Spot On With Spoxxy

I’ve been guilty of buying a pattern, but not printing and sewing it right away on more than one occasion.  Silly, I know!  The racerback look is popular, cute, and probably why I hesitated on sewing one up.  I’m not a fan of my bra straps showing, strapless bras aren’t really comfortable, and I don’t own a well fitting racerback bra.  That sounds so silly, especially when you consider how many Brazi’s I’ve made.  But here’s the thing- all the Brazi’s I make for myself have been hacked to have straight straps because I don’t like straps near my neck.  My daughter likes the cross back Brazi, and tracing the pattern in her new postpartum and nursing size is on my agenda for today.  Anyhow, the Spoxxy sat unprinted in my computer for a few months.

Then I saw someone post a Spoxxy made as a nightgown on the Stitch Upon A Time Facebook page, and quickly decided to make myself one!  Who doesn’t need some new nightgowns after a few months of social distancing at home?  Not that I lived in nightgowns, hahahahahahaha!  😉  Who am I kidding?  I put on shorts and a tank top to go for walks and thoroughly enjoyed being comfortable in a nightie the rest of the day.

Since this was “just going to be a nightie”, I used some lightweight rayon spandex that I found at an estate sale.  And of course I end up loving the look and want to just keep it as a dress!

Spoxxy front

Look at that grin on my face- I couldn’t stop smiling because it’s just such a cute, comfortable pattern.  The racerback fits well, and the bands don’t bunch up where the upper back meets the gathered body.  Which is a problem I have seen on similar styled patterns by other designers.  I thinks it’s the angle of the cut?

Spoxxy back

The smooth curve of the racerback, the gathering at the back, and the over all shaping of the dress is quite flattering.  The pattern calls for a band at the hip for the top version, and elastic at the waist for the dress version.  I contemplated adding the waist elastic, but since the shaping hits perfectly at the natural waist and flares out to skim the hips, I didn’t see the need.

Spoxxy laugh

After I sent my daughter a photo of my dress, she commented that she needs some comfortable dresses that she can nurse in.  So Mama dug through her stash and found bits of charcoal and gray rayon spandex that were just big enough to piece together a color-blocked version for her.  Due to fabric constraints, I had to add a seam to the bottom section center back, but it’s still quite wearable and fun.  I don’t have any modeled photos of her yet, since it takes a while for packages to get to another state.

Spoxxy gray Obviously, I need to make myself a few more Spoxxy dresses and/or nightgowns because the fit is just so spot on!   Using a more substantial weight of rayon spandex (rather than the flimsy estate sale stuff I started with) will make it even better with improved drape and recovery.

So, the next time you notice an unused pattern sitting in your computer, print it out, and sew it up!  Or give the Spoxxy a try, and see if you end up with a happy smile like me!

Spoxxy hand

 

This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my link.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me! 🙂  Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, fabric, and patterns. ❤

 

 

I Wish We Could All Be Going Places

In these unprecedented times, when virtually the entire world is under “Safer At Home” orders, it is surreal to look back to a month or two ago when most of us led what now feels like rather carefree lives.  It’s important to remember the beauty and joy of life, increase our faith, and do useful things that make us happy.  Sewing is certainly one of my happy places!  Except when I have to seam-rip because I’ve done something silly, like sew the front and back right and wrong sides together. 😉  Which happened, by the way.  Fortunately I had only sewn part of the way up the side seam before I realized it!

The Pattern Emporium Going Places Dress was the perfect pattern to sew at this time.  Florida is already quite warm, and dresses are a staple in my closet.  There are multiple neckline options from ballet to babe, and high and low square necklines.  And the dress can be fitted or flared.  I chose the deeper babe neckline and love the fit of the flared skirt.  Having a fitted bodice is quite figure flattering, and the skirt flares out at the perfect place so that it skims and shapes the waist without being tight across the midriff.

The neckline and straps can be finished with bands or binding.  But let me tell you- once you have the ability to cover-stitch, binding is just as easy as bands, and looks so beautiful!  I’m becoming more comfortable with using the cover-stitch feature of my machine, and am absolutely loving the results!  It just looks so professional and is so much faster than top-stitching with my old sewing machine.

Going Places binding

I used rayon spandex from Phee Fabrics for my dress, and it is the perfect weight and drape for dresses.  And tank tops.  I literally make all my tank tops out of Phee’s rayon spandex, and a good portion of my dresses.  It’s safe to say that this is one of my favorite fabrics!

Going Places strut

So, is there anything that I would change the next time I make this pattern?  I think I’ll make the back bodice one size smaller.  Yoga class has given me a pretty decent back taper, and the back is little looser than I need.  I also think I’ll widen the back straps just a smidge.  While the straps cover my bra straps quite well, my “old lady” bras widen out before meeting the back band, and the straps of the dress don’t quite cover that area.   The Going Places Dress is a pretty quick sew, doesn’t take a lot of yardage, and is definitely worth adding to your pattern collection!  The square neckline option is next on my list.

To complement my dress, I made the Pattern Emporium Songbird Kimono & Cardi.  I own several cardigan patterns, and bought this one specifically because it was designed for woven fabrics.  I found some chiffon at an estate sale for a really good price, and thought it would make beautiful cardigans.  While I love the two cardigans I’ve made, let me tell you, sewing chiffon is not for the faint of heart!

