Easter Dresses!

I made these geranium dresses for a little cousins baptism, but the girls didn’t get a chance to wear them yet.  It has been nice to already have the Easter dresses made well in advance.

This fabric is from Hobby Lobby.  The gold is metallic.  The two fabrics are from the same line, so they coordinate without been identical.  The larger scale print needed that sash to break it up.  It’s just a coordinating bias tape!  I tacked it onto the dress and decided against a bow in the back.  For the smaller scale print I sewed piping between the skirt and bodice.  I sewed the piping onto the skirt first, because it would have been too much to keep track of to sew it all together at once.  The hems are blind hems since these are more fancy dresses.  The buttons are sparkly shank buttons.  I used gold thread for the first dress buttonholes but found the thread doesn’t stretch at all, making it more difficult to squeeze shank buttons through.  Plus you can’t really see the buttonholes once it is buttoned.  So the second one just has plain thread.

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What I learned – Make the buttonhole measurement a little bigger for shank buttons. Don’t bother with metallic thread on buttonholes.

 

Coat and pants

Sewing for others makes me nervous.  But I did make shorts and a crossover top for a friend’s 4 year old’s birthday….and I made another swing coat!

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This is a simple coat pattern and easy to sew.  It is missing a few things.  There are no grainline markings on the pattern and the collar front and back are the same size (which can cause buckling since the front/top part should be larger than the back/underside part.  Outside of that, there are a small number of pattern pieces to cut and easy way to sew sleeves since you sew them before sewing the side seams.  It’s a pleasant sew.

This second swing coat looks better than my first because there aren’t any mistakes!  Hooray!  It’s good to make the same pattern more than once.  You find out what you’ve learned and can understand garment construction better.

This coat is going up to Chicago to be worn by my niece.  The coat should last two years.  It’s quite roomy to allow for layering.  So I hemmed the sleeves and then folded inward to where they need to be this year and will stitch around the edge.  The sleeve can be easily let out for next year.

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Another pair of small fry skinny pants was sewn up.  I had cut them back in winter/spring, right after I said I wouldn’t make any more skinny pants because of how long it takes.  They are addictive!  I’m already in the middle of sewing a third pair.  Same thing for these hems as for the coat sleeves.  I hemmed them per instructions and then folded inside the pants to make the hem for my girls length, which will easily be taken out as they grow.

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Where have I been?

The last post was in March?  Gracious!

Life-other-than-sewing has been occurring, including the girls going to preschool and toilet training.  In addition, they have enough clothes.  Gasp!  Since going to preschool, they wear mostly shorts because it’s the most practical for sliding down slides, taking off themselves, and not showing everyone your business.  I’ve made piles of shorts since March but nothing interesting enough to post.  The KIDS shorts pattern is my staple.  I did add some ruffles to them for their birthday, so I should at least put pictures of those.  Here is one until I can take pictures-

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They now have 18 pairs of shorts!  And numerous dresses they only wear when home with me.  So really no excuse to sew more except for having irresistible fabric, some specific occasion, or they grow.  I’m mostly waiting for the growing.  So that’s where I have been.

Easter Dresses!

I started early, because sewing deadlines seem to sneak up on me.

Actually, the dark purple dress was started in November, intended to be worn to the girls’ cousin’s baptism.  But I didn’t get it fully complete and didn’t have time to start the second. So it stayed next to my sewing desk for months.  Purple is a great Easter color.image imageI modified the Geranium pattern using the sleeveless version, but lengthening the bodice.  I made the pleats first and then cut out the bodice.  It wasn’t exactly planned as a drop waist, but after the hem was made based on how it fit the child, the waist was equidistant from neck to hem.  It didn’t look right.  I already knew I wanted to make a contrasting sash with the other purple fabric I picked for the second dress (coordinating, not matching), so I have it sitting above the stitch line between the bodice and the skirt.  So it looks more like a drop waist.

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Here is the second dress.  I went with a straight Geranium pattern, no modifications.  I used a pleated skirt to coordinate with the look of the first dress and made a coordinating sash with the contrasting fabric.

To make the sashes, I ironed on interfacing, so the bow would stay stiffer instead of drooping.  Then sewed one end closed, and up the side, with right sides facing and turned it back right side out by poking the closed end inside the tube.  I tried first with a tube turner but it just bunched up and made ironing all the wrinkles out a mess!  I hand sewed the open end closed.  The measurements I used were based on measuring the waist of the bodice and then making a bow with my tape measure and adding those two numbers together.  I also used the tape measure to eyeball how wide I wanted it to turn out, then added 1/2 inch for the 1/4 seam allowance.

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Final hand sewing was minimal–buttons and making thread belt loops using this video as instruction.

I’ll include some pictures with them in the dresses later.  The dark purple one with the front pleats was tricky to iron, so I don’t want to mess them up before Easter!

Echino-A

 

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Two more dresses this week!

 

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Fabric is Echino Landscape in salmon and turquoise.  They come in 24″ X 44″ panels in linen.

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I thought they would make perfect A-line swing dresses (at least I think that is what they are called).  The linen is rough, so I lined it in a very soft cotton.

