Saturday, May 4, 2019

Easter dresses with Oliver + s

What started out last Fall as drawings for possible Christmas outfits eventually became Easter outfits. At least they're done! I made them using the book Building Block Dress by Liesl Gibson of Oliver + S. I've used the book before, and it was pretty fun to take a dress and a shirt from drawings on paper to wearable garments. You start with a basic block, and then add elements you want and modify pattern pieces until you get your garment. Charlotte's was very similar to one of the samples in the book with it's scalloped external hem facing and scalloped bodice detail, but Stella's was a head scratcher to put together. I ended up setting it aside in the middle of the process to get some thinking space. When I picked it up a couple months later it came together nicely except for being shorter and slimmer then expected which caused changes to the planned back closure. Oh well.

If you get the book and want to make a dress, start with your imagination. I traced the dress outline on the worksheet included to help my sad drawing skills. Read through the introduction and the book tells you to start with an unmodified or slightly modified dress. And, if you're like me, you also buy the fabric with no clear plan several months beforehand (I'm honestly trying not to do this anymore).

The main fabric is Menagerie by Rifle Paper Co. from Fabricworm. It was lovely to work with and the metallic gold flowers on it are so fun. (I think they're out, but had some last time I looked.) The eyelet is from from a couple years ago, and the scallop accents are watermelon (maybe?) Kona cotton from Joann's. One of the tricky parts about designing your own dress is not knowing how much fabric you'll need. I ended up with extra, so I'm kicking myself for not making Stella's top longer!

The girls aren't into posing for pictures. At least not in ways that show off their handmades. They do love to display their personalities!

The skirt is the Hopscotch skirt from Oliver + S. Size 7 waistband pieces, lengthened to a size 12 and accidentally cut a size 12 width on skirt pieces, too. It will fit for a couple years! The pockets are cute, and were fun to sew.


Here are some back views:

I got to use vintage buttons from my Grandma's stash.

And some more personality:

The answer to "Does it twirl?"

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Oliver + s turns 10!

It's been a long time since I've published a blog post, but I couldn't resist after seeing others' Oliver + S round-ups.

Oliver + S has turned 10 years old and they're having a big sale as part of their celebrations. For the next week, those new to Oliver + S have an incredible opportunity to fill out their pattern library. 10 patterns for $50! 

I love Oliver + S. Let me officially join the many other sewists and say that each of the patterns I've sewn has been a sewing lesson for me. I stumbled onto Oliver + S paper patterns on clearance at a local craft store shortly after I started sewing for my daughter. I was so lucky I did! I learned the basics of sewing from my Grandma when I was young, but really hadn't sewed since junior high. Oliver + S taught me how to create heirloom quality clothes with professional finishes. I am a much better sewist because of them.

Here are just a few of the Oliver + S patterns I've sewn over the last 4 years:

Reversible jacket from the Lullaby Layette Set

Class Picnic blouse and shorts 

Garden Party Dress

Bodysuit from the Lullaby Layette Set

Ruffled halter (free pattern!)

Red riding hood from Little Things to Sew
Building Block Dress

Music class blouse

Modified Field Trip raglan
Another Building Block Dress

School Bus T-shirt
I'm pretty bad at documenting all my makes with a picture (let alone a good picture!), so there are many more treasured Oliver + S makes outgrown and residing in closets. You can also find a few more on this blog, along with pattern reviews, by searching the oliver + s label. My goal this year is to sew up more of the patterns I own but haven't sewn yet. Next up on the cutting table are a set of swingset skirts for Easter. Which Oliver + S pattern are you sewing next?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Baby #3 has arrived!

We have a boy!

We've just been over here soaking up the wonderful sweetness of this little guy...
Ty was born six weeks ago on my dad's birthday. After a whole day of annoying early labor, he came rather quickly, and we've been staring at him ever since.

The girls are smitten. Can't blame them, he's pretty cute. They have been so sweet with him, such good big sisters. 

We love him!
(Photography by the amazing Marci of Marci B Photography)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Pattern review: Jalie Leotard 3136

Stella started gymnastics this winter. She was invited to a ballet class with a friend and loved it, but after researching options in our area, gymnastics was more economical. Stella is shaped very much like me, and has inherited my lack of coordination. That also means she'll be too tall for gymnastics by the 6th grade, but hopefully it will give her a leg up in other sports. (Which I hope she'll want to play!)

Stella is enjoying Kindergym so much! It's fun watching her, too. She's a bit of a social butterfly, and has trouble paying attention to the instructor. (This is also a theme at school.) My mom and I took both girls to an Oregon State University exhibition meet and they were enthralled -- well, for about 30 minutes at least. Since then Stella has been asking for "gymnastics clothes". I bought her a pair of gym shorts that were promptly lost (how does that happen? Our house isn't that messy) and started planning a leotard.

