Saturday, May 16, 2015

A Graduation Ayashe Set

 This big girl is graduating Kindergarten next week!  I wanted to make her a fancy dress for her graduation or "congraduation" as she calls it, but she did not want a fancy dress.  Instead we settled on this Figgy's Ayashe Set.  I made her the longer sleeve version of this top (in the very same fabric) this past winter and she loved it, wore it every week.  So when we were working out (negotiating) what I would make her for "congraduation" she saw this fabric and wanted a summer version of the top.  I was good with that, plus I knew I had this pink cotton/linen blend that would work well for a skirt.  So I called it fancy enough and know that she will get a lot of wear out of this outfit this summer.
 Pattern: This pattern, oh this pattern, I love the resulting garments, but the first time I made the top I found some of the instructions a bit confusing.  This was the third time I've made the shirt and I really only glanced at the instructions.  I will say though that I have come to expect a little more hand holding type instructions from Indie pattern designers and this was wasn't quite up to that standard.  In a few places I'm pretty sure I found some errors but am too lazy to really go back and study the instructions.  I do know for sure that the outside packaging calls for 1 inch elastic for the skirt and the instructions within say 3/4 inch.  Just a heads up to anyone out there, the garments are adorable- in particular we LOVE the top but the instructions might be a bit confusing or sparse for a new sewist.

The top comes together pretty quickly and easily and I do need to note that the instructions have you set the sleeves in after the side seam is sewn up and really this isn't necessary, you can set them before you sew the side seam.  If you wanted to, this top would be a great showcase for an alternate fabric on the yoke or ties.  Lots of cute potential and its a woven, which I love.   The tie on this one is one of two options for the neckline, this winter I used the mandarin collar finish and I think I like this tie better. 

The skirt is kind of a fussy little make.  You are supposed to make buttonholes for your buttons but since the back waistband is elastic I found working buttonholes unnecessary and just sewed the buttons on.  BTW the elastic back waistband is a fantastic idea and Figgy's has you extend your elastic a bit so that as your child grows you just let the elastic out.  I left off the optional belt loops, she never wears belts.  I added about 1 1/4 inches to this skirt and only turned it up 1/2 inch total to hem it so if your child is on the tall side you may want to add length too.    

The necktie makes a cute bow!
 Fabric: The top is quilting cotton from my stash and the skirt is cotton/linen blend I've had for ages. 
He's been her constant playmate for her entire life!
 Will she wear it? She loves it, wanted to keep it on to play in, however we are going to try to keep it clean until "congraduation" and then she can wear it until her hearts content.  Its always so much fun when they love wearing what you make them.  I find that these days its probably better to get some input from her before I make anything for her. 

On another note, the pictures of this girly with her dog just make my Momma heart smile.  She loves our dog and he loves her too.  Such sweet pals.   
These two have a special bond.  We sure do love our dog Buster.

Monday, May 11, 2015

M6991-Undecided and M6729-Swimsuit Success

We are having a hot pink week around these parts.  I don't know what that's about, mostly me just trying to stash bust and match appropriate fabrics with appropriate patterns- an exercise in concentration for me.  I've had both of these fabrics in the stash for more than over a year.   

Pattern:  The M6991 Wrap Front top.  I read the reviews of this pattern on Pattern Review paying careful attention to learn from others who've made it before me.  I went down to a size 8 as per others suggestion.  It does indeed run big, because I think even in a size 8 the shoulders are pretty big on me and the sleeves were very big as well.  I ended up cutting the sleeves off as seen in the pictures because the volume of the long version was pretty silly looking on me.  If you make this pattern be sure to mark your fabric carefully and note that the front is twisted back on itself- so you definitely need a fabric that is the same on both sides.  I can't say that I am sold on the shape of this top, it looked funny when paired with my black pencil skirt.  I just don't know about adding volume around my tummy and hips, I usually try to avoid things like that.  

One thing that I didn't notice in the other reviews about this top was that the center front is pretty high up, meaning there is real potential for flashing your tummy whenever you raise your arms.  That's what I'm trying to demonstrate in the picture below- dangerously close to coming up above my jeans.  I am not a fan of that so I will have to wear a tank underneath this top.  
Fabric: This fabric is a very thin rayon challis from Fabric Mart.  I bought it ages ago and it is a J Crew fabric.  I originally bought it thinking I'd make a skirt from it but when it came it was so sheer that I didn't know what to do with it.  So this top was perfect because of all the folds in the front of the top you can't see through the front.  I am really wondering what this shirt will look like after I hand wash it, will it go back to a pretty shape?  To avoid washing it a lot I might put it away until fall when I can comfortably wear a t-shirt underneath it.

