Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tula Pink Meets Oliver and S

When new patterns are released by my fave pattern company, I always read what the designer says about them - one of the things that struck me when the Hide and Seek Dress and Tunic was released was that the designer indicated that the yoke would be a great place to feature an unusual or special fabric.

Well, I bought that pattern.  Never made it. 

Then, the Elizabeth Line from Tula Pink arrived.  What to do with a beautiful portrait of a 16th century Queen Elizabeth?  Well, put it right in the middle of my 5 year old's chest, what else!

We will be taking a quick trip to the east coast in a couple of weeks, and my daughter's wardrobe is not ready for this.  I decided to make this pattern in tunic length out of a fairly substantial knit - magenta ponte de roma double knit from the shop.  I'm SO happy with my decision....

Seriously, who else on the planet will have a tunic like this one??!!

She likes it, and already got unsolicited compliments from her father and older sister, so success!

Note on the pattern - this is a size 4 with three inches in length added.  She can definitely wear this for at least a year, I'd imagine.

Monday, February 16, 2015

February Free-For-All - Popover Sundress Inspiration

Welcome to visitors from the Frances Suzanne blog - what a great idea they had to showcase free patterns!!

Where do you get inspiration for your sewing?

I *used* to rely heavily on the now near-dead Flickr website.  When I started sewing for my youngest, I got tons of inspiration there - I "favorited" items to document where I'd like to go with my sewing.  When I started a new creation, I'd go there to see what other people had done with similar patterns.  I joined groups, made friends.

Then, Flickr pretty much died.

Now, I get lots of inspiration searching Instagram.  But, unless people hashtag correctly or in a predictable manner, it's tough to really keep track of what you like.   I've never been much of a Pinterest person.  So, when I signed on to showcase a free pattern, I - of course - chose an Oliver + S pattern, then went back to my old friend, the Flickr group.  A group of folks who do seem to still hang with Flickr are the O+S people - which is a good thing.

I chose the Oliver + S Popover Sundress.  Even though this is a free pattern, it includes all the high quality finishes you expect from an Oliver + S pattern, including a bonus doll pattern.  Little things like a beautifully finished yoke, and a reminder to iron down your stitches to set them really set Oliver + S patterns apart.  In my opinion!

I had made this previously for a charity event making dresses to send to Haiti, but never for my child.  When I'm searching Flickr for inspiration, I search first the pattern name within the group, then refine by "interesting".  Who knows exactly how Flickr determines interesting, but it definitely gives you good results.

When I searched the Flickr pool for the Popover Sundress, I found some interesting trends.  It seems like some of the most popular sundresses were:

  1.   made from large scale prints
  2.   made from plain fabric, with lace inserted in the yoke
  3.   made from a border print or applique

So, in the spirit of trying to be interesting, I made 3.

Here's my large scale print...

For this version, I used some very interesting Kokka double gauze from my shop.  I shortened it into a tunic.  Since this was a woven, I decided to try a size 5.  Probably a bad decision.  I used foldover elastic for the straps - a good decision.  However, this particular FOE was a bit too narrow.  Still, in spite of the pitiful look on my child (stomachache) she does really like this top.  A lot.

Here's a phone picture later in the day to prove it!

I was struggling for inspiration for a border/applique version.  Then, sadly, I got inspiration from my old dog Luther.  Luther went to doggie heaven this past weekend.  A very, very tough weekend in our house.  I decided to do a black lab version of the Popover Sundress - more for my benefit than anyone else's.  (If you'd like to see photos of Luther in his heyday, you can check my photo website here: - Luther is the black lab mix.)

For this version, I used some more fabric from my shop (yes, more shameless promotion!!) - a ponte de roma double knit.  Seriously great fabric, seriously great to work with.  Since the Kokka top turned out big, I sized down to a size 4 with 6 length.  This one worked perfectly.  Until......the kid put it on and FREAKED OUT about the ties at the shoulders.  No, those are NOT going to work for her.  After the photos, I cut off the ends of the ties.  She seems to be ok with it.

Last, but certainly not least, I made a basic black dress from more ponte de roma double knit with some very nice organic lace from Organic Cotton Plus at the bodice.  Really, this dress can go anywhere. For this version, I used a wider foldover elastic - much better.

Julia wore this black dress out to dinner tonight - at the restaurant, she told me that she wants more dresses like this - oh yeah, success!

Thanks to Ashley and Emily for asking me to participate - such great inspiration from a bunch of very talented bloggers!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Cloud 9 Voile - A Pleasant Surprise - And A Teeny Give-Away

Well, Kid's Clothes Week passed with me doing exactly one hour of embroidery on the very last day. getting in the way again.

