Wednesday, November 19, 2014

madeIt florence - christmas blog tour

Welcome to my little corner of the Florence Christmas blog tour!  I have to be honest, my little corner almost didn't exist.  I totally got the date for my post wrong, and then I got sick and didn't get anything to Olu on time!  So, I've got to give a huge thank you to Olu (Needle and Ted) and Anna (creator of MadeIt Patterns) for their patience and understanding :)

This blog tour is a little different than most - it is also a competition!  The version of the Florence with the most comments over on Needle and Ted will be the winner.  So, if you like my version (or anyone else's) head over to Needle and Ted and leave a comment! 

For this week only (November 17-23) you can get the Florence Blouse Pattern (and any other pattern from Anna's shop!) for 20% off with the code Tour20.  Just click on the button below!  And (yes, there's more!) if you sew up a Christmas version of the Florence, make sure to post it on Madeit Patterns Facebook page by the end of January 2015 for a chance to win a MadeIt pattern of your choice!

Now that all the blog tour details are out of the way (because I totally would have forgotten to include them if I waited until the end!) we can get to my Christmas-ish version of the Florence pattern!  I say Christmas-ish because I don't generally sew holiday specific clothing for my kids.  I prefer sewing things that can be worn for an entire season.  So this jumper is a little less Christmas and a little more winter :)

I know at first glance it looks nothing like the Florence Blouse, but I actually kept most of the pattern pieces as is.  I used the front and back pieces without any modifications and eliminated the collar and sleeves.  Then I doubled the width of the placket to make it double breasted and added a simple pleated rectangle skirt.  It's amazing how small changes can make such a big difference in the end!  Although Mae wears a size two according to the chart included with the pattern, I sewed the size three because I wanted a little bit of room for Mae to wear a shirt under the jumper.  And I would have to say that the pattern fits true to the measurements which is always a good thing!  Obviously, you can't see the fit with these pictures, so you will just have to take my word for it that it is perfect :)

This fabric was a bit of a challenge to work with.  I purchased it at Joann's last year, and it was located in a miscellaneous spot in the store, so I'm not sure where it really belonged.  I don't think the women who worked at Joann's knew either which is why it was stuck on an endcap!  It's a polyester suiting fabric, but it is more of an outerwear weight.  And it frays like crazy!  I accidentally caught a corner of one of the pieces with the button on my sleeve, and suddenly the piece was 1/2" shorter!  I learned really quickly that I had better be careful, or the entire jumper was going to fall apart :)  I thought the fabric felt a bit prickly (although my kids told me it didn't) so I fully lined the bodice with a stretch sateen ... in red of course!  After all, I at least have to give a nod to Christmas since it's the theme of the tour :)

I really love the details included with the pattern!  The princess seams are lovely, as is the back bodice.  I didn't finish this jumper following the directions in the pattern since my version is fully lined, but I did read the pattern through, and I have no doubt that any blouse made with this pattern would be finished beautifully inside and out!

White Suiting from Joann's
Lining - Stretch Sateen from Joann's
Snaps - Kamsnaps

Make sure to check out the other blogs that are part of the tour!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

sew it all series - every girl needs a polka dot dress

As I stated back in my first Sew It All series round up post, Mae needs more dresses since she only has one, and people at church are starting to wonder!  My favorite thing about sewing dresses is that I don't have to make sure that they match anything else.  Or, in other words, I can use any fabric I want!

For this dress I chose Nani Iro Pocho double gauze in Teal.  I used double gauze one other time, and it was one of my favorite fabrics ever to sew!  Plus it rarely needs to be ironed which is always a plus ;)  After I chose the fabric, I moved on to choosing a pattern, which was not quite as easy.  I really wasn't sure what I wanted, and nothing was really appealing to me from my existing pattern collection, so I started with a Japanese pattern basic bodice (used for this dress) and made a few modifications.  And by a few, I mean that I changed everything!  I changed it to front opening, added length to the bodice, added facings, changed the shape and length of the sleeve, and pleated the skirt rather than gathering it.  In other words, I didn't keep anything from the original pattern ;)

My favorite modification is the sleeves.  I added 3" to the width, and then rather than gathering the cap, I made tiny inverted pleats.  It took 12 pleats for each sleeve.  I probably won't use this method again since it took longer than the entire rest of the dress, but it was fun to try it once!  And I love the look since it takes in the fullness without adding a true puff sleeve, which is not really my favorite kind of sleeve anyway.