 Styling: As you can see I really didn't style this top, just put it on for pictures.  I'm guessing it might be good for work with black dress pants, as I stated above, it looked pretty weird with my black pencil skirt.  I may have to wear it a few times and play with the styling before I figure out what it pairs best with.

Now to the thing that I am most proud of today....I MADE A SWIMSUIT!
 Pattern: This is McCall 6729.  I have seen this pattern and doubted my abilities in the past but this was the year I was determined to make my girls swimsuits.  I thought this pattern would be a good starting point and it was.  I knew it would be too short for my tall 6 year old gal so I slashed the pattern at the waistline mark and added a little over 1 1/2 inches to the suit, then after holding the pattern up to my daughter's torso I added a little over 1/2 inch to the very top neckline.  If you use this method, note that the crotch wraps around from the front to back.  It turned out to be the perfect length.  You'll have to take my word for it.  To get the estimate I needed for length I also measured a swimsuit my daughter tried on at a store.  It always pays off to keep a tape measure in my purse!   

Plus I added a bit more coverage to the bum, but it wasn't necessary.  I added about a 1/4 inch to the back leg curve and then used 1/4 inch elastic instead of the 3/8 recommended.  Next time I will cut it out as the pattern indicates and then just use 1/4 inch elastic to finish the leg openings.  

I fully lined the suit in polyester swimsuit lining. I didn't want there to be any exposed crotch seams so I layered the pieces this way, Front of suit right side up, back of suit wrong side up, back of suit lining right side up and then front of suit lining wrong side up. I pinned them all together at the crotch, stitched and then flip the front lining up and over the trimmed seam. Worked great. 

Fabric: I have had this floral swimsuit fabric for over a year and bought it at 90% off the original price at Hancocks.  Its perfect for my daughter who loves bright colors and pink in particular.  The lining is just plain white swimsuit lining and I lined the front and back of the suit.  The elastic is 5/8 inch fold over elastic from Hobby Lobby.

Will she wear it? Yes!  She likes it and its perfect for swimming lessons.  Has more than enough bum coverage and chest coverage!! Yippee!

So there you go, making swimsuits is very doable!  Don't think I will go back now!

Linking up to Sew it Chic in a Week.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Vogue 9091 or Let the Summer of Culottes Begin!

Big girl had to get her photo bomb moment.
 I have joined the culotte fan wagon!  I was very uneasy about how these would turn out- one never knows with something like this- will the sizing be ok? will they look completely goofy, what is a culotte anyway??  I had lots of uneasy feelings while sewing these, therefore it took me much longer to sew them, I just had a hard time motivating myself.  But when I put them on I instantly loved them and need about four more pair for the summer.   Btw you may notice a few photo bombers, they were in full tilt while I was taking these pictures.  
 Pattern:  Vogue 9091 view B.  I should say that I have very specifically included which view I made because I made a muslin of view C and it was pretty awful on me.  It would probably work for someone who hasn't had two children and is still toned in the lower abdomen but for me, no way.  The reason I like view B is because the pleating in the front lies down well and is smoothing for that area.  I sewed a size 12, for reference my hips measure 39 inches and my waist 29.  The waistband is snug, but not uncomfortable at all.  One change I made was to attach the waistband to the culottes with a 3/8 inch seam allowance.  I just wanted a smidge more height on them.  The hips are loose so with sizing there is wiggle room there.  Pattern went together fine, no problems with pieces lining up or strange directions.

Why yes that is a floating pillow next to me, two guesses who's holding it!
Fabric: This is more rayon challis from Hancock, I used it not long ago to make palazzo pants.  I love this print.  
Can you spot the kid?  In fact there are two kids here- find them?
 Styling: Oh my goodness I really searched through pinterest to figure out how to style these since it was new to me and had the potential to go really wrong.  I noticed that some were paired with heels, others with flats and some with booties.  I chose my wedge sandals in the hopes that it would make them look summery.  I like the pairing.  Will probably have to wear flats for work.  The tee I'm wearing here is another me-made.  Its the Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tee which is a free pattern you receive when you sign up for her email newsletter.    It is such an easy make, can't even tell you how fast this one was, I didn't even finish any of the edges because the fabric is nylon spandex and in my opinion looks fine as is. 
So there you go, another work appropriate outfit to put into rotation this summer.  This will not be my last pair of culottes, I'm a convert to them!  Anyone else out there coming over to the culotte dark side??

