Sunday, July 31, 2016

Completed: Carolyn Shorts/Self-Drafted Tank

This'll be a quick post - just a review of the Carolyn Pajamas by Closet Case Files. I've sewn them before and tested the pattern but don't think I ever shared about them here. (They're pajamas, but I wear them out of the house, fyi.)

The top is self-drafted - copied from a top handed down from my sister. I'm still working on it, but this version turned out wearable at least. The bodice top is fully lined, and the skirt piece isn't. I like the style and have gotten the fit right, but it still needs tweaking.

Pattern: Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas, view C.
Fabric: quilting cotton purchased at Let's Sew in Evansville, IN. This fabric is so pretty!
Fit: I've got another pair of these shorts that I wear ALL THE TIME, so I knew they had a low rise. However, with the wide waist band, I don't mind the lower rise. There are some drag lines on the back that I didn't notice until looking at these photos, so I'll have to do some work on that before I cut into the Liberty I bought last year for another pair.
Modifications: None. I used piping around the leg cuffs and wish I'd done it on the pocket seams, too.
The fit is excellent and as usual, the instructions are superb.
I don't really have any cons. I love these shorts.

We're doing a "soft start" of school next week, which means trying to ease out of summer and into routine. It'll be. . . interesting. Either I'll get absolutely no sewing done or my sewing room will be my hiding place at the end of the week and I'll sew up a storm. We'll see. . . 

Have you seen a top pattern for knits similar to this? I hate drafting my own, but I really want this specific style.


Completed: Sophie/Jalie Swimsuit

The absolute BEST part of learning how to sew my own clothes has been solving The Great Bathing Suit Dilemma. The Dilemma: in my 38 years on this earth, I've owned one store-bought bathing suit that fit. One. 

The Bombshell happened, so my drawer had two bathing suits that fit. Unfortunately the store-bought one is 9 years old and has started to show wear in *ahem* inconvenient places. Plus it shows a lot of skin, and I go back and forth about how much skin I want to show in a suit. (I'll show copious skin while running. Because running = sweat = least amount of fabric possible.) 

A girl's got to have two bathing suits.

Just my luck! Heather of Closet Case Patterns sent out the Sophie Swimsuit for testing! I knew the top wouldn't work for me. It's adorable - a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e. - but I simply can't wear formed cups. Still, I tried it, and it sewed up beautifully with her instructions. Alas, it didn't suit my frame. Specifically, it was like trying to put a AAA battery into a spot designed for a C battery (except we're talking boobs here, in case that was too vague). But I LOVED the Sophie bottoms!

I hunted around and found Jalie 2446, "Mix n Match Bikini" - it's the style of my store-bought and is the best style I've found to work for The Ladies with Tiny Ladies.

(Oh. I got my hair dyed. Permanently. It took a full year to work up the nerve. It's close to my natural color, but not. I both regret it and love it. It's a whole other post.)

Patterns: Sophie Swimsuit (bottoms) by Closet Case Patterns and Jalie 2446, view A.
Fabric: swimsuit fabric purchased at Let's Sew in Evansville, IN.
The Sophie bottoms are snug, but I like them that way because they don't fall down even though they're high rise. I am VERY long waisted, and the bottoms hit right at my natural waist. I like where they hit around the legs - there's modesty, and I don't feel like they're going anywhere they shouldn't.

The Jalie top fits perfectly. I've started going up to a Medium in tops, and it makes a world of difference.
I didn't make any mods to the Sophie bottoms.

For the Jalie top, I doubled the width of the underbust band. It was just too narrow. That whole band would've risen right up to my neck without anything to hold it down. Plus it looked out of proportion. Also, I don't do back hook closures on my bathing suits. One failed on me one time, and it only takes once. I sew that puppy closed and slip it on over my head. I accidentally swapped the direction of the cups, so the centers and sides are reversed, but it's no big deal. Lastly, I gathered the bottoms of the cups to add a little volume.
I like the high-waisted style. It's modest but still cool, in my opinion. The side panels give lots of visual interest and opportunities to play around with fabric. I've seen some gorgeous fabric combos floating around the Internets.

