Short-sleeved Playtime Dress

 

Playtime_dress

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.

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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.

Playtime_sleeve_detail

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!

Haiku Hanami

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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!

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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:

hanami_underskirt

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:

hanami_sleeve_detail

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.

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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!

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Pullover Parka and Sunny Day Shorts

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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).

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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.

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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:)

KCW – Mini Hudsons and a Flashback

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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!

 

Fairy bread

In a flurry of spring-cleaning, I’ve recently been making an attempt to streamline my fabric and yarn collection.  Which of course involves shuffling around lots of piles, agonizing over half-finished projects, and getting sidetracked.  In all fairness, I did manage to reduce my yarn collection by about half (seriously, this is my oath that I am henceforth only going to buy yarn for specific projects).  While assessing the yarn situation, I started looking for projects that use small quantities of fingering-weight yarn and came across Kelly Brooker’s Fairy Bread, a sweet little girls’ shrug pattern.  And so, to reward myself for all that cleaning and organizing, I sat down and knit two shrugs in rapid succession.

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The first shrug is knit in a pinky-purple coloured Quince Finch yarn (I believe the shade is called “sorbet”).  I could go on at length about how much I love this yarn – it behaves so beautifully and the stitch definition on the twisted rib is excellent.  This is becoming my go-to fingering-weight yarn.

shrug_2

The pattern is simple and seamless – it uses raglan shaping for the increases, which gives the nice eyelet detail.  I used a provisional cast-on to minimize the amount of stitches that would have to be picked up for the ribbing, but the project was sufficiently small and fun that picking up stitches (which I usually avoid) was relatively painless.  The whole thing was knit in about 200 metres of yarn.

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The second shrug is knit with light blue, variegated Fleece Artist Suri Blue (a mix of Suri alpaca and Blue Face Leicester wool), which I bought so long ago that it has been discontinued.  I wanted something with a slightly fuzzy look to it.  I don’t think this one turned out as nicely – even after blocking, the stitches are uneven and the ribbing doesn’t behave nearly as nicely as the one knit with Quince yarn.  Still, it is wearable and getting lots of love because it is fluffy like a cloud:)

shrug_collage

I wasn’t sure how E would take to the concept of a shrug, but it turns out that she loves them.  She’ll fling off a cardigan in no time, but the shrugs must be very comfortable because she doesn’t even seem to notice when she is wearing one.  She has been wearing these two so much that I’m planning a third, this time with longer three-quarter length sleeves.

 

Luna Pants

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A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that Rae was hosting a Luna Pantsalong, and decided it would be the perfect opportunity to make myself a pair of these oh-so-comfy looking pants.  I opted for a lightweight linen-cotton chambray which I have sewn with many times before, but never anything for myself.  I measured exactly between the extra-small and small sizes, so decided to cut the extra-small, but make them slightly bigger by adjusting my seam allowances.  Phew, I’m glad that worked out, because I didn’t make a muslin – I figured the pattern was simple enough that I could just eyeball it.  The muslin-making step is what usually prevents me from sewing anything for myself, so I just went for it.

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The finished pants are incredibly comfortable, and I am assured by a number of people, sufficiently un-pyjama-like that they can be safely worn out of the house.  I’m sure these will get a ton of wear this spring and summer, and I’m on the lookout for something light and drapey to make another pair.

Luna_pants_2

A good way to camouflage oneself in awkward pants-modelling photographs?  Use a lollipop to bribe a cute, cheeky, flamboyant, and decidedly not camera-shy child to join you in the pictures.  I could also justify her inclusion in the photos by pointing out that she’s wearing her Moon Pants, which were the inspiration for my Luna pants (yes, I was jealous of my child’s pants and wanted a pair for myself:)

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Handmade Fashion Revolution Week

 

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I’m just in time to participate in Fashion Revolution Week!  There are many reasons that I sew my daughter’s clothes, and concern for the conditions facing workers in the textile industry rates high on my list.  I admit that I occasionally look at the Joe Fresh kids’ clothes (which are the only ready-made kids clothes we have available locally where I live) and marvel at how inexpensive they are – $4 for a t-shirt?  That price includes materials, labour, shipping, and profit?  That math doesn’t add up to me.

The Fashion Revolution Organization believes “that fashion can be made in a safe, clean and beautiful way. Where creativity, quality, environment and people are valued equally”.  Since starting to sew, I’ve gained some insight into the true cost of making high-quality clothing.  I’m doing my best to commit to a less-is-more policy, and limit my clothing purchases to those that are ethically (and ideally locally) produced, using materials that are produced in an ecologically sustainable manner.

I’m linking up to Petit a Petit and Family, where there have been some great Fashion Revolution Week posts over the last few days.  Thank you for this series, and for the reminder to think about where our clothes come from (and where they go when we’re done with them!)