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February 28, 2014
I am anxious for spring and found my daughter's upcoming picture day to be a great excuse to make the first spring dress of 2014 (side note: did you know that there are two pictures days now!) I decided on Oliver + S Ice Cream dress for two reasons:
1) It seemed like a comfy, no frills, limited fasteners and with pockets that my daughter requires (her rules, not necessarily mine)
2) It is my favorite dress pattern. I just love the look and styling and knew she would love wearing it.
I let her pick the fabric. She decided on gray quilting cotton with dogs playing on it. Gray seems to be one of her favorite colors and I loved that it was an easily matched fabric. Since she got bored after picking the main fabric I got to have my fun picking out the second fabric. But I actually went with two fabrics for the top and border. I layered an eyelet fabric with a colorful polka fabric for a fabulous peek-a-boo effect that toned down the brightness of the polka dot allowing the main fabric to shine and gave some more visual interest to the white eyelet. This is the same eyelet I used for my square top variation. I used the polka dot as the lining and the eyelet as the exterior fabric however instead of having the lining's right side face out towards the inside of the dress, I reversed it having the right side of the lining fabric face towards the eyelet and the outside of the dress so the dots would show through the eyelet. The effect is beautiful and delicious. You can play around with this effect with many different fabrics. Try pairing different fabrics over a bright patterned quilting cotton like sheer fabric, lace fabric, sweater knit or even tulle.
My daughter loves her dress and so do I. She is a big leggings and t-shirts girl but she really does love this dress. I hypothesize that it is the loose overall fit and comfortable neckline. She is always asking to wear it and I can't wait for picture day. I just hope it is not washed thin before then.
November 13, 2013
If you sew and you have not heard of Burda Style then it must be because you are new (then you would have discovered Burda shortly), live under a rock (in this case you probably don't read this blog either) or don't own a computer (see previous). It is, quite simply, an awesome resource for sewing. And when I use the word "awesome" I mean it literally- it inspires awe. I have not written about it before because I have been referencing Burda Style for so long that I guess I have taken it for granted. It is my go-to resource for techniques, fashion/project inspiration and general time-filling while I have an idle minute.
I recommend checking out all the sections of the Burda Style blog which are listed below. I have a few favorites myself which are the Fashion & Trends and Guest Columns.
- Editors' Pick
- Fashion & Trends
- Backstage Report
- Web Seminars
- DIY to Try
- Mandie's Picks
- Denise's Desk
- Meg's Magazine Mash Up!
- Featured Member
- Guest Columns
- Comment to Win
- Monthly Memo
- BurdaStyle Sewing Vintage Modern
- Sewing Techniques
If you don't use Burda for the sewing resourses, tutorials, videos or inside tips then use it for the Fashion & Trends. Oh, the fashion! There are many free and purchase patterns available through Burda Style's blog but there are also tons of pictures, modifications and fabric ideas to be had. This is especially true around fashion week when you can expect a slurry of posts referencing your favorite designers and some Burda Pattern recomendations. I love this and always have it open along with a Fabric.com window so I can match fabric as well.
Another of my frenquented spots on Burda Style blog is definitely the Guest Column section. It is like a fresh take on Burda Style. Not that Burda Style is stale but it is all the style you expect from Burda but in a different voice and with a different spin. I liken it to discovering that your favorite author's best friend is also an author in the same genre. Double Jackpot! I enjoy the different voices and viewpoints and love the modifications on my favorite patterns.
September 3, 2013
We have a new free pattern download from Create Kids Couture who have brought us Aiden's Shorts, Millie's Schoolhouse Skirt, and Hannah's Pillowcase Romper. This month we have Barbara's Bloomers and Bonnets set. The bloomers come in a short and long version with added ruffles. This is a great addition to any little girls wardrobe especailly one that is growing fast. Slip on some bloomers under a favorite dress turns is from too short into a tunic. I love putting bloomers on my baby in the warmer weather. She is not quite a walker so crawls everywhere but I want to avoid the whole tshirt/diaper combo and opt for more of a complete outfit with pretty bloomers. I love the longer, capri version for both my girls. The added knee coverage is great for my 4 yr old who comes home with a new bruise or scrap each day and my 11 mo old who is on her knees and on the go all day.
