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Posts Tagged ‘sewing for girls’

As I was going through my photos from the year, I realized I made not ONE SINGLE THING for myself in 2014. Terrible, I know. The truth is, I did sew a few things, just nothing worthy of sharing – I made a Wiksten Tank and the Liesl & Co Bistro Dress, and while they were both great patterns, neither was especially flattering on me. I’m still trying to figure out sewing my own clothing, and clearly it isn’t going all that well. Maybe 2015 will be my breakthrough year.

So what did I sew? Well, Lila scored a few new dresses. Fifteen to be exact.

lila's dresses 2014garden party | hide-and-seek | jump rope A | franklin | jump rope B | library B | hide-and-seek | mini poppy | carousel | roller skate | first day | roller skate | little joey | library A | geranium

The dresses definitely won out in terms of sheer numbers, but there were a few other things for Lila:

lila's stuff 2014swingset tunic | school bus tee | sleepover pjs | 2+2 skirt | bucket hat | swingset skirt | swingset skirt | shearwater kaftan | bunny pjs

Oscar wasn’t fully ignored:

sewing for oscar 2014bow tie | happy homemade hoodie | bucket hat | hawthorn sweatshirt | small fry skinny cords | sketchbook shorts | field trip raglan | bunny pjs | dmk peacoat | art museum trousers

And there was an assortment of gifts and other random things:

2014 sewing, the restbaby girl’s coat | lullaby layette | ice cream dress | seal pjs | square floor cushion | lap duvet | divided basket | emmeline apron | rain cloud costumes

These were my 2014 personal favorites:

my personal faves 2014

I learned to use and love my serger this year (it only sat in the box until April – not half bad, right?), and I learned to love boy sewing just a little bit more. And what I already knew was reinforced: making dresses sure is fun. The truth is, I don’t have any huge goals for the new year. I just want to make pretty things and then marvel at my kids as they wear them. I know it isn’t much, but that’s what makes me happy.

So anyway, Happy 2015 from these two, my reasons for sewing.

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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.

christmas attire -- probably actually-1-4

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.

christmas attire 2 -- probably actually-1

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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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.

moonlit library dress -- probably actually-1-2

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.

moonlit library dress -- probably actually-1-7

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.

moonlit library dress -- probably actually-1-8

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.

moonlit library dress -- probably actually-1-6

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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stylo-probablyactually456

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.

stylo-probablyactually-5

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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carousel dress -- probably actually-1-10

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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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.

FranklinDressTour

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.

franklin dress -- probably actually-1-5

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.

franklin dress -- probably actually-1-3

franklin dress -- probably actually-1-11

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.

franklin dress -- probably actually-1-8

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.

franklin dress -- probably actually-1-9

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.

franklin dress -- probably actually-1-7

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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Well these were supposed to be for fall, but fall just keeps on not coming. It’s been in the 80s, hence the flip flops and sleevelessness in this post. Not quite how I envisioned these skirts being worn, but I can hardly complain – the weather is beautiful, and it can’t possibly last much longer.

c+s swingset skirts -- probably actually-1c+s swingset skirts -- probably actually-1-4By now it’s probably pretty obvious that I love the Oliver + S Swingset skirt pattern. Last week I retired some of the first ones I made (two years ago to the day for that last one, and a sunny day at that!) – those size 3s still fit in the waist, but the length has become completely indecent. It’s been time for a new crop of size 5 Swingsets for awhile now, and when Cotton + Steel came out, I knew there were a few good skirt prints in the mix. And then Tara made these two skirts with their brilliant chambray waistbands, which gave me the idea to modify the Swingset pattern.

c+s swingset skirts -- probably actually-1-2

It’s easy to do, and the modification I made applies to all sizes of the skirt, since the waistband’s finished width (1.25 inches) doesn’t vary between sizes. So I’ll give you my numbers just in case there’s any interest. Just create a new waistband pattern piece (it’ll be 2.25 inches wide after you add a 1/2 inch seam allowance at both the top and bottom), then shorten the skirt pattern piece at the top by 1.75 inches (1.25 inches for the waistband, plus a 1/2 inch seam allowance). The lines are on a curve, so you can use a ruler to draw a series of dots your given distance away from the curve, then cut on the dots.

c+s swingset skirts -- probably actually-1-10

Then sew your two new pieces together and follow the normal directions to finish constructing the skirt. Pinning and sewing on a curve like that is a little tricky (hence all those pins), but mine fit back together just fine, no clipping necessary.