I didn’t make the front neckline and back neckline different.  I think it’s fine being the same.  The backs are closed with an elastic loop and button.  I decided on big, plain, matte buttons.  But here are the backs before putting the button on.

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I used a panel dress I had made by modifying another A- line dress, folded it in half, traced around it on paper, and added a 3/8″ seam allowance as well as 2.5 more inches of hem. The panel dresses are getting short.

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Can you make it out there on the left?  The right is a t-shirt pattern made the same way for the February Project Run & Play challenge.  Then I cut the fabric on the fold, positioning where I wanted the images on the panel to show as best I could given the size of the pattern and size of the fabric.  I did the same for the lining.

Here are the subsequent steps I took to construct the dress:

1. Sew side seams, right sides facing, for both main and lining.

2. Keep main inside out.  Turn lining right side out and place inside main dress, matching up shoulders, center of front and back and side seams.  Pin together and sew armholes and front neckline.  Do NOT sew top shoulders!

3.  For back neckline, I drew a line, about 4.5 inches long from the top center straight down.  I started sewing at the shoulder ( starting a little more than 3/8″ from the top) and when I reached just a smidge before the line, I pivoted and sewed right next to the line, but not on top.  Then at the bottom I did one diagonal stitch toward the bottom and then pivoted to go the other direction toward the top.  Then do the same sewing back up the line, not on it but just to the side.  Before getting back to the top of the neckline, I inserted elastic, loop-side inside the garment, toward the top and sewed over it several times, then pivoted to go back around the other side of the neck.

Yes.  I know I should have taken pictures.  I made two dresses.  I have little excuse except my phone storage was full.

4. Clip corners and clip all curves.

5. Turn inside out and press. Then turn back inside out.

6. Match shoulder seams up, main fabric to main fabric, right sides together.  Move lining out of the way.  Sew at the seam allowance chosen.  Mine was 3/8″.

7. Next is where I cheated a little so I don’t have to do so much hand sewing,  I pressed those main shoulder seams open, trimmed them, and then folded the lining over so it overlaps the seam.  I used Wondertape to make the folds stick together.  Then I stitched in the ditch on the right side of the main, going through both folded edges of the lining shoulders.  Hee hee!  The only hand stitching left is to make it all look nice and close any gaps not stitched by the machine.

8. Hem as desired, hemming the lining inward toward the main.  I did a blind hem stitch by machine on the main fabric and straight stitch on the lining fabric.

9. Sew a button on opposite back corner.

Next time I make one of these I will take pictures.

 

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Little Lottas

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Two Lotta dresses were made this week, reversing the main and contrasting fabrics between the two.  The girls are coming with me to a gender reveal party this weekend, so it works nicely that one is mainly navy and the other magenta-pink!

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This is the first time I’ve sewn the Lotta.  It was on my list for their spring/summer wardrobe and the way the pattern pieces are cut works well for fabric conservation.  I made both the dresses with one yard of each fabric.  Meaning I got two dresses for two yards, which is pretty nice for a lined bodice dress with pockets.  No fabric left for identical diaper covers though.

I chose the button back with plain buttons since the print was so busy.  The other choices included in the pattern are invisible zipper and buttons with buttonloops.

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The fabrics are both Cotton & Steel–Moonlight Tanagrams Navy and Metallic XOXO Plummy.  These dresses are size 2T.  The sewing itself wasn’t tricky, but I did ask Marte (from Compagnie M) for help twice.  She was very responsive and nice!

Next time I’m going to try the diagonal pockets as I think the contrasting fabric will show more than on the sides.  I also have the Mara pattern on the Spring/Summer sewing list.

For this pattern, I learned a different order of garment construction compared to the Geranium dress, and the cap sleeves have more of a curve once sewn.  The girls love them.  I showed them the pink one still on the hanger and they absconded with it and didn’t want to give it back.  Then I tried on the navy one and that kiddo also ran off when I tried to take it back off.

 

p.s. I cured my pattern paralysis

Pattern Paralysis

This post is not about shorts–

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I made two shorts last weekend and then was struck with Pattern Paralysis.

Perhaps you’ve had this affliction as well.  The precursory conditions for Pattern Paralysis are an abundance of patterns and fabric, thereby rendering the sewist with more possible combinations than she is able to process.  The symptoms are a simultaneous desire to make everything and also make the best use of one’s fabric stash, ideally matching each fabric with the best pattern for that fabric.  The sewist then begins second ( and third, fourth) guessing herself until she is too tired to sew, yet tries to put together ideas on new pinterest boards and keeps the patterns next to her bed.  This stage typically is short-lived with the patient sewist progressing either to sewing neglect, or after a brief respite period, the ideal treatment of “just making something already!”

Fabric is coming in the mail in 3 days.  Patterns are cut and waiting.  Treatment is pending.

Double bubble!

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The January Project Run & Play Challenge is from Alida Makes bubble dress tutorial.  I decided to use Ashley’s tutorial on Make-it Love-it instead because it has more “bubble” in the hem, and I wanted to make skirts with elastic waistbands anyway.

