Wednesday, August 31, 2011

BBB Pants in Giraffe Fleece

Earlier this year, I made another pair of Rae's Big Butt Baby Pants. These are done in fleece from my stash. These are my third pair of BBBs. The pattern sews up quickly and is perfect for fun kid prints.

These were cut in the 12 month size, but in the spring they were too large for my nephew ...and now that fall weather is approaching and the boy is growing, the pants are likely too small! In an attempt to make them still wearable, I cut off the bottom hems and added the 3 inch gray bands to the legs.

How cute is this giraffe??!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Crepe

So. I didn't quite adhere to Gertie's Crepe Sewalong schedule. I started with Gertie in December....and finished nearly eight months later. I just didn't want to rush things...or more accurately, I am a procrastinator who allowed the near-finished dress to hang on my dressform for months because I hate hemming.
The pattern is the Crepe by Colette Patterns. My fashion fabric is a medium-weight cotton purchased from Denver Fabrics online (still available here). The navy and cream cross-hatch pattern is set on the diagonal and is incredibly flattering and wearable. I underlined the entire dress with a navy cotton batiste to add body and opaqueness to the dress.
Crepe dress

Along the way, I made a few adjustments to the construction to make the dress my own and suit my personal style. The simplest alteration was adding length to the ties (about 6 inches) so that I could tie them in front rather than back. I knew that a back bow wasn't my style necessarily and would not allow me to add a cardigan on top. I also removed the curve from the sweetheart neckline. Finally, I cut about 3 1/2 inches from the skirt length for a knee-length hem.

I hesitated adding the pockets concerned about adding bulk in the hip area, but they really are *essential* to making this a great dress. I love them...not that you can tell from my so-so expression in the picture!

Fitting the bodice of my Crepe was a long process. My first issue was that I just started with the wrong size. I cut my first bodice muslin as a 10 and quickly realized my mistake. Next I cut an 8 and still made many adjustments. Some of my adjustments were apparently lost during transfer to my pattern, because once the fashion fabric was cut and the bodice sewn, there were still significant fit issues to overcome. At that point, in my head, I heard Tim Gunn saying "make it work"... and that I did. I just started pinching and tucking the excess fabric and realized I could carry those tucks directly into the line of the sleeves (on both the bodice front and back) creating a more flattering sleeve shape in the process. An unorthodox method, but it somehow worked for me! With the busy fabric it is difficult to see what I did, so I will take some detailed pictures another day and show the adjustments.

The new sleeve shape and neckline is much more flattering for me.

I love the finished look that the underlining adds. This was my first time following the steps of a sewalong and I learned some great techniques, such as underlining and using silk organza to stabilize the neckline. Because I enjoyed Gertie's instruction, I recently purchased her online Perfect Fit Bombshell Dress class on Craftsy.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Simple Skirt in Madras

A month or so ago, I whipped up a skirt for my daughter using Dana's Simple Skirt tutorial. The fabric is a super-soft madras I scored on clearance at Hancock for $2/yard.

Elastic waist skirts are a nice instant-gratification project. And so easy for little girls to wear in summer.

I addded a 3 inch ruffle hem. Since I cut the fabric on the bias, I kept the edges raw so they would fray nicely after washing. Easy. Cute. Done.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Simple Summer Top :: McCalls 5388

McCalls 5388 is my one entry in Rae's Spring Top Sewalong for 2011. I had grand plans to put some of my fabric and patterns to use, but found no time for execution! The fabric is a cotton lawn I picked up in Joann's red tag area for $1/yard a couple of years ago. It is quite light and soft and will make for a cool, breezy top in the summer heat.

The pattern is straightforward. I sewed View C but skipped the ruffles, so the top is really quite simple. For the back, I cut two pieces to allow for a swayback adjustment. (Sorry, no rearview pics; my 5 year old photographer only snapped a few at my request. Note, having a shorty take your photos is not flattering for the ol' double chin....) If you are planning to sew one of these up, know that the neckline is as low as the pattern envelope photo shows. I cut a size 10 (and wear an 8 in RTW clothing), but once finished I realized I should have cut a smaller size since the front was falling foward and exposing quite a bit when bent over. Since I had already bound the armhole and shoulder seams in bias tape, I did not want to pick the seams apart. Instead, I took vertical tuck in the center of the front yoke. (Later, I will add a close-up photo to show this.) With the gathered bodice, the tuck blends right in. The final fit is much better with the small adjustment.McCalls 5388

