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

Kids Clothes Week: Pleated Tee Dress

T-shirt Dress 5

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.

T-shirt Dress 3

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.

T-shirt Dress with pleats

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.

T-shirt Dress 4

Pleat front t-shirt dress #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!

Pattern Testing: Cali Faye Valley Blouse for Girls

I’ve been a busy pattern tester the last week or so! In addition to testing the new women’s blouse pattern, the Valley Blouse from Cali Faye Collection (blogged here), I also tested the girl’s Valley Blouse pattern from CFC.

Valley Blouse by, sewn by, girls #sewing #pattern sizes 2T to 10 in girls

After sewing the women’s version of this pattern twice the week before, I had the pattern instructions memorized by the time I sewed up the girl’s version for Daisy. This made for nice, quick sewing. And, after some minor tweaks by Sarah of CFC based on the first round of tester comments, very pleasing results!

This is such a fun blouse for a little girl. A simple, without being boring, design. A fit that is not at all fussy or confining (that would certainly never work for my little one), and can be pulled over her head as opposed to requiring her to stand still for buttoning. And a style that easily transitions across the pattern sizing (sizes 2T through 10 girls are included) without making your little one look too grown up or too young at the opposite ends of the size spectrum. I can definitely see myself making this pattern for Daisy for years to come. And heck, then making it some more when she reaches the women’s sizing!

Valley Blouse girls back view, Valley Blouse by, sewn by, girls #sewing #pattern sizes 2T to 10 in girls

And allow me to profess my fabric love for this blue shirting! I scored it at Jo-Ann’s last week (I tried to find a link on their website but struck out). It is 100% cotton and super lightweight; perfect for this blouse.

Note, the keyhole opening in the shirt front is hidden by the gathers when the shirt yoke is buttoned. You can just about see the beginning of the keyhole seam peeking out below the overlapped yoke pieces. And given how lightweight this particular fabric is, you can also see the outline of the interfacing I applied to strengthen the fabric where the buttons/buttonholes are applied. I am definitely glad I cut the interfacing straight and evenly because otherwise that would have been a messy distraction front and center!

Valley Yoke close up, Valley Blouse by, sewn by, girls #sewing #pattern sizes 2T to 10 in girls

My daughter turns four next month but is on the more petite size; although certainly not with respect to CHEEKS. Cheeks for days. I sewed her a straight size 3T based on her chest measurement (it was exactly equal to the 3T sizing). I intentionally left the sleeve length as drafted in the pattern, considering the pattern allows for a generous fit through the chest and waist and this blouse will likely fit for a good while. Left at full length, the sleeves are currently slightly too long for her frame, so for now she can wear the sleeves rolled up or just flipped up a bit for best fit. Too-long sleeves are a common problem with all her RTW garments. Perhaps I should start pulling on her limbs, or hang her upside down a few hours a day? Joking!!

Valley Blouse by, sewn by, girls #sewing #pattern sizes 2T to 10 in girls


Valley Blouse by, sewn by, girls #sewing #pattern sizes 2T to 10 in girls

So, Daisy and I recently had a conversation, inspired by a description in a story we read, about what it looks like to stand with your hands on your hips. Clearly this concept made a big impression because as we started our photo shoot, she instructed me to take the photo below “with my hand on my hip”. And then, immediately after snapping her picture, she demanded that I show her the photo on my camera. Oh my. Next she’ll be demanding full editorial rights. I can’t even begin to describe how much she cracks me up on a daily basis.

And, by the way, I can’t stand this photo because somehow she went from looking her age in the other photos to looking about 12 years old in this one. Stop the clock, please!!

Valley Blouse by, sewn by, girls #sewing #pattern sizes 2T to 10 in girls

I encourage you to give the Valley Blouse a try for your girl. If you need more convincing, you can find several inspiring versions on Instagram by searching #valleyblouse. You can purchase the pattern here on the Cali Faye Collection site, or by purchasing it through CaliFayeCollection on Etsy.

Let’s Dance: First Day Dress Pattern Goes to a Wedding

First Day Dress Pattern by MADE, sewn by

At the very beginning of the summer we attended a family wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony, a gorgeous day, an awesome setting for the reception, and we were celebrating a wonderful couple. But none of that really mattered to my children, because they were solely focused on the dance floor.

While the guests were enjoying cocktail hour on a grassy lawn overlooking Long Island Sound, my children were already inside checking out the dance floor and giving it a spin. Treating it like their own personal stage. The only complaint they could muster — the deejay didn’t have “Ghostbusters”, their first choice in dance tunes. (Thank you to Aunt Claudia for instilling such fine taste in dance music!)

Despite my son’s concern at one point during the evening that the other guests might steal “his moves” (I kid you NOT!), my children had me dancing the night away as we celebrated the happy couple. I honestly don’t think I’ve spent as much time dancing at a wedding as I did that night. I’m sure my husband, a perennial dance floor-avoider, was relieved the kids took up his dancing slack. And while I don’t have any live action shots to prove it, the dress I made my daughter for the wedding really hit the mark for spinning and twirling and all things dancing. You’ll have to just trust me on this one.

As reenacted in our yard.

First Day Dress Pattern by MADE, sewn by

I chose to sew the First Day Dress Pattern by MADE. I was familiar with the pattern from the peplum tops I made my daughter last spring here and here, so the sewing was familiar and quick. I sewed up the sleeveless Swing Dress option, and my only alterations from the original pattern were to cut the neckline with a slight dip in the front and to lengthen the opening in the back.

The main fabric is Amy Butler – Violette – Meadow Blooms in Midnight, purchased from Hawthorne Threads. I love the blast of colors and floral design. It’s like wearing a watercolor painting. It is lined in a pin dot fabric in medium pink.

First Day Dress Pattern by MADE, sewn by

First Day Dress Pattern by MADE, sewn by

I sized up for the dress since at this age my daughter’s chest measurement typically bumps her up a size in patterns (whereas her hip and inseam measurements call for a size smaller!), and from my prior projects I recalled the chest being the slimmest part of this pattern. The dress was ultimately a bit big for her, so I probably did not need to size up after all (especially since the changes I made to the neckline and back opening already allowed for a more generous fit through the chest). No worries, it just extends the period this dress will fit her!

The pattern provides for different lining options, and I hemmed (ha, ha) and hawed about which direction to take it. In the end, I chose to make the lining facing right side out — specifically because my daughter tends to do a lot of this when wearing a dress:

First Day Dress Pattern by MADE, sewn by

She even does that to me when I am wearing a dress, which has made for some awkward moments at the grocery store. Yikes! Hellooo there!

However, when twirling, it looked like this:

First Day Dress Pattern by MADE, sewn by

But who cares, you can’t let an exposed lining hem stop you from dancing and having a load of fun celebrating with family and friends! And besides, the reality is that unless you were laying down on the dance floor, you really couldn’t see the inside of the lining.

First Day Dress Pattern by MADE, sewn by

The dress was subsequently worn to an end of the school year celebration and to church, so it made the rounds a bit. All before her refusal to wear dresses set in … which, by the way, seems to maybe, just perhaps, be receding?! Oh, I hope I didn’t just jinx it.

Have a great week!