Tree Hugger Top

tree-hugger-top_0109 This, my friends, is the project I was most excited about for Kid's Clothes week. I've been hoarding this plaid linen dress in my refashion box for a couple of months and man am I happy to have used it. This is the top I had in mind when I made the Colonel Mustard Skirt- and I love love how they look together!

The fabric reminds me of a lumberjack shirt, but my little gal would be the one in the tree trying to save it rather than the one cutting it down, so Tree Hugger Top it is!

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The pattern I used is the Haven Acres Blouse pattern, soon to be released by Jennuine Designs. I've been testing for her so I get an early stab at it, lucky me! I've made a couple already and I've got another one planned. I made some modifications to it for this top though, which I'll detail below. But first, a before:

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and after:

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Pattern: Haven Acres Blouse by Jennuine Designs

Size: 3t

Things I loved:

  • intuitive construction
  • simple, feminine shape
  • accurate size- her measurements landed squarely in the 3t range and it fits great!

Things I changed:

  • lengthened blouse by 3in to make it more of a tunic
  • cut the back on the button placket of the dress instead of a fold
  • cut the front bodice over top of the back panel to use the bias cut panel as a design feature
  • omitted keyhole (to feature the bias panel) and bound neckline with a clean finish on the back instead of ties
  • narrowed the sleeve by 1.5in. Since the shirt buttons down the back now less fullness is required in the sleeve for comfortable dressing. If you make this top with the original design and don't have buttons down the back be very cautious that you don't make it too hard to put on by not allowing enough ease in the sleeve!
  • omitted the sleeve elastic
  • bound the hem in bias tape

Things I'll change next time:

  • I've made it following the pattern exactly and love it that way, I'm sure I'll make another like that!
  • I'm toying with the idea of making one in the same mustard sweatshirt fleece as this skirt

Notions & Fabric

  • thrifted linen dress
  • navy single fold bias tape, ironed in half to make it a narrow double fold bias tape

I'm excited for this pattern to be released! I'll be sharing makes from this 3 piece collection soon- but I'm feeling oh so lucky to have the pattern in time for Kid's Clothes Week!

In other news, we're getting better at the whole photo taking process. Less grumpies (treats are always involved) and I'm getting better shots quicker. Plus these two hams like to pose, so there's that :)

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Goofballs. Anyway, I'm feeling good about the photography retreat I went to. Maybe I'll share some pics from that one day- although I think it will just make you all hungry:)

The Colonel Mustard Skirt

colonel-mustard-skirt It's that magical time again, friends... the time when I sew my heart out and actually blog about my projects before moving on to the next ones... it's KID'S CLOTHES WEEK! The theme this go around is up cycling. Um, yes please? If you've been around here for any length of time you know I LOVE to up cycle/refashion/scavenge. So obviously, I must OWN this Kid's Clothes Week!

I like to start the week off with a quick and easy project to help keep me motivated to make more. Enter my first project of the week- the Colonel Mustard Skirt. It had humble beginnings as a 2XL mens sweatshirt rescued from the thrift store:

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I forgot it was supposed to start on Monday, so a little Super Bowl night sewing (watching the series finale of Parenthood and not the Super Bowl because duh) and I drafted and sewed this simple skirt in an evening.

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I kind of winged it, which is something I haven't done in a while. I have so many patterns now that I usually have something similar to what I want and don't need to draft my own. This was simple enough that I thought I'd give it a try. I'm also taking the Pattern Workshop course from Lauren Dahl right now so I figure I need to get brave about drafting myself.

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It's a fairly simple skirt- a couple of rectangles, pocket cutouts, waistband and hem band from the bottom ribbing of the sweatshirt, and elastic at the waist to keep it up. I made the whole thing on my serger except for the topstitching on the pockets. Once I buy another double needle I'll topstitch the waistband and hem band, too. I did end up lowering the front waistband after trying it on her today, so for anyone thinking of drafting something like this you'll likely need to scoop that front waist down some.

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Here's the pocket lining detail. I used this fabric from Finch Sewing Studio. I had the pleasure of stopping in to their shop on Saturday and just couldn't leave empty handed!

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I always forget size labels so I made do with a simple ribbon tag and fabric pen.

