Friday, July 25, 2014

Kids' Clothes Week 2014-Day 5

Well, today is don't have much for you. You just get a quick sneak peek. Happened upon a pattern test that was in need of TLM's size and since it's KCW, I figured, why not. Though I can't show you much, let me tell you, I'm IN LOVE!  I can't wait to show the finished project. Tomorrow I'm going to make another one. It took 58 minutes from cut to finish!  So excited about this one. But, you'll have to settle for glimpse for now. 

I can't believe the week is almost over. I'm really happy with what I've accomplished. This is the first major sewing challenge I've been involved with I'd I love the challenge. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Kids' Clothes Week 2014-Days 3 & 4

Well, as I feared, no sewing got done yesterday. I made up for it today by getting in a solid 1.5 hours. I was able to finish my Monkey Bar Skirt. I really love it. Looks cute and comfy and was a great use for fabric that was essentially scraps. 

Kids sewing is done for the day. I have a couple of patterns in mind but I'm not quite settled on which I want to go with which fabric. I did see TLM eyeing this purple chair fabric the other day. I love it so much and have been hoarding it but since it's only 1 yard there's not much that I can use it for garment wise for myself. It's going through the wash now and will become something cute probably tomorrow.   I might put Fee (my  flower decaled Brother) to work later to finish up a top for me. We shall see how my mojo is feeling.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kid's Clothes Week 2014-Day 2-Monkey Bar Skirt

Today I attempted to do a Monkey Bar Skirt, a cute skirt with built in shorts. I ran into some technical difficulties that left me with out any construction directions. Then I forgot how to put shorts together. Then, my dear machine Fee got hungry and ate my material. I had to disassemble him to get it out. <sigh>. Needless to say, today's hour did not result in a finished garment. I may even need to redo what I've done.  Well, tomorrow's another day. Hoping to find an hour, though I might have to double up on Thursday since tomorrow is PACKED. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Kids Clothes Week 2014-Day 1-Emme Bubble Skirt

A couple days ago, a sewing group buddy shared Kids Clothes Week with the group. The basic premise is that for 7 days you sew 1 hour a day for your child. I'm always up for a sewing challenge so I decided to jump in. If everything goes well, that means a short list everyday this week. Gotta keep myself accountable. 

First up, I modified the Emme skirt by Bebelambs into a bubble skirt. I love how clean the bubble skirt is on the inside. Everything is contained and pretty. As soon as TLM put it on, she asked if she could wear it he rest of the day, and she did. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Cold Never Bothered Me Dress-McCall's 7000 Elsa Dress

Well it was bound to happen wasn't it? A sewing machine plus a Frozen obsesses little miss was eventually going to result in an Elsa dress. Now I'm actually a big Frozen fan myself. I've loved Disney since I was a kid and Idina Menzel for around a decade. The copy of the Frozen soundtrack and BluRay belong to me. My Valentine's gift from Mr. R was tickets to go see the movie. But let me tell you, after hearing the soundtrack on repeat for the last 2 months, even I've had enough. 

I didn't actually even plan on making this dress. I'm still not quite sure how I managed to get played by a five year old. A couple weeks back we were near JoAnns and decided to pop in to check out their spring clearance sale. When we walked through the door there was a small Frozen display full of cape-worthy fabric. "I need an Elsa dress so I can be Elsa" TLM said. Next thing I know we are leaving the store with pattern, fabric, and notions. We even had three princess crowns. I'm still not sure what happened. 

Now, there are a lot of fancy a Elsa fabrics out there but I opted against them. I wanted a dress-up outfit that would be comfortable to wear. Sequins and tulle can get so scratchy and hot. I decided on using some Country Classic cotton. I've used it before and though it shrinks up a bit during prewashing, I like how it feels. The 100% cotton means it's comfy for the warm weather we've been having. It did need some bling so I stitched some rhinestone buttons onto the bodice before I attached the lining. 


Technically I think I used the Anna variation in the dress. Again, I was thinking comfort. A floor length dress isn't practical for playing at the park and a cape was bound to get in the way. I also left the sleeves off.  We've been having a really hot couple of weeks. I used the neck facings as a guide to draft facings to finish off the arm holes. 

I'm not actually very happy with hiw this turned our. I was being rushed by TLM so there's some sloppiness especially at the curbed bodice. I do like how nice the inside is finished. There are no unfinished seams. Everything is either French Seamed or encased in the bodice lining. She loves it though, do that's all that really matters. This was made to be a fun, play dress. 

The one thing I love is the zipper. I'm terrible at visualizing things so sometimes I end up blindly following so directions without really knowing where they are heading. That was the case here. The zipper insertion seemed weird but I went for it and ended up with this lovely covered zipper. Love how it turned out!

