Monday, January 26, 2015

Sewing Stream: An Ice Cream Dress for a Birthday

One of Miss H's little friends had a birthday last week, so she and I decided that a fun dress would make a nice gift. We went through my fabric stash and picked this blue flower fabric and some contrasting red Moda solid. After looking through all my favorite patterns that I already had traced in a size 2T, I chose the Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress.

The dress went together so quickly! I don't know if it was because of my familiarity with this pattern or if my sewing skill have improved in the last couple years, but it was much easier than I remember! The only modifications I made were to not use the red contrasting band at the bottom of the dress (not enough red fabric left), and to change the button to a snap.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Sewing Stream: Lucky Baby Quilt

It's been a long time since I've worked on a quilt project, but a few weeks ago I had a bug to use up some of my quilt stuff. Here's the first completed project!

This quilt is a baby gift for a friend. I used a Thimble Blossoms pattern called Lucky. I think the Thimble Blossoms patterns are all so beautiful. Rather than making the full size, I made just 4 of the 16" blocks for this baby version. I used a few of the fabrics from a Kate and Birdie Storybook layer cake and some Moda solids. The back is pieced with some fabric remnants that match color-wise that had no other destination.

This is the first time I've had a quilt come together at the points easily. I'm not sure if the difference it the OLFA green cutting mat (rather than my pebbly blue Wal-Mart variety) I used or the 1/4" foot on my sewing machine. I hadn't used either before and am so happy with the result! I don't have a quilting function on my machine, so I just used a wavy stitch an either side of all the perpendicular seams. This binding is a new method for me as well, suggested by my mom. The binding is 2 3/8" wide, and sewn onto the back of the quilt, folded around to the front, and edge stitched on. It's quick and easy and looks good!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sewing Stream: Another Dress for Me

Actually, this was the first dress I made for myself. When I made it about a year ago, I didn't like it. I can't remember why! I pulled it out of my closet this fall after sundress season was over, and I loved it!

I made this dress with the Go-To Dress pattern from Tanya Whelan's Sew What You Love book. I saw the dress on a mannequin at Bolt in Portland. The gal working in the shop had made the dress and offered to let me try it on to see if I liked the fit. This gave me a little confidence that I may actually be able to sew something that wouldn't seem like a hospital gown.

I bought a remnant of some knit organic bamboo blend fabric, and borrowed the book from the library. The dress is just 4 rectangles, so it is quick and easy! It probably would have been even faster if my serger was working. I used a jersey needle and a slight zig zag stitch on my sewing machine. There are several different options for length, number or gathering rows in the middle, etc. Both the front and back of the dress have the same v-neck.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Sewing Stream: Snowflake Dress for Christmas

Knowing that we would be in California this year for Christmas, this was the first time I was on the hunt for a Christmas dress without an accompanying jacket pattern or long sleeves. I found this beautiful heavy red and gray flannel at JoAnn in the fall and bought enough at half price for whatever pattern I would eventually choose. I knew I wanted to include some embroidery or cross stitch on the bodice portion of the dress, and the newer Oliver + S Hide and Seek Dress pattern has a lot of available space for these options. 

I pinterested (look, a new word!) around for what looked like a basic and quick cross stitch pattern that would lend itself to a Christmas dress without limiting the dress to the month of December. I found one that looks like patch work snowflakes and got started. 

I cut everything out (size 4), and took the red bodice yoke portion (a red Moda fabric designed to go with all the Bonnie & Camille fabrics) with me on our Thanksgiving-time travels through Washington and Chicago. It's a good thing I got an early start on the cross stitch because it took a lot longer than I anticipated! I used 3 strands of embroidery floss, and will probably try 2 next time. The front bodice is completely faced with a mid weight fusible interfacing so that it wouldn't stretch while I had it in the embroidery hoop. 

When we got home mid-December, I didn't jump right into dress sewing, but did other December activities like shopping and baking and decorating our home. I picked the dress back up a few days before Christmas, wanting Miss H to be able to wear it to church on Christmas Eve. Well, I finished the snaps about 15 minutes before we headed out the door! I love the result and Miss H tries to wear it almost daily! 

Sewing Stream: Yet Another Skater

Can you tell I love this little Skater Dress pattern? Here's my third long sleeved, size 3/4 version. I don't have much more to say about the pattern, other than to confirm it is soooooo easy! Fabric: Desert Blanket by April Rhodes for Art Gallery Fabrics. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Sewing for Dressember

I finally decided to sew a dress for myself! I've been wanting to, but not wanting to commit to that much fabric for a couple years. After looking at many patterns, I finally decided on the Out and About Dress by Sew Caroline. Since this month was Dressember (and guess what, you can still donate toward my International Justice Mission fund raiser here!), I thought it would be the perfect time to try this easy dress out to add to my dress collection.

I chose a basic and very inexpensive dark grey jersey rayon spandex from Girl Charlee. (I didn't want to spend much until I knew how to make it fit right, or if it would fit.)

I measured myself, and according to the pattern I should have made a 2XL, which sounded crazy when I ususally wear medium sized clothing. I decided to go make an XL, and am pretty sure that if I make this pattern again I'll make a L.

I sewed the dress with a Juki serger, which went very quickly, and topstitched the neck and hems with my sewing machine and a jersey (ballpoint) needle. When I initially tried this on, I was not pleased with the fit/look or the very scratchy serger seams around the middle. I switched the looper threads on the serger from polyester to wooly nylon threads. This helped sooooooo much! I also ended up cutting the skirt section back off to fix. I cut the skirt width down by 6" and reworked the gathered skirt top. I decided to gather just in the center front and back sections of the skirt, rather than all the way around, to mimic a couple dresses I own and like the fit of. I have about 8" on both sides that are just flat, not gathered. The side gathers made the dress look a little too billowy at the hips and little girl-like to me.

After  re-attaching the skirt with the modifications and hemming, I am pretty happy with this dress! I had a little more stretching that I would like around the neckband and side seams, but I'm pretty sure that is due to the thinness and weight of this fabric. Even though it was a bit of a trial, I'll continue to wear this basic dress. If I make this pattern again I'll use a cotton knit that is a little less floppy.

This dress is great by iteself, or layered with a blouse or belt.

The best part is that I finished it just in time to make it my last outfit for Dressember! I took it for a trial run, hiking at Bear Gulch in Pinnacles National Park. #youcandoanythinginadress