Using chiffon is like trying to cut, pin, and sew a cloud!  It’s a bear to try and get it to lay flat and smooth and not get wavy and distorted when you cut it out.  You have to use so many pins to try and hold everything in place while you’re sewing.  The fabric is so fine that pins tend to slide right out as you handle the fabric.  And it frays, badly.  So a serger is almost a necessity when sewing chiffon.  That being said,  I absolutely love the result of my efforts!

Going Places & Songbird

It’s flowy and fun, and looks great with a dress.  This is the first of the two Songbirds I’ve made, and I sized down for the second one.  I have long arms, and added two inches of length to the sleeves, but certainly could have gotten away with just an inch.  I’ve worn my Songbirds with a T-shirt and skirt, long-sleeved shirts and pants, and dresses.  I’ll certainly throw them on with a tank top and shorts on chilly evenings or in air conditioned spaces.

Here are my tips for sewing with chiffon.  Take your time.  It takes time to smooth and even out your fabric.  Use all the pins.  It really helps to keep the fabric from shifting as you sew.  This also means that by necessity you have to sew more slowly to ensure that you pull the pins before accidentally sewing over them!  Because chiffon is super flowy and has no body, you may want to add some body in certain areas.  I used knit interfacing (specifically Pellon SK135 Sheer-Knit fusible interfacing) to stabilize the band.  I chose this interfacing because it is sheer, and wouldn’t be visible through the chiffon.  I cut the interfacing half as wide as the band, and carefully lined it up with one edge of the wrong side of the fabric to press it on.  Follow the manufacturers instructions and use a pressing cloth!  Even a paper towel works to help keep the residue from getting on your iron.  Just be sure to peel it up as soon as you press a section so that it doesn’t stick to the interfacing.  And enjoy trying new patterns, techniques, and experimenting with a new look.

Songbird outstretched

Embrace life, and enjoy every moment of laughter and silliness!  And sew a little happiness, while we stay at home rather than Going Places! ❤

 

Itty Bitty & Not So Itty Bitty Baby Dresses

My granddaughter needs play clothes for the summer, since she’s outgrown pretty much everything from last summer.  Toddlers grow fast!  So my daughter gave me some tops and dresses to upcycle.  They were all XS or small, so children’s clothes would be about all that would fit on the fabric.  I chose three coordinating fabrics, and got to work.

Using my rotary cutter, I trimmed along the side and sleeve seams, and ripped the clothes apart.  A seam ripper was necessary to remove hems and binding as needed, to be able to lay the fabric out smoothly.  It certainly would have been easier and faster to use yardage, but it was fun to think creatively how to fit my pattern pieces and make it all work.

I’ve made a couple of Made By Rae Washi Dresses blogged here, but hadn’t tried any children’s patterns.  This is my latest (and favorite!) Washi Dress, made with a beautiful Art Gallery Fabrics border print called Roads to Flowerhouse.

teal Washi

While scrolling through the Made By Rae children’s patterns, I came across the Itty Bitty Baby Dress.  It’s designed for wovens, but I knew that it would work to use knit fabrics.

The pattern calls for a simple gathered skirt, trimmed with bias tape.  Since I was upcycling, had limited sized pieces of fabric, and had found coordinating fabrics, I decided to make a three tiered skirt instead.  For the Itty Bitty Baby dress, instead of the suggested 9″ high rectangles of fabric, I cut my top strip 3″ high, and the second and third tiers 3-1/2″ high.  Each tier was gathered and sewn to the tier above it, then the skirt was sewn to the bodice as per the pattern directions.  Newborn sized clothes always look so cute!

Itty Bitty dress

There also happens to be an expanded size of the pattern in a size 3, which is the size my two year old granddaughter is growing into.  It’s made the same way as the Itty Bitty newborn size, and it too got hacked to have a triple tier skirt.  Instead of the suggested 15″ high skirt panels, the top tier was a 4-3/4″ high strip, followed by 5″ high strips for the second and third tiers.  The toddler skirt is a bit more gathered, since Lila likes to run and play and climb and move.

Bitty expanded

Since the dresses were already bright and colorful, I thought that it would be fun to use variegated thread to cover-stitch everything.  That’s the funny thing about having the ability to cover-stitch.  You go a little crazy and fun and play around with it.  On the toddler dress, I used a reverse triple cover-stitch to accent everything.  To lessen the scale, I chose a narrow reverse cover-stitch for the newborn dress.

The Bummies pattern is from Brindille & Twig, with a ruffle added across the bum for a little extra fun.  Because I already spend too much quality time with my seam ripper, I just couldn’t bring myself to rip off the leg bands that I accidentally sewed on inside out. So I just reverse cover-stitched over the seam allowance, and turned it into a “design element”!

Bummies design element

 

Admittedly, these outfits are super bright and a bit wild, but that’s what makes them so fun!  Normally, I wouldn’t post without modeled photos, but with the current state of the world, I don’t know when we’ll be able to visit our daughter and her family.  Hopefully before the new baby is born!  And this is as good a way as any to share that I’m going to be Grandma to another little girl!  🙂 ❤

Do you have some unworn clothes in your closet that could be turned into fun fabric for little ones?  Consider upcycling them into to something new.  There are so many cute patterns to try.  And it’s fun to sew for my soon-to-be itty bitty baby, and not so itty bitty girl.

Stay well, and sew something that makes you happy!

