Saturday, July 30, 2011


Wow! July has flown by for me. I had so many grand plans for the One Pattern Many Looks Contest on patternreview that just didn't pan out. Lucky I ended up making a second pair of sailor shorts this week for my second entry. As luck would have it the Sew Weekly challenge this week is nautical so the shorts are pulling double duty.

These shorts are view B of kwik sew 3854 just like the fax lace shorts. I was able to recreate the fitting done to the first pair and transfer it to the pattern pieces. Amusingly enough I think this could end up being my TNT shorts pattern. As much work as I put into the others these just fit better and are more comfortable. Anyways I digress. I used stretch twill for this pair. I also made the waistband a bit narrower by taking large seam allowances on both sides.
For fun and for the nautical challenge I made a shirt as well.  Neil wanted me to show off the cool back so that is what the next picture is for.  I do think the back of the shorts looks pretty good though save the line where the shirt seam is rumpled.  I'll have to do better if I tuck things in but I'm not much of a tucker so I doubt that will be a big issue.
The rest of these are just purely for fun.  The shirt is Butterick 5497 view A.  Its made from a white and silver stripe rayon jersey from  I think I like the shirt.  I ended up sewing up the front and back gaps a bit though so that I didn't have to worry about flashing people.

Hope you like. I think I like both pieces and plan to wear them tomorrow. I'm also planning at least one more pair of these shorts though it will not be done for the contest. Those of you who have tried and tested (TNT) patterns I'm wondering did you pick them or did they pick you. I'm beginning to think that shorts patterns could be like cats. As in they pick you. This one seems to have picked me at the very least.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tea Party Dress Times 2

Pattern Review is running an interesting contest this month. Its the one pattern many (or at least two) looks contest.  I've actually manged to put together two entries both of which are things I needed to make this month anyways so I'm quite pleased.

For my first entry I did two versions of the Oliver + S tea party sundress. One as a birthday present for our friend Ella and one as a fancy dress for Emily. Both dresses are a 3T.

Ella is Abby's little sister so I used the scraps from Abby's dress to make this one. I could not find buttons that matched so I made fabric covered ones. I used a tiny piece of pink and white check trim to highlight the curved bodice. The skirt is made from coordinating fabrics to show off the style.   I also added a contrasting ruffle to the bottom because their mama likes the boutique look.
Emily's dress started with a trip the Goodwill where she found a prom dress only a little girl could love.  Or maybe a teenager but not a full grown mama.  I thought about trying to size it down but decided I wanted something more little girl appropriate.

Her version is underlined and lined with periwinkle batiste.   The front and back seams are highlighted with sequin trim.
The buttons are clear plastic shaped like emerald cut diamonds with silver glitter in the middle.  Possibly only buttons a little girl can pull off but they add just a touch more sparkle.
Here is the obligatory twirl shot from a very pleased Emily who wanted to go back inside being as it was over 100 degrees here today.
I hope you like both versions.  This really is a great pattern and I hear its being discontinued so if you like it you may want to pick it up soon.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Back Tie Bow Dress

Have I told ya'll before that I love testing patterns. If not let me put that out there to the universe on a whole. I love testing patterns. Need someone to drop everything and sew up your new design super quick? I'm your girl. Want it done more then once? Sure! Want me to do it again with fitting changes? No problem.

Only the first question applied to this pattern though. The mama who designed it had a tester drop out because of machine problems and I got to step in. Not to pat myself on the back too much but I got it in the morning and had this beauty finished by the evening with notes to the designer. Pictures had to wait till the next morning because the model had to go to bed though.

Presenting the back tie bow dress!
Isn't it just to die for?
It was also easy to make and the pattern is well written with lots of pictures.
If you come here often I can guarantee you that you will be seeing more of these this fall. Probably for gifts as well. The way the straps work make fit a little more flexible too.
Just for cuteness factor here is a dripping wet Emily trying it on right out of the bath tub. She stood in the sewing room in her panties waiting for me to finish hemming.
Just to be clear I did not design the pattern nor did I get paid for testing or writing about it. I did however get the pattern itself for free since I was testing. I may be cool but I can't sew a pattern I don't have. Here is a link to the designers shop

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Faux Lace Shorts

First off I know these are not great pictures.  Its really more my fault then my husbands.  We tried to do some outside but for some reason I had my hands in my pockets so they just looked rumpled.  Then since it was so hot we did them in his office but he never stood up so I looked like a giant making a face in all of them.  Hence the creative cropping. 

