Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sewvivor Auditions- Strip-Pieced Shift Dress

I really tried not to audition for this competition. I mean right at this moment my family is in the middle of a big move. Last night we finished loading the U-haul, cleaned up shop, and today my husband is driving through New Mexico, Texas, the Oklahoma pan handle, and just into Kansas... halfway to Iowa City. I decided a couple weeks ago I wasn't going to audition because July is just crazy, but I just couldn't get it out of my head.

Or this dress. I couldn't pack away my boxes (and boxes and boxes) of sewing stuff until I got this dress out of my head and onto my six-year-old.

And this competition just sounds SO much fun. I'm bursting with ideas!

My idea was to piece together this dress in strips, using solids to create a patchwork that looks almost like a textile itself. I mean I would totally buy this fabric if it existed and I didn't have to spend hours piecing it all together.

For the silhoette I wanted a loose shift dress and I already had the perfect pattern for it, the Norah dress by MHC. It is an amazing pattern. See the Norah I made as Drew's Christmas dress last year! I did slightly modify the shape this time by adding length for my tall girl, lengthening the sleeves, and cutting down some of the A-line.

I also constructed it slightly different this time and I LOVE the results. The back of the original Norah is made with two pieces and has a slit at the neckline, but I didn't really want to cut up my pretty strips into two back pieces. So I cut my back as one piece, cut a line down it just where the slit was supposed to be, and when it was time to attach the lining I completely attached it all around the neckline and slit. After pulling the lining through and pressing, I got this cute little keyhole type slit. (For the slit, imagine how you would sew a welt pocket.) The neon shoelace trim was the perfect way to close it up.

This wasn't the most convenient time to sew a dress such as this, but so worth it. I hope I make it into the competition!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Glamping with Willow & Co

I grew up and have such fond memories of camping with my family. Our family owned land up in northern Arizona with no cabin or anything but a large open-walled ramada where all the cousins would pile our sleeping bags and sleep in the open air. We would only sleep though after playing Kick the Can in the dark and hanging out around the campfire. Jason and I have camped many times together as well. He even proposed to me during a hiking/camping trip we took in the Grand Canyon! I am no stranger to the rough and tough style of camping.

But glamping.

That is also something I could get very, very used to.

By now I am sure everyone has heard of the new pattern collective group, Willow & Co. They released their first collection of patterns called Wanderlust for Spring and Summer, a Glamping Edition. These patterns are designed for children who need things casual, practical and able to run, jump, kick the can, or whatever they want to do. But comfort is definitely not going to take the place of style and special unique touches.

You guys, these patterns are amazing. So well made.

When Mie asked me to "go glamping" and join this blog tour, I was thrilled! I wanted to make every pattern from the collection but eventually narrowed it down to an outfit for each of my kiddos... including Kendall, who has yet to be introduced on this blog! (If you follow me on Instagram you've seen a lot of her :)

Kendy is coming soon, but first up is this Persimmon Dress I made for Drew.

The Persimmon can be either dress or top length and also has the cutest pocket option (which I didn't include this time). I had about 15 different ways I planned to make this dress but eventually narrowed it down to using this super thin white cotton voile with a grey lining underneath. Would I let Drew wear a soft white dress camping? Heck no. But for glamping it is definitely okay!

The center panel is this strange cut-out fabric I've been hanging onto for a long time that I got at a discount fabric store. You can see where I used the fabric to make a little cropped cardi in my final Project Run & Play look.

Using the sheer voile and this cut-out material made things a bit tricky and I'll be the first to admit this is not my best technically made piece. I used french seams throughout the dress and also hemmed the right and left panels before I attached it to my center panels so there would be no raw edges where it meets those cut-outs. I didn't account for the hemming when I cut the dress though so it threw off my pleats a little bit and you can see they are not looking so hot.

But Drew never once said, "Oh man mom, those pleats look terrible," so we are still okay. She loved it so much!

The neon pink straps are actually a shoelace trim! I got it at that same discount fabric store and you can see a different way I used it here in this top I made for KCWC a couple years ago. I added the extra straps to the front just for fun and tied them all together at the back of the dress instead of on top of the shoulders. (Just realizing I don't have a pic of the back of the dress dang it!)

