Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Hopscotch Dresses

In a sale some time ago, I acquired the digital version of Oliver+S Hopscotch Pattern in both size ranges. Then, last year I decided to have a pattern with something like 80 pages printed out in large format instead by PDFplotting.com, and since I'd found the Oliver+S patterns less enjoyable to piece together when printed at home than many other digital patterns, I printed a few of the Hopscotch pattern at the same time to maximize shipping. This January, I sewed some up!

  I used some cotton/rayon/spandex knit from Girl Charlee for these- I only had 4 yards, and I wasn't sure how far it would go, so I started by sewing Booper's dress from start to finish, which also gave me a good idea of how the pattern fit and any changes I wanted to make.

  Since these dresses are cut pretty slim, it actually wasn't hard to fit all four of them on the fabric- I might have been able to sneak in even one more!

  Booper's dress seemed like it didn't have quite enough fabric around the hips, so I flared out just a little below the waist for the other three. I also added length to the hems of the three older girls' dresses, but made a straight size 3 for Foof.

  Next time I would widen the shoulders a little bit for the three older girls too... that's a change I've been making to patterns more frequently for them!

  These sewed up gorgeously- I really liked the pattern, and definitely plan to use it again at some point! The fabric was about a 7oz weight, lighter than I prefer, but worked really well here.

  I might use a non-stretch interfacing rather than a stretch one at the bottom of the front yokes before attaching the gathers next time, but even the knit interfacing made those gathers so much neater than they would have been.

  This was also the first project I had a chance to use my Christmas present on! My husband bought me a Janome CoverPro 1000CPX (affiliate link). It definitely has a learning curve that I haven't fully conquered yet, and I absolutely recommend getting the clear foot if you want to have any idea what you are sewing, but look at this pretty hem!

  The girls wore these dresses rather frequently when the weather was cool enough for them... I only wish I'd made them earlier in the season!

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, September 17, 2018

Cowl Neck Sweater and Brown Knit Skirt

In an attempt to 'catch up' slightly on blogging, here are two garments I made last year!

The first is a lightweight French Terry sweater with a cowl:

  I used my (very modified) version of the Lane Raglan pattern for this and added an almost-rectangle (just slashed and spread a teeny bit to get some drape) for the cowl.

  I didn't want to end up with a shawl-type collar like I accidentally did on this sweater, so I was very, very conservative when adding width- I think something between the two would be even better, but I do like how this worked.

  Recalling how tight this sweater was, I initially added width along the side and sleeve seams, but I ended up serging off everything I'd added to the side seams. (And then I tried that hoodie on again, and found that it fit! Aside from the sleeves still being a bit too slim.)

  I thought I'd switch things up and band the hem this time around, but I wish I'd stuck with hemming it... I really prefer the way the curve of the hem looks on me! I may attempt a looser, curved band at some point though.

  The sleeves have cuffs rather than hems too:

  I added a pocket- I took the pattern piece for this from the Finlayson Sweater, since I had it out from making a sweater for my brother-in-law and it looked like a comfortable size for my hands. The pocket is my favorite part! 

  I twin-needled it on, and connected the bottom edge when I sewed on the hem band.

   This was a polyester/rayon/spandex blend French Terry from Girl Charlee- it was thinner and had more drape than I anticipated, but still worked for this. 

  I don't think I'd use it for anything with a zipper or structure though. I actually managed to wash the fabric and sew it into this a mere day after it arrived! That was definitely a first for me!

  Now for this skirt- this has been worn so much! And the photos I took of it weren't all that great, but it's worn frequently enough that it's always dirty when I think of re-taking them, so this is what I'm going with!

  I realized last fall that I could really use a skirt shorter than ankle-length for exercising in- plus I have chunky thighs and need some sort of legging or shorts to stay comfortable. So I put those requirements together and made a 'skegging'! 

  I used the free Mountain Pose pattern from Hey June Handmade for the legging portion, shortened to Capri-length. While the pattern isn't ideal, these still fit better than any leggings I've found in stores, when combined with this waistband. The skirt and waistband are from the Syrah pattern- I cut the skirt between the knee and maxi length for this, and slightly tipped the hem to make it more level back-to-front when worn. I unfortunately didn't measure myself, and used the same size as when I first sewed this pattern a couple of years back, so it's a little tight. 

  I added a pocket to this too!

  I used power-mesh instead of swim lining inside the waistband for these, and to make the pocket opening I sewed it in a narrow rectangle right-sides together with the outer fabric, about an inch below the fold-line of the back waistband. Then, I cut the rectangle open as for a welt pocket before flipping the power-mesh inside, top-stitching a zipper in place underneath, and sewing the rest of the waistband. Finally, I stitched a straight line to either side of the zipper from top to bottom of the waistband to keep any pocket contents from shifting. This is where I really wish I had a better photo!

  The power-mesh was a bit too strong of a fabric to use as a waistband lining here without sizing up a bit, especially since it ends up double-layered. And of course the skirt being a size too small to begin with exacerbated that problem.

  The waistband is definitely on the tight/structured side! In addition, the power-mesh was a different color than my main fabric, so it shows a bit around the pocket opening, but overall I'm pleased with how the pocket addition worked out.
 