_.c+s swingset skirts -- probably actually-1

I feel like I picked two of the most obvious Cotton + Steel prints – there are many more subtle but just as awesome choices in this huge collection, but I like skirts in bold prints like these. Plus what girl doesn’t want a skirt covered in horses. Anyway, LiMa Sews is carrying all five collections if anyone is in the market for some Cotton + Steel.

_c+s swingset skirts -- probably actually-1

The Arrows (from Melody Miller’s Mustang collection) skirt is lined with Kaufman’s Cambridge lawn (left over from this dress)

c+s swingset skirts -- probably actually-1-9and the Mustangs (from the same collection) are lined with an aqua Cotton Couture. I prefer the lawn as a lining, but Cotton Couture is the next best thing – it has a nice smooth texture and lighter feel than a lot of other solids. The chambray is by Andover, in Navy.

c+s swingset skirts -- probably actually-1-12So…my love for the Swingset skirt continues. The pattern only goes up to size 5, but I’ll be lengthening these babies for years to come.

c+s swingset skirts -- probably actually-1-3

And finally, here’s Oscar, tromping around in his Sketchbook shorts and his new boots. It’s crazy how happy a pair of rubber boots can make an almost two year old. He’s super proud of that Hello Kitty tattoo, btw.

oscar, almost 2 -1

 

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Behold! A knit dress.

little joey in squares -- probably actually

It seems the selection of good quality/well designed knits has been growing by leaps and bounds lately. Especially at Art Gallery – I’ve wanted to try one of theirs for awhile now, and my opportunity arrived when Toni of Make it Perfect asked if I’d like to sew up her new pattern, the Joey Dress. I love the style and knew Lila would be into a comfy dress like this.

a little joey in squares -- probably actually-6

This print is called Threaded Shreds Mamey from Katarina Roccella’s Indelible line, which includes several knits (this one is really cool, too). The fabric is so super soft, and has 5% Lycra for a nice stretch. I’d hoped to use a solid for the bindings (like Kristin’s – so cute), but I couldn’t find a good match (coordinating solid knits, please, Art Gallery!) so I used the print for everything. You can definitely go either way with this pattern – I especially love Toni’s solid blue version.

a little joey in squares -- probably actually-3

My main complaint about knits is that my finished product is never quite up to my quality standards. Each one acts a little differently depending on its makeup, and while I’ve tried every sewing-with-knits tip known to man, I still haven’t cracked the code. Because of that there are some problems with this dress, but nothing too tragic – I think I stretched the neckband a little too much, and a few of the seams are a little wavy.

a little joey in squares -- probably actually-8

I love the dress though, I mean I really love it. How it feels, how it looks, how it fits, the sleeves, the pocket, everything. Well, everything except the fact that she looks so grown up in it. Five going on 15.

a little joey in squares -- probably actually-2I live in fear of things coming out too short, so after reading Sanae’s Big Joey post, I added 1.5 inches to the size 5, just to be on the safe side. I hemmed it before she tried it on, and it’s too long – I think I prefer it just above the knee like Toni’s. Maybe I’ll hem it up another inch or so, or maybe I’ll leave it alone and she can wear it until she’s seven. I’m even semi-happy with how the hem came out – I used twin needles for the first time and it really did help to combat the waves.

a little joey in squares -- probably actually-7

Anyway, yet another great Make it Perfect pattern – I want to make a bunch of Joeys! Thanks to Toni for the pattern and to Linh for the beautiful knit! Good stuff, all around.

NEWS FLASH :: Toni just announced that Make it Perfect PDF patterns are 50% off for two days!

