Friday, October 28, 2016

Lady Skater Dress

  I bought the Lady Skater dress pattern years ago in a flash sale, then never made it because it's something I'd have to alter a lot to be comfortable wearing. However, for my sister-in-love's birthday this year, I had some pretty floral Ponte knit (bought here, but no longer available- I believe this is the same fabric though) that I wanted to turn into a dress for her. So I started going through my pattern folders and the Lady Skater looked the closest to what I had in mind.

  H wears a size 4 or 6, so based on how tight the Lady Skater looks on most people, I decided to go with the size 6. The sizing in the pattern is different than ready-to-wear sizing though, so I had to look up the average measurements for a size 6 and compare those to the measurements in the pattern, which means I ended up with a size 4 in the pattern sizing. 

  The Lady Skater pattern is designed for a 5' 5" tall person, and although it's described as 'knee-length', in the pattern photo it's several inches above the knee. H is 5' 11", so I lengthened accordingly. I added 1.25" to the bodice and 8" to the hem of the skirt, to keep all the flare. To my great relief, it fit beautifully, and was just the right length!

  I made some other changes too... I raised the front neckline by 2" and shortened the neckband to match. I also sewed the neckband together before sewing it to the dress- my machine can't make it through the bulk of the folded neckband in the way that the pattern says to sew it, and I don't like the raw edges peeking out anyway. I top-stitched it with a twin needle, keeping one needle in the ditch so it would look like a single needle stitch.

  I used the cap sleeves, but lengthened them just enough to allow for a hem instead of the band:

  And I added pockets!

  I used a twin needle for all of the top-stitching, and my serger for the sewing, as usual.

  Several of the pattern pieces were not trued, but they did all fit together. I wasn't particularly impressed with the pattern, but I have to admit that it looks good on just about everyone who sews it!

  Anyway, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out and fit, and H loved it!

  I have quite a bit more of the fabric, and I'm pretty tempted to make a dress for myself with the rest of it. The fabric pills easily and is mostly polyester (ick), but otherwise it was pretty nice to work with... stretchy but stable and thick. That's going on the 'someday' list though, as I have a lot of things I want to sew first!

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

4 Skirts

  I keep forgetting to write about these! For Skirting the Issue this year, I made 4 skirts- 3 simple knit ones and a slightly more detailed denim one.

  The knit ones are basic circle skirts. I made two matching ones with this knit from Nick of Time Textiles, with a simple yoga waistband and a lettuce-edged hem. Please excuse the wrinkles... they sat folded for a few days before photographing, and I didn't have time to press them again.

  This gingham knit (also used here) has very little stretch, so I made the waistband larger than the intended waist size (these are all a standard girl's size 10, and just below knee length) and put elastic in it.

  And the other skirt I made was from stretch denim. It's a 4-paneled skirt with an elastic back and flat front, belt loops, and top-stitching, along with a tatted heart and some couching.

  I tatted the heart with some variegated crochet thread using the free pattern at the very bottom of this page. I hand-stitched it to the skirt with regular sewing thread. I didn't have thread in all of the colors, so I just used one that matched the lightest blue. The tatting was too tight to comfortably stick a needle through, so up close the stitching is a little more noticeable than I'd like:

  But it isn't bad from a distance:

  I also couched some of the same thread around the hem in a wavy pattern. I zig-zagged over it by machine, but I couldn't figure out a good way to keep enough tension on the crochet thread without pulling it away from the curves. Maybe gluing it first would have fixed that... or a couching foot.

  I wish I'd picked it out and re-done it! But overall I think the skirt was still pretty cute.

  And that was all I made this year... maybe next year I'll manage 5 skirts. ;-)

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, October 10, 2016

Bow-Back First Birthday Dress

  My littlest daughter turned one a couple of weeks ago!

  As usual for first birthdays, I cut apart a large t-shirt and used the fabric to make a little dress.

  I've been waiting for an opportunity to make the Bow Back Beauty again, after making one for my niece earlier this year, so I decided to use that with some modifications.

  I used the plain back along with the bow back piece to close up the opening, and swapped the circle skirt out for a pleated, double-layered one that fit the width of the shirt I was using.

  In addition to the magenta shirt, I used some white knit that I bought from a Facebook group last year... it was sold as 'white burnout' and was supposedly 'very stretchy' but while there's a slight burnout look to the fabric, the design is a stiff, almost-sticky white paint... and it only has 20% stretch. So I hadn't found a good use for it until now!

  Based on Foof's measurements, I used the 3-6 months size in the pattern. However, I wish I had gone up one size. It turned out a little tight, and the bodysuit portion was a little short.

  The proportions also looked really wrong to me once it was on Foof, and I wasn't happy with my wobbly sewing on the bodysuit portion (or anywhere really, but that was the worst section):

  So I unpicked the waist seam, got rid of the bodysuit section, and raised the waist seam two inches. This time I gathered instead of pleating.

  I'm much happier with how this looks:

  I also made a little headband to go with the dress, just a simple rolled-edge strip of fabric, gathered and fussed with until it looked a bit like a flower, and hand-stitched to another rolled-edge strip that fit Foof's head. I think it's super-cute, but of course Foof thinks it's a floor decoration! ;-)

  This little girl has the brightest, most sparkly-eyed smile I've ever had the pleasure to behold.
  She's a little talker, and is always proud and delighted when I understand what she's saying.

  She's fascinated with books... with or without pictures!

  Besides being snuggled, one of her favorite past-times is throwing every single book she can reach into a pile, then sitting on them and laughing.

  She adores her family, but especially her papa. She bounces with delight when he comes home from work every day!

  I love to watch Foof toddle around just doing things... there's always something going on in her busy little world!

  We just adore her!

  In addition to the dress and headband, I made a cake for her. I've had a rough time with most of the cakes I've made in the past year, so I decided to keep this one simple- it's a classic from-scratch white layer cake, with vanilla buttercream frosting. I froze the cake layers before doing the crumb coat and it really helped! Then I piped large dots in columns, and used a spatula to drag each dot out before piping the next column. I did a sort-of spiral of dots on top of the cake the same way. I had to wipe the spatula on a damp paper towel between each dot or they just looked really messy, but it was a pretty simple, if time-consuming, way of adding texture and interest to the cake!

  Then I colored most of the remaining frosting lavender, and piped drop-flowers on parchment paper. I froze them, then added them to the cake, and finally added leaves and centers with the last bit of frosting after coloring it green. (I meant to make the flower centers yellow, but I forgot to save out some of the frosting before coloring the rest green.) I'm really happy with the end result!

  And that's it for this little darling's first birthday!

Thanks for stopping by,