Franklin Dress

I made the Franklin dress pattern for my daughter for Easter.  Unfortunately, it ended up being a little chilly, so almost all of the pictures of her that day are covered up by a sweater.  Then, I made her an Easter basket from the Fabric Basket Tutorial from Ellison Lane, which she also ended up not using because a bucket was provided at the Easter Egg Hunt.  Oh well!  She had a blast running around and picking up eggs, and that is what mattered.

Pattern: The Franklin Dress is the first dress pattern offered by the Brooklyn Pattern Company.

Franklin Dress

Pattern Description (from designer): A surprisingly simple dress with playful details and endless options. Whether romping in the dirt with frogs in her pockets or strolling across the Brooklyn Bridge, both mom and daughter will appreciate the versatility. A pleated yoke frames the face while gathered sleeves add a special touch. Go casual with a sweet polka dot cotton or dress it up with linen or silk.

Pattern Price: $12

Fabric Required: For 12 month size, it requires 1- 1.5 yards depending on width.

Amount of fabric used: I used 1 yard of 54″ wide fabric and did not have garment sewing usable scraps after.

Sizing: Includes sizes 6 months – 8 years.  I made size 2T.  Actual measurements are not included, which I am so used to using to decide what size to make that I was lost without it.

Franklin Dress

Alterations: I made the pattern as written.

Instructions: Instructions are good and there is also a sew-a-long for beginners or anyone who needs extra help.  Diagrams are included in the pattern.  My only issue is below.

Pattern Issues: My only complain is that the diagram showing where to place the interfacing behind the buttonholes makes it look like it should be placed again the cut edge of the fabric, instead of inside the seam or even just centered on the line you are going to put the buttonholes on.  I knew it didn’t seem right as I was doing it, but I try to follow the instructions as written for the first time I make a pattern so I went with it in case there was some reason it was done that way.  There wasn’t.

Fabric Choice: I made it in a lovely purple stretch poplin purchased from Mood, now out of stock.  I originally purchased it for me (back when I had a short-lived misconception that I could make a woven shirt for myself out of 1 yard of fabric).  I used 1 yard of fabric for her dress.

Franklin Dress

Finished Product: It is a very sweet dress.

Husband’s opinion: Why did I make it a dress when we never dress our daughter in dresses?

Notes for future makes: The bodice width is a bit wide.  Not crazy wide, more room to grow wide, but if in doubt about size I would probably go with the lower size.  Also, I would shorten it to make as a shirt so she would wear it more often.

Final Thoughts: It’s a pretty easy sew that makes a cute dress.

Ellison Lane Fabric Basket as Easter basket

I had to include the Easter Basket somewhere!  It was used during the practice egg hunts, so it wasn’t a total waste.  I’m probably going to remove the handles and use it as a thread catcher.  I like how it turned it!

Linking up to Frances Suzanne’s Link Party for the Franklin Dress Flip this Pattern, even though I didn’t flip it at all.

 

Oliver & S Fairy Tale Dress Review

My first Fairy Tale Dress was almost a year ago, and I adjusted it to make my daughter’s baptismal gown.  At that time, I was still pretty new to garment sewing.  I think it was my third dress ever.  I chose to go from the Made by Rae Itty Bitty Dress, to the Made by Rae Geranium Dress, to the Oliver & S Fairy Tale Dress.  It was a pretty big learning curve.  Now that I have actually sewn the pattern as written, I feel better about writing a Fairy Tale Dress pattern review.

Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress

I have to say I was much more confident this time than I was last time.  Although, last time I had the advantage of ignorance – I didn’t know enough to know that I had chosen a challenging pattern with silk and “scary” invisible zippers.  If I had realized what I was doing was supposed to be harder, I don’t know if I would have finished it so quickly.

Pattern: Oliver & S Fairy Tale Dress

Fabric Required: From pattern (44-45″ wide): 1 3/4 yards of main fabric, and 1 yard of lining fabric.

Amount of fabric used: A little under 1 yard of main fabric (52″ wide), and a little under 1 yard of lining fabric.  If anyone has a use for just over a yard of silver silk dupioni, please let me know!

Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress

Sizing: I used the 12-18 month size for width, 18-24 month size for bodice length, and I added 2 inches to the 18-24 month skirt length to make it mid-calf instead of knee length.

Alterations: I had to lengthen the front of the bodice by 1/2″.  I just added the 1/2″ to the middle and tapered it to the normal length at the sides.  It was a small change, but helped fit over the toddler belly a little bit better.  I also tacked the collar down because it was flipping up too much for my taste when she tried it on pre-wedding.