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If I were to sew it again I think I'd add some pleats to the front. And the little lady? Well, she likes it alright. It isn't twirly, but I have plans for a top to go with it that will be plenty twirly, so hopefully that will redeem it!

Who else is sewing along for Kid's Clothes Week? I wanna see what you're making!!

(Details on the coat are in this post)

Aztec Floral Zsálya Top- Pattern Parcel #6

Another Pattern Parcel is here!! This bundle of PDF patterns from indie designers, available for two weeks, is all women's patterns and all fabulous! As always, you can choose your price when you purchase, and all profits are donated to the charity Donors Choose, which provides supplies for classrooms in need. Pattern Parcel #6: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win!

The patterns included in Parcel #6 are: Bronte Top by Jennifer Lauren Hudson Pant by True Bias Julia Cardigan by Mouse House Creations Syrah Skirt by Lauren Dahl/Selvage Designs Zsálya Top and Dress by Kate and Rose

aaaand a bonus pattern, if you choose a price of $32 or greater, the Odette Dress by Bluegingerdoll! It's a star lineup of patterns, folks! Some I've been pining after for a while, some are completely new to me, but I can see myself wearing every one of them.

Pattern Parcel #6: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win I chose to sew the Zsálya top first. This is a risky move for me, I have to admit. I have a pretty petite/narrow frame, so while I love the look of loose and drapey tops they rarely look good on me. My shoulders are narrow and generally can't balance out a voluminous top. I decided to sew it anyway and hope for the best because I love that crossover front detail so much. It reminds me of a grown up Fawn Lily pattern, which I've been eyeing for my girls.

Totally works, right?! I love to layer in fall, especially since our weather is pretty temperate. I can start the day with a cardigan over the top and take it off when things warm up in the afternoon.

The fabric is refashioned from a Laura Ashley dress I bought at the thrift store. Charly was bemoaning me for cutting it apart. Apparently 90's fashion is her jam.

I chose it because of the funky floral. The flowers have an aztec sort of styling to them that for some reason spoke to me. The dress is a lightweight cotton that doesn't wrinkle, making it the perfect mom top. Aint nobody got time for ironing. I love that it dresses up my normal t-shirt and jeans look but isn't too fussy- no closures, high neckline that can't be pulled down by tiny hands exposing me to the other parents at the children's museum... you know, all the important things. And comfy. Did I mention that?

And it looks good with my favorite boots, which is requisite for any fall staple.

Back yoke, so pretty.

You can see the aztec-ish floral on the sleeve detail here. And speaking of sleeve detail, I love the gather and the shaping of the sleeve!

I'd wanted to use piping to accentuate the crossover detail but I didn't have any and I was antsy to get started. Next time.

I cut out a small and ended up sizing it down later. I should have cut an extra small (I was on the border size wise, and should have known from past experience to size down on these sorts of tops) but I solved it by holding the taped together yoke and front bodice pieces over my sewn together top (sans sleeves), shifting them over about an inch, and literally drawing a new side seam and armysce based on that. It's a bit of an unconventional solution, but it worked like a charm and meant I didn't have to worry about changing the sleeve shape any.

As for the pattern, I'm in love. I love the pattern diagrams- very clear and easy to follow. The pattern had great pointers and explained things really well. I really loved that they gave two methods of finishing the yoke so you can choose if you want the easy way or the more polished way. It's a pattern that can teach you something while you sew, and I love that! Everything came together relatively quickly, although I did have to think through the bodice/yoke sewing method a few times before I figured it out. The sewing was made quicker by reusing the existing hem of the dress I refashioned. Hooray for up cycling!

So sewing friends, do you want these patterns? Head over to Pattern Parcel to purchase this bundle before it's gone!

Sunki Village Dress & Pattern Parcel #5

Hello my friends! I've been a busy seamstress, and I should have a post up with pictures and details from my sister's wedding dress SOOOOOON!! The wedding was lovely and our trip was too much fun. I've missed the desert air. Utah was on the cusp of autumn when we left, and had I not known that the blissful Virginia autumn was soon to come I may never have left that dry and blessed state. I'm done with humidity, yo. Thankfully, the leaves are starting to turn and we've even had a couple of boot-and-soup days so I'm in my element. I even made pumpkin crap cookies, which is the official mascot of fall in this house.

