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Posts Tagged ‘dresses’

big joey dress -- probably actually-1-2I managed to make something last week, something I cut out last fall and then left on my ironing board for eight months. It’s a Make it Perfect Joey Dress, a favorite pattern of mine, and of Lila’s, too. The orange one I made when she was in Kindergarten rivaled that first Geranium dress as her most loved and most often worn garment.

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I have no idea why this sat for so long. Once I started it, the top half was finished in a couple hours, and I would’ve happily kept sewing if I’d cut out two skirt pieces rather than just one. Instead I had to order more fabric – thankfully Llama Fabrics still had this print (Morse Dot from Katarina Roccella’s Imprint line), so it all came from the same bolt, and I got right back to work when the new fabric arrived. Started on day #1 of Kids Clothes Week, finished on day #7.

big joey dress -- probably actually-1

The fabric is an Art Gallery knit, same as my first Joey. I like these knits for their quality and great range of prints, and because they have enough stretch to make bindings. My only complaint is that there’s some fading, especially with the darker colors.

I remember thinking she looked so grown up in that first Joey dress. Same with this one, only about a year and a half growner-upper.

big joey dress -- probably actually-1-12‘Tis the season for monkey bar callouses and backyard raspberries. Happy almost summer!

big joey dress -- probably actually-1-11

 

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velveteen geranium -- probably actually-1

As soon as I saw Kaufman’s Lush Velveteens, I knew I wanted to sew this dress for Lila. The Geranium Dress pattern was an easy choice – it’s fast and simple, it always fits well (this is a 6 with some added length), and most importantly, it has Lila’s long-standing seal of approval.

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Velveteen is great because it feels a little bit fancy while still being 100% cotton, which is really what I prefer to use for kids’ clothes. And I couldn’t resist this color. I decided to go with blue and gold and get it finished in time for Hanukkah so she could wear it all month long, which she did.

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The bodice is lined with Morn’s Rays in Gold by Eloise Renouf for Cloud 9 Fabrics – I wanted something with a little metallic gold in it (of which there are many great options these days) to go with the sparkly gold trim, which I found locally at Fabric Depot.

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I added the trim after the dress was finished and tucked it under at the back edges.

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Lately I can only get motivated to sew when I have a very clear vision of what I want to make and I’m fully invested in the end result. It doesn’t happen as often as I want it to. I had every intention of making Christmas pajamas this year, but I ended up buying them. It wasn’t that I ran out of time. I spent hours looking at patterns and fabric, but I couldn’t pull the trigger – nothing was really doing it for me. I don’t want to make just for the sake of making, you know? I want to sew something I’m really excited about, something I can’t wait to see come together. I definitely sewed less this year and that trend will probably continue, but I’m hoping what I do sew will be well thought out and satisfying.

velveteen geranium -- probably actually-1-7

I hope everyone’s holidays were wonderful. Happy 2016 from these guys!

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First grade!

jump rope dress in clothesline -- probably actually-1-21

Lila’s first day of school came and went almost two weeks ago. But the day after Labor Day will always be the real first day in my book, so I’ll commemorate it by sharing her first day dress today. The Oliver + S Jump Rope dress has become our tradition for the first day of school – she wore it the day she started both preschool and Kindergarten, so I figured we might as well just keep on going.

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The truth is, her Jump Rope dresses tend do a whole lot of hanging around in the closet and not much else. She didn’t wear last year’s more than five or six times, and the one before that, even less. But the other truth is, I don’t care. I love making this dress, and I love seeing her wear it, even if it’s just a handful of times. It’s still worth it. And the pattern only goes up to size 8, which means I may only have two more first days left! I better start searching for a replacement pattern.

jump rope dress in clothesline -- probably actually-1-20

This little floral print is Kimberly Kight’s Clothesline in Periwinkle from Cotton + Steel, which I ordered from Llama Fabrics. It’s been on my radar since Cherie used it here, and while I’m not a purple person, there’s something about this combination of colors that I really like.

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My love for this pattern was officially declared here, and if you have any doubts about making this dress (I had many before making it the first time!), there’s a decent little pep talk in that post that I hope might convince you to forge ahead. I must say, sewing it this time was the best yet – the pattern is so well constructed that you can undoubtedly make a beautiful dress the first time around, but it sure does come together like butter the sixth time.

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Happy official first day of school!