 

 

Use Every Scrap Of Fabric

Including A Selvage Design Feature

Sewing for children can be fun, because their smaller size generally means quicker sewing.  And you can be super bold in color and try fun things on kids clothes that you may be a bit hesitant to try on an adult size!  After making myself a beautiful Designer Stitch Madison Dress, I had some scraps of Ponte left over.  They weren’t large enough to make an adult clothing item, but there was just enough to squeeze out a dress and leggings for my granddaughter.

WB Gma

The striped Ponte was quite stretchy, so it was perfect for leggings.  I’ve tried several  baby leggings patterns, and have been happy with most of them.  Since Lila is growing quickly, it seemed time to make the jump from a baby pattern to a girl pattern.  The 5oo4 Patterns Little Ninja Leggings (which is a free pattern) worked very well, and came up high enough in the back to properly cover her bum.  I dislike super low rise leggings, and was very happy with the fit of the Little Ninjas.  They definitely give full range of motion, as Lila was easily able to climb in and out of the box “fort” that Grandpa made for her! 🙂

WB box

The green Ponte was a super soft rayon blend, and had such a pretty fringed selvage that I just had to use it for something!  I found it at Pennie Fabrics in Sarasota, Florida.  It’s an interesting independent fabric store, is a bit of a maze, and is not organized into fabric types at all.  But if you’re willing to wander through and feel all the rolls of fabric, you could come up with something unique that you love.  The green Ponte was imported from Italy, and you could feel the softness and quality.  It was therefore, rather expensive, so I wanted to put every square inch to good use!

The Stitch Upon A Time Wendybird Dress was a great choice for this project.  The simple lines of the round neck, plain front version, with hemmed sleeves let the focus be on the fabric.  To add an extra pop of color, I cut a strip an inch and a half wide out of the striped fabric to use as piping between the bodice and skirt.  After folding the strip in half, right sides out, I basted it to the bottom of the front and back of the bodice.

Wendybird piping

Then I stitched the dress together as per the pattern tutorial.  (Although the photo distorted and makes the fabric look ribbed, it’s actually very smooth.)  I cut along both edges of the green Ponte to get 1-1/4″ wide strips of selvage to trim the hem.  After stitching the selvage to the hem of the dress, I pressed the seam allowance up towards the skirt, and zigzagged it in place.

I absolutely love the finished look!  It’s super fun, totally unique, and a great way to use what would otherwise be scraps.

WB point

Obviously Lila loves it too, judging by her smile. 😉

WB smile

I’m glad I made a larger size so that she’ll be able to wear this outfit all next winter too.  If you’re looking to personalize your makes, take a look at the selvage, and don’t be afraid to use every last scrap!

WB window

This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my link.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me! 🙂  Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, fabric, patterns, and pattern hacking. ❤

Lila & The LLK Kensington Dress

I did a bit of Christmas sewing, making microwavable bowl cozies for my Mom, siblings and family, and adult children, making a total of (I think) 22 cozies by the time I was done.

bowl cozies

We use our cozies all the time, whether cooking broccoli or oatmeal, or keeping our fingers from freezing while eating a banana split.  Not that we do that often, really! 😉

bowl micro

I also sewed a few things for Lila. ❤  I thought the Little Lizard King Kensington would be a cute dress, but I had to make a couple of alterations.  My daughter dislikes buttons.  She has disliked them since childhood.  Which presented quite a challenge when trying to find the collared shirts required at their elementary school!  (I didn’t have time to do much sewing back then).  So, she didn’t want Lila’s dress to have buttons.  Which meant I had to alter the pattern to use a zipper.  It wasn’t really hard to do.  I just found the center point of the back overlap, and instead of using the button placket, I reduced the width of the bodice back to just having a 1/2″ seam allowance.  I had cut only one skirt panel the width of my 45″ fabric, and put the seam at center back.

This meant that rather than following the pattern tutorial, after attaching the collar and bodice lining at the neckline, the skirt had to be gathered and sewn to the bodice.  The zipper was installed (ending about 3″ down into the skirt).  Then the bodice lining, (which I had pulled up out of the way while installing the zipper) was sewn down into place.

LLK porch

The most challenging part of the pattern was the scalloped collar.  It wasn’t that it was hard to do, just very time consuming.  The scallops on a size 2 are rather tiny!  I took my time, and very carefully trimmed and clipped each scallop so that it would lay neatly when it was turned and pressed.

Another important consideration when using a fabric with an obvious pattern to it, like this Art Gallery Fabrics Evanescence Blackout, is to take your time when laying out your pattern pieces.  For a professional finished product, the design needs to line up and be evenly spaced.  Notice that the darker “stripe” going across the collar is the same on the left and right?  I also took care when cutting the skirt and bodice to ensure that the almost plaid-like design was evenly spaced where they meet at the waistline.  The print doesn’t have perfectly straight lines forming an even plaid.  It’s more of a pretty graphic design and loosely drawn and wavy grid pattern.  Although I tried to get the sleeves as perfectly aligned, the right sleeve lines up better than the left.  Oh well, perfection escapes me again!  Hahahahahaha!

At least my granddaughter is perfect, and perfectly adorable! 🙂

LLK yard full

And a bit of advice for photographing toddlers: always bring snacks.  Everybody is much happier when there is food in their tummy!

banana

Lila also got a rayon spandex dress, trimmed in stretch lace, hacked from the Ellie & Mac Grow With Me Pajamas.