  • Sash: I didn’t want to use either version of the sash as published in the pattern.  I was hoping to have my daughter wear this for Christmas so I didn’t want to sew the sash to the dress.  I liked the wide sash in the back, but sometimes the super wide sashes on the front of a dress overwhelms little girls.  I decided to use the pattern pieces for the back, but sew it to a narrower portion for the front of the dress.

Instructions: As expected with Oliver & S, these were good instructions.  I did use couple additional tutorials shown below.

Tutorials Used:

    • How to hand stitch a hem – I used the slipstitch to hem the outer dress.  I don’t hand sew many things, but it felt right for this dress.

Hand sewing silk hem

Pattern Issues: The only step that I had any issues with was attaching the zipper to the dress exterior.  In some of the diagrams it showed the seam finished, in others it wasn’t, and it didn’t mention in the directions the right time to finish the seam.  I was using a serger to finish the seams and chose poorly, because I should have finished that back seam before attaching the zipper.  I ended up serging from the bottom as close as I could to the zipper.  The rest of it gets encased in the lining.  This dress won’t be going through a washing machine, so it will probably be fine.

Although, I do have to add – why is there not a table with the width of the skirts for each size?  I hated having to print out 8 extra pieces of paper for the three skirt pieces when I knew I was just going to cut the skirt as one continuous piece.  This skirt doesn’t need side seams.  It makes it slightly easier to line stuff up, but as long as you mark where the side seams would have been there is not issue lining up the skirt to the bodice.

Fabric Choice:

– Outer: I used silk dupioni from NY Fashion Center Fabrics in 137 – Silver.  I was fortunate that they had a Labor Day sale that lowered the price point when I needed to order it.

– Tulle: I also ordered the gray tulle from NY Fashion Center Fabrics in the same sale.

– Lining The lining was a cheap voile from Fabric Mart that appears to be out of stock now.  I was too cheap, and should have used a better quality voile (even though it would have cost more).  It looks fine in the finished garment, but it was so thin that it was horrendous to sew and I was fighting it the whole time.  I think Tim Gunn has a quote that a successful garment starts at Mood, and he is so right.  I thought I had learned my lesson on cheap vs. good value fabric, but I’m still learning it over and over.

Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress

Finished Product: I love this dress as a party dress for a little girl.  The color isn’t the best color for my daughter’s complexion, but she was the flower girl for a wedding whose colors were grey and blue.  I only had 1/2 yard of the matching blue fabric, so I used that to make the sash.

Husband’s opinion: He loves this dress.

Final Thoughts: This is my second time making this dress, and I will probably make it again if another fancy occasion comes up.  I may have to use a different collar or something next time so people don’t realize I keep using the same pattern over and over!

Linking up to: Sew + Show Wednesday @ Straight GrainShow off Saturday at Sew Can SheThreading your way @ Threading my Way

Looking Back at 2014

2014 was a good year.  It was my second year at home with my daughter.  My husband was in the middle of grad school to get his Master’s Degree.  My brother-in-law got married.  And I kept sewing!

I didn’t realize how much I sewed until I started making mosaics and realized how many pictures I have!  I did not make as many quilts, because there are only so many quilts a person can use and because I choose to do more challenging work for the ones I did make.  This also reminded me that I need to start making blocks for my Real World Red and White quilt if I ever want to get it done.
2014 Quilting for me I also joined bees and a swap for the first time, so some of my quilting time was dedicated for other people.  I really enjoyed pushing my boundaries and learning new techniques as part of these bees, so I am continuing in Stash Bee this year – and already signed up for two mini quilt swaps!
2014 Bees and SwapsI joined the Plum and June New Blogger Group.  As a part of that group, I joined a round robin bee – the Round Trip Quilts group.  It’s seriously one of the hardest and most awesome quilty things I’ve done.   I love the challenge and creativity that our group is demonstrating each round.  I can’t wait to see how everyone’s quilts turn out!
2014 Round Trip Quilts Sewing
I also started sewing more and more clothes this year.  This isn’t near all of them.  Much of what I sew are basics like leggings and shirts that I apparently did not feel were photo worthy.  I should think about whether or not I feel that way for the future.  Also, fancy dresses are fun to sew, but don’t get worn.  Those leggings get worn to death.
2014 Sewing for my daughterAnd I embraced “selfish” sewing, and made a few things for myself!  Taking pictures of myself in clothes I’ve made is much harder than taking the pictures of a quilt block or of my daughter.  Not only does the light have to be good enough to take pictures, the weather has to be appropriate to wear the garment, it can’t be wrinkly from wearing all day, and my hair has to look acceptable.  Sewing bloggers, I salute you and your herculean efforts to document your makes.  In the coming year I want to become better about blogging what I’ve made for myself.
2014 Sewing for meI also entered a quilt show for the first time.  I didn’t really enter thinking I would win anything, but it does make the experience more fun 😉  I really entered because my local shows are full of quilts that all look the same.  I wanted to show that there are quilts that aren’t made from drab colors.  I wanted to enter a wearable category and show that you can quilt a sophisticated bag.  I hope my work demonstrated that you can be young and make technically sound work that is modern and beautiful.

