Thursday, May 30, 2013

Little Grad

My little Emily is officially a preschool graduate.  Its hard to believe but honestly she is just getting to be more and more fun so its hard to me to morn the growing.  Plus as I tell people all the time having them grow up beets the hell out of the alternative that none of us want to consider.  Her school does a big thing and they have been using the same homemade caps and gowns for at least 20 years now. 
Now I knew about this but there was also a singing part beforehand so we all know Emily needed a special dress just for the occasion.
I had been hanging on to this Dewberry Sparrows fabric for most of her life.  It reminds me of her namesake so I wanted to make the perfect dress from it.  I also only had 2 yards so I knew if I didn't use it soon I'd be in trouble.

I actually made this dress at least a month ago but have been waiting till graduation to post.  I've also been having trouble figuring out how to review the pattern.  I made it using the Olabelthe Mia top pattern with some modifications.  I had been eying her Olivia dress pattern since it originally came out but for some reason it only went to a size 8 while Mia went to a 12.  Since my previous experience with these patterns has been that they run small I wanted to be able to use the pattern as many times as possible.  Especially since this looks like more of a big girl dress design to me.
So to start the dress is beautiful and now having made it I can tell  you that its not super similar to anything else I've come across and the final product is stunning if I do say so myself.  That said I didn't love dealing with the pattern.  Some of these things are just my preferences but there are no pattern markings and the directions are very wordy.  I also didn't love that there were lots of nonspecific "little tucks" used on the top and skirt.  I ended up just gathering the top and while I used the tucks for the skirt this time next time I will likely just gather that as well.  In addition I felt like I had to read and reread things a lot bc the directions are wordy and contain some unnecessary information.  That said these are just my preferences.  I think I've been getting a bit spoiled by all my Oliver and S sewing.
I made her a size 6 with a good bit of added length since I wanted a dress not a top.  I probably could have done a 5 but the pattern only provides finished measurements without suggesting how much wearing ease to allow.  I also added an inch to the center band bc the bodice looked so short.  I think this would have been just fine either way.  I used the prescribed amount of elastic and its just right on Emily but she has skinny arms and narrow shoulders so that would be worth taking into account bc if you follow the bodice directions (I think you should I do love the way that part goes together) it will not be easy to adjust the elastic.
The biggest change I made was adding a contrasting button band down the back to make it button all the way down.  I was worried that it would be hard to put on and take off otherwise.  This also meant that once I got through with the bodice I didn't really follow the directions much.  I couldn't get enough of either of the buttons that I liked so I alternated between flowers and butterflies.

I love how this dress turned out and I'm glad I got the pattern.  It was not as easy to follow as my Oliver and S patterns are though and the total lack of pattern markings really bugged me.  That said I love the style of many Olabelhe patterns and I'm sure I will be using them again. 

Here is the after effect of all those cute fountain pictures.

Monday, May 27, 2013

altered for summer

This spring I've been trying to work on altering some of Emily's fall and winter clothes for summer.  So far they are not getting much wear.  Probably because she is so excited to wear her news clothes but I do remain hopeful.  I also went ahead and shortened her capri pants into shorts.
She wore these to field day.  They are really cute on and I think they look better as shorts since they are out of quilters cotton.  They are made from the Little Smarty Pants Pattern.
I also shorted two pairs of leggings.

I shortened the sleeves on her book report dress and added a little tuck as well as the button from the cuff.  She hasn't worn it yet but hopefully she will. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

bear skort

I'm loving the Oliver and S badminton skort this season and as Emily gets more active and a bit older the built in shorts make everyone feel better.  That said she already has two for this summer so when she saw the Berenstain Bears fabric and asked for another skort I had to mix it up just a little bit. This time I used the waist band and shorts from the badminton pattern with the skirt pieces from the Favorite Things Little Hip Skirt.  I thought I would end up having to adjust the skirt pieces a little but as it turns out in a size 5 the two patterns lined up like they were meant to go together.
I did change up the order of construction of the skirt so that I could use my rolled hem foot more easily.  I kept it as a fax button front though.  I also had to use polk a dot fabric for the shorts part since I didn't even have a full yard of the main fabric.  The little miss should have been named dotty didn't mind one little bit.
I had her tuck her shirt in for the pictures.  She's her mama's daughter though and had it out again in no time flat.
There you have it.  I've got several posts to write but its been a crazy busy week so we will see when I get them written.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

still a favorite

I'm sure all of you know this but even with sewing Emily's clothing it is hard to predict what will become a favorite and what will just hang in her closet.  It has nothing to do with how much work went into the garment, how expensive the fabric was, or really even how excited she was when first presented with said garment.  That's why I am particularly happy that the heirloom style/quality Easter dress that I made her 2 years ago is still a favorite.  In a way its almost a bad thing because she preferred it to last year's Easter dress and prefers it to this years Easter dress.  I thought it would be fun to post some pictures of her wearing it now at age 5 alongside the ones of her where it at age 3.  Its the dress from the Martha Pullen French Hand Sewing by Machine book and all of the details are in the original post.
Now for a few from when she was 3.
So as you can see the dress in considerably shorter now as are the sleeves but it still fits well.  In this era of throw away clothing its easy to forget that clothes even kids clothes used to be designed and constructed to last for years.  I do want to do some more real heirloom work in the future I love the drop waist styles that were made for slightly older girls but in the meantime I'm glad she is still a fan of this one.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

summer nightgown

As I'm sure you can tell I've really been using my Oliver and S patterns lately.  She is by far my favorite kids pattern designer.  Mostly because the patterns are so well drafted and the directions are well written.  I also like that they are true professionally done patterns.  I guess I'm just a snob like that but oh well I like what I like.  My goal for the year is to use every single one of my Oliver and S patterns including every garment.  For example if its a top and a skirt I have to do both the top and the skirt.  That said if its a dress with two different sleeves or a top/dress I don't have to do both unless I want to.  With that I wanted to get the top from the badminton skort  done.  The problem was that no matter how many times I looked at it all I could think was nightgown.  So I decided to make a nightgown.
I used the width of a 5 with the length and arm hole depth of a 6 to get this fit.  I also pulled the ribbon in as far as I wanted it in the casing and then sewed the bow into place.  I didn't want it coming untied and getting tangled while she was sleeping.