But yes, enough blabbering about air and cookies, right? This post is about clothes! I'm happy to be sewing along for Perfect Pattern Parcel again with Parcel #5- girls and tweens! It's a stellar parcel, to be sure. Every parcel seems to have a few patterns I've been eyeing and a few new-to-me patterns, which is a perfect mix I think. For those unfamiliar, Perfect Pattern Parcel offers limited time sales of pattern bundles from indie designers, and donates all profits to a charity called Donors Choose. Donors Choose provides supplies to teachers and students for their classrooms. It's a win-win-win- support indie designers, help students, and get patterns!

This particular bundle of patterns includes sizes from toddler to tween- meaning these patterns will be in rotation in my house for YEARS to come! A few of the "tween" sizes may even fit me, so I'm excited to see how versatile these patterns become. Click through the links or pictures to learn more about the patterns in this parcel!

Pattern Parcel #5: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win!

Oh, and did I mention that you can name your own price?! Yes. I know. Unreal. And hey, if you name a price of $28 or more, you'll be sent the bonus pattern as well- the Sunki Dress!

Pattern Parcel #5: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win So what did I sew? There's a sneaky peek at the top, but I couldn't resist making another Sunki Dress. Yes, I've sewn it before (twice actually, but this one is my fave) but it's just. so. good. I'm a Figgy's fangirl, truly. The Sunki Dress was my first indie pattern purchase. I saw it and the Nituna Coat (you can see the one I made here) on Pinterest in the early early days (like, 2010, folks) and I pined after them for a long time. I had never seen such hip patterns before. I just dig the aesthetic and the ease of wear. So modern and still kid friendly. Both the Sunki and Nituna are some of my favorite kid makes to date:

So here's the deal: I started with this wool skirt I bought earlier this year at the thrift store.
It is dated and kinda weird but the print sucked me in. It's a village scene that, despite being fairly dreary, is completely whimsical at the same time. I loved the juxtaposition of those muted colors with the intricate village scene, full of towers and mountains, fishermen and horseback riders, just waiting for a story to be told. So I bought it, with every intention of turning it in to children's clothing. Sunki was perfect for showcasing the scene, with no gathers or pleats to interrupt the pattern.
It is dark and chic but still totally wearable and playable.
To keep it from feeling too grown up or dreary I decided to embellish the scene with a little embroidery. I kept it simple, mainly because my embroidery skills are rudimentary at best, but also because I love how subtle it is.
And the easier to see version- Charly said she wanted an orange haired princess in the tower. Orange hair it is!
I tried to line up the horizontal pattern as much as possible. The large repeat meant total pattern matching was impossible, but I did manage to line the sleeves up fairly well.
I love how easy this dress is- not necessarily assembly wise, but wear wise. Sure, it's wool, and pretty grown-up looking, but that won't stop the puddle jumping, leaf collecting, bug catching girl who is wearing it.

Also, it layers sooooo well! Perfect for autumn! I wish I could show every part of this fabric. It truly is beautiful, the way the colors flow and the village streets blend to marshland and then mountain scenes. I'm so happy to have rescued it and given it a good imaginative home! Surely many stories will be conjured up for the orange haired princess in her tower! Will she call out to the fisherman below? Are the horsemen coming to her rescue- or is she diligently guarding the kingdom from their attack?

So, the details:
Things I loved:
  • That silhouette, y'all. The pocket detail gets me every time
  • I finally totally get the pocket construction- 3rd time's the charm! But wait- there's a picture tutorial here to guide you!
  • The fit is spot on with my daughter's chest measurement, with just enough room to grow
Things I changed:
  • Added piping at the pocket detail
  • Created a lining- sort of. I didn't want this fabric to get itchy, so I basted lining fabric to the body pieces (using the back pattern piece and the assembled front piece with pockets as patterns) and then sewed as usual. It's a cheater lining, but I'll take it:)
  • Added an inch to the hem for my tall skinny gal
  • Cut the back piece on the fold so the pattern wouldn't be interrupted, then did an exposed zipper over top
  • Cut the side panels on the bias
Things I'll change next time:
  • I won't change anything about the pattern- but I'm sure I'll find a way to customize again! Maybe patchwork pocket details in some modern solid colors with a neutral main fabric. Mmm now that sounds right up my alley.
Notions & Fabric:
  • Thrifted 100% wool fabric (As a side note, I disregard wash labels on thrifted fabric often for kids clothing. Aint no way I'm going to dry clean this bad boy.)
  • Black piping from Hobby Lobby
  • Black fashion zipper, also from Hobby Lobby
  • Lining fabric from the thrifted skirt

