Friday, May 1, 2015

popover fireworks dress

For my second Kid's Clothes Week make last week, I sewed my daughter an Oliver + S Popover Sundress. It's a free pattern and super cute and simple. I will definitely be making more because it went together so quickly.

Originally I had other ideas for the pattern... plans that were more in line with the season's "Wild Things" theme. But I was having trouble getting excited about starting it, so I ended up going in a completely different direction.

I used navy blue linen for the main dress fabric, and some vintage red and blue plaid for the yoke and ties. I also added a piece of vintage eyelet trim to the yoke for a bit of interest and I think it really makes the dress. I sewed a size 3 for my tall girl and the fit is great. I also used french seams (my new favorite technique - I use these everywhere now!) so there are no exposed seams.

Then at the last minute I decided to add some hand embroidery to the bottom. The dress was definitely veering in a patriotic direction with its red, white and blue colors, so I decided to just go all out and add some fireworks. I got lucky and found a cute (and free!) fireworks embroidery pattern from Mollie Makes that worked perfectly.

My daughter loves here "fireworks dress" and I can see her wearing it a lot this summer. The fourth of July is still a little way off, but I guess she can wear it for Memorial Day too?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

a trio of bucket hats

I do have a couple more Kid's Clothes Week projects to share, but I haven't photographed them yet, so you'll have to wait. It has been so dark and rainy around here lately!

To tide you over, here are some hats I made a few weeks ago using the FREE Oliver + S Reversible Bucket Hat Pattern.

My daughter has outgrown all her baby sun hats, so I've been thinking about getting her a new one... Plus, a friend was coming to town with her two daughters and I wanted to give them a little something... VoilĂ ! I decided to make a trio of hats!

I sewed these hats assembly-line style, only switching out thread colors when absolutely necessary - for top stitching and such. That said, it would have gone a lot faster with no thread switching, so if you are thinking about sewing several of these at once, it would benefit you to think about using thread colors that will match all the hats!

I sewed two Medium size hats (ages 3-5 as per pattern) and one Extra Small (6-12 months). It was a great project for using up small bits of cute fabric left over from other projects.

It was a relatively easy pattern to follow, but I was on a bit of a timeline and we all know how that goes... nothing was going quite right but I didn't have time to fix it all. The curves were a teensy bit tricky to keep neat and tidy. My hand sewing was a bit of a mess. (Yes, there is a bit of required hand sewing!) It was super hard to line up the final bit of edgestitching since you can only see one side as you are sewing. This wouldn't have been as big of a deal if the hat wasn't meant to be reversible, but as it is, I ended up with one good side and one bad side. And because I was meeting my friend THAT DAY, I really had no time to do any damage control. (Also, why you only get to see one side of the first two hats!) Luckily, I think two of the three hats (the cats and the whale pictured above) will probably only be worn with the fun prints on the outside, because what 2-year-old would want to hide that? And the baby sized hat (below) could actually be worn on either side because that one turned out the best.

My daughter's hat fits perfect (but no photos because she refuses to wear it... oh, 2-year-olds...!), and hopefully my friend's daughters' hats fit as well.

I will probably try this pattern again, but take a little more time trying to make it perfect. It is a relatively quick sew, though not quite as quick as I was expecting. The second time around will probably go much easier, though!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

kid's clothes week: butterfly swing top

I know I keep saying this, but I think I might have (another) new favorite pattern. 

It's the LOL Swing Top pattern by Jennuine Design. It is the perfect swingy summer top and on the reverse side the racerback with gathered skirt is adorbs. Yes, I said that.

You know how some outfits look cuter on the hanger, and others look cuter when they're being worn? This one looks way better on a little girl than on the hanger... but with that warning, I'm showing it to you on a hanger anyway so you can see the details a bit better.

For the fabric I used Wingspan by Art Gallery Fabrics for the front and a coordinating minty green cotton from JoAnn for the back skirt and bias tape. I adore this fabric and am tempted to buy some more to make a top for myself! Though that has a history of not going too well...

The pattern uses quarter inch bias tape (read: really narrow!) and recommends using store-bought, but I decided to be a rebel and make my own because I really wanted the color to match. It worked out fine, but next time I will try store-bought tape and see if it goes any easier. There were a couple spots I ended up having to hand sew because I just couldn't get the the bias tape to catch. 

This pattern can be sewn with either woven or knit fabric and the woven version has a cute button closure on the left shoulder. I used a vintage clear glass button and think it's a cute touch.

I couldn't wait to try it on my daughter and it certainly didn't disappoint. So cute! I think I'll be making a couple more of these to round out her summer wardrobe. Perfect for the Texas heat! (Though I am trying to pretend that isn't coming soon... ugh.)

kid's clothes week

Check out the Kid's Clothes Week website to sew along or make plans to sew next season! It's lots of fun and just requires an hour of sewing each day for a week!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

cousu top

I promised I'd be back with another example of the Cousu Top and Dress and here I am... finally!

This is a top that I made in size 2. It is looser fitting than the dress I made, but I think that is due to the very thin knit fabric that I used. The fabric was also harder to sew with and doesn't look quite as neat and tidy as the dress... but still turned into an adorable, very-wearable summer top. Side note: she is wearing the Puppet Show Shorts I made for her last year! Might have to make a couple more pairs for this summer - I love that pattern!

I don't really have much to say here except that this is a really fun pattern to sew. Even if you are new to knits, it is not too bad. Because there is no binding or hemming on the neck, sleeve or waistband, it really cuts out a lot of the typical "sewing-with-knits problem areas", if that makes sense... In other words, it allows you to get a very professional-looking product without being super experienced with stretchy fabrics. Jump in and try it - you won't regret this one!

