Monday, June 30, 2014

More maxis, mini sized

I've been a bit obsessed with maxi length everything, so naturally my Barbies needed some maxi length goodies.
Nikki, Teresa and Raquelle were all still wearing sad Mattel style outfits, so they were my lucky models.
Nikki was first. She is a playline "Beach Nikki" doll that I rebodied onto a Liv body. Her dress is Simplicity 5755, which I have used before for Teresa. I added about 4 inches to the length to make it a maxi.
The fabric I used is viscose jersey left over from this top. I did have to take in the side seams considerably, as the pattern is drafted for woven fabrics, and the Liv body is slimmer than the Barbie body it was drafted for. I ended up just sewing all the seams at 5/8 instead of 1/4 inch. It worked out perfectly.
Teresa was up next. Instead of a maxi dress, I decided to make her a skirt and top combo.
The top is from Simplicity 4702, which is quickly becoming my favorite Big 4 Barbie pattern for basics. This top is a halter style with a tie at the neck and velcro to close the back.
The fabric I used was a thrifted baby shirt. The pointelle knit is pretty and perfectly scaled for Barbie. It also had a nice lettuce edged hem that I used as the bottom edge of Teresa's top.
The skirt started out as the straight skirt from Simplicity 4702, lengthened to maxi length. I skipped the darts of course, and used 3/8 elastic for the waistband, but it was way too bulky, so I hacked it off and added a yoga style waistband. The fabric is slinky knit left over from this top.
I left the side seams open below the knee as side slits. I simply hemmed the edges. I decided not to hem the bottom, as I had lost some length when I hacked off the elastic waistband. 1/4 inch is a lot when you are only a foot tall!
Raquelle got the last maxi dress. I really wanted something soft and floaty with a full, breezy skirt.
I started with Simplicity 8281, a vintage Barbie wardrobe pattern from 1977. View 4 is a cute empire waist sundress with a darted bodice and full skirt. The skirt is already midi length, so it only took a few inches to make it a maxi.
The fabric is a very lightweight rayon challis from It was left over from my BHL Anna maxi dress. Fabric is one of the trickiest parts of sewing for Barbie, as woven fabrics tend to have less drape that his scale, but I think the challis worked well here.
Once it was finished, the volume of the skirt and the placement of the seam had a bit of a maternity affect, which I definitely wasn't going for. I added a wide velveteen belt (borrowed from Army Barbie) which gave it exactly the look I wanted.
The straps were kind of painful to turn, but they definitely add to the look. In back, the dress closes with snaps, which I prefer over velcro for a snug bodice.
I love maxi dresses for relaxing in the summer. I think Barbie likes them too.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Capital Chic? Yes, please!!

You guys. I have had the hardest time keeping this under wraps. I am so freaking excited about it!!
May I present Capital Chic Patterns? From the talented Sally of Charity Shop Chic comes a new line of beautifully crafted, fun to sew patterns with a London style vibe.
She's starting off with a bang, bringing us a full collection of patterns for a complete work to night life to weekend wardrobe that can easily mix and match to fit your lifestyle.
When Sally emailed me and asked if I could test I was thrilled. The styles are so beautiful, I had a very hard time choosing just one, and she was kind enough to let me do two! She did give me these patterns in exchange for my feedback, and I sewed the beta versions. The opinions are my own.
The patterns I chose to test are Bellini, a lovely cap sleeved blouse with two collar options, and Champagne, a sleek fitted skirt with options for two styles of flounce.
I started with Bellini. The pattern itself is very simple, but all the details for a beautiful finish are there. The sleeves are cut on, and the front opening is faced. It's a perfect wardrobe basic, but with lovely details that will make it a stand out.
The pattern has two collar options. One is a simple cutaway collar that is the perfect blank canvas for embellishment. I couldn't resist the cute scalloped collar though! It requires a little more precision to sew, but I think it's worth the trouble. Such a fun detail.
Here you can see how cute it is buttoned all the way up. I don't ever wear my tops this way, as it rather accentuates my large tracts of land up there, but the blouse is designed to be worn either way, so if this is a look you like, fear not! There will be no gaping or constricting neck to worry about.
The full busted among us will be pleased to hear that I sewed this right out of the packet, without an FBA. I know. That said, you may note a bit of pulling in the armhole. As soon as I'm settled in the new place I plan to make this again (and again and again), and I'll show you how to FBA it.
The fabric I chose was a lightweight poly-cotton pique. It has a pretty sheen and a nice drape. This blouse works for any number of blouse weight fabrics. The instructions call for an impeccable finish with french seams throughout and a machine sewn baby hem. Since there are only a few seams to sew, this really takes no time at all. You'll be amazed how quickly it goes together.
Now, for Champagne. I just love this skirt. The pattern has two options for the flounce. One, which you see here, is a circular flounce all around the hem. The other option (which I will be making soon) has a front band that ends in a cute little rear flounce that acts as a vent.
The body of the skirt has a basic pencil shape with a narrow waistband that sits at the natural waist. There are front and back darts for shaping and the skirt closes with an invisible zipper at the center back. There is a full lining included.
It's very sleek both front and back. You can spot the darts that shape the backside here. They were perfectly placed for me.
The flounce is the fun part though. It really swings! It makes the whole skirt feel light as air.
The fabric I used is a silk tweed that I have been hoarding for a few years. You can see the bias sections in the flounce are accentuated by the plaid. It's a fun affect. The lining is white polyester satin. I love satin linings and white was perfect to brighten the pink of the silk.
The size chart placed me in a 12 for the waist and 14 for the hip, so I blended between those two sizes. I also added a bit of length, as I have long legs and a high waist. With just those changes, I am totally thrilled with the fit. I love it when a pattern really fits the size it says it fits! Although, Sally includes the finished garment measurements in the pattern, so you can cut with confidence. Hey, I cut into my silk without a muslin! Confident!
Overall, I'm completely impressed with the quality and style of Capital Chic patterns! Please head over to the website and check out the full collection! Sally offers two dresses, two skirts, a blouse and a knit top, each pattern with variations to suit your style. The patterns are available as PDF, both in a print at home and print at copy shop version. So, which one will you make first?? I know, it's hard to choose!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Kitschy Coo Skater Dress - maximized

