Posts Tagged ‘sewing’

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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It’s been a pretty fruitful year for sewing. I made Lila a lot of clothes…that she mostly doesn’t wear. It’s okay, I had fun making them (or selecting the fabric at least), and each garment improved my sewing skills as well as my confidence to tackle whatever I wanted to make next.

This was my first time playing around with Mosaic Maker, and I couldn’t stop at one. Or two. So I separated my photos into Oliver + S clothing, other kid clothing, and just plain other. And then the clothes are in chronological order over on Flickr, just as an excuse to make another mosaic.

As it turns out, there was a decent amount of Oliver + S sewing going on this year. Here’s a sampling:

Next up: more kiddie clothes.

And I made some non-clothing items, too. I know the invites are a stretch, but there was a sewing machine involved…

I think my favorite project of the year was the Oliver + S baby carrier in the middle of the last mosaic. For some reason that thing still makes me smile every time Lila puts it on.

Hope everyone has a very happy 2012!

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It’s time to get serious.

I’m going a little bit nutty getting ready for KCWC at Elsie Marley. So many ideas, so little time. It looks like a tornado tore through my sewing area.

My plan (after tidying up a bit so I can get to work) is to move through my stack of Oliver + S patterns, including this one, which I started early with the hope of actually finishing it at some point next week.

I cut out a Sunday Brunch jacket last night, too:

This little dress is also on my list (and it’s not going to be my usual gray or blue or green!), along with a delinquent baby gift, a couple of things for other people’s children, and something involving changing my thread eight times.

We’ll see what actually gets done. I can’t wait to see what everyone makes!

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pattern testing!

When you’ve got a modest little blog with only a handful of subscribers, it’s majorly exciting when somebody famous notices you. There are those who might consider “famous” a stretch here, but if following sewing and craft blogs is your thing, you know who these people are. And they are indeed famous. So I was giddy beyond belief when Anna from Noodlehead emailed and asked me to be a pattern tester. I’m a huge fan of her blog and was so flattered that she thought of me.

Honestly, I would’ve tested any old pattern she sent me, but as luck would have it, it was her new Go Anywhere bag. Sewing for me! Not that I don’t love sewing for Lila, but I haven’t made anything for myself since this bag back in February, and I could really use something roomier. Something that closes securely. And has lots of pockets. Maybe even pockets with pleats!

Something like this:

Here’s the back of the bag, with a big pocket that closes with a magnetic snap:

The bag has so many pockets and linings that choosing fabrics was really fun – and extra challenging of course, since I have a tendency to treat fabric selection as the biggest decision of my life.

So after a great deal of agonizing, I went with Kaufman Carolina Chambray in black (which ends up looking like a textured gray) for the outer pockets and interior lining. I lined the outer pockets with a turquoise stripe from Moda’s Just Wing It collection, which was leftover from Lila’s Playdate dress. Same fabric for the inner slip pocket, too.

I don’t normally carry that piggy around with me, by the way. Just some filler for the photos. But check out that little pen compartment! And you can customize the slip pocket for whatever you want to hold in there.

The print is Michael Miller’s Spa Scallops in coral. Since it’s quilting weight, I basted canvas to the main bag pieces like Anna suggested, which gave the bag a good, sturdy shape. I added piping to the outer pockets and top stitched everything in aqua.

I made some silly, sleep-deprived mistakes along the way, such as attaching my straps all wrong the first time, and somehow managing to sew my two lining pieces completely shut around the top – not sure how I thought I was going to access the contents of the bag that way.  But nothing a little seam ripping couldn’t undo. And I’d never used magnetic snaps before, so of course I buggered that up and ended up with two little slits in the lining where they didn’t belong. Luckily they’re pretty easy to ignore, being on the inside and all. I’ll do better next time, and there will be a next time!

And there’s a pocket where baby girl can lounge while I make her a special little carrier of her own (next post!)….

I have to say, I’m pretty smitten with my new bag. The size is great – not too big, not too small – I’ve been using it all week for swimming lessons and managed to fit everything we needed in there, all neat and organized and snapped shut!

And I couldn’t get a decent shot of myself wearing it, but there are lots of photos of the bag in use over at Noodlehead, along with some seriously gorgeous versions that Anna’s made. It’s up for sale today, so go check it out and be tempted!

