Friday, April 17, 2015

An autumn peplum top

Following on from my late posting of this dress (that was made six months before I photographed it), this top is finally on the blog after I made it around about the same time.

So here is Issie in a top I made last spring that she is now wearing in autumn.  I made the pattern up. It is a top version of this yellow dress.  Like the dress, this top is reversible.  Isabella was a bit chilly and not in the mood for swapping it over for the photos, but you can see a glimpse of the under fabric in some of these pics.  The blue floral was in the clearance section of Miss Matatabi a while back and I thought it was sweet.  It is super soft and was really lovely to work with. It is not in stock any more and I have forgotten the name of the fabric.

The neckline is finished with orange bias binding and extends to create ties.  I overdid the size of the flutter sleeves a little but I think the top still looks good.

Isabella has finally stepped over the threshold into becoming a wearer of jeans (since her 'big' and adored cousins wear jeans, she now thinks they are a good idea). I hope this doesn't mean she will stop wearing dresses any time soon!

Love this photo!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A bee dress

I made this dress about six months ago for Isabella and am only today finally getting around to photographing and blogging about it. Isabella has worn this dress many times since about September last year.

The fabrics are from the lovely etsy shop, Miss Matatabi.  The bee print is for the Mustang line by Melody Miller. You can also buy it in a denim blue colourway which I think is actually even lovely than this one.  I have forgotten the name of the cream watercolour spot print (oops), but I think it is a lovely match with the bee print.  

I drafted the pattern myself.  I wanted to experiment with the bodice/skirt seam by sewing the skirt on the outside of the bodice to create a little frill above the seam.  I finished the top of the skirt with a small zig zag along the edge before I gathered the skirt.  This method took a lot of pins and I had to be careful to get the seam straight, but it was not difficult. The front bodice is divided with diaganol lines and the back of the dress closes with an invisible zip.

The dress also has big pockets at the bottom - which I frequently empty of bark, feathers and beads before throwing this dress in the wash. The beautiful tree Isabella is standing in front of below is one of our two pomegranate trees.  This one didn't fruit, but our bigger one did - I need to know what to do with pomegranates!

Isabella is sitting on one of our spotted gums in the photo below - it grows horizontally from a cut stump and has created our 'trampoline tree'!

I think Isabella's dimples might break some hearts in the future (proud Mum)...

Monday, March 16, 2015

When we were young: Tasha from Glitter and Wit

It's When we were young time again!  Today I have my lovely friend Tasha from Glitter and Wit guest posting. If you are not familiar with Tasha's blog and her sewing, you will be inspired.  She is extremely talented and always makes something a bit different.  I love her fun style and I'm very excited to have her guest post here today. Tasha is the youngest guest I have had here for my series and today she is sharing some early 90's fashion!!


Where were you born/where did you spend your childhood? I was born in Western Nebraska, but grew up in the Ozarks (Southwest Missouri).
Who did you grow up with? It was just me,
my younger brother, and our parents. We spent most of our time with cousins, who all lived nearby.
Did you have a childhood ambition? No particular ambition that I can recall, except perhaps to be the best at everything (except athletics, bleh!). Not much has changed, really. ;)
What did you like doing when you were little? I loved to read and swim. I loved The Little Mermaid. And I also apparently went through a cat phase (like, I literally pretended to be a cat. Often.). (Psst -  Tasha, Issie has been in the same cat phase for a couple of years!! - Suz)

Do you see any similarities between yourself and your child/children? Physically, not really. My children both look more like my husband, I think. The kids and I all have great fine motor skills and love to eat. Both my son and daughter exercise extreme caution around dangerous objects or activities. My husband had previously believed I MUST have suffered some traumatic event to behave this way. I told him he was wrong. He believes me now. All three of us also have small heads. Ha!

Do you live far from where you grew up? Not at all; about 25 miles away.
Where do you live now and who with? I currently live in Springfield, Missouri with my husband, Chris, and two children: Emerson (3 years) and Felix (18 months). As a young girl I was spoiled by a grandma who loved to sew for me (the first photo above shows my cousin, my grandma, and me--in a dress she sewed). As a kid, I didn't realize all the time and thought that went into each lovingly-made dress. Eventually she stopped sewing for me, but she saved the most precious pieces and gifted them to me at my baby shower for Emerson. E is just now starting to grow into my old handmade clothing. For this series, I knew I wanted to recreate a handmade outfit. But I also didn't want it to be exactly the same (since I already have the originals!).

The dress I chose is the same shown in the photo at the top of this post, though I assume it must have been sewn specifically for this photo. This is me at age three (?) with my cousin, in 1991 (I think). For Emerson's dress I wanted to mimic the style lines and fabric, but modernize it a bit. I used the Debbie's Birthday Dress pattern as my starting point, added the sleeves from the Sunki pattern (Figgy's Patterns), a simple gathered rectangle for the skirt, and modifying the bodice to accommodate a button-front closure.

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The dress turned out to be a little big for Emerson. Though I think for comparison's sake it's not too far off from my own 1991 dress. I love the modern floral (in fact, I've used this same fabric in another colorway many times) and simple twill tape trim combined with the loose fit and puffy sleeves.