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Quick Kid Projects

For Christmas, I made these Composition Book Covers for my daughter and niece using two fabrics from Amy Butler's Love collection. I just winged the pattern based on the book measurements. If you look closely you'll notice that I sewed the pencil pouch upside down on my daughter's! No worries, it still holds the pencil snugly. This fleece robe is from New Look 6847, a versatile patttern, with options for unisex kids robe and pajamas (woven bottoms and knit tops). So far, I have only sewn the robe pattern.The fleece was chosen by my daughter at our local Hancock Fabric. I let her choose anything she wanted (but did strategically steer her away from the licensed character prints!). I have found that fleece is so easy to work with. Fleece edges don't fray, so for the pockets, I just pinked the edges and topstitched the pockets right onto the robe. When sewing with fleece, I have used a regular straight stitch, although I've read that a stretch stitch is best. Rather than make loops to hold the belt, I just stitched it right to the back of the robe. One of my robes is finished this way and it makes so much sense, rather than always matching the belt to the robe after laundering or constantly rethreading the belt through the loops...especially for a little person.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ruffled Halter Dress

Ruffled Halter Dress by Oliver and S

In eager anticipation of summer weather, I made my daughter a summer dress. The pattern is the Ruffled Halter by Oliver + S, featured in Stitch Magazine Spring 2010 and available for free download. The pattern is actually a top, so for my dress version, I added an additional 4-5 inches of length to the bodice pieces and added a fourth ruffle. This came together quickly and is cute on my daughter. My model was not in the mood tonight, so the climbing wall will suffice as a backdrop!ruffled halter dress by oliver and s The fabric is Monarch in Tangerine from Valori Well's Del Hi line. The orange is a welcome addition in a closet overrun with pink and purple! A nice feature of this pattern is that the bias-cut ruffles can be left with a raw edge...quck and easy. I cut a large. My daughter has just moved out of 5T and now in a girls XS or 5. The dress is plenty big; you can see the elastic is quite scrunched along the back to fit. I left about two inches extra on the end of the elastic so the dress can grow with her.

I have not made many clothes for my daughter in the past - probably the opposite of most sewists with little girls - because it was so easy to find cute clothes for her as a baby and toddler. Now that she has moved into Girl sizes, I'm finding the styles to be less too "tween" for our tastes...she's still our baby :) With this in mind (and a ridiculous fabric stash staring at me) I see more little girl clothes in my future, especially ones that sew up this quickly.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Kitschy Kitchen Apron

This is the Kitschy Kitchen Apron from the One Yard Wonders book. If you are in need of a straightforward, instant-gratification project, this book is full of options. Since I've used so much Amy Butler fabric lately, I took a break and used this butterfly print from Tina Given's Treetop Fancy. The dot is something I picked up at Hancock fabric a year or so ago...and super cheap as the dots are way wonky after washing. I didn't even attempt to align the dots when cutting. The flirty ruffle detail is super cute!
I am loving this color combination. My fabric stash is heavy on oranges and greens, so it is nice to use some fresh colors. The colors are best represented in the first photo at the top. (Boo for dark winter evenings that don't allow for natural light photos after work.) As with most aprons, this pattern is simple and easy to execute. I added the contrast band at the hem for additional interest. I cut a strip the same dimensions as the waistband and applied with the same method to make the bottom hem feel neat and finished. With the added band, this apron hits me (~5' 3" height) just below the knee.

I attached the apron ties to the front of the waistband rather than the back for a different look. These buttons were purchased for another project that never came to fruition and the color matches perfect. I love when things work out so easily!

By the way, these photos were taken in my brand new sewing space!! We just finished our basement and I was able to claim a room to be all mine. I'm super-excited and once the room is organized, I will do a big reveal here. Yay for dedicated creative space.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Pillows in Amy Butler

Amy Butler Geisha FansI made these pillows for my mother-in-law for Christmas. They were well overdue as she picked out the fabric from my stash last Christmas! The design is similar to the pillows I made for our family room in late 2009.
Other than the brown linen, all of the fabrics are Amy Butler from my stash - the main fabric is Geisha Fans in Clay (Lotus Collection), the accent is Seeds in Okra (Belle Collection) and the stripe is Oxford Stripe (Lotus Collection).