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passport lotta skirt -- probably actually-1-4I picked out a couple simple projects for this edition of Kids Clothes Week. I had a plan, I really did. But here it is, Wednesday night, and all I have to show for myself is a skirt I made last week. Seriously, I’m having the hardest time getting my act together lately.

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BUT… I did manage to accidentally fit things in with the traveling theme, and I do love it when a KCW button matches my skirt. So I’m pretending all is not lost.

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Anyway, this map fabric, I love it. It’s from Moda’s Passport collection, which includes maps of New York City, Paris, Tokyo, and London. Each one is beautifully detailed and comes in several colorways. This one is my favorite – perfectly muted blues and greens and grays.

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I went with another Compagnie M Lotta skirt, but changed it up a little. Lila’s first Lotta ended up needing elastic for a better fit, which means the zipper doesn’t get used at all. So this time I scrapped the zipper and made it easy on/easy off with just elastic in the back. I cut the back piece on the fold and added extra length at the top so I could fold down a back waistband and thread elastic through it (if you’ve ever made the Hopscotch skirt, same idea). Unsurprisingly I made some mathematical errors that complicated the process, but all in all, it was a really simple modification. This skirt pattern is becoming one of my favorites.

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In other news, there’s only one thing growing in our garden, but it’s one very delicious thing. This time of year is the best.

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handcrafted hopscotch

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Q: What do you get when you cross Alison Glass’ Handcrafted fabric with the Oliver + S Hopscotch skirt pattern?

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A: The only article of clothing I’ve sewn in a month!

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Okay, there’s my icebreaker. Now we can get to the skirt. This yard of the Plus print in Strawberry had been burning a hole on my shelf for some time, I just couldn’t decide how to put it to use. I hope I did it justice. The whole Handcrafted collection is stunning, the colors really glow. It’s hard to capture, but I think these photos are the best representation.

handcrafted hopscotch skirt -- probably actually-4I’ve made the Hopscotch skirt several times, so there isn’t much I can say about this pattern that hasn’t been said. I love the style, though – simple but sophisticated, and the elastic back waistband makes it practical to wear. And of course, the pockets are genius.

handcrafted hopscotch skirt -- probably actually-1I’m feeling inspired to sew some summer things for Lila, more skirts for sure. And last week I bought this pattern to sew for myself. There’s an 83% chance I’ll chicken out on that one, though. We’ll see.

Kids Clothes Week spring edition is officially over, but I’m back with one more project I finished last week.

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I knew I must have something on my shelf to go with this KCW’s Wild Things theme, and it turned out to be these dinosaurs. After a couple nights work, they became a little Sketchbook shirt.

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I made this shirt in the smallest size when Oscar was 7 months old – I was so excited for him to wear it, but it never really fit right. This one is better, but not perfect. I made a size 2 (lengthened to 3), and I’m wondering if I should’ve slimmed it down to 18-24 months, because it’s a bit too wide in the shoulders. And there’s something not quite right about the sleeves, I had trouble getting them to lay flat in the shoulder seams.

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But it’s still a decent little shirt, all in all, and the dinosaurs are pretty cute…even if that red one on the sleeve happens to be breathing fire. (?)

dino sketchbook -- probably actually-1-8Maybe I just need to play around with this one a little more, but are there other button down shirt patterns people like to sew with? If you know of one with a great fit, I’d love to hear. I do love a little boy in a button down…

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We had a short bout (now over) of beautiful summer weather, during which I learned two things: Oscar is low on warm weather clothes, and he looks awfully cute in his sister’s old elephant pants.

stripey blue sailboat pants -- probably actually-1-2Sailboat pants appear to be the only usable hand-me-down among the our stacks of outgrown handmade clothes – he’s now worn the elephants and these (from 2011!), and since it’s Kids Clothes Week and all, I thought it might be nice for him to have a pair of his very own.

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The striped chambray (from Kaufman House of Denim) had been earmarked for several different projects, but I decided to just use it already – it’s neutral and plain, which is normally how I like my Sailboat pants. I did turn the stripes sideways for the side panels though, to keep things interesting. And anchor buttons, because obviously.

