Sewn for… a distraction from a super anxious and stressful week.
Pattern: This is the Mini Mod Dress by Sewing in No Mans Land. It looks like she has taken her patterns down temporarily, I think to scale them up or something, but they’ll be back. I’ve sewn this pattern I think three times now. It’s such a quick sew and such a cute fit. I shortened the sleeves a bit.
Fabric: I got this gorgeous peacock print from JoAnn’s at least a year ago and just never really had the right project for it. This week, we’ve been stressed waiting on some test results, and my anxiety has been through the roof, so I just had to grab something and start creating. This cotton is actually a little stiff and coarse, even though I prewashed it. I love the deep colors and the gold touches. Maybe it will soften with time. It’s just what you get from JoAnn’s I guess. The satin for the belt/button was originally intended to be for an Elsa dress, but I wound up using it for the Blue Flower Dream Dress (pictured at the top of the blog, which I have not actually blogged about, but should).
These pictures are a little weird because Lottie downright refused to do a photo shot this morning, even though I let her watch an extra episode of Octonauts AND promised her a special treat. So I had to sneak these shots with my phone while we were looking at plants a Lowe’s. Sneaky Mommy needs to invest in a children’s dress form.
Lottie’s response: in spite of her refusal to do a photo shoot for me, she really did like the dress. She wore it to church and kept it on almost all day (hence the wrinkles), until I had to remind her to change into play clothes to work outside with Daddy. She got loads of compliments on it at church. This color is really flattering on her, and the pattern is such a nice fit. I’m hopeful that it will get a lot of wear, even though the fabric is a little rough.
Sewn for Project Run and Play’s May Challenge: The Summer Chevrons Shirt.
Now that the weather has warmed and the flowers are blooming, Little Miss has decided she will only wear dresses. This also comes after I sewed up several pairs of new shorts for her. In true 4-year-old fashion.
She also wants all of her dresses to be long enough that she doesn’t have to wear shorts with them. This part has proven to be a problem, since most of her dresses from last year are about knee length. If there’s an excuse to sew more dresses… I sew more dresses.
Pattern: this is a bit of a mash up of the challenge pattern, The Summer Chevrons Shirt by Crafty Cupboard, and the Tiered Maxi Skirt by Make It & Love It. Tragedy of all tragedies, I didn’t have enough fabric to make it as long as I wanted to. That bottom tier is 96 inches around, so I had to patch three pieces together.
Fabric: This is a very-lightweight satin from Ragtime. Frayed like craaaazzzyyy. Each tier of the maxi skirt is finished with a french seam because of that. The color match to our roses was accidental, but delightful. My original plan was for this to be all pink, no frills other than the features of the design. When I showed it to Lottie the first time, she immediately went to my trim box and started pawing through, eyes lit up, examining options. It was fascinating to see her mind working and really delighted me that she was thinking “How should I embellish this dress?” Wee seamstress in the making! She had an aha moment, went to her room, and came back with this sequined belt, which came from JoAnn’s and is part of another dress I made her about a year ago. She was so excited about the match, I made it work.
Lottie’s response: Loved it. Didn’t want to change out of it. Wanted to wear it to Grandma’s house. She decided it looked like Sleeping Beauty’s dress, so we’re calling it her princess dress (unlike the thirty other princess dresses she already has).
I’m kind of freaking out about the cuteness of these shorts. The shirt: eh, details below. But these shorts, man! So cute!
Pattern: I finally broke down and bought the Kid Shorts pattern from MADE. I didn’t want to spend money on it, but I really wanted to figure out how to do flat front shorts. I thought it would be tricky. Little did I know… the tutorial is on her blog and I didn’t really have to buy a pattern anyway. And not really very tricky. But, hey, support someone doing something cool, right? The pattern has a lot of variations, including boy and girl sizing, it comes together quickly, and I’m sure I’ll be using it a lot. It is also shaped a bit more precisely than other shorts patterns I’ve tried, so I think it’s a winner.
Shorts Fabric: Tiger Stripe from the Zoo Menagerie collection from Westminster. When I first saw it, I thought it was ghastly. I (however stupidly) told Lottie she could pick whatever she liked from the clearance section at Ragtime. She was so enthused about this that I couldn’t say no. Actually she wanted this one and a blue version that was, I think, penguins. I made her pick one. Now that I see it in these cute little shorts, I think it’s fabulous. I ended up having to do in-seam pockets because the direction of the print meant that I couldn’t eke out enough for the front pockets I wanted. I added the buttons because a dash of pink really increases the odds that she’ll wear any given article.
Shirt Fabric: The shirt. Ugh. Stupid shirt. This yellow shirt was made from a hand-me-down from my mom, who said it didn’t fit her right. Well, it didn’t fit me right either. So I used The Cottage Mama’s Pocket Smock Top pattern to scale it down to a kid-sized shirt. WHICH DOESN’T FIT LOTTIE RIGHT EITHER! It’s like this shirt was doomed to failure from day one. She claims she likes it, but it doesn’t fit very well at all. It’s too short in the back and the arm holes are too small. I finished the arm and neck holes with a bias binding, so there’s not enough stretch (but the pattern was made for wovens… so… what’s up with that?). Also, my machine nearly ate the ears off that poor applique tiger. So she wore this outfit to a birthday party, where she promptly got a big stain on the shirt. It just really wasn’t mean to be. The shorts more than make up for it though.
