Monday, July 21, 2014

Catching Fireflies

When I saw the new pattern collection from Willow and Co Patterns, I was immediately drawn to one particular pattern - the Fawn Lily Tunic & Dress.  

Lately when I purchase patterns, I look for something I can't draft myself or can't modify to make from a different pattern.  This is definitely not a basic bodice with skirt attached!  The Fawn Lily Dress is a sewing puzzle.

This *might* be the most difficult pattern I've sewn.  Not that it was confusing, but that it was physically difficult at times to get it right.  Look at all those curved lines to the design!  It takes a lot of patience to get the seams perfect so they don't pucker the fabric.  Even the hem is curved.

The sleeve construction is very different than most patterns.  After sewing the outer sleeve to the bodice, you have to roll up the dress inside the sleeve to sew the lining sleeve down, then pull the dress back out of the sleeve without popping the threads.  (I'm sure that explanation doesn't make much sense.) I was pretty exhausted after wrangling the fabric around four curved sleeves, especially when I had trimmed the seam allowance off too early once.  It's worth it in the end for the nicely enclosed seam!

There are several bodice and skirt options to customize the dress.  This one I made with the crossover bodice and pleated skirt.  I picked purple fabrics especially for her because it's her favorite color.  She  also loves pom-pom trim and full skirts.

And this one was made with the button front bodice and A-line skirt, totally her style.  She picked out the yellow fabric that was used for the sleeves at the fabric store (her favorite color).  

She also choose the buttons and has been requesting all her clothes to have buttons down the front.  (Much better than demanding to wear all her current dresses backwards so the button closures would be in the front!)

You can see in this picture the difference in skirt fullness between the two options.  The skirt fabric is by Michael Miller - Wee Wander Summer Night Lights Border Print.  The kids in the print are catching fireflies - something we haven't tried yet since I prefer the girls to be asleep by the time the flies are out.  Our chickens having been going crazy every night though - there have been so many fireflies to catch in our backyard this year!

BTW, I sewed up the 3T size for them, but probably could have made the 2T size.  They fell on the measurement chart for the 3T size though, so that's what I went with.  You can see that it's a little roomy and long.  Better than too small though!

I definitely recommend this pattern and I will likely reuse it again, though I'm looking forward to making some quick sews again...using straight lines :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Jorna Dress

The Jorna Dress is yet another pattern I've been meaning to try out for the past year, and just recently got around to making.  I bought it as part of the 3rd Perfect Pattern Parcel collection (I'm slowing sewing through all the patterns).

The pattern is a pretty quick sew with only the front, back, and lining pieces to put together.  The armholes are finished off by using what I think is called the "burrito method", which was fun.    

I love the simple body skimming shape of the dress that flares out in a flattering skirt.  I made the dress version but I trimmed off nearly 4 inches to the bottom and left it unhemmed.  A change I intend to make in the future is to make the armholes slightly smaller.  

This dress takes a whole lot of knit!  I really love this knit I used from JoAnn Fabrics.  I've been eyeing it all season and finally went for it with a coupon.  The next Jorna I have in line to make will likely be the tank version, which still requires quite a bit of fabric for the flared bottom.  However the flared bottom is what makes this pattern special.

Anyway, if you're looking for a no-fuss sew and a comfy summer knit dress, this is definitely the pattern for you!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Floral Little Zippy

Did you see that See Kate Sew has designed and released a bunch of mini-me versions of her Women's patterns for girls?!?  I was able to test the mini Zippy Top pattern - the Little Zippy.

It's a quick pattern sewn in woven fabric (knit would work too).  The pattern doesn't require much fabric and only a small zipper for the back.  

This top was a joy to sew because we actually went to Joann Fabrics together and picked out the fabric (swiss dot cotton floral) and zipper color.  She's was happy to get it so quickly.  Most times she'll request an item, I'll buy the fabric, and then never get around to finishing up the project.  This was less than an hour (maybe less than a half?) cut to finish.  

 I think the only change to the final pattern from my test version is that the final pattern is a little longer.  It's great having a quick pattern that I can make cute shirts with my scrap fabric.  And since it's a basic pattern, I can see a lot of creative possibilities in making it my own (color blocking?  pockets?  stenciled?).  More about the pattern can be viewed here!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Lady Skater Dress

The Lady Skater Dress has been all over my blog feed for the past year.  And with good reason.  This pattern is magic.  

I've had the pattern for months but kept putting off making the dress because I couldn't decide what size to make.  The sizing of the pattern is a little different than I'm used to and my measurements were completely wacky on the chart.  My high bust was 34" and high waist was 30", so I wasn't anywhere on the size chart.  However, I went with size 4 when I finally got up the nerve cut into some fabric since it was the best compromise between the measurements.  I used some knit I got cheap a while back since I didn't think it would turn out well.  When cut out, the pattern pieces looked too small and too short.  The fabric wasn't too stretchy so I was pretty sure this dress was going to get donated to a smaller lady. 

Well, surprise, it fit just fine!  The neckline is my favorite part.  It feels flattering and it stays put when I'm leaning over, a must if I want to wear the dress while playing with the kids.  I'm not sure about the waist placement yet - I might move it up an inch closer to my natural waistline.  

The skirt portion is also a lot of fun.  Nice flare to it.  My only regret is not adding pockets.  Well, and also the fabric I used.  I love the color and polka print, but I found out as I was half way into sewing it up that it wasn't the recommend type of knit to use for the pattern (curled a ton when cut and didn't have good stretch recovery).  Oh well, it still worked out.  I'm glad I finally sewed up the pattern, I can see this dress becoming a staple pattern for my handmade wardrobe!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dance Shorts

After much asking from the girls, we enrolled them in a summer dance program so they could finally be like Angelina Ballerina.  But they're not only learning Ballet, but also Tap, Jazz, Modern, and Hip-Hop.  

In all their classes but Ballet, they are allowed to wear dance shorts and go barefoot.  They were pretty excited to do that, but I wasn't about to buy one more piece of dance clothing.  (dance is expensive!)  After staring at the shorts for sale in the studio, I decided I could totally just draft some myself.  But then Selvage Designs (for Baste+Gather) just happen to release a free pattern that was perfect - the Summer Shorties!

Don't you love their expressions?  Yeah, she can't help herself from making ridiculous faces throughout class too.  

These shorts are the perfect length and rise for them.  I've made a few because they require little fabric and are quick to sew.  I think they make great shorts for under dresses, dancing (obviously), gymnastics, pjs, and swim shorts.  

A few weeks ago I bought a rash guard set that was perfect in shirt size but the bottoms were way too large.  So I used the summer shorties pattern to make some swim bottoms.  Since it's white swimsuit fabric, I sewed a double layer of the fabric to prevent it being see through when wet.  Also, instead of installing exposed elastic at the waist like the pattern, I increased the rise so I could encase some swimsuit elastic.  

The pattern worked great for these swim bottoms, but white is just not the way to go for a kid at the beach.  By the end of the day there wasn't a place on her that wasn't caked in salt or sand, which stained the fabric.  So I'll just have to make some more in a different color (probably black).

The girls also love wearing the shorts with their soccer shirts.  It's pretty adorable.  

These are DC united soccer shirts.  We need some USA ones (or Brazil!).

Anyone else watching the game today?  Lets Go USA!