Oct 28, 2012

Mama & Me Tops

Score! I made this top and I LOVE it! Thank you to iCandy for the tutorial for the Every Day Tee. The tutorial is fabulous and the top so easy to make. Plus it's now going into my regular rotation because it feels so good on.
 Perhaps the material helped a wee bit too. I picked up this super soft, stretchy April Johnson fabric at Joann's over the summer. I didn't realize that Joann's carried "designer" knit fabrics! So I bought some with a 40% off coupon and then an additional 20% off stacked on top of that and I think 2 yards of this ended up being $7. Hurrah for no shipping costs and good fabric.

So, being so happy with my new top, I decided to reduce the pattern and make a top for my daughter too.
And then wear them on the same day. She was actually THRILLED to have the same top as her mom. I'm sure you can tell from the pictures.
 Seriously. Elated. I'm sure you don't believe me. I wouldn't either. Not with this picture of my daughter defying my friend to get any closer with that camera. Right.
Anyway. I -- I -- am thrilled because I loved this tutorial, love my new top, and love being twinners with my daughter. (Never thought I'd say that, but I guess I am one of those moms now. Yay!)
(Yes...matching labels too. I am super corny.)

Oct 16, 2012

Tunic - Revised & Improved

Hello! I blogged a few days ago about my Elsie Marley Knock-Off. I think I got it right. Mostly. But I had some fixing to do over the weekend.
This is what the tunic looked like when my daughter first tried it on and wore it out. I had some work to do to make it fit better.
The sleeves were too tight and too long. So I trimmed them. I also cut off the big triangular points on either side of the bottom portion.
Ahhhh. Much better. Also, to fix that gaping neckline, I put some (whatdoyoucallit) iron-on stuff to the inside.
Here is the much-improved version that my daughter wore once again, all morning, and I forgot to take a picture of her in it. (doh!) Hence, the wrinkles. So you'll have to trust me: it fits SO much better. And looks a lot cuter! 
(Note: I also added little V-shaped splits on either side of the tunic to give my daughter more room to bend and move about. Not sure what they are called, but I know I've seen them on other garments and just winged it here.)
(Thanks again to Meg at Elsie Marley for the inspiration!)

Oct 12, 2012

Elsie Marley Knock-Off

I have been trying harder to keep up with the routine of KCWC this time around. Sometimes, it depends upon inspiration -- whether or not you get something done. Well, when I saw Meg's post of her daughter in this hip outfit on Elsie Marley, I swooned. I absolutely loved it. And...wanted it.
At first, I thought, I'll just do the leggings, since I already have flowery knit fabric. But then I realized I had some brownish linen in my stash too. I kept eyeballing the pics on Meg's blog. Then I just went for it.
the leggings:
For the pattern, I used some leggings that fit my daughter well. Then I used this blue knit I had from Girl Charlee. I thought (eh-hem) I had enough, one of the legs is pieced together, mostly on the back in about 5-6 pieces. But it works. I also have been too lazy pressed for time to figure out the double-needle I bought way back when, so I just eye-balled the hems.
the tunic/dress: 
I like challenges. I think I have said this before, but I am over-confident with my sewing skills. I still consider myself a novice/beginner and everything I sew is a learning experience. But, as I said, I REALLY liked Meg's work on the Simplicity 7241,  so I thought I'd give it a try. And I tried really hard. Want to know what I messed up on did differently?

For one, the clever little back pocket covers up the gooned-up job I did on the bottom of the zipper.
The sleeves are also too long/tight. Need to chop those.
And the neck gapes open a wee bit. And you might not realize it by looking at these pictures, but the skirt portion flares like a bell. Need to fix that too.

Oh please, last picture, I promise.

But I really do love the outfit. It was my first time sewing anything with linen, and I enjoyed it immensely. (I also think it was one of the few times I've created something from a solid color. Huh.) Anyway, it was a fun experiment. My daughter wore this outfit to playgroup this morning and I think she looked pretty cute. And, as stated before, when inspiration strikes (thanks, Meg!) ya gotta just go for it.

