Reversible Geraniums

I obviously love the Geranium Dress pattern.  My mother-in-law requested specific dresses made with the geranium pattern in a dark denim with pink piping between the bodice and skirt.  I thought it would be fun to make the bodice lining a pink denim and then figured, I was this close, I might was well “line the skirt” and put navy piping between that bodice and skirt and make it reversible!  Yes, it made for a thick dress, but it’s winter and it was denim for a semi-fancy occasion (they also wore the dresses to their cousin’s sip-and-see.)

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Before hemming

 

If you have ever made a geranium dress then it’s pretty easy to see how you could make another skirt instead of closing off the bodice by stitching in the ditch on the right side.  The dilemma then came on how to hem it.  I wanted to figure out a way to hem them together without hand sewing the entire hem.  My hand sewing is not so great (I’m thinking of hand sewing my quilt challenge so I can work on that at the same time).  I even emailed Rae to ask her opinion.  We arrived at the same conclusion, that either it would have to be hand sewn, folded in and then top stitched together, or sewn separately and then either tacked together or left loose.  I chose the last option.  I wanted to avoid topstitching together, which is what most reversible tutorials recommend, because these were for semi-fancy occasion and I’d have to chose one side to have contrasting thread.  I did let go of the idea of blind hemming both hems because I ran out of time before the event.  I made 4 geranium dresses essentially, so that would be 4 blind hems.  It would take to long to get it all correct measurement wise and press it exactly.  I’m happy with how they turned out!

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I used Claire Shaffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide to help me with getting stitch lengths correct.  It helped. I used that for the coats too.

 

So besides making four geranium dresses put together into two reversible geraniums, I also made a red corduroy long pant romper for a friend’s toddler for Christmas.  That made me busy enough in December.  Besides thinking about quilting, I’m also putting together fabric and patterns for the girls spring/summer wardrobe!  So exciting!  Isn’t it wonderful being the personal couturier for two little girls?!

Oliver + S brought up an older blog entry/interview with a sewer in Canada, Marie-Michelle Melotte, who uses high-end fabrics for girls dresses.  It was a very interesting interview.  I especially liked her talking about using the texture of fabric to bring visual interest instead of print.  I love print, but would like to try more textures too.

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Coats!

I made these in time for a trip to Chicago!

These are my first coats!

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I used two patterns with the same fabrics since I prefer making coordinating outfits for my twins instead of identical ones.  I used size 3 for both patterns.  The outer fabric is wool coating found on sale at Fabric.com.  Its no longer there so good think I bought plenty of yardage.  The lining is a mystery smooth fabric found in the clearance room at Golden D’Or fabric outlet in Dallas, Texas.

 

The birds were whimsical and it’s a nice pink.  I had no trouble sewing it. I didn’t need to use any tricks like sandwiching it between tissue paper, wax paper or freezer paper.  The wool coating frays easily so I should have adjusted the patterns for more seam allowance.  I had to go back and hand sew some edges on the second coat.  Overall I’m happy with the end result and just so excited that I made two coats!

 

The first pattern is the Swing Coat from Heidi & Finn. Its a cute pattern and comes with some nice options like a hood that you can add animal ears to as well as a few closures.  I made the buttons with a button covering kit which was not the easiest with the wool coating.  After opening and closing the swing coat about five times one of the covers came off.  For the second coat my machine had trouble making buttonholes through thicker layers so I sewed the buttons on the outside but made snap closures on the inside.  I’d do the swing coat that way the second time.

The Heidi & Finn pattern doesn’t include grainline or layout recommendation, which is weird.  It also misses some instructions that would be important for an absolute beginner.   I knew some little details so I guess I’m in the intermediate stage of being a beginner.   That also means I could have missed some things.  I can’t remember each thing but a few times the instructions should have at least said RST-right sides together and there was no picture indicating right sides together.  It otherwise seemed like a great first coat to make.  I predict making more in the future. There aren’t too many pattern pieces and the sleeves aren’t sewn as in-set exactly but the side is sewn up all the way from the bottom to the end of the sleeve.  So much easier!  (Sorry I didn’t take pictures).  I’d need to modify it to make pockets in the future.