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Lila loves her baby dolls and animal friends and takes very good care of them. She especially likes to tuck them in and put them to bed. I remember seeing this post last fall on Flossie Teacakes and wishing I could make one of those adorable little sleeping bags for Baby Girl (we’re not too creative in naming dolls around here). So when the Three Bears Sleeping Bag pattern was released, I was on it.

Here’s Baby Girl, out like a light in her new sleeping bag. She didn’t even have time to change into her pajamas.

I used leftovers from this dress for the quilt, and a scrap from Lila’s Christmas dress for the pillow.

The pattern comes in three sizes (Daddy Bear, Mummy Bear, and Baby Bear). I made the largest size to accommodate her bigger dolls and so that her little friends could snuggle up together. The cuddling combinations are endless, as you’re about to find out…

Here’s her first little bed mate. She had to turn away when Mouse started breathing on her face.

And here she is getting all cozy with Monkey:

Then Owlie and Baby Boy got a turn:

These two both fell asleep right away, so it must be a comfy little bed. It’s probably that velveteen pillow.

And if they’re especially squishy, you can get three in there together!

Here’s the final combo, and proof that I wasn’t playing dolls all by myself. Even though I totally was.

This was really fun to make and a nice way to use up some little pieces of fabric. I did cheat a little on the binding – I stitched in the ditch instead of finishing it by hand, which was really lazy of me, I know, but I’m a little out of practice on my hand stitching.

So if we’re ever brave enough to take Lila camping, sleeping arrangements are covered for at least a couple of her babies. And I’ve already started on a Mummy Bear-sized sleeping bag. Stay tuned….

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a beach robe

I think I just made something useful (as in, not another skirt)!

Okay, maybe not useful in the way it was advertised, because wearing a bathing suit on the Oregon coast is practically unheard of. But we did need an upgrade from the hooded towels we’ve been using since Lila’s first bath, and a little robe seemed like just the thing. And she was into the idea, too. As I was cutting out the paper pattern pieces she held them up to her body and said, “Can I wear my robe now?”

This robe from Sir Bubbadoo was my inspiration – I loved the gray and yellow with the dots, and I came really close to using my same old blue polka dots for yet another project. But I fought the urge.

The lined hood is clearly a case of form over function – terry cloth makes much more sense than quilting cotton for drying hair after a bath. I couldn’t help myself though, the robes are so cute that way.

The fabric is something I’ve had around for a few years (I can’t read any info on the selvage past Windham Fabrics), and I had just enough to line the hood and tie and cut two little strips of bias tape for the sleeves. The rest of the robe is bound in the plain old yellow packaged stuff.

I chose my towels before purchasing the pattern, so I hadn’t read the thinner-is-better tip. It all worked out just fine, but yeah, I can see how thinner would be better. The whole thing came out a little less polished than I would have liked, and I’d love to blame that on the plush towels rather than my mediocre sewing skills! The towels were from Target and measured about 30 x 50 inches – it took two to make a medium robe, and there wasn’t a whole lot of fabric leftover.

The medium fits well everywhere but the hood, which is a little short. Lila’s height is pretty average for her age, and she doesn’t have a huge head or anything, so I’m not sure what happened there. She certainly didn’t need the larger size anywhere else, so I think cutting the hood longer would have done the trick.

Here’s a sassy pose, along with a very small taste of the mess made during this project:

Anyway, it’s a great pattern with amazingly detailed directions and tons of photos, just like all the tutorials you find on MADE.  Sewing the robe together was a breeze, but I’m tuckered out from all that bias tapin’!

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(not so) twirly skirts

I can’t say we were in need of a skirt over here, but thanks to Trinh I was inspired to further expand Lila’s skirt wardrobe.

This is a modified version of the twirly skirt from House on Hill Road. I think this might be my new favorite method for making a skirt – I love the hem and waistbands, and how it ties at the side with a drawstring or ribbon.

The prep and sewing were so quick and simple. I made a couple of changes when I sewed mine (one intentional, one careless mistake). The tutorial called for twice as much fabric as I usually use for a skirt, and I thought all that fullness might swallow Lila up, so I just used the width of the fabric from selvage to selvage. The result is much less twirly but still a nice full skirt.

I used Riley Blake polka dots (same fabric I used here), Moda Bella solid, and grosgrain ribbon.

My actual mistake was sewing the waistband to the hem and the hem band to the waist. By the time I figured it out there was no going back, so I used 1-inch elastic and a 1-inch ribbon in the waistband. Fat waistband, skinny hem band.

Not a huge deal, but also not what I intended. A second skirt seemed like a completely reasonable way to right my mistake.