My modifications turned the bloomers into knickers for a paired down style that my 4 yr old prefers. While she is all for a good tutu, she is more likely to opt for knit pants over ruffle bloomers any day. I decided on the same style for my infant but added a small ruffle just to say "I'm a girl" while we are out and about. To create my modifications you will first need some jersey knit fabric in the same yardage as recommended in the pattern. I suggest cutting a size down because you want knit garments a bit fitted because it looks better and fits better. Since my oldest is in a size 5T, I went with a 4T for her. I took 2'' off the width of the pattern piece for both the 4T and 12-18 mo. size I cut out for my baby and took it off the fold side. I also added 2'' in length to the capri pattern because I found it didn't quite go over my 4 yr old's knees, I did the same with the 12-18 size just to be sure I could get more than a few weeks wear out of them. Then, I created a cuff that is 10'' wide by 4'' tall (this is roughly the width of my adjusted pattern piece width which means it is approx half the cut pattern). I cut the pants pattern pieces according to the instructions and cut 2 cuffs with the stretch across the width. For the small ruffle on my infant pants I cut some jersey 1'' by double the width of each pant leg (4 times the width of one pattern piece) and gathered it.
I gathered the bottom of each pant leg before folding the cuff in half and stitching it onto the bottom of each leg (for the ruffle stitch it in between the cuff and leg). Then complete the bloomer assembly instructions.
These bloomer/knickers fit perfectly and both girls loved them. My 4 yr old, who is not always a fan of most clothes I make for her, did not want to take them off and my infant went about her day as usual without any hinderance. They both looked cute as a button so I am just as pleased. I love the creativity Create Kids Couture brings to their patterns and what it inspires in me.
August 25, 2013
Last year, Harrod's holiday window display featured Disney princesses wearing dresses created by famous designers. It was such a revelation to see how different fashion houses interpreted the classic tales into modern couture looks. Snow White fan that I am, I was completely enraptured when I saw the De La Renta version. (Side note: I never was really into De La Renta in years past. I always recognized the quality of the design -- it just wasn't my taste. But lately, there's something in each of his collections that I just fall in love with. I'm not sure if I'm evolving or Oscar is -- or a little bit of both -- but it's a new sensation for me to like the brand so much!)
After looking at the sketch and some photos of the window display, I set out a plot to make my own versions of the two pieces involved -- the gown and the duster -- and set to work.
For the gown, I started, as I often do, with a pattern from my collection. This one is near and dear to my heart -- it's the same one I used to create my wedding gown 17 years ago! (I had to cut it a little bigger this time around.)
It's a basic princess-seam dress; there are plenty of similar patterns on the market all the time. I made a slight alteration to the neck line and made a plan to change up the sleeve, but otherwise cut the pattern as-is using a yellow Mi Amor Duchess Satin.
For the blue lace overlay, I started with an assortment of white Venise lace appliques. I pick these up anytime I find them in my travels, in bulk if I can. Specialty sewing shops sometimes carry them, and online suppliers often do as well. Sometimes you can even find bags of them at flea markets. Knowing since last Christmas that I wanted to make this one, I've had an eye out all year for suitable components.
I started with white appliques, and then dyed them blue using iDye.
I did my dye work on the stove and then ran the appliqués through the wash in a lingerie bag to remove remaining dye residue.
Once I had the front of my dress assembled, I started arranging the appliqués. I would place a few at a time and then stitch them down, and worked my way through the placement of the design that way until I was done. I machine stitched mine, though you can bet the couture gown was done by hand! Here's a shot of just the front of the dress clipped to my dress form (sloppily) as the applique layout is in process.
After the appliqués were all in place, I finished the dress as normal, substituting a knit chiffon drape sleeve for the cuffed sleeve in the pattern.
The pins at the top of the bodice are keeping things in place on the form -- on me, it stays up just fine. :)
For the duster, I once again turned to the pattern stash. BUT, because this satin evening coat doesn't appear to fully wrap or close at the front, I knew I'd have to alter a pattern for the narrower fit. I went with a long, fitted coat pattern, and I only used the side front, back and side back pieces when cutting. I widened the side front piece a little bit to make sure the shoulder seam would match up with the back and allow a little more coverage than just the side front alone.
I also drafted an alternate collar -- it sort of mimics the shape of the iconic white collar that Snow White wears in the movie. The blue area in the image below is the center of the collar, which is cut on the fold. I'm not sure why I had that point in there at the center initially -- it got clipped off into a smooth line.
For the voluminous sleeves, I cut simple rectangles about 22 x 30 inches, sewed them into tubes along the long edges, and then pleated them to the right size at the shoulder seam to fit. I gathered the bottom edge, then added small pleats to mirror the pleating at the shoulder. I added small bow details at the outside of the sleeve just to bring a little more Snow White flavor to the duster.
I like that this feels Snow White but is different from a standard costume. It's got a grown-up vibe, but the colors and inspiration are still there.
Do you get inspired to recreate pieces you see in magazines or online for your own use? I have a mile-long list of such projects. Of course, it's tempting to make more designer-style princess dresses, too!
