Monday, April 28, 2014

By Hand London Anna maxi dress

Why, yes. I am the last blogger on the planet to sew By Hand London's Anna. What made me wait so long??
I bought the pattern last year, very soon after it came out. I traced it and even did the alterations. I had the fabric ready, but I kept getting distracted by other things, and before I knew it, it was too cold and I wanted to sew pants and long sleeve tops and coats. So, Anna had to wait.
I think she was worth waiting for though. This is really a lovely, graceful dress.
I made the maxi, of course. I love a long, swirly dress. Makes me feel like a princess, even when I'm chasing my kids. The neckline is basically the v neck, but I rounded out the bottom, so it scoops.
I did add pockets in the side seams. Chasing kids and life in general requires pockets. I also made some fit changes, but I cannot for the life of me recall them all. Most critical was to add some darts to the back neckline. As many other sewists experienced, the neckline gaped quite a lot.
Adding the darts took care of the problem though and I really like the fit through the back. It is a bit less fitted than I typically like my dresses, but I wanted this to be a comfy, casual lounging sort of thing, so it works.
The fabric I used is a rayon challis from I love how swirly it this skirt is in this fabric! I also lined the bodice with batiste, rather than using the pattern's facings. The batiste is nice and cool, and I prefer the finish of a lining. I left the skirt unlined though. The better to swirl with, my dear.
I do think the skirt is a smidge too long. I hemmed it while wearing platforms, but it's not really a platform sort of dress. I took off 2 inches when I hemmed, and think I could probably take off another inch. Petite sewists, be aware. This skirt is drafted long! Long and fabulous!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Advance 9938: Summer in the Sun for Barbie

A couple of weeks ago, my Mother in Law brought over a bag full of fabric. Mostly small pieces, and a lot of them small prints and solids! Just was Dr. Barbie ordered!
I had to start out with the fresh floral print. Large scale florals are big this spring, and I think Barbie (or Evanora in this case) wears it exceptionally well.
The pattern for this sundress is Advance 9938, a Barbie/Mattel licensed pattern from the 60s. I really like this pattern! I have made a couple of other pieces from it, and they all fit extremely well.
I made a few very minor changes. The pattern calls for straps, which I omitted. The fit is close enough that the dress stays up fine on its own. I also added some lace to the bodice and ribbon at the waistline. The pattern calls for a petticoat to be added under the skirt, but this cotton has plenty of body, so I skipped it.
In back, there are snap closures with decorative buttons or beads. With a design this fitted, I find snaps are more secure than velcro. There are two tiny snaps with green buttons to pick up the green in the print. I love the effect.
I really love this whole look. I totally sewed it on a whim, and I'm so glad I did. It's perfect for Evie!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter dress: Sequins and sparkle not optional

Dresses for Myra follow a fairly straightforward formula. Pink, sparkles, twirl. For Easter, we went with all of the above.
Myra was happy to supply the sass.
The pattern I chose was the Rosy Posy dress, #26 from the 03/2011 issue of Ottobre. I've sewn it for her before here and here, so I knew it was a winner.
It's a very basic style - simple bodice with a full, gathered skirt and puffed, elasticated sleeves. I puzzled over the hem, as this fabric didn't blind hem invisibly and ended up just narrow hemming by machine. It works.
I mostly chose the pattern for it's simplicity. The fabric is definitely the star here! It is an embroidered and sequinned poly taffeta from FabricMart. Frankly, I could have just made it into a big ole sack and Myra would have loved it. The SPARKLES!
I fully lined the dress with hot pink bridal satin from my stash. The bridal satin has a lot of body, which gives the skirt more fullness. It's also very soft.
I'm very pleased with my zipper insertion. The pattern calls for an invisible zip, which would have been a disaster in this sequinned, textured fabric. A lapped zipper was a better choice. I decided to try a technique I read about in Threads (issue #171) for inserting a lapped zipper with a lining using an industrial method. It worked and it looks gorgeous! I'm so pleased.
I really love the sweet sleeves on this pattern. They are gathered just in the cap, and then elastic gathers the hem. They're so pretty, but still darn easy to do.
Of course, the most important part is that Myra loves her dress. She wore it to church and then for hunting eggs. Despite being sparkly and flashy, it's still comfortable and, for Myra at least, practical. I think she might wear it every day.
And who would argue?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Raquelle gets ready for a day at the races!