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I bought the tiger fabric because it was so cute, not knowing what I was going to do with it.  It makes for a pretty cute bubble skirt.

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The other fabric I knew was going to be used to make a bubble skirt.

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For my one and a half year old girls I used these measurements:

Elastic- 19.5 inches

Lining- (1) 28″ X 7.75″

Main- (2) 28″ X 12.75″

This results in a 11 inch long skirt with an 18.5 inch elastic waist.  For gathering I set the machine to the longest stitch length and a tension of 8, which is one below the highest tension.  I did sew one at 9 but it was too gathered.  If you do this method you won’t have to pull so much thread, risking thread breakage.  The tension of 8 was perfect!

I have more of both fabrics left.  Any pink tiger ideas?

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Small fry skinnies, racer shorts and two popovers

My toddlers’ Spring/Summer wardrobe is off to a good start.  This week I sewed a popover dress,

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a popover top, that I haven’t hemmed yet because I’m waiting until closer to spring,

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a pair of racer shorts,

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and small fry skinny pants!

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I’d never made these pants before.  I made a long version of kid shorts that looked like gaucho pants!  These look much cooler on a kid but take significantly longer.  It was fun, though time consuming.  There are 16 total pattern pieces, some of which are duplicates or mirror images but still a lot of pieces to sew together.  I used the FREE two year old pattern and tutorial on the Titchy Threads website.  It is not a beginner pattern.  Most of the tutorial was easy to follow.  I only had a few, “What!?” moments, usually because the tutorial is for boys pants and she says to reverse everything for girls pants.  Also it takes longer if you do topstitching because you are changing threads and needles frequently.  I also had never done topstitching with topstitching thread and needle before.  I couldn’t find a twin topstitching needle at my local Joanns, so used a regular one, which was very hard to thread and would get jammed when the thread had difficulty going through the eye smoothly once the machine was stitching.  Lesson learned (again), use the correct needle and thread!  So after it got stuck again I switched to a single topstitching needle and sewed the two lines separately.  It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.  The twin needle with the incorrect sized eyes had bad stitching anyway.  That was also my first time using a twin needle.  I followed the directions listed in my machine instruction manual and it went ok.

The pants have front and back pockets, a half fly, and an adjustable elastic waistband in the back.  I used a snap in the front and sewed a button for looks.  The Joanns near me only had buttonhole elastic in black, which would show through so I haven’t added that yet.

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I would make these pants again if I had a fabric I thought would be REALLY cool in pants, otherwise I’m probably buying pants for the girls.  As I type this, I’m already thinking about the next pair of pants to sew….so I guess there’s something about this pattern!

Next up is a bubble skirt for January Project Run & Play challenge.

Spring/Summer wardrobe

Its easier for my kids to mostly wear what I make when its not winter.  I don’t imagine quilter’s cotton to be comfortable in long sleeves and I have yet to pick out my serger to start sewing knits.  I am SUPER excited about clothes making for spring and summer for my little ladies!  Fabrics have been ordered and picked out from my stash.  Here’s what I have planned so far:

b4756eb237dfadb2463d9e6a23680060 2796e665f4ea77dd8ff6eb91e14b221f

b0fedb0861cc2528e42f8374e99b09f5  c48315f18dc2e15c07316a13ba0abe6a

7b75f3178f4c08584629d41631ea1a94 8212c61b86c9d558d29dfcbbe4aed174

560ca797aa028781c8ae315c0dc6531a 446109ec9713b715cd8e70a61d1a2f08

8b382e06f501d3d11152d1c277cbf5f8 ee60e66db061ac6f2cd2b540cd8eb68e

237030af7b8a96cf542995150259d11c Bari J. Ackerman - Emmy Grace - Ripples in Sea

The last four, plus the mint chevron, I already have in my stash and figured it went OK with the other blushes, teals and mints.  The top dark background ones are navy, not black.  The prints/patterns are all over the place.  Five come from Cotton & Steel, the two chevron’s with metallic are Michael Miller and the last two are Bari J. Ackerman.  That floral is a voile as well as the spotty one, third to last.  The rest are quilter’s cotton.  I wish more prints I like came in voile/lawn.

I have a whole list of possible items to make, drafting some my own, and many from patterns I already have:

Flat-front shorts, some with side panels in print or coordinating solid.

Scallop-edge shorts (probably from the scallop print).

Panel dresses, both with the print on the front and dresses with the print on the sides.

Something from the 5 & 10 dress book that I haven’t made anything out of yet.

A Mara blouse.

A Lotta dress.

Bubble skirts (going to make this in January for the Project Run & Play challenge).

Popover tops.

Fawn Lily dress.

Ice Cream dress.

Elastic skirts.

Skirt with inverted box pleats with different fabric inside the pleat.

An easy blouse with faux-cap sleeves I plan to draft myself with a button/loop back closure.

Maybe a few light jackets with some prints as lining and for the insides of pockets.
WHAT!?  I hope I get it all made before fall!  I only made about half the things I planned for their fall items, Indian Summer.

Suggestions and advice is welcome.