Friday, April 24, 2015

Back to Work Basics

 The title of this post about sums it up, I'm back to work and need basics that can be mixed and matched without much thought.  I'm working through my stash for these pieces and am trying to make them all play nice together.  Oddly enough, going through my stash to coordinate I've discovered I buy a lot of fabrics in the blue color family.  So I'm trying to stay somewhere within a blue/black/white spectrum.  That way I can easily mix them up and throw in my red shoes for good measure. 
Blue Top (pictured above)
Pattern:  This first top is Simplicity 1690.  Its a basic little top with only three pattern pieces.  I love that!  The pattern went together easily.  I graded the pattern an 8 at the shoulders, 10 at the bust and 12 at the hip line.  The only observation I can think of about this pattern is that the bias binding facing at the neckline is a bit wide but I like the result.  The hemline has a nice touch with a split hem on each side. 
Fabric:  This is a rayon challis from Hancocks fabrics.  It was leftover from my recent maxi skirt make.
Styling: I've paired this top with work pants and this black pencil skirt.  I have enjoyed wearing it more than I initially thought I would.  My first impression when I looked at this top was that I had made a top suitable for scrubs.  But after wearing it I think I will have to make another one!

Pencil Skirt (in all pictures)
Pattern:  The pencil skirt is Simplicity 2154.  This is one of Simplicity's vintage patterns.  It went together great.  I used a size 12 at the waist, 14 in the hips and graded back to a 12 below the hips.  It has a side zipper, waistband, and vent in the back.  The instructions don't include lining and I didn't use a lining.  In the summer it gets pretty hot here and I like wearing slips under skirts because they are easier to launder and it saves my garments from over washing.  It seems I need an adjustment for a bit of a full tummy but I've tried some tutorials that address this problem with other skirts and didn't have great results.  If anyone knows a really good method for that fix I'd love to hear it!  I'm inclined to just ignore the problem since its only a minor nuisance and just pick a more relaxed fabric next time I make this skirt!
Fabric:  My Mom gave me this fabric, it is a cotton with stretch.  Not sure what exactly it is but it feels like bottom weight and is crisp. 
Styling:  A pencil skirt like this is so versatile.  I made mine on the longer end.  I might shorten it a smidge next time.  I'm not sure what this skirt won't go with since its a basic black pencil skirt, I know I'll get a lot of use out of it. 
Light Blue Top (both above and below)
Pattern: The top above is Simplicity 1366.  I've made this pattern twice before and its very easy.  It has a boxy shape and dropped shoulders.  This one is a size 8, which I think I should've graded to at least a size ten in the bust and waist.  I like the shape of this top and have been considering trying a different pattern like this one except without the dropped shoulder- mainly this one from Butterick.  I'm just curious about the differences between the two patterns and really like this way this top looks and would like to see if I can copy it.  

Fabric:  The fabric was given to me and I'm not sure of its content, I think it is mostly polyester with some cotton.  It looks like chambray and feels like a light weight cotton.  It doesn't wrinkle easily which is great. 

Styling:  I've made this top a couple times before and made the hem narrower on this one.  I wanted a bit more length so that I can tuck it into the skirt.  This type of top is a great blank canvas for a statement piece necklace.  I have only one statement piece necklace so I might have to do something about that!
So there we are, three more back to work basics to add to the rotation of work wear! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter Dress #2 and My "Go to" Outfit

This is my 6 year old's Easter dress.  Its the same dress that I made her last Easter, the Oliver and S Fairytale Dress.   Actually this dress was mostly completely constructed because last year I started sewing a size 6 for her by accident and when I was just almost done I realized my mistake, she needed a size 5! Wah so I was pretty frustrated but put everything in a bag and threw it up on a high shelf out of sight until this year.  So this Easter I was excited that I was just almost done when I started= happy Mom.  

Pattern:  Like last year, I added piping to the peter pan collar.  We decided to forgo a sash or any waist details, mostly because some how I had used up all the coordinating coral fabric and couldn't find any more to match.  I added the called for layer of tulle under the skirt, this fabric needed the support.  This is one of the best written patterns I think I've ever used and it just looks adorable on.  I need to make another for her because she loves wearing it.  Most of what I have to say about this pattern I've said previously here.  But this is such an awesome little pattern, fussy- but the result is always good.  

Fabric:  The fabric is a seersucker from Hancocks fabrics purchased last year.  This girl loves rainbows and chose the fabric.  Its a pretty thin seersucker and when I laundered it before sewing, the hot pink stripe bled on the fabric..arghhh.  It was faint but enough that I could see it, of course my daughter still loved the fabric.  The dress is lined with a coral cotton poly/cotton fabric from my stash.   
Will she wear it?  Yes, she loves it and wears it willingly.  