LLK flat lay

I cut a strip of the stretch lace to half the width, and added it at the bodice to skirt seam line.  I shortened the skirt to make it dress length, and gently curved the hem so that it would hang nicely when on the body.  After gathering the lace (about 2-1/2″ yards worth), I zigzagged it onto the hem.  Lila likes the orchid color, and the soft, breezy comfort of the dress.

EM grow pj

It’s such a comfortable play dress, that she just didn’t want to stop swinging for photographs.

swing

It didn’t take long to whip up a couple of Made For Mermaids Hadley Hand-Tied Bows, and attach them to hair clips for a finishing touch.  Maybe I’ll make one of the larger bow sizes next time.  After all, Lila is a little southern belle!  😉

Hadley bow

She is also fun to sew for, and pretty much looks adorable in everything I make for her!  Now I need to sew up a couple more patterns for this sweet girl. ❤

The bowl cozies (link to tutorial here), Kensington dress, and bow, were all made with Art Gallery Fabrics 100% cotton purchased from Phee Fabrics.  The 13oz. rayon spandex was also purchased at Phee Fabrics.

Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, fabric, patterns, and pattern hacking. ❤

How I “Prettied Up” A Play Dress

I love sewing clothes for my granddaughter!  First of all, since she’s a growing toddler, she always needs clothes.  Secondly, since children’s clothes are small, they’re generally a pretty quick sew. 😉 And thirdly, they usually don’t take too much fabric.  Sometimes I can get away with using the larger leftover scraps of fabric from previous sews, which is what I was able to do here.

I bought a yard of the Cozy French Terry from Phee Fabrics to make Lila some joggers and a cardigan.  They turned out cute, and she wore them the day we flew up to visit.  I had a bit of the French Terry left, and thought a sweatshirt dress with a woven skirt would make a cute, comfortable play dress.  It turns out that I didn’t have enough French Terry for the sleeves, so I turned to my trusty rayon spandex for the sleeves and neck band.  Remember my Made By Rae Washi Dress blogged here?  There was just enough of the Art Gallery Fabrics 100% Premium Cotton left from my dress to make the skirt.

The Stitch Upon A Time Wendybird Dress (aff link) recently jumped into my cart the last time they had a pattern sale, so I couldn’t wait to print out the pattern.  Since there was only enough of the Art Gallery cotton left to make an 11″ long by 45″ wide rectangular skirt, I lengthened the Wendybird bodice by 2″.  Although the skirt fabric is a floral, it’s not in overly girly colors, so I decided to “pretty up” the dress by adding a ruffled placket.

To make the placket, I cut a 1-3/4″w x 4″h center base out of rayon spandex.  The two inner rayon spandex ruffles are 1-3/4″w x 8″h.  The two outer AGF cotton ruffles are 2-3/4″w x 8″h.  The center French Terry ruffle is 3/4″w x 5″h.

WB placket pieces

To make the double ruffles, fold the outer cotton ruffles in half lengthwise, right sides together, and stitch along one short end.  Fold the inner rayon spandex ruffles in half lengthwise, right sides together, and stitch along one short end.  Clip the corners, being careful to not cut through the stitching line, turn the ruffles right sides out and press.  Lay an inner ruffle on top of an outer ruffle with the cut sides and finished ends aligned.  Sew a long basting stitch with a 1/4″ seam allowance, and pull the bobbin thread to gather the ruffles.  Repeat with the other double ruffle.

Fold the bottom edge of the center base under 1/4″ and baste or use Wash Away Wonder tape to keep the fold in place.  Lay a double ruffle on the center base right sides together, with the finished edge of the ruffle toward the bottom.  Stitch along the side with a 3/8″ seam allowance.  Press the ruffle to the outside and repeat with the other double ruffle.

Next we add the center ruffle.  Because the French Terry won’t fray,  the edges are left raw.  Run a basting stitch down the middle of the center ruffle, and gather it to fit the placket base.  Keeping the center ruffle 3/8″ away from the top, zig zag down the center of the ruffle to stitch it in place.

Mark the center front of the bodice with a pin.  Use tailor’s chalk, or a washable fabric marker to mark the ruffle placket placement, which should be a rectangle 1″ wide by 4″ high.

WB mark

Line the ruffle placket up at the top of the neckline and with the markings, and top-stitch around the center base to secure it to the bodice.  Baste the unfinished edges of the double ruffles in place at the neckline.  Sew on the neckband as per the pattern directions, being sure to catch the top of the double ruffles and placket in the band.

WB placket

To make the skirt, cut two 11″h x 22-1/2″w (I would have preferred 12 or 13″ high, but that was all the fabric that I had!) panels out of the AGF cotton.  Place the panels right sides together and stitch along the side seams.  Press the bottom up 1/2″, and another 1/2″ and stitch the hem.  You can run a long basting stitch around the top of the skirt to gather it, but since it’s being sewn onto a knit bodice, I like using cotton swim elastic to gather.  Measure the bottom of the bodice, and cut the elastic to that length.  Overlap the ends of the elastic 3/4″ and zigzag to form a loop.  Use a pencil to mark the quarter points of the elastic.  Mark the centers of the skirt front and back, and they and the side seams will be the quarter points of the skirt.  Line up the quarter points of the elastic along the top of the skirt, and stretch the elastic to fit as you zigzag it in place.  It should gather the skirt to fit the bodice perfectly.