I quickly found out there's a lot of options out there! Some pattern companies I hadn't even heard of. I didn't check out the Big 4 patterns because I didn't want to deal with a muslin. The Jalie swimsuit I made this summer fit well, so I focused on choosing one of the many Jalie options. With the pattern I chose, I should be able to sew view B for a ballet leotard if we need it.

Pattern: Jalie 3136

Sizing: I sewed an I (5) and lengthened the front and back by 2" according to Stella's girth measurement.

Modifications: None

Material used: Performance/swim nylon/spandex from Jo-Ann's.

Notions needed: 3/8" elastic for the leg openings.

Appropriately rated: This could easily be tackled by someone who has made a couple knit projects.

Time spent: 1+ hours on cutting out the pattern and material. 2.5 hours spent on the actual sewing.

Construction/instructions: The instructions were complete and concise. However, I didn't like that the written instructions were on a separate page from the illustrated instructions. Maybe it's an older Jalie pattern? I prefer the format of the other Jalie patterns I've made.

Comments: Very cute leotard! The shoulders stayed up fine during Kindergym, I was a little worried they would slide off. Stella was often picking at a wedgie, but I think that was because I didn't line it and had her wear underwear underneath.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Pattern review: Jalie Cora Leggings

Here's a post I never published from a much-loved make last summer. Jalie Cora tights and shorts. I won the pattern as part of the Sew Yourself Some Love challenge last February and it was fun to try a pattern brand I hadn't tried before. One of the other patterns I received and made was Jalie 3350. I also cut out the swim shorts, but haven't sewn them up yet. The best part about their patterns is that they're graded for girls and women, so you get up to 29 sizes with one pattern. Sweet!

A theme I've noticed when I discuss exercise/running pants with other women is how they don't stay up. (This was a huge relief because I thought it was just me.) I have a long, flat butt and lots of baby leftovers on my tummy that accentuate this problem. High-waisted running leggings have solved this problem for me, and they're waaay cheaper to make than buy.

 Pretty sure I'm "sucking it in" in most of these pictures.

Funny story about the length. I was shooting for capri length, but with all the pattern pieces I ended up a little longer than I was planning. I wore these for running and ultimate Frisbee, and during a game the opponent I was guarding told me that they do sell pants that are full length. It was a weird comment, but she was pretty sarcastic and negative most of the game, even with her own teammates (which is really strange because Ultimate is all about the good feelings). It was also weird, because she was about 6" shorter than me and has no idea how they don't actually sell full length leggings for my height.

Anyways, I had no witty comeback because I was so taken aback (and focused on the play), so I just muttered something about them ending up a little longer than I intended. And it shut her up! The next break in the play she asked what I meant and I told her I made them, that I like to make my own clothes. The silence and the amazed look on her face was golden.

I'd love to say we had a beautiful conversation about all the reasons why I make some our own clothes, how they fit our bodies better, higher quality, resist fast fashion, outlet for creativity, etc. But we didn't. She was a negative Nellie, and I was pretty happy for the golden silence.

Stella and I in our matching pants and swimwear. And Blue (aka the photobombing hound).

The photographer and photographer's assistant.

They're just so cute!

Pattern: Jalie 3462

Sizing: According to my measurements at the time, I shot for in between Y and Z. My patterned fabric barely had as much stretch as the pattern called for, and they were far too tight. Definitely afraid of busting the seams. So I cut open the side seams and added a 2" strip. Then they were just right for a compression tight. I cut the AA size waistband.

Modifications: 2" strip down the side (which ended up being a design element I liked). Also, I added 3" in height to the waistband because I love me a high waistband that covers my muffin top.

Material used: For the main: 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. For the inner thigh: Dri-fit poly/spandex jersey from The Fabric Fairy. It's held up really well. (I wash cold/hang dry these.)

Notions needed: 3/8" elastic for waistband and pocket and I used wooly nylon in my loopers and bobbin.

Appropriately rated: I couldn't find a rating. I would call it an adventurous beginner.

Time spent: Longer than I'm used to spending on leggings because of all the pieces, but not much longer. I did spend the time topstitching seams I thought might have extra strain on them.

Construction/instructions: Jalie pattern instructions are a bit crazy to look at, but it all came together nicely.

Comments: These are so fun, and very professional looking. I've gotten lots of compliments on them. I love that there is no chaffing inseam. The pocket surprised me -- it was actually useful! I kept my keys in there and/or my pepper spray and it stayed without a problem. If I didn't have a giant case on my phone, it would probably have fit without a problem, too.

I was about 6-7 weeks pregnant in these photos. Here's what I look like now (courtesy of Stella):

That's a lot a baby (and chins). Only a few more weeks until we meet this little one!

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.