The bottom of the sleeve is finished with a double cased elastic band with a 1/2" ruffle.  It kind of mimics the look of shirring without having to change every single setting on my sewing machine, so it's 100% better than shirring in my mind :)

Take a closer look at the snaps - each snap is covering a dot that is exactly the same color.  I would love to say that I planned that, but the truth is it was totally a coincidence :)

Nani Iro Double Gauze
Snaps - Kamsnaps

Thursday, November 6, 2014

pattern review - kudzu cargos by charming doodle

Sometimes I struggle with pattern reviews on the blog.  I know I don't have any obligation to only say positive things about a pattern, but it feels kind of mean to focus on the negatives.  On the other hand, I don't want a person to buy a pattern because I gave it a glowing review when it might not have been that great of a pattern, so usually I just skip reviewing any patterns that I'm less than thrilled with.  But not anymore.  I decided that since I took the time to sew it, I'm going to write about it, good or bad!  And, from now on, my reviews will be a bit more technical and include four things:
  • General Review - My overall feeling about the pattern
  • What I like about the pattern
  • Things I would change about the pattern in the future
  • Changes I made this time

The first pattern I am reviewing with this change in mind is the Kudzu Cargos from Charming DoodleGeneral review - Overall, I like the pattern, and I would sew it again, but I would make some changes.

What I like - The design details are visually interesting.  I like that there are several options including diagonal leg seams, pleats at the knee, and cargo pockets.  These look like a well made pair of store bought pants.  Although I didn't like the order of sewing, the directions were quite easy to follow, and I believe that a confident beginner could complete this pattern without any trouble.  The rib knit waist is a nice touch and makes these pants pretty comfortable too.  The pattern includes distinctly patterned lines for each size (in addition to different colors) which I like since my printer is a relic from another age and only prints in black and white :)

Things I would do differently or didn't like - First, the size chart is off.  The pattern clearly states that the hip is the most important measurement, so I cut the size 2 based on the size chart.  Bad idea!  These pants are way too tight.  I felt bad for squeezing Mae into these for pictures.  On the thighs you can actually see where the seams are cutting in to her chub, what little she has :)  Although she must have felt that the pants were still comfortable because she wanted to wear them all day!

Secondly, and I admit this is kind of nitpicky, I wasn't a huge fan of the pattern layout.  There is no way to print only the slim leg or the regular leg option.  You really have to print the entire pattern, and I'm a bit of a scrooge when it comes to using my paper and toner, so I generally only print exactly what I need!

The only other critique I have is the order of the sewing steps.  The pattern doesn't instruct you to sew the back patch pockets on until after you sew the side seams and the inseam.  It would be so much easier to attach them before the side and inseams, which is what I did since I read the whole pattern before starting, thankfully!

Changes I made (no matter how small!) - I added knee patches because they are cute :)  Since I chose not to use the cargo pockets I was able to sew and topstitch the inseams like a typical pair of jeans.  I also opted to topstitch the outseam from the waist to the top of the thigh, both for durability and because I like how it looks.  I sewed the knee pleats toward each other instead of both of the seams pressed down.  I also sewed the diagonal seams on the back pocket down instead of up, because I wanted the pocket seams to match the leg seams.  And the final change (even though it's not visible) was to use 2" elastic inside the rib knit waistband because I like the finish better than a narrower elastic attached to the rib knit with a zigzag stitch like the directions call for.

Denim - Stretch Pacific Denim in Melon from
Grey Knit - Cotton jersey from Joann's

Monday, November 3, 2014

gracie the vampire - part 4: the cape

In case you missed it ... 
gracie the vampire - part 1: the dress
gracie the vampire - part 2: the slip
gracie the vampire - part 3: the jacket

Sorry about the week gap between parts 3 & 4.  Sometimes life just happens and last week was one of those weeks!  Anyway, I'm back with part 4 today, which is the cape.  After all, what's a vampire without a cape!  I used the Red Riding Hood pattern from the Little Things to Sew book by Oliver & S.  I added 10" to the length and opted to line only the hood.  I also omitted the arm openings along the side hem since they made it feel less vampire-ish.  Other than that, I followed the pattern.  I felt that after the complexity of the dress and coat I needed a simple project that required little thought on my part :)  Please excuse the wrinkles in the picture below.  I took it after the cape was worn through a rainy and windy trick-or-treating session!

Everything is from Joann's
Flannel backed satin
Frog closure (not shown) by Dritz - I would not recommend this closure as it fell apart after a single use