Special thanks to my model, who worked splendidly on two conditions: 1. We HAD to have a pajama photo shoot first, and 2. Gummy worms.

I work for gummy worms, too.

Blingin' Prefontaines for Perfect Pattern Parcel

I'm so so excited to be sewing for Perfect Pattern Parcel again- this time for Parcel #3. Not sure what Perfect Pattern Parcel is? Here's the gist of it, straight from their own mouths...er...keyboard.

"Here at Perfect Pattern Parcel, we believe in supporting independent pattern designers. It’s our opinion that indie patterns are just, well, better than big box patterns, and we’re pretty sure our customers think so too. So, we allow customers to show their support in naming their own price for each Parcel.  We also encourage customers to allocate part of their Parcel price to the charity Donorschoose.org in order to help classrooms in need. Pattern Parcel donates all profits after expenses from Parcel sales to the charity as well. Together we've raised almost $4,500 towards eliminating educational inequality."
Pretty great, right? It's a fabulous way to support indie pattern makers (which I love!) and teachers and children (which I also love!) while getting some fabulous new patterns. I love buying pattern bundles because I end up with patterns that I otherwise may not have sought after, but sometimes those end up being ones you love the most. Parcel #3 includes these awesome patterns:

Pattern Parcel #3

When I first saw which patterns were going to be included I picked out 3 immediately that I knew I wanted to sew up. The Prefontaine shorts were not one of them, which just goes to show how awesome it is to get a bundle of patterns, even if every pattern isn't one you think you'd buy on its own. But enough words, how bout I show you what I made?
So here's the deal: I don't do shorts. I wear shorts when I run, and I have one pair of knee length jean cutoffs I wear when I really really have to. And that's it. But I was walking around Hobby Lobby and I spotted this gold bias tape, and it was like I had a vision. Gold trimmed linen prefontaines. Perfection. Maybe a little crazy or maybe super chic? Hard to say, but I knew I had to make it happen. I snatched up the bias tape and made my way to the thrift store hoping to find a linen dress I could dissect to make these shorts. The thrifting gods looked kindly on me and sent this 100% linen dress that was perfect. Plenty of fabric, very few seams to worry about.
Please forgive my poor phone photography!

So the pattern. It's simple, just a few pieces to cut out, and comes together very easily. The most time consuming part is the trim, but even that wasn't bad. If I wasn't confident using bias tape to finish edges before, I am now! I got lots of practice and perfected some of my technique. I finished them up but wasn't totally happy with the fit- I'd done the longer inseam and they just felt a little frumpy. 

Let's ignore my unmade bed. And brassiere.

But the thought of removing all that trim to shorten them... ugh. So I played around with it a little and realized if I shortened the rise of the waistband and overlapped the side seams a bit more I'd end up with a more fitted, but still loose and easy, fit. I lowered the waistband by 2" in the front and 3/4" in back, then overlapped the side seams (at the bottom circle, for those who have/are making the pattern) by 2". I made sure to taper up so I wasn't taking in any extra up near the bum area, just down in the leg.

 
 
After those alterations the pocket needed to be shortened (since the rise was lower) and moved so it was better centered to the new shape. I just safety pinned it on where it looked right, tried it on, and finished it up. And then I fell in love with them and we lived happily ever after.
 
 
We are living with my in-laws right now, and their neighborhood has a super awesome pool and splash pad that is a ten minute walk on a wooded path from our house. So shorts to wear to the pool, if nothing else, will get lots of use this summer. Oh, and I've made something else for our swim days, too. Do you spot it in these pictures? I'll be sharing it in a couple of days!
 

