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)

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

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!