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library dress in tangrams

Oh hi, I’m back from my month-long vacation on the couch. Pretty sure I watched more TV in the past 30 days than in the last four years combined. But anyway, here’s what I have to show for myself – an Oliver + S Library Dress.

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I made one from Rashida Coleman-Hale’s 1000 Cranes fabric last fall, and I’m not sure if it was the fabric or the pattern or the combination of the two, but that dress was one of my very favorites. Lila liked it, too – she wore it long after the length became indecent (which happened pretty quickly – this dress runs shorter than other Oliver + S patterns, be warned), and I was so sad to retire it. So here’s version 2.0 – more Rashida Coleman-Hale, this time in Tangrams from her Cotton + Steel Moonlit collection.

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I love the colors in this print, and I picked a coordinating Cotton Couture solid for the band (Peony, I think). I went with View A again (short sleeves and collar) – I always feel like I should try the other options when I make a pattern the second time, but then I never do. If it worked out the first time and was well received, I usually just stick with it. The only thing I left out this time was the flat piping – I love how it looks but couldn’t come up with a fabric I wanted to use. And I remember from last time that with the collar and the bodice and the band and the piping, that seam gets really bulky. It was a bit more streamlined this time.

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This is a size 5 lengthened to a 6, which I think came out about right. I can’t say that this closure method is my favorite – 9 buttons/buttonholes! But Lila doesn’t seem to mind it, and that V in the front makes it easy to get on and off without unbuttoning more than one or two buttons.

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I don’t know, is this a stretch as a holiday dress? I sewed it in December, so I sort of want it to count. We’ll see, there could still be time for something slightly more festive…

Thanks to LiMa Sews for this beautiful fabric!

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We celebrated Oscar’s second birthday last weekend. I made tiny party hats and wrapped miniature presents for a whole slew of little animals, and I sewed a second annual pair of birthday Art Museum trousers.

First, the pants.

second birthday -- probably actually-1-19I still haven’t done a whole lot of boy sewing, but I think these little trousers are my favorite in that category. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but they make my heart flutter. I kinda want to write Liesl a love letter for making this pattern.

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Last year I made these pants in size 6-12 months, and this year I skipped over the next two sizes and made a 2T. With Lila I always preferred that clothes fit correctly at the time I made them – it took her forever to grow out of anything. This kid is a different breed, though – nothing seems to fit for more than a couple months, so roomy is fine by me. These pants do run really long – Oscar is off the charts for his age in height, and I hemmed them up an extra half inch and still had to roll them once so he won’t trip.

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I became obsessed with making this plaid version after spotting a toddler in the wild wearing a very similar pair – I knew I already had the perfect pattern to replicate them, and I’ve been on the lookout for the right fabric ever since. I ended up finding it locally at Bolt – it’s a wool/cotton blend, really soft, just what I was after.

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As for the hat-wearing, gift-bearing animals, they were inspired by this Oh Happy Day post and this pin – I downloaded the tiny party hat template from here and bought a bunch of Schleich animals to do it up right.

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They were a bit of an investment, but I knew they’d have great play value long after the party, so I considered them a birthday present for Oscar.

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My blog idol threw a second birthday for her daughter a few weeks before Oscar’s, which led me to this amazing cake. Mine was a little sloppy, but same idea. I still swear by this chocolate cake recipe, but this year I tried Alicia’s Cloudburst Frosting recipe – it was deeeee-licious.

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As you can see from the two above, I managed to get zero decent photos from Oscar’s party, which I will just blame on the weather and daylight savings – it was dark all day! Oh well. The whole animal thing was by far the most fun I’ve ever had in terms of birthday prep. And that’s saying a lot, because I do love party prep.

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Happy second birthday to you, sweet Oscar. Your dance moves are second to none, and you are a complete and utter joy to have around.

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stylo 3

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The online magazine STYLO just launched a third issue, and if you love kid fashion and sewing, you’re sure to be inspired by what you find inside – gorgeous images of handmade children’s clothing, artfully compiled by Celina Bailey and Jessica Abbott.

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As a contributor to the 1 Fabric/5 Designers spread, I received this beautiful Sen Ritsu brushed cotton from Nani Iro, courtesy of Miss Matatabi. It’s always a treat to sew with Nani Iro, and the brushed cotton is especially luxurious stuff.

nani iro jump rope dress -- probably actually-1

So what did I choose to make with this lovely fabric? Well, an Oliver + S dress, of course. Yes, I’m predictable, and come to think of it, not all that fashion-forward, considering this pattern came out the year Lila was born! The classics are always in fashion though, right? As you might have guessed, it’s the Jump Rope dress, View B. I top stitched everything in gold thread to bring out the metallic accents in the fabric. And our friend Em was kind enough to loan us her fancy gold shoes, too.

