Saturday, April 25, 2015

Kids' Clothes Week: Two hanami dresses

Today for Kids' Clothes Week, I am sharing two dresses I made this week. One for Issie and one for her best friend who turned seven this week and had a little party today.

I used the Hanami pattern by An from StraightGrain for both dresses.

Okay, so I broke my vow of not buying new fabric this week and bought this Cloud9 House and Garden print that was on special at Spotlight for $8 per metre.  I have since seriously broken my vow after filling my cart with lovely fabrics on line (some for Emily's quilt and some for...other things).  I think I did pretty well lasting four months without buying fabric (aside from a little lining/bias/zips, etc). For Isabella's friend's dress I lined the bodice with a teal cotton couture and the whole dress is very soft.  I included the flutter sleeves on this dress, while the pony dress has the lovely overlapping tulip sleeves.

I bought this vintage looking cotton/poplin about two years ago from Spotlight and it has long been promised to be made into a dress for Issie. I added the small peter pan collar for Isabella's pony dress, however, I had to top stitch it down as it kept flipping up due to its small size. 

Issie loves her pony dress and her friend was wearing her new dress when I picked Issie up from the party and it fit her perfectly. Yay!

I have one more garment I would like to finish this week which is in keeping with the 'Wild Things' theme of Kids' Clothes Week', but I will see how I go! Are you sewing too?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Kids' Clothes Week: A Verona dress

I have got a sewing bug at the moment and since it's Kids' Clothes Week, I started this dress yesterday for Emily and finished it today. It is not in keeping with the "Wild Things" theme of this season of KCW, but I can still share, right?

This pattern has just been released by the very talented pattern maker, Jenn from Jennuine Design (and the blog: A Jennuine Life).  The pattern is called the Verona dress and I love it!  This is the first of Jenn's patterns I have tried and wow is she skillful at making patterns!  The layout of the instructions (all digitally drawn), her attention to detail and this lovely design have impressed me a lot.  I can very highly recommend this pattern:)  

The pattern features a sweet suit style fold down collar, three different sleeve options (two capped, long sleeved), as well as sleeveless, and fully lined dress. I lined only the bodice since my fabrics are thick, however the pattern has an under skirt which peeks out the bottom of the dress. The back of the bodice is elasticated and the dress has no fasteners (for sizes 3-12).

The fabrics I used were a lovely soft red corduroy I had in my stash from Spotlight, some pink cotton couture for the bodice lining (and turn over collar) and the skirt/sleeve print is by Koko Seki which was generously given to me from Frances from Miss Matatabi. This particularly print is not currently available in her shop, but look at all the other lovely ones!

I had so much fun with Emily taking these photos. She has just come good after a bout of sickness that lasted about ten days. So nice to have my bubbly, funny and happy Emily back!  Below she is belting, "Let it go........" at the top of her lungs (hence the clenched arms!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Kids' Clothes Week: A deer top

I am sewing along with this season of Kids' Clothes Week (which, for those who do not know, is sewing an hour a day for your kid/s for one week and sharing your makes). The theme for this season is "Wild Things". My girls (particularly Isabella) love animals, so this theme is perfect.  I did start this top on the weekend but finished it today.  All up, it probably took about 90 minutes.

I only had one animal print on hand in my stash (which will feature in a dress I am making this week), so I decided to do some applique for this project instead. I love deer.  They are such beautiful animals. We actually have three deer who live next door but we don't see them often as they are in a paddock that is difficult to see.  The girls have hand fed them though. I would have loved a photo of Issie with them, but that was a bit difficult to arrange.  Goats, on the other hand come right up to our fence, so we said hello to them today.

I hand copied the deer head from this image I found on pinterest. I cut up a 100% merino wool knit top of mine that was given to me by my sister and I had not yet worn.  I  cut it down to Issie's size, tracing from one of her fitted tops. I used double sided vialene to attach the deer head to the top.  The floral is a vintage piece that was leftover from a dress I am making for a friend's daughter (the pillowcase belonged to her Grandmother and there was just enough leftover for this project).  I decided to add a bit more of the floral (so it wouldn't go to waste!) as frills at the shoulder seams. The cuffs are extra long like in my Little Betty top pattern and are lovely soft mustard rib I found at Spotlight a while ago.

I am super happy with how this top turned out!  Actually it is proabably the best top I have made I think. Isabella was very excited to see it come together.  I love when garments evolve and turn out better than you first imagined!  If you feel inspired to do some animal applique, I also found this awesome image on pinterest which has heaps of great animal silhouettes.

What about you? Are you joining in with Kids' Clothes Week?

I'll see you later this week with a pony dress and a deer jacket (which I began 18 months ago and has been haunting me with sewing guilt ever since!)

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!!