Are you convinced you need these patterns yet? This parcel is available until Friday, June 13th at Perfect Pattern Parcel! Check out the posts by these bloggers over the next two weeks for more inspiration! Parcel #3 Inspiration Tour Schedule:

Friday, May 30 Sew Busy Lizzy || Pienkel || SeamstressErin

Saturday, May 31 Design By Lindsay || the Brodrick design studio || Cookin' and Craftin'

Sunday, June 1 Diary of a Chainstitcher || a happy stitch || Disaster in a Dress || sew Amy sew

Monday, June 2 Idle Fancy || Casa Crafty || Kadiddlehopper || Dandelion Drift

Tuesday, June 3 Our Family Four || Casa Crafty || Cookin' and Craftin' || a happy stitch

Wednesday, June 4 Lexi Made || The Quirky Peach || Stitched || a happy stitch || Casa Crafty ||

Thursday, June 5 verypurpleperson || Casa Crafty || sew a straight line || Sewbon

Friday, June 6 Shawnta Sews || Mama says sew || a happy stitch || Cookin' and Craftin'

Saturday, June 7 Casa Crafty || sewninestitches || 'So, Zo... What do you know?'

Sunday, June 8 oonaballoona || A Stitching Odyssey || Sew Charleston

Monday, June 9 Sew Sweetness || True Bias || Ozzy Blackbeard

Tuesday, June 10 Welcome to the Mouse House || Sew Caroline || Adventures in Dressmaking

Wednesday, June 11 Peneloping || YoSaMi || sewVery

Thursday, June 12 la inglesita || La Pantigana || Sanae Ishida

Friday, June 13 Seamster Sewing Patterns || Paunnet

Fashion Revolution- a guide to a more ethical wardrobe on a budget

My Photo for the #insideout and #handmadeinsideout
Today is Fashion Revolution Day- a day to remember the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh just one year ago, and a day to ask the question, "Who made my clothes?" A day to bring awareness to sustainable fashion and make us all think a bit about where our clothes come from, and who makes them, and how they are made. Because it matters. And if you don't know why yet, watch this five minute op-doc about the Rana Plaza collapse. It's good. Really good.
I've had sustainable fashion on my mind for a bit now, ever since I came across this article- 6 Things You Should Know About Your Clothes- in my facebook feed. (You should really read it, and the follow up post, 4 Things You Should Remember Every Time You Shop for Clothes). Here's the thing- I've always been a seeker of bargains. I pride myself on finding a good deal, but this article made me rethink the cost of those "deals.'  I'd started to see the light on quality over quantity (as a twenty something who naturally wants ALL THE THINGS this is a slow going change) but I'm more committed to that change every day, as I'm learning about the options I have as a consumer. I'm on a tight budget, which means I can't afford to buy all organic cotton, sustainably sourced, ethically made clothes for myself and my family. I'm using this fantastic and lovely graphic by Sarah Lazarovic, along with the ideas in the articles linked above, as my guide to navigating a more ethical wardrobe, on a budget.

