Friday, October 7, 2016

September Sewing Round-Up

In September I decided I needed to choose a designer each month and dedicate myself to sewing up patterns I hadn't ever made by that particular designer.  I have this tendency to see a new pattern and say, "I NEED this pattern in my life."  I buy it, download it, and file it away in Dropbox.  I may or may not actually make something with that pattern within the first few months of acquiring it.

I designated September as the month to sew up at least five patterns from Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop that I hadn't made yet.

First up was the Violet.  This comes in dress and tunic lengths and has three sleeve length options.
Next, I made the Twist & Shout Dress.  This pattern can be made as a top or a dress, and has single and double skirt options, multiple back views.  My daughter chose the simple back, double-skirt version, so that it would be dress-code compliant.  She even wore it to her roller-skate birthday party.
After that, I sewed up the Tatum Twirl Dress.  I even blogged about it here.
Next up was a two-fer - I made this adorable outfit for MY NEW GRANDBABY (yeah, that happened in September, too!) using the Lullaby Line Bodysuit & Lap Tee pattern and the Lullaby Line Pants & Shorts pattern.  I hadn't made anything so tiny in a long time!  I used these same fabrics to make mama the Sun Kissed Tee with the maternity add-on.
Since the baby pants were such a quick sew, I decided to add a sixth pattern to my September goal.  I didn't quite finish it in September (due to above-mentioned baby's arrival, which trumps sewing for sure!), but since I'm not facing any deadlines, that's ok.  The last September sew was the dress version of the Poppy Polo.  I think my favorite part of making this dress was when my daughter said, "Mommy, the top part feels like a school girl dress, but the bottom part makes me feel like a princess."
And if sewing up six new patterns wasn't enough, I sewed up two old stand-bys when my daughter needed something green to wear on "Team Color Night" at church.  (How was there not a stitch of green clothing in her wardrobe?!)  Thankfully, I had some green fabric in my stash and knew that the Little Miss Sunshine Tee and the School's Out Shorts are both super quick sews.
Now I'm moving onto October, and am sewing up patterns by another designer before my daughter outgrows them all!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I will earn a small commission if you click and make a purchase.  It helps to fund my sewing habit.  Thank you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Tatum Twirl Dress - lining the hood with a woven

When I last posted, I mentioned that I enjoy learning new sewing techniques, and teased about what I would be writing about next.

"Back in the olden days" I would buy my patterns at a local store, and the pattern pieces would come printed on huge pieces of tissue paper.  I was perfectly happy with that style of pattern, as I had been using them for years.  But not everyone learns to sew in formal lessons like I did.  (Note to self: thank Mom again for dragging me to sewing lessons.)  And if you haven't learned to use that style of pattern, and read that type of instructions, they may as well be written in Greek.

Today's student learns from a plethora of YouTube videos, sewing communities on Facebook and from super-detailed PDF patterns available from hundreds of independent designers.  Those vibrant communities are made up of veterans and newbies alike, and they're not afraid to try things that - GASP! - aren't in the instructions.  They offer support, encouragement, and sewing tips, and the designers are available to answer questions.

A new technique that I've recently tried, is color-blocking.  It is a great way to use multiple fabrics on the same pattern creating a unique look.  I learned from this blog post by Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop and couldn't wait to try it.  I loved the look and have used it several times.

But I want to show you how learning to color-block made me get out of my "just follow the instructions" box gave me the confidence to try something different.

I am making the Tatum Twirl Dress right now.  The bodice is made from knit fabric and has a hood option, or a neck band.  The skirt has a multi-tier option (super twirly) and is made from wovens. Since I had chosen a solid color for the bodice, I wanted to jazz up the inside of the hood by lining it with one of the wovens I had chosen for the skirt.  But the directions are for an all-knit hood and lining.  I asked Amy Hindman, the designer behind Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop, if the hood could be lined with a woven.  She answered that it could be done, but the neck opening would lose its stretch (and not go over the wearer's head) so I would need to adjust my seam allowance, and cut the hood longer.  My wheels started spinning - could I actually DO that?!

Instead of the suggested adjustments, I decided to try my newly acquired color-blocking skills!  I realized that if I cut the lower 2-3" of the hood (the part that attaches to the neck) in knit, the entire opening would now be stretchy.
After attaching the pieces, I pressed the seam allowance toward the woven and top-stitched.
For the rest of the hood, I followed the instructions provided in the pattern.  When attaching the hood to the lining, I used my walking foot to ensure that the hood wouldn't get stretched out of shape. (Don't worry I removed that pin right after taking the picture!)  TIP press the center seams of the hood and lining in opposite directions before stitching them together to reduce bulk.

After flipping the hood right-side out, I was ready to attach it to the bodice.  Here is what it looked like after it was finished.
And my goofy girl in her new "poses".  It went over my daughter's head without any trouble stretching.  She LOVES this dress and we're hoping for some cooler weather soon, so she can wear it.

All of the fabric used for this dress is from Peek-a-Boo Fabric Shop.  For the bodice, I used this dark teal cotton Lycra for the bodice, and the skirt (and hood lining!) are awesome Shimmer and Shine cotton wovens.  

This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, September 19, 2016

I just might be back!

I haven't written a post in a long time.  I'm not sure why, but I think now is the time for me to pick it back up.

I still sew, but just for family, now.  When I was sewing for my Etsy shop, I worried constantly about whether the buyer would like the item they purchased, whether I was pricing things right, and whether I was compliant and keeping adequate records.  It was just not fun.

I think what excites me most about sewing now is learning new techniques.  I've been sewing since 1983 (you do the math), and have always been confident in my abilities.  Give me the pattern and the fabric - regardless of skill level - and I will turn out a darn good [name item here].  But sewing has changed over the years, and I want to get with the times!

In my next post, I will tell you all about this:

It's nice to be learning again.