August 7, 2013
August's Blog of the Month is Sew Sweetness, a great blog for quilters and beginning sewists alike. This blog got my attention from the stunning clutch that graced the cover of Sew News. The blog mistress is Sara and she loves sewing and it loves her back. I adore her projects especially her quilting projects which seem to have leaked into every nook of her home (see Diamond Lattice Pillow). For the beginners there is Sara's 30 days of Helpful Guests Posts which includes everything a beginner could need to know or possibily ask about: fabric pairing, zippers, and grain, etc. Sara also packs her blog with plenty of tutorials that look like a lot of fun. Plus, all the patterns that she has whipped up by other designers you can find here with her notes and handy tidbits.
I honestly can't tell if Sara shines more with apparel or quilts. I am usually drawn to blogs because of the clothing ideas, inspiration or tutorials but I acutally fell for Sew Sweetness for the quilting. I really love the Shape Workout quilt top she made for a book reivew. But then again, I really love her version of the Collette Taffy Blouse. Decisions, decisions.
Sara also has a line of bag patterns that are beyond gorgous, cute and fun. I am a fan of her fabric choices and how bold and fun they are. I have found quite a few that definitely need to be on my "to do" list pronto. #1 will be the Petrillo bag (Gorgeous!!!). Thank you for blogging, Sara.
June 21, 2013
It's hot out there; your (and my) baby needs a hat. This much is obvious to every mother, however finding the perfect hat or one that matchest the utter cutest of your offspring is virtually immpossible. Nothing can match the ultimate picture in your head of summer style for your little baby. Unless of course you make said mind picture. Why not try out the perfect baby hat pattern by Oliver + S. First published in the book "Little Things to Sew" it is now available as a free pattern download in all kids sizes.
June 14, 2013
The new Threshold line by Target has captivated me. Granted it is not a hard task because I am already drinking the proverbial Target Kool-Aid but the outdoor line has me giddy. Give me a nice pouf over a couch for movie-watching any day but put that pouf outside on a patio next to the grill with a margarita in my hand and I'm done for. I would have been at the store the next day purchasing one had it not been for the color selections. I enjoy bright vibrate colors outside but the red ikat and greenish stripes were not doing it for me. I decided to make my own and change it up a little with some indoor fabric treated with some tent spray I found at another big box store (it starts with a W) that promises UV protection as well as mildew resistance.
June 5, 2013
This year I bet you are looking to change up your boring outdoor setting but nothing too crazy, and still a little traditional, classic or maybe modern (if that's your idea of Zen). You may be getting a little bored with all that the big box stores have to offer. Perhaps you just want to make something fun without a huge headache. I think it's time you gave stripes another thought. Stripes do not just go vertical or horizontal. Get a little creative with your stripes and one piece of fabric can give you many variations, brightening up your outdoor area while easily staying in your palette and not spending a ton on many different prints and solids.
May 14, 2013
Create Kids Couture has blessed us with another delightfully feminine sewing pattern: Allison's Ruffled Pillowcase Dress. They have put a very ruffley spin on the classic pillowcase dress. I love the details that have been added to this favorite dress pattern. A hidden elastic neckline disguised with a fabulous bow that looks like a tied neck. There is also a banded hem and oversized neck ruffle that will delight any aspiring princess.
March 8, 2013
This is the ultimate beach bag (McCall's 6130) for your upcoming spring break vacation or stay-cation (more on this below). I can call it the ultimate because it can haul a lot of your important beach paraphernalia and can also fold down into a cute little tote that you can use to hold down one corner of your beach blanket when you are all set up. Made from cotton prints this bag can be bound in a coordinating binding or with a self binding. My mom had the super idea of adding a small loop under the front envelope so it can be hooked to your pocket, a chair or on another bag when unused. This bag opens up to hold a ton of stuff and with one shoulder strap you don't have to worry about that one strap that continuously falls off. You can toss a handful of these bags into your luggage if you are travelling via air or store them in your glove box for a road trip. The small size is great for kids while the bigger sizes are perfect for over-packing moms and tweens/teens that need to bring a bunch of stuff.
These bags are a snap to make and only need a nominal amount of fabric: 5/8 for a small bag up to 1 5/8 for a large bag. Easily whipped up in 2-3 hours, the lesser if you cut multiples at once. This bag makes a great teacher gift or grandparent gift if you have managed to convince them to take your children to the beach while you lounge at home- you don't want them taxed from a lack of quality baggage.
If you are opting for a stay-cation these bags can manage the huge load of library books you are planning to check out. They are great for that flea market trip you have been planning and also for leisurely visit to the farmer's market to pick up treats. You can pack them with a picnic lunch or towels for the water park. Either way you are going to need bags but you are also going to want them small and tidy when not in use.
I recommend using Amy Butler's quilting cotton; its bright and colorful patterns ooze spring time fun!