Thursday, October 31, 2013

Oliver and S Cargo Pants and a Modkid Tee!

It seems that, especially of late, I have a project almost finished...and still need that ONE detail.  In this case, it was a lack of a lovely knit to make the top for these pants - which is a pretty big detail ;)

I was so glad to find it during my crazy fabric-shopping weekend in Portland - at Mill End.  This is usually a store for me to find linings (I'm a fan of cotton-silk blends, if you must know!), but I did luck out this time with a knit, a lining and a fabric for a future coat for Camden. (Happily, I had a great time at the Bolt sale, also - and was helped in that because I had a couple of lovely gift certificates.)

As for the patterns themselves, I used the Oliver and S Field Trip Cargo Pants and the Not-So-Plain Tee from the Modkid book, Sewing Modkid Style.  For the pants, I used a chambray in eggplant (from Modern Domestic), and I girlied them up by topstitching with a Mettler variegated silk thread, which I thought was just perfect!  I also opted to use the decorative finish of two rows of top-stitching for each piece, as seen here:

The pattern itself was clearly written, and I did the size 4, which of course meant doing the regular hem and then blind-hemming again another almost three inches, which I can let out as she gets taller.

For this ensemble, I did not want to go the super-sporty look of the raglan tee, so, I opted to do the Modkid tee, and while I did do the cuff bands, I left the bottom hem raw - keepin' it real, people.  (Why am I too lazy/nervous to the use the cover stitch function on my serger????)  This is also another easy pattern, though I do put it together differently in that I don't like exposed seams at the neck, so, I sew together both shoulders before applying the neck piece in a circle.  I just serge the short ends of the neck band, then I fold and press in half and stretch it to fit the circle left by the head hole.  I do wish it was a bit snugger, as I feel it's a bit gappy, but it'll work ;)

Her "ghost" face, she says

Overall, a fun look, and it meant me finishing another pair of pants for her - whew!  I honestly have big plans to get a couple pairs of pants (another Olive and S pair...then maybe a Figgy's Banyan pair...?) more done in a size 4 - something to last while I don't have much time to sew after el bebe comes along.

Blowing her nose....

In her too-small-now Elena Nodel Silversage sweater

Also, today was a fun day in general for this little girl - she spent time at the park with her friends and had a fun Halloween night - used the same costume I'd made last year (surely, I can get a THIRD year outta this sucker, eh???), and she was an animal, racing from house to house, getting excited about the ghosts she might see ;)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Blog Shout-Outs!

Today's theme?  Blog shout-outs!

I would like to highlight some fellow crafty ladies out there in this big, bad world.  I look to these blogs, amongst others, for inspiration - and a good laugh!

Ali Cat and Co.

First up is BRIANNE over at Ali Cat and Co.  (FB page here.)

She is a woman of many talents - sewing and baking amongst those.  (Speaking of baking, I REALLY need to try this Lemon Cake recipe some time!)  Specifically, though, she has really latched onto making bags.  She loves her some Swoon bag patterns and is making me quite envious of these bags...probably mostly because of the hand embroidery!  She must have a boat load of bags tucked away under her bed.  

She also has two super cute girls, for whom she also sews - pictured below are two patterns she recently tested - the Norah dress by Mouse House Creations (It's out now, peeps!!!  And....only $7 through today!) and the Saffron dress by Zafarani Designs (shouted out below).  

The Life of a Compulsive Crafter

Next up is MAE over at The Life of a Compulsive Crafter.  (See her FB page.)  She happens to blog so she doesn't drive her non-sewing friends crazy with all her hopes and dreams about sewing, LOL!  She does do a bit of the "selfish/mom" sewing, but mostly, she sews for her little girl and boy.

She has a sweet style, girly (well, not so girly when it's for her son, aha!) and understated, and she followed along with the last Project Run and Play.  One of my favorite looks was this one - her Bubblegum dress!  Also on her blog are posts about conscious living, and I will soon be guest posting on her blog (think deodorant!).

Ginger Dimples

CRYSTAL over at Ginger Dimples is a hoot and a holler.  (FB page here.)  She adds a little zing to her posts with her sense of humor - and has made me envious over the years with her awesome Halloween costumes and great Project Run and Play Sew-Along entries - this one being my FAVORITE...and she knows I want to snatch this for my daughter, LOL!

