A New Bicycle Dress

I bought an inexpensive dress at Target last spring for my oldest daughter and it turned into her favorite dress by the end of the summer.  So much so that she continued to try to wear it long after it was no longer appropriate for the weather.  The dress in question was a gray jersey on top and purple bicycle print on the bottom in a quilting weight cotton, a.k.a. the bicycle dress.  In order to appease her love for this dress, I had to promise her that I would make her a new bicycle dress.  There were a few bicycle fabrics in print last year and I chose the Michael Miller print called Bicycles from the collection Mod Prints in the color Bloom.

Although I chose a fabric with a similar color palette to the dress my daughter loved from last year, I did not choose a sewing pattern similar to that dress.  I really love all of Mouse House Creations children’s clothing patterns and picked one of my favorites to use for this dress, the Norah Dress.  I wanted something that wasn’t too fancy to wear to school, but with a pair of dress shoes she certainly can wear it to church on Sundays.  This is a really versatile dress.

I have a few thoughts about constructing the dress.

I really like the collar and I wanted to make the cincher for it when I saw the pictures of that version in pattern instructions.  But, I also needed to make the cincher.  Maybe I was just sloppy when I cut the collar out but it didn’t look great when it was all sewn together and pressed.  The cincher added an element of interest to the look of the dress and solved for me an appearance problem with the collar.

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Secondly, I had to rip out the hem of the skirt.  Olivia was a being a bit wiggly when I had her try the dress on to confirm the length prior to hemming and it ended up slightly higher in the back than the front.  It was noticeable to me, so I had to fix it.  Since I had the hem out, I decided to take the sides in a little bit.  Before hemming the dress it seemed to hang well on her, but afterward the added weight and stiffness of the hem caused the fabric to point out in the middle front of the dress instead of the volume being spread evenly across the front.  You can see this effect in the picture above.   Not that it didn’t look acceptable before, but it does look better after this alteration.

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She looks happy wearing it!  I think this dress will get a lot of wear over the summer.

Happy sewing,

Sara

Progress on Sew Together Bags

I originally started this project as Christmas gifts for a friend and my sister and then one for me. Of course I didn’t start on them well enough in advance, but I took several days off of work before Christmas to get the house ready and thought I could finish up the bags during that time. I have read that it takes most people about 3 or 4 hours to complete one bag. I thought that since I was making a batch of them that I would save some time and I still maintain that assumption, although I did not record the actual time it took me to complete the bags, but I am sure it was over 4 hours though. I ripped out a lot of stitches on these bags, which is time consuming, but I will do it in a heartbeat if it is going to effect the quality of whatever I’m sewing. One nice thing about doing 3 bags at a time was that for each new step in the process, I would try it out first on the bag I was going to keep, then once I moved on to the other two, they looked much better than the first try and I didn’t have to rip any stitches out of the 2nd and 3rd bag.

I just love the fabric I used for these bags. It is from Hawthorne Threads in house collection called Calliope. I specifically wanted to use this fabric because it is produced with a digital printer! It was my first purchase of digitally printed fabric and I was very pleased with it overall. There are a lot of other fabric companies whose fabric has a better hand than this; Art Gallery being the best of course. This fabric was stiff when it arrived in the mail, but after one washing it softened tremendously. It is on the thinner side, but certainly adequate. The weave seemed tight though, and I tried to use a fine needle on the sewing machine because the larger needle was leaving behind noticable holes, as were the pins. But, with this project, a fine needle is not a good option. The quality of the printed design was excellent though. The navy color washed well and the designs were sharp, not blurry at all. So, I would rate the fabric quality as good and the print quality as great. Since I bought this fabric Hawthorne Threads has released even more collections and they are all delightful! I only hope I can produce such good work when I start printing fabric.

I posted several mid-project photos of my Sew Together Bags in my Instagram feed and follow me for more mid-project photos of my current sewing project (and pictures of my adorable girls). Here are the pictures I posted on Instagram; they were taken with my mobile phone, so they aren’t the best.

