Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Thanksgiving Dress

Lisi Loo got a new dress for Thanksgiving.  I had planned on having it finished a couple days early, photographing it, and having the post ready to go up Thursday for (our American) Thanksgiving.  Then I decided to hem the (very very gathered) skirt by hand.  Needless to say, the dress was not ready in advance, but the results?  Worth it.

The bodice is based on my self-drafted scoop back dress - shortened, sleeves added, and back raised enough to fit two buttons.  Unfortunately, I forgot to adjust the shoulders for the addition of sleeves (I should have widened them a bit) and didn't realize until after I had cut out the bodice.  I was worried the dress would be constantly slipping off her shoulders, and I'll admit they did a few times - but they popped right back up on their own.  Crisis averted.

It would have been kind of a crisis, too, because the bodice was made from an old short-sleeved sweater of mine, and I didn't have an inch to spare.  The buttons originally went about halfway down the front, but I cut the back of her dress from the front, the front from the back, and the sleeves from the bottom of the sweater.

The sleeves were another lucky break.  I didn't want short sleeves (it's chilly here in November!), and didn't have enough sweater for long sleeves, so I just cut them as long as I could and hoped they would be a stylish three-quarter length, not an awkward where-did-the-rest-of-her-sleeve-go length.  I suppose I could have measured, but what's a little holiday sewing without some mystery and nail-biting?  The bodice is also lined with some nice thick stretchy white knit from an old t-shirt.

The skirt...THE. SKIRT.  It's three layers - all gathered ridiculously and I'm so giddy about it.  I was originally going to pleat the outer skirt (actually, I did pleat it and then was so excited about what I'm about to share that I took it off, gathered, and reattached it) and gather the two underskirts together to add a little volume.  I tried out this method for gathering on my serger.  I'm not exaggerating when I tell you it had changed my (sewing) life.  I've been anti-gathering for a while now, mostly because I'm pretty particular about getting my gathers even and I found the process to be really tedious.  This method was FAST and EVEN and EASY and I'm never going back.  Never ever.  Okay, enthusiasm coming back down to normal levels now.

The main skirt fabric was picked up at an estate sale last spring.  I have no idea what the content is, but it has white warp threads, and orange weft for a chambray look.  There is also a T design woven in that adds a lovely detail and keeps it from looking too peachy.  The underskirts are from my mom's old curtains.

Lisi Loo doesn't very often have an opinion on her clothes at this point (and I know what a lucky mama that makes me) but both days since she's requested to wear her "Tankstiving" dress before she even says good morning.  

Like I said up top: worth it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Lacey Hoodie

Have you guys seen the new Peek A Boo Hoodie pattern from Lil Luxe Collection?  I saw it pop up a few times on Instagram during testing and it kind of stuck with me.  It was released earlier this week with a discounted price (which still appears to be discounted as I write this) and, pretty impulsively, I pounced.  Then I sewed:

I made the size 3 for my three year old.  The chest and height measurements matched up for that size, and I'd say the fit is pretty good.  The neckline/head opening seems pretty big to me, but she's going to wear it with a t-shirt anyway because the fabric's a little sheer, and it's not falling off her shoulders or anything.

Let's talk about this pocket - so cute!  It's a small kangaroo type pocket across the front, and I found the construction to be a little confusing until I started actually putting the pieces together, and then it all made perfect sense, so I think it was more me than the pattern.  The fabric is a double layer knit from Joann's with a black and white stripes on the back and a cream lace on the front.  I used the "wrong" side for the contrasting hood and pocket linings.

I only made two small changes to the pattern.  First: the pattern is marked for a "waist" length and a "tunic" length.  Even though her height matched up perfectly to the size 3, I was concerned about the tunic length looking more dress length so I ended up cutting it to exactly between the two lengths and I think it worked out perfectly.   Second: the cuffs are supposed to have thumb holes, but I knew she wouldn't use them, so I just skipped leaving the openings and shortened the cuffs by about an inch overall.

I'm excited to find a fabric I like for my boy and make him a (waist length with thumb holes) hoodie of his own.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Match with Me: Mother-Son Sewing Series with Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy!

