Saturday, November 12, 2016

Book review: Oliver + S Building Block Dress

Oliver + S Building Block Dress: A Sewing Pattern Alteration Guide by Liesl Gibson

This book is lovely! It takes a basic dress pattern and then shows you how to modify the snot out of it. Sure, I've sewn enough I could figure out the modifications without the book or I could utilize hundreds of tutorials scattered throughout the blogosphere, but this book gathers them all in one place with the trusted guidance of Liesl Gibson. The pictures and illustrations are wonderfully done, and there is plenty of inspiration in the sample dresses. I would say the instructions on the modifications are slightly less thorough than Oliver + s patterns, but it's not aimed at absolute beginners.

I made the basic bodice and skirt with added pockets at the waist seam, a bias neckline, tulip sleeves and a faced hem. It's for my oldest niece, who just turned seven, but measurements put her closer to a size eight. I hope it fits! She lives on the other side of the state. Flannel is from the JoAnn's plaiditudes line.

Totally messed up the back placket and didn't notice until way too late to fix it.
To reduce bulk, I surged and handstitched the hem facing.
The guts are so pretty with the serger!

Surprise pocket lining.

Almost forgot to put a size tag in before I packaged it up.
Sewing hasn't been very productive lately. I had a lot of fun out in the garden over the summer and then Stella started Kindergarten. I was expecting that to open up a couple hours of free time in the afternoon on my days off while Charlotte's napping, but I mostly just watch TV and nap. We're also brewing a small human over here and it's really sapping my energy. 23 weeks! More than halfway through the pregnancy and we're pretty excited over this little guy or gal.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pattern review: Jalie 3350 (girls)

Stella needed a new swimsuit this summer, mostly because she only has one and she has a penchant for ruining clothes. This one, however, is dirt colored, so she will have a harder time trashing it. Plus, it was made using a pattern I won in a giveaway, and fabric I wasn't in love with. Best of all, she really likes it! Win all around. 
With her sidekick Blue, who likes to be in all the photos.


Pattern: Jalie 3350 (view B)

Sizing: It was a bit tight! Stella's measurements fell in between two sizes so I went with the larger size (I/5) and added 1" to the height, but it still barely fits. I'm glad I have another girl who can wear it next year! I will definitely size up a bit more next time.

Material used: Swimsuit fabric from The Fabric Fairy (similar here). I've bought swimsuit material twice from The Fabric Fairy and it's been good stuff both times. Their selection is fantastic and they have matched prints with solids for me before.

Notions needed: 3/8" swimwear elastic, swimsuit lining, wooly nylon for bobbin (not required, but gives the seam more stretch).

Appropriately rated: I couldn't find a rating. I would call it an adventurous beginner/intermediate. Maybe not your first swimsuit attempt.

Time spent: An evening of tracing and cutting (so many pieces!) and a long afternoon of sewing.

Construction/instructions: I used my sewing machine with wooly nylon in the bobbin for most of construction, and serger with wooly nylon in the loopers for side seams. The instructions were good, although it was my first Jalie pattern and a bit hard to get used to with instructions in English on one side, French on the other and diagrams in the middle. The instructions were complete, although gathering under the bust was not needed for the smaller sizes and an unnecessary step.

Modifications: None. 

Comments: This made a very cute swimsuit. I really like the twist-front detail. It is comfortable (per Stella) and while it looks like the shoulder strap is falling off her shoulders, it really wasn't. With two very different views and sizes ranging from toddler girl to plus-size woman, we'll get a lot of use out of this pattern.


Charlotte was wearing the first swimsuit I made in the above photos, a Peek-a-boo patterns Nantucket swimsuit. Stella turned the water on her in the last photo and Charlotte didn't find it funny (Stella and I kind of did)!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Some women's pattern reviews...

If you haven't noticed, I'm super comfortable in front of the camera. My tips for terrible blogpost pictures are:
  1. Take the pictures five minutes before you need to leave the house for dinner with friends.
  2. Don't wear makeup or pay attention to your hair. It's about the clothes, right?
  3. Make sure your children and dog are running back and forth between you and the camera.
  4. Hyperextend and do weird things with your legs and feet in half the shots.
  5. I don't know what to do with my hands?!
  6. Facial grimaces. If it doesn't look like you've had a stroke, try again.
Thankfully, willing husband took lots of pictures at my prompting ("Take lots! Just take lots!"), so there were enough half decent pictures to make a blog post.
Well, I suppose I'll just have to make more clothes for myself so I get more practice.
(Reviews down below.)


(Look at that, I remembered to suck the food baby in.)

Pattern: Brassie Joggers by GreenStyle Creations

Sizing: These are an XL with the mid-rise option. It's what my measurements said I should sew and the fit was spot on. Although I think I'll narrow the calves next time I sew them in something lightweight.

Material used: Gray ponte de roma from Urban Sew (currently sold out) and black ribbed knit from Joann's. This ponte is really nice stuff. It doesn't pill in the wash (and I dry it in the dryer), although it pills a little with friction.