Keep reading if you would like to meet my beautiful baby girl, Kendall Mae, and see what I made for her!

Kendall got her very own Ash Jumpsuit, which is a must have pattern. Seriously. The sizes range from 6-12mo through 12 years. But when you have a chubby wubby two month old she can fit into size 6-12mo. And make it look good!

I made my Ash using this knit fabric that doesn't have very much stretch and it worked great. I love how soft it is.

The pattern itself was so very much fun to make. The directions are clear, the sew is quick, and the results are so gratifying. Like I said, it is a must have pattern.

She definitely has a modeling future for me. See she already has the far-off gaze into the distance down pat.

Another first here today is that I sewed actual clothing for Nash! I've made him Halloween costumes and pajamas, sure. But I have the hardest time being inspired to sew for boys.

I made Nash a Mulberry Tunic and some Kudzu Cargo Shorts. Like the other two patterns I made from the collection, they were very well written and easy to follow. And they both have many unique options that you end up with a creation that really feels like your own.

I decided to make my Mulberry tunic out of knit material too, which is probably only okay if the knit is not very stretchy. The triangle fabric is from Girl Charlee and the green and stripe fabrics are upcycled from old t-shirts of mine. The tabs are supposed to go on the sleeves but on a whim I decided to move them up to the shoulder seams just for fun. My next tunic will be for Drew. Love this pattern!

And here is the best shot of my Kudzus I could get. I guess it's payback for never sewing for him that Nash just lays down and ignores me when I ask him to model. I got this thick teal legging fabric from Joann's in the bottom weight section and these shorts are oh so soft and comfy. Especially because of the knit waistband. They are seriously a cool pair of shorts. I love all of the lines. For the fall I plan to make many Kudzo pants for Nash and Drew. If he will shape up with his modeling.

For summer sewing it is all about Willow & Co.  I promise you will not be disappointed with the quality and professionalism they put into their patterns!
And thank you Mie for inviting me glamping!
Don't forget to check out what all the other glampers are making!

Image Map

Monday, May 12, 2014

Soleil Dress

I am part of the Soleil tour today showing my version of this perfect summer dress! Lauren has all these pretty amazing things going on with her Pattern Workshop and Selvage Designs and it was no surprise to me that this first pattern of hers was perfection. I feel like it was made for Drew. She is all about comfort and simplicity, but she also wants things to be pretty. So this sleeveless, knit dress with pockets and an open back option seriously fits the bill.

It doesn't hurt that I emblazoned it with her favorite theme song either.

And the back. For the top I used an icy blue stretch lace piece. Since it is see through I had to top stitch the seam allowance up into the binding instead of down from the binding as you normally would. For the rest of the dress I used this shimmery blue knit from Joann's that is so buttery soft and is covered in sparkle.

She puts this dress on almost every day. She wore it to school (with a black shirt underneath for dress code) and all of her friends asked her if I could make them one. Her response is my favorite... "This is a one-of-a-kind."

But pretty much anything to do with Elsa is going to make little girls go wild. I told Drew that I use to belt out and sing my heart out when I was a little girl too, except for me it was Ariel. We are both off key though so have that in common.

See the sparkle in the fabric?

Lauren really knocked it out of the park with her first pattern. I need to make fifteen more of them. At least.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Shine Bright Like a Diamond

And here is my second swimsuit with fabric I designed and had printed! I use the word "designed" loosely with this one because while I did create the pattern in Illustrator, I copied the idea from this print. I'm not selling this fabric or anything so I felt okay recreating it for personal use.

I added the black fringe along the top and the contrasting black ties. There are so many ways to embellish a swimsuit. They are one of my favorite things to make.

And what is this next pose all about? I can't even control her posing these days.

Check out the first suit I designed fabric for here. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Flamingo Halter Suit

So, here I am sewing along with Project Run & Play again, even though I am a new mother of a brand new baby girl (will share pics soon) and over three weeks sleep deprived. I can't even manage to do a load of laundry, but when you must sew, you must sew. I've had this flamingo suit in the works now for a couple of months and when I saw the first theme for this season of PR&P was Put Me in The Zoo, this project moved to the front of the queue.