This would have been great for Kid’s Clothing Week, but I was just too darn busy piecing together triangles for the Quilted Reversible Sling Bag to participate that week! BUT that turned out to be a good investment of time because I wound up in the top ten!
Another Project Run and Play Monthly Challenge project.
Pattern: This is the Reversible Sling Bag by Sugar Bee Crafts. Since it’s for my little one, I scaled the pattern down by about a third. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to quilt something (anything) for the first time. I figured this would be a good opportunity, since it was fairly small. Then I realized that once you’ve go to the pains to piece your bits together… the last thing you want to do is slice it up! But it wasn’t perfect piecing at all, and clearly it’s a first attempt, so I hacked away. The quilt batting is just some extra fleece I had hanging around. I managed to do the whole thing without spending any money.
Fabric: a little bit of everything, which I love. I guess that’s part of the allure of quilting. There are so many memories in these fabrics. Dresses for Lottie, baby gifts for friends, a 50’s style apron for a friend who moved to Japan.
Lessons learned: oh, so many. So many. Like “oh, I’ll just quilt this up really quick.” It took forever. I picked a particularly difficult pattern I think. It’s based on this Triangle Quilt, scaled down by 50%. I really should have started out with solids. There’s a direction to the triangles and the alternating fabrics repeat. Such a great idea, right? Not so much when you have to rip out pieces over and over and over. Then there was the cutting it, which was painful. And the quilting of it. That’s where I learned how magnified every piecing error was. Yippee. And my machine… wow… my machine really did not want to sew through that thickness. Apparently this is what a walking foot is for? Yeah, I don’t have one of those. And, wow, it takes a lot of thread. I had wanted to do additional quilting lines, but I was running out of thread (and time) and my machine seemed increasingly grumpy, so it is what it is!
All in all, I actually like it quite a lot. It has a great feel to it. It’s visually interesting. I would definitely try it again. I think it would look good in black and grey. Larger and smaller. And I will quilt again! Maybe. Eventually.
Sewn for Project Run and Play’s March Challenge.
Pattern: Based on the Free Knot Dress Pattern from The Sewing Rabbit. I loved the idea of this pattern, and I love the versions on her website. But… I feel like the knots are too big on my little one. They are essentially one size fits all. I think the back knots were graded. The straps and bottom knots seem too big to me. I used the size 4 bodice. I added the center waistband piece to extend the bodice and cut it on the bias to break up the plaids. I knew they wouldn’t match up anyway. I like the bias strip, but I do wish it was lower.
I gathered the shorts to match them to the waistband. On the top, I added darts so everything came together.
The shorts were self-drafted. I like the knot concept on the sides, but again I think they’re a little big. But cute idea.
Fabric: This fabric came from my mother’s stash. It was originally used for a pair of shorts for me in the late 80’s. Does that mean it’s vintage? What better fabric to use for a romper! That calls for a swanky 80’s pose:
Lottie’s response: I didn’t get to see her initial response, but she did say she liked it, and I had a hard time getting her to change out of it. She did ham it up for the pictures and seemed to like prancing around in it. I think we all agree that the back is the cutest thing ever. I will definitely be using this idea again.
This one began with one of Daddy’s shirts. Again, should have taken a before picture of him wearing it. The sleeves were comedically short. What is up with this family growing in weird ways? And there’s no way it shrank. It’s an L.L. Bean dress shirt. I learned while trying to take it apart that every aspect of this shirt is totally top quality. They are not kidding with that lifetime guarantee. I couldn’t even find the stitches to take the pocket off. They use French seams everywhere — even to attach the sleeves. So, here’s before:
Ordinary shirt, to fantastic dress!
Pattern: The bodice is The Cottage Mama’s Charlotte Apron Dress, minus the apron. The skirt is much less full. The result is pretty much the cutest thing I’ve ever sewn. I may say that most times I sew something. But this one is reeeeeeaaaallllyyy cute.
Fabric: The top is Daddy’s L.L. Bean dress shirt. The purple is a wool/rayon blend from Ragtime. I brought Lottie with me, showed her a piece of the shirt, and let her pick WHATEVER fabric she wanted to go with it. Brave? Maybe. More likely I would have vetoed something really weird. The ribbon trim is actually upholstery trim. That and the vintage buttons came from a giant stash gifted from my mother-in-law. The satin flower at the bottom of the dress is from a curtain I took apart for… reasons I suddenly can’t recall…
Lottie’s Response: I was actually surprised that she liked it. It’s nothing she would ordinarily pick out for herself in a store, but once she had it on, she seemed to really get a kick out it. It’s also not something I would typically have made, if not pushed with the challenge to use the shirt and the fabric she picked. Definitely need to do more of that. Pockets are always a plus when you’re four, of course. The colors look great on her, and it’s not a terribly fussy dress. She was proud to have picked out the purple herself.