WB flat

With the skirt inside out, slide the bodice down inside the skirt, right sides together, matching side seams and center points.  Sew the bodice to the skirt, then give everything a good press.  Ta dah!  A simple play dress turns into a pretty, party-worthy dress!

Since Lila only recently turned two, she doesn’t attend a lot of parties.  But she is always ready to run and play outside, picking up sticks and leaves on her way to and from the park.

WB dress sticks

And I love that she is able to play outside in nature nearly every day.  I hope that she never forgets the joy and wonder of exploring, learning new things, and playing every day.

WB dress oh

WB dress up

When you’re done sewing, don’t forget to go for a walk, and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.  Maybe you’ll find some sticks to play with too! 🙂

Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, fabric, patterns, designing, and creating. ❤

 

The Wonderful Woven Washi Dress

High quality fabric and quality finishes truly make the garment!

When Phee Fabrics started stocking Art Gallery Fabrics in 100% premium cotton OEKO-TEX certified fabric, I knew it was time to search for a new pattern.  I have a couple of woven dress patterns that I like, (blogged here and here) but they are quite similar, and I wanted something with a little more detail to showcase the pretty fabric.

One of my sewing friends who also likes dresses, suggested a few pattern companies to me.  She forewarned me that the patterns were not inexpensive, but felt that they were worth the money.  I scrolled through a few companies, and kept coming back to the Made By Rae Washi Dress.  The simple pleats, neck detail, and of course- pockets, spoke to me.

Whenever I get a new pattern (especially for wovens), I like to compare it to a pattern that I know fits me well, to see how similar or different the fit is.  Since wovens don’t have any give, making sure that you’ve got a good fit is very important!  Right away I could tell that this pattern was drafted for a much smaller cup size, so I knew I was going to have to do some work to get a perfect fit.  I traced the bodice and taped the dart together, and held it against my body to see how far off the fit was.  The dart ended up a couple of inches above my bust apex, and the bodice didn’t cover the bottom of my bust.  Sigh!

Washi bust

Since this is kind of a common issue for me with woven patterns, it wasn’t exactly unexpected.  I needed some length between the armscye and the dart, so the simple fix was slashing the bodice front and adding in a 1.5″ wide strip of waxed paper.  I also added 1.5″ length to the pattern back.

Washi pattern adj

I cut out a bodice front and the upper back of the pattern in some cheap fabric and basted it together to check my fit.  I decided another half inch added to the front at the shoulder seam would give me that extra little bit I needed, and cut into my good fabric.  I took some time with my pattern layout, because every sewist knows that if you’re working with a floral fabric, it’s nearly impossible to avoid having flowers on your bust.  And I wanted an intentional placement versus an awkward one! 🙂

The pattern tutorial suggests using interfacing on the front around the U-notch to help keep the corners laying smoothly.  Tracing around the stitch line gave me the perfect shape to iron on to the bodice front.

Washi interfacing

It also calls for facings at the front and back neckline, and bias trim along the armscyes. But a finished bodice lining is just so much nicer, and would also make it easy to stich a couple of lines 1/2″ apart across the back to make a casing for my elastic.  To make a bodice lining, cut another bodice front, and cut a bodice back by folding the pattern back 1/2″ below the bottom shirring line marking.  Sew the front and back linings together at the shoulder seams.  Sew the bodice front and dress back pieces together at the shoulder seams.  Place the lining over the dress, right sides together, and stitch around the neckline.  Clip the curves, turn right side out and press.

Then you will need to “burrito roll” the bodice to sew the armscyes.  If you’ve never done the “burrito roll” method, it’s almost magical how it works!  Basically you are rolling the garment up from one side, then flipping the opposite sides over and around (enclosing the rolled portion in the shoulder strap area) and stitching the armscye, then pulling it through.  There are plenty of video tutorials online if you are a visual learner.  Again you will clip the curves, turn the bodice right side out and press carefully.  Stitch the side seams and press.  Turn the bottom edge of the lining under 1/4″ and press.

You’re supposed to do 5 or 6 lines of shirring along the back, to give a nice fitted look.  Since shirring didn’t really sound fun, and wasn’t the look I was going for, I opted to use elastic in a casing.  Keeping your fabric smooth, stitch the bodice back lining to the dress back along the bottom two marked shirring lines.  This will give you the casing for the back elastic. To determine the proper length of elastic, measure your body around the bottom of the bodice.  Divide the measurement in two, and use 3/8″ wide cotton swimwear elastic, marked at that length.  Thread the elastic through, stitching it in place at both ends.  Then stitch the bodice front lining in place by stitching in the ditch along the front seam line.

The interior back bodice:

Washi int backThe interior front bodice:

Washi int front

Can you see why lining the bodice is worth the effort?  There is just something so satisfying about a garment that is as nicely finished on the inside as it is on the outside!  You can always feel proud about making a quality garment that will last!

Washi frontWashi back

I love my new dress!  And it has pockets!  It’s cool and comfortable, and can be layered under a jacket or cardigan for year round use.

Washi pocketsWashi down

Using a blind hem stitch on my sewing machine was the only way to do the hem.  It’s a nice deep hem, folded under an inch, zigzagged and pressed, then folded under another two inches.  It reminds me of the type of sewing my beloved grandmother used to do. ❤  High quality fabrics, quality finishes, and a nice deep hem.

Now that I’ve got my pattern perfected, I need to decide on some more Art Gallery Fabric so that I can make another dress!

