Monday, September 8, 2014

1930's dress for dolly Kit

I just finished up this sweet little dress and it is just adorable!  I have admired this pattern for a couple of years and am so happy to finally make it.  Here's the skinny:

Vogue 7565

Dress A, Collar B

Hem lengthened by 1", and only hemmed up 1/2"

Notes to self:  

DO NOT set in the sleeves like the pattern tells you to!  I didn't even attempt it as I could see the nightmare in it.  That arm hole is so tiny!  However, I had already stitched/serged the side seams, so I still had a bear of a time picking out enough stitches to make room to put the sleeves in.  Ugh.

It took me 3 looong sewing sessions to finish this up.  I enjoyed it, but it was a time consuming pattern.....especially with all the stitch pickin'.  I probably have 12-15 hours into this dress.  Maybe next time it will go faster.

Remember to use thread the color of your piping--not the color of the collar.

Next time, lower the front Band by 1/2" or so to balance the added length.  Come to think of it....I might just lower this one now.

The buttons came from a bin I received from an old family friend who had moved to a nursing home.  I don't know if they are vintage or not, but so many of the buttons look very old.  This lady was a wonderful seamstress and you can see the decades in that bin!  There were lots of these silver/navy ones.

My mom bought Kit for me 6 or 7 years ago and I just think she's the sweetest looking doll!  I love the 1930's and want to make several more outfits for her.  I already have the feedsack prints waiting!

One more........close up.

Isn't she a doll?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Music Class Blouse & Skirt........a Pattern Review and an Upcycle, too!

The Music Class outfit from Oliver + S is my current favorite pattern, both for ease of construction and adorable design!  This outfit is just darling!

music class blouse + skirt sewing pattern real life..............

I picked up the fabric for the blouse months ago, because I KNEW I would buy this pattern soon.  It is City Weekend Corner Florist Pink, I think?

I also knew I wanted to make the skirt in denim, so Ava could wear it with many shirts.  However, I am kind of a tightwad when it comes to fabric, so, even though I splurged on the blouse at $10/yd., I could not make myself pay that much for denim.


Well, I think it's because I couldn't find that City Weekend fabric anywhere on sale, but just HAD to have it.  Denim, on the other hand, is readily available at your local thrift store in the form of an outdated dress.

For $3.45.  :D

This is where the Upcycle began..........


This dress was in great condition, and had just enough fabric for this skirt.  It was a women's size XL.  I even used the existing hemline, but only because I needed to make the skirt a little longer.  It also had lovely pearl snaps on it, which I was hoping could be salvaged for another project.  I'm disappointed that I don't think that is going to be possible or a valuable use of my time.  However, if you've ever done it, please share how! The scraps are about to go into File 13........

I made the blouse first, and was a bit disappointed with the sizing.  Here, you can see how boxy it looks.  And short.  I made a size 12, even though I know very well that Ava is tall and slim.  My thought process was that I wanted her to be able to wear it a long time.  She could easily have worn an 8, lengthened, but I was concerned it would be too narrow in the shoulders.  I will have to do a little research the next time I make this and see which would be the best size to make and modify.

She is showing you how much excess fabric there is on the sides.
There was about 12" of ease.  Too much for this blouse.

I thought about adding a slight ruffle to the hem to lengthen it, but decided to take it in at the sides first.  I serged off about 3" from each side.  Funny, then it didn't look so short on her!  I think the extra width was making it hang funny.

I decided to hem it and just see how it looked paired with the skirt.

A close-up of the pintucks......

The skirt was so fun to make!  I was just giddy the whole time and kept saying, "Wow!  This looks so professional!"

She likes the pockets.  :)

The denim was a medium weight and was very easy to sew through.  I worried how the pleats would turn out with a heavier fabric, but they look great!

Those of you who have made this skirt before may notice an extra panel at the top of the side panel.  Uh.......yeah..........that was a flub on my part.  I lengthened the skirt a couple inches, but my sewing math really stinks.  I calculated how much length to add to both the front and side panels, but somehow the sides ended up too short.  Doh!

Not having enough fabric leftover for a new cut, I had to create new little panels to add to the top to make it long enough.  Goodness gracious.  Well, I really don't think anyone would ever notice if they weren't familiar with the pattern already, so I just added more topstitching to make it look "on purpose".