I received some delicious fabric from Organic Cotton Plus - some voile from Cloud 9.  Organic fabric - need I say more?  Well, I had never sewn with voile.  In fact, I don't even think I had ever felt it before.  It's a beautiful weight - lightweight, but not so light that it's difficult to sew.  It's like a cotton lawn, but a bit lighter weight.  I did line the body of this dress using voile as well.

It took me an entire week to decide what to make with this fabric - after all that thought, I came up with the Playdate Dress from Oliver + S.  One of their oldest patterns, but a very lovely one.  I made two previously - here and here.  The first was made from quilting cotton - rejected by the kid.  The second was made from stretch velvet - much loved by the kid.  You just never, how much longer will she want to wear pretty dresses?  Next year, school uniforms for sure.  Ugh.

This is a straight up size 5.  I haven't made her any size 5's yet, but she is 5 years old....I think size-wise she is more like a size 4 with a 6 length, but I'm a very lazy sewist.  I was hoping that this would fit her for a while, but looking at the length, I'm sure she'll outgrow it length-wise fairly soon.  She's still at like 41 pounds - I think she's been the same weight for a year!

Really, the yoke on this pattern just slays me...

I absolutely agonized over the decision to put flat piping under the yoke, or lace.   I also got some absolutely beautiful cotton, organic lace from Organic Cotton Plus.  After playing with it, and thinking about it, I like my decision to just let the embroidery and the beautiful fabric stand for themselves.  The lace will be used in another project, very soon.

After doing some research on the fabric, and the fabric designer, I realized that Lunada Bay, the name of the fabric, is about a ten mile drive from me in Rancho Palos Verdes!  Now, if I were a really good blogger, I would have taken a road trip there for photos....

So, here's the teeny give-away - I have a good 3/4 of a yard left of this lovely fabric.  If you'd like to try it out, just leave a comment.  I'll choose a random winner by Valentine's Day.  I'll send mail to anywhere...

And, by the way, the kid *says* she loves this dress.....we will see!

**********And the giveaway winner is Mikea Gray from Gray Colors - chosen by the very scientific method of the child pulling a number out of a hat!  Hope you like the fabric Mikea!*******

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A New Year....

So, the month is 3/4 over (approximately).

So far, I've kept a resolution.  Yes, I have!

I made a shirt for me!!!

(Photo credit to the 5 year old)

I used the Metro T-Shirt from Liesl & Co.  The fit is so perfect.  I'm so, so happy.  Ridiculously happy in fact.  So happy I'm even sharing the crappy photos....

Another resolution - make a Christmas gift each month.  Well, the next project I completed may end up being a Christmas gift:

This is the Rosie Cross Body Bag from Swoon Patterns.  There's a zipper pocket on the back side.  There's actually supposed to be one inside as well, but I mucked up the directions and decided against it.  I absolutely had to use this sheep fabric from the shop - it's a Japanese fabric from Cosmo Textiles.  I don't know.....something about those sheep!  I also used some vintage piping from the stash - I got it an estate sale and just adore using something that has the original price of 15 cents on it.

Also, this month, in kind with the "buy no clothes for the kid" resolution, I completed a UFO that's been on my table since before Thanksgiving:

The top is a modified Oliver + S Field Trip Raglan T-Shirt.  I did this modification previously - I added a lined hood from another pattern, and a kangaroo pocket and cuffs and a waistband.  The top is velour that I've probably had for about 10-15 years, and the leggings are leftover from gymnastics leotard sewing.  So, seriously, an outfit made from "vintage" shall we say fabric?

Julia wore this to school the day after I made it for her.  At the end of the day, she came out and told me that one of her friends told her she looked like a clown.  We had a good discussion about listening to other people's opinions, and being yourself, etc.  So, I was very happy when this outfit came out of the laundry again and she chose it to wear to school.  Good girl.

I'm happy with my progress on my resolutions so far!!!  At least the sewing-related ones....

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015....Sewing Plans

When you feel like you haven't accomplished much during a year (sewing-wise), make a collage like these....

When I look back at 2014, I see some definite trends.  I added bag-making to my repertoire.  Surprisingly, I'm actually enjoying it.  I'm using patterns mostly from Swoon Patterns.  There's a very active Facebook group associated with this pattern designer, and it certainly makes it more fun to join in.

Of course, my Oliver + S sewing continues to dominate.  It really helps when you can buy a pattern, and sew it up in your best fabric and be sure it will go together well, and fit the way it's supposed to.  Unfortunately, I made a bunch of the same patterns over and over again.  Which leads to my resolutions.

