Well, that was a long time away from sewing and blogging, but I am finally back at my sewing machine. After an extended, stressful search for a new house (just one piece of the complicated puzzle that was 2016), we are finally settled in our new place. And… (drumroll)… I now have a sewing room of my very own! Not the dining room table. Not a corner of the bedroom. A real room with a door that can be closed to hide my creative mess so as not to drive my husband crazy!
Having sent E to school a couple of weeks ago wearing a dress that I realized was much too short (when did she do all that growing?), I decided it was time to set up the sewing room and start making things again. First up, another O&S Playtime Dress, this time in a size 6 with 7 length. It’s still deep winter here, so a checked flannel version seemed like a good cozy option. Little girl chose the mini pom-pom trim to liven things up a bit, and I added red topstitching around the neckline and pockets. I think the topstitching is still my favourite part of sewing this pattern – the templates are just so satisfying:)
This pattern is still such a standby. I’ve sewn it several times before here, here, and here. I love how innocent and age-appropriate it is. All of E’s Playtime dresses have gotten a ton of wear because they are so comfortable. Definitely two thumbs up for this one!
My favourite room in our new house is a sun porch with windows on three sides of the room. The light is so beautiful, and I’m looking forward to filling it with plants this spring and summer. These pictures were taken in the sunroom – what you can’t see is the metre-long icicles hanging outside the window like giant, icy fangs!
School’s out for the summer and someone is excited! E is highly sensitive when it comes to transitions, so her initial response to the end of the school year was to cry like her little heart was breaking (she cried the same way when we had to replace our old fridge). She eventually calmed down when I reassured her that we will see her friends regularly during the summer, and we talked about all the fun things that we would like to do over the next couple of months. After spending this afternoon at the beach, she was pretty much sold on the idea of summer vacation. She was in such a happy mood that she even agreed to pose for some pictures in exchange for 31 cents:)
The top that she is wearing is another O&S Sailboat top – can I just take a moment to say how much I love this pattern? Sewing those facings is just so satisfying, and I love the buttons, which are both cute and functional. I made some alterations to the pattern this time by adding length so that it’s more like a tunic, giving the body a slight a-line shape (and adjusting the hem facings accordingly), and of course shortening the sleeves. I was planning to add a drawstring at the waist, but E was vehemently opposed to the idea – she much preferred the idea of leaving it loose and swingy. I still think the drawstring would be cute though – perhaps she’ll grow into that idea at some point.
The fabric is a cotton/spandex knit, Great Big Stripes in rose from l’Oiseau Fabric. The shop has wide stripes in a range of colours, and after sewing with this one I am definitely tempted to buy some more! I see some striped t-shirts in my future…
The top needed some leggings to go with it, and by happy coincidence this floral fabric, also from l’Oiseau but now sold out, worked well with the rose stripes. The pattern is Go To Leggings, shortened to capri length.
I sat down at my sewing table this morning and decided to use my last child-free morning for the next two months to sew an O&S Bucket Hat, a project I had never tried before. The pattern is in the book Oliver & S Little Things to Sew, and is also available as a free pattern on the O&S website. The hat came together beautifully and was a very satisfying project that I’m sure will see a lot of use. I used natural-coloured Essex linen for one side and the clover pattern from Heather Ross’ Briar Rose collection for the other.
I have a couple more summer sewing projects in mind, but have mostly been planning easy and portable knitting projects to take along on camping trips. I think I’m as excited as E about school ending, and can’t wait to spend as much time outside as possible!
I managed to fit in one more quick project at the tail end of Kid’s Clothes Week – a romper made with Purl Soho’s free Summer Romper for Kids pattern. I noticed this pattern last summer when it was released, but completely forgot about it until recently when I saw this lovely version (made with Nani Iro double gauze – oh, that must feel wonderful!). Since I had no Nani Iro on hand, the little girl and I went through my stash and she picked out this Stenzo poppy fabric (it’s pink! it’s bright!), of which there was just enough for a romper.
The pattern is very basic and easy to follow, and even though it has no shaping, the fit is very cute. I went with a size 6-7 (E usually wears a 5 with 6 length these days) and the fit is just fine. The only change I made was to take about 1.5 inches off the length of the waist elastic to cinch it in a little bit more, and a wee bit off the chest elastic (maybe 1/2-3/4″). With the adjustable shoulder ties there is definitely a couple of inches of grow-room in this one.
And that’s a wrap for Spring KCW! I feel like I was very productive in the sewing department this week (not so much in the cleaning, cooking, and working departments, ahem!), and struck a balance between practical and pretty, while respecting E’s wishes for increased pink-ification of her mama-made duds. My favourite project of the week was definitely the Haiku Hanami dress – oh my, it was so satisfying working with that lovely fabric! And the kidlet? I think she’s most excited about the poppy romper:)
I still haven’t decided if this project was a good idea or not. The pattern, the Oliver and S Playtime Dress, is great. I really wanted to try it as a short-sleeved dress, but then got sidetracked by the fact that E really doesn’t need any more dresses made with woven fabric, since all she wants to wear are knits. And then she looked through my fabric to pick something out, and of course loved this pink french terry, which is very soft but not so practical for a summer dress.
