Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ottobre 06/2014-38: the Black Rose dress

Myra has recently started learning to play piano, and this weekend she had her first recital! Obviously, such an important event requires a new dress.
Myra and I flipped through my pattern drawers and issues of Ottobre, and when she laid eyes on this pattern (#38 from the 06/2014 issue) it was love at first sight. I let her select her fabrics from the stash - that lace was SUPPOSED to be mine - and we went to work! She chose a lightweight double knit in a rayon blend, which feels just lovely, but did have a tendency to grow, particularly under the weight of the skirt.
The lines of the dress are simple, but the embellishment makes it shine. It has a long sleeve bodice with a high scoop neckline, bound with self fabric, and a double layered skirt. It is designed with a slightly dropped waist, but even after shortening the bodice, my fabric grew so much that we ended up with a more extreme drop waist style. Fortunately, Myra really likes it, so that was a win.
The feature that really makes the dress stand out though, is the lace insets. Each sleeve features a ruched strip of lace running the length of the sleeve. Ottobre instructs the sewist to gather the lace with elastic and then assemble the three piece sleeve, but I have found elastic gathering to not always have the most delicate finished appearance, particularly on finer fabrics, so I did it the old fashioned way, with two rows of basting. It was a bit fussy, given the large holes in this lace, but I think the end result was worth it.
The neckline also features a gathered band of lace. This time I did use clear elastic to gather, as it stabilizes the neckline nicely within the binding. Since the dress has to pull over Myra's head, the neckline needs to be quite stretchy, but with good recovery. The elastic achieves that with minimal bulk.
The skirt is particularly well designed. As you can see, there are two separate layers. The outer lace layer is a large, gathered rectangle, giving the skirt lots of volume. The underskirt is a half circle, which minimizes bulk at the waist, making the dress a bit more sleek. I was grateful I didn't have to do any more gathering! All that lace was a bear! Again I decided to forego the instructions to use clear elastic to gather, in favor of basting stitches. The skirt is twice the full width of the lace, so it's quite a lot of gathering, and I was afraid that elastic wouldn't give the precision and would add unwanted bulk. It was a bit of work, but I'm pleased with the outcome.
Myra and I were both very happy with her recital dress. It went together smoothly, and was graceful and pretty as well as age appropriate. She's already planning her dress for her next recital!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Summer Swimwear Tour! The Call Ajaire Classic Maillot - Ariel style

Last week, we took our summer vacation. Of course, Myra needed a new swimsuit, and I happened across this AMAZING fabric at Blue Moon.
Obviously, this mermaid fabric needed the perfect pattern! I started tracing an Ottobre that was just ok, but then I got an email from Ajaire asking if I would participate in the Summer Swimwear Tour, and there it was - the perfect Ariel pattern!! I've been so busy that I haven't participated in a pattern tour in a while, but this was a must. Not only is the Classic Maillot exactly what I needed, but all the patterns in the tour are pretty awesome, and I know I'll use them all, not only for Myra but also for me.
But we're here to chat about the Classic Maillot! The pattern is a pdf - I know, who wants to tape those together, but for a kids' swimsuit, assembly really isn't that big a deal, and Ajaire makes it as easy as possible with good assembly markings and a grid that allows you to only print the pieces you need for the view you are making.
For the Ariel look, I combined the front of view D, with the back of view B. That gave me a tank style suit with ruching at the bustline (for the shells) and green scales just below the bustline (for the tail). Combining the two views was pretty easy, as the pattern pieces are clearly marked, indicating which piece to use for which view, and the instructions are divided into sections by view as well.
Fit-wise, Myra measures as a perfect size 7, but I did find the straps were significantly too long for her and the chest is too wide, as you can see in this pic. Since the construction order allows for strap alterations, I was able to shorten those (2 3/4 inches), but there wasn't anything to do for the chest width. I think shortening the elastic in the next one will fix that problem.
The fit from the rear is fantastic though, even keeping her bum covered when she takes a step. Myra has a pretty ample backside - poor child inherited my narrow chest and ghetto booty - so rear coverage is always a challenge in a swimsuit. This one wins and the back neckline has a nice scoop shape, but the straps stay in place.
Myra played hard all week in her suit, and it was great. Although when she initially put it on, she wasn't happy with the neckline gaping, while she was at the water park she had no troubles or wardrobe malfunctions, and by the end of the first day she was as much in love with her suit as I am.
In fact, my little mermaid got rather a lot of attention for her suit. Several teenage girls who were themselves sporting mermaid tails told Myra how much they loved her suit. It made her day, and mine too! Teenagers are so picky!
I hope you enjoyed my little corner of the Summer Swimwear Tour! Be sure to check out all the other bloggers in the tour and the wonderful swimwear they made! There are two other amazing patterns, so be sure you don't miss them! And scroll down for sales from the Tour sponsors as well as a great Giveaway!!