FYI: This post contains pictures of a Barbie doll wearing lingerie. If you happen to have a curious child looking over your shoulder, and don't want to answer awkward questions, you may want to stop scrolling down when you get to the stars. She's not doing anything inappropriate, but she is scantily clad.
I know I said that the next dolls to get new clothes were going to be Dana or Katniss, but I'm still awaiting some accessories for Dana, and this dress just didn't suit Katniss. And I really wanted to make a cheerful Spring dress!
I really love the way the bodice wraps to form the halter on this pattern (Burda 6960). It reminds me so much of the Sewaholic Lonsdale. The Lonsdale isn't a dress that would work for me, but in keeping with my Barbie fantasy sewing, I thought it would be fun to make for my vinyl friend. I spiced up the bodice with a little brooch made of a scrap of the stretch lace I used on the skirt, and a few small pearls. It is hand stitched in place.
Once I finished the dress itself, it was a little meh. So I polled my online hive mind, and got some great ideas, many of which I incorporated into the finished look. I decided to pull out all the stops, and build an outfit that would work at the Opening Day of the Kentucky Derby, complete with over the top hat, teeny bag and a bit of bling. I thought it would be fun to do a little photostory of Raquelle getting ready for her day at the races.


It's a beautiful day to Open the Kentucky Derby!
Raquelle has been looking forward to today for weeks, but boy. Sometimes it is hard to get out of bed!

Raquelle's bra and panties were designed and sewn by me out of scraps of stretch lace trim. All the stitching was done by hand, as my machine just wanted to eat these teeny bits of lace.

Here's my dress!! My seamstress worked on my outfit for weeks and I love it so much!

Raquelle's bra straps cross in the back. Since the lace is stretchy, no closure was needed. Her panties are a full coverage bikini that utilize the natural decorative edge of the lace as the waistband. The leg openings are unfinished.
Don't you love my dress? The matching belt makes the look.

Raquelle's belt is a length of ribbon, stitched to a jewelry ring. It closes in back with a snap.
And here's my hat! You have to have a fabulous hat at the Derby!

Raquelle's hat was self drafted. It's a basic bucket style with some lace trim and a very wide brim. I didn't interface the brim at all, as this fabric has some body, and I wanted to be able to shape the hat around her face.
Well, the dress went on perfectly! Now to see if I can manage this hat. My dressmaker had to fix it for me last time! I'm impossible with it.
Ok, almost ready! Now, where is that other shoe...
Ooops! I almost forgot my bag! Can't have that. My betting money is in here.

Raquelle's bag is two circles of fabric, stitched and turned. The "flap" is just the upper 1/3 of the circle, stitched down with a decorative pearl "closure". The strap is made from embroidery floss.
Does my hat look right? I sure hope so, because it's time to go! This is going to be so fun!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Prefontaine shorts and a little sneak peek