I could not bring myself to sew the entire dress out of it (the colour defies my camera lens, but I can safely tell you that it is very bright and saturated – a sort of shocking raspberry colour) and decided to go with the colour-blocking. So, the result is a very cosy, short-sleeved dress. Maybe it will be nice to put on after swimming in our glacial lake? Or to wear on coolish evenings in the summer? I could also see it being worn in colder months with a long-sleeved shirt underneath.
Making a short-sleeved knit version of the dress was very simple. I just traced some curved facings off the pattern’s bodice pieces, without changing the length of the cap sleeve at all. The button band was the trickiest part, but only because the multiple layers of french terry made it quite bulky at the bottom – I think it would work just fine with a lighter-weight knit. I did add interfacing to neck facings and shoulder seams so the bodice would keep its shape. E decided she didn’t want pockets, which made the project very fast to sew – I finished most of it in a 1-hour ipad binge (for the child, not me:)
I also sewed up some capri leggings and shorts, using the Go To Leggings pattern. Not much to say about those – they are super quick to sew up, and get worn a lot. Never again will I buy cheapo leggings with seams that come apart in the first week of wear!
Well, I seem to have fallen off the practical-summer-clothes wagon. This dress is decidedly un-practical, but oh so pretty. The pattern is Straight Grain’s Hanami dress, sewn with the invisible zipper and tulip ruffle sleeve options, in a size 5 with 6 length (plus a bit extra on the skirt for a deeper hem). I justified sewing this because E’s school will be holding a special graduation ceremony for the kindergarteners and the grade 8’s, so of course she could use a new dress!
The fabric is from Monaluna’s Haiku collection, and I purchased it here. It is cotton lawn, so I lined the dress with shot cotton, which luckily turned out to be the perfect colour:
I originally planned to go ruffle-less on this one, but in the end decided there would be a greater likelihood that E will wear it with ruffles. I decided to try the tulip ruffle sleeve for a change, and really like how it turned out:
I committed one of the cardinal sins of sewing and attempted to install an invisible zipper late last night. The pattern matched up well, but the top of the zipper didn’t come out very nicely (maybe it just shows up more because I couldn’t fine a light pink one and had to go with white). There was also that unfortunate moment when I snipped the bottom of the zipper, and then the zipper pull came off and it took a tense couple of minutes to get the zipper re-assembled, while thoughts of having to rip apart the bodice raced through my head. Fortunately, I did get the zipper pull back on and crisis was averted. Perhaps this time I’ll remember that it’s best to save invisible zippers for the light of day.
We’ve had very rainy weather for the last couple of days, which always seems to happen when the peonies and irises are blooming. I salvaged some droopy peonies from the rain to make a bouquet, and couldn’t resist including them in the pictures. I just love this time of year – and having free reign to snip flowers at will in my mum’s beautiful garden so I can bring some of that beauty into the house!
Due to some pre-KCW organization (together with outright ignoring a number of things that needed to be done), I managed to log 5 hours in my sewing room today! It has been a loooong time since that has happened, and boy did it feel good. I completed two more projects, start to finish, with no interruptions – and I managed to get groceries so that my family won’t starve!
My first project of the day was a hoody – pattern S (Pullover Parka) from Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids. I first made this in 2014 when Meg and Cherie hosted a sewalong. That little hoody got so much wear – it came along on every camping trip and beach visit for 2 summers, but is now sadly outgrown. Here’s the original:
Well-loved, and worn so much that the linen is incredibly soft – it feels brushed, like flannel. It’s still in good condition, and if I can part with it, it will be passed along to a friend’s kiddo soon.
So, on to the 2016 edition of the pullover parka. The new one is made from the same cotton-linen chambray that has made a number of appearances here recently, with the hood lining and drawstring in a floral print from Heather Ross’ Tiger Lily collection. I remembered the neck facing being a bit of an issue last time, but I somehow managed to get it on the first try this time (probably helped that I had the old one as an example).
My second project of the day was a pair of O + S Sunny Day Shorts. Perhaps I was feeling nostalgic for the old hoody, but when I was rummaging in my scrap bin, I came across just enough of the red yarn-dyed linen and camera print to make a pair of shorts. I sewed these up in a size 6, and used the pocket tutorial. This is a great, basic (and free!) shorts pattern.
E has pretty much gone on strike from taking photos these days – I’m not sure what the 6-year old version of the terrible twos is called, but we’re in it. So much attitude, and no cooperation – candy bribes aren’t working any more – she wants cash, ha! My budget is limited (as is my patience for drama), so clothes are being taped to walls for photos:)
It’s Kid’s Clothes Week again! I don’t have anything too exciting to show for day 1, but one of my goals for the week is to sew some basic play clothes that will get worn a lot this summer (and that I won’t worry about getting dirty and covered with drippy ice cream). So, I started by rummaging through my scrap bin, and managed to piece together just enough of these fabrics to make a Flashback Tee and a pair of capri-length Mini Hudson pants. The t-shirt is made from a super-soft Stenzo knit, and the pants from french terry.
I used Rae’s puff sleeve tutorial for the t-shirt, which I sewed in a size 5 with 6 length (my girl is stretching out these days – no more toddler chub). Likewise the Mini Hudsons are a 5 with 6 length. It’s possible I should have added even more length, since E always seems to have a growth spurt in the summer (must be all the sun and lake water:), but hopefully they’ll last us through September!