Polka Dot Peplum + giveaway

Hello!  Today is a good day.  Dana of MADE has released her much-anticipated First Day Dress pattern!

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Caroline and I were excited to be testers for this pattern, because… well, duh… it’s Dana- need I say more?  But, for me anyway, her blog was literally the FIRST sewing blog I had ever stumbled upon.  Like, I didn’t even know about you people or your cool sewing blogs, or that this community even existed.  I was googling sewing patterns late one night 4 years ago, and came across her Market Skirt tutorial and then spent the next several hours poring over her beautiful, bright and cheery site.  I was amazed that a person could make these things at home!  Not to go all cheese-fest here, but you could say that she changed my creative life!  Aw….

Onto this GREAT pattern.

There are several options.  I’ll let you hop on over to her site to read all about them, but for my version I chose to sew the peplum top.  I’m pretty sure Caroline is with me here… we are not peplum people.  I have seen them all over the sewing world over the past year, but haven’t jumped on board until now.

Something about my fun little Coco-girl inspired me to give it a whirl.

And I’m so glad I did.

I made a size 2 for my newish two-year old.  Guys, the fit is PERFECT.  I was nervous that this would be to small on her, but as soon as she got it on, I was just doing a crazy dance.  Those little capped sleeves, the adorable swingy peplum skirt, the polka dots… this is a happy project.

I found this great charcoal/silver polka dot fabric at Joann, and snatched up three yards of it.  Luckily, I barely had to use much for this pattern- since I might see a size 6 dress version in my future!  The back closes simply with a single button and elastic loop.  I used one of my favorite buttons from my stash, and I like you could have some fun with a colorful, bold, or special one that you love.

Like I said, there are plenty of options here.  Even when it comes to the lining…you can choose to do a partial lining- just at the bodice, or a full.  I fully-lined mine with some mint voile.  I love the glimpse of color that pokes out when she’s boppin’ around.

Or balancing on her brother’s cute bum.

This pattern is very thorough, with great photos and detailed instructions.  I think it is such a sweet tailored shape, and after making so many dresses with a gathered skirt, this top seemed to come together in a jiff.

I made one particular note to myself that I’ll share with you about this pattern:  while this top really does fit peeeerfectly, it took some care to get off of Corinne without inducing a full on mid-removal arms-stuck meltdown.  If your kiddo is well endowed in the noggin’ department, I’d consider cutting your back slit 1/2″ longer, or cutting the neckline a hair larger.  Just in case y’all.

Now.  Which one of you kind readers would like to win a copy of this pattern?  Okay!  Leave me a comment telling me which option is your favorite, and I’ll randomly pick a winner by the evening of Thursday July 3.

**Giveaway is now closed.  Congratulations to #13, Jo!  Hope you enjoy your new pattern!**

And come back soon if you don’t win because sister Caroline (!!!) will be back with a totally different look and another chance to win!

Thanks to Dana for the awesome pattern- it’s obvious to see how much work went into creating this one!

Goodbye and Good Luck!

-Erin

hummingbird

I have been sewing like a crazy person, a.k.a. Jesse Spano, a whole lot this past month.  Like cutting out several projects in one fell swoop, labeling fabrics, staying up late, watching 19 Kids and Counting (OH C’MON… you watch it too)/Intervention (the girl who huffs computer duster. YIKES.)/Inside Amy Schumer, and sewing until my back hurts.  Hey, sometimes you got it and sometimes you don’t.  It’s rare for me to be on a straight-up sewing binge, but currently I am.

(And lest you think all I do is sew and watch trashy TV all night…I don’t.  Though sometimes I accidentally put on Peppa Pig, not realizing that my kids are in BED and ASLEEP… and it’ll just play for like 10 minutes before it occurs to me.  Do you ever do that?  Turn on the old boob tube after the kiddos are down, and immediately hit up Nick Jr? What the?! Anyway, I also enjoy the occasional TED talk or Creative Bug on youtube… I love the meet so-and-so videos.  And sewing in the daytime calls for Pandora.  Moving on.)

One pattern that I’ve been pretty smitten with lately is the Hummingbird dress by rabbit rabbit creations.  I stumbled upon it one night while searching around on Etsy and I bought it right away.  I’ve already sewn several variations, but this one here is a fave.

p.s. that mole in the middle of her back is also my fave. :)

I love the fitted bodice and the elastic casing in the back which adds comfort and a casual vibe.  There is the option of adding flutter sleeves to the straps, but I am all for the clean look of this for now.

As for the fit, it’s just perfect.  I sewed a 6 (Ell is a new-ish 6 year old), and it’s right on the money.

