Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sailor Dress Love

I love sailor dresses.  I don't know why but I do.  I did when I was a little girl, and I still flip for them today so when someone pinned the Goodship dress I was hooked.  I waited for a good excuse and what could be better then the birthday of my good friend's daughters.  Each year I make her girls matching dresses and of course one for Emily as well.  So what do you get when you combine an adorable pattern with 4 coordinating nautical prints?
I was pretty pleased with this pattern.  Sizing is all the way from a 2T-13/14 so there is plenty of room to grow.  It does have grain-lines which helps a lot with layout but there are no other notches.  I could have really used a notch or two to help me get the front lined up properly.  All of them turned out will but the area where the collar, ties, side panel, and front panel all come together is not quite as neat as I would like.
She does a good job of explaining how to get the bottom to look nice and lay well though.  I changed up the collar construction a bit so I could add a bit of ric-rac to the outer edge.  If I use it again the only change I would like to figure out is adjusting the seam allowances.  These dress are french seamed which is lovely but the seam allowances are tiny and I would have preferred a 1/2in so I could have just used my 1/4in foot on both sides.  I may just zigzag next time too I messed up on Abby's and had to do that and it turned out well.

 This one is Emily's.  At first she was mad bc her's wasn't pink but then she saw the big pink bow and was pleased again.  All three dresses are a combo of sizes.  Emily's is a 6 with 7/8 length, Abby's is a 7/8 with 9/10 length, and Ella's a 7/8 chest tapering to a 9/10  with 7/8 length.  The way the pattern is designed it was easy to combine sizes though it also would have been easy to add or subtract length. 
No model shots yet but all 3 dresses fit well.  If Emily wears hers to school we will put a shirt under bc the front can gap a bit and puff out though this looks pretty cute too.  As for this designer she only has one pattern at the moment but it is well done and I would consider buying more.  The front is a bit flitzy and I'm tempted to figure out adding snaps or something but it went together well and take my word for it they are to die for on.  I probably won't make another right now but I love the idea of light grey with pale pink and since the pattern will fit for a good while I don't feel rushed.

Model pics coming one of these days.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

little red dirndl

I few months back Olbelthe patterns had a buy one get on free sale and I just couldn't resist.  I've always loved to see what Dawn sews for her daughter and couldn't wait to try a few more of her patterns.  You've already seen the dress version of the Mia Top that I made for Emily's preschool graduation, if you haven't just look up at the top of the blog, but I also got Heidi's Dirndl and needed to give it a go.  I've been doing a lot of sewing for myself lately and Emily was upset that in her words, "you used to make me things all the time and then you just stopped."  Now I get that she is pretty spoiled when it comes to ward-robing but she is also starting to get a little old for the younger print fabrics so I went ahead and made her a dress.
I am pleased with how this one turned out.  Most of her designs are variations on the same bodice and this one fall into that category.  It is very low cut in the front as dirndl's are with a full skirt and a contrast hem panel.  Sadly, the lacing is just ribbon sewed to the front rather then being functional or even fax functional.
Here is a close up of the front.  I added the ric rac to the bodice for a little more detail.
Here's some skirt action.  Now as to the pattern it was pretty good but not great.  I think some of my issues are more with indy pdf patterns but here goes.  There are no grain lines, notches, or markings for overlaps and center front.  This bother's me.  Yes I can measure things but I would prefer that it be on the pattern.  I also think the back bodice grain line is obvious but I'm hardly a beginner.  I also don't love that the size chart is finished measurements that imo may be a little off.  I didn't measure my final product but I made Emily a 6 and when I measured her chest this morning it was 20in there is some ease in the product but not 6 inches.  That could have been my sewing but I tried to be careful of the allowances.  I also still don't love the directions but this time I only followed them for the embellishment. 
Here's a back view.  I used snaps instead of buttons.  I also cut the bottom band extra wide so I could just fold it in half and serge it on.  Oh and I gathered the skirt instead of using the designer's tiny randomish tucks that somehow work out just right technique.  I tried with the last dress and didn't feel like mine looked nice though hers often do.

Final conclusion.  I like the final product and may use the pattern again but I think I will be giving this brand a pass in the future.  I just like what I like I guess.  I want to participate in Frances and Suzanne's site so I guess I will be trying some other indy brands in the future which should be fun.  I love the idea of supporting independent businesses but I'm also pretty picky about the product.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Combo top

Looking back through my projects in preparation for September has inspired me to get started on the remakes a little early.  This one is a combination of the Jalie twist top and the Jalie tank top.  I used the twist top for the top part but liked the slightly looser cut of the tank so used it for the bottom.  I do still plan on doing a fall one during the official Remake Month though don't worry.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Rockin the Trends

Its funny to me at least that when I was in my early 20s I was anti many trends including but not limited to capri pants. Now in my mid thirties I'm willing to just go with it a lot more.  After all trends can be fun and realistically I do not baby my clothes so most things only last through a few years of pretty consistent wash and wear.   With that in mind I present you with the high low hem chevron skirt.
I used Simplicity 1616 for the skirt.  I know I could have drafted it myself but I got the pattern when it was on sale for $1.00 and I think my time is worth more then that.  Mostly I'm pleased with the pattern.  It has a very wide fold over waistband that I have mixed feelings about at best.  I think in person its OK but it does add some bulk to the midsection that I could do without.  The shirt is old and a size too big but it looks a bit better in person too I promise.
Above in an unedited rear view I must be trusting.  I cut a 16 in the skirt bc I did not want a tight fit.  This is already one size down from my waist measurement and truth be told I could have easily gone done another size my fabric was just a bit thin and doesn't have much give so I wanted to play it a bit safe.  Speaking of the fabric it is from Girl Charlie.

