Pink Princess Dress

Sewn for Project Run and Play’s May Challenge: The Summer Chevrons Shirt.

Princess Dress 1Now 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.

Princess Dress FullShe 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.

Princess Dress BodicePattern: 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.

Princess Dress FrontFabric: 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.

Princess Dress BeltLottie’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).

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Knot Romper

Sewn for Project Run and Play’s March Challenge.

Knot Romper

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.

Knot Romper Shorts

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:

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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.

Knot Romper Back

KCW Project #3: Daddy’s Girl Dress

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:

IMG_0312Ordinary shirt, to fantastic dress!

Daddy's Girl Dress with PocketsPattern: 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.

Daddy's Girl Dress DetailFabric: 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…

Daddy's Girl Dress FrontLottie’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.

Daddy's Girl Dress Top

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KCW Project #2 Valentine’s Jammies

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.

IMG_0315Anyway, 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!

Valentines Jammies1Pattern: 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.

Valentines Jammies2Lottie’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.

Valentines Jammies

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KCW Project #1: Mommy Dress to Lottie Dress

Behold this lovely dress. Bright and springy, lovely drape, flattering cut…

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…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.

Picnic Dress Back

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.

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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.

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You know, just a little hippy girl, strumming her guitar. I’m pretty sure I went to college with this chic.

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Baby Goodies

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.

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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.

Infant Pheasant Dress

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!

Infant Pheasant Dress Bloomers

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.

Infant Pheasant Dress Seam

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!

Valentine’s Georgia Vintage

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!

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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).

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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.

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Problems: None. This pattern is fantastic, and I’ve made it five or six times now. It all came together very quickly.

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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:

DSC_2514Also shared here:

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Bubble Dress

Sewn for Project Run & Play’s January Challenge:

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Pattern: Based on Alida’s Bubble Dress plus the bodice from Sew Easy Being Green with very small changes to the shape of the neckline.

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Fabric: Wool blend from Ragtime Fabrics. Bought it to make myself a skirt, but decided it’d be a great bubble dress. I might actually still have enough to make myself a skirt… if I wanted to match my four-year-old…. which I might. The lining, also from Ragtime, was a total nightmare. Just fraying all over the place. Even though I cut the bodice and lining at the same time, the lining came out ridiculously off-kilter and way too small. So I used my handy-dandy new piping foot to make this green piping (first time ever making my own piping) to finish it up. Love the purple & green, especially on the back (which I considered calling the front).

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Problems: Oh my word, figuring out the right side/wrong side/inside/outside business. I thought it through over and over and in the end… the lining is inside out (so those fraying edges… yeah, totally exposed. But I’ll finish them off).

Lottie’s Response: “Mommy, I LOVE IT!” Happy to put it and refused to take it off. Also I let her jump on the bed.

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Overall, I just adore it. I make it large enough that she can wear it with a turtle neck underneath so it should work for winter and spring, if she’ll just stop growing. This is a 4T, and it fits pretty well. For now.

Look! Another sewing blog!

The current purpose of this blog is to document my sewing projects for 2015. I harbor no illusions of quitting my day job any time soon, but hopefully this will help me to be more dedicated to the craft, more daring my attempts, and more confident in my skills.

Let’s do it, 2015!