There. That’s what it’s supposed to look like. The fabric for #2 is Noguchi by Alexander Henry with the same Moda Bella solid as the first skirt. I’ve had the AH on hand for years and it was nice to finally put it to use.

Anyway, we’ve got a pretty good stack of skirts going over here.

I think it’s time for a moratorium.

In other news, we set up an outdoor chalkboard on the fence in our backyard. It’s just a piece of plywood painted with chalkboard paint, a la Angry Chicken. The paint was spendy but it only took one coat, so there’s lots leftover for future projects. I only wish the board were twice as tall so I didn’t have to squat to use it. I’ve sort of been monopolizing it lately, as you can see (and I didn’t erase very well, either), but we do let Lila use it, too. We’ve got rags and paintbrushes and spray bottles, and it’s so much fun. Chalk + water together are so divine….

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I made my first pair of Oliver + S sailboat pants in April, and they’re by far the most practical and worn piece of clothing I’ve ever made for Lila. They’re comfy and they go with everything – if they’re not in the wash, she’s wearing them. I’ve had all sorts of ideas about what the next pair might look like, and as soon as I saw these beauties from Cirque Du Bebe, I fell in love. I had to try piping this time.

This is such a great pattern. You end up with a pretty cute pair of pants without doing much work at all. These are 2Ts, same as the first pair. The rise is a little bit low, and the fit is much better without a big cloth diaper. I’m sure this yellow print won’t get the wear the first pair gets, but you can’t be practical all the time.

Lila spent the afternoon on our neighbor’s front stoop, pestering Ruby the cat. Ruby is a very good sport.

I made the hat back in April, too – it’s the Oliver + S bucket hat from Little Things to Sew. The fabric for both the pants and the hat is Denyse Schmidt, from the DS Quilts collection.

The pants end up looking plain old yellow from far away, so maybe they aren’t all that impractical. And they match the neighbor’s house really well….

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fancy dress recipe

That’s the name of this pattern. For reals.

In the days leading up to KCWC on Elsie Marley, I read this interview with Yasuko from Dans La Lune. I checked out her patterns on Etsy and really liked the simple design of this little dress. I didn’t get around to making it for the challenge as planned, but it’s been at the top my list ever since. It turned out to be a pretty great recipe, all in all – everything went together quickly and the instructions were very easy to follow. I’d make it again.

Here’s how mine came out:

The bodice is gathered in the front and the keyhole neckline ties with ribbon. The arm and neck openings are finished with bias tape.

This was a test run so I decided to use something I had on hand and wasn’t too attached to, which turned out to be a couple dollars worth of yellow seersucker from Joann’s – I’m not super excited about this version of the dress, but I do think the pattern has potential. It’s simple enough that you could get creative with embellishment, and it could be cute with a shirt underneath in the fall, maybe in corduroy or something. The downside to the pattern (besides having to wrap my brain around centimeters) is that each size is sold separately, so I only got the 2T. But I think adding some length to the bottom should make the pattern usable for quite awhile.

Here are a couple more shots (mostly to show off her shiny new Saltwater sandals):

And here are our first juicy strawberries of the season, dribbled down the front….

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rainbow sprinkles

I first spied these rows of little stitches here and here, then again here. And I thought they were awfully pretty every time. So I gave it a try:

I used white (perfect for toddler clothing, right?) cotton because it was the only solid fabric I had on hand, but I think linen or voile would have been nice. It’s just ten rows of running stitches, with 1/4 inch between rows. I marked and stitched the rows before assembling the skirt. It’s a pretty mindless and relaxing activity, and a nice change of pace from sitting at the sewing machine.

The plan was to turn it into a Lazy Days skirt or to use the Simple Skirt tutorial from Made, but I’ve sewn up lots of both and I wanted to try something new.  I was hoping to find a tutorial for a skirt with a flat front waistband and elastic in the back, but nothing came up in my search. Then about eight hours later, Anna from Noodlehead posted that very tutorial for Skirt Week on Crafterhours. Amazing, I tell you. Thanks, Anna! I had a little trouble figuring out the elastic in the back, but it all turned out fine in the end. Since I was making a toddler-sized skirt, I shortened the height of the waistband pieces one inch from the tutorial measurements, resulting in a 1.5 inch waistband. Here’s the flat waistband, along with some tummy:

Now I’m picturing these rows of running stitches on everything – dish towels, napkins, pillowcases, curtains….

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