I know it's been a little bit quiet around here lately. I've actually been doing quite a bit of sewing, just mostly of the super secret, pattern testing variety. But it's Kids Clothes Week, and I had to share this outfit with you.
I had high expectations of cuteness, but it turned out even better than I imagined!!
It started with the adorable Prefontaine Shorts by Made by Moxie. I received these as a part of the second Perfect Pattern Parcel. You'll hear all about my "official" PPP make tomorrow, but I just HAD to sew up these shorts, too! Consider it a Pattern Parcel preview.
The fabrics I chose are a kind of eclectic mix, at least for me. I'm not very good at print mixing, but the hive mind collective of IG, Twitter and Facebook opined that this was a match made in heaven, and I think so too.
The plaid, which makes up the body of the shorts and the accent on the top, is a lightweight cotton/linen blend from IKEA. It wrinkles like crazy, but it is super breezy and comfortable. The floral print that forms the body of the top and the binding on the shorts is a vintage cotton which was given to me by the lovely and generous Carrie. I've been hoarding it for the perfect project, and this was definitely it.
So, the pattern. So cute! All the details are here - complete down to the stitched down, bound pockets. My hubby (who has an interest in the runners and their history) recognized the style immediately, and even opined that Pre would probably have liked them in plaid.
Up close, you can see that the pocket is bound, as are the side seams and hems, in a contrast binding. The pattern is suitable for either knits or wovens, and the pattern includes great instructions for upcycling an old tee shirt for use as binding material. Genius! The pocket bag is a single piece, topstitched to the fronts. Very streamlined, and nice not to have a flappy pocket bag in there.
These shorts are so quick and easy to assemble. They're great for a quick summer staple. I'm definitely going to be sewing these up for all 3 of my kids. And as an extra bonus, you can get this pattern RIGHT NOW on top of the 5 fabulous patterns in the Perfect Pattern Parcel! If you chose to spend more than $24 for your Parcel, you'll get the Prefontaine Shorts pattern totally free!!
OK, but I'm kind of being a tease with this top. This is a tester version of the soon to be released Shandiin Top by LouBee Clothing. Sarah is still hard at work perfecting it for you. It's absolutely adorable, and I think you're going to love it. I definitely do.
I just love a look with back interest, and this top has it in spades. That cut out with the contrast panel?? I die. I'll let you in on all the details once she is officially released. You'll get to see the 4 (and counting) that I've already made.
So, Prefontaine + Shandiin = Cuteness overload. And that is Myra's summer wardrobe sorted.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Jalie 2908 jeans: Finally in white!

About a year ago, I made a cute pink eyelet top and Carolyn suggested that it would look good with white jeans. And I think she's brilliant, so I immediately went to the Mood website and ordered some white stretch twill. Then when it arrived, I was in the middle of something else and the jeans got buried in the queue.
But I finally pulled them out and made them up.
And I love them! What was I waiting for!
I know white pants seem like the opposite of practical for a busy mom of three messy kids, but in fact, they are the essence of practicality.
They go with everything, since crisp white is a perfect neutral, and if they get gross, well that's why God made bleach, y'all.
I made this with my old faithful jeans pattern, Jalie 2908. I debated between skinnies and flares, and in the end decided that with white, I think flares are more flattering. And white flares - come on. Had to do it!
Since the fabric is a wee bit sheer, and white isn't known for its opacity anyway, I underlined the pants to the knee with white swimwear lining. It's nice and stretchy, so it doesn't restrict the give of the twill.
I added a couple of premade appliques to the back pockets. They're a little silly, but I like them.
The rivets are turquoise and I love how they pop against the white. I got them from DIY Studs and Rivets on Etsy. I love this shop and get pretty much all of my rivets from them.
Fit-wise, I'm not completely thrilled, but they are wearable. The twill is quite stretchy, and I elected not to interface the waistband, which was a mistake. I think jeans waistbands should have some give, but this was too much. So, I have a bit of gaping in back. Otherwise, I'm pleased with the fit, and they are crazy comfortable. I'm going to wear the heck out of them.
I really debated the topstitching for these, and in the end I went with plain white. I really wanted them to be a wardrobe workhorse, and I though the white would be the most versatile. I really like the clean look it has.
I had a ton of fun styling and photographing these. For this post I paired them with my leopard Burda blouse, vintage brown blazer (which I altered, but did not sew) and for a completely different and casual look, my Maria Denmark Kimono Tee. Maybe next I'll actually wear it with the blouse it was sewn for. :)