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My 1991 dress's sleeves were even more accentuated by a single pleat bringing the sleeve hem in close to the arm. I wanted a more relaxed look for E's dress, and instead chose to add a narrow cuff trimmed with twill tape.


The neckline here is way off from the original, but only because my machine completely ate up the fabric when I tried to put in the top buttonhole. I improvised (okay...disguised my mistake) by folding the bodice over and tacking it down.


I could've put in regular buttons here, but I wanted this dress to be the-same-but-different, remember? And I've been experimenting with button alternatives lately. These tiny twill tape bows sure hit the spot.

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I honestly wasn't sure how I felt about this dress at first. Even now, I'm not 100% sure I love it as a stand-alone thing-I've-made. I do think it is a great ode to my own 1991 handmade dress. Emerson loves it (it's so spinny!). Even though it isn't my favorite, I think I'll hold on to this one and add it to the collection my grandmother made for me. Maybe in 25 years E will be making a 2040-inspired-by-2015-inspired-by-1991 dress.


Thanks so much Tasha!  I love E's dress and it looks like it will fit her for a while. I LOVE the twill bows!! I am definitely going to give that a go!!  Your Grandma looks too young to be a Grandma!  I hope you enjoyed this experience. It was lovely to have you!!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Unfinished project # 5: A vintage Sunday picnic (pillow case) dress for Emily

Today I am sharing Emily's pillow case dress.  The floral component of the dress is made from a vintage pillow case.  

This is another of my unfinished projects from 2014 - sewn, worn, photographed and now blogged! The pattern is my Sunday picnic dress with a rounded collar.  

The bodice and pocket linings are a soft blue chambray I bought at Spotlight.

Although the weather is getting cooler here now, Emily wore this all day on Saturday while we explored the rugged beach near our house wearing tights and a cardi. 

I'm really glad I got this dress finished.  We don't have any more girls to hand the dress down to so I had to finish it in time for Emily to get some wear out of it!

My now updated 'to finish' list are:

  • Emily's quilt
  • The second version of my new design for Issie
  • A knit dress version of my Little Betty pattern with cool pockets for Juliette
  • A coral stretch dress for Issie

It really feels good to get some of these projects finished. They were kind of hanging over my sewing head and when they are all done I will feel like I have not wasted time or fabric and the kids and I can enjoy them.  I still have two lovely dresses I made last year that I have not blogged. One is a Nani iro dress (to pretty to wear - I need to be weary of that!) and the other is a lovely cotton and steel dress that I designed that Isabella has worn heaps.  I might photograph them together this week and share them too:)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Our baby is three!!

This time three years ago I was taking sideways glances at our third and final child in her plastic crib as I lay stilled by an emergency caeserean. Our little Emily was born at 4pm on March 4th and has been a joy in our lives every day since then.

Issie and Juliette loved their little sister from the start.  Issie was just over three and half and Juliette at 21 months was my 'wet nurse' which was very handy when I'd had a rough night.

Today Emily turned 'free'.

Emily was very excited to turn free and we spent the morning down at the breakwater cafe where Emily wore her newly opened birthday dress and took her new dolly out for a milkshake!

I made Emily a Louisa dress by Compagnie M from a vintage floral sheet and she had to have a Poppy doll (pattern by HopSkipJump) to match her sisters.  I actually made one of these dolls for Emily for her first Christmas but it disappeared into thin air so I made her a new one.

As you can see, dolly has a dress made of the same fabric as Emily's. The waitresses at the cafe made a fuss over Emily and delivered her a little cake with a candle on it.  Emily loved it.

What a sweetheart. We love this girl so much.

Happy Birthday Emily!!!!

Monday, March 2, 2015

An Antoinette dress

I am determined to keep plugging away with finishing unfinished projects.  This dress was a bodice with no zip and just the skirt cut out when my sister delivered it to me in a bag.  We planned the dress together for her daughter Lucy and cut out the fabrics from the lovely Antoinette pattern by Nele from Spiegelstiksels (no longer available).  My sister ran out of steam with the dress and had too much on her plate.  I didn't actually have this on my 'to finish' list, but I dug deep into the basket and found this dress in pieces and decided to finish it.

I am really glad I did. I love how it turned out.  The light bodice and bright skirt and bow collar look really sweet, I think.

I don't know the names of the fabrics as they came from my sister and she has had them a while.

I really do love this pattern. It is so pretty and also unique.  I made one for Juliette last year in stripes which she wore all year and it always look beautiful on her - a very feminine design.  The back has a lovely 'v' but I did not get a good photo of Issie in this dress so you can check out Juliette's dress if you want to see.

I think my girls are pretty lucky.  Isabella came home from school today and I showed her this dress and told her it was hers.  "Thanks Mum!" She put it on right away and declared that she liked it. She played around in it in our backyard and wore it off to her swimming lessons this evening. I was satisfied to pile our three girls in the car headed to the pool and all three of them were wearing Mum made dresses.  I like that!

Thank you Nele for sharing your lovely pattern!

Are you as bad as me at starting and not finishing projects?  I am determined to put an end to my 'start a project, get excited about another project and not finish the first project'style sewing!