Monday, May 15, 2017

Racerback Dresses

Last week I realized that we needed some basic knit dresses for Baby for the summer, so I sorted through my knit fabric stash. Because Baby wears a small size, I was able to use up some of the smaller pieces I've saved from previous projects. I ended up cutting out 4 dresses on Friday night, one for Miss H and 3 for Baby.

I'd seen a few Hey June Racerback Dresses around Instagram and Pinterest lately, and I knew it was a (free!) pattern I wanted to try. I traced a size 6 for Miss H with 2" additional length, and a size 2 for Baby M which I cut 2" off the hem.

The pattern is well written, and the pieces went together pretty quickly! I had noticed that many of the other dresses I had seen made with this pattern looked either too big or were made from fabric that didn't lend itself to the dress style. I couldn't exactly pinpoint what would make a fabric work well, so I just picked some from my knit bin and went to work. The blue floral fabric has a funny story. It originally had a white background, but when I pre-washed it with another solid blue/green fabric, it took on a lot of dye! It frustrated me for about a year, but ended up looking ok for this project.

I sewed all the the skirt hems with my serger, which made the dresses take shape speedily. I did learn that because the back shoulder section is so narrow, I need to pull the binding sewn first out of the way for the second piece. Each dress has one wonky side and one nicer side because of this!

Miss H is thrilled with the dress because it is so soft, and has requested another. I was worried it wouldn't fit her well because she is so slender, but it fits very well! Baby's is a little big, as I expected, but that is ok because she is growing so fast.

Pattern: Hey June Racerback Dress (it's free!)
Fabric: main - Swifting Flora from Fleet and Flourish by Maureen Cracknell for Art Gallery Fabric, contrast - Organic Little Forest Knit from Mona Luna Fabrics
Size: 2 and 6
Changes: shortened size 2 by 2", lengthened size 6 by 2"

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sewing for Me: Style Arc Adeline

I didn't realize it had been so long since my last post! I have done quite a bit of sewing since Christmas, but it's been less sharable, like crib sheets, changing pad covers, and quilt top piecing. I'll share some of them once they are finished. I have not sewn clothes for the girls since their Christmas dresses, which were sadly so Christmasy that they have been packed up for a few months. I'm working on new springy dresses for both of them for Easter.

Lately, I've been watching a lot of Instagram accounts of gals who sew clothing for themselves. My favorite to follow is Meg from the Cookin' & Craftin' blog. She recently sewed a couple different versions of the Style Arc Adeline dress for herself and a friend, and they looked so good! I had never sewn with a Style Arc pattern before, but I've been eyeing them for the past year. Meg shared that Amazon has a few of the patterns in printed form, which helped me decide to give them a try! (I still hate printing, trimming, and taping 20 pages of printer paper together and hoping the scale is correct.) I ordered the Adeline and the Olivia patterns to start with.

I began with Adeline, and made a muslin in the size my measurements fit closest with. I knew I needed the hips to fit, and that the bust is the most important measurement to match. After several self-sewing projects that I greatly disliked and spent days on last year, this one fit surprisingly well without any modifications to the muslin! Thank goodness there were no darts.

My husband helped me get my serger re-threaded and working appropriately, and I read a little about its tension and practiced on some scraps. I made the hard decision to use some beautifully soft double gauze that has a denim look that I've been hoarding for at least three years. I originally bought it in Ballard, before Dry Good Design moved, to make a dress that I could never see myself wearing.

This dress was so quick and fun to sew! I used the serger for the side and shoulder seams, and my sewing machine for the facings and topstitching. I did end up shortening the length and the lengthen line by an inch and a half, which I'm glad I did. I also cut about half the sleeve length off because I didn't like the way they made the dress look when they were super baggy.

Although it has very minimal directions, the pattern went together exactly as indicated. I'm thankful I've sewn so much with Oliver + S patterns for kids because it helped me know where to use skills not included in these instructions (finishing the edges of the facings, tracing topstitching lines on top of the dress). Once I can decide on the fabric, I'm certain I will make another one.

Pattern: Style Arc Adeline
Fabric: Organic Cotton Double Gauze 56" - I think this is it, and it is fantastic!
Size: 14 (I may be able to get away with a 12, but this is a cocoon dress, which means the hem is smaller around than the hips!)
Changes: I reduced the length by 1.5" and shortened the sleeves by about half the length.

Post contains affiliate links. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

2016 Christmas Dresses

I am over the moon happy with these dresses! Miss H loves hers, especially the pockets and pom-poms, and says she is happy to have a dress with red and green for Dressember. She and I are wearing dresses each day this month for a fundraiser called Dressember, which advocates for freedom from human trafficking and provides funds for rescue missions and rehabilitation of women who have been enslaved around the globe. (You could make our day and donate to our team here!)