And Heather's drafting/instructions are always spot on. She's gone to great trouble to make this suit available in tons of sizes, so it's a PDF, but it's so well done and it's not much to print. *disclaimer: I'm a fan-girl.

Jalie 2446:
I'm "meh" on Jalie patterns. This is the third one I've sewn, and. . . "meh." This will be my TNT bathing suit top, but I still feel "meh." The halter ties aren't long enough, the underbust band was too narrow, the cups had no visual interest once attached to the band. . . I mean. . . "meh."

Overall I'm pleased, and this baby will see plenty of action in August! Have a great week everyone.

What's your favorite swimsuit pattern? Do you like one-pieces or two?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Acorn Valley Knit Dress

Today we're a stop on the Acorn Valley blog tour!

We used knit fabrics from the Acorn Valley collection (Riley Blake Designs). Eliza and I chose to use the Flutter Multi and Bloom Dot Red fabrics. Patti Young was gracious enough to send us our choice of Mod Kid patterns along with the fabric, and I thought the Abigail dress would suit Eliza best.

The Fabric

The colors are vibrant and withstand washing. The fabric is soft and of an ideal weight for children's clothes.

See that center gore piece? It took me ripping and reassembling the front and back gores at least 4 times to get the bodice seam lined up properly. This knit fabric was stable enough to handle that ripping, tugging, finagling. I was shocked. (I serged the whole dress, so seam ripping was pretty tough on it.)

The Pattern
SIZE: 3t width, 4t length
FIT: Overall I was pleased. The sleeves seem to run big. I had to shorten the neck and sleeve bands, which is to be expected as stretch varies with knit. The neckband is wide, so consistent and accurate stretching while sewing is crucial, and it still may not lay perfectly flat. 

The length is great - the 4t hit right at Eliza's knees. (She's probably the height of a 4-year-old.)
INSTRUCTIONS: Again, I was pleased overall. Word to the wise: Make sure to line up those center gores carefully so that the bodice seam is lined up on either side of the center gore, otherwise you'll be doing lots of surgery. 
LIKES: This is an ideal pattern for showing off different fabrics. It's also super comfortable and great for play.
DISLIKES: This is my second time doing a banded short sleeve on a knit dress without using rib knit, and unless it's snug to the arm, I just don't like this style of sleeve. It's a preference thing.

This was my first time doing a lettuce edge hem and I LOVE IT for knit dresses. It's going to be my go-to hem now as every time I do a twin needle the hem falls out, and every time I do a basic fold over, it doesn't want to lay flat after a wash. Rolled hem all the way, baby.

There are also flannels in the Acorn Valley collection, and Patty is giving away a box of 1 yard cuts. Click on the Rafflecopter giveaway to enter.

Here are the rest of the stops on the tour!
Monday 7/11: Riley Blake & Modkid
Friday 7/22: Ameroonie Designs

Thanks for reading! I'll be back next week with some Big Girl clothes, including a bathing suit! Have a great weekend, everyone. xo

Monday, July 11, 2016

Completed: Emily Maxi Dress

Hello, friends! It's been a while! How are you? 

Eliza went and grew up while we were gone. It's heartbreaking how they do that, isn't it? On the one hand, they can wipe their own rears. On the other hand, I can't even lift Lee any more.

The good news is they ALL still love some mama mades. Eliza is learning to sew herself this summer! She's made a little pillow for her bearded dragon, Diamond. Next week we'll head to a fabric store so she can pick something to make into a skirt.

I hope your summer has been as lovely as ours. For homeschooling families, often the summer is even busier than the school year because it means we leave the house more than usual. That's been the case for us, but it's been nice to get back to moving and shaking like we did in Black Mountain. We missed going and doing and seeing and adventuring these past couple of years. (FUN MOMMY has returned! Woo to the Hoo!)