 

This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission/credit if you purchase through my link.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me! 🙂  Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, patterns, fabric, and pattern hacking. ❤

 

 

Love You “Two” The Moon Birthday Girl!

Can you believe that my beautiful granddaughter just turned two?  I planned to write a post about her birthday party, and thought I would include photos of the decorations and snacks and treats, along with her birthday dress like last year.  But it was a super busy day, and somehow I didn’t take many photos!  So there aren’t any close-up photos of the cute star cookies (you can barely see them on the table behind her), the astronaut ice cream, or moon cheese, chosen for her space themed birthday party.

There wasn’t much doubt that Lila would choose space as a theme, since “moon” was one of her first words, shortly after “Mama” and “Daddy”.  She likes to spot airplanes and helicopters, and “Look at stars!” and “See fireflies”.  Her vocabulary is out of this world, if I am allowed to brag a bit, about all the phrases and sentences she says these days.  She mimics and picks up new words and phrases daily.  Possibly even ones she shouldn’t, such as “OK, girlfriend”, which she learned from yours truly! 🙂  It is sort of funny though, since she inserts it appropriately into conversation!

Her birthday dress was made using the free Sew A Little Seam Birthday Dress pattern.  I muslined it using some chevron foil print purple knit I found on the clearance rack at JoAnn Fabrics a couple years ago.  It looked cute and proportionate, although I couldn’t try it on her since she lives in another state.

purp bday dress

Finding fabric that looked like galaxies was a little challenging, since I didn’t have time or the budget to order a custom fabric.  But I found some hand-printed cotton at my local fabric store (that has a ton of quilting fabric, and very little knit, which seems common in Florida) that looked pretty and sort of galaxy like.  The pattern tutorial calls for a zipper if the dress is made with woven fabric, although it’s only supposed be in the bodice.  After installing the zipper in the completely lined and finished bodice, it made no sense to me to not have it extend into the skirt.  Since there isn’t a back seam in the skirt (which would have been the easiest solution) I just snipped down the center back of the skirt about 3 inches, and folded the snipped edges under.  Attaching the skirt was a bit challenging, since I needed the edges to line up perfectly in order to continue sewing on the zipper.  It isn’t the prettiest zipper I’ve ever done, but it was installed and worked perfectly.

bday flat

To up the “space” and sparkle factor, I added some metallic trimmed satin and chiffon ribbon to the bottom edge of the tulle underskirt.  A simple zig zag stitch through the chiffon layer worked perfectly, and it took every single inch of the 3 yard spool of ribbon!  I also made the hair bow, by following a tutorial on YouTube.  Fortunately, the dress fit perfectly, and Lila wore it all day long from playing in the garden, to learning to ride her birthday scooter.

bday gardenGpa push scoot

Last year, she just leaned forward in her high chair and nibbled her cupcake.  This year, she decided it was too sticky to hold herself, and wanted Mama to hold it for her!  Can you tell that she only gets sugary treats on rare occasions?

bday cupcakebday bite

The birthday party flew by, with kids, neighbors, family, friends, noise, presents, and the general bedlam that one expects at a children’s birthday party.  And it really only ended after it grew dark, and all of the neighbor children finished playing with bikes, scooters, balls, being pulled in wagons, and the adults gathered them inside for their dinners and evening baths.

On her actual birthday, we tagged along on a trip to a local farm.  Lila got to see all the animals, go on a wagon ride, wander through a maze, and look at pumpkins, although she didn’t pick one out to take home.

Lila chickenLila turkey

Lila Gma mazeWill Gma

And she got a shoulder ride from Grandpa, just like her Mama used to when she was little!

Gpa shoulderGG farm

She also opened her present of Grandma made clothes.  She wore her Petite Stitchery Sweetie Leggings (another free pattern) made from a floral double brushed polyester scrap and her Patterns for Pirates Tiny Tulip (also a free pattern), made from pieced together scraps of rayon spandex ribbing from Phee Fabrics the next day.  The leggings are a looser fit like joggers, and the 24 months size fits well.  The dropped shoulders of the Tiny Tulip make the size 2 a little bit big on her.  I had to roll up the sleeves to keep them out of her way.

PS scooter standscooter cat

I made the skirt out of some star printed vintage cotton woven my Mom gave me when cleaning out her house.  It’s just two pieces of fabric 12″ high by 22″ wide sewn together, and gathered with swim elastic.  Swim elastic works best because it’s soft, and stretches enough to gather a wide opening small enough to fit on a simple rayon spandex waistband.

PS Sweetie P4P skirt

I hadn’t tried the free (with code in their Facebook group) Halla Leggings pattern before, but gave them a try because the rise is higher in the front than some of the other kids leggings patterns.  Toddlers have round little bellies, and I dislike low rise leggings with a baby belly and diaper sticking out of the top!  There was a big enough scrap of Polartech Powerstretch left in my stash to make the size 2/3 years.  The Patterns for Pirates Buried Treasure Tunic in size 2 was the basis for the other two tops I made.