I had purchased some discounted Cotton + Steele fabric to make Christmas dresses for Miss H and the little baby girl we are caring for right now, however when I was home and shopping with my mom in October, I fell in love with the Scandinavian look of the Kate Spain North Woods line. I decided to save the C+S for later and bought a few yards of the Multi Snow print from North Woods. For a while I thought I would do some paper piecing for the yokes of the dresses, but in the end I decided I didn't have time. I was unable to find a red fabric that I liked locally (one store showed me Grinch fabric when I asked for their Christmas selection, and the other store I had shopped at in the Bay Area closed their physical location) so I described what I was looking for to my mom, and she bought and sent me a yard of some fun geometric reds from a previous Kate Spain line called Jingle.

Two years ago I made the same Oliver + S pattern dress for Miss H for Christmas. I didn't want it to be a repeat this year, but I love the pattern and I decided my fabric was different enough that it would be alright. This is the first time I've made it in a tiny size, and although I chose to just make plain short sleeves and leave off the pockets for the baby, I still love it.

Pattern: Oliver + S Hide-and-Seek Dress
Fabric: Multi Snow from North Woods by Kate Spain and Crystal in Crimson from Jingle by Kate Spain
Size: 6-12 months and 6 (the baby size runs pretty long!)
Changes: I used snaps in the back rather than buttons, and I added some deep red pom-pom trim across the front for fun!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Little Laura Outfit

Miss H decided that it would be fun to be Laura Ingalls Wilder for Halloween this year. Because we had a bit of a time crunch, first a move and then a vacation, right before the outfit needed to be done, we chose to use a dress she had in her closet. I made an apron and bonnet, and we used some prairie style boots. Her costume was a hit, although many people were confused and thought she was Holly Hobby.

Apron Pattern: Violette Field Threads Rosemary Pinafore (the October 2016 updated version)
Fabric: Red on Salmon Tiny Flower Stripe from Little House on the Prairie by Andover Fabrics
Size: 6
Changes: I lengthened the longer version of the skirt of the pinafore by about an inch and a half.

Bonnet Pattern: Prairie Bonnett by AdoriesDesigns
Fabric: Blue Packed Daisies from Little House on the Prairie by Andover Fabrics
Changes: I used some pretty stiff interfacing on the bonnet brim, none was recommended.
Notes: I wouldn't recommend this pattern. It was the only pattern I could find last-minute in my daughter's size. The pattern writing, grammar, spelling, and instructions are atrocious!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Petal Girl Dress

My husband's brother got married in October to a fantastic gal, congrats guys! Miss H got to be their petal girl (translated: flower girl) at their beautiful wedding on the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. It was chilly and looked exactly the way fall ought to look. I had a few months to think about what style dress to make, and I wasn't happy with anything I was coming up with. I purchased some deep blue sort of stretchy lace at Fabric Depot in Portland on our drive back home in July, and I ended up with some buttery soft double gauze solids to pair with it.

I sketched out an Oliver + S Hide-and-Seek dress, but couldn't decide if it looked fancy enough. I spent hours trying to figure out how to make a dress with long sleeves look the way I wanted, and a friend suggested I look at the Violette Field Threads patterns. I ended up picking the Maisie Dress after she showed me some examples with fancy exposed zippers.

I ordered the zipper I wanted from Etsy, and went to work washing and cutting my fabric. Mid-sew we moved, and I worked hard to keep all the pieces, directions, and my sewing equipment together and clean. Our move was a week before we needed to leave for the wedding, and I panicked and ordered a back-up dress from Amazon. Three days before we left I was able to do the actual sewing, but my zipper still hadn't arrived! My husband found and ordered a 50 pack of various colors of lace zippers from Amazon, which did arrive in time, and did have one of the color I needed.

I still wanted to make the dress a little more fancy feeling for Miss H, so I ordered some hot fix Swarovski crystals and learned how to use the hot fix bejewler tool that Tom gave me for Christmas last year! It was so much fun that it made me want to immediately affix crystals to everything.

I'm very happy with the final dress, and will probably make more of them. The lace wasn't too bad to work with, and the double gauze was a dream.

Pattern: Violette Field Threads Maisie Dress with full skirt
Fabric: semi-stretchy lace from Fabric Depot, Robert Kaufman double gauze
Size: 6
Changes: I lengthened the skirt a bit, and I added a hook and eye at the top of the zipper.