined term in our lives. Having pink stitching for example does not make shorts girl shorts. Neither does having a ruffle at the bottom. She has agreed to these little shorts from otto 3/2011. Too bad she is in the largest size.

 Behold the girl shorts!!!!!!  I added some width to the blue ones but I think I like the fit of the pink ones better.  These things go together so easily so if your looking for something to put under dresses you should give them a go.

Now wish me luck as I'm working on making some mama shorts and those are a bit of a fitting nightmare.  Hopefully I'll be able to show you some soon.  I'm sewing the 3rd muslin tonight though if it isn't perfect I'm going to start again with a different idea for altering the first one.  I've also ordered a book about fitting pants that will be here next week.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hammer Time?

So how did I end up deciding to make a pair of hammer pants? I mean I was not just alive but am well able to remember the awesome tie dye hammer pant and top outfit that I wore to 7th grade in 1991. Come to think of it I bet their in a box in the attic maybe I should go look for it. Oh well its late and I'm comfy so not tonight. Anyways it started when Sal on Already Pretty wore a black pair. At the time I didn't care for them. Even swore this was a trend I would be ignoring but the image stuck.

Then I decided I needed something shorter for yoga. I wanted something less tight then leggings though. So I started checking out these at Athleta. I was not interested in them but not their price tag. Finally, I stumbled upon Kwik Sew 3835 while putting together my order for a coop and decided to give them a try.

This is the second pair. I made a size Large the first time and they were way too much. I salvaged that pair but taking off the waist and shortening the rise by a few inches. They were not a wader but are also not photo worthy. These are a size Medium with the rise of a Small made out of some super cheap ITY knit from a sale.
I'm not going to make another pair right away but I wore them to yoga and they were great. Easy to move in but not skin tight. I think next time I will probably use rayon lycra knit or at least a solid color. I'd also like to try the tank with built in bra one of these days. I like that the pattern came with both pieces. It bugs me when two or three garments are featured prominently on a pattern envelope but you have to buy them separately. I guess that has to happen with pants patterns sometimes but it still bugs me.  So have you made anything lately that you weren't quite sure of going in?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Perfect Summer Dress?

Am I the only one out there who didn't know about Sew Weekly? I may well have been but what a neat site and I love that they do weekly challenges. Not that I will be able to do every week but still what a neat idea. This week's challenge was to create your perfect summer dress. Great for me because I love summer dresses. When I think of dress perfection though it has to be comfy and body skimming so it feels a bit like a nightie but is pretty enough that people don't think I've left the house in my pjs. What do you think of when you think of the perfect summer dress?

This one is from Onion 2024. I used the modifications that I made to the pattern for the brown top. Then I traced the longest dress option. I wanted a maxi dress though so I added 11in between the shirt bottom. This was easy to do I just pinned the pieces 11in apart and cut the skirt so that it was an a line from the top of the first piece to the bottom of the second. I did not want a super full skirt plus I only had 2.5 yards of fabric so I needed to get to skirt pieces out of one fabric width. Speaking of fabric this stuff is from Emma's One Stock and while it was more expensive then I typically order it feels so wonderful that I am hugely tempted to order some of the other prints.

I thought I'd include a few pictures of the process this time as well. I can't read the directions for this pattern so these are just pictures of how I did it with no promise that they are the best or most correct way. They did work though.

Above is part of the front bodice. I took this one to remind everyone to put one strap seam side up and one seam side down. That way they will both be seam down when the top is finished.

Here is what the top looks like sewn together. There is a picture of this in the pattern but I went ahead and highlighted the stitching for you. Be sure to mark the center top and center bottom of each piece before sewing.

Here is what it looks like turned right side out.

I went ahead and carefully pinned it twisted with the sides matched. Then you should sandwich the straps between the back pieces. I forgot on this one though so I just sewed them to the back after it was put together. That worked just fine as well.

Next I sandwich both front layers between the both back layers to create a clean finish at the arm.

I an not good at gathering with clear elastic so I just gather the skirt the old fashion way. I carefully pin the bottom parts of the twist side by side at the center front and then distribute the gathers .

I also though you might get a kick out of seeing the original pattern piece and the full bust/bra wearing adjusted piece together. As you can see my version takes a lot more fabric. You can also see that I wrote Use This One in big letters on the final piece. Trust me when I tell you that you will save yourself a lot of heart ache if you label things as you go through the muslin process. After a while things are going to start to look the same and you won't be able to remember what color marker you used on the final pattern.

Hope you like it. I'd love the here what your summer dress requirements are.