The Cousu Top and Dress can be purchased in the Sew Straight Pattern Company Shop, both separately and as part of the complete Cousu Collection.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

cousu dress

The Cousu Top and Dress is the third and final piece of the newly-released Cousu Collection by Terri of Sew Straight and Gather and I can wholeheartedly say it is another winner. (Also see my Cousu Gauchos and Cousu Coat.)

The Cousu Top and Dress is knit pattern that can be either dressy or casual depending on styling and fabric choice. The square neckline and inverted pleats give it a look that is classic yet unique... I have not seen anything similar in independent children's patterns.

There is an option to add a bottom band, which gives it more of a bubble-look, or leave the band off to make the top or dress more flowy and a-line. Unlike the Coat and Trousers patterns, the Top/Dress sews up quite quickly and simply. The pleats go together much faster than the darts in the other patterns and the recommended sewing level for this pattern has been adjusted to "Confident Beginner."

I tested the dress version in size 2 using an aqua knit fabric. I sewed the option without the band, but rather by accident. To be honest, I was planning to add the band, but I liked the look so much without that I decided to just hem the dress and be done with it! This turned out so adorable that I have decided it will be my daughter's Easter dress this year... isn't it perfect?!

I love, love, love this pattern. I know I said that about the coat, and that is still true. But... this might be my favorite out of the entire collection. I love that it is such a quick project (I do love instant gratification!) and I love how different this pattern can look by by using a variety of fabrics. (Plus, can we say CUTE??!) Because of these aspects, I know I will be sewing a lot more of this pattern as my daughter grows. In fact, I've already sewed a second version of this pattern that I'll be sharing with you next week!

The Cousu Collection is on sale at the Sew Straight Pattern Co. Shop through April 4. Patterns can be purchased individually or as a set.

Monday, March 30, 2015

cousu coat

Last week I shared the Cousu Gauchos I sewed as a tester for Terri of Sew Straight and Gather. This week I am sharing the Cousu Coat I made as part of the same collection.

This was such a treat to sew. Like the trousers, the coat is distinguished by the darts sewn into both the front and the back panels. Again, these are decorative rather than shaping, and again, the pattern walks you though the dart-making process step-by-step so that anyone from a beginner to a dart-making expert can be proud of their results. The coat even includes pockets hidden within the lines of the darts - a polished-looking and clever feature of the pattern. Like the trousers, this is classified as an intermediate-level pattern, but due to the excellent instructions I think a confident beginner could tackle it with patience.


The swingy A-line shape is so cute on girls of any age and the longer than average length gives it a classic, dressy look. The pattern even offers options for short or long sleeves, both of which are lovely. As you can see, I chose the long-sleeved option, which fit my daughter great. (Although I am a little concerned she won't get much wear out of it now that we are already reaching the upper 70s and even 80s most days!)

Construction of the coat was not fast, but it was a satisfying sew. It uses the bagged lining technique and I have to say it was so exciting to turn the coat and see the results! It just turned out so professional-looking that I can't help but be proud of my work. This jacket has quickly moved up my list to one of my favorite sews. I have been dragging my feet on sewing outerwear because I knew it would be a lot of work, but this one is definitely worth it!

For my coat I used a melon pink stretch denim (didn't need to be stretch, but I loved the color) for the outer fabric and a white and black swiss dot pattern for the lining. The buttons are flower-shaped plastic mother-of-pearl. I love the bit of whimsy they add to the classic shape of the jacket.

If you'd like to sew a Cousu Coat for a little girl you know (you know you do!), you can pick it up in the Sew Straight Pattern Company Shop, where everything is on sale through April 4th!

Friday, March 27, 2015

cousu gauchos

I have been fortunate to be able to pattern test again for Terri of Sew Straight and Gather, and have been busy, busy, busy the last few weeks as she is releasing not one, not two, but THREE patterns at one time! In fact, they all go live today!

What I love about Terri's patterns is her attention to detail, her classy and unique style and her beautifully-written patterns and instructions. Seriously, they rank up there as some of the best patterns I have sewn. And testing for her has been a joy, as she is friendly, responsive and welcomes and considers all suggestions, rather than taking things personally and/or getting offended.

Anyway, let's get on to the patterns! As I mentioned, there are three different patterns. They coordinate with each other nicely, but are also beautiful on their own. To give each piece its full due, I will be writing a blog post about each... starting with the Cousu Trousers and Gauchos pattern.

Cousu means "stitched" in French, and the main features on this pattern are the decorative darts that run down the length of the wide-legged pants. There are two lengths - Trouser and Gaucho - as well as optional cuffs. I sewed the Gaucho length with cuffs and am so glad that I did because the weather is warming up in Texas very quickly and hopefully my daughter will be able to wear these longer than she would full-length pants.

It was my first time sewing darts, and although these darts are more decorative than shaping, I did get a good feel for them and will be much more confident sewing them in the future. Not to mention the instructions were extremely clear, making the process simple even though it was my first time.

I will also mention that because of the darts and the cuffs, this is categorized as an "Intermediate" level pattern. While not a quick sew, I think it is perfectly doable by a confident beginner. Just follow the directions and take your time. Not so bad at all!

I sewed a size 2 for my daughter. Next time I will probably size up, but only to give her some room to grow. One thing I love about these are how they can be dressed up or down depending on the fabric. I used gray suiting material and think they turned out looking very classy.

They are comfy to wear and easy to get on and off, with a flat front and elastic back. The fit was great on my daughter all around! 

If you are interested in purchasing this pattern, check out the Set Straight Pattern Co. Shop!