So I'm not sure how many seasons I will get out of a high low hem chevron skirt but I'm still glad that I made this one.  Its cute, comfy, and a lot of fun.  As for the pattern the only change I made was adding a bit of clear elastic at the waist.  I may make one of the other views at some point but I do not plan on making this one again. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Modern Smocking?

Notice this post is titled Modern Smocking?

 I few months ago a blog friend had her work featured in Sew Beautiful and of course I pinned it immediately then ran right out and bought the issue.  Then I saw that my pin had be repinned with a question about if this was why people thought smocking was old fashion or something to the like.

Now I confess the dress was out of a more old fashion fabric.  Actually much more old fashion then much of what is on her blog itself but the pattern was lovely and the idea of adding the smocking to the sides was great.

It made me think though what would modern smocking look like?  I think it has much more to do with fabric selection then it does style.  Ladies this is why we all have too many peasant   dress patterns bc we see those little indy designers make one out of great fabric and become convinced that it is something new and different that we must have.  So here is my first go.  The pattern is one I got for free out of the discontinued bin at my local shop.  The fabric is a polka-a-dot quilters cotton.  The embroidery is from the book Doodle Stitches.

Emily is a huge an of night gowns all year long but is the summer she will sneak up stairs and put one on at just about any point during the day.  The pattern is Primrose Lane Victorian Dreams for Girls.  I didn't make the bed jacket, left off the lace, and switched out the embroidery.
I did my best to match the floss colors to the dots while only using colors I had on hand.  I've been doing a good bit of cross stitching and had a good bit of floss already so for smocked nighties it must makes more scene to pick from what is on hand.  I went with sea life for the yoke since its summer and she loves to swim.

I just made up the smocking.  Well technically I started to do the plate that came with the pattern but decided that I did not want to make flowers or hearts so I went with a chevron type print since that is so very in these days.
For the back a did a bit less embroidery.  Just an octopus and some bubbles.  For the smocking I just did one stripe of each color.  I actually really like the way this looks as well.
So there you have it my fist attempt at making smocking a bit less old fashion.  That said I don't think looking old fashion is the only issue.  I also think that fewer people want to make things that take weeks or even months to complete when so much can be done in just a few hours.  If you fall into that group though please understand that once you learn how to do it its not that hard and longer projects can be quite rewarding.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Shorts Round 2

Two summers ago I really wanted to make myself some shorts.  I struggled with one Kwik Sew pattern and then had a bit of success with the Kwik Sew sailor shorts pattern but never quite fell in love.  Then last year when I wasn't allowing myself patterns Colette had the nerve to come out with the Iris pattern.  I didn't buy it then though and I'm glad I didn't.  You see I also bought a fitting course from Craftsy recently and boy has it opened my eyes to fitting and fit issues.  It took me 3 muslins to get to this point and while the pictures are not great the shorts are a dream to wear and I think they look nice in person.
I used really dark stretch denim for these and random scraps for the pockets.  Next time the pockets will be done in a matching color as mine want to peak out a bit even though there is no stress what so ever on them.  I added a bit to the front waist and waistband.  It was a bit hard on the old ego but but side seams now run straight down instead of pulling forward and if I had been a bit more careful sewing the pockets the lining wouldn't show.  They don't gape they just aren't sewn perfectly.
Sorry ladies that's all of got useable picture wise.  We had not one but two attempts that resulted in pictures of me adjusting my shirt, bending over, closing my eyes, and what not.  Neil was trying out a different camera and is not used to it just yet.  I've worn these several times now.  My only complaint is that the denim is so stretchy that they can only be worn once per washing or they get a bit too big.  I've got some other fabric for another pair so hopefully soon.  If not soon in September right?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Another Polk A Dot Tankini

Ladies, it seems like no matter how many swimsuits we have one more would always help the situation.  In Emily's case she has several swim team style suits which are great for swim practice but not so great for a long afternoon playing at the pool.  You know the kind of afternoon where you may need to do things like go potty.  One of her two piece suits from last summer still works but the other was hurting her neck so it was time to make a new one.  I even used the same fabric as the one she out grew.  Originally, I just planned on making a new top but then I just couldn't stop thinking how this one Otto pattern would make such a cute girl bottom.
The fabric is left over from a Chez Ami remnant that I got last year.  I think it was about 1.5 yards and I could probably still get a third suit out of it.  She is still really into polk a dots so she's all about this fabric.  I also used wooly nylon in the bobbin this year and that really seems to help prevent popped stitches.
The top is based off of the tank top pattern in Sew Clothes Kids Love.  I changed the back though and made the straps using this tutorial.  The front is fully lined in swim suit lining fabric.  The bottoms are from a boy trunk pattern from Otto 2/2004.  Its also fully lined and I added clear elastic to the bottom legs.  I'm not sure if the elastic does any good or not since its not as tight as I thought it would be but they do stay put well in the pool.  The frustrating thing to me is that just like all the other boy swim patterns in Ottobre that I have there is no cup for lack of a better term so unless I figure out adding one they will not work well for my son.

The top was not quite long enough.  It looked to short when I traced it but for whatever reason I didn't add length.   The curved part of the hem would have covered her tummy but that just looked weird so I let her choose between adding a ruffle or having it come straight across.  Much to her father's dismay she picked straight across so I added elastic to the bottom of the top as well.  This has become her go to play at the pool suit.