Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Mushroom Dress

  I've heard for years about how fantastic Oliver + S patterns are. For a very long time, I didn't sew any of them, because they are definitely on the pricier side and the size ranges are generally smaller. However, when they ran a sale on digital patterns a while back, I finally bought three. I had the chance to sew one of them in May, and here it is!

  This is the Family Reunion dress, in the smaller size range and the PDF version. Becker's chest measurement put her in a size 18-24 months, and a 3T for height. I decided to allow for growing room, so I sewed a size 2T and added 3" to the hem.

  I wasn't particularly impressed with the PDF... in some places the background grid wasn't where it was supposed to be, and there were an awful lot of pages to print for the size range and style! It was also assembled a bit oddly... parts of some of the pages are cut off and rotated around to connect with other pages. In spite of that space-conserving measure, there were several ways the PDF could have been laid out better to reduce the number of pages to print.

  Once I got past the printing and assembling though, the pattern was impeccable!

  Seriously, it has notches in all the right places, the pieces are all trued perfectly and fit together beautifully, and the curves are nicely shaped. And you can see that, even though it's a little loose on Beckers, the drafting is excellent.

  I liked the instructions too... they are very well written and illustrated, and some of the steps were done in new-to-me ways that produce a nice garment.

  For example, the shoulder seams are sewn in two parts so the seam edges don't peek out at the neckline. It does leave a small raw edge though, as shown below.

  I like the 5 rows of stitching at the hem too. These were supposed to be sewn all the way to the edge but I stopped at the inner edge of the placket.

  I sewed actual buttons and buttonholes too!

  After searching through all my buttons, I couldn't find anything that, 1. worked with the cam sizes for my buttonholer, 2. was a good color for this fabric, and 3. I had six of! Finally I had the idea to use some fun vinyl-printed wooden buttons, and just put the plain back facing out! I just used the ones that I didn't love the print on as much. ;-) And the buttonholes are done with a vintage Singer buttonholer.

  There are also a couple of buttons one the front... I only had a few of these carved wooden buttons. The color wasn't quite right so I colored them with a brown Sharpie and ended up really liking it. As expected, the marker has already slightly worn off the high points since I took these photos, but I think they still work.

  I'm delighted with my edge-stitching on this one! Here's the inside of the hem:

  And my favorite, the external facing edges:

  The fabric is a mushroom-print quilting cotton that I found at a yard-sale years ago, leftover from making a coin purse, and brown quilting cotton leftover from the girls' Christmas dresses.

  I'm pretty happy that I was able to sew this up without buying anything new except the pattern!

  The only thing I might change about the way this is sewn is the armscye... I think it would sit a little bit better to sew at least the underarm portion after sewing the side seams.

 Overall, aside from the PDF hassle, I enjoyed my first foray into Oliver + S patterns, and there will be more!

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Eyelet Sun Hat

  After making Foof's eyelet bonnet, I had planned to make one for Beckers too. However, a petaled sun hat caught my eye instead! It turned out to be a free pattern, available here, so I decided to try it out.

  I changed the ties slightly, widening them and inserting them into one of the lining seams instead of at the edge of the brim, and angling the ends (and not getting my points turned all the way out, clearly!)

  I did my best to nest the seams at the crown:

  I used white eyelet for the outer fabric,

  and white quilting cotton for the interior.

  A little interfacing wouldn't have hurt, but it sits surprisingly well without any!

  I added a white flower button on top.

  I had to sift through most of my button stash to find one that had six petals to match the hat!

  I think it came out really cute!

  There is no sizing square on the pattern piece, so I had to just hope for the best when printing it, but it fits Beckers pretty well. =)

  I'd reduce the seam allowances down to 1/4" before cutting the pattern out next time... it's meant to be sewn with a 5/8" seam allowance and trimmed afterward, but for me it's easier to sew an accurate curve with a smaller allowance... and then there are fewer fabric shreds when my kids knock my wastebasket over! ;-)

  I still love bonnets best on little girls, but this is pretty stinking cute too!

  I've been sewing a bit less lately, because I've been spending ridiculous amounts of time learning lettering. Meanwhile, this little girl has been a handful and a half. She painted all over one of my pieces when I had to take care of the baby, lost my best paintbrush, and dumped most of a bottle of gold paint on the carpet. Good thing she's so cute! ;-)

  I did manage to get the gifts sewn and shipped for all of the June birthdays... a bit late, but I think they arrived before July started at least! ;-) I should probably get started on this month's gifts.... =)

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Bow Back Dress

For my niece's first birthday last month, I made a knit dress:

  I had been eyeing the Bow Back Beauty pattern for quite a while but wasn't sure what the quality would be like, so I hadn't tried it out. However, when it came time to make something knit in a 1-year-old size, I decided it could hardly be worse than the other knit patterns I have in that range! So I bought it.

  While I wouldn't say, 'This is an amazing pattern, you should definitely buy it,' it was quite a lot better than I expected! It has a lot of options, and a large size range. The edges appear to be mostly trued and the grading seems pretty consistent. Although the instructions are photographs, they are clear enough.

