Friday, August 22, 2014

Go-to dress for a multitude of bridal events

Back in May I made myself my third Laurel dress (a Colette Pattern). I just love this pattern. It is such a great simple shift dress. There are darts in the back and at the bust to give it shape, but it is very boxy across the belly which is just what I need in a dress. The simplicity allows the dress to be worn casual or easily dressed up with the right accessories. A true shape shifter (too much, sorry). 
The first Laurel that I made was in a linen from JoAnn's in a shade called "tobacco." 
I really liked it and learned a lot while sewing it. 
I learned even more after I finished sewing it. 
Such as it is really truly important to make sure to wash your fabric before you sew with it. 
Especially if it is a woven fabric and you are making a garment. 
Because it will shrink, and you will have spent a lot of time making something that perfectly matches your own style for one of your smaller sized friends or family members.
Alas, I can still put the original one on and zip it, but it is too tight across the shoulders and I can barely lift my arms. Not really wearable. 
So.....I moved on.

I like this one too. 
The exposed zip is a fun trendy detail. (The pattern calls for an invisible zip, so this was a modification.) I decided to use this zipper while shopping for zips for Fern's coat. It is actually a separating zipper but I figured who cares, the color matches the fabric so well I had to use it anyway. 
The fabric is a great rayon type fabric that was on clearance at JoAnn's. It is very see through and light weight, so it is lined with an old bed sheet everywhere except the sleeves. The lining actually falls a couple inches shorter than the length of the dress as well. The old sheet is so soft against my skin, very comfortable. 
I ended up making a bit of a high-low hem. This dress is a lot shorter than my typical dress, and I spend a lot of time chasing around young kids, so the extra length in the back feels safe to me. I also like to have it there when I am sitting down, so that my legs aren't constantly sticking to the surface of whatever chair I am sitting on.
So there it is. 
It has already been to a wedding, a bridal shower and it is going to come out in the Hampton's for a posh bachelorette weekend this Saturday. (All of my bridesmaids plus another dear friend are getting married this year!)
It feels great to make something that I feel so comfortable in, using fabric / colors that I adore and to get some great use out of it!

So here it is in action! (how beautiful is Lake Tahoe? A-maze-ing)

....and the co-ordinating tie he already had (from our last California wedding actually), cha-ching!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Baby Clothes!!!
A friend of mine is having a baby, and I was so thrilled to have an excuse to use some of the little baby patterns in my Ottobre magazine. It is the 6/2013 issue
that I bought to make the girls' Easter coats. When I saw these patterns for the wrap onesie and big elastic-waist easy-going pants I started getting the baby bug myself, so it was a relief when I had a friend to sew for! 

She is having a little boy and lives in Colorado, so I upcycled an old T-shirt advertising a great CO ski resort to make one of the shirts, and used fabric from the same shirt for one of the pairs of pants. 

It was fun to play with the pattern pieces and the placement of the logos for the onesie. I happened to have just enough of a light blue thread that matched the decal to top stitch all of my seams (I actually put it in the bobbin and just used it to finish all of my seams instead of going back and topstitching as a separate step). 

The  fabric of the green striped top (and matching cuffs on the pants) is an old baby blanket. The white trim on this one was cut as bias strips from an old tshirt. I also used this old shirt to cut small rectangular scraps to make tags for all the pieces. They don't flap at all like tags (we don't want to be tickling that little baby neck), I guess it is more appropriate to call them labels. It's just a rectangle that is sewn into each item with the guess-tamite size written in with fabric marker. (Ottobre sizes their clothes in cm which is a little confusing, especially when you don't have the little model in front of you to measure. I used the smallest size of the pattern for one set and called it 0-3 m, then made a couple sizes up and called it 6-9m - it will be interesting to hear when these clothes actually fit her baby)

             These patterns just seemed so practical for a little baby. I love how the onesie doesn't go over the head at all; the baby can just be lain down inside the onesie and then it is wrapped around him and snapped.
           I had never installed snaps onto a garment before. The key elements seem to be making sure there are an adequate number of layers of fabric (intalling them on the binding worked fine; on places where I put them in on a single layer of fabric the instructions had me add an additional layer by ironing on a circle slightly larger than the snap with interfacing, this worked well) and having a spool to place over the snap while hammering it into place. I realized a little too late that I should be placing fabric between the snaps and other layers of the shirt while hammering away; some of the white coating of the snaps rubbed onto the fabric in little white circles you can see in some of these pictures. They are all on the interior of the shirt though, and I'm sure they will wash out easily.
            The pants look so comfortable and easy to put on as well. Nice and baggy and loose to hopefully cover a cloth diaper with no trouble. I was happy to add the tags to the pants as well because although there is a distinct front and back side to them, it can be difficult to tell which is which when looking at them quickly. There is a navy pair of three-quarter length pants (good for a summer baby) made from an old tshirt and utilizing the existing hem as the cuff hem. The other pair are made from the same fabric as the shirts as mentioned, and have a great stretchy cuff on the bottom that add to the cuteness factor and have a lot of potential for creating a fun little layette of baby clothes.

            I have enjoyed sewing without patterns quite a bit in the past, but I don't think I would have even attempted this project with one. No one wants to fight with a little newborn babe trying to put on wonky sized clothes. Hopefully they will fit the little guy like a cute and comfy broken in cotton glove!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Grecian Princess Solstice dress
I meant to make this dress for Fern to wear on Easter. With all the commotion of the coats, it didn't get done. That was ok. I tend to get very ambitious when I am in the fabric store. It is nice to have projects lined up though, even they don't quite get finished by whatever deadline I had in mind. This did get finished soon afterwards. 

It is a sheer georgette type of material in a pink and white print, lined with a cream colored satiny fabric; probably the anti-static JoAnn's lining. It is a simple rectangle with elastic encased in the top. The sleeves are a ~2" wide strips that contain wide elastic and have little cap sleeves added to the sides. I meant for the dress to be a little wider than it is, but it is wide enough for her to walk and run in, so it works. I also intended to do a shirred waistline, but once I got this far she declared it done, put it on and wouldn't take it off. 
So I let it be. 
It seems like it would make a wonderful night gown, but Fern doesn't agree. 
She likes to wear it to watch ball games: go for a walk down a sunny road deep in bear country: dance on stage at a Mr. G concert:
 (This time wearing the dress inside out for a new look she was excited about)
Have you seen Mr. G? Do you have kids? If you said no the first time and yes the second, you should really keep your eye out for a Mr. G show - he is lots of fun!

And finally, she wore this dress when we went "camping" (we did sleep in tents but there was a cabin with a refrigerator nearby) on the summer solstice with some dear friends. I realized at the time that this was actually the purpose this dress was made for. I made all the kids crowns of dried herbs to wear in their hair as we celebrated the longest day of the year by sleeping outside, playing with glowsticks and eating s'mores under a starry sky. 
And she looked like a little grecian princess. 
And she loved it. 
(and so did I, I am tickled to have daughters!)

 Enjoy the rest of the glorious summer we are being blessed with!