H leggings P4P tops

The sweater knit hacci was part of a panel and I didn’t have enough scraps to make long sleeves.  So I cut them as long as I could, added seam allowances, and cut the rest of the sleeves, neckband, and gathered ruffle on the bottom out of Phee Fabrics rayon spandex.  The floral print was a scrap of rayon spandex from JoAnn Fabrics.  Since the fabric was quite thin, and didn’t have the greatest recovery, I decided to use some white rayon spandex from Phee as the neckband.

btreas puppetbtreas laugh

It makes for a cute outfit that is comfortable for her to run and play in.  She also likes adding the 5 Out Of 4 Girls’ Eleanor Cardigan I made her last year when she is preparing to go play outside.  If Phee Fabrics gets any more Polartech Powerwool in this winter, I will definitely have to make her another cardigan!

eleanor cardi

We had so much fun hanging out with the birthday girl!  The 13-1/2 hour drive each way was brutal, but worth it to be able to visit our sweet, fun, loving, adorable, hilarious granddaughter.  We can’t wait to visit again for Thanksgiving, but we’ve decided we’re going to fly next time!

 

This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission/credit if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me! 🙂  Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, patterns, fabric, and pattern hacking. ❤

 

 

Sinclair Joanne Faux Wrap Dress & Top

Twirly dresses just make me smile!  As does Sinclair Patterns newest release, the Joanne Faux Wrap Dress & Top.  This is one of those patterns that I will make again and again.  The drafting is just so good.  It was obvious during testing that the design was a winner, because after sewing it up, I had to struggle to think of anything that I would change.  The only thing I could think of was to have the wrap swoop a little lower to get under the bust easier without causing pulling at the side seams, and that I would be comfortable with the skirt being an inch or two shorter.

Joanne1 angle

Other testers struggled to find anything to critique as well.  The dress just looks so good on everyone!  It will be hard for you to see the differences in my periwinkle dress (version 1) and my blue dress (version 2).  Very subtle changes were made to deepen the pleats a little bit so that the crossover was a smidge shorter at the side seams, and the skirt was shortened an inch or so.  There is also a midi skirt cut line, so if you want a longer skirt you’re good to go.   I literally couldn’t stop myself from twirling and swishing this skirt like a little girl! 🙂

Joanne1 blurJoanne full

Both of my dresses are sleeveless, because Florida is hot.  As in temperatures are still above 90*F in late September hot.  For that one month of winter that we get, I would really like to make a Joanne with sleeves.  Because there are options galore- short, 3/4, long and my personal favorite, a flounce sleeve!

Since the test went so well, Oxana (the designer at Sinclair Patterns) added a hi low peplum option and it is gorgeous!   She also added the shaped tie belt, which I love.  It really adds to the look of the dress and top.

Joanne tie

The genius secret behind having such a nice crisp bow?  The pattern tutorial suggests using knit interfacing.  If you’ve never used knit interfacing before, it’s a little different than the interfacing you use for woven fabrics.  It’s an open weave knit, so it still has some stretch, and you just iron it on the wrong side of your fabric.  Except you absolutely have to use a pressing cloth, or you will be spending some time cleaning your iron, and could ruin your garment with glue residue.  Due to the open weave of knit interfacing, the glue will spread when heated, and if you don’t use a pressing cloth, the sticky glue will get all over your iron.  Obviously, I am speaking from previous experience here! 🙂  The first time I ever tried it, I spent some quality time cleaning my iron after realizing that yes, you should read the directions included with your interfacing!  Here’s my pro tip: If you don’t have a pressing cloth, use a paper towel.  You will have to kind of peel your paper towel up after pressing, but the residue won’t come through the paper towel and it didn’t leave any paper fibers stuck to my belt.

My other tip for sewing is the same as I mentioned for the Sinclair Yasmin Dress blogged here.  Small pieces of Wash Away Wonder Tape are great for holding your pleats in place.  I also used a strip of Scotch Tape to ensure that they stayed in place until the side seams were stitched.

wonder tape pleatsscotch tape pleats

The Joanne is a pretty quick sew, and with all of the options, it’s bound to be a staple in my closet!  I’m envisioning a black or white rayon spandex hi low peplum top because it would go with literally everything!  And of course a couple more dresses!

Joanne sideJoanne back

I know I’m gushing, and probably oversharing photos, but the fit is great whether you look at it from the back or side.

Joanne1 twirl

I am grinning in every photo, and twirling in most of them.  It’s pretty obvious that I love this pattern!  During the release sale is the perfect time to buy the Joanne Faux Wrap Dress & Top pattern, as it is on sale for $7.99 through Wednesday September 25, 2019.  I hope you’ll check it out, and share photos of your makes!

I used Rayon Spandex from Phee Fabrics for both of my dresses.  It’s a substantial 13oz. fabric and works perfectly for this (and every other tank, top, and dress) pattern I’ve ever used it for.  The drape is perfect, and it has enough recovery to make excellent bands.

 

This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission/credit if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me! 🙂  Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, patterns, and fabulous fabric. ❤

 

Mashing Patterns To Suit Your Body And Style

People sometimes comment in Facebook sewing groups that they can’t find a pattern that they like, or they want a certain style for the top, but a different look for the bottom.  Do you have patterns with certain elements that you absolutely love, and wish that you could mix and match them with elements from a different pattern?  Have you ever tried mashing those patterns together to give you a new look?  I find myself mashing and hacking patterns all the time.  It’s generally a good idea to make the pattern as designed at least once, to judge how it fits and looks on you.  Once you know how it fits, it’s easier to start playing with your patterns.