Join in on the Summer Swimwear Tour fun by using the hashtag #sewswimtour to share your favorite swimwear makes.  And don't forget to enter to win these fabulous prizes from our other sponsors!

Prizes include:
- 1 pattern The Classic Maillot pattern by Designs by Call Ajaire
- 1 pattern The Swim and Surf Shorts by Gracious Threads
- 1 pattern Just Keep Swimming by The Wolf and the Tree
- 1 pattern of choice (excludes bundles) by Pienkel
- 1 pattern of choice by AimerLae & Finn
- 1 pattern of choice by Rachel Rossi Design
- Free Jellyfish Swim Cap pattern via Sew by Pattern Pieces Group
- 1 pattern of choice by Dandelions n Dungarees
- 1 pattern of choice by E + M patterns
- 5 patterns of choice by George & Ginger
- $30 gift certificate by The Fabric Fairy
- 1 pattern of choice by Sunday Girl Designs
- 1 pattern of choice by 5 out of 4 Patterns
That's 17 patterns + $30 in fabric!!
Enter the giveaway below:
During the tour Designs by Call Ajaire is offering 20% off all patterns in the Etsy shop using the code SWIMTOUR, Gracious Threads is offering 15% off the purchase of 3 or more patterns in her shop (no coupon needed), and The Wolf and the Tree is offering 15% off patterns in her shop using the code SWIMTOUR as well.  So take a few minutes to visit Call Ajaire, Gracious Threads, and The Wolf and the Tree and of course the rest of the lovely blogs we have on the tour:

Monday, July 11, 2016

Avengers Assemble: Phase 2

Well, the boys got their hero shirts, and I was going to make one for Mitch next, but I was still not happy with my pattern choices for him, so while I was considering those options, I decided to go ahead with mine.
Again, I used the combination of black Laguna jersey and printed Marvel jersey, both from The bindings are also the Laguna jersey, although this wasn't an ideal choice. The recovery is great, but it was a bit curly and thin, so getting it through the coverstitch binder was a bit of a hassle.
The pattern is from the 02/2015 issue of Ottobre Woman. It's a pattern I've been meaning to try, and the shoulder yokes were perfect for the little splash of Avengers jersey. It's otherwise a very basic cap sleeve tee with bound, scoop neckline. The armholes are also bound.
As far as sizing goes, I made a straight 38, with the exception of lengthening the shoulder line out to a size 42 for a longer sleeve. Since the style isn't otherwise particularly fitted, I didn't make any other adjustments. I could have added a dart, but I dislike darts in jersey, so I'll live with the armpit fold. That's hard to get rid of in a kimono sleeve anyway.
Cool points if you recognize the reference of my decal! If you don't, feel free to watch it here - but there's NSFW language!
Y'all see Cap there on my shoulder? He's watching my language...

Friday, July 8, 2016

Avengers Assemble! Phase 1

A few months ago I came across some Marvel Avengers themed jersey at Although we are generally a DC family, we'll admit that the Avengers can be pretty awesome as well. Shirts were needed.
I started with Logan. His shirt is from the 03/2010 issue of Ottobre. It's a short sleeved raglan tee with a neckband and sleeve cuffs. I elected to do the sleeves only in the Avengers print. The remainder of the shirt is Laguna knit from
I could pretend I mixed the fabrics to make my Avengers print stretch farther, but the truth is, I wanted to add an HTV decal with my Cricut. I love that thing. Black makes a nice dramatic background for red!
When I was selecting patterns, I almost passed this one by. I wasn't sold on the sleeve cuffs. I'm really glad I went ahead and did them though. I like the ringer effect of the band.
The fit of the tee is long and slim, which has a nice modern look, despite the fact that the pattern was published 6 years ago. Ottobre is always ahead of the game! Duncan's tee is from the same 03/2010 issue, but his is number 18. It's the same style, but in a different size range.
The two fabrics are well matched in weight and both are nice quality, which means the boys are happy and comfortable in their new shirts.
In order to keep things extra comfortable for my sensitive guys, I made size tags out of scraps of HTV to iron onto the inside of the shirts. I had been using woven tags to keep track of sizes, but I like this so much better! No more itchy tags!
Duncan approves. And there's lots more Avengers fabric left to use! Stay tuned for more Super Sewing!