I am joining in with a bunch of other folks at Sew Not Perfect in their goal to "Sew Your Pattern Stash 2015".  There are monthly themes, which will kind of force me to make some of these lingering (in my head) projects that haven't been done.  For example, month 1 is "Women".  Why, when I have no clothes barely, do I not sew for myself?  There's a ton of excuses - big people clothes use up way more fabric than little people clothes, I'm not comfortable with fitting myself, etc. etc.  Mostly, for work, I wear jeans, construction work boots.  I do need some tops - generally, I wear very comfortable knit tops from Target - when they fall apart, I just buy a new round.  I'm pretty darned sure that I can make myself a knit top.  I have the family t-shirt pack from Oliver + S - seriously, why have I not made one of these?  So, that's on my sewing agenda for month 1.

So, without further ado, here's my 2015 grand plan:

1.  Make something on the agenda for "Sew Your Pattern Stash 2015" every month
2.  Try very hard to make a Christmas gift every month
3.  Make a project with my embroidery machine every month
4.  Don't buy the child any clothes

I know I can accomplish #1.  #2 and #3 are more iffy.  #4 should be no problem.  I did buy her some clothes for Christmas, but really for the most part, everything she wears is either a hand-me-down, something I made, or something that someone else gifted her.

If you're interested in joining in the Sew Your Pattern Stash 2015, here's the list of the projects:

Happy New Year to all!!!!!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Blaverry Clara Dress

Before the craziness of the holidays - yes, it was crazy... - I tested a pattern from a designer that I had never tried out; Blaverry on Etsy.  Her patterns are very sleek looking - I definitely was intrigued by the excellent photography and modern look.  In fact, I just looked and some of her patterns are 50% off right now....

Anyways, I didn't know how the Clara Twirl Dress was going to turn out, so I used some totally ugly calico I had in my stash - why I had this I have no clue - but I eked out the dress out of about a yard and a half.

This dress has some very nice details - a collar with a collar stand, a bound neck edge, bound arm seams, and unique side pockets.  The front buttonhole placket is narrow, and you use small buttons; I really like this look.

This is a size 4 on Julia - sewn with no modifications.  I think I need to use 5 length in the bodice, and maybe 6 length in the skirt.  I want to make this dress again, and use fabric I actually like.  It gets a thumbs up from the kid....except, when she initially put it on, she was pulling at the collar.  She's a kid who hates things touching her neck.  But, after we walked around the block for pictures, she forgot about it.  So, I think it will work for her.

Notice we actually have green grass....that's what some rain will do for you in Southern California!  We're in the midst of a long drought, and for months and months, everyone's grass has been brown.  You get strange looks from your neighbors if you waste water.  So, the recent rain has been very welcome.

Thanks for reading - hope your holiday was as fun/crazy as ours!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Oliver + S School Days Jacket - Done!

So, after completing my post for the sew-a-long on the Oliver + S blog, the incomplete jacket sat on my sewing table for days and days, taunting me....

In between, we had two birthdays, complete with birthday celebrations at home, soccer, and school.  And, you know, life.

But, I persevered.

After all my research, poring through posts after posts on the Oliver + S forums, I realized there were many decisions/tinkerings to be made.  My final jacket is complete and here's the decisions I made:

  • added interfacing (Pellon SF101) to the facings
  • used pre-made toggle closures
  • used magnetic snaps inside
  • used quilting cotton for lining the hood and sleeves (designed by Liesl Gibson from my shop with a layer of Thinsulate (purchased from Amazon)
  • used a fairly heavy corduroy for the main body
  • used Polartec 100 for lining the body purchased here
And the final result:

 I absolutely love this jacket.  It's not a tough sew, and obviously the Oliver + S instructions are perfect.  There's a lot of steps, but they're all totally logical.  The jacket went together perfectly. 

This is a size 5 on my newly-turned-5-year-old:

I did think I was getting something by her, as I kept trying it on her while I was sewing and she didn't say anything.....but, when the jacket was complete, she said to me "you know I hate brown, right?"....ugh!  She does love the salmon-y color interior, so I'm hoping she'll wear it.

Then, since there was the lovely fleece still sitting on my sewing table, I whipped up a super-cute, very successful (per the child) outfit:

These are the Oliver + S Playtime leggings in a size 4 with about 3 inches added to the length.  A seriously perfect fit.  I used some Modern Workshop interlock knit from the shop - a great weight for leggings.  I love that the waist on these leggings is not high, nor too gathered.  The top is the Oliver + S Field Trip Raglan shirt made from the same Polartec 100 that I use to line the jacket.  I used a size 7 because of the weight of the fabric, actually with no modifications.  I added a hood, kangaroo pocket and bottom waistband and wristbands from self fabric.  The hood is lined with the Modern Workshop interlock.

I'm so happy with the result of my most recent sewing - really, this is why I sew.  I feel so accomplished when I create something.  Especially when the kid loves it too!

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