The Flora Tunic

Thursday, November 30, 2017

My baby is 8 now.  I've been thinking a lot about what I make for her.  I read so many blogs and see many Instagram posts about how sewists' kids don't want to wear their handmade garments as they get older.  For some reason, I haven't had that problem. 

One thing that I do is only sew things that I believe my kid will wear.  I try to choose patterns that will work for her, and fabric that she will like.

When I saw the new pattern from Elegance and Elephants I knew it would work for my kid.  The Flora Dress and Tunic is a fairly simple silhouette, with a bunch of options - dress or tunic, and bodice options.  Plus, bonus, no closures!  Heidi has struck the right balance of a low-ish back neck and a perfect front neckline so the garment just pulls right over the kid's head.

Here's how my version started:  I had pulled some velour out of one of my many plastic boxes, leftover from sewing for my 3 older kids.  My daughter spied this gorgeous velour, and wanted her next garment made from that.  Ok, so fine.  I decided on tunic length, and would line it with pink cotton lawn.  I decided to size up based on the heavy fabric and hoped it would work.  After printing, taping and cutting, I laid out the pattern on the fabric and - you guessed it - not enough velour.  Even with my best Ninja cutting, it wasn't going to work.

Onto plan B.

Since I have fabric yardage lying all over my house, my next thought was some very nice double gauze.  Being lazy, I didn't re-print the pattern - I just used it in the size 7 with 9 length that I had previously cut.  It's probably a bit big, but definitely worked.

I added a bit of piping to accent the front seams, otherwise this is straight up sewn as is.  This will last her a while - and she loves it!  We took pictures after school yesterday and she asked if she could wear it to school today.  She came downstairs to breakfast, and notified me that she had even worn it to bed!  So, it passed the test!

The Mira Dress from Elegance and Elephants

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Hi!  Have you seen the new pattern from Heidi at Elegance and Elephants?  She started posting her photos on Instagram a while ago, and I was immediately intrigued - a square neckline gets me every time!  If you don't already follow Heidi and her blog you should; she's got a great line of patterns, and she always posts very helpful sewing tips and info.

Without further ado, here's my version of the Mira - and then I'll tell you how it came to be:

This was not what I had planned.  The plan was an embroidered bodice, contrast hem in a lovely grey and white check that I've been saving for the right project.  Well, little did I realize that since we moved to Michigan in August, I have not used the embroidery function on my sewing machine.  Sadly, I cannot for the life of me find the stupid cord that I need to download embroidery designs!  So, that version will have to wait...

While I was coming up with a plan B, Julia was lurking around my sewing area....and found this Woodland Clearing cotton lawn from Robert Kaufman...and this crocheted lace.  I asked if she would like a dress, and she said no; she wanted a long top to wear with her skinny jeans. Well, ok then!

Please excuse the horrible indoor photos - it's still super-cold here.  I actually did try to take outside photos...but the poor child was miserable, so we ran back inside.  Oh, yes, also please forgive the end-of-the-day-after-school hair!  Actually, the hair is apres-school, apres-dance class!

Anyways, she squealed when she saw the top.  Success!  Also, she pointed out that she can wear it to school when it's warm as it will pass the non-spaghetti strap rule.  This is VERY important in Julia's life!

As to the pattern, as always with Heidi's patterns, the instructions are great.  The photos are clear.  She has a video tutorial that you can refer to regarding the "burrito" method of making the bodice.  It may be a bit confusing the first time you try this method, but once you see where it leads, it's not confusing at all and you end up with a beautifully finished bodice....and who doesn't love that!

Heidi is offering a coupon code in her shop -  it's "MIRATOUR" and it will be for 10% off your entire order from the shop. This code will expire on Monday, March 27 at 11:59PM PST.

Thanks Heidi for asking me to participate in your blog tour, and thanks for a great pattern!

Oliver and S Building Block Dress Book

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Have you seen the Building Block Dress book written by Liesl Gibson yet?  It's a game changer....really!

A couple of months ago, I saw a cute jacket pattern that I really liked.  I had never heard of the designer so I was a bit unsure about her sizing, etc.  So, what I decided to do was replicate the design using the skills I had learned from the Building Block Dress book.  (And, I actually bought the pattern so as not to be a copying scumbag....)

I have always loved the look of the Oliver + S Sunday Brunch jacket, but when I made it for Julia, she hated - yes, hated - the collar.  I wanted a light jacket, similar to that and this fit the bill.

I used some gorgeous Nani Iro brushed cotton from my shop.  I pre-washed the fabric as usual and it washed up great.  It's kind of a heavy weight flannel weight-wise.  I lined it with quilting cotton. 

I asked the lovely folks in the Building Block Dress Facebook group for advise on closures and they came up with large, sew-in snaps inside so as not to take away from the print.  A great idea!

Here's the result:

Next, I actually measured my child.  As it turns out, her measurement ended up being a size 4 for width, and size 8 for height.  No wonder we can't buy dresses off the rack!

I started with a fairly basic version - a pieced bodice, sleeveless.  I used the option to fully line the dress and an invisible zipper in the back.  The fabric is Japanese cotton sheeting - yes, it's Hello Kitty!  Ok, so maybe it's not everyone's cup of tea to use Hello Kitty fabric for a dress, but it works for the 7 year old!

I'm REALLY happy with the way this came out.  Julia told me this morning that what she loves about the dress is the way it fits at the waist, then flares out.  In fact, we took these photos, then she decided to keep the dress me, that's a success!

