Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Fringe Blouse

Recently, I made a deal with myself to not buy any new patterns or fabric. Then the Fringe Blouse and Dress pattern from Chalk and Notch came along and I forgot all about that little deal. I was seeing the Fringe dress everywhere and knew I had to have it, pattern fasting deal or not! I didn't wait long to buy it because it is exactly my style with a button front and elbow sleeves with button tabs.

The Fringe comes with two views - the button front view or a notched front neckline view. Either view can be made as a blouse or a dress. Both views have a gathered skirt with a curved hem and two different sleeve options. The dress version even has optional pockets! It's a pull on style, but there are front and back bodice darts to help with shaping and you can add optional waist ties.

The Fringe is best suited for fabrics that drape well including rayon challis, cotton voile, and cotton lawn. I really wanted to make the dress version, but did not have enough fabric in my stash, so for now I settled with the blouse version in a drapey rayon challis.

My measurements put me in a size 6 bust and a size 10 waist. After looking at the finished measurements and asking for help in the Chalk and Notch Facebook group, I decided to go with the size 8. I needed the ease so it would fit over my shoulders, but I didn't want it to be too tight or too loose. I did make a quick muslin (not my favorite thing to do, but necessary!) and I found the size 8 to be perfect!

The Fringe was my first Chalk and Notch pattern and I was really impressed. The pattern instructions are very professional and easy to follow. I love the layers function for printing out PDF patterns. I will say that if the pattern says to pin well to keep the facing in place while topstitching then you should do as the pattern says. I try to avoid pinning whenever possible, but in this case I had to unpick some stitching around the curve of the neckline. If I had pinned in the first place (and followed the instructions!) I could have saved myself from spending time with the seam ripper.

I also wanted to be lazy and not sew the buttonholes, since others have said it's possible to get the dress on and off without buttonholes. I was a good sewist however, and made the buttonholes. My machine was nice to me this time and made three perfect buttonholes on the front bodice! We usually get into arguments when it comes to buttonholes.

I decided to sew my entire Fringe Blouse with French seams. I love doing French seams because it makes the inside look so nice and professional. It takes a little more time, but it's so worth it in the end.

I really love how my Fringe Blouse turned out and I can't wait to make a dress version! I'm thinking a solid dress would be really nice. It is getting to be the end of summer, but it's still summer weather here! I think the dress would also work well with layers once the weather does start to get cooler.

What have you been sewing recently? What fabric should I make my Fringe dress version with?


Friday, August 11, 2017

A Marigold in Rayon Challis

I know that it is August and school will be starting soon. However, I still wanted to share my Easter dress! Yes, it is the middle of summer and yes, Easter was in April. I am behind in sharing this dress, but I have worn it many times since Easter! The fabric makes this a dream to wear - it is so soft and flowy!

I splurged on this fabric for myself. It is Art Gallery rayon and I loved all the colors in it. I knew it would make a great dress. It took me longer to decide on a pattern than it did to sew the dress. I finally decided on the Marigold dress because I had been wanting to make another one and I knew that it fit me well. It is a classic design and I can wear the dress often.

Since I have made this dress before, I knew how it fit. The only change I made was to lengthen the bodice by 1 inch. By doing this, it hits me where it is designed to fall and it is much more comfortable.

This rayon challis is very lightweight which makes for an excellent drape. I decided to line it in a white batiste which was perfect. It was just enough to give the bodice a little more structure and also allows me to wear it without a slip.

Our county fair is next week and I am planning on entering this dress. I can see myself wearing this into the fall season with a few added layers.

My summer has been busy and full of sewing for both myself and my family! I hope to be back soon to share some more projects.


Friday, May 12, 2017

An Easter Lady Skater Dress

Happy Friday! I'm back today to share the Easter dress I made for my sister, Miss K. She is 14 years old and starting to fit into the smallest end of women's sizes, so I made her the Lady Skater dress in size 2.

I have posted many times before (here, here, here, and here) about my love of the Lady Skater dress, and I really don't have anything new to say. It is a great dress! My Lady Skater dresses are still in heavy rotation in my wardrobe, so I thought it would be the perfect dress for my sister. She wore it for Easter, but it will be a great dress to wear throughout the summer as well.

The fabric is Liverpool knit from my favorite fabric store, Raspberry Creek Fabrics. I had never sewn with Liverpool before, but it wasn't too difficult. It is textured on the right side and smooth on the wrong side. It was a bit slippery, making the hemming a challenge, but I just needed to go slow and be patient with the fabric. :)

I am still learning about fitting all the time. It is one thing to fit patterns to yourself and another for other people. I could've shortened the bodice on this and there is some extra fabric in the sleeve area,  but overall, it's not a bad start. It will fit her for awhile at least!


