Monday, October 20, 2014

Corduroy Sally Dress

We liked our first Sally dress so much, that I made another for fall. I found this great 1980's corduroy at the thrift store for next to nothing. I don't usually pay more than $2 for a cut of fabric there and I think I got about 3 yards of this one. We went with long sleeves and no pockets this time.

Why no pockets you ask? Because this girl doesn't care about pockets. Plus the last Sally I made had light pink pockets that got stained from mud her brother gleefully played with her in. Since the pockets are incorporated into the side seams and hem, there is no replacing them once they are there. The stains are still faintly there, probably only noticeable to me, but I wasn't feeling like committing to pockets again. (Without pockets, there is no difference in the front and back so that sure makes it easy to grab and throw on.)

So, so, so cute. I just love the shape of this dress. I will say though that there is a price to pay for having the ease of no closures. The neckline is wide for her shoulders still, but the waist is just right making it a little tough to get on. The good news is that she therefore can't strip down like she usually does when we are in the house.

Still a great dress. The pattern is available here. (Not an affiliate, just being helpful.) It is comfortable and swingy and Elena loves it. She got lots of smiles from people when we went to the library.

And can I just say that we LOVE our library. It has a huge selection of materials, great toys, and such helpful staff. Such a great place to hang out. I love when I can go by myself and sit in a chair by the fireplace and read for a bit. Not that that happens much, but I can remember doing that before and I look forward to it again, some day.
Most adorable doll house. Ever. And the dress is cute too!

That's 2 Sally's for me now. How many have you made?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review of Elena's Handmade Fall Wardrobe So Far

Do you know Teri from Climbing the Willow? You may know some of her great free patterns like my favorite, the Izzy Top (see my version here.) I was so excited when I saw this post from her announcing her plans to sew her daughter's entire wardrobe this fall. 

I felt like we had a lot in common because our daughters are just 3 months different in age and I too planned on making everything for Elena this fall. In fact, I haven't purchased ANY clothing for Elena since last November if you don't count that one $6 clearance party dress at Target (also not counting socks, tights, and underpants). I should also say that I have been given some very nice hand-me-down dresses/jumpers, a couple pairs of jeans, and 2 nightgowns from a friend, so that is very helpful. We also have some of last years clothes that still fit so we are in really good shape.

So my personal goal for sewing for Elena can be summed up like this: Make clothing that is comfortable, functional, and practical so she can continue to learn independence in dressing and using the bathroom. I want clothes that fit her 2T width and 3 or 4T length body, and are creative and fun. As an additional challenge, I want to spend as little money as possible by using second hand materials. I want them to look professional but not store-bought so you likely won't see any tulle ruffles or glittery graphics here. That will come eventually when she discovers the mall herself. And that'll be a sad day. But anyway...

I've posted about all of these projects already, but here is a round-up of just how much I've accomplished so far. That should help me see what we still need or what I can justify making anyway as long as the materials were free or almost free. You can click on the pictures to go to the post if you're looking for details like patterns, fabric, etc. I tend to sew in outfits so it's a little hard to sort these into categories.

Top & Pants Sets
Flat front pull-on pants and Bimaa

Lace Overlay Top and Floral Leggings
Piped Nessie Top with leggings
Plaid leggings and beaded Tinley Tee

Floral Tunic with polka dot leggings
Recycled jeans and sweater

Dresses and Skirts
The Deer Dress
Greenpoint Cardigan and knit skirt
Quilted skirt and reversible vest

I think I'll stop here for now. I'll cover cardigans and jackets next week because this is getting really long. For now I'm feeling like we have just about enough "play" clothes but could use a few more pairs of pants thicker than leggings and suitable for playing outside in cold, cold weather. 

And just a note about the gray skirt and cardigan set, the skirt was borderline too short when I made it and so I've added a 3 inch band of the solid gray to the bottom. It looks and hangs even better now so that worked out great. I'm finding that it's not good though to send her to preschool in skirts/dresses because she doesn't sit like a lady at all. Adding too many layers of tights or leggings beneath makes it hard for her to use the bathroom alone. But there are 5 others days in the week so they will still get worn plenty.