I also have to brag on myself for a minute – I took 2nd in the Group category in the NC State Fair.  I was pretty proud of that because I had heard that the group and dual category are the most competitive categories.  Luckily I found that out after I entered – otherwise I may not have had the nerve to enter the group category.  Then I found out that a quilter who has been quilting longer than me and does amazing custom work had quilted the 3rd and 4th place quilts in the group category.  That made me feel pretty good!

2014 Quilt Show Season

Last year I tried to participate more in the bigger quilting world – through bees and swaps, and also through guest blogging.  I wrote a tutorial for a paper pieced block for Sew Mama Sew.  I guest blogged for Angela Walter’s Business of Machine Quilting Blog.  I took a couple longarm classes and learned some great techniques.

That’s my year in summary.  This coming year I want to piece a little bit more.  I have a to-do list that hopefully I can follow.  I want to quilt more.  I want to continue developing my skills – in piecing and sewing and quilting.  And accomplish all this while moving over the summer and potentially going back to school in the fall… eek.  Here’s to 2015!

Oliver and S Roller Skate Tunic Pattern Review

I’m continuing my Kid’s Clothes Week theme of fall useful clothing with my Roller Skate Tunic Pattern Review.

Roller Skate Tunic Pattern Review

Pattern: Oliver and S Roller Skate Tunic and Dress (digital version)  This is a great pattern for the digital side, because there is not that much to print.  It was a nice change from some of the huge patterns I have printed off lately.

Pattern Description (from designer): This cute and easy dress can also be made as a tunic, with two different styles for each length. All views include built-in cap sleeves, Empire-waist elastic casing, and keyhole-with-button opening at back.

Fabric Required: For 12-18 month size, 3/4 yard of both the lining and outer fabric.  One button for the back closing… a lion button makes any kid’s shirt better!

Oliver & S Roller Skate Tunic

Amount of fabric used: I’m pretty sure I could have cut it out of a half yard cut of fabric.

Sizing: My daughter’s chest size matched the 12-18 month size exactly, so I made the 12-18 width with 2T length.

Alterations: The only change I made was to add some length.

Instructions: This is a pretty simple shirt to construct, and the instructions are good (as always from Oliver and S).  The marking of the line where the elastic casing goes was a bit tedious, but there are better tools that make it easier (I just don’t own them).  The method to use carbon paper and a tracing wheel would be infinitely faster, easier, and more accurate.

Pattern Issues: I measured the elastic to be the exact width of her chest (plus the seam allowance) as directed, but I think it’s a little tight.  Not uncomfortable tight, but when she lifts her arms, the shirt rides up and stays up.  In my next version I will make the elastic a little bit looser so it hopefully won’t have that issue. You can see what I mean in the picture below…

Oliver & S Roller Skate Tunic

Fabric Choice: I used quilting cotton for the outside and voile as the lining.  The weight works well together.

Finished Product: Overall, I think it’s a cute shirt.  I already have another one cut out, it just needs to be sewn up.  I think with the cutout, the neckline is a little low on my daughter.  Maybe for her size, it gets low proportion wise?  I’ve seen a lot of other versions of this dress and never had thought before, but sometimes there is a little more food stuck in the top after a meal than is ideal.  Until she gets into larger sizes I don’t plan on using the cutout again.

Husband’s opinion: He doesn’t like how it rides up, but hopefully loosening the elastic will take care of that.

Notes for future makes: As stated above, I will make the elastic  a little bit looser in my next version and probably not use the cut out option until she is a little bit older.

Oliver & S Roller Skate Tunic

Final Thoughts: The Roller skate tunic is a well designed pattern that creates a good looking dress.  I like how it is lined, and think it is a very flattering and cute silhouette for a little girl.

Also, the pants are the Oliver and S Sandbox Pants that I made for the Winter 2014 KCW (last January).

Izzy Top Review

Here in North Carolina, fall sewing looks a lot like summer sewing for a good reason.  Last week, I think we had about 80 good reasons to wear short sleeves and still sew short sleeves this far into fall.  Therefore, my latest project and review is the free Izzy Top from Climbing the Willow.