That's how I roll.  Well, first I freak out a little bit and panic that I'll have to start all over with new fabric, but then I calm down and figure it out.  :)

This pattern was very easy to sew.  I think my end product looks just like the picture on the pattern--so professional!  I made both pieces in a size 12, took 3" off each side of the blouse and lengthened the skirt by 2".  I will definitely sew it again (I'm thinking a white eyelet blouse....) and highly recommend this pattern.  Even a beginner would have success with this pattern, though I might suggest starting with the skirt.

Oliver + S has the cutest really must check them out!  They also have digital downloads available for many of the patterns for those of you who like instant gratification.  But I wouldn't know anything about that.........

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A dress for me! Simplicity 0269

Simplicity 0269 Amazing Fit,  "The Wrap Dress"

I saw this pattern at Joann's last week and really liked it.  It calls for stretch knits.  In fact, I almost bought the very same fabric to make it up in, but chickened out!

I can do that with fabric.

I carried it around for a while and even looked at it draped around me in front of  a mirror they had in the store, but finally decided I would likely never try a dress on in the store if it was that color green and probably shouldn't spend so much on it not really knowing how I'd like it on me.

And that's how I talk myself out of lovely things.

So, I found this "black lace" poly/spandex stretch knit in the Red Tag section for $6 a yard instead!  It really is much more "me".

I wore a black cami under it as it is a bit low cut for my taste.

I found this fabric an absolute bear to cut!  It moves if you breath near it.

I used a dull rotary cutter to cut it out.  Hmm....maybe the dull blade constantly snagging the fabric added to my difficulty.  You think?  I have since replaced that dull blade and have reveled in it's smooth-as-butter performance ever since.  Gee, it's the little things.  :)

Based on the pattern measurements, I made a size 14 "curvy fit" and graded up in the hip area.  Because "curvy"  just isn't curvy enough for me.  I had to laugh when I saw the curvy fit was only an inch wider than the regular fit.  I would definitely need more than an inch!

See what I mean?

Once I had the fabric cut, it went together so quickly!  Well, quickly for me.  I am slow, so it took me about 4 hours start to finish (including cutting).   If you are a speedster, you'd probably finish in a couple of hours.

I just used a straight stitch and stretched the fabric ever so slightly while stitching.  I found this to be better than using a stretch stitch, zig zag, or overedge stitch.  Go figure.  I didn't even finish the raw edges.  Knits are so great that way.

Of course, that was also before I had a serger!  I will likely be using it to do all the sewing on knits in the future.  Love that thing!  Thank you, Jackie!

Overall, I am quite pleased with the results!  Not bad for my first dress for me, huh?

I would label this dress as EASY.

I should also tell you the pattern calls for basting the dress wrong sides together first, then pinning any adjustments, picking out the basting stitches, and re-sewing the entire thing.

I did NOT do that.

I just sewed it up, tried it on and figured I'd pick out any trouble spots if there were any.  Can you believe there weren't?  My sewing mojo would have been severely wounded if I had followed those directions and then had to pick out a million stitches when there were no adjustments to be made!

Good thing I'm a rebel.

I think this dress would be flattering for so many figures.  I do wish I'd made it just a bit longer (I already added 2"), but that's just how I like my dresses.


My 9 year old little boy kept snapping pictures just as I would say, "Did you take it???"  He smirked everytime.  Wise-guy.

Now I want to go back and buy that green fabric I chickened out of buying and make another!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Jump Rope Dress.....finished!

Remember the Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress I was working on?  Well, I am very happy to say I am  done with it!

It went together really quickly and easily!  I think I worked on the actual sewing part about 6-7 hours?  Printing and piecing the pattern was additional time, but I figure if I re-use it, then that time gets diluted and shouldn't be added to this project because then it would mentally hold me back in the future. 




Here's how it looks:

Oh!  I also learned a great tip from some of the ladies at the Oliver + S forums.  They trace the pattern pieces onto freezer paper and then iron them onto the fabric.  No need for pins!  Wha...????  LOVE this tip!  It really sped things up for me.  I detest pinning.  Always have.  I just wanna cut my fabric out and get on with the fun know?

