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Archive for May, 2011

I’m going to backtrack and write about the dress I made during Kid Clothes Week Challenge on Elsie Marley.

You know how things become much more desirable when you think you can’t have them? That’s my story with the Playdate Dress pattern. I think this pattern went out of print around the time I became obsessed with Oliver + S patterns. My obsession consisted mainly of spending ridiculous amounts of time sifting through photos in the O+S flickr pool and fantasizing about what I might someday like to make. I really hope no one has been secretly keeping track of the hours I’ve spent doing this, because I wouldn’t want those totals to get out. Anyway, the Playdate Dress was never my favorite pattern, but there were a couple versions of the dress I kept returning to.¬†Every once in awhile I’d decide I needed the pattern, search for it online, not find it, and move on to something else. But I found it during my latest search and figured it was probably the last available copy left on earth, so I paid full price, plus $6.50 shipping. When it arrived a couple days later I put everything else on hold – the pattern only goes to 3T and Lila is already two. I wanted to make sure I got my money’s worth.

I loved the idea of a white yoke with a Japanese print like these two fabulous dresses, but in the end I couldn’t bring myself to cut into $17/yard fabric for a pattern I was making for the first time. Especially a pattern I wasn’t all that confident I could complete (I had never attempted three scissors).¬† So I went with something plain, because I liked the robin’s egg blue and the subtle stripes, and because sometimes plain works better than the bold prints I’m normally drawn to. I wasn’t planning on adding the optional flat piping, but I found a polka dot that matched nicely and decided to use it for the hem facing and the piping.

I had read that people had trouble with the yoke, so I was expecting it to be tricky. Constructing the yoke itself went really well, but fitting it to the dress was challenging. The yoke seemed too big for opening on the dress, and there was a moment when I was ready to rip the yoke apart to figure out what I’d cut or sewn wrong to cause the pieces not to fit together. Luckily I resisted that urge, and what finally worked was picking up the yoke and the dress and bringing them to meet each other, rather than trying to join them together on a flat surface. If that makes any sense. After working that out, the rest of the dress went together without any trouble.

With pattern tracing and cutting and sewing and hand sewing the hem, it took me several nights to complete the dress, and it ended up being the only thing I finished for KCWC. Lila seems to like the dress (I think it’s those side seam pockets), and I really should have cut it to a 2T length, because I can tell it’s going to be short on her very soon. Oh well, I’ll make her another one. And I think I’m ready to break out the Kokka for the next round.

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I’ve been hunting around for felt board inspiration. I was sure somebody out there had to be making or selling spectacular hand-crafted felt board shapes, but most of what I saw on Etsy and elsewhere was pretty cheesy, or was created for the purpose of retelling a bible story. These shapes from katiedid were sort of what I was after. The machine stitching adds such great texture and dimension to the pieces. I like to use tutorials and templates when I make stuff, at least as a starting point, and since she didn’t include any of that I just kept on searching. Then Pinterest lead me to this and this by Melissa Crowe. And the second board even had free downloadable templates – perfect. Once I got started it was hard to stop. I got a bit frantic wanting to finish the complete set, and I was working in a hurry and not giving much consideration to my color choices. Which I guess is how I ended up with yellow appliances.

After finishing most of the templates I got out some fabric scraps and made the window (there’s a deer and some tress out there) and the picture frame. Everything is machine stitched except for the cat faces and the rugs – I did those by hand with embroidery thread. Once Lila started playing, I realized we really need some felt people, or at least more animals, because she was mostly interested in the cats frolicking together on the bed, or cuddling on the rug, or napping on top of the fridge. I guess it’s not that much fun for a toddler to arrange furniture.

Here’s a view of the bedroom pieces:

And here’s everything together:

So it’s a work in progress – I got a big frame at Goodwill to make our board (I think this tutorial should work), but for now the pieces are displayed on a couch cushion. And yes, that’s kitty’s cell phone on the nightstand.

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