Also goes great with crazy hair.
I’ve had these pants for years, and I honestly don’t think they ever fit me properly. They were short in a truly comedic way. I should have taken a before picture of myself wearing them. Aside from the length problem, they weren’t cut with the grain properly either, so the legs were twisty and wonky.
Anyway, I’ve kept them because… I don’t know really. It’s not like I was ever planning to lose height. I considered turning them into shorts, but they’re flannel, so there’s not a lot of use for hot shorts. They were definitely bottom-of-the-drawer. Lottie has always loved these though. So Valentine’s Jammies it is!
Pattern: None. Just winged it based on a pair of her current PJ pants. I made them extra long, apparently to make them do their penance for being too short for me. The top is a boys Hanes T-shirt. It’s quite ill-fitting, really, but I figured it was good enough for PJs.
Lottie’s Response: Again, she loved them, and wanted to wear them right away. I was worried that she’d be a little cold though. Tonight, when I asked if she wanted to wear them again, she said no. So, we’ll see how much use they’ll actually get.
Behold this lovely dress. Bright and springy, lovely drape, flattering cut…
…and also way too small for me. It was one of my favorites back before Lottie was born, so I hung on to it, I guess with some notion that I would lose critical bone mass, maybe? I mean, it’s not just a little snug around the tummy. It’s like my actual bones got bigger. So rather than hang onto it until I’m 90, or somehow otherwise shrunken, I turned it into a little Bohemian Girl dress for Lottie.
Pattern: I used the bodice from The Cottage Mama Summer Picnic Dress and just gathered the heck out of the skirt. I reused the skirt lining but had to make a new bodice lining. I was able to use the existing hem and used a bit of the original bodice for the straps.
Lottie’s response: seemed quite happy with it. She wore it all day Sunday. It’s quite the dancing dress. And also just the look for a Bohemian guitar player.
You know, just a little hippy girl, strumming her guitar. I’m pretty sure I went to college with this chic.
One of this week’s projects was this little dress set for a high school friend who is expecting a baby girl. I forgot how tiny newborn clothes are. And it kind of makes me want to squeal.
Pattern: Eh, just kind of made it up. It’s similar to a toddler pattern I have, and I referenced an infant pattern for size. The bloomers are from Melly Sews. This is the best looking bloomer pattern I’ve tried, but I really don’t know how they’re going to fit. The pattern looks huge, like I could be making ruffle butt bloomers for myself, but it came together nicely.
Fabric: the polka dots are from Joann’s, leftover from a dress I made for Lottie. The pink is actually from a set of sheets. I’ve made at least five things now — including a full size adult woman’s Sally from Peanuts costume for a friend — from these sheets. Lightweight, super soft, and there’s still plenty left!
Problems: Aside from not being sure about the sizing, none. You sure do get a lot of bang for the buck with teeny weeny baby clothes. I did add one special touch. I attached the ruffle to the dress with a french seam. Nobody wants some ugly seam hanging out near tiny newborn legs! It wouldn’t have worked with most fabrics, but these sheets, man. They’re working hard. It came out nice and clean, and there are no unfinished seams in either piece. I also did french seams on the sides of the bloomers and dress.
Lottie’s response: “Mommy, I’m not sure that’s gonna fit.” Good call, since she’s four. Smart kid, that one.
Now to get it off in the mail. Baby’s due Wednesday!
This was originally going to be her Valentine’s Day dress. Then I realized that Valentine’s Day is a Saturday this year. Boo! Then we got invited to a wedding! Yay!
Pattern: The Georgia Vintage Dress by The Cottage Mama, Lindsay Wilkes, one of my very favorite designers. This pattern is so classic and beautiful. There’s just no end to the gorgeous combinations possible with this pattern. I increased the size/length of the sash (because seriously, if ever a dress demanded a giant bow, this is that dress) and the pink on the bottom is a band (whereas the pattern calls for a separate underskirt layer). I also adjusted the size of the bib and made it ruffled (ruched?). (Updated: I’m told this technique in heirloom sewing is called “puffing” — It was actually inspired by Straightgrain’s improvisational pleating).
Fabric: The print is an Italian cotton from Ragtime. It’s very light, almost a shirting fabric. The green fabric, buttons, and pink trim are also from Ragtime, resulting from a really delightful solo shopping spree a couple weeks ago. The pink and the green rick rack came from my mom, I think from Joann’s. The green piping was leftover from the bubble dress.
Problems: None. This pattern is fantastic, and I’ve made it five or six times now. It all came together very quickly.
Lottie’s response: Loved it. I think I might have made her a little nervous about it because I really don’t want it to get dirty before the wedding. She was totally hamming it up for pictures though. You could tell she felt good about it. Plus, twirl factor? Epic:
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