source: http://longliveirony.com/?p=575 by Sarah Lazarovic

1. I'm gonna use what I got. When I look through my closet there are always those things that I pass by because they don't fit just right, or a button needs to be replaced, or there is a hole somewhere. Well guess what- clothes can be fixed! Mending and alterations can extend the life of clothes you already have. I do mine myself, but when I don't know how I usually search the internet for a tutorial or video. If you want to learn how, the information is there! And if you don't want to learn how, find a tailor or someone who can do the work for you. Costs range on this quite a bit, but it never hurts to ask, right?
Matt and I both had holes forming in the crotch of our jeans a few months back. I finally convinced myself to try patching them because we just couldn't afford new ones at the time. That was 5 months ago, and we are both still wearing them with no signs of them wearing out, and the patches aren't even visible!
2. I'll borrow and swap when I can. I don't have a clothes borrowing friend near me now, but when I did I loved it. For family pictures or a special occasion, raiding a friends closet can give just the extra something you want without purchasing anything. I've also borrowed maternity clothes. Pregnancy can be a tricky time for clothes, so borrowing makes so much sense. Something you wear one week may look terrible or not fit the next, so borrowing from others was a great way for me to have a wardrobe I wasn't sick of by the end of my pregnancy. Oh, and kids clothes? Borrowing saved us from having to buy a new infant wardrobe, since my girls were born in opposite seasons. Moving forward I'll try to lend more, too.
3. I'll keep on thrifting. Its no secret that thrifting is one of my true loves. Sometimes when I need to get some "me time" at the end of the day I'll leave the kids with my man and go to the thrift store. Yeah, I know how to party. Needless to say I'll continue to thrift for my family's wardrobe- and alteration skills come in handy here too- and thrift for pieces to upcycle or refashion. Which brings me to the next part of my plan:
4. Make, make make! Wearing something I've made makes me happy. Seeing my girls wearing something I've made makes me happy. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm betting seeing Matt wearing something I've made would make me happy. I'm going to try to add to all of our wardrobes with handmade when I can, using lots of thrifted materials, and try to use patterns by indie designers (my fave!) whenever possible. For anyone who doesn't sew but wants to, the online sewing community is one of the nicest and most helpful out there! There are tutorials! Patterns! Bloggers galore! So many resources to help anyone, at any skill level, hone the skills needed to sew. It doesn't take a special talent, just patience and practice. If you've ever thought about learning to sew, DO IT!
5. I'll put my money where my mouth is. Yes, I'm sure I'll still be buying lots of things, but I'll try to do a little research and buy less 'fast fashion' and more quality products from companies who treat their makers well. Because I sew, so I know the skill it takes to make clothing. I want to show, with my dollars, that I value that skill in the global market. I'm not promising to only buy from a certain company, or to only buy organic, but I am going to be a more conscientious consumer. Because it matters.
So what about you- how are you going to be part of the fashion revolution?
Check out Behind the Hedgerow, Petit a Petit and Family, and Things for Boys for more info on #handmadeinsideout

Kids Clothes Week Spring 2014- Day 2 & 3 (and a half!)

I've done fairly well keeping up with a bit of sewing each day, and I've even managed to get outside with my kids and make dinner. Let's not talk about the state of the laundry, though. I have a goal this KCW of using stuff I have- refashioning, upcycling, or using fabric from my (small) stash- rather than buying new fabric. It is time to clear some things out and make these piles of junk into something useful! So, for day 2, I refashioned (or upcyled... I really should find out the difference) this shirt I picked up at the thrift store a while back. If you haven't seen a rhyme or reason to my thrifting yet, I'll let you in on a secret. It's all about the fabric. If I'm looking for something for me then yes, I'm looking at fit and lines and all that stuff, but if I find something with a fabric I just love I know I can usually make it into something cool. Which is exactly why I bought this shirt that I knew I'd never wear- at least not in its current state.

It had a deep scoop back that meant there wasn't enough fabric to make it a little dress, so I finally decided to lop off the bottom as is and gather it into a skirt. It was basically the easiest thing I've made in a while. I used some fabric from the top to make a flat front/elastic back waistband, gathered the bottom portion and sewed it on. Easy as pie and my little lady is in love.

But then I didn't have anything she could wear with it, so I figured for day 3 I'd take a swing at the Celestial Tee from Figgy's that is included in Parcel #2 from Perfect Pattern Parcel. I had a cream tee I bought on clearance for $5 to work with. I loved it in theory, but the pleat detail on the front did a weird something over my boobs that I just wasn't digging. The problem is, this shirt wasn't quite wide enough to fit the pattern piece. I thought I'd try doing a contrast sleeve band like this, but it wasn't even wide enough for that. So I thought and thought and wasted way too much time brainstorming (I'm an overanalyzer- like bad) and came to the conclusion that I could try making it a raglan style sleeve, using another shirt to create a contrast sleeve. I literally just cut the pattern from the armpit diagonally to the neckline and added seam allowances. I also brought the back hem up for a less dramatic hi/low hem. Once I sewed the sleeve to the main bodice I followed the pattern. I wasn't sure how the pleats would look with the raglan sleeve, but I'm actually really loving that they seem to have the same angle to them, which makes it look intentional.

