Music Box Jumper & Wee Wander

Music Box Dress 5

Despite the dearth of blog posts over the past year or so, I was sewing quite a bit. Projects just don’t always make it from sewing machine to website. This weekend as I was clearing outgrown clothes from my children’s drawers and closets, I was reminded of this lovely dress I made my daughter for Easter, 2015. And it still fits! In fact, it probably fits better now than when I made it, so I thought I’d share it here.

Warm weather (hot and humid, actually) made a strong return this past weekend, so the dress got another round of wear.

Music Box Dress 3

I think the dress now has a much better fit through the chest and lengthwise than it did a year and a half ago (see below). But I’m not about to complain about getting such a long period of use out of something I made her.

Music Box Dress 2015

This dress was made from the Oliver + S Music Box Jumper dress pattern. I made pattern View B in a size 4 without any modifications.

Music Box Dress 1

This was actually the first sewing pattern I ever purchased. Back when I was still just a sewing blog stalker and didn’t have any sewing skills, I fell in love with so many of the Oliver + S creations I saw bloggers sharing. Once I took a sewing class, the fact that this particular pattern is touted as a good fit for beginning sewists, in addition to being adorable, is what spurred my purchase. However, as a newly minted sewist, I knew how to sew (somewhat!) but I really didn’t know how to interpret a pattern. I opened the pattern, scratched my head and felt somewhat overwhelmed, and then folded it back up and put it away for so long I nearly forgot about it!

My hesitation and intimidation were truly borne out of my newbie status with patterns; my sewing class focused on learning to sew, not reading patterns. I had no idea what to do with a pattern! Do I cut the pattern? Trace it? What are these markings? My “fear” of patterns led to a lengthy stage where I ignored patterns entirely and just tried to figure everything out on my own with a generous dose of help from the internet. And while there was certainly a benefit to that trial and error phase of my sewing — an interesting combination of stubborn ignorance and inflated confidence — once I started using patterns, I realized that in some ways that phase had kept me from expanding my sewing knowledge and enjoying both the beauty and convenience that can come from sewing with a quality pattern.

Music Box Dress 6

The fabric I selected for this dress is designed by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller fabrics. It is from her Wee Wander collection from a few years ago. I am a big fan of her whimsical illustrations, and this one features a brown-haired little girl with a haircut just like my daughter’s. My daughter noticed her immediately and gleefully exclaimed, “she’s just like me!” I may have given myself a huge little pat on the back for that.

Music Box Dress 2

Music Box Dress 4

I’m so glad we’ve had a long run with this dress. No longer afraid of patterns and a big fan of Oliver + S patterns in particular, I’m in the process of sewing another Oliver + S dress now, and hope to share it soon.

Daisy Mini Hudson Pants

Hudson Pants 1 by fwc

Another handmade item for back to school — I sewed up a pair Mini Hudson Pants by True Bias. And thanks to a couple days of cooler weather last week, my daughter has already worn them to school.

Slacker admission: I started these pants during the Spring session of Kids Clothes Week. All that was left was for me to sew the cuffs on the pants legs when I started doubting the whole project and set it aside. Do I like my choice of contrast trim on the pockets? Should I make the pant cuffs match the pocket trim? Will she even wear these pants? 

A couple weeks ago, I finally had Daisy try them on, still unfinished, just to test her reaction. She didn’t want to take them off. “These are so cozy, Mama.” That was enough motivation to finish them.

Hudson Pants 3 by fwc

Despite the fact that this pattern has been a favorite of the sewing blog community for quite some time, this was my first time trying the pattern. It was a straightforward project with solid instructions. I used a fun, stretchy knit by Bari J. Ackerman for Art Gallery Fabrics purchased from Hawthorne Threads. Daisies for my little Daisy.

Hudson Pants 4 by fwc

Hudson Pants 5 by fwc

Hudson Pants 2 by fwc

See you next time!

Kids Clothes Week Summer 2016: Beachy Boatneck

Beachy Boatneck2

Until last night, I hadn’t touched my sewing machine in just over two months. My sewing production always tends to slow to a trickle in the summer, but that is definitely the longest I’ve gone without sewing a thing! Blame it on the heat (it’s been downright disgusting here lately), or the general lack of time with the kids home on summer break, or simply being too tired after long days of exploring/swimming/getting on each other’s nerves. Or, we can simply blame it on Netflix, the Olympics, or whatever draws me to the couch once the tasks of the day are finally complete (or pushed off for another day!).

Kids Clothes Week and the impending start of school dragged me out of my sewing slump, however. Since my son wears a uniform to school, my daughter can be the sole focus of my back to school sewing efforts, and sewing for only one child seemed manageable. We’ll see about that. Starting this task two weeks before the start of school may not have been the best move.

Beachy Boatneck1

In some ways this project seems like the ultimate compromise to me. I love sewing my daughter dresses. My daughter loves rejecting said dresses and demanding soft, cozy garments. And so, despite my deep desire to start the school year with a slew of newly sewn dresses, I am acknowledging that an unworn pile of dresses would irritate me beyond belief, and it’s far better to make her something that she’ll enjoy and wear multiple times.

