School Bus T-shirt Review

This is continuing the theme of t-shirts that are long enough to cover my daughter’s upper body.  Given that it has been 90 degrees for the last few days, these were made last fall when it was still cold.  If she needed short sleeve shirts for summer, I would make this pattern again.  The School bus t-shirt is a simple pattern that will be in use for a long time.

Pattern: School Bus T-Shirt from Oliver and S

School Bus T-shirt

Pattern Description (from designer): This basic kid’s T-shirt sewing pattern can be made several different ways. With a long-sleeve and two short-sleeve options, you’ll get endless use from this easy and quick-to-sew style.

Pattern Retail Price: $8.95

Fabric Required: 3/4 yard for up to size 8

Amount of fabric used: I got away with about 1/2 yard, would be less for short sleeves.

School Bus Tee

Sizing: Comes in 6 month to 4 years, then the next size range is 5 years to 12 years.  I made a 2T based on chest measurements with 4T length.

Alterations: I added another inch to the second one because the length on the first one was perfect for now.

Instructions: This is a simple shirt, but the instructions are detailed and have enough information for someone who has never made a t-shirt before.

Pattern Issues: None.  I had to add a lot of length, but I have to do that to all patterns and store bought shirts are too short.

Fabric Choice: I used pink thermal and deer thermal that I bought from Nature’s Fabric last year.  I had a yard of each, and made a long sleeve shirt last winter and this winter from them.  Unfortunately, I don’t think I have enough useable scraps to keep using these fabrics.  I should buy more of the deer while it’s in stock, because she loved it.

School Bus Tee

Finished Product: The school bus t-shirt is a cute, simple tee that is long enough to wear in public (because I can make it longer!).

Notes for future makes: Add more length –  4T + 1″

Final Thoughts: I’m happy to have a simple t-shirt pattern to use until she hits size 12.


2+2 Blouse Pattern Review

My daughter thinks that dinosaurs are awesome, and loves purple.  Luckily, Lizzy House made this amazing purple dinosaur fabric while she is in this phase!

2+2 Blouse

Pattern: Oliver & S 2+2 Blouse

Pattern Description (from designer): Here comes the school bus! Girl’s tunic-length, A-line blouse features neckband ties, gathered front with applied patch, and button back, options for long and short sleeves.

Pattern Retail Price: $13.95

Fabric Required: 1 yard for 2T, view A

2+2 Blouse

Amount of fabric used: I was happy I had the full yard because I wanted to make sure the dinosaurs lined up.

Sizing: 6 months – 8 years

Alterations: I added extra length so she can wear it longer.

Instructions: Mostly easy to follow.  The gathering in the front was a little confusing the first time I did it because I was having trouble picturing what fabric was ending up covered versus needing to be finished.  It’s not quite as neat as I would like, but next time I make this I’ll be fine.

2+2 Blouse

Pattern Issues: None

Fabric Choice: This is a quilting cotton, which works well for this pattern.  Does it get better than purple dinosaurs?  Not for my purple-loving, dinosaur obsessed daughter!

2+2 Blouse

Finished Product: This shirt is adorable.  My daughter is not quite sure what she should do with the ties though.  Sometimes she ignores them, some days she pulls on them continuously.

Notes for future makes: Add more length.  I think I made it 2T with 4T length, and I wish I had added a little more length so she can wear it longer.

Final Thoughts: I wasn’t sure how my daughter was going to feel about the buttons all the way down the back, but she doesn’t seem to even notice them.  This is a cute shirt, and even though it’s a bit of work, it’s adorable and I want to make it again.

Oliver and S Class Picnic Blouse Pattern Review

I was going back through the draft section in my blog and discovered some old posts that never got published.  This is one of them, originally from fall 2014, but the information is still valid although old.

Pattern: Oliver and S Class Picnic Blouse 

Class Picnic Blouse

Pattern Description (from designer): The raglan-sleeve pull-on blouse includes gathers at the yokes, elastic at the shoulders, three-quarter-length sleeves, and wide hems.

Fabric Required: For the 12-18 month size, 1 yard.

Amount of fabric used: I am not 100% sure because my mom cut these out for me.  I think you could probably do it with 3/4 yards for the smallest sizes.

Sizing: My daughter’s chest is the 12-18 month width, and 2T in height, and it fits well.

Class Picnic Blouse

Alterations: None, other than to add the extra length to the shirt

Instructions: Through my own fault, I did not realize there was elastic at the shoulders to make the neck line.  This part of the pattern therefore confused me very much because it seemed like such a crazy way to make the sleeve and collar.  Once I figured out the reason there was a casing, it made much more sense.  Liesl never makes her patterns crazy, so I don’t know why I thought this one was.  When I make more of these shirts next fall, it will be much easier.