Have a wonderful weekend. I will be driving my teenage son to Michigan for a swimming meet. I'm taking a dress with me that is all sewn and adding some embroidery so that will help pass time. You can't see that one for a couple weeks yet but its' going to be good!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Figgy's Nituna Jacket in Wool

I made a wool jacket! I ventured into new sewing territory here and I'm pretty dang happy about it!

I've had this pattern (Figgy's Nituna Jacket) printed out for a whole year now and finally made it. I found this wool remnant at the thrift store for 99 cents on half price day! I purchased the buttons, embroidered trim and bias tape at Joann's. The lining is from a box of stash my aunt sent me. So even purchasing some of the items, it cost so little.

The scrap of wool was barely big enough for the size 2/3 we needed, but it was totally meant to be. I took a picture just because I was so amazed that I could make it fit.

So the pattern gives you options to line it or not, make it reversible or not, and to use patch pockets or welt pockets. I went with patch pockets because they are easy and Elena still doesn't care whatsoever about pockets. Strange, huh?

In my infinite sewing wisdom, or not, I decided to underline the wool with cotton and bind the seams per the pattern's instructions for an unlined version. Not really a great decision on my part. Always in retrospect I see that pattern designers should be trusted more often than not. It sounded like a good idea, but the problem was that the wool is pretty thick and the lining pieces shifted a little when sewing so it was hard to keep things even and covered in all places. Probably would have been a great opportunity to try my walking foot, right? I should do that someday. I should have taken pictures of the inside because it is beautiful! Black binding on black lining wouldn't show up too well anyway.

All in all, I love this jacket. I love that I made it. I love that I now have the confidence to make more jackets. I'm still not interested in sewing actual winter coats of the kind necessary around here in winter, but jackets that can take us out in 40 degree weather like today, that I can do and will do more of in the future.

The only fit issue is with the hood. It's kind of huge on her but I like it folded back so you can see the trim. I would probably shorten it a bit next time. Otherwise, the width allows for thicker layers than the t-shirt she was wearing today and the sleeves are plenty long and also look good rolled up because of the clean finish inside.

I know that last one is a little blurry but I just love how teeny she looks next to her daddy. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Signature Style Week for PRP Fall 2014

My style is easy, comfortable, and practical but not boring. I love knits, florals, and color. We love nature, so we love clothes that you can wear out for a hike by the creek while still looking cute and being easy to care for when you get dirty. Because you will get dirty.

The tunic is McCall's 6785, View C - a raglan sleeved tunic with a turtleneck. I've used this pattern twice before to make the ruched sided tunic and the hooded circle skirt dress. I used a ponte knit still available at Girl Charlee and I love how it turned out. I modified the bottom to a slight hi/low hem using the back piece of CINO's Nessie Top to get the curve.

The leggings are self-drafted and also use fabric from Girl Charlee but it doesn't seem to be in stock right now. It;s a cotton lycra and super soft and comfy.

There isn't much more I can say. A simple tunic and leggings isn't fancy. It's not complicated sewing, but it's cute as heck and it's what we wear around here on a daily basis. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Recycled Jeans & Sweater

This week I did another refashion and again used a pair of my oldest daughter's old jeans to make jeggings/leggings for Elena. The jeans had nicely embellished pockets, were worn soft, and had lots of stretch. I don't usually like denim jeans for little kids because they seem too stiff but this denim was so stretchy and soft that I didn't feel like it would be constraining at all.

It wasn't really all that hard to unpick the pockets and flaps. I sewed them onto the sides of the leggings as cargo pockets and they look great. I was a tad worried that they would feel stiff or heavy, but again, this denim is worn so soft and is so stretchy that it wasn't a problem. I also used a zigzag stitch on any non-vertical seams to make sure it wouldn't stop the legs of the jeans from stretching.