Beachy Boatneck6

Hence, my return to sewing comes in the form of a t-shirt. Ah, the glory.

Beachy Boatneck5

I’ve sewn t-shirts before, but this was my first time with this pattern. It’s the Beachy Boatneck by Melly Sews for Blank Slate Patterns. I tease about the lack of glory in sewing a simple tee. Every time I sew something up in knit fabric and I feel it could pass for ready-to-wear quality, I’m pretty darn proud.

Beachy Boatneck7

The fabric definitely passes for soft and cozy, too — as evidenced by my daughter’s immediate request to wear it and her later suggestion that it could be a PJ shirt, too. Success! The fabric is an organic cotton interlock from the Acorn Trail collection for Birch Fabrics. Last year I made my son a pair of creepy crawly pajamas with another fabric from this collection.

Beachy Boatneck3

My one regret in sewing this shirt is being too lazy to switch over to my double needle to finish the hems and topstitch the neckline. But a girl can only handle so much at once — baby steps, people, after all this is my first time sewing since early June!! Let’s not rush things.

It’s a good pattern with reliable instruction and it comes together quickly — probably even faster if you don’t have to reintroduce yourself to your sewing machine! The pattern uses a front and back yoke facing rather than a neck binding, and I love that clean look. I sewed up a size 4 for Daisy based on the measurements provided, but the fit is a bit loose on her.  It’s not sloppy big, but there is definitely room to grow. Interestingly, she mostly wears a size 5T in RTW shirts. The pattern also lends itself nicely to adaptation, and I’m hoping to play around with it soon.

Beachy Boatneck4

Now that one back to school project is in the books, let’s hope I don’t fall back into another summer slide. I suppose I could take the easy way out and just sew up a whole pile of Beachy Boatnecks — she is quite happy with this one, and who am I to ruin a good thing…

Or, more appropriately, who am I to mess with an intimidating ninja superhero? I’ll leave you with one of Daisy’s oh-so-imposing ninja stances; she’s been practicing all summer.

Beachy Boatneck8

Scout Tee: Handmade Wardrobe 2016

Scout Tee 1/6

I am definitely riding a sewing high lately. Four garments sewn in the span of one week and three, including this one, blogged. And another pattern (for me!) traced and cut, fabric purchased. Will all of this sewing activity be followed by a sewing crash and burn? Let’s hope not.

This shirt, item #2 in my Handmade Wardrobe 2016, is the Scout Tee from Grainline Studio. Continuing my trend of being late to the *hot* sewing pattern party, this is my first time sewing the Scout Tee. I am, so far, on the fence about it. To be fair, I’ve worn it for only about an hour so far. While it might not be love at first site, it may grow on me; and it may just need a few tweaks and some customizing for the next round in order to elevate its status. I’m not giving up on it! And I do love the clean look of the bias trim-finished scoop neckline.

Scout Tee 3/6

I must admit I shrugged this pattern off for quite some time despite the fact that it was popping up all over the sewing blog world. The Scout Tee is made from woven fabric, not stretchy knit, and I just couldn’t convince myself that a woven tee would be comfortable enough to merit the effort.

The Grainline Studio site describes this pattern as follows: A woven t-shirt with capped sleeves and scoop neck. Fitted at the shoulders, this top falls into a loose shape below the bust. Let’s repeat together, “loose shape.” My failure to fully embrace this finished product is definitely due to the boxy-ness of it. I’m not sure it’s a pear-shaped girl’s best friend.

My wariness, and the reason for such, is fully displayed below.

Scout 6/6

Based on the pattern sizing and my body measurements, I sewed a size 6 graded to a 10 at the waist/hips. There is plenty of ease to pull it on overhead (obviously necessary given the lack of stretch in woven fabrics). But that straight front hemline….. notsosureaboutthat. I suppose an easy modification for next time might be to adjust the shape of that front hem. Or maybe it needs a little shaping through the waist? Or maybe just go down a size. I’ve got some tinkering to do. I would have been well-served to have sewn up a muslin for this pattern, says the Monday morning quarterback in me.

Scout 5/6

The backline hemline is lower for more coverage.

Scout Tee 4/6

Although, it’s still cut mostly straight across.

I should note — the pattern design is fully viewable before purchase. I’m not trying to indicate that the design/shape was a surprise. It’s more that I didn’t fully appreciate how the boxy, straight hem would ultimately look on my body.

Let’s focus instead on something I’m really happy about — the fabric! I finally caved on purchasing the Scout Tee pattern when Art Gallery released its new denim fabric collection a few weeks ago. I purchased three different denims, all in different fabric compositions. This fabric is the Cool Foliage from the Solid Smooth Denim palette. It’s a lightweight 80/20% cotton/polyester blend. The best way to describe the color is a grey-green; it’s definitely a cool undertone as the name suggests. It was a pleasure to sew; the hardest part was finding a complementary thread color. If you still think of denim as a thick, jeans-only material, you will not believe this is denim. It feels awesome.

Scout Tee 2/6

Although I’m not yet enamored with this shirt, all is not lost. It will definitely be worn. And, Grainline Studio offers several tutorials to hack the original pattern into different looks. I am eyeing the Madewell Scout variation.

Be well!