*** UPDATE: The new and improved tunic is HERE.

Oct 10, 2012

Night Mittens in Hounds Tooth

Eh? Night mittens? What...? Well, here's the deal. My daughter has very dry skin and eczema. I won't get into the nitty-gritty, but it has gotten pretty bad (we are seeing a great pediatric dermatologist, so don't worry). One of the many techniques we use to hydrate her skin is using gloves/mittens at night. Typically, we lotion up her hands and then wet the gloves and she keeps them on most of (if not the entire) night. And she really loves this. If I forget to either lotion or wet the gloves she reminds me. I think it's because it all feels good to her skin. And it works.
Anyway, the gloves she's been using have gotten rather dingy. So I decided to make her some mittens. (Finding soft jersey-type kiddie gloves has actually been hard for me. I've been using kiddie gardening gloves.) Also, instead of doing gloves, I decided to make mittens (easier) and see how they work. I used leftovers of this hounds tooth fabric that I love, determined not to let any go to waste after making a skirt, a scarflette, a scrappy skirt for my daughter, and a hat. For the mittens, I also used some black interlock fabric. For the pattern, I just traced a glove we had.
 Hmmm. These aren't so bad.
I started and finished these mittens this afternoon while my daughter slept. And though I am fully conscious of the fact that many other sewists would probably be able to pump out 3 or 4 pairs in an hour, I'm happy I got one. Because my five-year-old DOESN'T NAP. (And I really got into the dinosaurs-taking-over-the-castle game.)
So we're giving these gloves a-go tonight. (I hope they are not too big.)
Another project done for KCWC. Yay!

Oct 9, 2012

A Dress Experiment

This project turned into more of an experiment than anything. As in, what can I get away with? I started with this beautiful and simple corduroy. I really liked it when I was at Joann's so I bought a little (eh-hem). It is soft, lightweight, and, I thought, perfect for the fall. At the time, I had no idea what I was going to do with it. Enter the commercial pattern -- Butterick 3047 -- that I bought on a whim off eBay for about $3 shipped. Because I am impetuous and not a sewing perfectionist, I started cutting right away, excited about the probability of improvising. Because, you know, I didn't buy enough fabric. 
 Quickly, I realized I didn't have enough corduroy for those long-sleeves I really wanted to make. So I lined the bodice (with pink cotton) and made side-seam pockets (because they're fun to find) and got used to the idea that I'd be making another sleeveless dress. (And I also started realizing that these type of dresses are all so similar with their bodices and gathered skirts. All you have to do to make them different is play with the neckline and the seem -- front or back, buttons or, in my case eyelets.)

The pattern called for buttons. And I should've just gone with it. But for some reason, I thought this bodice was going to be too small on my daughter (I used the size 3 pattern). So I punched holes (a fun technique I had never done before) and thought I'd lace up the front with a ribbon like a corset. Well, I tried this and it didn't look so great with only 6 holes. So I made felt bows. The top one snaps off to allow the dress to fit over my daughter's largish head. (It ended up being close.) I am thinking about going back to the lacing-up-the-front idea and cutting off those felt bows. (sigh) I will have to punch more eyelets though. As much fun as it was initially, I am not excited about doing any more when I thought I was officially done with this dress.
I should also note that the dress is all-over too big. I added an elastic waistband inside the gathered seam to pull in the dress a bit. I think it helped - a bit.
My "photo shoot" was very low-key. I didn't even change her socks (actually her brother's). She's donning a short-sleeve shirt beneath this dress, but I want to say, on record, that I envision a long-sleeved shirt beneath it in the future. We were just not going to wrestle today. I'm just glad she likes it. This version, anyway.

And so there we have it. My first completed (sort of) project for KCWC.

Oct 5, 2012

Bubble Dress

First of all, I have to say that I LOVE this dress. When I saw it on the blog Straight Grain, I simply fell in love with the style. I found that I kept going back to this page, wondering if I could make such a beautiful dress. I finally printed out the pattern pieces and followed the (awesome) tutorial.
For my not-quite-three-year-old-daughter, I ended up using the size 6 pattern top, and the size 8 pattern bottom for length with the size 6 waist. Did you follow that? :) It worked. My kid is pretty big for her age.

Above, we have the standard watering-the-flowers pose. My patio is typically my go-to place for quick pics with natural light.
And then we went to the zoo a few weeks ago and I thought it'd be a great place for a photo shoot. Check out that gorgeous peacock.
The outer layer of this dress had this funky print that I picked up locally (a generous person on Freecycle.org). I used it previously on a skirt (which, honestly, she never wears. In fact, my daughter rarely uses the skirts I make her. I don't know why. I make them because they're easy and quick. But I am finding I have more luck with shorts. And hats. Maybe this will change when she gets a little older. Like with Clara, who is five and loves skirts. Anyway, I digress.)
The inside of the skirt is this red and white satiny material, also picked up from a generous Freecycler. Can't remember if it was the same person. (I love Freecycle. I also picked up some darling tap shoes this week for my daughter. They are seriously cute and now I'm thinking dance classes are in our future maybe sooner than later. On another side note, I try to donate stuff too to keep up the good karma.)
Many, many shots of this dress, I know.
The one below I liked because of the elephant bones in the ground. Kinda cool, hopping across those ribs.
Oh, and here's another example of the bubble dress - almost forgot. I made one for my friend's daughter too. She's about 1.5 years old and so super cute.
Anyway, thank you again Straight Grain for such a sweet pattern. I truly love it.