 

The second coat was a super challenge.  There is this adorable jacket pattern but in Spanish, from a lady named Gema who seems to be from Spain!  I don’t speak Spanish and my friends who speak Spanish don’t speak Spain Spanish!  But the collar of this coat was so cute and I didn’t want to make identical coats.  So,  it’s only fabric, right?  I suspect paper sizes aren’t the same in Europe because it didn’t print out edge to edge and there was no inch or centimeter square to check sizing.  But I went with it and then asked a friend to translate the YouTube tutorial.  That’s right, no written instructions included in this paid pattern!  The tutorial does have some things that are said and not shown, so you do need translation.   I have to thank Elizabeth for translation.  Oh, and my new sewing machine broke in the middle of all this!  I had to borrow my friend Amber’s identical sewing machine while mine was in the shop!

Mine doesn’t look as cute and I think it’s partly the fabric choice.  It does look cuter on a little person than on the hanger.  Gema says on her video that it’s not made to have a lining, but I had to use a lining since it’s a wool winter coat.  That wasn’t too hard to figure out after making the Swing Coat which did have a lining.  This cute little jacket includes facings though, plus interfacing which added to bulk along the closure.  Hence my machine got stuck making buttonholes.  This turned out to work in the favor of a toddler as I needed to make snaps instead of buttons!

Gema has several adorable patterns!  I’m thinking of getting her cape pattern even though I haven’t figured out the printing problem and the instructions are also a video in Spanish!  How cute is that cape!?

 

Back and on a Brother!

I really haven’t sewn since the last post.  It’s been horrible.  My Singer became irreversibly broken, something about timing, so I bought a Brother.  I could get a Brother and a serger or a fancy name sewing machine and no serger.  I have yet to order my serger but after sewing this weekend I’m ready.  Then life got in the way of sitting and getting comfortable with the new machine.  I did cut some pattern pieces which made getting back on the machine this weekend much easier.  Here is what I made this weekend–

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A new Panel dress!! Closed with a button loop on the back and fully lined like the chevron panel dress.  The girls have worn the chevron and dot bubble dress about six times to parties.  They have been well used for their purpose which makes me pretty happy.

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Here’s the coordinating dress!

Also in my Indian Summer fall collection plan are these cutie patootie racer shorts from Made pattern.

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I have plans for a ruffle skirt with arrow fabric and have started on the ruffle strips.  I need to make their coats soon too because it’s cooling off.  I finally decided on the Heidi and Finn Chic Cocktail Swing Coat.  Wish me luck!

 

Indian Summer | Need suggestions!

My kiddos wear their mommy-made clothes about 1/3rd to 1/2 of the week, but I’d like it to be more.  The ENCHANTED fabric collection from Cloud 9 inspired me to make them a fall wardrobe!  Since its warm where we are most of the time, this will work for both the end of summer and fall.  The prints themselves make me think of fall.  It says Quilters Weight which is funny.  That seems to mean different things, hence the hazard of buying fabric online.  The weight seems the same as broadcloth to me.  So I don’t think it will wear quite as well as a heavier weight, but it’s already bought and I’m going to go with it.  Like I said, it’s warm here.

Here are the swatches:

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Raven Moon

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Zigzag Feathers Coral

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Seed Bead Chevron

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Serape

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Zigzag Feathers Turquoise

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Tear Drop Bead Sunshine

Cute, huh?

I made a plan when I bought the fabric, making yardage decisions based on those plans.   Did I write the plans down? No!  So I’ll have to figure it out again.  I’m thinking a few shorts, skirts and dresses.  Maybe some prints would be nice as accents on tops?  Some look like they’d be great as lining (Tear Drop Bead Sunshine) for these coats I’m planning on learning enough skills to make by October 1st.

I watched a lot of past seasons of Project Runway the past month and think I’m starting to understand what they mean when they say a fabric wants to be something.  I never thought I’d think this-but I’m starting to see how fashion is seen as an art form.  This is particularly amusing since I don’t care much for fashion for myself.  Some of these prints do seem to call to be made one thing or another.  This is no different than carving soapstone or wood.  Sometimes it tells you what it wants to be.

Nonetheless I could use some ideas!

I’ve not used many trims.  Just a few uses of bias tape.  I like things minimal, but these are children’s clothes and I am making them with the side benefit of learning to sew, so I should probably give more trims a try.  Do you ever read Lexi’s posts?  She’s an amazing sewist/seamstress.  All her clothes look completely profession and well finished.  And she has CUTE twin girls!  I think I’ll peruse past posts for inspiration.

There are several patterns I haven’t tried yet too.  I have Compagnie M Mara Top and Lotta Dress, the Five and Ten Volume One ebook .  The Willow & Co Clover shorts and Fawn Lily top also look adorable.

Any ideas?