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:

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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.

 

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.

Next challenge- a quilt!

I tend to look past small mistakes in my garment making because it’s for 1 year olds and they won’t care plus they will grow out of it within months.  For medium or big mistakes I will rip and restitch, but I’ve noticed small errors don’t look as nicely finished and my girls will notice this when they grow up and look through the clothes I made them.  I examined a cabbage patch doll pajama that my mom made for one of my dolls when I was little and there are NO mistakes. It looks fantastic! After meeting the first big challenge I set for myself of making my girls coats (yay), I’ve decided to set a bigger challenge that will help me with paying more attention to details.  I’m going to make a quilt.  I doubt I am a quilter, but figure this will give me some skills and patience to help with garment making. I know nothing about quilting.  Should be fun!

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!