I toyed with the idea of using a linen with metallic stripes, but wasn't sure how a woven would work with a knit pattern. I used a thin knit with some texture instead (from a hand me down base layer type shirt), but now that I've sewn it up I'm pretty confident this pattern is loose enough that a woven sleeve would be just fine.

I didn't have enough fabric for a neckband so I cut the original hem from the main shirt and used that. It made a more narrow band but it worked! Talk about using what you've got!

I'm wishing I would have made a size smaller, since this pattern has a lot of ease and Charly is skinny as a rail. I guess she'll get to wear this for a long time:)

I finished the hemming on the shirt this afternoon, which brings us to today. I'm currently working on a pair of bubble shorts for Caroline and have another peplum top cut for Charly. My goal is 7 items this week- fingers crossed!

In the mean time, we are enjoying some fabulous weather, and it is all I can do to not skip naps and spend the whole day outside. Once summer hits the humidity comes with it, so these nice spring days are a precious commodity! Today we managed to get out for a run this morning and spend the late afternoon doing sidewalk chalk.

This goober declared herself "a ragamuffin princess" and I'd have to agree!

Kids Clothes Week Spring 2014- Day 1

And all of the sudden I'm back! Posting for Perfect Pattern Parcel earlier today (and again tomorrow) and now Kids Clothes Week is upon us and I'm hoping to stay somewhat up to date with my projects this week. Yesterday was day 1, and since I'd done a bit of prep work by cutting a couple projects out, I managed to finish one of them.

This peplum top was made using the Pippa Peplum pattern from See Kate Sew. I used this pattern to sew a couple dresses for someone recently but this was my first time sewing up a Pippa for one of my girls. Charly gasped when she saw it this morning and immediately declared it was her Snow White dress. I have no idea why she's calling it that, but I couldn't have asked for a better reaction!

I made it using this shirt that I bought for myself at the thrift store a couple of years ago. I have no idea why I bought it. I don't usually wear those colors or that silhouette, which is why its been sitting in my dresser nearly the entire time I've owned it. Lucky for me neon is in and this bad boy was just big enough to cut a top for Charly out of. I was able to cut the bodice and sleeves out of just the fabric from the sleeves of the original shirt!

I used the bottom of the shirt as the skirt portion of the top by measuring the height of the peplum pattern piece and cutting that much off the bottom of the shirt, following the curve. Because of that the bottom has a bit more fullness than the original pattern but it saved me the pain of hemming. Hooray!

So that's day one of Kids Clothes Week for me. I've got two more patterns cut and ready to sew, and about 20 more I want to make. I'd love to make one thing each day, but I realize that may be a bit ambitious for me at this point. Can't hurt to try though, right? Wish me luck!

Caroline's Blessing Dress

I recently happened upon these pictures of Caroline on her blessing day (similar to a christening) and realized I had never posted about her dress. I made it! I made Charly's (and the pictures of her wearing it are here) so I figured it would be a sweet little thing for each child to have their own handmade by me. Of course, in the three years since Charly's blessing day my tastes have changed some and my skills have improved, so they look very different from each other. It's kind of fun for me to see the difference in difficulty and style after so short a time, not to mention seeing how much this little lady has grown- her blessing was nearly seven months ago!

I made this dress using Made By Rae's Geranium Dress pattern. It's one I know and love- and bonus, the newborn size is available as a free download! I Used the newborn bodice from the download, drafted a flutter sleeve based on the one from the paid pattern (since the free one is sleeveless) and altered the skirt portion to be pleated instead of gathered. Oh, and did I mention it was a refashion? Yep, I made it from this shirt a friend passed on to me. The cut didn't look very good on me but the fabric was too too perfect for the occasion. So ethereal!

It's hard to see in most pictures, but I kept the original hem because I loved that pleat detail. And it saved me the pain of hemming such slippery fabric! This is the best picture showing the entire dress.

Of course, that was before I did the embroidery. I did a self- drafted design (ok, I was winging it) of french knots in a sort of starburst coming from the neckline. In gold embroidery floss, which I previously didn't know existed but I absolutely love the look of. I used it on this dress too. If you are so inspired to use it, be warned; it is tricky. But worth it, I think. Also worth mentioning: embroidering a traced-but-not-cut pattern piece would be infinitely easier than embroidering a sewn garment. Just sayin.