  • Tip: In the instructions, it recommends pulling on the elastic when cutting it to get the cut as close to the fabric as possible.  When I did this, I had the elastic actually pull out of the seam twice.  I found it was better to have a little over 1/8″ of the elastic sticking out and live with it not being perfect that to have the frustration of the elastic pulling out of the seam.

Class Picnic Blouse

Pattern Issues: No issues with the pattern that weren’t a result of me not reading through them completely before starting the project.

Fabric Choice: The green one is a 100% cotton shirting, and it was a dream to sew up.  The orange plaid one is a very loosely woven double gauze that was a nightmare to cut and sew, but the end result is so cute, it almost makes the hassle worth it.  The orange one is also semi-sheer so it probably should have been lined, or I should have used a double layer for the bodice portion.

Class Picnic Blouse

Finished Product: These shirts were the perfect shirts for a fall day.  They are comfortable for my daughter, easy to wear and play in, not fussy at all, and look great.

Husband’s opinion: Also a fan, wants me to make more of them.

Notes for future makes: No notes, great as is.

Final Thoughts: I am definitely making more of these.

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

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).

Fresh Sewing Day – January Summary

January flew by!  I can’t believe it’s already time to do a summary for Fresh Sewing Day and the Small Blog Meet.  For those coming from the Small Blog Meet, I am a quilter that loves to piece and quilt, and sew clothes for my 1 year old daughter.  Welcome, and please check out the other projects on my blog.

I joined two bees so far this year.  I’m really enjoying it so far.  It’s a lot of fun to do colors and blocks that I wouldn’t have thought of myself.

For the Stash Bee, I made this red and yellow block for Heather from Quilts in the Queue.

That Stash Bee Hive #12 January Bee

I made my test block for the 4×5 Modern Bee.

4x5 modern bee hive #4 test block

I also participated in Kids Clothes Week.  Part 1 of my week can be found here.  The pants were really the highlight of the week.  I finished up the week by turning the Oliver and S Hopscotch Knit top into a onesie.  The completed outfit is shown below.

She kept pulling on the neck, I think because it is much stretchier than the onesies she normally wears.

O+S Hopscotch knit onesie and Sandbox Pants
It’s such a soft knit, I kind of wish it was for me.  However, I only had 1/2 a yard, so I managed to get a 12-18 month onesie and thought I was doing good.
O+S Hopscotch knit onesie and Sandbox Pants
The linen pants are a little big despite being 12-18 months, but I’m ok with that because I love them and hopefully they will still fit this fall.
O+S Hopscotch knit onesie and Sandbox Pants
And now, she shows off the whole outfit 🙂
O+S Hopscotch knit onesie and Sandbox Pants
Thanks for checking out my blog, and I hope you stick around and see what else I have here!  

Kids Clothes Week: Winter 2014, part 1

I am super excited for this Kids Clothes Week: Winter 2014. I have vowed to spend 1 hour per day sewing for my daughter. That means realistic sewing for me – and includes pattern prep, cutting out fabric, sewing, ironing, and everything else involved.  I don’t have time to spend hours everyday sewing and pump out dozens of garments.

Part of this experiment for me is to realistically see just how much time these activities take.  I can’t actually tell you how long it takes me to make a shirt or a pair of pants.  Even if I can estimate the sewing, I don’t count the prep work of the pattern and fabric cutting.  This week, I will.

Day 1 – 1:00:42

KCW Day 1 - Pattern Tracing

I was 42 seconds over my 1 hour time limit, but I did manage to trace and cut out two patterns.  I will be making the Oliver + S Sandbox pants in size 12-18 months and the Hopscotch knit shirt in size 12-18 months.

Partway through tracing the tissue paper pattern on tracing paper, I was definitely cursing my cheapness thriftiness for buying the paper pattern on sale instead of buying the digital pattern at full price.  Those tissue paper folds are surprisingly difficult to get flat enough to trace over.

Day 2 – a little over two hours

KCW Day 2 - Cutting and start sewing

I cut out the fabric for the pants, then started on the pockets.  Those pockets took probably 45 minutes – I would leave them off in the future, but they really are adorable and make the pants.  That took me to about 1.5 hours, but my daughter was napping, so I kept going.  At the end of the time, I had the pants mostly done, leaving the waistband to go.

How cute is it that the pockets even have a coordinating lining?  I love Oliver + S.

Inside Sandbox Pants Pocket

Day 3 – a little over an hour

KCW Winter 2014 Serious Sewing
The sewing is serious when the serger and regular sewing machine are sitting next to each other.  

My timing is getting worse instead of better.  I wasted some time first trying to figure out how to use the buttonholer for my vintage Singer.  Then, I discovered I did not have the cam for the 3/8 inch hole I needed to make.  Then I make the drawstring, which should be a quick thing, but with the stretch striped linen I’m using – took FOREVER.

