Monday, October 20, 2014

gracie the vampire - part 1: the dress

I'm sure most of you already know, but this week is Kids Clothes Week.  Usually I like to sew along, but the last couple of times I haven't exactly dedicated an hour a day.  I guess I kind of figure that since I sew for my kids all year long (often for hours at a time!) I've probably made my quota for Kids Sewing Week for the next few years or so :)  Anyway, the theme for this season is Storybook, but I am leaning towards a slightly different theme - I call it "Gracie needs her Halloween costume by Saturday, so I'd better get sewing."  It's real catchy sounding, isn't it ;)

This year Gracie wants to be a vampire, but not just any vampire, more specifically a "I found it in a catalog and I'm sure my mom has $200 to spend on a costume that will only be worn twice" kind of vampire :)  So, like any other mom that sews, when my kids give me that sad puppy dog face, I hear the words "sure, I can make that" and immediately wonder who said it, until I realize it was me!  And unless I want to be "the worst mom in the whole entire world and even the moon" I'm going to have to sew that costume :) The problem is, once I commit to sewing a costume, I go nuts, both literally and figuratively speaking.  I go totally overboard with planning, buying and sewing until it consumes all of my time and sleep deprivation sets in.  Not to mention, my house (due to sheer neglect) ends up looking like a bomb went off.  I just figure if any adults give my house the side-eye while trick-or-treating with their kids, I can very creatively explain how we decorated our house as a disaster zone this year :)

Now before you say that the costume doesn't look very complicated, take a look at the title of this part and make note of the part 1.  Because this costume comes complete with parts 2, 3, 4 and 5 as well!  And yes, this costume is absolutely going to consume the entire week on the blog, so if you don't want to see a vampire costume one piece at a time, I'll see you next week :)

The bodice of this dress is self drafted.  It took two muslins to get the right shape, and if it was anything other than a Halloween costume, I probably would have done a third.  But even I'm not nuts enough to do three muslins for a Halloween costume.  My limit is definitely two ;)  I had never drafted a stand up collar that was integrated into the bodice rather than being a separate pattern piece, so that was an interesting challenge.  In fact, the final shape of the bodice pattern almost seems counter intuitive, but it really does fit perfectly and I'm thrilled with how it turned out!  I promise I will have pictures of Gracie wearing the costume in part 5 ... stay tuned!

I thought the drafting would be the complicated part, but it turns out the construction was worse.  I hate working with costume satin in the first place since it frays badly and shifts all over the place while sewing (even with a walking foot!)  But add in a slightly stretchy tulle overlay and it becomes a nightmare.  I couldn't even guess how many times I had to change the settings on both my sewing machine and serger to accommodate the satin on it's own, the tulle on it's own, or the two fabrics together, all of which required different settings.  Then attaching the lining required a forth setting.  If I was smart I would have written down the settings each time I changed them so I would have them for the next time, but obviously I'm not that smart!  It goes without saying that my seam ripper and I saw each other more often than usual while constructing this dress :)

Everything is from Joann's
Dress - Black costume satin
Overlay - Black tulle with glitter dots
Lining - Red sateen
Black invisible zipper

Thursday, October 16, 2014

sew it all series link up - let's see what you made!

I would love to see what everyone has been sewing lately!  If you would like to share (and agree to let me post the pictures on my blog at a later date if I do a roundup) please add your link below.  I will add all the projects to my Pinterest board as well.  Remember, anything goes as long as you sewed it!  And it doesn't have to be limited to kid's clothes ... I would love to see adult clothes or non-clothing items as well :)  Feel free to link up as many projects as you would like!

sew it all series - my progress report

Since it's been over a month since I started the Sew It All series, I decided it was time to look back at what I've sewn for Mae so far and lay out a general sewing plan for the coming month.  Last week my kids brought home their first progress reports from school and it was great to see a snapshot of the year, highlighting not only their strengths, but also the areas where they might need to work a bit harder.  That's what I'm hoping this post will be for me, a progress report of sorts, or whatever it's called when you evaluate your own performance.  Obviously I haven't worked in an office environment in a loooooooooong time, or I would remember what those things are called :)

Before I get to that, I wanted to let you all know that I'm going to add a monthly link up to the blog so I can see what you have been sewing.  Then I'll feature a few of the projects at the beginning of next month.  If you choose to add a link, I'm going to assume that you are ok with me sharing your creation on the blog.  Or, if you prefer to share in a less public matter, I always love getting pictures through email!  You can find my email on the "About Me" page.  But for those of you that do wish to share on the blog, I will add the link up later today.

Second, I'm going to post all of Mae's clothing that I've sewn as part of the Sew It All series in one place.  I don't know about you, but I like seeing all of my projects in one place and not having to click through multiple posts.  Plus it gives me a picture of what might still be missing from Mae's wardrobe.  I realize it's still quite a bit at this point, but I have lots more to share in the next few months :)  If you would like to read more about any of these projects, including patterns and materials used, just click on the picture.

Seeing these pictures in one place has been great!  Here are a few things that stand out to me:
  1. Every single top is made from a knit.  Although I love knits, I do like other fabrics as well :)
  2. There are a lot of blue pants.  I know I've finished two non-blue pairs that I haven't blogged about yet, so maybe that will help.
  3. Mae needs more looser fitting pants such as sweatpants because she really needs to start learning how to get herself dressed.
  4. Mae needs more dresses ... enough said!
  5. I need to get working on a fall coat before it's too cold to wear it.  I think I might sew a winter dress coat as well.
  6. There's no pink to be found.  Although I'm not a huge pink fan, Mae does like it, so I should try to incorporate it a little.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

pattern review - nessie top by craftiness is not optional

I realized that even though I've already made the Nessie Top by Craftiness is Not Optional and featured it on the blog here, I've never actually written a review!  And since I sewed another version for the Sew It All series, I thought this would be perfect time :)

Honestly there's not too much to say about this pattern beyond how much I love it!  It fits perfectly, it's easy to sew, it has a cute subtle high-low hem and there are lots of options included in the pattern.  The first time I made it, I chose the color block version, but this time I actually opted to make the basic version since I was planning on working with two different jersey knits.  I figured there was enough going on with my fabric choices that the top probably shouldn't have too many extra details aside from the coral pocket.

I cut out the size two width with the size three length.  I like how fitted it is, but I'm afraid Mae might outgrow it through the shoulders before winter is over.  I probably should have gone with the size three, but it works out this way because now I have an excuse to make another one :)  I think I might have to try the peter pan collar the next time since I haven't done that yet.  In fact, I foresee Mae having a cute stripe top with a sequin collar in the not so distant future!

I love this color combination!  Coral and aqua are two of my favorite colors for kid's clothing because they quite simply feel happy and summery.  And I think anything that reminds me of summer is a very, very good thing during our long cold winters :)

Aqua Stripe - Cotton/Lycra jersey from Funkaliscious Fabrics
Coral Dot - Cotton jersey from
Pocket - Stretch denim from