Now on to my new "go to" outfit.  

You can receive the pattern for free when you sign up for the newsletter.  Its a very fast sew since there are no sleeves to set in and with knits, no seams to finish.  I used the size small in the shoulders and graded out to a medium at the waist.  The pattern doesn't include seam allowances so you have to add those, I added 3/8  inch seams all around and I probably should've read the instructions because there are specifications for the seam allowances.   As far as finishing the edges I simply turned under the sleeves and neck by 1/4 and straight stitched them down.  I left the hem unfinished.  There are instructions for a neck binding but I didn't really want to fiddle with it.   

The skirt is McCalls 7096.  I made the size 14 but probably could go down to a size 12, luckily this skirt is not hard to alter.   I also chopped about 3 1/2 inches off the bottom.  It has a side zipper and a contoured waistband (again, why why why don't all skirts have contoured waistbands?).  I am hoping to do some color blocking on this skirt down the road because why not?  I didn't have any problems with construction.
For the Tee I used a remnant piece of jersey with one way stretch leftover from another project.  It was a value fabric at Hancock fabrics and the skirt is rayon challis from Hancocks as well.  I love it when they clear out last summer's fabrics and you can get them for a steal on the spot the bolt table.  I love rayon challis because it is so breathable in the summer and so soft on the skin.  I serged all the raw edges because rayon challis likes to fray.     
Styling: These two pieces are easy to wear and here I have on birkenstocks but for work (going back to work in a few weeks after 6 years of being a SAHM!)  I'll probably wear flats.  I call this my new "go to" outfit because of the comfort and ease of it and because I will be able to translate it into work wear very easily.  Also these two patterns are relatively simple to whip out and since I start work soon I'm trying to crank out as many separates as possilble.  So my question for anyone reading is, do you have any tried and true patterns that are easy to whip out and also move seamlessly between work and home?   

Linking up to Gray All Day Sew Chic in a Week. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Easter Dress #1 and Stash Busting Top

 Here's the first of two Easter dresses as per the request of my Mom.  She has been asking for an Easter preview and with the help of a few whoppers malt balls I was able to capture these pictures.  Big girl is pretty sick right now so she is in no shape for a photo shoot. 
 The Pattern:
This is McCall 5964, an out of print pattern that I used for little bit's Christmas dress (here's the link to the Pattern Review).  I never blogged about her Christmas dress but it was adorable and fit great.  This is a solid little pattern and I have no idea why these simple, solid patterns get discontinued so often.
I lengthened the dress since she's taller now.  I added 1/2 inch to the bodice and 3/4 length to the skirt pieces.  Width wise it still fit her perfectly (she'll be three in June for size reference).  As far as construction, I love the way this pattern is put together, it is fully lined with the skirt lining shaped to be narrower than the skirt which allows for the tulle floofyness underneath.  The sleeves have sweet gathers that make the sleeves stand out from the dress. 

One thing about the accent around the waist, I am always trying to figure out how exactly to finish the waist accent on dresses, I've used piping, ribbon sashes, fabric sashes, etc and the thing I like about this version is it is nicely contoured to the waist and hugs it just enough.  There are no loops to worry with or bows to come undone, although I love a big bow in the back of a child's dress its nice not to have to worry about it coming untied. 
 The Fabric: 
The eyelet is some I've had in my stash bought years ago at Joann's fabrics.  I used it for big girl's Easter dress last year blogged here.  I love eyelet but I've had a difficult time finding eyelet that is good quality.  The pink fabric used for the accents and lining was thrifted and has a pretty cross weave.  The tulle is some pink sparkly stuff and I have no idea when or where I bought it or for what purpose.  The girls use it for dress up but now its a great little hidden sparkly layer to this dress. 
Will she wear it?
Indeed she will.  She loves the specialness of a new floofy dress and was so cooperative about her Christmas dress that I think this one will be a hit too.  

Now on to a stash busting top for me.
You have no idea the shenanigans that were going on while I took these pictures, bitty girl was pretending to be a ghost with a blanket over her head and in nothing but a diaper.  Hilarious.

This is the Made by Rae Ruby top I've made once before.   This time I wanted to try the Ruby pattern on a men's silk shirt refashion.  I thought this silk shirt would make a great Ruby top since the weight of the fabric is similar to rayon challis which I tried before.  I cut the back of the Ruby top on the fold of the front of the men's shirt and now the buttons are a decorative accent down the back of the Ruby. 
The back of the men's shirt is the new front of my Ruby top.  I didn't even have to hem this shirt because I used the existing hems.  The black yoke and cap sleeves are another silk from a refashioned shirt.  The piping is some homemade flat bias tape piping.  
 I love the way the fabrics feel and I have plans to make more of these when I can find the time.  The cap sleeves are not a part of the original Ruby pattern but a part of the Washi Expansion Pack from Made by Rae.  I didn't like the pointy part of the sleeve on the front of my blouse so I just tucked in the front part of the sleeve to make it rounded in the front.  The back of the sleeves, as you can see above, I left pointy. 