The fabric I used also adds to the night time/babyish look.  Its got tiny little flowers and birds.  I purchased it at an end of bolt sale planning to make a summer top but it just seemed too perfect for this project.  I used to feel like I was wasting fabric using it for nighties until I did my year end roundup this year and realized that nightgowns are some of the longest lasting and most used projects that I make.  It helps that she gets taller more then wider but she can wear most nighties for 2 years.
Here is the closest I came to getting a closeup of the front.  It is pretty with the yoke, ruffles, and drawstring but it is also flitzy to put together.  For that reason I don't think will be using this pattern again any time soon.  I'm sure I will make up for that by using the skort pattern until it falls apart though.
I'm glad I made this one though.  It has that great classic little girl feel that I'm trying to get as much of as possible while she will still wear things like this.  I know my days are numbered.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

making faces

I'm sure I don't have to tell you this but most of Emily's clothes are pink or go with pink.  The major exception are swim team shirts.  Our team colors are red, black, and white.  They also don't order shirts smaller then a youth M so they are practically swim team dresses but that's another story.  We work black leggings with them in the fall and winter but Emily needed some totally cool shorts to wear with them for summer.  Enter the Oliver and S class picnic shorts.  You may remember that I've already made the blouse twice  (here and  here)  but I bought the pattern in my quest to find the perfect little girl shorts for summer.
These are made from two half yard cuts of quilters cotton.  Black with pin dots and white with pin dots.  I really had to squeeze them in but I had the fabric in my stash and didn't want to buy anything extra.  The only change I had to make to accommodate this was cutting the waist band out of the red instead of the black.  It looks cute like that plus we never really see her waist band.
I made her a size 5 with slightly tighter elastic then the pattern called for.  The directions are very good and its not a bad pattern to sew getting the contrast bands on and looking nice is hard though.  Even using my special top stitching foot it still turned out a little wonky.  They fit nicely too.  They are rather short though so keep that in mind. 
So I think these are fun little shorts.  They certainly will not be becoming my go to shorts pattern but I enjoyed the construction challenges.  I'm interested in trying them again perhaps with pretty bias tape instead of the curved facings.  We'll see though I have a few projects in the Que already.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

ice cream scort

I actually made this one before the last post but didn't realize I hadn't posted it yet.  You see I cut out a second badminton skort almost the moment I finished sewing the first one.  This one is from some pink ice cream fabric from this spring's lisette fabric line.
Emily was determined to wear it right away even though we had a bit of a cold snap here.  I like these pictures though because they really highlight her current style.  Right down to the swim band that she wears most of the time.  I mean you never know when you might need to go swimming in the deep end right?
One thing I like about this pattern is that it is short under a skirt not one of those weird skirt in the front shorts in the back numbers from the 90s.  Seriously ladies raise your had and leave a comment if you ever had one of those things.  I know I'm not the only one.
Here's a close up of the fabric.
The patterns back in the envelope for now but I'm not promising it will stay there.  I'm also tempted to sup in a different skirt.  That could be fun don't you think?

Friday, May 3, 2013


I know its easy to forget that I actually have 2 children.  Its just that Elijah is 10 now and he mostly wears athletic shorts and graphic tees.  I guess I could make those but really its just easier to buy them at Target.  He is a huge fan read as boarding on obsessive when it comes to frogs though and Emily spotted this frog fabric at my fav local store and wanted to get it for her brother.
Of course the problem was figuring out what to make.  He's really not interested in camp shirts out of wild prints so I decided on pj shorts.
These are the boy pj shorts from Ottobre 6/2011 in a size 152.  Gasp!  That's right my first baby is 5 feet tall.  He's also gotten so big and strong this year.  You can tell all the swimming is catching up to him.  He is really pleased with them he was just super tired from practice in these pictures.
Its a good pattern.  I didn't bother with the button fly but other then that its as is.  I did use both french and flat fell seaming  so they would not be scratchy inside.  Also just possible bc I didn't feel like re-threading my serger and it has pink thread in it at the time.  I really should sew more for him.  He's always so pleased when I do its just hard to figure out what to make for him.  I do have some tan ripstop perhaps a nice pair of shorts is in the future.  I think some mama sewing will happen first though.  We shall see I guess.  I'm still loving doing what I want.  This may have to become a permanent thing.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

More Nighties

Not much to say here but I wanted to show you that even during my year of sewing whatever I want I have done a bit of needful sewing.  Emily has been in serious need of more summer nighties and I really don't like to buy them.  If they are long enough they are way to big around and if they fit around they are just too short.  These three were made for the same pattern as this one.  They were a great way to use the last bits of both polk a dot fabrics and most of the remaining frog fabric.  At some point I will make some more but probably using a different pattern just for the entertainment value.