Designers: May 2011 Archives
Liberty of London- Just say it out loud. It just sounds like great fabric. Saying that words bring pictures of English countryside, blooming flowers, tea heavy in the air and double-decker buses. Saying the name "Liberty of London" makes me want to sew. And sew I have. I was given 2 yards of Liberty of London Lawn Pepper Green (one of our MANY gorgeous prints from Liberty of London) as soon as it arrived in our shop and told to make something great but try to keep the project small and fun. Well, that was no problem given that it is spring, almost summer. I decided on 2 projects to show the variety of Liberty. These prints are perfect for wee people as well as adults and it is perfect for warm weather.
My first project was the trickiest because I wanted a sleeveless shirt but nothing with too much detail to compete with the print of the fabric. I sorted through the Fabric.com pattern catalog but didn't find anything I loved! Well, I became sidetracked with a personal project of making new PJs for myself and found the pattern that was perfect for the Liberty of London. It is HotPatterns Cupid Cami (And it's a free pattern download!). Originally designed as a PJ top, I didn't see why with a fabric substitution it would not make the most wonderful summer top. I love being right. With some Hanky Weight Linen as my bias tape, this cami took approx 1 yard of Liberty of London (you are safe with just ordering 1 yd) and about 2-3 hours to complete (having had to make the bias tape). I did have to add darts of 4 in. long by 1 in. wide at the bust but that was my only modification. This top is easy to make and can be easily modified for a longer length; it hit right at my hips. The ties at the top are so much fun and make me feel like a kid again. I do recommend that when you sew the front to the back that you start at the bottom when matching up the sides. If you start at the top, it will not match up once you get to the bottom. Once you sew the seam, it will all work out.
My second project also took approx 1 yd and came from Heather Ross Weekend Sewing. I have made the Flower Girl before and know it runs a little small so I made the size 4 for my 2 yr old; I want her to have it for several summers. This print really brought out something in this pattern that the other dress did not have. The Liberty of London print sort of 'fits' this pattern like no other fabric. The Flower Girl dress also went to together super quick, 2 hours or so. I cut my skirt length to 20 in. to make it longer like in the book photograph. The other modifications were to topstitch the gathers in place once I had pressed the bodice seam towards the skirt and I made the straps a bit wider at 1.5 in. I think even a bit wider than that would still look great. You could even get away with some flat piping where the bodice and skirt meet. You could not ask for a better combination of dress and print for little girls.
The flow and drape of the Liberty of London Lawn is light and delicate with an airiness that will be most welcome come the balmy days of summer. The print reminds me of my childhood, of picnics and climbing trees. You can't beat the soft hand or bright colors; this is a fabric that needs to be in your closet.
Infinity dresses are everywhere these days; a call back from their heyday in the 1970's. And why not! They are classics and modern perfectly combined because you can wear them to suit your style, event or mood. Couple that with Fabric.com's amazing selection of dreamy Stretch ITY knits and your infinity dress can be in a rainbow of colors or lengths (Mine is in turquoise). The infinity dress is perfect for holiday weekends or destination weddings because it is wrinkle free and ready to wear in seconds.
There are many different versions in stores these days but some lacked pizzazz or included too much pizzazz. I originally fell in love with the original on Rostitchery's blog but I had trouble with cutting the circle skirt. Rowena of Rostitchery wrote another version with some great additions for Threads Quick Stuff to Sew that included an easier version of the circle skirt and a small elastic casing (among other great tips) but I still didn't want to deal with Pi or a circle skirt so I developed my own work around : a gathered skirt. What I really loved about the gathered skirt- besides not cutting out a circle- is the ease of hemming, no round hems here! Here's how to make an infinity dress like mine.
4 yds of ITY Knit
1 yd of ½ in. elastic
Measuring tapes of various mediums (seamstress, carpenter's and a solid ruler)
*Always use a narrow zig-zag stitch unless otherwise noted
Measure out your 2 straps which will be 1.5 times your height. I am 5'7" so I rounded to 8ft long for my straps. The width is roughly from your breast bone to under your arm. I measured 11 in. So I cut 2 straps 8 ft long and 11 in. wide. The skirt piece is double your natural waist (mine is 28 in. so I cut mine to 60 in. to make it easy) for the width by however long you want your dress to be. I decided on a 36 in. length and it hits right at my ankle (perfect for dancing). The casing piece is your waist plus 2 in by 2.5 in.
With right sides together sew up the side seam of the skirt piece. Baste 2 lines of stitches along the top and pull the bobbin thread to gather up the skirt until it equals your waist measurement. Stitch the gathers in place. With right sides facing, pin your straps onto your skirt with the seam in the back, fold your casing widthwise and pin to your skirt over the straps, overlapping the ends by 1-2 in. Stitch all these layers in place. Insert your elastic into your casing, making sure not to twist and then stitch the ends of your elastic together and then close and stitch your casing ends (I just tucked one end into the other and stitched over top of the ends. Voila you are done.
Now there are tons of videos on how to wear and wrap infinity dresses on YouTube. But there are also many ways to fancy up your dress as well. You can add a simple ruffle like my Michael Miller Knit post or add many ruffles to your skirt. You can make your dress in white and dye it in an ombre design. You can make your skirt and straps to coordinate but not match. Some designs even feature a built in tube top (just an extension of the waist casing) or a separate tube top for extras modesty or with a built in bra. The possibilities are endless but this is the PERFECT summer dress!
Add another one to my "Love" column; Oliver + S's Sunday Brunch Jacket is a must have for your kid's wardrobe. #1 (and you readers know that this is always #1 for me) It was a fast project. As adorable and fabulous as this jacket looks on the envelope, one would think it would be difficult or time consuming at the least. Neither is true. This is an easy pattern and really took half as long as I originally banked. There are not that many pattern pieces (this equals limited cutting) and the instructions were pie. I really loved this pattern.
I also love how casually dressy (AKA- comfy fancy) it is. My daughter has plenty of the typical toddler jackets which are mostly cotton or a cotton/poly blend in generic primary colors or uber-girl colors with a hood and zipper. They are great for play (especially with her affinity for puddles) but I can't throw one of those jackets one over a cute dress for a birthday party, holiday dinner or anywhere nice we need to go. And sometimes I just do want something nicer than the norm but still comfy for her. My 2 yr old shouldn't know the difference between a regular jacket and a nice jacket and luckily with this pattern all of the above it true. I can make this pattern in just about any fabric and it is still nice but still washable and comfy for her.
Now for the Mods: I limited my modifications for this pattern today since I was focusing on the use of Home Dec fabric for the jacket. This Amy Butler Love print is so bright and fun that I thought it was perfect for a kid's jacket. It doesn't hurt that now she and I can match, should we choose. The 100% Cotton has a soft hand and forgiving pattern. I did not add cuffs since I made the 3T size and I wanted to make it easy to let out the sleeves when the time comes. I also did not interface since I was using a heavier weight fabric. I would suggest finishing the seams with bias tape as you go not when the instructions call for it. If you follow the instructions you will be adding bias tape to seams that have already been edge stitched and that is tricky. I suggest finishing with bias tape first then edge stitching. Also, I suggest the Riley Blake buttons since they are CUTE and perfect for this jacket.
I can't wait to make the skirt but I will opt for a navy solid or navy with mini dots instead of matching it to the jacket. This jacket will make its debut Sunday on Mother's day. I can't wait to button those buttons and escort her around in her new jacket! I also recommend trying the jacket in Denim, Linen or Seersucker.