I used my rub-off leggings pattern, and they have an elastic casing at the top. For a fairly recently potty trained girl going to preschool, I think elastic is the most practical and functional waistband. I am all for independence!

What's better in autumn than jeans and sweaters? My neighbor gave me this crochet sweater in a great color but it was short and wide. The first thing I did was cut the sweater down using the back piece of Figgy's Celestial Tee. I didn't touch the sleeve bands or bottom band at all. What were cap sleeves on me are 3/4 sleeves on my 3 year old! What barely reached my waistband is mid-thigh on her! I also had to pinch a good 2 inches out of the neckline along the shoulder seam to bring the neck in.

She did not like standing on this little dresser. The whole outfit looks great layered with a turtleneck and boots. She didn't want to take it off so I think she likes it too. I'm tired of the hot and humid weather and am ready for fall. Jeans and sweater weather - the sooner the better.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Project Run & Play Wk 2 - Refashion of Hand-me-downs

I am Elena and I am 3. My big sister is 16 and loves clothes - so that makes me really lucky. My mom made her clean out her room just before school started in August. She piled Mom's bed high with lots of good stuff she didn't want anymore. There was a plaid jacket she got at the thrift store but never wore once. There was a mint green t-shirt with a really low neckline. I'm not sure what "modest" means but I think it's the opposite of this shirt. (I'm learning opposites in preschool.) And there was a polka dot sweater my sister wore a few times but too many other people at school wore it too so that meant she couldn't wear it anymore, I guess. 

Can you believe that I am skinny enough that my mom made me a pair of pants out of just the sleeves of this jacket?! She says that if I was any bigger at all she couldn't have done it. It's this nice soft and stretchy material, and if that wasn't comfy enough, she also put some really soft, stretchy knit fabric around my ankles and tummy so they are really comfy and I can put them on and off myself! I love these pants. She said she used her own leggings pattern.

So I needed a new shirt and liked this soft green one. Mom won herself a copy of the GYCT Tinley Tee last week so we tried that one out and it's great. But Mom says this rib knit is too stretchy and she didn't like sewing it. I think it turned out nice and my favorite part is the beads around the neck. I had to promise not to pick at them because I did do that once before to a shirt Mom spent a lot of time on and she looked at me reeeeeaaal mean for that. But that's when I was 2 and, like I said, I'm 3 now so you can trust me Mom.

Now this sweater was just a plain pullover and Mom used a pattern called the Aster Cardigan to change it. She says that's is a really nice pattern and she plans on making me a lot more of these kinds of sweaters for this winter. I did hear her complaining again about this thin super stretchy fabric while I was drawing on the chalkboard. But hey Mom, get over it. And, I can do the buttons myself so that tells you how big and smart I am getting. (Also Mom says to tell you she was afraid the fabric would stretch and wave too much at the front placket if she sewed it normally, so she used hem tape and hand sewed it.)

I told Mom I like hats now so she whipped up this fun one after I went to bed. She says she can't crochet with me around because I'm like a kitty cat. I'm not sure what she means by that, but I do like to play with the yarn and practice tying knots so I was sad I missed out. Also, Mom usually makes my hats really super big so I'm glad this one just fits and doesn't swamp my little face.

So I got a new sweater, t-shirt, and pants thanks to my sister, plus a hat . And did you notice my awesome shoes my dad's friend gave me? My mom says she had some like that back in the late 70's when she was a kid.

So one last thing about taking pictures - I don't really like doing it so I didn't want to when Mom asked after dinner. But later, I remembered she would give me a marshmallow, so I said, "Ok, let's go do pictures." But it got dark while Mom drove around saying, "Where is that black wall? I thought it was on this block." I got a marshmallow just for putting on the clothes and going for a drive. Then we tried again in the morning, but I wasn't being very good. I just can't help playing with the rocks and there were so many of them! Plus this wall faces east and I guess that's a problem with the sun or something. I think we both felt like hitting our heads against a brick wall so we went home. 

Maybe Mom should sew for herself for a little while.