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mini southport dress -- probably actually-1-2Summer is almost over. Someone thought it was a good idea for school to start early this year, on the 27th, instead of after Labor Day like usual, and that means we only have five weekdays left at home together. I feel cheated. I’m not ready. Booooooo. I have Lila’s first day of school dress cut out and ready to sew, but I can’t seem to start on it. I think I’m in denial.

mini southport dress -- probably actually-1-16

So for now I’ll show you a summer dress, the Mini Southport from True Bias. This is my first time sewing one of Kelli’s patterns. I don’t get tempted by a lot of patterns anymore, but I couldn’t get this one to leave me alone – I kept going back and looking at it until I finally buckled and bought it. And I’m so glad I did. I’m really happy with the end result and it was an all around great pattern – well-designed and easy to follow. I was impressed.

mini southport dress -- probably actually-1-15

The bias bound arm holes and neckline took some time but came out looking so clean and professional. And the fit was spot on. I made a size five but lengthened both the bodice and the skirt to the six lines, and it’s just right. When I finished the dress it looked so short on the hanger! I was worried. But I love the length on her – definitely shorter than I’m used to, but I think it suits the style of the dress really nicely. I’m glad I stayed true to the pattern instead of adding a bunch of extra length.

mini southport dress -- probably actually-1-4The fabric is Star Chart in Turquoise Metallic from Lizzy House’s Natural History collection. I bought it locally at Cool Cottons, which has long been one of my favorite places in town to shop (and they sell online now, too). I love those gold constellations, and I always love to match my fabric to the current year’s Saltwaters.

mini southport dress -- probably actually-1-12

I kind of love this dress, although it’s another one that makes her look way too grown up. Or maybe she’s just growing up.

mini southport dress -- probably actually-1-13Okay, I’m off to start on the next dress, time is ticking away…

mini southport dress -- probably actually-1-17

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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!

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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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I tried to keep my December sewing to a minimum this year, which was really very nice. Christmas clothes weren’t originally on my list, but then I saw the adorable plaid Art Museum vest Elizabeth (of the lovely blog Lizzieville) made for her little boy. She mentioned in the post that her daughter asked for a dress to match, and suddenly my kids needed matching Christmas outfits, too. And so, I sewed.

christmas attire -- probably actually-1-2 Elizabeth was actually the inspiration for the dress, too – I really loved her Library Christmas dress from last year, and I also came across this beautiful corduroy/Liberty version via my Oliver + S Flickr group search. So, despite having just made a Library dress (and swearing off this view), I decided on View B in baby cord with a floral band…but then I never found a good floral. I almost scrapped the whole thing, but at the last minute I looked through the piles of fabric already on my shelf and found this striped shot cotton.

christmas library dress -- probably actually-1I can’t recall why I bought this fabric in the first place, but I’m pretty sure it ended up lost in the stacks because the colors reminded me too much of Christmas. So anyway, long story short, I ended up with dark gray Kaufman cord, some forgotten striped shot cotton, and flat piping in a green Modern Solid. I sewed a size 5 lengthened to a 6, and also lengthened the sleeves by an inch. Lila isn’t a big fan of 3/4 sleeves so I wanted to pass them off as long sleeves. She won’t wear them rolled up, but I do love the notched cuffs.christmas attire -- probably actually-1-3

There wasn’t enough corduroy for the facings (I squeezed the whole dress into a wide yard of fabric with some very careful planning), so those are cut from the shot cotton. Luckily Liesl has you understitch all the facing seams, so there’s no chance they’ll be peeking out when they shouldn’t. But they do make for a nice surprise inside.

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Having made both views, I think the collar must give the neckline a little more structure and hold it in place, because the neckline on this dress gapes a little more than the collared version. Nothing too serious, but I did notice a difference.

christmas library dress -- probably actually-1-2And again with all those buttons down the back. But I was happy to find these little black and green ones.

Now, on to that bow tie.

christmas bow tie -- probably actually-1-2

I read through just about everything the internet had to offer on the topic of making your own bow tie, but in the end I used Delia‘s free Mix and Match Bow Tie pattern and tutorial. I knew I could trust Delia. It was super simple and quick to sew – in fact, I bet I spent more time learning how to tie it than actually sewing it. But thanks to YouTube and Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Lila and I must have watched this video twenty times, she thought it was hilarious), tying a bow tie is now on my list of life accomplishments.

christmas bow tie -- probably actually-1

Apparently bow ties are usually cut on the bias, but since shot cotton already has some stretch, I cut it on the grain. And I used velcro as my back closure method rather than swim suit hooks, just to make sure it was good and adjustable. It’s a little droopy (interfacing could have solved that) but I love it just the same.

christmas bow tie -- probably actually-1-4Who knew I’d ever get so excited about a bow tie? And to think, I was so broken up about not having two girls to sew for…this is totally just as great. Maybe even better. Maybe. Sort of. Whatever, it’s great.

christmas bow tie -- probably actually-1-3They were pretty cute together. I’m officially a fan of coordinated holiday attire.

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There were also some eleventh hour semi-coordiated Christmas pajamas that I’ll share just as soon as I can get my children to cooperate for photos. Hope everyone’s holidays were happy – enjoy these last few days of the year!

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