I had just finished the guts of the bag in this photo and found some extra zippers in my drawer.  I can make another bag sometime soon I hope!IMG_20150101_173615

I finally bought some wonder clips.  I am hoping these come in handy when I get to the binding.IMG_20150107_193624

So, why is it taking me so long to complete these bags? Well, I got the flu the week before Christmas, so that prevented me from doing any of the Christmas preparations (or sewing) I had planned on and I ended up spending my vacation days in bed.  Being pregnant with the flu was a pretty miserable combination, but I made it to the Christmas Eve service at church and we still managed to have about a dozen family members over on Christmas day. Everything worked out for the holidays except for my sewing plans.  I didn’t do much sewing right after Christmas but I tried to get started on this project again in January. And then I got depressed.  I will just be brutally honest and tell you that my prenatal hormones went totally haywire in January and all I accomplished that month was a bunch of crying and feeling sorry for myself.  After a month of nearly driving my husband out of his mind, I started taking an antidepressant.  It made a world of difference and made me feel better immediately.  My husband called it a miracle of modern medicine!  However the medicine does make me really tired, but hopefully I’ll get adjusted to that quickly and not want to sleep so much on the weekends.  I’m sure that won’t take much longer and I’ll be able to finish this project up soon.

Additionally, since I have been sewing at such a slow pace lately, I am thinking that I will not get to the pajama pants that were next on my 2015 sewing list before the weather turns warm. I’ll just save the fabric until next fall. So after I finish these bags I can start on the Norah dress for my oldest daughter. I am looking forward to that project a lot more than PJ pants anyway.

Until next time,

Happy Sewing!

By |February 15th, 2015|Bag Sewing, Fabric|1 Comment

Here Comes 2015! My Project List For The New Year

I am excited for 2015.  My baby boy will be born in May; that’s #1 on my list of awesome things that are to come in 2015.  #2 is that I am actually going to buy the printer I need to digitally print fabric and sell it to all you lovely people who love to sew.  There will be so much more that goes into that venture than just purchasing a printer, but I’ll get into all that as it’s happening.  #3, my oldest daughter is going to kindergarten next fall!  I can’t believe she’s already that old.

I could talk about that printer and the business for days, but right now I want to talk about all the projects I on my “To Sew” list for the coming year.  I have bought so much fabric recently and I intend to sew it up!

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Not in order of the picture arrangement, but by when each item will be sewn:

My oldest daughter got a few pajama sets this fall that came with flannel pants.  Both of my girls love the soft pants and want to wear them a lot.  So, I think they would like to have a few more.  I need to get going on these since it will be too hot for them to sleep in once weather changes, which happens earlier here than in other parts of the country.

Last summer, my oldest daughter had a dress from Target that had bicycles on it.  She LOVED it.  She continued to try to wear it long after it was too cold for short sleeves.  I eventually ended up having to hide the dress from her, but I told her I’d make her another bicycle dress and I found this super cute bicycle print by Michael Miller to use.  I love the color palette of the print; the bikes are pink and white and the background is gray.  I am using the Norah Dress pattern by Mouse House Creations, which has a retro vibe to it, so I think it will look great using that fabric!

Each year I buy cover ups for my girls to wear to the beach and the pool.  I came across this pattern for a children’s robe from Dana Made It and just loved it.  I bought a bunch of hot pink terry cloth at Mary Jo’s recently for this project.  Of course, I already had plenty of cotton fabric with pink in it to use for the hood lining and all the binding.   So, I let each girl pick out their favorite cotton fabric and they chose the two in the picture above.  I think they will really like wearing these.  Since they are taking swim lessons throughout the rest of winter, I also need to go ahead and get this project completed so they can wear the robes to the aquatic center.

I will probably make the sundresses before my due date, which is May 5th, just because I want them ready for summer and I may be not be sewing for the month or so after the baby is born.  I bought several yards of Wee Wanderer last fall (who doesn’t adore that fabric line?  I sure do!)  and saved it to make sundresses for my two girls and my oldest niece.  If I have any extra fabric left I will try to make some baby clothes for my younger nieces, but I find sewing tiny arm/leg holes to be very tedious and difficult to get the seams straight.  So aside from baby clothes made for a specific event that required a special outfit, I waited until my girls and niece were are at least a size 2T before I started making clothes for them.  However, I may have to suck it up for the baby boy and sew him some john-johns and other things.  Boy clothes are so boring and drab, I will probably need to make some especially cute outfits for him.