Myra has been begging me for months to make her a dress that "goes to the floor", and since she sees me wearing maxi dresses all the time, she was losing patience with me.
Little did she know that while she was sleeping I measured her and lengthened the Kitschy Coo Skater dress to maxi length...
For Myra (who is a petite nearly 6 year old) I added 10 inches to the length of the 5Y/6Y size to get to maxi length. I split the addition in two - adding 4 inches in the body of the skirt and re-drawing the side seam line, then adding the rest of the length (6 inches) to the hem and extending out the side seam, maintaining the flare from there to the hem.
At first, my little princess wasn't thrilled with the ankle length of the skirt. She wanted it to sweep the floor when she wore her high heels!
But in the end, she finds this length a little more practical for vanquishing ninjas and riding her scooter. These are very important princess activities.
The fabric I used is a very soft printed interlock that was given to me by a friend. I wasn't positive Myra was going to love the print, but since this was something of a wearable muslin, I thought I'd give it a go and see. It turns out that she LOVES it. She's in luck because I have at least 4 more yards of it.
Well, it's definitely a success, so once we get settled in Tennessee, I'm going to use it as a base for an Elsa dress. Don't tell Myra!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Kitschy Coo Dolman Top

This cute boy doesn't ask for much, so when he spotted this fabric and told me he wanted a tee shirt, I didn't argue.
So even though I wanted this fabric for me, I let him choose a pattern and made him a shirt.
He was very specific in his requirements. I was to use the Kitschy Coo Dolman top, and to make his shirt with red bands.
He's very happy with the finished shirt. It is exactly what he wanted.
The print fabric is also from the Kitschy Coo shop. It is a Lillestoff cotton-lycra jersey and is insanely soft. While this print is no longer available, Amanda has many other adorable Lillestoff prints and solids. The red is a rib knit from
One thing I really love about this pattern is that it has so few seams that it is really easy to print match and use directional prints like this one really effectively. I matched the star as a dominant "stripe", so the side seams are hard to spot. And since this pattern is very economical of fabric, I still have some left for me...
Logan was happy to play all day in his new shirt. It was perfect for running, jumping, riding, climbing and splashing in puddles.
It's even awesome upside down.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Rambo Project gets girly.

If you've been hanging out in blogland lately, then you've probably already heard the scoop about The Rambo Project, by Seamstress Erin. Basically, she has the coolest friend ever, who had an in with a costume department, and handed over some old costumes from Rambo III! Awesome, right?!! She sent around a few turbans that were worn in the actual movie by the terrorist bad guys, and our challenge was to turn our turbans into wearable garments.
And here is mine! Can you spot the turban?
Here's a hint... My turban started out as a relatively small piece, only around 10 inches wide and maybe a yard long. The stripes were all concentrated on one end, and were a bit irregular, so that added to the cutting challenge. I really wanted to maximize the stripes!
I decided to highlight the stripes by making them the focal point of the yoke of the Sewaholic Gabriola maxi skirt, which is totally made for stripes!
I only had enough stripe for the front yokes, so the back is the solid taupe that made up most of the length of the turban. And hey, no stripe matching at the side seams!
I did match up the stripes at the front yoke, which was actually a bit tricky, since the turban fabric was weirdly stretchy and also a bit irregular. I persevered though, and I am glad I did!
Since clearly I was not going to get an entire skirt out of the teeny shreds of turban I had left after cutting the yoke, I knew this was going to require a second fabric. But these aren't colors that are dominant in my wardrobe, so at first I really didn't know where I wanted to go with it. I decided to just drape the turban over my fabric shelves and see what worked. It fell on this floral, which I wouldn't have thought of, but the colors are perfect.
So I pulled out the floral and found that it is a stretch linen with roughly the same stretch and weight as the turban fabric! What are the odds! This fabric came in a mystery bundle from FabricMart. Such a win with this one! I did have to shorten the skirt a bit, since I only had 1 3/4 yards of my perfect floral linen. The end result, after taking of 6 inches at the cutting stage and then a few more when I evened the hem is a slightly above ankle length that I really like. I made this for kicks, but I am going to wear the heck out of it. And make more this length.
So, after the skirt was made, I realized that I had no tops to go with it. Fortunately, another FabricMart mystery bundle (can you tell I LOVE those?), had provided me with this lovely teal ITY, which is exactly the same color as the teal flowers in the linen print. Since Heather has been teasing us with all her lovely Nettie bodysuits, I decided to try my hand at one. But I didn't have the heart for PDF assembly, so I went with a pattern I already had, Jalie 2105 (now OOP).
Since the Jalie pattern is for a leotard, I did have to make a few adjustments. I left the crotch seam open and installed a snap placket there, and instead of elastic in the neckline, I used a self fabric band.
The low, scooped back makes me feel like a ballerina. A super sexy ballerina! The one thing that I would do different here, for next time would be to move the snap placket forward. It's placement is a bit, ahem, inconvenient as it is, although it is still comfortable to wear.
Overall, I'm pretty thrilled with my girlification of Rambo! Be sure to head over to Seamstress Erin's blog to check out the other ways that creative sewists have given new life to these old costumes.