Friday, May 5, 2017

Friday Dress

Hello, dear blog readers! Spring is one of my favorite times of year, especially here in the Midwest when it finally starts to warm up. I think we are finally past the cold weather, although you can never be too sure. You might wear your winter and summer clothes all in one week! 

Although I have not been blogging as much, I have been sewing quite a bit. My most recent big project was to make Easter dresses for my sisters and I. First up is the Friday Dress, which I sewed for my littlest sister, Miss V. She's not so little anymore, as she likes to remind me! 

The Friday Dress is from Petit a Petit patterns and it is a very classic shirtdress design. As soon as I saw the pattern, I knew it would be perfect for my little sister. The size ranges up to 12 years, so it is a pattern I can use again and again.

There are so many options too, making it perfect for a wide range of ages. For this dress, I chose the full, gathered skirt with a mandarin collar, short sleeves, pockets, and buttons all the way down the front. The dress also comes with the options of a semi-circle skirt, traditional shirt collar, rounded collar, buttons half way down, and long sleeves.

Isn't she the cutest? I made the size 4t and lengthened the skirt quite a few inches because she is tall and I want her to be able to wear this dress for awhile.

I love the collar on this dress! It is so unique and adds a feminine touch to the traditional shirt dress.

The fabric is an Art Gallery cotton, which I bought from my favorite fabric store - Raspberry Creek Fabrics. I have never worked with Art Gallery fabrics before, but this was wonderful to sew! It is a really high quality cotton and the colors are some of my favorites. After some debating with myself and asking for other opinions, I went with navy blue buttons to accent the navy blue flowers on the fabric.

The buttonholes were the most difficult for me. I use the automatic buttonhole foot on my machine, which sometimes works great and sometimes it doesn't work well at all. My first error was mine alone because I put the wrong size button in the buttonholer. I didn't realize it until sewing all of the buttonholes! My seam ripper and I became great friends that day, haha. Even after I had the right size button, some of the buttonholes were too crooked, so I redid them again! They ended up okay in the end, but buttonholes are one of my least favorite things to sew!

The pockets were just the right size for her little hands and perfect for carrying Easter eggs!

I love the little pleat on the back of the dress. I have never sewn a Petit a Petit pattern before, but the instructions are very well done and very detailed. I was impressed with the quality. Even though I have sewn shirts and shirt dress styles before, I find that there is always something new to learn. 

Miss V loves her new Easter dress! She wore it all day on Easter Sunday and has worn it quite a few times since. She is fun to sew for, especially now that she likes (most of) the clothes I make for her!

What have you been sewing? I will be back to blog about the other dresses I made for Easter. I also have been posting for Me Made May on Instagram, so feel free to follow me there if you like!


Monday, January 30, 2017

Mad for Plaid // Novelista Pattern Hack

Hello and Happy 2017!! I realize it is almost February, but I am so excited to be back blogging and share this project with you! Ever since I saw this amazing Novelista hack  from Falafel and the Bee, I knew I needed a Novelista dress in my life. To add to the fun, I decided to make it in plaid and use the skirt from the By Hand London Anna Dress, which happens to be seven gores. To say cutting it out was a headache would be an understatement!

The plaid fabric is Robert Kaufman flannel and after sewing with it, I'm not sure if I can ever use anything else. It is amazingly soft and high quality. I only had 3 yards of it too, so I was holding my breath to get all the pieces cut.

Hacking the Novelista Shirt  into a dress was pretty simple. First, I held the pattern pieces up to myself to decide where I wanted it to to end. I sewed the shortened bodice following the pattern instructions. Next, I sewed the skirt panels together and added a four inch wide band to the top of the skirt. Then I sewed the skirt and bodice together. At first the bodice was too big and I was not able to ease it in to fit the skirt. My aunt gave me the genius idea to gather the bodice slightly and I love how it looks!

You may be wondering how I got the dress on since the snaps only go half way down the bodice. Enter, the side zipper! There is a funny story behind this. I had finished my dress and there was no side zipper. I tried it on and forced the dress over my head. It fit really, really well. In fact, it fit so well that I couldn't get it off! I had a feeling that might happen, but I was hoping I wouldn't have to sew in a zipper. I ended up using my seam ripper and taking out enough of the side seam to get myself out of the dress. Seam rippers are lifesavers!

I am really happy with how well the plaid matches up where the zipper is sewn. You can hardly even see it!