After I have the baby, I know I am going to want some new clothes that are figure flattering.  Both the Staple Dress by April Rhodes and the Washi Dress by Made By Rae should be perfect to mask my post-baby body shape since they are both high-waisted.  I have a new love for Art Gallery Voile and have bought quite a few yards that I intend to use for these sewing projects.  Additionally, I want some tunics to wear after I have the baby.  Stretch pants are a “go to” for me postpartum, but I don’t have any summer tunics to go with them.  The Washi Dress offers a tunic length, so am going to make another one of those.  I bought the expansion pack for the Washi Dress so the tunic should look quite different from the Washi Dress.  I am still searching for another tunic pattern for the second tunic I intend to sew.  However, as labeled above, I do already have fabric for it.  The other one will be made from the cotton voile that looks like it is a watercolor, which is from Cloud 9.  I love organic cotton , but it’s not nearly as soft as the Art Gallery voile and the hand of the fabric is more stiff.  I still love the print though and I am looking forward to wearing it.  Side comment; I love this idea of an expansion pack!  I usually embellish any pattern that I use, but rarely go so far as to change the neckline or add a different type of sleeve.  I will probably make several Washi dresses because I love the shape and it looks comfortable to wear, but by using the expansion pack, I won’t have six of the same dress in my closet!  I love it!

My youngest daughter has a Bitty Baby that she plays with quite a bit.  Bitty Baby also has a matching set of furntiture which we got at Costco that includes a crib and high chair.  The crib came with a mat, a pillow and a blanket.  And the high chair has a fabric insert as well.  Though the set is super cute and nothing is really wrong with it, I have noticed some things I would change with the design of these accessories, plus the fabric used for these items reminds me of an outdoor upholstery fabric, but it’s slick and cheap feeling.  I’m sure it’s water resistant, which is good, but I’ll take pretty over utilitarian.  So, I’m going to use my stash of Dena Designs Tangier Ikat collection that I have been hording.  I have a charm pack, which I will use for the crib’s quilt and a bunch of yardage that I will use for the rest of the items.  I should still have plenty of fabric left over to make something for myself too.  Brynn should love it because she loves purple and that fabric line is heavy on the lavender.  I need to finish this project before her birthday in October. Love a handmade gift!

And then there is this (sigh), which I also intend on finishing this year (I have a long way to go on this project).   I am nuts about Carolyn Friedlander’s Facing East Quilt which is a pattern included in her book Savor Each Stitch.  I love the simplicity of the pattern.  Though it’s a simple shape, I find the design interesting and appealing.  The inspiration is clear and expressed well in the design.  It is my first attempt at paper piecing, but the first section went very well and as long as the circles are easy to sew in, I think this project will go pretty quickly once I start to pay it some attention.  Despite my disappointment at what very little amount of sewing I have done on this quilt, I can’t wait to have the finished product draped across the arm of my couch in the winter (or wrapped around my body)…  I guess that will be winter 2016 unfortunately.

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This list of upcoming sewing projects is long, and I even have a few ideas in my head of projects for which I don’t have a pattern or fabric yet, so I excluded them from this list.  Additionally, I am currently working on 3 Sew Together bags and a mug rug that I will have to finish before I can even start on any of the projects listed above.  I am concerned that I have put too much on my plate considering I am having a baby this year, but at it’s least something to strive for.  I am going to make a project calender to help keep me on track during the year.  If I stay focused and motivated I think I can accomplish all this sewing plus meet the goals I’ve set for my small business launch this year.  Wish me luck and check back often because I am going to write about all of this sewing, plus what’s going on with my business plan on this blog.

What all is on your “To Sew” list for this year?  I know there are a ton of washi dresses and staple dresses out there.  Is there another new awesome dress pattern that has been released recently that I should check out?  Also, do other people make a calendar and project plan for their sewing and crafting projects, or am I the only dorky one?  (I doubt I am, wink wink, …well, I hope I’m not the only one at least).  Also, please comment and let me know if you have a favorite tunic pattern that I might want to use for my postpartum wardrobe.  I’d really appreciate any suggestions.

Happy New Year!