This dress is worn basically any time it's cleaned. My apprehensions aside, we can call that a success. Next week I should have something different...menswear!  Stay tuned. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Animals on Parade Shorts and Thoughts on Pattern Testing

I've been sitting on these shorts for a few weeks now trying to figure out how I wanted to present them. They were part of the last pattern testing I did in June. I was actually preparing to present them as a part of a blog tour when the tour was abruptly cancelled. I won't go into details, it's not my story to tell, but unfortunately the pattern is not currently for sale. It wasn't the best testing experience I've had, but I did learn some valuable lessons about myself as a tester. I figured I'd share some of these thought with you today and show off the ever cute Little Miss. 

1. Not ever pattern will work for every person

     This was one of the biggest issues I had when doing this pattern. TLM fell into different sizes for height, waist, and hips. I made adjustments but even after making 2 separate pairs, the just don't quite fit right. I blame this entirely on her personal shape. There wasn't much I could ever do, without totally redrafting the pattern, that was going to make them work. But that's okay! We've all had patterns like that and part of testing is finding what works and what doesn't. I need to let the less-than-successes roll off my back a bit more. 

2.  If you have doubts from the start, opt out of testing. 

     This was presented as a unisex pattern. I was always a little skeptical about this. Turns out it was an incredibly solid boys' pattern. Every boys' pair I saw really rivaled RTW with the bonus of being customizable. If I was sewing for a boy this would have become a go-to pattern for years. That being said, I don't really like it much on girls. There's something about the super straight cut that just didn't work for me. All the doubts I had from the start ended up playing out. I need to trust my gut. Pattern testing is me working for free so if I can't go into it feeling confident in success, I shouldn't do it. 

3.  Related, if you don't love the pattern, don't apply. 

     Much the same, if I'm not loving something or if it's just wrong for me (ex. a shirred bodice for me) I should just wait. Something that is a better fit will come along. Testing just to test is a recipe for stress and ripped seams. 

4.  Know when to say no. 

     I believe in being responsible, in sticking with commitments, but you need to know when you need to distance yourself from something. When I was still planning on participating in a blog tour I was struggling because while I had positive things to say, I also had criticisms. I found myself in the awkward place between honesty to myself and respecting the work and business of the designer. At this point I should have opted out of the blog tour. 

What it all boils down to is trusting my gut instead of just gleefully excepting every opportunity. 

I'll leave you with one last picture. Next time I'll have something I can actually talk about. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tommy Girl Skirt-Button-up Gathered Skirt

I needed a sewing win. I needed one bad. My third June pattern testing took a lot out of me. I hit a snag in my first Moneta, it's still awaiting some major seam ripping. A "quick" skirt was languishing in my UFO pile.  So, I finally buckled down, ignored the never ending pile of laundry, and FINISHED a project for me.  

I knew I wanted to make this skirt as soon as I saw this lobster version from Tilley and the Buttons. I actually think I had it planned for April or May but I wasn't able to find a cotton print that really spoke to me...well at least one that wouldn't eat up my monthly budget. At the beginning of June I spent the day looking for fabric bargains and doing a little thrifting. As usual, I was mostly unsuccessful, but I did come across the sheet that became this skirt. 

What sold me was the "Hilfiger" all over the place and of course, the $3 price. I knew immediately that it would become my picnic blanket skirt. Now, I'm not really one who cares about name brands. I have a few favorites but as a whole, it just doesn't interest me. I have a soft spot in my heart for Tommy Hilfiger though. I reminds me of my short-lived obsession with all things Hilfiger during my Freshman year of high school. My best friend and I spent all our precious back-to-school money on over-priced Tommy t-shirts. Shirts, I might add, that didn't really fit the girls, even at 15.  But they were "so cool!"  I'm sure my mom just silently shook her head in dismay over this display of consumerism. That was also the year I received a coveted bottle of Tommy Girl perfume. I spent the year covered in flag emblems while smelling like the cover of Seventeen magazine. With this skirt I can channel that girl once again, but in a better fitting less pungent way. 

I planned on finishing this skirt up during a long evening alone, but had to set it aside after I drew blood tice in 5 minutes. Somehow it languished in my sewing nook most of the month. It's really a fairly easy project, though the math did give me pause. I finally finished it just in time to have Mr R take photos on the Seattle waterfront. (Excuse the shoes, we did a ton of walking) I wore it all day and it was really comfy. I was glad to have shorts on under though!  Beware of wind gusts in such a full skirt

The one thing I noticed is that I seem to have problems making waistbands that fit. I used the guidelines in the tutorial and ended up having to remove 6 inches to make it fit nicely. I had a similar issue with my House is Not a Home skirt. I think I removed 5" and it's still a bit loose. I think I'm just afraid of making things too tight and so I don't want to trust my tape measure. Does anyone else have this problem?

I love the buttons up the front. It's a cute little twist on a basic skirt. I do wish they showed up a bit better. I'm not really sure what a better color would have been with such a colorful, busy print. 

All in all it just felt great to finish something that was just for me. July has a lot of selfless sewing in it but I just bought a new, quick pattern that will hopefully give me a chance to get a little me sewing in as well. A win is a win though so I'm going to take it, and my skirt, and run with it.