Now on with the post.

I have been toying with the idea of lace shorts for a bit now.  They've been all over the fashion magazines for a while now and while I like the idea of them I really don't wear short shorts.  I'm pretty long so when I put on short shorts they look almost indecent and make me self conscious.  These are not real lace though, they are a funny lace print fabric that I found on the super sale table at Hancock fabrics recently.  I think I paid $2/yard for it. 
The pattern is Kwik Sew 3854 which has gotten several good reviews on pattern review lately.  I do like the pattern but these took a good bit of fitting and I will still make changes to the next pair.  I think my big gripe is that Kwik Sew sizing is XS-XL instead of numbered sizes.  I fall somewhere between a M and L it seems.  I did muslin a M this time just too see how it would go since the other shorts took so many alterations.  I did not go well though.  They were a touch tight before the waist band and then when I put it on they were really bad with the front borrowing quite a bit of fabric from the back.  I did not feel like doing another muslin though so I fitted these a bit at a time while sewing them.  That went well except that I lost track of what I took from where so I had to guess a bit when altering the pattern. 

I took a bit out of both sides and a good bit out of the crotch when fitting this pair.  I also sewed up the sides of the pockets so only the waistband opens up.  This helps with the fit and makes the pockets functional.  For the pattern changes I removed the back darts and adjusted the rise.  Here's to hoping it goes well. 

I'm not sure if you can tell from the picture or not but these are still a bit loose.  I swear the were looser when I wore them yesterday then when I fitted them on Tuesday.  This may be true though bc I gain and loose in my tummy first so if I'm up a few lbs that is always were it is.  I do like them though.  They are quite comfy.  I plan to make another pair or two bc I like the fit/feel of these better then the others and I rarely tuck shirts in anyways so I doubt people will really notice that I have 3 pairs of sailor shorts.  For that matter even if they did I can't imagine why that would be a big problem.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Back in the 90s I loved a good floral or polka-dot romper almost as much as a pair of overalls. Scoff if you want but I bet most of you owned at least one of these 3 garments back in the day. That said I was not super impressed when rompers started showing up in stores again recently. I mean I made this one and this one for my daughter but she is a 3 year old girl not a 34 year old woman. I did try a few on but they were all super low wasted and you can guess how great that looked right?  Now most people would assume that this meant it was time to leave well enough alone and continue working on finding/altering the perfect shorts pattern and um that's exactly what I did so just disregard anything below this point if you believe me.

Its also possible that while I was innocently glancing at a pattern book one day during a sale that McCall's 6362 caught my eye. Now I'm not sure how because the pictures on the envelope are down right awful but somehow it ended up in my stash just the same.
This version is a size L with lots of width removed. I probably should have just made a M but when the pattern made its way into my stash I had both kids with me and didn't look at the size chart before buying it. The fit of the top was a little weird and I really wanted it to cover a bra so I ended up pinning the front to my bra and altering from there. I got a pretty good fit this was but ultimately decided to wear it with a tank top anyways.
The fabric is the same shirting that I used for the skirt of Emily's bumblebee dress. I'm happy with the results though and I've worn it twice now. That said I'm still not totally sure how I feel about this look and the pattern has moved on to the goodwill pile.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Name That Tune

I'm having so much fun doing some of the weekly challenges for Sew Weekly. This week's challenge was to make an outfit inspired by an album's cover art.  My first thought was to make a red dress like Gwen Stefani wore on the cover of Tragic Kingdom but I don't really want a bright red dress so I didn't have fabric on had for that.  Then the Chasing Fireflies Halloween catalog came in the mail and my husband asked if we could make Emily dress as the bumblebee girl.  Of course we will let Emily pick her own costume much closer to time but an idea was born just the same

So can you name that tune? 
I should point out that I went to high school in the 90s so grunge and I are close.
Also that it hasn't rained here in a while so there were no puddles for her to tap dance in. 