(update: there are couple of glitches in this pattern.  first, at the back bodice piece- which is a long rectangle- a 1/2 should be added to the width (not length!) of both the outer and the lining back bodice piece,  because when attaching it to the front bodice at the underarms, it is too short and doesn’t quite match up with the width of the front bodice piece, which then requires you to adjust some things when attaching the skirt to the finished bodice. second, the instructions suggest that you can enclose the gathered skirt piece into the bodice and the bodice lining so there is no raw seam inside… however, this is incredibly hard to do once the elastic is already in the back bodice piece.  I recommend you try attaching the skirt to the bodice and lining first, but leave the sides at the underarms unattached- then thread your elastic in, and finish enclosing the rest of the skirt. I decided to just attach the bodice to the skirt without enclosing and I am more than happy with my result, but I did want to include that in here for you in case you make this dress and want a very professional look inside!)

I’ve been really drawn to color in the last few months… I used to buy a lot of prints, but realized that I tire of them really quickly and they don’t seem to get much play at my sewing machine.

You already know that I’m a cotton couture lover (no really, Michael Miller… where’s my sponsorship?!!).  It’s just the perfect weight, has some sort of sheen to it, and if you look closely and compare it to say, Kona cotton, it seems more tightly woven, which really seems to give it this softness factor.  I used it here in watermelon for the skirt, and in gold for the sweet little straps.  The bodice is a solid voile in coral (lined with cream cotton), I’m sorta/kinda/alotta in love with this combo.

This dress is actually not for my Ellery (Sorry, kid).

  But more on that soon…

-Erin

 

A Birthday Popover

My oldest kiddo, Ellery Kate, is going to be 6 in 7 days!  She’s been counting down for two weeks now.

I wanted to make her a little birthday dress.  Something, easy, sweet, casual, and flowy.

Enter one of my favorite little (free) patterns, the Oliver + S popover sundress.

I’ve probably made about 8 of these dresses (not including the doll version!) and it will always be a fave.  It’s such a quick sew, and can easily be modified to make it more interesting.

Here, I modified the skirt piece, by cutting pieces the entire width of the fabric and then gathering at the center where it attaches to the yoke.

I also added a lining (I hacked up an old bridesmaid dress for that- leaving the existing hem), which is very easy to do with this pattern, and I’m so glad I did.  It had to have something under the cream fabric since you’d be able to see her Anna and Elsa undies (Do you wanna build a snowman???? sorry… you probably just got that out of your head), but mostly, I wanted a more fun, billowy look for my girl.

(By the way, I originally stacked the lining and outer piece together and then gathered, but decided that gathering them separately and just sort of squishing them together with pins when attaching the yoke, yields a more fluffy look there… and that’s sort of what I was going for.)

One of Ellery’s favorite handmades was this popover in knit.  Wore the dickens out of it.  I loved the pieced look of the yoke on that one, so I did the same idea here by piecing together some of my favorite Michael Miller cotton couture solids (from left to right: violet, jewel, creamsicle, mist, fog, and wedgewood).  The straps are also cotton couture, in cinnamon… and…the main dress is made in (yup, cotton couture) cream.

Yo Michael Miller!  Can I get a sponsorship?  Or at least a WOOT WOOT!

Ellery thinks it’s HILARIOUS that we only got one long stalk of asparagus in our garden… we planted that shit 3 years ago and it’s supposed to be coming up like crocuses now.  Ridiculous.

Ell has finally started to climb the trees in our yard.  Which is good because there are like 50.

Get going, girl.

…And happy, happy birthday to my best little friend.  Love you like cray cray.

-Erin

geranium in washi + gold

First, I just want to thank you guys for your kind and thoughtful comments on our last post.  Caroline and I both felt the love!  You guys are the best.  Wes has responded really well to chemo so far, and it was a pleasure to get to see him this morning in his own house, being silly and adorable.   A few weeks ago, I threw all sewing stuff to the wind.  I couldn’t really do anything but think about my sweet nephew and how I could help my sis.  But, sewing is therapeutic, and it felt nice to pick up some fabric and make something out of it.  So, while I had some time on my hands yesterday (thank god for children who still nap!), I decided to finish up this little outfit that I’ve had cut out for some time.

This fabric has certainly seen its heyday- Rae made it iconic with her original Washi dress… But I’ve been sitting on a yard of it for almost 2 years.  So, while you sewing blog readers are probably sick of seeing it, well…. sorry!  But, I think it’s the perfect kid fabric with it’s vibrant colors.