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There was leftover fabric, so I sewed Baby Girl a little fall coat, because hey, why not. The coat pattern is from McCalls Crafts #5347 (along with most of her dolly wardrobe).

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Check out all the STYLO 3 golden goodness here!

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two little rainclouds -- probably actually-2

Halloween! I owe it all to Cherie this year. Her rain cloud costume from two years ago was one of the cutest costumes I’d ever laid eyes upon – simple, clever, involves no weird “costume” fabric, and it’s a CLOUD for pete’s sake. Plus, if you hadn’t heard, it rains here in PDX now and again, so it seemed like an appropriate choice.

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Lila agreed to it right away, and I decided that the only thing cuter than one little rain cloud would be two little rain clouds (read: I didn’t have to come up with two separate things, hooray!). I pretty much followed Cherie’s tutorial exactly, and it was totally great. Two of the quickest costumes I’ve ever made.

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Each cloud is made of one layer of flannel (outside) and one layer of fleece (inside), with a layer of batting sandwiched between. The flannel and fleece are cheap Joann stuff, which they practically give away this time of year. Oscar’s pants came out of his dresser drawer, and Lila’s are Old Navy leggings, which I think she might even wear after Halloween, freezer paper stenciled raindrops and all.

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The metallic paint (turquoise pearlescent Lumiere) ended up being the most expensive component to the costume at $5.50 (I bought it locally at Collage). I mixed in some of this to make Oscar’s raindrops a little darker.

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Cheap, easy, didn’t have to think it up myself, and perhaps best of all, I was forced to finish a full week before Halloween so Lila could dress up for her school carnival last Friday, so no procrastination allowed. I could hardly ask for more.

two little rainclouds -- probably actually-1-6We happened to have this rainbow umbrella which I thought would be a good addition to the costume, only to discover that one umbrella + two kids = one unhappy kid.

two little rainclouds -- probably actually-1-16But they managed to take turns.

two little rainclouds -- probably actually-1-11I also picked up a pair of rainbow leg/arm warmers which Lila may or may not wear on the big day.

two little rainclouds -- probably actually-1-5So anyway, I have a feeling the umbrella might be a functional accessory on Halloween night, because the forecast says rain, rain, and more rain. We’re ready for it!

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I cannot tell a lie, I didn’t sew this dress during Kid’s Clothes Week, not by a mile. But the pattern (the Oliver + S Carousel Dress) was just released, so while I continue on with Halloween and birthday sewing, I thought I’d share the tester version of the Carousel Dress I sewed over the summer. When I saw the sketch of this pattern, I immediately wanted to color block it – the hem and sleeve bands, the neck binding, the pockets – all nice spots for solids.

carousel dress -- probably actually-1-2The Carousel Dress has a simple, relaxed style and features raglan sleeves with shoulder darts and wide hem and sleeve bands. The front is made up of three panels, and the pockets are neatly enclosed in the seams. Because of the way the dress is pieced together, this pattern has lots of potential for combining fabrics or highlighting all those seams with top stitching. There’s also a ruffle hem option, if you’re into that sort of thing.

carousel dress -- probably actually-1-8The keyhole opening at the back closes with a button and thread chain – a nice, simple closure. I’m all for leaving my buttonhole foot in the drawer.

carousel dress -- probably actually-1-4So back to the color blocking – the coral is a Modern Solid from In the Beginning, and the other two colors are Honey and Peach Sherbet from Art Gallery. The Art Gallery solids come in such beautiful colors and are some of the nicest quality solids I’ve found.carousel dress -- probably actually-1

I sewed a size 5 for Lila and it seems a little big – I think she can still get away with a 4 in the patterns with a more relaxed fit. If in doubt, I might recommend sizing down (and adding length) with this one.

You can read more about the Carousel dress and see the pattern made up several different ways in Liesl’s introduction post. And there’s another new fall pattern – The Lunchbox Tee and Culottes – to check out as well!