  I didn't like that the pattern has to be printed in color, and there were a lot of pages to print... although there were notes about which pages are necessary for which options, and considering that it has a full-circle high-low skirt option in a size 12, 44 pages is pretty decent.

  I made the bow-back onesie option with short sleeves and a below-knee-length skirt in size 12 months (and yes, I ironed that tag a little bit too long).

  Actual measurements are given for the binding pieces, instead of it being a 'stretch as you go and cut off the extra' sort of situation, which I appreciate. The only binding that has a pattern piece is the lower edge of the onesie option. I added heart-shaped snaps, because of course. =)

  I like the finish that I got from following the pattern for the most part... the only part I might change, finish-wise, is the bow center:

  Mostly those bits of edges you can see sticking out here:

  I bought this floral knit at Jo-Ann a couple of years ago, but I didn't have plans for it so I only bought 1/2 yard, which of course ended up really limiting my options! It's one of those interlocks with poor recovery, and the white background peeks through when stretched, but it still worked for this. I used brown serger thread for the sleeve lettuce edging... this fabric doesn't lettuce-edge particularly well though, so I probably should have used one of the other options included in the pattern.

  For the skirt, which is some light pink pretty-nice knit from Girl Charlee, I did pink lettuce edging. It's a little bit lighter than the skirt but was much better than the brown! The skirt looked too long for a crawler, so I shortened it by 2" before hemming, and the proportions seemed a lot better. I haven't heard back yet whether or not the dress fit though, and the original length would probably be better for a walker.

  I used the pink knit for all of the bindings, and finished them with a stretch twin needle and wooly nylon in the bobbin... they still tunneled quite a bit, but at least the stitches aren't going to snap!

  To add a bit of interest to the front, I added a simple machine-stitched heart applique to the front of the skirt.

  I used heat-and-bond light to stick it to the skirt before doing a tight zig-zag around the edges, but I wish I'd stabilized the skirt fabric with something too, and practiced a bit more on scraps first... it's pretty wobbly!

  I still had the wooly nylon in the bobbin, so I'm curious if the stitching will hold up better than it would otherwise.

   Anyway, I think this is pretty cute! And I'll definitely make it again. I want to see if I can have the bow back with more coverage for my daughters, and I'll probably use the plain onesie option included in the pattern for gifts instead of the bodysuit pattern I was using before.

  Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, June 20, 2016

Flutter Sleeves

Have you seen this free pattern from It's Always Autumn? I kept seeing it pop up on Pinterest, and finally decided to make it!

  It's a size 4/5, and in most patterns Gaiw wears a size 5 in height/ 3 in width, so I figured it might work for her, and if not I could take it in or give it to Booper. I sewed up the top version.

  I used a low-stretch, low-recovery knit that I bought last year in the Knit Fix Facebook group, for the purpose of making kiddie shirts. If I'd known about the lack of stretch and recovery, I might have passed it up, but the print is pretty cute!

  For once, I made something precisely according to the pattern! Hemming and all!

It turned out rather large on Gaiw though- it wasn't bad overall, but the neckline was pretty gapey, and after a bit of wear it stretched out to the point of indecency. The armscyes were also pretty low.

  After taking these photos I seam-ripped the neckband, gathered the sleeves again to 3", and sewed the shortened neckband back on. It helped, but not as much as I'd hoped.

  It's cute anyway though, and it's lightweight enough for summer.

  She'll probably fit it a bit better next year. I think the pattern would work more in a thicker knit with better recovery... I suspect that the fabric was the main culprit in this one not turning out as well as I'd hoped.

  Since I had more of the same fabric, and had been wanting to try another free pattern for a while, I sewed a shirt up for Booper!

  Hers is the flutter sleeve pattern from The Crafty Cupboard, but altered. The pattern is a size 7/8 and while Booper can fit a 7 in height, in most patterns she's a 5 or 4 in width.

  Based on that, I brought the side seams in by 1/2" and raised the armscye 1/2" before cutting it out. I think I lengthened the sleeves slightly, but I can't remember for sure. I also mashed the front and back together so the back portion of the shirt would have the fluttery sleeve too.

  I should have left the armscye alone.... it's a little too high now! But I'm glad I took the side seams in. Instead of pleating, I gathered the flutter portions of the sleeves:

  And I finished the neckline with a band instead of binding.

  This one turned out pretty decent, in spite of my armscye alteration! ;-) I'd like to make it as intended someday too.

  This one has already seen quite a bit of wear! =)

  As for everything else... I'm a little behind in my gifts-for-everyone challenge because I was trying to make a dress and pettiskirt to wear on my anniversary and it took longer than I expected. A lot longer, actually... the pettiskirt is done after loads of frustration, but isn't full enough, and I haven't figured out the fit on the sleeves of the dress yet. My anniversary was last month. For now, I'm taking a break from that and procrastinating on gifts by hand-sewing baby things. ;-)

Thanks for stopping by,