This is also the unofficial start of Kid’s Clothes Week for me!  We have some family stuff next weekend, so in my personal version, KCW runs from 18-24 October instead of 20-26 October.

Izzy Top

PatternIzzy Top from Climbing the Willow.  Available for free in sizes 18 months – 12 years.

Pattern Description (from designer): The Izzy Top is a sweet, feminine curved yoke top pattern that closes with a button (or snap) tab in the back.  It is a very simple pattern to make and only requires basic sewing skills.

Fabric Required: 1/2 yard of main print, 1/4 yard lining for 18 months and 2 years.

Amount of fabric used: every last bit of 1/2 yard of the main fabric.  I had to actually reduce the width of the flared portion to fit in a half yard.

Izzy Top

Sizing: The 18 month size is recommended for a 19.5 inch chest.  The designer also mentions that she designed it to fit true ready to wear sizes.  I think that is pretty accurate.  My daughter’s chest is 18.75 inches right now, and I’m glad I have the little bit of ease because it makes it easier to get on and off.  Also, my daughter has a huge head and needed every bit of the neckline to get it on and off.

Alterations: I added 1.5 inches to the length because my daughter is about a 2T in height.  I used a snap for the back enclosure because I didn’t feel like doing button holes.

Izzy Top

Instructions: The instructions were good.  There are pictures for every step.  The only change I made was to baste the bodice to the skirt portion prior to serging them together.  I basted one one top, and did not on the other and the one I basted first turned out nicer.  Most shirts/dresses I have made in this style have the seam mid-chest enclosed, and at first I was annoyed that it was not, but the seam doesn’t seem to bother my daughter and it was faster a little bit easier to serge the seam.  If you don’t have a serger, you would probably want to lengthen the lining piece about half an inch to be able to enclose the seam.  Or you could do a french seam, or a flat felled seam there as well without issue.

Izzy Top

Pattern Issues: None.  This is a free tutorial, and I think for it being free, she did a great job!  The pattern fit as advertised, there are photos for every step, and it is a cute shirt.

Fabric Choice:  One shirt was a Lisette voile from a year or two ago.  The other shirt I made from chambray dots.  I purchased it in person at Mulberry Silks in Carborro, NC, but I’m pretty sure this burgundy chambray dot is the same one.  It’s a heavier weight than the voile, but still works well for this shirt.

Izzy Top

Finished Product: This is an adorable shirt for a toddler.  The shirt is a little wide for my taste.  I prefer the blue one that I didn’t have enough fabric to make the full width, so I will probably reduce the width again when I make this in the future.

Izzy Top

Husband’s opinion: Likes it, but agrees that the full width is a little too full.

Final Thoughts: This is a well put together tutorial in a wide range of sizes that I will most likely make again as she grows out of the current versions.  I even like it as it gets colder because I can either layer it over a long sleeve shirt, or put a cardigan over it.  I think in the spring I would like to try it with a knit for the bottom portion.

Notes for future makes: Reduce the width of the bottom portion.  I think in the spring I would like to try it with a knit for the bottom portion.

Summer Sewing

It’s been a little busy so far this summer, but I have managed to get some summer sewing in.  June was Made for Kid’s Month, after all.

Little Betty Bonnet

I love a little girl in bonnets, and hers was getting a little small.  I made the 7th and 8th versions of the Little Betty Bonnet pattern.  It comes in only three sizes, but I play with the seam allowances to get a better fit.  The one that is getting small was the straight 18-24 month size, with a 3/8 inch seam as the pattern calls for.  It fit her head fine, but the bill wasn’t covering her face.  The one I made last fall with the 1/4 inch seam throughout is still too big.

Little Betty Bonnet

Therefore, I used the 3/8 inch seam on the top of the bonnet, and the 1/4 inch seam in the back and on the bill.  That gave the extra length to cover her face, but didn’t make the whole bonnet so huge that it would be unwearable.

Little Betty Bonnet

You can also push the brim back and show off the coordinating fabric because the whole bonnet is reversible.

Little Betty Bonnet

I also made a little skirt for her, no pattern.

Little Betty Bonnet

Baby Skirt

I used the measurements off a skirt she already has, but some time lapsed between taking the measurements and making the skirt, so I forgot to add seam allowances.  It would have been a little short, but I added a separate waist which saved the skirt.  I love her in a skirt, and it’s a great use for leftover fabric.

Baby Skirt

I also love clean inside seams!

Baby Skirt

-Heather

Linking up to: Anything Goes MondayFabric Tuesday @ Quilt StoryFinish it up Friday @ Crazy Mom QuiltsWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictTGIFF , Fabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth Fabric, Show off Saturday at Sew Can She, and Sewing Saturday at Simple Simon & Co

 

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