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fall kcw :: seal pajamas

It’s Kid’s Clothes Week again, and I’m knee deep in two Halloween costumes (I’m stealing someone else’s great idea this year) and a couple of welt pockets for Oscar’s birthday trousers. But today I bring you some baby seal pjs.

baby seal pjs -- probably actually-1-12I’ve made so many of these sets (Oliver + S Bedtime Story pajama bottoms with a doctored-up, store bought T-shirt) that I won’t bore you with the details. BUT, these pants are double gauze, and double gauze = special! Every time I sew with double gauze (which happens to be all of thrice so far) I’m reminded that it’s the dreamiest fabric on the planet.

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baby seal pjs -- probably actually-1-3These were a third birthday gift for our very special (and therefore deserving of double gauze) next door neighbor friend, who you may remember from here and here. She’s pretty into sea animals and the color blue, so when I remembered Anna’s beautiful baby seal lap duvet, I went searching for the fabric. It was still available on Etsy, so I ordered a yard (which tragically arrived in the mail 15 minutes before the party started, but that’s another story).

baby seal pjs -- probably actually-2Oscar modeled for me before we wrapped them up. He wears a size three pretty well these days.

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Pattern | Oliver + S Bedtime Story Pajama pants

Fabric | Seals on Blue by Cosmo Textiles + Carolyn Friedlander’s Crosshatch in Gray

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franklin dress -- probably actually-3There are so many kids’ clothing patterns out there. I mean so, so, so many. I get dizzy just thinking about it, so I usually just stick with the ones I know and trust – Oliver + S, Made by Rae, Make it Perfect. There are other good ones, of course, but I get nervous – sewing is such a huge time commitment, and I have no extra hours or patience for things to go wrong. So I tend not to stray. But when Erin of Brooklyn Pattern Company contacted me and asked if I’d like to try her first pattern, the Franklin Dress, I have to say I was intrigued. She has a 15 year background as a patternmaker for Broadway, ballet, theater, and circus, so while she’s new to kids’ clothes, she’s certainly been around the pattern making block a few times. I decided the Franklin Dress was worth a shot, and I joined the tour.

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I’m glad I did! The result is a sweet and simple dress with some really nice little details, like a pleated, button-up yoke, gathered sleeves, and side seam pockets. Sizes range from 6 months to 8 years. Lila fell into the size 4 range, but I chickened out and made a 5 – I think either size would’ve been fine.

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I totally had my heart set on making this dress in baby wale corduroy, but I checked two local stores, and the color options were abysmal. I gave up and chose a Kaufman chambray shirting, this one I think. The shirting is soft and lightweight, and has a kind of sheen to it. I used the reverse for the bodice facings and pockets.

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The trim at the hem is one of Anna Maria Horner’s new designs for Renaissance Ribbons – they have an amazing selection of ribbons by some really great designers, and I’m always looking for an excuse to use one.

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Before I added the buttons or the ribbon, Lila was skeptical. Here I was thinking the chambray highlighted the pleats so nicely, and the best she could say was, “Hmmmm. It’s really…..this color.” Which I guess it totally was. Kind of dark, kind of plain. But hopefully the shiny pink buttons and the trim jazzed it up a little. A zinnia probably couldn’t hurt, either.

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About sewing the pattern – my experience was really good overall. The dress came together without any hitches. Taping the PDF together was a breeze, and all the pattern pieces fit together just right. There were dots and notches, hallelujah! It was polished and professional, and I think the design and the fit are spot on.

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I’d say there were a couple spots in the directions that were a little sparse, and a few places where an extra illustration would’ve been helpful. I made a few inferences, and they happened to work out just fine, but I could see where that could cause frustration. From Tara’s post it sounds like Erin is very receptive to filling in those gaps, which is so great.

franklin dress -- probably actually-2And one thing the pattern didn’t say (but I would suggest) is to add interfacing beneath the buttonholes. My machine makes much prettier buttonholes with interfacing, and luckily I remembered to add a strip between the bodice and facing before turning the bodice right side out. And I’ll admit that I longed for buttonhole placement markings on the pattern pieces – I’m not a big fan of measuring and drawing them in myself because chances are I won’t place them correctly and I’ll have to rip out a buttonhole. Or two buttonholes, as the case may be.

franklin dress -- probably actually-1BUT, like I said, everything came together quite nicely, and I love the end result. If you’re a fan, there’s a Rafflecopter giveaway on Erin’s blog for a chance to win a copy of the Franklin Dress pattern. I’m really excited to see what Brooklyn Pattern Co. has in store for us next!

 

 

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