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It’s been almost three years since I’ve sewn a pair of these, and I had forgotten how much I love this pattern – the construction is smart and simple, and they’re surprisingly quick to sew. There are some nice little details, too, like the side vents and the button panel, and they’re easy to get on and off with the elasticized back waistband. Plus: cute. And unisex! When people ask which Oliver + S pattern to start with, I usually recommend this one.

stripey blue sailboat pants -- probably actually-1-5I will mention though – I made a size 3, and the placement dots for the bottom buttons seemed way off to me (which I think I faintly remember from last time) – my advice would be to make your buttonholes (as marked), then stick a pin through the hole to mark where you want to sew on your buttons. And if you happen to have a paper copy of the pattern, check the errata on the website – there are a few (fairly obvious) little things that need correction.

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Anyway, that wraps up my first days of KCW. The theme this time around is Wild Things, and while there’s certainly nothing wild about these pants, I’m hoping to sew another warm weather item for Oscar that might fit with the theme a little better. We shall see. Happy sewing!

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small world lotta skirt

Today I’m joining the It’s a Small World (blog tour) After All to show you a little bit of Rae‘s new fabric line for Cloud 9, Small World. It’s here, it’s great, and it’s corduroy!

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Corduroy makes such a wonderful garment fabric, but the selection of prints has always been pretty dismal. Until now! It’s so exciting to see these bold, bright, Boden-esque prints on super soft, baby wale, organic corduroy. Rae did a beautiful job with these, and I really hope this substrate starts popping up more often.

small world lotta skirt -- probably actually-1-2I think skirts are a great place to use a bold print (this one is City Streets), and I knew right away it had to be the Compagnie M Lotta skirt, which I’ve wanted to try for the longest time. Marte of Compagnie M designs some really cool and unique patterns, and they always seem to catch my eye.

small world lotta skirt -- probably actually-2The Lotta is a simple gathered skirt with a flat front waistband and invisible zipper back closure, and the cutest little fold-over pockets you ever did see. The Lotta skirt comes in women’s sizes, too, and there’s also a Lotta dress for girls.

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I made the skirt in a size 5 (lengthened to 6) and added the optional adjustable waistband in the back. I ended up having to cinch it up quite a bit, so the waistband ended up a little bunchy – I think that’s just what happens when you put .75 inch elastic in a 1.75 inch waistband. It’s not a huge deal since her shirt covers it up, but next time I might just size down in the waist so that it fits correctly without any adjustment, or else scrap the zipper entirely and just elasticize the whole back waistband (like the Hopscotch Skirt, for example).

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The corduroy worked really nicely for the skirt, though – it’s a perfect weight for apparel and is light enough to gather beautifully.

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For more inspiration, check out Kristin and Tara and Rae‘s delightful Small World creations, and there’s more to come in the tour as the week goes on!

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Small World is available around town and online, and Jones & Vandermeer has the whole collection in stock if you’re looking. Speaking of which, thanks for all who entered last week’s giveaway! The winner of the Jones & Vandermeer gift certificate is commenter #20, Sarah M. Congrats!!

sevenberry garden party -- probably actually-1-5 This weekend we had special dress-wearing events for both Passover and Easter. With a birthday in late March and a dress to go along with it, I don’t usually sew something new for Lila to wear for the spring holidays. But I had to make an exception this year after her birthday dress, only a few short days into rotation, was tragically disfigured at the local bounce house joint. Avert your eyes if you wish, this ain’t pretty: rip I’d never seen a dress rip like this, but Rachel told me she had a voile Rollerskate dress do the same thing. I don’t know if it’s just the lightweight fabric, or maybe a combination of the fabric and the snipped seam allowances in the curve of the armhole creating weak spots? I can’t decide if the dress is salvageable (probably not, right?), so instead of trying to fix it I’ve mostly just been staring at it in disbelief. OH WELL. It’s sad, but in the big scheme of things, a ripped dress is not such a big deal. And at least she got to wear it for her birthday. And for a day and a half after that. So anyway, the point is, the birthday dress was clearly unavailable for this weekend’s festivities. Luckily I like an excuse to sew a new dress, and I happened to have some beautiful Japanese lawn on my hands. So I made her an Oliver + S Garden Party Dress. sevenberry garden party -- probably actually-1 I made my first Garden Party dress last year around this same time – for some reason it didn’t get a whole lot of wear, but I really like this pattern and I felt like it was worth trying again. This time I used all one fabric instead of a contrast for the waistband and yoke pieces. It changes the look of the pattern a little, but I think I like it. sevenberry garden party -- probably actually-1-7 This is a size 5, lengthened to 6. I finished the bias inside the armholes by hand – I tried it by machine when I made the dress last year, and I wasn’t happy with how it looked. It came out much cleaner this way. sevenberry garden party -- probably actually-1-2 The fabric is a Sevenberry cotton lawn and came from a new sponsor, Jones & Vandermeer. Have you heard of this shop? I stumbled upon them two years ago when I was on a mad hunt for a specific Nani Iro double gauze print (this one) – they were the only place that had it, and I snatched it up right away (along with a few more yards of double gauze that are still sitting on my shelf – it’s so hard for me to cut into that stuff!). sevenberry garden party -- probably actually-1-8 Since then I’ve visited their site often. They offer “100% curious goods” from around the world – it all began with yarn, but the shop now includes lots of unique and gorgeous fabrics, as well as other wonderful things for sewers and crafters. Their collection of fabrics is so beautifully curated – Liberty lawns, lots of Japanese prints from Yuwa, Nani Iro, and Echino (to name just a few), plenty of double gauze, and these super cool French lawns I haven’t seen anywhere else. There’s also a great selection of sewing patterns, tools and notions, and buttons (mother of pearl cloud buttons from France? I die.). And then there’s premade Liberty bias tapes, plus lovely ribbons, twill tapes, and other trims. You get the idea – there’s a little bit of everything, and all of it is thoughtfully hand-picked. Sorry to go crazy with all the links, there’s just so much good stuff. I’ve been a fan of the shop for some time, so when they inquired about sponsorship I knew it would be a good fit – it’s the type of shop I’m happy to share with everyone. sevenberry garden party -- probably actually-1-9 And now for the giveaway – Jones & Vandermeer is offering up a $35 gift certificate to spend on anything in the shop! To enter, just leave a comment on this post by Friday, April 10th – any old comment will get your name in the game, but if you need a prompt, you can always tell me what you’d choose if you win. I suspect you’ll have fun browsing there, I always do!

