Archive for July, 2012

Awhile back I pinned this sweet little bumble bee sweater on Pinterest (thanks, Anna!), and within an hour or so, my mom had repinned it, downloaded the pattern, and purchased the yarn. And it didn’t take her too much longer to complete the sweater. She’s good like that.

We went with long sleeves and wooden buttons.

And a matching bumble bee hat.

Pattern: Little Coffee Bean Cardigan by Elizabeth Smith, available here for free download, and you can find the chart for the bees here.

Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease in Maize, Almond, and Taupe

Size 6 months (for the baby-to-be!)


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Today I’m reposting my Oliver + S Playdate/Puppet Show hybrid dress from Kristin and Jess‘ lovely Vintage May series, and I’ve added some instructions for switching out the sleeves.

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Hello fine readers! I’m so pleased and honored to be at Skirt as Top today, celebrating Vintage May along with all these lovely guest bloggers! If you’ve ever visited my blog, you know that I have a bit of a love affair with Oliver + S patterns. In case you’re not familiar with Oliver + S, there are several reasons why they’re among my favorite patterns. First of all, each one is like a mini sewing lesson, full of tips and tricks for future use. The styles are always clean and classic, the fit is spot-on, the directions never let you down, and even the packaging is adorable (and vintage-looking!).

Have I sold you yet? Anyway, I think I’ve tried eleven of them so far, and have used many of those eleven over and over again. So when Kristin asked me to be a part of Vintage May, I immediately began brainstorming my Oliver + S options. Several of the patterns have a vintage or retro look to them, and I ended up combining two of my favorites into one dress, adding a few vintage elements along the way.

My starting point was the Playdate Dress (it’s out of print, but recently became available as a digital pattern) – there’s something about that yoke that gives it a definite retro feel.

And I borrowed the cuffed sleeves from the Puppet Show Dress (also out of print, but available to download as a pdf), which is another great vintage-looking pattern.

Swapping the Puppet Show sleeve for the Playdate sleeve was really simple, since the shapes were so similar. I used the size 3 sleeve from both patterns to create a hybrid sleeve. Just lay the Puppet Show sleeve on top of the Playdate sleeve pattern, and use the armhole curve of the Playdate but the length and width of the Puppet Show sleeve. Keeping the Puppet Show width (the line across the bottom of the sleeve) is important so that you can use the existing cuff pattern piece.

Your hybrid sleeve (the one laying on top of the Puppet Show sleeve below) will look very similar to the original Puppet Show sleeve – the armhole curve dips just slightly below to mimic the Playdate sleeve’s curve.

Cut your sleeves on the fold, and transfer the Playdate notch and the Puppet Show gathering dot. There are a couple ways to attach the sleeves, but I chose to follow the Playdate directions – the sleeves are attached before side seams are sewn since you’ll also be constructing side seam pockets. If you go that route, refer to the Puppet Show directions to complete the cuffs after you’ve attached the sleeves and sewn your side seams.

And that’s it! Back to the rest of the post….

The fabric also has a vintage feel – the print reminded me a bit of a vintage sheet, or a William Morris floral, or a Liberty print (and is probably as close to a real Liberty as I’m ever going to get!). It’s a soft and breezy cotton lawn called Spring, from Robert Kaufman’s London Calling 2 collection. And the colors definitely evoke spring! This is Vintage May after all, not Vintage November…

There’s pink and white mini gingham in the side-seam pockets and in the hem facing. I love a pattern that allows for hidden surprises like that.

And to throw a little more vintage into the mix, I added mini pompom trim under the yoke. Because pompoms make things look vintage, right?

Now this was a bit trickier than adding the flat piping that the pattern calls for, since the pompom trim has barely any seam allowance. So I’ll attempt to show you how I did it.