The contrasting grey fabric is scraps of wool from my stash. It is almost a perfect match to the grey in the plaid. I hate the itchy feeling of wool, so I interlined the yoke and waistband with some brown linen (also from my stash). The button placket and sleeve cuffs are interlined with the flannel. The dress is soft and cozy all around!

The button placket ended up being super thick with the wool and flannel, so I decided to use snaps instead of buttonholes. The only snaps I could find at Joann's almost didn't go through all my layers of fabric, but somehow it all worked out!

I also topstitched the waistband with one of my machine's decorative stitches. It's adds a really subtle detail to the dress.

I am trying to embrace the cold, but my hands were not having it! By the time I was finished, they felt like ice. Minnesota is not the best place for blog photo shoots this time of year!

The only change I made to the skirt pieces was to lengthen the midi length by 4 inches. I also sewed a one inch hem. 

Here is a look at the inside of my dress with the brown linen interlining. All of my seams are finished with my overlock stitch on my sewing machine. It is time consuming (and uses so much thread!) but worth it to have nicely finished seams. 

Sleeve plackets are not my forte, but I'm improving! I really wanted the plaid to match here, but I ran out of fabric.

This is the first time I have successfully hacked a pattern and I love how it turned out! I think a chambray, short sleeve version with a circle skirt would be lovely for spring! 


Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Ila Dress

Last month, I had the opportunity to test the Ila Dress pattern from a new to me pattern company - Coffee + Thread. I have read Olga's blog in the past, but had never sewn any of her patterns, so I was excited for this opportunity!

The testing process was very thorough, and although I was only able to test the first version of the pattern there were so many other wonderful testers. All of the testers did an amazing job testing the Ila dress! It is a really sweet dress and I am looking forward to sewing another one for my little sister.

The Ila dress is an A-line dress with a shaped yoke, the option for a front panel and front hidden pockets. It comes with options for short or long sleeves. With the design of the dress, there are so many ways to add in piping, lace, other trims, and even color blocking.

The fabric I used for this dress is some type of sturdy cotton from my stash. It works well with the shape of this dress. I have some corduroy fabric in my stash that I would like to try with this pattern as well. I think corduroy would be perfect for a winter dress.

I was not intending to add any trim to this dress, but I had this beautiful navy blue lace that was a perfect match for the fabric, so I knew it had to be done! I love how it turned out. The lace really adds to the dress.

The pattern comes in sizes 18 months to 12 years. I made the size 4 for my little sister. She is tall for her age, so the only change I made was to lengthen the dress to size 5 and it fits her great!

Another great thing about this pattern, is that the pdf comes in layers, so you have the option to print only the size you need. I have only worked with layered patterns a few times before and so far I really like it! You only see the size you need rather than trying to tape together a wide range of sizes.

The back has an invisible zipper, which is my favorite type of closure for a dress. They are easy to sew even without an invisible zipper foot.

I love the simple, clean lines of this dress. I think it is perfect for little girls, especially if they are always on the move, like my sister. The pockets are also one of my favorite things about the Ila dress. They are hidden into the front seam where the skirt attaches to the bodices panels.

Miss V likes the dress too and has worn it many times since we took these pictures. 

Thank you again Olga for the opportunity to test! 


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Janie Dress

I am so excited to share this new pattern with you!! It is the Janie Dress by Mouse House Creations and was just released a couple days ago. I had the opportunity to be part of the testing group for this pattern and I think it is a great pattern! It comes in sizes 6 months to 12 years with several different options. You can make a cowl neck, regular neck, peter pan collar with ballet scoop back, long sleeves, half sleeves, short sleeves, circle skirt, gathered circle skirt, and peplum. There are even pockets!

I made a size 4 with a size 5 length, since Miss V is tall for her age. The fit is perfect! I was able to use fabric from my stash - the grey and white polka dots is the french terry from my Lane Raglan and the pink is a random knit from the thrift store.

I love the cowl collar - it will be perfect once the weather finally gets colder. It has been unseasonably warm for November, here in MN.

Circle skirts are great for twirling in!

The Janie Dress is a really quick sew. I actually made 5 within the last week. I may be slightly addicted to this pattern! I made 2 versions for Miss V and I also made a 3T for my cousin's little girl. I also made two 6 month sizes for my newest baby cousin and they are so adorable! I can't wait to see her wearing them.

This is the basic neckline version. The bodice is a stretchy interlock from my stash and the skirt is a mystery knit, but it worked well for testing this pattern! 

She loves her new dresses!

You can see more tester versions of the Janie dress here

Also, check out these blog posts: Crafti Mom, A Jennuine Life, Anna's Heirloom Boutique