She's only been blogging for eight months now, but she's been sewing for a long time, and one thing she noted in the last PRP challenge was that she wanted to challenge herself and do something she hadn't done before (not sew with ANY woven cottons!) - I think she covered that!  What a great 80s style her daughter has ;)

I have to say, though, that one of my favorite things about Crystal's blog is that she details fun mom-sewing!  (And word up, if you're reading this - I haven't seen any of that in a LONG time!  No hints or anything...)  Here is one photo of her cuteness in a dress she made!  (And here's a link to a lovely mom-and-me project she did!)


Lastly, we have KARLY from Zafarani Designs.  (FB page here.)  She is a funny lady with a big family!  Most of her sewing is for them, which is fine, as she loves to show of both her sewing and her kids, LOL!

One thing I have to say about Karly is that she is SPEEDY!  She always seems to have a million projects - and seems to finish them super fast!  Because she has her share of boys AND girls, she gets the chance to sew for both quite often.

And thing I'm admittedly probably NEVER going to do is sew up a lovely crib set, which she did!  I give kudos to anyone who does that, as it always seems like an effing lot of work to me, if you'll pardon my French!

Above, though, you saw the lovely Saffron dress Brianne sewed, and it was released back in August.  Already, so many people seem to love it!  I know Camden does, as it's pretty twirly!  Karly will have a new pattern coming out, hopefully later this fall, and having seen the sneak peak, I'm pretty excited!

Karly also joined in on the PRP Sew-Along challenge, and I thought both of these entries were great - her Mad for Plaid for her son (because quite often, we don't see enough BOY sewing) and her Candy entry for her daughter - so fun and bright!!

One other note is that some of these lee-days are over at That's What She Crafted, a blog combining their talents (with another lovely lady) into one ultra-awesome experience!  (FB page here.)

Thanks, ladies, for letting me include you in my blog shout-out post!  I can't wait to see what y'all have up your sleeves in the coming months!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Up Today? Not ONE, but TWO Ayashe sets!!!

Few things please me more than having completed an outfit/project of some sort - and then it's awesomeness on toast with honey if I can complete TWO of the same thing!  Just that much more enjoyment for that many more months :)

I actually finished two of these tops and the green skirt a month and a half or so ago, but I finally got around to whipping up the other skirt just yesterday.  My poor child did a lot of self-entertaining, which made it so much easier.

And what did I complete, you ask?  Why, the Ayashe shirt and skirt by Figgy's.  This is my third go-round with this pattern (four total shirts, LOL), and I hate to admit I went the same route with the shirt each time, but take it or leave it.  I like the collar, like the long sleeves, like it all!  So long ago, this is what I made my little girl:

You can see in the above pictures that the top is a bit short on my little girl, so, this time, I made sure to super-size up ;)  Again, much of it is just her belly, as she isn't tall AT ALL.  Bonus - three of the shirts, total, that I made were using left-overs of fabric I had used for my own dresses!  (Consider that BRAGGING, as I normally suck at that sort of thing.)  Two of them were lawns, the red maybe was a lawn but probably a voile.  Sadly, the above items are too small for her now and are in hiding in a bag or box.

On to bigger and better things - literally....The new version is the size 4/5 skirt (I think!), lengthened a tiny bit, and the shirts are size 4/5, lengthened to 6/7, for extended wear, so, as you can see below, Camden rocks that size pretty well.  A bit big, yes, but not sloppy, per se.  If I hadn't done the elastic waist, the tops would look baggier.

You can see that this version is her Christmas edition Ayashe - because I'm uber-prepared!  One holiday outfit down, two more to go.

In the non-Christmas edition, I did one of my favorite things, which is obviously so simple (for realz - nobody can pin creativity and going-out-on-a-limb kind of stuff on me!), but which adds a nice touch.  I love using a fun ribbon for a hem facing - adds a little pop if her skirt is acting all crazy, etc.  One place for lovely ribbon, by the way, is The Ribbon Retreat.  They're always running sales, etc, so, get on their mailing list!

Naturally, as for the patterns themselves, I love them - Shelly is super great and helpful if you ever have any questions.  One major bonus is I love the pattern paper - not thin tissue!  The neat thing about the patterns is that #1 - They still come in PAPER, and #2 - I find, honestly, that the Figgy's designs are just a bit different from everything else I see out there.  I'm always anxious for the next release (and it has been a LONGLONG time, as the pattern designer was working on her other creative job, which is teaching children and adults to sew, which is super awesome!), which is just around the corner, I hope!  Pattern releases are like Christmas for me, so, I'm itching to see what's in store!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pattern Testing!!! Mouse House Creations!