First, I sewed a line of basting stitches 1/2 inch from the raw edge of the neckline, which gave me a line to follow when I placed the trim. Then I matched the trim (where the poms meet the wee bit of seam allowance) to that line, pinned, and basted it in place along the line using my zipper foot – that way you’re not sewing over the poms. There should be 1/2 inch between the raw edge of the neckline and your line of basting stitches that attach the trim.

That second basting line becomes the guideline for placing your yoke. Do you think I used enough pins? The tricky part was stitching the yoke in place AND catching the pompom trim underneath – I had to sew very close to the edge of the yoke in order to catch it. The zipper foot comes in handy here, too.

In retrospect, it might make sense to actually sew the trim to the neckline rather than just basting. That way, even if you miss a spot as you’re top stitching the yoke in place, the trim is securely anchored under there. Or better yet, maybe there’s pompom trim available out there with a more generous seam allowance?

Thanks so much for having me, Kristin! I’m looking forward to the rest of Vintage May, week two!

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Last year’s Oliver + S bucket hat is officially too small. Time for a new one:

The pattern comes from Liesl Gibson’s book, Little Things to Sew, but is also available for free download on the Oliver + S website. And while I do own the book, I printed the pattern from the website so I wouldn’t have to trace the size I needed. Much easier.

After seeing some great versions of the hat with a widened brim (this one by Jessica of A Little Gray being the first), I decided to give it a try, and I widened mine by one inch.

Jessica will tell you how to do it right here. I also used her no hand-stitching technique in putting it all together. She’s a master of the bucket hat, this woman!

The pattern calls for interfacing on one side of the brim, but I interfaced all the pieces of the linen side to give the hat a little more overall structure.

I used Essex Linen in Natural and a Kate Spain Fandango print (left over from a little skirt I made last year), and added mini pompom trim around the brim. After making this dress, I’ve been looking for an excuse to use those little pompoms again. Also, the Playdate dress she’s wearing seems to have morphed from a dress into a shirt, and barely made it over her head (that’s what 14 months does, I guess), but somehow I tricked her into wearing it today. I have a feeling this might be the last time.

And yes, the photo shoot is now over….

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It appears that summer has arrived over here, for this week anyway. The other night I made a Clever Charlotte Sandpiper top – it’s my first Clever Charlotte pattern and it was such a pleasure to sew. And such a cute little summer top (especially with some Class Picnic Shorts!)

The fabric is Kate Spain Bridle Path (I made this top in the green version, and I have a yard of the blue for future use, too) and lined it with a Moda pinstripe in lemon-lime.

The top can be made fully reversible by sewing buttons on both sides, but the print showed through a bit to the lime side, so I decided the lime would be the lining.

This is a size 2 cut to a size 3 length, which seems to work for me with most patterns these days.

I love the simplicity of the pinafore-style, and this pattern has such a nice fit and drape. I did make one change – the two back corners are supposed to dip down into points, but I cut mine so that the back hangs evenly. Because I’m super boring like that.

If you happen to want to be boring like me, just cut off a triangle-ish shaped piece from the bottom left side of the pattern piece. I actually cut the fabric according to the original pattern piece, then crossed the straps and pinned them in place at the buttonhole markings to see where the back pieces would overlap, drew my cut line right on the main fabric, then used that piece as a guide for the lining piece. But it’ll look something like this:

This is a great pattern, and also includes some very unique (and reversible!) capri pants. The construction of the top was super simple (and just one main pattern piece!). And the directions were wonderfully clear, with plenty of helpful diagrams and tips. My kind of pattern!

When I showed the top to Lila, she pointed out that it’s just like the little pinafores her babies wear, which instantly made it very popular. I would’ve sewn it for her way sooner if I’d made that connection myself!

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I’m guest posting today for the Shorts on the Line series with some unprecedented boy sewing! Click on over to imagine gnats for a review of the Oliver + S Sketchbook shorts pattern and a little coin pocket tutorial. And check out the past week’s worth of shorts inspirational while you’re there!

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