Tuesday, April 30, 2013

lola dress

Good news! The Lola dress is now available as a free pattern (and tutorial) in a size 18 months - 3T.  Click here to go to the post :)

The Lola dress is very simple but is so incredibly cute!  This adorable linen dress from Suburbia Soup was my inspiration and this tutorial was the basis for my pattern, although I modified it quite extensively.  I love both the simplicity and the versatility.  Mae will wear this version by itself this summer and with a long sleeve shirt and tights through the fall/winter.

The construction of the dress is quite simple and it took very little time to sew.  It is made from just front and back bodice pieces, four lengths of bias binding, and a rectangle for the skirt.

The front and back are both slightly gathered and finished with matching bias binding.  One of the best things about this pattern is that the amount of gathering and length of bias binding can be adjusted to make this dress fit many different sizes of toddler.  The length of either the bodice or the skirt can easily be adjusted as well, making the Lola dress pattern versatile for years to come.

Fabric for dress and binding: Grey suiting from Joann's
Leggings: Carter's ... I can't find that bright yellow knit anywhere :)

This picture is less about the dress and more about the fact that Grandma thinks it's been too long since she had a new picture of Mae :)

And this is pretty much how all of our fashion shows end.  Most of the time the last half of my pictures are little more than a blur because Mae just doesn't like to stand still!

Here's another version of the Lola dress done in a cotton fish print I purchased about ten years ago.  This one probably will be worn in the summer only.  Lesson learned: the Lola dress is probably more versatile in a solid than in a seasonal print, because I'm not sure that Mae can pull off fishies when it is -10 degrees and there are eight inches of snow on the ground :) 

Monday, April 29, 2013

kcw days 4-7

Kids Clothes Week was lots of fun!  I have to confess that I selfishly gave myself more than an hour each day to sew.  As a result, I have one disaster of a house!  Here are the results of the last four days of sewing.  Hopefully I will get around to blogging more about them later this week.

My own pattern inspired by this dress:

Another Geranium Dress :)

And two camisole dresses inspired by this dress.  One for summer:

And one for fall :)

Friday, April 26, 2013

pattern review friday: japanese pattern book

I bought my first Japanese pattern book in 2011, but I have to admit that it took me a while to actually use one of the patterns.  Once I did, I was hooked!  The pattern for this tunic ... affectionately called Mae's scrubs :) ... came from this book:

This is pattern "c" in a size 90.  It fits very much like an 18-24 months size in the US.  The diagrams were very easy to follow, and the end result is a very well designed tunic.  Although it really does look like Mae's wearing scrubs!

main fabric: Just Wing It turquoise flowers by Moda
bias trim: Michael Miller Red with white pindot double fold bias trim
The pants are from Old Navy and the white long sleeve shirt is from H&M.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is at the least an intermediate sewer.  It might be difficult for the beginner sewer simply because there are no English directions and some of the techniques are slightly more advanced.

I recently purchased two more Japanese pattern books.  This one:


And this one:

 I hope that they are just as enjoyable to use as the one I already have, and I look forward to reviewing a some of the patterns in the next few months :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

kcw day 2, rain and a root canal :(

After a weekend of tooth pain, I reluctantly went to the dentist yesterday, and came home with an antibiotic, some pain medication, and an appointment for a root canal ... YUCK!

And to match my mood, this was what I saw out my door this morning ... although this picture was taken the other day, it looks exactly the same today.

And this from weather.com:

What a perfect day to model some tank tops that I made for Kids Clothes Week :)

I LOVE these simple tanks!  I originally found the pattern here and adjusted the size to fit Mae.  I chose to make my tanks out of a woven cotton instead of knit, but I'm sure it would be a great pattern in any fabric.

I made the shorts a few weeks ago from a self-drafted pattern.  I've revised it slightly since then to make it a bit more roomy for Mae's cloth diaper.  Although if I have any success potty training her this summer (not very likely considering my other kids' track records), these shorts should fit perfectly.

Tank and Bias Tape Fabric: Lisette for Fabric Traditions from Joann's
Shorts: Lightweight Denim from Joann's


I made the other tank a few weeks ago.  Maybe one of these days it will actually get warm enough to wear it :)

Fabrics: Goin' Places by Monica Lee for Timeless Treasures


I have two more dresses I hope to finish by the end of Kids Clothes Week.  I think this may be the first time ever that I complete a sewing goal on time.  I have a tendency to think that I can accomplish way more than I really can in the time I have!  Make sure you check out all the wonderful creations in the Flickr group and visit the KCW website.

Monday, April 22, 2013

kcw day 1

Kids Clothes Week is here!  

This weekend I tried to get some things ready to go so I would just be able to focus on sewing for the week.  I decided to start with a rather simple project ... a pair of very basic shorts.


I have a serious problem finishing outfits.  I usually make one piece and there it sits for weeks or sometimes months before I finally get around to making something to go with it or she just outgrows the original piece I made. That being said, I made Mae a top a few weeks ago (I'll have a post about it next week) ... this one:

I knew Mae needed some bottoms, and since I am easily distracted, I tried to keep the shorts very simple so I could finish them quickly.  I designed the pattern myself so I could be sure that it would fit properly over Mae's cloth diaper.  It is just a single pattern piece with a waistband and cuffs added.  I knew the waistband wouldn't show when worn with the tunic length top, so I just added a basic elastic waistband like what is found on most pajama pants.  I gathered the legs slightly and attached them to the cuffs.  A little bit of topstiching and two green buttons I once found on clearance at Joanns gave the shorts a simple finished look.