All this week Stacey of Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy is hosting a sewing series about Mother-Son sewing - and I'm so excited to be joining in on the fun with some pretty awesome sewing mothers-of-boys!  We didn't go for matching, but more coordinating.  We each got a new sweater and a new infinity scarf and we're ready for fall.

When I received Stacey's email and invitation to join, I went through a variety of emotions.  First: I felt so flattered!  I made sure to say "YES" right away before... Second: I felt nervous and overwhelmed and what-did-I-get-myself-into, so... Third: I got ambitious and picked out several new-to-me patterns to purchase and put yards and yards of lovely fabric in my cart.

Then reality took hold.  Both my kids have October birthdays, plus birthday parties, plus Halloween.  It all adds up pretty quickly and I didn't think my kids would look favorably on a blog post in place of birthday presents this year, so I needed a new game plan - it was time to get thrifty.  I headed to Goodwill and, after quite a bit of digging, found two gray sweaters and a couple of coordinating blouses in seasonal colors and I think my total bill was about $15.  That I knew I could swing.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any good before pictures.  I tried, but they turned out terrible and aren't very helpful, so please engage your imaginations.  We'll start with the kid.  I grabbed a men's xs v-neck cardigan with the intention of taking it apart, cutting it down, and reassembling it to be basically the same sweater but smaller, but when I was putting everything in the wash and reviewing the 100% wool care label I decided, on a whim, to try shrinking it down first.  It worked great!  The arm and body width shrunk to the perfect size so I just turned the bottom up a couple times and used my twin needle to hem, and removed the sleeves at the shoulder, shortened them a few inches from the top, and reattached them.

My sweater was a XL men's sweater in cotton.  I liked the sleeve and overall length but needed to take it in A LOT, which I did on the sides and the sleeves.  I also prefer a scoop neck instead of the existing crew neck so I cut off the original neck band and used some knit scraps and my twin needle to bind the new neckline.

My original idea was to use some big flannel shirts to make some cozy fall infinity scarves that incorporated the buttons for some extra detail, but there was a surprising lack of flannel at the thrift store so I expanded my search.  I found my vintage floral blouse first and fell in love with the orange-black-gray thing going on.  My son's scarf was a woman's plus-sized blouse, orange with black stitching.  They're both lined in basic black knit from my stash.

Thanks to Stacey for inviting me to join in on this fun series - it was such a wonderful idea and has filled my head with more ideas for clothes for my boy, as well as myself!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Birthday Zippies

This post is about three weeks late, but there was a frenzy of birthday sewing that happened the first week of October, then actual birthday celebrations, and then KCW, so here we are.  Better late than never, right?  Except when there's a growth spurt...which there was.  Oops!

Two more Little Zippies!  The first is the original pattern, but fully lined (like this striped one).  I rarely use quilting cottons for kid clothes but this top really lends itself to a fun print, not that I got very daring with this one.  It's a cream background with gold hearts - I knew Lisi Loo would love the hearts and I was right.

It's just lined with a simple cream colored sheet my grandmother passed to me - it's a little satiny and I guess she and Grandpa kept sliding out of bed, or something like that.  Need a laugh?  Picture your grandparents trying to sleep on satin sheets.  Anyway, it was the perfect color and after I stopped giggling I got back to work.

I used a maroon metal zipper from my stash - I love the contrast and I feel like it adds a nice autumnal touch, as does last winter's cardigan!

Both these Zippies were wrapped up and given to her on her birthday.  She chose the blue one to wear on her actual birthday.  It's the same size as all the others on top but I lengthened it into a dress!
It fit perfectly on her actual birthday but, as you can see, is getting a little risque these days.  Time to lose the tights and throw on some leggings and boots, I think!

I was going to go with a bright zipper, then second guessed my choice and chose this mauve one, then regretted the decision but not enough to change it.  The fabric is a seersucker - isn't it perfect?  (Both main fabrics were from JoAnn's.).  This one is also fully lined with the PERFECTLY matched solid that just happened to be sitting at home in my stash!  Birthday luck, I suppose.

And the obligatory cardigan shot - because I would not have purchased this wonderful pattern if not for my cardigan obsession.

There is one more dress I made for her to wear to the birthday party that I'll try to share soon, too - NOT a Zippy!  I'll give you a break from those...for a little while, at least.