Kids Clothes Week Summer 2016: Beachy Boatneck

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Scout Tee: Handmade Wardrobe 2016

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The backline hemline is lower for more coverage.

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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.

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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!

Kids Clothes Week: Pleated Tee Dress

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It’s the winter round of Kid’s Clothes Week 2016 and today it feels like Spring in Connecticut! And that works out perfectly for me, because I’ve been sewing with Spring in mind.

My daughter indulged me in a quick photo shoot before school so I could snap up some photos of my KCW contribution. At first she didn’t believe me when I told her we could take the photos outside without wearing a coat! Then once she went outside and felt the lovely 50+ degree weather (at 9 a.m. no less), she was running around giddy with delight.

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The knit t-shirt dress still reigns supreme in Daisy’s wardrobe, and I should probably just accept the fact that it will probably remain that way for many years to come. Heck, who am I kidding — I’d enjoy wearing a nice, stretchy knit dress and leggings most days, too.

This dress is made from some lovely interlock knit fabric from Amy Butler’s Glow collection purchased from Hawthorne Threads. This fabric was fabulous to work with and has that nice, dependable interlock thickness to it. My fabric selection was inspired by this post by Gail of the blog Probably Actually (which is one of my favorite sewing blogs — her creations are beautiful and I enjoy her aesthetic. You should hop over there to check out these adorable robot pants she made for KCW.). Gail used the grey, woven version of this print for her daughter’s dress. I had seen the fabric before but always skipped over it in favor of the larger, louder, bolder Amy Butler prints, and her post served as a reminder that I need to expand my appreciation for the more subtle prints (and the solids!). These dots remind me of bubbles; almost luminescent floating in the sunlight.

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This dress sews up so quickly that I’m surprised I haven’t made it more frequently (I’ve made her three, but only blogged this one.). I attempted a variation on my usual version by adding a few pleats to the front of this dress. Nothing too crazy but enough to make it a bit more exciting. It looks like I need to double-check the bottom of those pleats; from the photo it looks like they may be separating.

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Pleat front t-shirt dress www.fromwholecloth.com #amybutler #fabric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daisy was in such a good mood for the photo shoot; it was the perfect start to the day. I’m planning to carry that positive energy through the day!

Handmade Wardrobe 2016: Gallery Tunic

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I am happy to report that project #1 in Operation Handmade Wardrobe 2016 (original title, huh) is complete.

Last week I participated in the Liesl & Co. sew-along for the Gallery Tunic and Dress Pattern, and it was a success. This was my first time sewing this pattern and I chose the collared tunic version (Version A), made with a lightweight stretch shirting fabric I purchased at Joanns.

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The shirt has a placket front with pleat detail, and an inverted pleat in the back. It’s a relaxed fit that pulls on, without the need for any button or zipper closures.

I sewed the tunic in a size 6 graded to a size 10 through the hips based on the pattern size chart. The grading was the only pattern modification I made.  Based on the relaxed fit and a-line shape of the tunic, I may not have needed to grade out so much at the hips, but I am pleased with the fit nonetheless.

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The fit of this tunic is spot on for me through the shoulders and chest.  I did not make a muslin before cutting into this fabric so I was holding my breath in anticipation when I first tried it on.  Knowing the fit is so great through the shoulders gives me plenty of ideas for using this pattern as a jumping off point for different variations. I’m already envisioning a shorter blouse-length in a crisp white, to be worn tucked in (or a half-tuck) for a more dressy look. I am also looking forward to making the dress version.

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I paid particular attention to the fabric layout when cutting my pattern pieces, and I am giving myself a big round of applause for pattern matching throughout — some instances, perhaps, more luck than skill!

I have to admit I really liked this fabric print when I first saw it, but the longer I sewed with it, the more I started to doubt my selection. Is it too busy? I think it will be a fun piece for my spring/summer wardrobe, and I can always mute it a bit by layering a lightweight navy blue cardigan over it. Add some white jeans … (and by the way, who makes good white jeans, as in thick enough not to be embarrassing. Or are white jeans a no-no once you hit a certain age? Thoughts?)

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For now I should be concentrating on sewing for Kids Clothes Week, but I already have fabric and a sewing pattern selected for my next Handmade Wardrobe 2016 project, so we’ll see how much kid’s sewing gets done this week.