Enough catching up, here is my latest project! Not to be extreme, but THIS IS MY FAVORITE FINISHED DRESS EVERRRRR.

It's the Emily dress from Violette Field Threads, and I bought it immediately upon release. Eliza was into maxis at the time, and I had this fabric left over from when we lived in Black Mountain. It's quite possibly the perfect fabric for Eliza's skin tone and coloring. I've used it for a blouse, a romper for my adorable niece, and now this dress used the last of it. 

Here are all the pictures ---- scroll to the bottom of the post if you want the logistics and review. xo

Violet Field Threads Emily
The pattern has several options - including a tiered skirt and overlay. I chose the straight skirt option.
Shame on Me for Not Saving the Selvage bought on clearance at Carolina Foam Fabric and Home Decor way back in 2013.
3t width with 4t length 
It was a tad snug through the bodice, but overall we were pleased with the fit. The length was perfect for her.
The instructions used the burrito method to sew the sleeves closed. I don't know what it is, y'all, but I'm convinced someday I'll come across The Perfect Way to Sew a Lined Bodice. This wasn't it, but it was preferable to the way the Carly Bubble Romper was assembled.

Overall the instructions were easy to follow.
To be honest, there is very little (beyond the burrito) that I don't like about this pattern. I like the tiny ruffle at the neckline. I like the length, and I LOVE the little cap sleeve shape. I like the narrow tie and the amount of gathers at the waist. It's a very tasteful, classy dress with just enough drama.
The instructions call for sewing the bodice to the skirt all as one seam. For a more finished look, I sewed only the MAIN bodice fabric to the skirt and then slipstitched the lining over the seam to conceal it. (If I were really good, I could've topstitched along the outside and caught the lining fabric in the topstitching, but I can't ever get that to work.)

Have a great week everyone! I'll be back later in the week with a more casual dress as part of a tour.


Monday, November 30, 2015

Completed: Holiday Party Ensemble

The holiday party season begins tonight for us! My closet was lacking holiday wear, so when the team at ModKid invited me to sew up a pattern with a holiday twist, I gladly accepted the challenge.

The Nettie bodysuit has been on my to-sew list for a while. I've been wanting to pair it with a gathered skirt, and the ModKid Wrap Skirt was perfect for it!

The Nettie has several different necklines and backlines. I  chose the high front neckline and middle depth for the scoop back. 

The back of the Nettie is my favorite part. I went with the built-in bra because anything else would have been highly visible through the knit.

oooh was it windy! no wardrobe malfunctions occurred!
The Wrap Skirt is a very easy sew. There are no pattern pieces - just dimensions and measurements. Mine was a little more complicated because of the plaid, but it's still straight seams. No fitting required!


Fabric: Kaufman House of Wales Plaid in black purchased at
Size: based on waist measurement
Pros: simple construction; no pattern pieces to print, tape, or trace; works with a variety of fabrics; opportunities to dress it up or down; no fitting required.
Cons: gathers -- gathers are my nemesis.
Thoughts: As long as you read the instructions, this pattern is an easy sew great for beginners and veterans alike. (I didn't read the instructions carefully and initially cut the ties the wrong size.)

Pattern: Nettie Bodysuit by Closet Case Files
Fabric: Kaufman Laguna Jersey purchased at
Size: 4
Pros: bodysuits are awesome; the back is neat; there are several options for sleeve length and front/back neckline
Cons: it would be tough to keep the shoulders up if you made a scoop front and low backline; it's very hard to keep things modest without using a thicker knit
Thoughts: I'll try this again, but with a raglan sleeve. The shoulders and armholes are pulling, and I'm too lazy to figure out if it's because they need to be moved forward or backward or enlarged. Plus raglans are more comfortable for me.

There will be lots of great inspiration for holiday looks on the rest of the tour this week!

Monday, November 30th

Wednesday, December 2nd

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