party dress -- probably actually-1-3Lila will be six years old tomorrow. She has turned into such a kid this past year – jumping rope, rollerskating, writing stories, sounding out words and spelling them in that totally wrong but adorable way that kids this age do. The stuff of kindergarten. I love witnessing her attempts to master each new skill. It doesn’t all come naturally to her, but she’s got major sticktoitiveness, this girl. Such focus and determination, and such pride in each small victory. Her palms are raw with callouses and blisters from the monkey bars. Her handwriting is already better than her dad’s. And just like every new age, I can’t wait to see what six brings.

party dress -- probably actually-1-7I haven’t been sewing much lately, but I’m always up for a birthday dress. This year I chose the Caroline Party Dress by Mouse House Creations. My use of this pattern was 100% inspired by Tara’s recent birthday dress for her newly six year old. Tara’s was the perfect combination of fancy and simple and delicate and beautiful, and I decided that six was the year the birthday dress should close with an invisible zipper.party dress -- probably actually-1-8

The shape and construction of this dress are very similar to Rae’s Geranium dress, – gathered empire waist, faux cap sleeves, side seam pockets, lined bodice. The major differences are the invisible zipper (which somehow equals fancier to me), and a few other options, such as a collar, a full lining, and a tulle underskirt. I skipped the tulle but did a full lining, which adds some nice volume to the skirt.

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It also helps that I accidentally cut my skirt pieces to a size 7 width – that’s what happens (to me anyway) when you have to make your own rectangular pattern pieces and you’re trying to do the math on combining two sizes – all the measurements kept running together. But it just meant some extra gathers, which isn’t the worst thing when you’re making a party dress. I ended up with a size 5 bodice and a skirt somewhere between a 6 and a 7 – it’s long, but I like the fit.

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The main fabric is a Japanese seersucker lawn, bought last May from Miss Matatabi. I’ve lusted after so many things from her shop, but this has been my only purchase so far. I fell in love with this one immediately – the colors, the crinkly texture, the triangles. It’s no longer available, but the shop is full of the most amazing Japanese fabrics and is worth checking out if haven’t already.

party dress -- probably actually-1-11 The lining fabric is Watermelon shot cotton, which I also used for the collar. Based on Rachel’s lovely version, I cut the skirt lining a little longer than the outer skirt so it would peek out at the bottom.

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This dress feels wonderful – both fabrics are very soft and light, but it’s a lot of yardage (three in total) – so it’s weighty, but light and flowy at the same time. It’s a little bit dressier than what I usually make, but hey, turning six is a little bit special.

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I went back to look at each of Lila’s handmade birthday dresses. We’re six for six. My mom made the first two (back when sewing a dress seemed way out of my league), and I took over from there.

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one | two | three | four | five | six

I hope there are plenty more to come.

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