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first day dress in origami oasis -- probably actually

I first discovered Tamara Kate‘s fabric last winter when I stumbled upon her Gem print – it’s an all-time favorite of mine, and I used a little bit to make a Roller Skate dress for Lila. Not long after, I received a very sweet email from Tamara saying she’d seen the dress and asking if I’d like to sew something from her new line, Origami Oasis.

origami oasis header

I was immediately drawn to Mountain & Valley – I love a good colorful, geometric print like this, and Tamara designs them so well.

first day dress in origami oasis -- probably actually-5The diamonds reminded me of kites, so I picked Dana’s “kite dress”, which is the A-line version of her First Day Dress pattern.

first day dress in origami oasis -- probably actually-9

The pattern was a new one for me – I’ve had my eye on it for awhile and talked myself out of buying it several times (how many patterns can one girl need??), but I’m glad I finally caved! It went together quickly and easily. There were a couple places (pinning the sleeves and sewing the back keyhole opening) where I longed for some markings to make things just a little more precise – years of Oliver + S sewing is certainly to blame/thank for this. But I really liked the pattern overall – the PDF went together perfectly, which always makes me happy. And the directions were thorough and well organized – there are several different options to choose from (blouse length, swing dress, peplum top, faux placket) but it’s easy to follow along and find what you’re looking for. The A-line version is fully lined, and the lining is hidden in the hem, which is a nice touch.

first day dress in origami oasis -- probably actually-4

Lila’s body measurements matched up with a size 4, but when I looked at the finished measurement chart and compared it to a few other patterns that fit her well, I realized the 4 would’ve been too small on her. I made a 5 instead, which fits well, although on the slim side – I’d advise sizing up with this one if you’re in doubt. Also, the A-line version is designed to hit way above the knee, but it’s very easy to add length to the bottom if you want it longer – I lengthened the size 5 to a size 9 here.

first day dress in origami oasis -- probably actually-7

The lining is Michael Miller Cotton Couture in some shade of pink that I can’t recall. Obviously there was no shortage of lining colors to choose from to go with this print!

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You can check out Tamara’s blog for more Origami Oasis inspiration – there’s even a fabulous Jump Rope dress in the mix, and you know I’m partial to the Jump Rope dress 🙂

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 Happy Friday!

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2+2 pencil skirt -- probably actually

She needed something wear on her second day too, right? I’m not usually one for themed fabric selections – I tend to avoid Santa faces on my holiday clothing, and I’ll be the first to admit that colored pencils on a back-to-school skirt is maybe a little on cheesy side. But cheese or no cheese, these pencils were calling my name.

2+2 skirt -- probably actually-10

I’ve had the Oliver + S 2+2 pattern forever (and made my very first Oliver + S garment with it, almost four years ago!) but I was never interested the skirt – I think the ironed pleats were too formal for my taste. But after seeing this version in the Flickr pool I realized it could have a softer look, and I was immediately sold.

2+2 pencil skirt -- probably actually-2

Unfortunately, I only have the smaller size range in this pattern, which goes up to 3T. I debated buying the larger size range, but the pattern pieces are all rectangles, so in the end I cheaped out and just tried to size up from the 3T. I added 1.5 inches to the length and an inch to the width, and then attempted to do some math to move the dots and notches around. I’d say I was semi-successful.

2+2 skirt -- probably actually-13

The fit came out right, but I ran into some problems with the placket and ended up doing way more seam ripping than if I’d just used the real size 5 pattern pieces. And now that know I love the pattern, I’ll probably invest in the real thing so that I can avoid doing any math whatsoever when I make the larger sizes.

2+2 pencil skirt -- probably actually-3

And I really do love the pattern! True to Oliver + S form, it was simple and straightforward to put together, but full of professional details – the pleats, the side placket with a button and loop waistband closure, the flat front waistband, and the wide two inch hem. The placket itself closes with sew-in snaps. I don’t have much experience with these, and apparently sewed them in completely wrong (my mom was appalled and showed me the light, aka resewed them for me). The snaps work well, but I really like Justine’s version with the buttons on the outside of the placket. I might try it that way next time.

2+2 skirt -- probably actually-17

The only thing I did differently was to add interfacing to the waistband, because I hate a floppy waistband. I should’ve just added it to the front, though – it got a little bulky when I pulled the elastic through the back.

2+2 pencil skirt -- probably actually-6Anyway, this skirt makes me happy – I just love it when a previously dismissed pattern suddenly becomes a favorite. That’s Oliver + S for ya.

Thanks to everyone who entered the Llama Fabrics giveaway, and I truly appreciate all the teacher gift advice! The three yards of fabric go to commenter #22, Lightning McStitch!

 

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