So I have a connection with someone who has a fabric sublimation printer that prints specifically on spandex/swimwear fabric. I love making swimsuits and the thought of designing my own fabric for suits is thrilling! Because I have my swimsuit pattern digitized already, I simply bought this flamingo image off of Shutterstock, and fit it onto my pattern piece on Photoshop how I wanted, then had it printed off! I also printed off the solid coral back piece to match.

Since week three's theme is to design your own fabric, I will be sharing another swimsuit design I have in the works! Hopefully...

How do you mothers of 3+ children get ANYTHING done?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Shades of Me- Denim Blue

A couple months ago when I heard about the Shades of Me series being hosted by Petit a Petit and Mouse House Creations and their goal to sew more for themselves in 2014, I got super excited! It has been my goal for a long time now to sew more for myself, but for some reason it is out of my comfort zone. I knew participating in this series would give me the motivation to do it. In the midst of my excitement I admit I forgot at first that I was largely pregnant, growing only larger, and would need to make a look to fit my third-trimester self.

So my goals for this look were to...

1. Use my assigned color, blue.

2. Make something that I could wear being largely pregnant and also post-partum and beyond.

3. Get the look sewn early enough that I could take pictures of myself before puffy face and ankles took over my body.

Some of these things were accomplished :).

When I was able to sign up for the color blue I felt I really scored, since it was my number one choice. But I actually had a hard time deciding what I was going to do with blue. I am in the midst of a fabric shopping hiatus and really didn't want to buy any fabric for this look. Once I decided what kind of dress I wanted to make, I searched my stash for anything blue, and came up with this super stretchy denim jegging material.

I had my doubts about a jegging-material dress, but us preggos, we like us some stretch. And it sure turned out comfortable.

The top of the dress I drafted from a fitted non-maternity tee of mine then just attached the midi skirt.

I live midi-length dresses.

When my bump is gone I plan to take in the waist just a bit at the side seams and the front of the dress should fall at just the right length. You know what else I really love? Mid-length sleeves. I do them all the time when I sew for my daughter. So I guess I have a thing for mid-length in my designs.

After sewing the finishing hem on the dress, I eagerly tried it on and instinctively my hands groped around for pockets to hide in. Why hadn't I thought of pockets?! Pockets in dresses take it up like 15 notches in my book and everything else was perfect about the dress, so it had to be done. I opened up the side seams and inserted some pockets and my hands were so happy.

Since I had used up every bit of jegging denim, I used some striped fabric for the pockets. It's kinda fun.

Making this dress and sewing for myself was so rewarding. My husband called me a nerd when I told him it gave me "a sewing high". The day after completing this dress I cut out two more of these dresses in different fabrics and whipped those out, almost doubling the size of my dwindling maternity closet. (Nothing fits me anymore! And I try not to sport the belly midriff look if at all possible.)

And guess what else was accomplished in all of this? I have sort-of maternity pictures! I am not one for a maternity photo shoot and definitely feel much more comfortable being behind the camera than in front of. Someday I think I will really like looking back at that belly though.

Want to keep track of all the lovely bloggers participating? Every day is a new color! And everyone can join the sew along and get that "sewing high" by sewing something for yourself. Follow along...

Monday, January 27, 2014

Romper Refashion

For refashion week I cut up an old favorite dress of mine. It's so old that I wore it in high school. I still love it but it has a couple of patched up tears on the back and some stains as well. Since I've got about five more weeks until this baby makes her appearance, it felt about time to finally start sewing for her! The rosebud fabric felt just a little too sweet for me though so I added the green stripe piecing to make it more modern and fun. I also sewed the romper up in a 6-12mo size since my babies don't wear anything smaller for very long. I picture her wearing this throughout summer! You get one picture of the romper since the back looks the same as the front and I've got no little model yet to help it look even more adorable.

Here is the dress I started out with...

There was plenty of fabric to work with, even working around the patches and the stains. Since the fabric is thin, I also cut out the lining from the dress and lined the romper with it. I cut off the pretty clear buttons from the front bodice to use with a different project sometime.

Goodbye old dress, hello my summertime baby girl!