By this point, I was frustrated and decided to just do the waist as an elastic waistband instead of the way the pattern called for.  Once again, I was slightly thwarted by my supplies because I only have 1/2 inch elastic, not the 3/8 inch required.  It fit in the waistband, but it just took a lot more time because it fit so tightly.  At least there was a bright spot today – I finished the pants!

KCW Day 3 - Complete pants
KCW Day 3 - Complete Pants

The fabric is a linen blend from Mood NYC.  I picked it up when I was there after Christmas.  It’s nicer fabric than any pants I own, but it is adorable, and I am considering remaking these pants in every size because they look that good.  The weight is perfect for spring, and I am very pleased with the fit – it was just too dark to get a photo of them being worn.

Oliver + S patterns are so wonderful.  They cost a little bit more, but from what I have seen, they are worth it.  The finishes are always professional, there are no errors in the pattern instructions, and the forums are active if you have any questions or issues.

Although, I just realized I still have not made one of their patterns as written.  This pair of pants is on my projects page.  Let’s see what gets done the rest of the week!

Oliver and S Fairy Tale Dress Christening Gown

A tale of two christening gowns: The heirloom and the Oliver & S Fairy Tale Dress

Situation: The first was my baptism dress from when I was baptised and my mother passed it on to me to use with my daughter.  I was baptized at 6 months so I thought it would fit my 9 month old daughter.  Unfortunately, it did not fit.  That left my mother and I to start making a dress Thursday morning for church on Sunday morning at 9:00 am with the added detail that 6 additional family members were arriving Saturday afternoon, so it had to be finished before then.

Solution: We chose to flip the Oliver & S Fairy Tale Dress.  I wanted a peter pan collar and sleeves with an empire waist to echo my original dress that my mother had made.  The fairy tale dress gave me that bodice top and the adjustments gave the long traditional bottom.

To accomplish this I had to make a couple minor adjustments to the pattern.  I cut off the fitted dress at an empire waist height, and adjusted the skirt length to go down to the floor.  I also took a lot of the gathering out of the skirt because of the silk dupioni fabric I chose to use, and I also felt like it would be overwhelming for such a little girl.

My daughter measured 19.5 inches at the chest which put her as a perfect size 6-12 months, but due to the compressed time frame I didn’t have time for a muslin and couldn’t risk it not fitting.  Therefore, I made the 6-12 month size with the 12-18 month width as you can see in the bodice pattern photo.  After it was finished, she had enough room that I’m sure the 6-12 month width would have fit perfectly fine but I just couldn’t risk it turning out too small.

I also added ruffle fabric for the skirt.  I made the ruffle fabric about 4-5 inches longer than the silk just to cut down on bulk and make it easier for my daughter to move and easier for me to hold her.

To add the ruffle fabric I used the silk as the lining, but not as the lining like the pattern calls for.  Due to the thinness of the ruffle fabric, I could not use it as an outer layer to attach the zipper to.  I treated the silk and the ruffle as one (outer) layer of fabric with no lining.  This (combined with the empire waist) led to a couple minor differences from the pattern: 
– The skirt seams had to be finished because they were not sandwiched within the lining.  The ruffle fabric does not fray so it did not need to be finished – I just cut it at the length I wanted.  

– I did not use a side seam for the ruffle layer.  I used the entire width of fabric by the length I wanted for the skirt and only had the back seam.
– Shorter zipper: with the empire waist there is no need for such a long zipper.  I ended the zipper about three inches below the empire waist and it was long enough to get my daughter in and out easily. The instructions for an invisible zipper were good, but I hadn’t done one in forever so the Coletterie tutorial helped fill in the blanks for me.  

– Lining: My mom hand stitched the lining down on the inside of the dress.  We also left the seam of the skirt and bodice upwards instead of ironing it down like the pattern calls for.  That seam was then covered by the bodice lining.  
– Hook at top of zipper: I left it off and it stayed closed just fine throughout the day.  

This was the late night photo when we finished the dress Friday night – ahead of schedule!!

I added some silk flowers to both the bodice and the bonnet.  I used this tutorial from Just Another Hang Up for the flowers.

 The bonnet is a combination of several tutorials that I found online because I didn’t find a single one that was what I wanted.  I got the shape from this one and the ruffle from this one.

I love how the combination turned out!  The tulip sleeves, peter pan collar, and ruffle fabric made such a sweet dress.  This may have taken more time to make than the time she wore it for, but I really love it and maybe someday this can be worn again.  The wrinkles show she wore it most of the day.

Lastly, a vintage view of a beautiful girl in a dress made by her mom and grandma on a quilt made by me.

Linking up to Show and TellMade By Hand, Fabric Tuesday and You Flew Tuesdays.