Notions needed: 1" elastic and drawstring for waistband.

Appropriately rated: Yes. Even what stitches to use at each step are described.

Time spent: Fast!

Modifications: I added an extra inch to the rise because I have a very long waist/butt. And I banded the pockets differently than suggested.

Comments: I love these! They are so very comfy and I will definitely be making more. Although I still wouldn't wear these in public beyond dropping Stella off at school. I still feel awkward wearing activewear out and about unless I'm actually planning on getting sweaty.

This was my first GreenStyle pattern and I really liked it. I would certainly buy more and the size range is great. I actually won this in the "Sew Yourself Some Love" Challenge (I was randomly selected for the grand prize, woo hoo!). I'd been eyeing it for awhile, so I was pretty excited to win it. I'd like to try their Sundance Jacket next.

Way too lazy to hem it, but I like the way it curls.

Pattern: Union St. Tee by Hey June Handmade

Sizing: Large. I just measured one of my favorite tees and went off that.

Material used: Kaufman Laguna cotton/spandex knit charcoal (similar here) and "cherry" for the colorblocked version and ITY for the abstract print (sold out). All from The Kaufman Laguna jersey was great to work with and has held up well. The ITY was horrible to work with, but is really nice to wear and has washed well. sent me only 1 yard out of the 2 I ordered (always check your yardage!) and then when I called about it, they were sold out so they let me keep the yard and refunded my money. So not counting the pattern and thread, the shirt was free!

Notions needed: Thread.

Appropriately rated: Yes. The V-neck isn't easy, but otherwise very straightforward. I would not recommend making it with ITY or another slinky knit as a beginner.

Time spent: Fast. Although the ITY version sat on my ironing board for ages waiting to be finished.

Modifications: I colorblocked the back of the jersey version because I didn't have enough of the charcoal jersey :)

Comments: These shirts are in constant rotation. They have just the right amount of ease to be comfy, and hopefully, flattering!

I also did not take the time to hem this one.


Pattern: Lane Raglan (updated version) by Hey June Handmade. I previously blogged about the original Lane Raglan here.

Sizing: Large with full bust, front piece graded to an XL over the belly and hips. The updated version fits me better than the original.

Material used: Lightweight cotton/poly/rayon jersey stripe and navy ponte from Girl Charlee. The stripe has washed nicely and has just the right amount of drape, but the ponte is pretty terrible and it doesn't look like they sell it anymore.

Notions needed: Thread.

Appropriately rated: Yes. Very straightforward and easy.

Time spent: Fast. I could have matched the stripes at the side seams if I'd spent a little more time.

Modifications: None.

Comments: I absolutely love this shirt. It has just the right amount of drape and I've even been asked if it's a LuLaRoe.

Happy sewing!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

KCW City Gym Shorts in french terry

KCW snuck up on me! I've been in a bit of sewing slump lately, and so far this week is just what I've needed to get my sewing mojo back.

I've been searching for cute knit shorts patterns (last year's attempt at modifying the Ananda pants pattern fit funny) and stumbled across the City Gym Shorts, a free pattern by Purl Soho. Which was funny, because they were already downloaded onto my computer. Before rediscovering them, I was considering buying the Prefontaine shorts pattern.

Seriously funny pose. Glad I accidentally put her in a tummy shirt.
I couldn't find any knit kids editions on the interwebs, so I winged it. I used a wonderfully soft french terry from Raspberry Creek Fabric (similar one here) for the body and this cotton/spandex jersey for the binding. I cut the binding 1 3/4", stitched it to the front, wrapped it to the back and stitched in the ditch (I was out of out of matching thread or I would have sewn on the binding instead of stitching in the ditch). The bow is just extra binding sewn on, not a functional drawstring.

The new growth is so soft, Momma!
At first Stella thought they looked a little crazy, then she warmed up to them. I LOVE them. Like I really don't want her to wear and destroy them, like she's apt to. The little terrorist.

It passed the buttcrack test.
The pattern was really terrific, especially for a free pattern. I can't wait to make the adult version, although I really don't need another pair of around the house shorts!

Picnic lunch pb&j frozen waffles.
Charlotte also wanted to strike a pose. Not sure what this pose is, but it's what she struck.
 Off to do more sewing! This time woven City Gym Shorts for the girls.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Lola top

Here's my version of the free Lola top from Violette Field Threads (join the facebook group to get the code).

It was also my effort at Kids Clothes Week. Technically, I bought the fabric and cut it out during Kids Clothes Week. The theme of "toys" also inspired the fabric choice. During the most epic Momma and Stella afternoon shopping spree involving shoes, jewelry and gelato, I let her pick out whichever licensed character fabric she wanted. This has never happened before because I like pretty fabric, not garish fabric.

But, it might happen again, because apparently Stella's idea of pretty is different than mine. And this made her so, so happy!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Lane raglan #1

Hey, I made myself something! It's a Lane Raglan from Hey June. This is my first attempt of the pattern and it's happily a wearable muslin. Hopefully, it'll be perfect with a couple tweaks.
This is linked up over at Pattern Revolution's Sew Yourself Some Love. I won a prize pack! 