I lengthened this pattern to fit my girl.  It only goes up to a size 8 and she's wearing size 12 slim.  I used the finished garment sizes to determine if it would fit and thought there would be enough room for ease.  It fits her, but just barely.  I doubt she'll be able to wear it into the summer.  I should have also widened it a bit.

Still a great learning experience, though.  I now know that I need to modify View A if I expect her to get more wear out of it.

Overall, I really like the finished product!  It's cute, but not too cute (she is nearly 10, after all).  Ava chose the fabric and contrasting placket fabric herself.  I can picture it in denim, corduroy, 1930's print, or even something big and bold from Amy Butler.  Love those little pockets!  They look like itty bitty purses!  So cute and girly :)


I love that she has Transition lenses most of the time...........but, NOT when we are taking pictures outside.  I often grab her old pair of normal glasses so I can see her eyes, but forgot them here.  It was so bright and windy.


I even managed to line up the direction of the fabric quite well!

My first experience with Oliver + S was a very pleasant one!  This is a garment I am PROUD to say I made!  Based on this pattern alone, I highly recommend O+S!  Liesl gives very clear instructions and great ideas for finishing seams neatly.  This has been my biggest hindrance in sewing clothing.  I don't have a serger or even pinking shears.  I still did fine!

If you've not sewn with Oliver + S before, give it a try! 

I actually wrote this post about a year ago and never posted it because I didn't take pictures!  She is now almost 11, and the dress used to come just below her knees!  But, obviously, it still fits her--so my comment about it not fitting into the summer was wrong!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Every SuperMom needs a cape!

Back in December I was tickled to get to be a pattern tester for Liesl Gibson, pattern designer for Oliver + SLisette, and Liesl & Co.!
The pattern I sewed is for the Liesl & Co. line, and is now available as a digital download--how great is that?  It is called Woodland Stroll Cape and  was so easy to sew! 
I'll be honest when I say, I wasn't exactly in the market for a cape.  I tend to shop very "safe" and don't branch out very much.  Geez, I make it sound like this is a real psychadelic superhero cape!
What can I say?  I think my wardrobe is rather boring much of the time!  I NEED more stylish items like this cape!  And so do you, my friend! 

Truly, I spent less than 4 hours making this.  4 HOURS.  And I am probably quite slow!  I think I was rather horrified to realize I could have been making myself awesome pretties like this all these years and have not done so.  Let's just say a light bulb went off!
I really can't wait to make another in a more casual fabric.  Perhaps I'll make it a few inches longer, as well, as I am a bit tall.  Maybe a dark brown or charcoal plaid.  And then one for Ava.  Oh, didn't I mention it is available for kids, too?  So adorable.
I chose a faux suede from the Christopher Lowell decorator line at Joann's.  I couldn't find the label when I bought it, and one of the employees said it was a moleskin.  When I went back a couple weeks later, the label was there and read "Suedecloth".  So there you go.  I thought it felt a smidge heavier than moleskin.

Showing the tobacco colored lining.  Please ignore my lounge wear!!!
I wanted mother of pearl buttons, but these were the closest I could find that day.  The color is close enough and I am pleased with them.  I love the color.  The color of the suede, the color of the buttons, and the color of the lining!  It's just lovely and I'm so glad I was driven out of my little "box" and tried something new!
It feels very luxurious to wear! I've already worn it several times and received some very nice compliments!

It was such a fun opportunity to test this pattern for Liesl, and I hope for the privilege again in the future!
If you still haven't checked out her patterns for kids and women, please do yourself a favor and go do it now!
Be brave.
Branch out like I did and make yourself a psychadelic superhero cape!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sew Lisette...........the Souvenir blouse

Ah, I finally made up something for myself!  I nabbed this black floral quilting cotton from Hobby Lobby for $2/yd! 

Initially, I set out to make the Portfolio dress first, but Joann's did not have that pattern when they were on sale!  Boo!  They also didn't have the Itinerary dress, or Market patterns.  It appears they are all 3 out of print with Simplicity, and possibly will not be available anymore.  But, wait!  Last week, you know--AFTER the Simplicity sale was over, I found them all at a Joann's across town!  Yay!  Now, to wait for them to go on sale again..........