I've been anti baby bonnet in the past, but the Storybook Woods Bonnet changed my mind. I love the look of this little cap. I think it is simple enough to be masculine for a boy and easy to doll up for a girl. I loved it enough to make a winter version, even. This one is made from the same lightweight cotton I used for the lining of the dress. I added a simple flower with more gold french knots, and just the tiniest bit of pink for the flower center.

Naturally, I was finishing the buttonholes just hours before her blessing was to take place. I just hate buttonholes so so much. Anyone with me? They shouldn't be that difficult but for some reason they are. I seam ripped right through the stitching, making a tear in the fabric that I could only sort of fix. You know how the Amish intentionally make quilts with imperfections? Something about acknowledging their imperfection before God... does anyone know what I'm talking about? Anyway, we'll say that's why it's there. Keep me humble, haha.

For the sake of documentation, here is our little family of four on Caroline's blessing day (which was July 28, 2013- also for the sake of documentation). It is mind blowing to see these little people change and grow.

We sure love this sweet little lady! She's bigger and crazier but just as sweet today.

Thanks for reading!

Wool Nituna Coat

Last week my mom flew out to visit and finally have a trip where we could get out and have fun instead of taking care of a newborn and helping me recover from surgery. And then we had some nasty weather and Charly had hand, foot and mouth disease and we spent most of the trip inside. Luckily she loves them grandbabies and enjoyed the trip anyway. We made the most of the bit of snow we got (Virginia doesn't handle snow well- a couple of inches closes down everything) and played with the girls outside. Charly's favorite was having a snowball fight. Of course her version of a snowball fight involves running at you with a hand full of snow and pressing it against your body, but still, she loved it. This was Caroline's first taste of snow- both literally and figuratively- and she enjoyed both.

Going out to play in the snow gave me the perfect opportunity to take pictures of the coat I finished for Charly a few weeks ago. I first saw the Figgy's Nituna Coat pattern nearly 2 years ago, and I loved it from the start. I love the silhouette, the lines, the shape of the hood; basically everything about it. I finally bought it when I bought the Sew Fab pattern bundle this fall and made plans to make one for Charly for winter. It was on my list for Kids Clothes Week but was bumped when I decided to make halloween costumes. In between projects for other people I managed to get this done in time for winter to finally set in here in Northern Virginia.

THE FABRIC

I picked up this herringbone wool blend coat at a thrift store for $8. Of course it smelled like a thrift store, so I cut a small sample from the hem and washed it twice to see how the wool (which is marked dry clean only) would react. It didn't seem to shrink and the texture change was barely noticeable and not unpleasant, so I washed to whole thing to remove the smell and ensure I could wash it if need be later on. Nothing like a dry clean only clothing item for kids to dampen a snow day.

Once it was washed I disassembled the whole thing and played around with my pattern pieces until I could fit them all without changing the grain of the fabric. I ended up having to cut the hood piece from two pieces rather than one folded over so it has a seam on the top of the hood where there otherwise wouldn't be one. It doesn't bother me.

The lining is a quilting cotton I picked up at Joanns. I chose two fabrics that coordinated with the wool and let Charly pick her favorite. I'm not one bit surprised she picked this cheerful print, and I love that it keeps the coat from looking too serious. And those red buttons... oh yeah.

THE SEWING

The coat sews up beautifully! The raglan style sleeves are a breeze to assemble and make it easy to take on and off, even with bulky sweaters on underneath. The only hitch in the sewing process was the welt pockets, which, coincidentally, are the very first step. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what the pattern was asking me to do, so I consulted Google and found this fantastic tutorial at Coletterie.com that saved my bacon and my sanity. After that hiccup the rest went together without a hitch. Well, other than the meltdown that ensued when Charly awoke to find she could no longer use the lining to be Little Red Riding Hood once it was sewn in to the outer shell. Tears were shed, and she refused to wear the coat for at least a week.

The good news is, now she likes it! (and I've since made her a Little Red Riding Hood cape- but shhh! It's for Christmas!)

White hat- H&M Red Boots- thrifted Mittens- made using a pattern from Oliver+S Little Things to Sew Caroline's Hat- made by a friend using this tutorial