I added wrist cuffs and a band at the bottom (per the pattern) after the pictures were taken but I was losing light and unsure what I wanted to do. This is a size large. I think I'll grade out to an XL around my food baby next time.

The fabric was fun for this one. My grandma died almost a year ago and she was a prolific sewer and fabric stasher. My aunts, mom and I went through her stash and I brought home bags of fabric. It was really neat to have that experience with my aunts -- there was yardage and scraps leftover from high school and their weddings! Some of what I brought home was really neat (a whole bag of Pendleton wool!!), and some of it I was immediately questioning why I brought it home.

This fabric was in the "good for muslins" category. The strip is a pretty old jersey with very little stretch, and the navy is actually nice stuff (probably ponte).

This is my "I don't know what to do with my hands" pose. Because I didn't know what to do with my hands.

This was my biggest problem with the pattern. What is all this extra fabric doing under my armpit? (Or this is my "I'm a monkey" pose. Either way.) How do I get rid of some of it? That will be the goal of my next muslin. My plan is to compare it to the plantain tee. Which I really like and will finish whenever I get around to switching thread colors on the serger.
Addendum: Almost immediately upon publishing this post, the updated Lane Raglan was released. I downloaded it and we'll see if it solves my fit issues.
The fitting issues of sewing clothes for me makes children's sewing a lot more appealing, but it's so fun to wear something I've made. I'm looking forward to alterations becoming a little easier.

PR&P: Metallic hearts skirt

I wasn't planning on playing along with this week's theme over at project run & play. I don't have any glittery fabric or notions and I'm trying hard to stick to my sewing budget this year. No unnecessary fabric purchases! But then the stars aligned with a failed project for me and the need for a new skirt for Stella ...

Reflective tape hearts on a half-circle skirt!

I made the photo extra large because it's super blurry. Heheheh. (No, I haven't been drinking.) It's a half-circle skirt out of ponte de roma double knit from Urban Sew with a gray rib knit waistband. I cut the hearts out of reflective tape (from Joann's) that was leftover from failed running leggings. They are quite reflective.

This was why Stella needed a new twirly skirt. We went to a OSU Women's Basketball game for Valentine's Day and Stella was jealous of Charlotte's cheerleading outfit.
I'm not buying cheerleading outfits in bigger sizes because I'm trying to encourage the girls to love basketball and volleyball. It's totally backfiring. On the way home from they decided Charlotte was going to play basketball and Stella was going to cheer for her.

The only other photo of the skirt. I'm having trouble adjusting my camera's settings before the girls declare the photo session over.

The Beavers played well and beat Utah. It was a fun game to watch! They're doing really well this season.

These sisters have so much fun together. They kind of make my heart explode a lot.

Next week is the last week of PR&P and Kid's Clothes Week. I may just have to make something else! Maybe it's Charlotte's turn...

Thursday, February 4, 2016

PR&P: Nothing but Knit

Season 11 of Project Run & Play is here! The theme of week 1 is Nothing but Knit. Which is great, because I love sewing with knits. Stella wants to wear them, they're fast, easy and forgiving to sew, and I'm still in the honeymoon phase with my serger.

I let Stella guide the fabric choice and she chose a dress ("that is very twirly whirly, momma") from her options of dress, shirt and skirt. The pattern is the Uptown/Downtown Dress by Sew Straight and Gather (size 5) and the fabric is some I stole from my mom's stash awhile ago. It didn't melt on the cotton setting of my iron, so it's probably cotton. The pattern calls for quite a bit of stretch, and the fabric only had about 25% stretch, so I placed the pattern about an inch away from the fold line, gathered the middle front and pleated the middle back to gain a little wiggle room. I also wanted a puff sleeve, so I moved the sleeve about 3/4 inch away from the fold line and gathered it as well. Then I banded the sleeves instead of the self-lined sleeve the pattern called for. I forgot to cut the neckline higher than marked as previous dresses have been a little low-cut for my taste (no, Stella, you can't wear that to school, it shows your nipples), so I added a thick neckband that made it perfect.

A word about the pictures: Sorry. Kinda.

Getting Stella to put on a dress and take a posed picture after brushing and fixing her hair takes more caffeine than I had this morning. I was pretty happy when she wanted to put on the dress before breakfast (which is why she still has pj pants on) and then they started looking out the window (woohoo, natural light!).

This is real life folks. With blackberry jam on her face, and a little bit of pink eye.

(And your eyes aren't fooling you, she's a little cross-eyed. Thankfully the glasses correct it.)

Charlotte wears a sleepsack 50% of the time at home. She love loves them. Probably more than she loves us. When you put it on her in the evening, her thumb pops into her mouth and eyes start closing. It's magic.

Checking out the birds. And the neckline has a little gap-age, but this is probably my best neckline yet on a knit shirt.

The hair this morning was quite impressive.

I hope you take some time to watch the birds today!