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Nothing is easier than using a pattern you know well.  The Geranium is tried and true.  This version is the tunic length, with ruffle sleeves.  I usually use gold thread to finish the zigzag edge because I’m all for a little understated bling.

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The bubble bloomers are self-drafted.  I’ve been working on perfecting the fit, and I’m almost there.  I think they are a nice staple to have in a toddler wardrobe.  And when you make them out of cotton couture,  well… they are almost luxurious.  Rich in color, soft and they almost have a sheen to them.

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This set is not for my darling dear Coco.  Instead, I enlisted her modeling help (in exchange for 2 Cadbury mini eggs… ’tis the season!), and then packed these up to be shipped to a little friend up north today.

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Yesterday it was in the 70′s here.  I hope you are experiencing some signs of Spring wherever you are!

-Erin

kcw day five: flashback dress

 There are plenty of times (like weeks at a time) that I don’t feel inspired to make anything, or my kids don’t need anything, or I just have no creative juices.  But I’m feeling super-charged this week and I think it’s because I’m conquering my fears about sewing with knits.  And it’s mostly because I have too- since it’s all my kids want to wear.

Caroline commented on my flashback tee for Coco the other day, “Congratulations, you are now a Flashback addict.”

Yup.  I am.

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I made this late at night, and could’ve been way more precise about sewing it all, but I wasn’t.  Basically, I cut the shirt off a couple of inches under the arm pit and added a nice big gathered rectangle (I stitched that to the bodice by using zigzag stitch and then I serged it). There is some definite wonkiness (at the gathered seam, and the hem), but Ell loves it!

(a-hem.  This photo shoot was a DOOZY.)

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This rib knit was pretty stretchy and even though I cut a size 5 for my kid, it really started to stretch out by the time she got home from school when I snapped these pictures.  The gray baby rib is from Joann and it’s awesome- great stretch recovery (like all my new lingo?).  It’s great for necklines and cuffs.

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The coral floral (hehe) fabric is from fabric.com, but I can’t seem to find it there anymore.  I got it for $3.49/yard and I am willing to take my chances on cheap knit from an online store.  I am not one of those “have to see it/feel it in the store” type of people.  There is excitement in a little risky fabric shopping!  I did make sure it was mostly cotton, with a little lycra, and I think that’s a good little rule to go buy when buying for basic shirts/dresses.

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Girl is growing like a weed.  Those high-waters and worn-out knees are being taken care of tomorrow, fyi.

Stayed tuned.

-Erin

January Junebug

 Happy New Year Gungie readers!  Resolutions anyone?  Mine are mostly just project lists for each room of our house.  The challenge for me, since I seem to have design ADD, is to just commit to one room, and finish it.  I’m starting with the parts of our home that are exposed to the most general traffic.  I think that’s a smart way to begin.   Hopefully, I will have the nerve to show you the progress as things move along.

As for sewing, well, isn’t it always about stash busting?  Use what you have, and avoid spending on new fabric!  Also, pattern busting for me.  I have been psyched to buy several patterns, but then I strangely avoid them.  I don’ t know why.  My Washi pattern is giving me the stink eye right now!  I’ll get to you, dammit!

First up for both pattern and stash busting is the sweet, vintage inspired, Junebug Dress.  Sewn in Tanya Whelan Delilah Dots, and lined with some pretty floral that I can’t place.

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This was my first time sewing one of Jessica’s patterns.  It went perfectly!  Really well written with lots of pictures.   I sewed the 18 month size  for a dear friend’s first baby, with the thought that she can wear it next spring when she will be walking.  That must be such a strange thing to imagine for the mother of a two month old!  Her teeny little girl will be up and walking this time next year.  Its wild!

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I definitely considered doing the bodice in the floral print, but I waited until I had all pieces constructed to decide.  It came down to the piping.  Doesn’t it always?  I loved the turquoise piping with the turquoise buttons, and those features just wouldn’t pop against the floral fabric.  So red dots all the way!  

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I was hoping Corinne would be up for modeling this, but I caught her too close to nap time.   Wes was my next choice, but I just couldn’t do that to him again.  It’s still too soon.  So, on the hanger it is.

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Ah, it feels good to have one sewing project under my belt in the new year.  What will be next?  Unfortunately, I think it will have to be some theme sewing for Jet’s 7th birthday party.  I haven’t yet seen fabric Minion bunting on Pinterest yet, so I’ll have to think it up myself.

Tell us what projects top your 2014 list!

~Caroline

Another Debbie + A Giveaway

Hello there!

