Thursday, January 31, 2013

Finished: Simplicity 2460

This dress started out as my DS needing a new tie. I figured while I was at it I'd make a coordinating dress for DD. One thing led to another & I didn't have enough yardage to make a dress to coordinate with said tie.  Poor DS still doesn't have a new tie...but this dress is adorable.
For a pattern, I was looking for a good basic "block".  One that I could use again & again with different design details.  I wanted sleeves. And a sash.  Simplicity 2460 it is. Easy enough. Except for the fact that I only got 1 yard of each of the aforementioned fabrics.Yeah. That wasn't going to cut it.  So I turned to my stash. You may remember this fabric from my plans of sewing my own diaper bag (those plans never came to fruitoin...but I did stash the fabric.) Also, this is SO SO long. Sorry about that. I wanted to be very specific for when I sewed this up again. Yes. When. Not if.  I love this pattern that much. This is, by far, my favorite dress I've ever sewn for Laila.

 Fabric: 2 yards main & 1 of cummerbund & sash. Both are quilting weight cottons.

Pattern: Simplicity 2460

Notions: Thread & zipper

Size sewn: 1, based on DD's chest measurement. The fit is perfect. Which is *almost* disappointing because I was hoping there'd be a little room to grow. :)

Alterations/Design Changes: I didn't cut the middrift on the  bias. I figured that'd be cute for a plaid or stripes, but with this print I just decided to save fabric.  I also took liberties with the seam allowance.  I sewed the sleeves on using 3/8" SA; for whatever reason I just started doubting that they would be big enough. And then I used a 3/8" seam allowance when I sewed the bodice to the middrift...mostly because I was a little less than diligent in transferring my marks so the little cumberbun got caught in the seam line a bit.
Used a 1/2" double fold hem rather than the 2.25" hem that the pattern called for. I just thought that the extra inch or would come in handy :) As it is, the dress hits right below her knee...I might end up adding some contrast trim at the bottom to squeak out a few more months of wear. ;)
Also, the pattern says to install the zipper 1" below the bodice neck. I didn't really want to do a hook & eye so I put the top of the zipper 1/2" below the bodice neckline...pretty much right on the seam line. Worked out just fine. :) And no hook & eye.
Also, instead of gathering the cummerbund, I used elastic thread in my bobbin & shirred it.  Then I tacked it down by hand so it wouldn't wiggle around. 

Lapped Zipper

Likes: The design details. The sleeve pleats really polish it off.  I think it also is a great design for mixing patterns.  Often times I fear that mixed patterns scream home made, but I really love this dress. Love the lapped zipper. Easiest. Zipper. Installation. Ever. And it looks so great. I used this tutorial.

Sleeve Pleats
 Disklikes:This isn't so much a dislike as it is just getting picky. For the pleats the instructions say "On outside, fold along solid lines. Bring folds to broken lines; pin." I would prefer it say "On outside, fold along solid lines, RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER. Bring folds to broken lines WRONG SIDES TOGETHER; pin." I messed with them for an embarrassingly long time trying to figure out which "look" was better. Sheesh. And with that in mind, I'm pretty sure I did the sleeve pleats wrong.  Oh well. At least they're wrong on both sleeves.
I'd forgotten how much the Big 4 love basting. I used  TON of thread on this dress. While I was sewing the bodice, I started worrying that I might run out so if one was to look at the inside of the dress you'd see 2-3 different thread colors. I also used my over edge foot to finish the seams.

Gathered cummerbund

Time to complete: 30 minutes cut/transfer markings (PLUS tracing time, so probably closer to 1 hour). This is so hard to calculate; I never have much more than 15 minutes of uninterrupted time. Let's see....if I were to make this dress for some sort of occasion, I'd want to give myself 5-7 days to complete it. I came in pretty close to 5 days without too much trouble (remember...this is just in spurts. No sewing marathons for this mama).

Techniques learned: Did my first lapped zipper---LOVE IT.  Again, very polished. 

Total cost:Pattern was $1. Fabric was stashed, though I imagine I originally spent about $25 on the yardage. Plus zipper & (nearly not enough) thread...we'll call it about $30.  Way more than I'd spend on a RTW dress, to be perfectly honest. But it got some fabric out of my stash & that's always a win!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cowboy Nursery

We never decorated our nursery with the first two kids.  With my oldest, we didn't find out his sex before he was born and to be honest, 'gender neutral' decor usually makes me cringe a little bit (though I've since been introduced to the world of grey & stripes & zigzags). So we just painted the walls beige & the ceiling robin's egg blue & called it good.

With our daughter, we knew she was a she but I don't know why I didn't go all out with the nursery. Truth be told, I was completely overwhelmed with the thought of 2 kids a year & a half a part & I just didn't really see "the point".  I had just started planning on doing a girly big girl room when we found out baby #3 was on his way...which meant the nursery would remain a nursery and our daughter would bunk up with our son for the time being.

So the nursery remained the same. I never even considered decorating it.  We never had & that was fine & dandy. Well. Then baby 3 arrived and I started itching to make his room "his". I think it has something to do with the fact that as our 2nd son (and the 4th boy cousin) he has a lot of hand me downs. 