So did you know before you saw the picture? 
I made a few changes because I wanted her's to be a wearable dress not just a costume.  I used black tencile shirting left over from another project that I will post about soon for the skirt and a small piece of yellow ribbing for the body.  I cut the front about an inch wider then half of her chest measurement then sewed sequin trim on to make the design.  The back is just shirred so that it fits snugly without a lot or really any fitting.  The skirt is just two big rectangles with yellow ribbon sewed to the bottom.  Oh and the straps are made from the bottom hem of old yoga pants.  That's a little grungy right?  Anyways hope this one made you feel a touch nostalgic as it did me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mario Tank Tops

Dear Walmart this may come as a shock to you but 8 year old boys like Super Mario brothers. It would be so helpful if you would make some of the totally cute Mario shirts in boys sizes. As a side note it would also be super helpful the fabric used for the body of your shirts was not twisted.

Alas I am still not a fan of boys in tank tops or upcycling but Elijah loves both. He picked these out at Walmart and I whipped them up before our trip. OK technically speaking he picked them out, they sat around for a few weeks, the red one bled on the white one in the washing machine, then he bugged me till I made his tank tops.  At least he still likes it when I sew for him and boy was he pleased.

These are both based on the otto 3/2011 tank top pattern.  This is how I did the neck and arm binding.  Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tiny Tailfeather

Truth be told I was hoping that this weeks Sew Weekly challenge would be something that I didn't really care to do since I was out of town most of the week. No such luck. This week's challenge is to sew something inspired by your favorite American designer. While I would have a hard time listing say ten American designers I have not trouble naming my favorite. Betsey Johnson hands down is my favorite designer in the whole entire world. I've never actually owned or even tried on anything from  any of her lines but I love her work just the same.

When we got back Thursday night I started looking at the summer ready to wear line and decided to make an homage to the tail-feather dress for Emily. I made myself a dress as well with this skirt in mind because Emily has been saying that we need matching dresses lately.  Actually that we want matching dresses which makes me laugh because this part of the we could do without them but oh well she is thrilled.  Trust me when I tell you my dress looks better in person then in pictures or at least I think it does.

So here we are standing in the back yard,
looking at each other,
checking out my ruffles,                                     (she thought I needed bottom ruffles too)

shaking Emily's tail-feathers,
and then she was done.
Hope you like them. Emily's dress started out as a mamu Sabrina but is pretty heavily modified because the straps were just too wonky out of a knit. I do not recommend that pattern by the way.  My dress is the tank top from Otto 2/07 lengthened.  Hopefully it will be one of my two looks for the one pattern many looks contest on pattern review.   The fabric is a heavier rib knit from Chez Ami that is baby pink with white stripes.   I wish I had more time this week but these were fun just the same. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Getting Closer Shorts

This pair of shorts is so very very close. They are also decidedly wearable. In fact I'm wearing them again today. I took some additional volume out of the back and ended up taking the darts with it. I think for the next pair I will be lowering the front by about an inch. Other then that I'm pleased. They are still a bit loose but that is how I like my shorts so I think I'm just going to run with it.
If you've been around for a bit you may have noticed that these shorts look an awful lot like these shorts. I decided that the first pair was just too big in the bottom to be wearable but liked the look so I made a second pair out of the same fabric. Oh and if you happen to be just stopping by today they are made from this pattern but with quite a few adjustments.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Ascot Dress that Wasn't

Hi all, I'm back from a week of visiting my parents with the kids.  I'm super tired but excited to get some sewing done and some posts completed.  I made this a few weeks ago when this was the challenge and didn't get the post up.  Hope you like it now.

A few weeks ago the Sew Weekly challenge was to sew an Ascot dress. For those of us on this side of the pond that would be an only black and white dress. My plan was to use the leftover fabric from my Portfolio dress to make a cute little tie front dress for Emily. I had the Papaya Whip dress from Otto 3/2011 all picked out. Too bad Emily had different ideas.

You see a few weeks ago I really wanted to spend some quality time at Hancock fabric and I bought her coaperation by letting her pick out a yard of fabric. She picked the lovely Minnie Mouse fabric you see pictured above. Then about the same time I wanted to make her Ascot dress she started asking when I was going to make her Minnie dress. For what its worth the lining of this dress is all black and white.

The pattern itself is really cute. I don't care for using piping nor did I have any in the house as it turned out so I left it off. I did use florecent pink ric rac down the front and at the neck. I also bound the arm wholes with narrow black double fold bias tape. That was because I was so excited to put the zipper in that I did a few steps out of order and could not sew the sleeves properly and turn the dress right side out again.
Hope you like it. Emily loves it and I think she looks adorable even if it isn't what I set out to make.