Whew!  I had a long weekend up north, in Vancouver and Portland, visiting my old haunts, like Cafe Hibiscus, Bolt and Modern Domestic.  I'm saving Cool Cottons for two weekends from now, when I head back for the awesome Bolt sale :)  My husband and I had some nice time alone for a bit, too, which was great - while Camden played pool at her grandma's and grandpa's house....

Today, I'm excited to present not one, but TWO test projects for Mouse House Creations.  This is Hayley Crouse's first venture into pattern selling, and I'm excited to be a part of it.  She's been around for quite some time at Welcome to the Mouse House, her fun blog.  Over the years, she has blogged about her family, she has decorated and re-decorated (LOL) her house, and she has also tested for several other pattern designers, so, there are many neat projects to check out.  Also, she has written tutorials for other patterns of her own, and she's designed fun play areas for her children (envious much over here!).

The pattern I tested was the Norah dress, yet to be released, though keep yourself posted on her Facebook page, as it won't be too long before it's out.  The pattern is a quick, fun design.  You can go tunic, dress, collar, no collar, short sleeves, long sleeves, ties, no ties - things of that nature.  For both of mine, I did go long sleeves, ties and collars.  One is for Camden, and one is a fun surprise for her friend!

The first version is a lovely print I picked up 1.5-2 years ago, I swear.  I wasn't holding on to it, all "my precious"-like....I just had no idea what to do with it for the longest time.  And here we have it!  For the collar and tie, I wasn't thinking and did NOT interface, which I'm sad about, but I suppose life moves on.  Also, with this dress, which is Camden's, I did a zipper back, which drove me nuts due to my own silly errors...imagine lots of seam-ripping - though the final effect is lovely :)  Camden isn't a tall child, nor is she tiny.  She is 38.25 inches tall with a round belly.  I usually make things in a size 4 for at this point, though she's more of a 3 in the legs and a 4 in the waist/shirts.  She had tried on a size 5 version of the dress, and for some reason, when tracing and cutting, I went with a size 5, though I'd meant to do the 4.  No worries.  I think the 5 fits her lovely.  I did not lengthen the dress itself, though I had lengthened the sleeves a bit.  The pattern goes together nicely and quickly.

For this next version, which is a gift, I did a size 4, lengthened the sleeves a smidge and DID remember to use interfacing in the collar and tie, aha!  The results are, of course, much better!  Also, as the zipper was not an option included in the pattern, I wanted to make sure to do the button closure, which is also super cute!

Hayley was great to work with, and she busted her butt, helping us out with questions and looking over the pattern multiple times.  It was nice to see how closely she was working with her digitizer, too.  I super appreciate nicely-done pattern sheets in a pdf, and these are laid out beautifully!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Word Up! An Oldie But a Goodie!

For those who love comfort for their children (not that I abhor my daughter being cozy, but I just LOVE wovens!), the Heidi and Finn Cowl-Neck Dress is the way to go.  I've done several of these over the past couple of years, and they're soooo easy and fun!  The beauty of sewing a knit is that you can really pick and choose when/how you hem, and that mistakes don't show AS easily - and it's so FAST.  Like.....THIS FAST.  And the beauty of a simple pattern like this?  No need to read directions!

As many folk know, I'm that rare bird who prefers a paper pattern, but this dress IS a pdf.  As mentioned above, there are a few things I can change up:  I can hem or NOT hem at all, as knits are forgiving like that.  I can roll the hem with a serger, use a cover stitch hem - or use a twin needle on my regular 'ole sewing machine.  I do have a serger that can convert to a cover stitch, but I'm lazy (imagine that!) and often just use my twin needle.  I really need to get better about that.  In the case of both versions of this dress, this time around, I twin needled the sleeves, but I didn't hem the bottom, though I have done a rolled, serged hem, and that's lovely, too.  Some people like to play it up by not doing a simple, rolled hem, but a fancier lettuce (read: wavy) rolled hem.  When I use a twin needle or am in general sewing a knit, I lengthen the stitch to 3.0 and widen the stitch to 0.5 - the slightest of zigzags.  This is in the case of topstitching, as I really do prefer to serge my knits when piecing.

Also, with this particular pattern, it's great with a jersey knit, a double knit (which is a little warmer) or perhaps a sweater knit (I should way try that next time!).  I behaved and perused my stash of knits for fabric, and I found a Patty Young print from the Flora and Fauna line way back when - and then a lovely, thin knit I bought on Etsy at some point.  I found my daughter still fit into a size 3, so, I just lengthened the sleeves and bottom hem almost an inch for longer wear time.

As for pictures, here we go!

Such a silly girl!

This is her, saying, "I'm NOT tired!"