I had to pair the shorts with tights today, since it's not exactly warm yet in Michigan :)  Thankfully, the snow is all gone!  Here's a look at the whole outfit.


Mae didn't really want her picture taken today, but I thought this still turned out pretty cute!  Notice, the chapstick is in evidence again, although the stick is almost gone.  Maybe because this is what she likes to do with it.  I don't think she realizes that it's supposed to go on her lips :)

To see more from Kids Clothes Week, head over to the Flickr pool!

Friday, April 19, 2013

pattern review friday: geranium dress

I have joined in the craze for the Geranium Dress pattern designed by the very talented Rae over at Made by Rae.  This is a great pattern for any sewing level from beginner to expert!  


I started by following the pattern exactly as written.  I have to admit this is very rare for me because I am one of those people who just kind of reads directions and tends to just wing it ... quite often with mixed results :)  But I really wanted to try this pattern as is to see if it's as good as everyone says it is.  And it really is!!!  Aside from one error on my part (made the v notch bigger than the pattern calls for) I followed the directions from beginning to end.  And I really love the result!  I made the dress (view A) in a size 18-24 months, which fits true to size (slightly big on my average size 18-month-old) and should fit throughout the summer.  I used a woven cotton print that I have had sitting around for several years since I originally bought five yards before I realized how long five yards of fabric lasts.  I have a feeling I will be using it still for a few years to come ;)

main fabric: Elsies's Kitchen by Anna Griffin for Windham Fabrics
lining fabric: Farm Fresh Farmhouse in Cream by Riley Blake

The "lipstick" is back!

Even with the infamous chapstick, this photo session didn't go as well as I hoped.  So some pictures are minus one little Mae!

The back closes with three metal buttons.  They happened to be the only set of three buttons in my stash that matched the dress, but I ended up really loving how they look! I believe they were purchased at Joann's once upon a time.  I also added a little patch detail made from cotton twill tape and embroidered with a little star and the word "Mama" of course :)


One of the most important things I look for in a pattern is the ability to modify it with ease so I can create several different looks.  For my first modification, I used what Rae already provided.  I made a top instead of a dress :)  I wanted to add some color blocking, so I added an inch to the length of the bodice (and removed an inch from the skirt portion) and adjusted the button placement for four buttons rather than three.  I also wanted the top open all the way down the back, so I added some width to both the back bodice and back skirt pieces to create a folded over button placket.  The final change was the notched v in the front.  I liked my mistake from the first dress version, so I recreated it on the top :)  I ended up loving this top as much as the original dress!

top and bottom fabric: Rainy Days and Mondays by Riley Blake - White Raindrop Stripe
middle fabric: Grey Shirting from Joann's
lining fabric: White Muslin from Joann's

Here's the only action shot I could get.  A nice day outside definitely won over mama with the camera :)


For my final (for now) version I made a few more changes.  I kept the top part of the bodice the same but extended the bottom of the bodice to create an aline silhouette.  This change eliminated the skirt portion altogether.  I also added a couple of inches to the width of the back bodice piece to create a double button placket, replicated the aline shape from the front, and rounded the bottoms of the back.  That description is not very good, but it's easy to see what I'm talking about in the following picture.  I lined the entire piece because I find it is much easier to line a curved shape than to hem it :)  I made this tunic in a size 2T so Mae can grow into it.  Unfortunately, I must not have prewashed the lining fabric, because when I washed the completed tunic, the lining shrank slightly.  If I iron it, the tunic looks fine, but I really HATE to iron, so we'll see how often Mae wears this :)

main fabric: Amy Butler Midwest Modern Optic Blossom Linen
lining fabric: Gold Broadcloth from Joann's


Overall, this is one of my favorite patterns.  I highly recommend it!

And because I can't help myself, here's one more picture of Mae ... I believe she was in very deep contemplation of her lipstick at this exact moment :) Just look at those lashes! 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

kids clothes week

It's coming next week!

I have a few things planned.  I've participated in the past, but this will be the first time I can share my projects on my own blog.  I love looking at piles of fabric, trim and patterns like these and seeing the possibilities!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

my little poet

This little poet shirt was inspired by this tutorial by the very talented Kelly at Wild Wandering (formerly sewinginnomansland).  It was quite easy to make and is absolutely adorable in person.  Although that might be because Mae is so adorable, if I do say so myself ;)

I used my own bodice and skirt pattern, but used the sleeve pattern provided in Kelly's tutorial.  The only modification was that I chose to add cuffs to my sleeves because the fabric was a bit too stiff to drape properly.  My older kids call this Mae's "giant shoulder" shirt :)  That was almost the name of this post, but it doesn't exactly have the same ring to it as "my little poet."

The "belt" around Mae's waist is really a stretchy headband with a hair clip flower attached.  It's one of the only things she will leave on, and it looks cute ... works for me!

The back of the dress closes with three "crystal" buttons for just a little bit of sparkle.

You can see from the pictures that a tube of "lipstick" was the only way I was getting these pictures.

There was also lots of chair climbing and shopping cart pushing involved as well :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

mae's new clothes

A small preview of Mae's spring/summer clothes :)

A few dresses:

Some new shirts:

And a few bottoms:

I can't wait to share the details of these items (plus several more not pictured) in the next few weeks. Here's a preview of the first post tomorrow: