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,

Monday, June 13, 2016

Raglan Shirts

  For a long time, I meant to buy the Jalie raglan-sleeve women and girls' shirt pattern. I kept putting it off because raglan tees are more casual than my typical attire, but I realized this year that a lot of people on my gift list would probably prefer them to shirts with a set-in-sleeve. However, in a moment of temporary insanity (possibly driven by the multitude of cute versions I've seen and an about-to-end-sale) I ended up buying the updated Lane Raglan from Hey June Handmade.

  Then, to test it out, I sewed one for myself, with contrasting lace-print sleeves, pocket, and neckband to fancy it up a little.

  Based on my measurements, I chose a large with the FBA front, graded to a 2XL at the hips. I went down to a medium at the waist based on the finished garment measurements and my preferred fit.

  I sewed the elbow-length sleeves, neckband, and curved hem options with the pocket. Notches are included on most pieces, the instructions are very thorough (and illustrated rather than photographed!) and it looks like an attempt was made to true the pattern pieces, although there are still a few places where the angle isn't 90 degrees.

  As for the fit! Overall, I'm pleased. I've got a bit of creasing in the sleeve, but I suspect that might just be the nature of the beast with a one-piece raglan sleeve. The sleeves would be shorter than elbow length if I'd hemmed them following the instructions, and the shirt is on the short side too.... but I am taller than average. The neck is overly wide. I think it wouldn't be as bad if the neckband fabric had better recovery, but it's wide enough and low enough to cause problems when I bend over. Bringing the waist in created some drag lines from the bust, so it might look better to leave the waist looser. Also, I've apparently got a lot of wrinkling at the lower back that I didn't notice until I was looking at these photos!

  The black fabric is a 12oz cotton Lycra that I've used before, from Nick of Time Textiles, and the lace print is a cotton-rayon blend from the very first KnitFix.

  I liked the first one well enough to make a second. For this one I raised the neckline all around by 1", and shortened the neckband to match.

  The angle of the raglan in the back looks a little odd when the neckline is raised like this, and the higher neckline isn't as flattering, but I can bend over without exposing myself so I prefer this! ;-) I also lengthened the shirt by 2". Next time I'll add 1" for a lettuce-edged hem or 1.5" for a regular hem.

  And I finally added vinyl to a shirt for me! I get a lot of comments about how full my hands are (even if I only have one kid with me...), so I felt this was appropriate:

  The floral for this shirt is also from the first KnitFix, and I've used it before here. The blue is from Nick of Time Textiles. The blues don't quite match but I'm trying to ignore that! The stiffness of the solid means that this one isn't quite as comfortable as the black one, and the hem tends to roll up, so next time I use this knit for myself I'll twin-needle the hem instead of lettuce-edging it, and I might go up a tiny bit in size too.

  There will probably be more versions of this shirt in the future... it's a very quick sew and works in my wardrobe better than I expected! I might do some experimenting to get a better fit for myself, but for gifts it's close enough to ready-to-wear that I think it will work as is.

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Scalloped Trim Natty Janes

I really liked the scallops on the slippers/shoes that I made for Foofy here. But those were very dainty and slipped off her feet constantly, so I decided to make some little shoes from real leather, using the Natty Jane pattern that I've sewn previously. (Here and here.)

  At the time I began sewing them, Foof was wearing newborn-sized shoes, so I cut and sewed a size 1. But a week later, when I finished, her feet had grown to the point where I could barely squeeze the shoes on her! And when I tried to photograph them on her a week later, they didn't fit at all! 

  Other than the embellishments, I mostly followed the pattern. However, I sewed the heel seam before the opening seam, because I feel like I can line everything up better that way. I also shortened the strap and sewed it into the opening seam rather than attaching it at the sole.

 The embellishment is just a scalloped, punched strip of contrasting leather with a heart from the main material, both stitched on. I used grey thread throughout the shoes, but I didn't have a grey that matched the leather perfectly, so it stands out more than I'd like.

  I tried a different leather needle than I had been trying before and it fit in my machine! So I used that and had a great deal fewer skipped stitches than before. My topstitching is still pretty terrible though.... if you look at the heel of the left shoe you can see a point where I went completely off the shoe. =( I need to practice more on leather! Also, I think that part of the reason I've found these shoes so difficult is that the leather I'm using is too thick and sturdy... for a baby shoe like this, I should probably be using something more flexible. That would definitely make it easier to get those toes turned smoothly.

  I didn't enclose the seam allowances this time... I had planned on binding them but when my machine had a hard time sewing the seam the first time I realized that the bulk of binding them would be too much for it. Another reason a thinner leather would be better!

  I used heart-shaped brown KAM snaps for the closure:

  The grey leather is from a scrap bag bought several years ago at (I think) Jo-Ann Stores, and the felt is also from there. The brown leather was leftover from this book... I think the brown leather would have been a much better weight for the shoes.

  Still, I think they are stinking adorable! And I wish I'd made them one size bigger so Foofy could actually wear them! ;-) Perhaps I'll have another little niece at some point to pass them along to. =)

Thanks for stopping by,