A pattern mash can be something as simple as using the contour waistband you love from your favorite workout pants on a different pants or shorts pattern.  I use a modified version of the Patterns for Pirates Peg Legs contoured waistband on P4P SOS Pants and it works great, blogged here.  Mixing and mashing sports bras with workout tanks can really personalize your gym wardrobe.  Like using the GreenStyle Power Sports Bra and mashing it with the body of the GS Lille or Jillian Tank to make a workout top.  It’s always fun to turn a top into a dress, like using the Stitch Upon A Time Aushui Tank and mashing it with the skirt of the Calista Bra, Top, Tunic & Dress.

Sometimes your mash will require a little bit of adjustment in order to work.  Like tracing the armscye from a pattern onto another pattern to ensure that the sleeves you want to use will fit the jacket, top, or dress.  Sometimes it’s a matter of making your best guess as to what will work, then trying it on and adjusting from there.

That was my  experience with last week’s pattern mash.  I wanted another new dress, and loved the flared skirt from the Sinclair Yasmin Dress.  Temperatures are still in the 90’s here, so a strappy dress seemed in order.  The Stitch Upon A Time Water Faery Twist & Swim Top (blogged here) fits well, so I figured that mashing the plain front version with the Yasmin skirt would make a super cute dress.  And I think it does.  But it took a little bit of basting and trying on to perfect my fit.  I knew that the V-shaped waistband from the Yasmin wasn’t going to line up with the bodice of the Water Faery, so I cut out the crop length Water Faery body to use as a waistband.  Since it’s technically designed as a swim top, the body is quite fitted, so that it won’t float or ride up when you go in the water.  Since I don’t plan to swim in my dress, I want the waistband fitted, but not too form-fitted.  Since I’ve been known to bake (and thoroughly enjoy indulging in) apple crisp this time of year, I decided to size up one on the “waistband”. 😉

Knowing how a pattern fits, and taking note of any changes you make to the pattern really helps the next time you make it.  When I made the Water Faery into a workout top, I narrowed and lengthened the straps and liked it, so this time I knew that cutting out strips 3″ wide & 14″ long would give me the perfect finished size.  Sewing up the bodice (which is an inner and outer layer of Phee Fabrics Tricot, with a layer of powernet sandwiched between) and straps was pretty quick and easy, and the fit was spot on.  Since I hate seam ripping, I just basted the “waistband” pieces together, and tried it on.  It was too loose under the bust.  So I graded the front waistband piece from my measured size at the top, and somewhat straight down, rather than angling in which gave me more of a rectangular rather than tapered shape.  With the width figured out, I stitched the side seams together and basted the outer waistband to the bodice, right sides together.  Then I pinned the inner waistband to the inside, effectively making an enclosed waistband.  It’s easier for me to keep all of the layers perfectly lined up by basting one layer on before pinning on the other layer and stitching everything together.  Before folding the waistband pieces down into place, I zigzagged 1″ wide elastic to the seam allowance, using the length recommended for my size in the Water Faery pattern.  This ensures that the waistband and skirt will stay down under the bust.

Then it was time to determine how long the waistband needed to be.  I wanted the flared skirt to start right at the natural waist.  Starting the flare at the narrowest part of the body gives the illusion of an hourglass shape.  My natural waist is quite high, pretty much right at the bottom of my ribs, well above my belly button.  It was surprisingly easy to find the perfect spot.  Since the waistband also had powernet sandwiched between the layers, it was definitely going to find the narrowest point for me!  Literally just bending side to side, forward and back, caused the waistband to roll up to the height of my natural waist.  I used my hem gauge to take note of the fact that the waist seam needed to be 1″ up from the bottom of the waistband in the back and on the sides, tapering to 1-3/4″ up in the center front.  Since I prefer using 3/8″ seam allowances, I trimmed 5/8″ off the back waistband pattern piece.  I used a ruler to taper from 5/8″ at the sides to 1-3/8″ at center front on the front waistband pattern piece.  Then I very carefully matched up the side seams of my bodice,  lined up the bottom edges, pinned the bodice together so that the center front and center back were on the two outside edges, and used my rotary cutter to trim off the excess fabric.

Adding the skirt was super simple, sew up the two side seams, match center points and side seams, pin all around, and stitch.  The most time consuming part was pinning up the hem.  I finished the hem with a simple zigzag stitch.  And Ta Dah!  I have a brand new fun and flowy dress!  Because I used powernet in the bodice, waistband, and straps, and elastic under the bust, I didn’t need to add swim cups or wear a bra with this dress.  And I’ve already had two random strangers ask me where I found such a cute dress.

 


WFY side

See how the seam where the skirt is attached runs perfectly parallel across the back?

WFY back

Laughing while modelling your makes is half the fun!

WFY hair

And of course I had to twirl!  Whenever you make a twirly skirt, you can’t help but twirl!

WFY wind

This pattern mash was a complete success, and something I’m bound to make again.  After sewing it, I realize it’s probably pretty close to the Water Faery Retro One Piece dress option, and that’s ok, because it looks like a great pattern.  Since I already own the Twist & Swim Top, and would never wear a one piece, I don’t feel like I have to buy the pattern just for the dress option.  (Although if you’re not yet comfortable with pattern mashing or hacking, it is a great option).

One of the best things about sewing is being able to personalize patterns, mixing and mashing, and hacking them to suit your body, and your style.  Are you ready to try a pattern mash?

 

This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me! 😉  Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, patterns, fabric, and pattern mashing and hacking. ❤