So, I decided to start with a pattern I DID own, and chose the Souvenir blouse.  I ran into a huge problem with the sleeves not lining up AT ALL with the underarm/yoke.  It was such a huge difference I didn't know what to do.  I think I measured over an inch that the sleeves were too small and there was no way to stretch the fabric that much.  I tried.

See that gray bias tape?  That's the top of the sleeve-the shoulder.  The front of it comes down to meet the lined yoke--which is opened up in this photo.  The sleeve should meet the seam of the two yoke pieces.

After checking and re-checking the pattern pieces to make sure I 1) cut out the same size for both the sleeves and the bodice; and 2) made sure I didn't put the wrong sleeves on the wrong armholes; 3) stitched my seam allowances correctly; I finally gave up and decided to just take in the extra amount under the arm and see how it went!  So, the picking began..........

It went fine!  The seams do not line up like they should, but it's black, it's under the arms, and no one will ever notice.  And if anyone is ever examining me that close............under my arms............well, let's just say they deserve to be disappointed!

The top still goes on over my head just fine, and I think it probably fits better with the extra 2" taken in.  This blouse in this fabric seemed like such a good idea when I started, but after I put it on, all I could think of was, "Muumuu."  I KNEW Matt would take one look at it and think the same thing.

It had to have a belt.  I wore it with jeans and that belt around my waist and a tan crocheted open sweater to church.  It was quite comfy!  But, as soon as I got home, I shed those jeans and put on my black stretchy pants as I knew we would not be getting out again that day.  That is why the photos are cropped.  Because NO ONE sees me in my stretchy pants.  NO ONE.  Except the kids.  But, they don't care.

I should also mention that I ended up making the dress version, just without the ruffle.  I'm 5'8" and needed the extra length.  RTW shirts are always so short on me.

Would I make this top again?  Absolutely!  Even though I still have no earthly idea what I did wrong, it was easily fixed and it wouldn't bother me to have to do the same thing again.  Next time maybe a smaller floral, though?  Or denim...........

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fun Fridays: New Oliver + S Patterns!

Yay, for Fridays!

I always want to bust out of the house and just go do SOMETHING on Fridays. 
Today I took the kids with me to run a few short errands.  The weather is just BEAUTIFUL!  Nearly 70 degrees!  After all the cold, yucky rain we've had over the last few days, it was welcome.  

So, after our errands were complete, we stopped at a park and the kids just ran and ran and climbed and played.  :)

And look what came in the mail for me!

I have been wanting the book Little Things to Sew and several Oliver + S patterns for a time now.  The patterns you see are Sleepover Pajamas, Ice Cream Dress, and School Photo Dress.

So happy they came!

I have a little problem with the book, though.  It is supposed to come with a dust jacket with paper doll clothes on it that you can use with the paper dolls in the book.  Mine is missing the dust jacket.  Boooo!
Ava likes paper dolls and was wanting to play with them.  

I've sent an inquiry in to the company I bought it from, Fabric Depot, and am waiting to hear what will come of it.  But, I hesitate opening up the pattern sheets inside until I know whether or not they will want me to send it back.  Blast!

So, I wait!  In the meantime, I've already began cutting out fabric for the patterns, along with some other O + S patterns I've had.  Here's what I'm cutting:

1 Jump Rope dress, size 12
2 Field Trip Raglan tshirts, sizes 8 & 10
2 Field Trip Cargo pants, sizes 8 & 10
1 Scool Photo dress, size 12
3 pair of Sleepover Pajama bottoms, sizes 8, 10, & 12
1 Ice Cream dress in a Valentine color block, size 12

That ought to keep me busy for awhile!  At least, until the Lisette patterns go on sale this weekend!

I linked to the Lisette site, but the sale I'm talking about is at Joann Fabrics.  They will have all their Simplicity patterns 5 for $5!  I plan to snatch up every one of the Lisette and Little Lisette patterns, probably in both size options.  I can't wait to sew some new things for myself!

First up on my list for me:  The Portfolio Dress

You can see dresses that have been made up by others at the Sew Lisette Flickr pool.

What are you doing for fun today?