So I did some thinking. And some shopping.  I've never been real big on "western" or "cowboy" (though we do live in a rural area & my family does raise beef...I started driving tractor when I was 11) but my oldest son, S, had gotten his first pair of cowboy boots last year (and our daughter, L, got her's soon after) and my sister in law had given us a quilt that she had made years ago...that was western themed.  Also, my DH's aunt had given us THE. CUTEST. little cow beanie hat. So I decided to build on that.

I scoured Pinterest for nursery tutorials and inspiration. I used this tutorial for the crib sheet. For fabric I used flannel; I love that it isn't 'cool' when I put the baby down on it.

The crib skirt is just 2 rectangles (since 2 of the crib sides are against the walls) that I hemmed & sewed some ribbon ties to the top. Easy peasy. They'll also adjust as we move the mattress down as baby grows. :)

 I really loved some of the striped curtains that I saw. I figured it'd be a good way to save on fabric. I took a flat white twin sheet from Target, cut it in half & sewed the strips on. It was actually a lot fussier than I had anticipated, since I needed the strips to be exactly even. I left the top strip of fabric free-hanging & that kind of gives it a "faux valance" look (if there is such a thing). The top strip & the crib sheet fabric are the same; but the curtain fabric is plain cotton. 

Since this room will someday be a "big girl" room, I wanted to keep everything temporary. No new paint.  I'd still like to get some more wall art, but I'm very pleased with how everything turned out. Actually, DH has since hung a big giant pair of horns above the window. I'm just thankful they aren't in my living room. 

I also decoupaged the light switch plate because the little purple butterfly one just clashed too much.

Now that I'm looking at the pictures, it seems that I ended up with a gender neutral nursery after all! Haha!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Finished: Ella Toddler Dress

I'm sure I'm not the only mom of girls to notice that long sleeved dresses are sorely lacking. Both in RTW and patterns, to be honest. I get the theory; for winter, you put on a sweater. In summer, you go without. Accordingly, sleeveless dresses should give you more wear. Except for the fact that toddlers grow out of said dresses typically before the next season. Yeesh. And, maybe it's just my toddler, but she strips off a sweater like nobody's business. It doesn't matter that she's cold. For whatever reason, the girl just doesn't dig layers.

When I first saw the Ella Dress from Sew Sweet Patterns I really liked it. I've used Sew Sweet Patterns before & they've never let me down.  The Ella was no exception. 

Here's the run down:
Fabric: The pattern calls for 1 3/8 yard. I used a little more than this to lengthen the sleeves. It's a Rayon shirting for $5 a yard. I originally bought it to make a dress for myself. It's got beautiful drape!
Notions: Thread & buttons
Size sewn: 2T (I think. It might have been 3T...this is why I's the only way I remember this kind of stuff)
Alterations/Design Changes: I lengthened the 3/4 sleeves to be full length.
Likes: I love the design details; the puff/gathered sleeves & princess seamed bodice. It's enough detail to look professional without being too fussy.
Disklikes: None?? I think I Might have had to gather the sleeves more than what the pattern marks called for, but I can't say for certain.  Also, I think the placket instructions could be a touch more thorough.  Oh, and my fabric tends to wrinkle. But that is neither here nor there. :)
Time to complete: 2 naptimes?? On & off? I can't be sure. But, not very long. :) 
Total cost: About $15? I always buy their patterns in bundles so I got a bit of a discount. 
Recommend? Yes! And since the pattern goes up to size 6, I'll probably be sewing it up again!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sorbetto: Fail.

I don't know what it is with me & woven tops.  I've had three...four?? turn out to be wadders. I suppose I could tweak the pattern some more...everyone raves about the Sorbetto.

I sewed up the shoulder & side seams and tried it on. Major gaping at the armholes and just an overall bagginess. Took the side seams in...same thing. Better but far from good.  Could it be the darts need moved?? Maybe it's my sloping shoulders.  I just have no idea.  Color me stumped. For now I guess I'll just stick with knit tops.  Speaking of which, here's my next project ;)

That would be Sewaholic's Renfrew top (a knit, thank goodness) and the Hollyburn skirt (suited for beginners, hopefully I'll be able to manage it). All fabrics & patterns are on their way to me, thanks to a little shopping spree.  I ordered the purple baby rib knit from High End Fabrics on ebay & the skirt will be a coral stretch denim courtesy of Hart's Fabrics (not 'courtesy of' as in free...just the regular 'I bought it from there' 'courtesy of'.)

Speaking of Harts Fabrics, I ADORE them.  I ordered my fabric & some C&C thread for htem to match. Within an hour, one of their sales associates called to tell me that C&C didn't have a stellar match, but Gutermann did. She wanted to know if I was willing to pay the little bit extra that the Guetermann cost. Of course I did. Also, I had forgotten to order a zipper, so I asked her to grab me one if they happened to have a good match. 

I called them back a little later. I was having second thoughts...maybe the denim would be too heavy & wouldn't drape well...then where would I be?? I was assured that it does, in fact, have a wonderful drape.  Phew.

And now for a little housekeeping...I know I've been absent. I actually have been sewing. Quite a lot actually, considering that I now have three littles.  But I've been trying to decide how much time I'd like to devote to this blogging thing & also if I want to continue to focus primarily on sewing. Either way, I likely won't be posting many--if any at all--pictures of the kids.  I actually came across a one of my pictures on Pinterest (one of my maternity tops). And it was really bizarre. Kind of unnerving.   So that caused me to re-evaluate a little bit. :) Anyway, for awhile there I took my blog down completely, but for now I'm back. :)
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