  The brown knit was a 12-oz cotton spandex from Nick of Time Textiles. I really love the structure of it for this! It's thick enough that I didn't include a skirt lining for this one.

  This skirt has been worn often enough that I made a variation of it this spring- to be blogged about at some future unknown date. ;-)

 Thanks for stopping by,

Sunday, August 26, 2018

6 Years Old

  Hello friends! It's been quite a while since my last post... I've been a little bit deluged with life, and blogging has been pushed to the back burner. I'm 7 months pregnant with a baby boy, and along with the general tiredness that goes with being pregnant, I'm homeschooling three kids this year. So, busy. But I have some time today, and while I can't make any promises about keeping a regular blogging schedule, I think I can manage a post! =)

  Back in December, Gaiw turned 6!

  We went ice skating to celebrate, and of course I made her a gift!

  All of the girls had been wearing the knit dresses that I've made for them more than anything else, so another knit dress was an easy choice. I decided to use some BOLT knit, even though the quality is so low, just because I had enough for a full dress and it had no other plans attached to it!

  I kept this dress pretty simple- just a plain bodice with long full sleeves and a full circle skirt.

  I made the bodice a little looser than I prefer for this style, to account for the lack of stretch in the fabric.

  The sleeves are gathered at the shoulder:

  I shirred them with elastic at the wrist, then topped them off with some ties. Those ties were such a pain! I initially tried sewing them right sides together and turning them, and it didn't work at all!

  I ended up just folding the raw edges in and sewing with a straight stitch, which means the ties have no stretch, so they have to be re-tied every time this dress is worn, and they don't tie easily! But they are cute, so there's that.

  The neckline is finished with a band:

  And the sleeves and hem edges are lettuce-edged:

  Gaiw loved her dress, and loved ice skating as well! She's an interesting little girl- so sweet and shy around most people, very emphatic and loud at home.

She still loves to draw and color, and has become pretty enthusiastic about reading in the past year! She reads out loud, whether anyone is listening or not, and often purposely changes stories on the fly to make them funnier.

  She's not ticklish in the slightest, but she always appreciates a good hug! Gaiw is pretty picky about food, but very enthusiastic about the things she does like. And even though a lot of main-course dishes are unpalatable to her, she's generally happy with fresh vegetables, and is by far my biggest fruit-eater!

  Very often, I find myself frustrated with her disagreements over trivial matters with anyone and everyone, but just as often, I'm working hard and turn around to find her working right alongside me when her sisters are nowhere to be found. She reminds me so much of myself at this age.

  We love this tenacious, imaginative, shy, enthusiastic little girl! In addition to the dress, I made her a cake, but either I didn't take any photos, or I lost them, because I can't find them anywhere.

So that's it for now! Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Blue French Terry Dress

  Last fall Booper requested some long-sleeved dresses. I had a floral French Terry that I thought she would like, but decided to a trial run in a heathered blue French Terry first to make sure things fit right.

  I started with Jalie 2805, as usual, and widened and sloped the shoulders a bit. I also added a bit of width through the bodice and sleeves to account for the reduced amount of stretch in the fabric.

  I had the short sleeves already traced in this size, so I ended up just lengthening those to fit Booper, rather than trying to find where I'd (misplaced) the long sleeve pattern piece.

  I measured the bodice height to her actual waist, then added some length because she has a high natural waist, and prefers longer dresses, so it looks more balanced with a longer bodice. I wish I'd added two more inches though, it still ended up looking high!

  I went with a half-circle skirt for this one- it's still a little bit twirly, but isn't as heavy or as much of a fabric hog as a full circle would be.


  I added a facing instead of a neckband, and chose to leave the neckline at the original line so it would be a little bit wider and more comfortable. I stitched the facing down in a collar shape with white thread- that was much more difficult than I expected, because my usual machine was out of commission and my backup machine's foot pedal doesn't work. I had to use the start/stop button, and found it quite awkward! But it turned out all right anyway, although it's more subtle than I'd intended.

  I stitched the back facing the same way. After stitching, I trimmed the facing down close to the stitching so it wouldn't curl up.

  I added some non-stretch embroidered lace trim at the ends of the sleeves and at the hem. I wouldn't use it at the end of the sleeves again, because Booper couldn't push her sleeves up, but it worked fine on the hem.

  I ended up sewing the hem in four passes- I stitched the lace right sides together with the dress, then serged to prevent the fabric edge of the lace from fraying, then pressed it to the wrong side, edge-stitched, and top-stitched. I couldn't get a twin-needle to work on on the machine I was using, or I probably would have gone with that.

  I also added some lace-trimmed pockets.

  The pockets ended up being Booper's favorite detail! I would move them down on the skirt next time so it wouldn't drag the whole dress to the front when she shoved her hands in them. ;-)

  Although there were a few changes I wanted to make, Booper loved this dress and wore it quite frequently last winter. And I ended up loving this color on her!

  I never did get to the floral version though, and I'll have to start with a larger pattern size if I sew it up next year because the armscyes on this one are starting to get too tight for Booper!

  I'm still glad I managed to fit this one in though. =)

Thanks for stopping by,