Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sewing Stream: A Winter Dress

This winter in the Bay Area has been very different than last year weather-wise. In December 2014 Miss H and I wore our flip flops and sundress with t-shirts for most of the month. There was then a brief time in January where the temperatures almost got down to freezing at night. This year, there have been multiple nights that we have tented our citrus trees, quite a few days of rain, and we haven't seen the 70s since October. This means that we are almost exclusively wearing long sleeves! Miss H has grown out of all of the dresses I've previously made for her, except her Christmas dress, so we decided it was time to make something new!

After looking through my box of fabric for her, I chose a newer piece of Riley Blake knit that I got at Hart's Fabric the last time we were in Santa Cruz. I'm very pleased with the speediness of this project and the final fit! It took me one sewing evening to put this together, using a jersey needle on my sewing machine. (I am having problems getting the serger tension and threading correct right now!)

Pattern: Oliver + S Hopscotch Dress
Size: 6
Fabric: Knit Vintage Floral Navy from Vintage Market by Tasha Noel
Changes: None!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Dresses

It looks like it has been a long time since I have blogged anything! I just had a quick minute to get this up, so here you go! Right now we have a little foster baby living with us, so I've done the best I can to show what I made for her without revealing her identity.

Miss H's Dress: Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress
Size: 5 + length
Fabric: Mistletoe Lane in Pink by Bunny Hill for Moda and solid red from Moda
Changes: I added 1.5" to the length of the skirt, lining, and tulle when I was cutting, and when I hemmed the dress I ironed 1.5" folds rather than 2" folds.

This dress took a lot more work than I anticipated. It involved my first ever invisible zipper and quite a bit of hand sewing to finish things. I'm not in love with the small red trim around the middle. I had a difficult time turning it and then getting it to lay flat to hand stitch over the the bodice/skirt seam. If I do this again, I would opt for piping or a thin sash around the front.

Baby Girl's Dress: Oliver + S Bubble Dress
Size: 3-6 months
Fabric: Mistletoe Lane in Pink by Bunny Hill for Moda
Changes: I added a red velvet ribbon around the front bodice, sewn into the side seams. I used snaps rather than buttons.

I have made this dress a few times now and still love it! It is fully lined and a very quick sew.

Baby Girl's Christmas Stocking: Purl Soho Winter Flower Christmas Stocking
Fabric: the highest quality wool felt Joann carries
Changes: I used beads rather than sequins for embellishment.

This was a really fast and fun project as well! I'd love to make more of them in the future.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Sewing Stream: Pattern Testing for CINO (again!)

A couple months ago, I was part of a group asked to test a new Craftiness is Not Optional pattern! I enjoyed this so much the first time that I quickly said yes again. CINO created the Ressica Raglan Top and Dress pattern for us to sew test.

I chose to sew the top! At the time, our little closet was full of dresses. The pattern went together well and the directions were easy to follow. The shirring was fun to sew and shrink and I love the raglan sleeves!

Pattern: Ressica Raglan Top & Dress, now available for sale here!
Size: 5
Fabric: Quilting cotton main print, red chambray raglan sleeves
Changes: subbed snaps for buttons

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sewing Stream: Upcycled Ice Cream Top

I cut this top out back in January for the upcycle themed Kid's Clothes Week challenge. However, I ran out of time and moved on to something more necessary at the time. As I was cleaning up my sewing piles last week I stumbled across this and finished it! It's a tab bit on the small/short side now, but I think it will get a couple wears before getting stored away.

The green portion of this top was one of my favorite summer tops from the year we got married (10 years ago!). I have kept in in hopes that it would either fit again or that I could think of something fun to do with it instead. I was able to use the existing hem with the little baubles, which is exciting! I had a difficult time figuring out where to cut to avoid the little beaded sections, but in the end it worked out. FYI: the feed dog does not get along well with seed beads.

Pattern: Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress Pattern
Size: 4
Fabric: Green - upcycled Gap tank top, White - Daydream by Kate Spain for Moda found on clearance at The Intrepid Thread
Changes: I used a snap rather than a button in the back.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Me Made May: the Datura Blouse

I've been working on this top for a couple months. The sewing was quick, but making multiple pattern copies, a couple muslins, and working on the fit took me several days and a lot of extra thought time. I first noticed this pattern when Anna Graham of Noodlehead made one for herself a couple years ago. I immediately liked it, but assumed it wouldn't fit me as all of my previous me-sewing projects were flops. Over the past couple months I've read quite a few blogs (Cashmerette being my favorite inspiration!) on using any pattern and making it fit correctly. Liesl Gibson, designer of my favorite Oliver + S children's patterns and Lisette patterns, has also written some very helpful blog posts about fit.

I started by using my measurements, which put me in four different sizes, and just making the largest size muslin in the Datura Blouse. It was too big everywhere! So I made the next size down, which was a lot better. No gaping in the back around my arms, no sagging in the front, and just about right around the middle. The darts were very definitely too small/short and too high. I read and researched more blogs for information on FBAs (full bust adjustments) and just wasn't feeling confident that I would get it right. Liesl highly recommended Fit For Real People: Sew Great Clothes Using Any Pattern by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto, so Miss H and I picked it up at Barnes and Noble. I spent the next few days reading much of the book and learning too much for my brain to hold.

I made a couple more pattern copies as I adjusted darts: breaking out several colors of sharpies, making them bigger and then smaller again, longer and finally moving them down. Once I had what seemed close, I made another muslin to try on. The muslin helped me assess the way actual fabric drapes and hangs. I made a couple more dart adjustments, and changed the length. I then made a final muslin, showed it to Tom and a friend, and set it aside for a few weeks while I sewed through some custom orders and Kid's Clothes Week.

Every time I would sort through my sewing stack, I'd just reshuffle the Datura pattern and fabric back into the pile. This last week I hit a sewing block and wasn't sure what to work on, so I hemmed my jeans and thought about cutting into my beautiful fabric; a rayon challis by Joel Dewberry. Friday night I did it! Then, Friday and Saturday nights I sewed.

This top went together pretty quickly. The instructions were well written and translated. I had to re-read the parts about sewing the shoulder seams together quite a few times to make sense of a method that I'd never used yet really liked in the end. This is the first time I've sewn with rayon, and it was pretty easy and basic! Tom stayed up laaaaaaaate with me on Saturday night while I hemmed and attached my snaps. I tried it on a couple times as I was putting it together and kept feeling amazed that it was still fitting the way I wanted.

I love the end result and will definitely be making more of these! I even got to wear it for my birthday/Mother's Day.

Pattern: Datura Blouse by Dear & Doe
Size: 44
Fabric: Dainty Daisies, Lavender in Rayon Challis by Joel Dewberry from Harts Fabric in Santa Cruz
Modifications: Changed dart length, depth, and placement, and added 1.5" length