Again I can't wait to refashion more thrifted silks this way, the biggest challenge is finding a men's shirt large enough and without front pockets.  I might have to try some other thrifted silks in the future!  You really can't beat the price of a thrifted silk and you won't cry if your project crashes and burns!  How about you, do you have any patterns you use for men's shirt refashions? 

Linking up to "Sew it Chic in a Week" at Gray All Day

Monday, March 2, 2015

Getting things contest at a time...

Lately my motivation, time and energy has just waned a bit so it seems to take a contest to get me moving.  Pattern Review is having a Travel Wardrobe Contest and I didn't think I would get everything done but amazingly I did!  Sometimes with sewing you end up doing the same kinds of things over and over with little variation, say for example, cute dresses are easier for me to motivate myself to make but really their versatility can be limited.  So its good to have a contest like this to help motivate me to think outside my usual sewing box- plus its great for stash busting my fabric.
I made five garments total for the collection, that sounds impressive but the knits I chose were straightforward and fast to sew.  I loved the idea of making a collection of clothes based on the theme of a trip, my trip is a fictional one, its called "Elizabeth's (Momma needs a vacation) Fabric Tour of the South East."  You are supposed to see how many outfits you can make with six garments.  I made nine!    

Simplicity 2054: Knit dress designed by Cynthia Rowley.  I made this from stretchy french terry that I bought with a gift certificate from Fabric Mart.  I was a little stumped by the four way stretch and have ruined four way stretch fabric in the past so I was careful about pairing pattern and fabric this time.  This dress is super comfy.  I made a size 8 and the shoulders and graded to a 10 for the rest of the dress. 
Sew U Built by Wendy book A Line Skirt pattern: This is the only pattern I've ever used from this book (I need to make the others!) but I love it, I consider it a tried and true pattern for me.  I first made it for the Pattern Review Sewing Bee the link is here. It has all the construction details for this skirt.  This is such a comfy skirt too.  The fabric was the last yard of sateen I had in this print.  I love this print (thanks Mom for showing me its potential) and made this dress out of it which I love to wear.  So it made sense that I needed to get this fabric in my clothing rotation. 
  McCall 6965: I have wanted to make palazzo pants for a while and I don't think I'll stop at this pair.  Now to be fair I'm sure this style isn't for everyone, in fact my husband (whom I consider a beacon of fashion sense har har) calls them my "Hammer Time" pants.  However, sometimes you make something because YOU like it.  I made changes to the pattern, lengthening the crotch seam (I wanted them higher waisted), taking some of the volume off of the side seam and as far as the fit, I measured for a size 14 but most certainly could've gone down one size and maybe even two.  The hips are very roomy. 
Simplicity 1468: A disclaimer on this one, this is a maternity pattern, but no I am not pregnant.  I like the designer of this pattern and knew that I would be able to alter her design to get the aesthetic I wanted in a wrap style cardigan.  I wanted a cardigan I could throw over tops for warmth, so I used sketched/drafted long triagle-ish shaped wrap ties and sewed them to the side seams.  I used a spandex blend from Hancock fabrics from my stash.  I didn't do any finishing to the raw edges but I might go back and finish the neckline a bit.  I kind of winged it with this project but really love the result.
Grainline Linden: I made this piece with sweatshirt fleece using the fuzzy side as the outside of the garment.  This is such a quick make and comfy sweatshirt.  I always love Grainline patterns and this one is no exception to the rule.  I used a size four at the shoulders, size 6 at the bust and 8 at the waist.  I probably could've made the waist a size 6 as well since it turned out a little bigger than I anticipated but I still love it.  I might have to hand wash this one simply to avoid pilling.  I made another sweater out of this same fabric using the right side out and it kind of pilling up, not terrible but enough for me to notice and start obsessively picking the pill off, not good.  The fabric is from Hancock Fabrics. 
So there's my collection for my imaginary "Elizabeth's (Momma needs a vacation) Fabric Store Tour of the South East.  In case you're interested here's a few places I'd go, Alabama Chanin in Florence Alabama,  Fabric World in Stone Mountain Georgia, Gail K fabrics in Atlanta, and Textile Fabrics in Nashville TN.   A Momma's gotta dream right?