While I love the look of the scalloped bodice, I didn't have the energy to do the hemline with the contrast....I think it's fine the way it is and may have been too busy with the scalloped hemline.  So, my laziness paid off! 

Thanks for reading!

Happy New Year!

Monday, January 2, 2017

in's 2017.  Here we are.

Since the last time I did a meanful blog post, my family has moved across the country, changed jobs, changed schools....quite an eventful 2016!

We are now living in Michigan and I must admit I'm having a bit of a tough time getting used to it.  I left a job I loved, all my friends, and my two adult sons in California.  It is nice with a ridiculously low cost of living here, and seasons!  I haven't lived in seasons since I moved away from Toronto in 1995.   We really enjoyed the fall, and are enjoying winter - for the most part!

We are continuing our fabric business, and will be traveling to Quiltcon in Savannah, GA in February, so that will be quite an adventure!  I'll be making up some sample garments, bags, and maybe even a quilt of some sort to take with us, and hopefully I will share them here.

I started 2017 out by actually completing a project!

This is the Franklin Dress from Brooklyn Pattern Company.  I had made the Bedford Dress previously, and the child loves and and gets compliments every time she wears it.  So I was confident in putting the Franklin Dress into rotation.

I made this from corduroy that has long been in my stash - it really could be about 15 years old!  I was indecisive as to the silhouette of this dress for a 7 year old - I was worried she may think it was too juvenile, so I added a belt that I slammed together....

I'm not convinced with the belt.  It needed to be smaller, and I need to actually add belt loops.  The kid's waist still measures 20", so I was worried making it too small and gathering all that corduroy!  I may re-visit the belt....

Either way, I quite like the dress, and Julia does too.  The construction is kind of odd in some spots, but generally, when I first make a pattern, I make it exactly as the designer indicates to ensure I don't screw up.  This dress is a size 6 with 8 length.

The bodice is Nani Iro double gauze from my shop - I went back and forth making the dress from the double gauze with the corduroy for the bodice - in the end, I decided to keep the extra double gauze and make a Bedford top for the summer - a win, win!

So, here it is - the first make of 2017....hopefully way more to come! 

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Hi, and welcome to my neglected blog!!

I'm Janice, and I sew a lot, and run an online fabric shop.  We used to live in California, but now make Michigan our home.

Here's a few of the things I've sewn recently using fabric from our shop and some of our fabric:

So, we're giving away a $75 gift card to Urban Sew - use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter....the blog comment is the only mandatory entry.  Good luck, and thanks for visiting!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kids Clothes Week - Spring 2016

Monday, May 30, 2016

I made an attempt this past week to join in with Kids Clothes Week.  Success?  Failure?  Well, a little bit of both.

I set my sights high and pulled fabric for about 8 items.  What I ended up with was this:

I guess in the normal world of sewing, I'd be happy.  I completed both outfits this week, worked 40 hours, did about a million kid activities and took about 10 trips to the dog park.

The details:

Outfit number 1 - two free patterns from Oliver + S - the Popover dress made into a tunic, and my much-used Sunny Days Shorts.  The top and shorts are both size 5.  On the tunic, I added width on the front panel and gathered it a bit.  The fabric is a nice light seersucker from Robert Kaufman.  The shorts are a medium weight cotton denim fabric that has been living in my stash forever.  Nice to use that stash fabric!  I shortened the shorts 2 inches from the pattern length - works better with the heavier fabric. I added pockets to both the front and back of the shorts....gotta have pockets!

Outfit number 2 - the Butterfly Blouse and Skirt from Oliver + S sewn in a size 5 with 7 length.  The top is Woodland Clearing lawn and the skirt is a heavy cotton linen.  I've made the skirt a bunch of times for school uniforms, but this was the first time I've made the top.  It's a very sweet pattern - I definitely recommend it!

 Here's some modeled shots of both outfits (no pictures of the shorts yet!):

Thanks for reading.....can you tell my sew-jo is back?  Makes me happy!

Sew-Jo Coming Back.....

Sunday, May 1, 2016

I haven't sewn a ton over the past few months.  And when I sewed, I didn't necessarily blog.  But, I think I may be getting back on track!

I made a quick outfit for Julia on Saturday.  Previously, just about two years ago, I made these shorts:

Well, these shorts stayed in the drawer for about a year and a half.  She refused to wear them.  Then, all of a sudden, they became The Golden Boy (Seinfeld reference) of her wardrobe.  Every day, when she got home from school, on went these shorts and a black tank.  Every day.  These shorts are now a pretty disgusting shade of grey with flowers.

So, I used some similar fleece and made this outfit:

These shorts are a size 5 straight up.  I may make the next pair a bit shorter - they are kind of an awkward length.  The previous ones were a size 4 and I think she still could wear a size 4.  The pattern is the free Sunny Days Shorts from Oliver + S.  I added front pockets and back pockets.    Gotta have pockets.

The top is another Oliver + S pattern - the School Bus T-Shirt.  This is a size 4 with about 5 inches added to the length.  The fabric is hideous to work with.  It is that kind of burn-out fabric which my daughter loves.  Unfortunately, it's a pain in the butt to work with - it curled like nobody's business.  The neck band application was atrocious so I went to the iron to give it a blast of steam.  Mistake.  Burnt a hole in it, hence, the lovely bow at the neckline.  I was actually going to put it straight in the trash, but Julia really liked it, so we'll see what happens....I have more of the hideous fabric - a lot more.

Next up, a Mother's Day gift.....