Remember the  Little Debbie dress I made for Corinne earlier this month?  Well, I’m back with another one, this time for my big girl, Ellery.

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  This is the Debbie’s Birthday Dress pattern from Suz of Sewpony.

I tested this pattern in the 18 month size, but I was really looking forward to sewing one up for my 5 year old!  I made a size 6 and I think It’s pretty right on.

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I love this little pattern.  I really do.

I love how different this version is from Coco’s vintage-y one.

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I love that it’s got a sort of Fall-Mod thing going.

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But I think what I love most about it, is that it used to be my dress!

A shapeless shift dress that I wore a small handful of times, but has sat in my closet for almost 5 years.

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I made a couple of modifications to the pattern: I chose to cut my front piece on the fold to keep the print intact.  Also, since this fabric is very thin, I fully lined it, using the original lining from the old dress.  That’s not hard to figure out at all, the pattern has a bodice lining already… I just extended it all the way the length of the dress.

Suz is offering up a free copy of the pattern to one of you sweet readers!  Just leave me a comment here and I’ll randomly pick a winner next week.

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:::Giveaway is open to all and will run until Tuesday at midnight EST.:::

giveaway is now closed!  congrats to Michelle :)

-Erin

This Worked Out

I kind of can’t believe it myself. This upcycle was a major success!

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A few simple steps, and I turned a tired maternity shirt into an adorable back-to-school dress for Aves!

Here’s the before:

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We headed to Gee and Poppy’s for the photo shoot.  But, bear with me, my model was, how-do-you-say, not in the mood.

She said she’d do it if she could wear the Mardi Gras mask.

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I know, the mask is really cool, but focus on the dress.  How cute is that?!  It was so simple that I’m kicking myself for not taking in-progress photos to show you how!

Besides the cute pintucks, its your basic buttondown.  You could probably just as easily do this with a men’s shirt.  Actually maybe even easier since you wouldn’t have to worry about the bust darts making it wonky.

To make the dress, I cut the sleeves off the shirt and then cut up the side seams, keeping everything else intact.  Then, using my Music Box pattern as a guideline, I cut away at the front and back until they were in A-line unison.  I borrowed the buttons that came from the sleeves and added them to the placket.  You probably could skip that step if just using a men’s shirt.  All the raw edges were then encased in the red bias tape.   No hemming, word!

We left her grandparents’ house and headed to the park, in hopes of finding a sunnier attitude.

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Nope. Not gonna happen.  Forget the kid, let’s check out the back.

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The material is a lightweight denim.  It drapes really well.  As evident in this slouch.

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Ha ha.  Someone needs school to start!  (That someone would be me, of course.)

I took my time with the bias tape, sewing it to the wrong side first, and then flipping it over to the right side, and carefully topstitching.  It takes more time than just sandwiching your edge and going for it (like I usually do), but its a more reliable finish.  I can see Avery getting a lot of wear out of this dress.  She actually really likes it.

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Wait, is that a smile?

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No. We’re done here.

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Do you have any items lying around that would be perfect for an upcycle?

~Caroline

Little Debbie

I’m so excited to be the second stop on the Debbie’s birthday dress blog tour!

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Suz from Sewpony has created this pdf dress pattern inspired by one of her favorite children’s books, Debbie’s Birthday Party.  The pattern features a classic A-line style dress, with a button and loop closure at the back.  You can see the two views above,  one with a sweet peter pan collar, center seam, pocket, and buttons.  The other with a separate bodice and trim.

Suz asked if I’d test the 18 month size for my little Corinne, and since I’m a good vintage-loving girl, of course I said YES.

Behold, My Little Debbie!

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For my dress (View 2), I repurposed a chambray skirt, used a cute apple grid print for the collar, and lined the bodice with red cotton.  I decided forgo the pocket and steal the trim idea from View 1, extending it all the way down the length of the dress- I used ivory lace hem tape.

I stitched two white buttons on to the front, but for the back I decided to tie it all together by using this red apple button.  Coco’s big sis thought that was pretty cute.  Ellery loves to help pick out Corinne’s clothes in the morning, and this dress is often her first choice.

Smart little stylist wouldn’t you say?

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I love the length of the dress- it hits Corinne about an inch above the knee, but you could easily add length if you wanted.  On a little gal like Coco though, it’s a good excuse to show off some cute bloomers or her chunky thighs (which I’ve been devouring lately).

I envision her wearing this in the Fall wrapped up with a cozy little cardigan… and of course knee socks and mary janes, like Suz did here- so adorable!

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 I’d highly recommend this pattern to a beginner sewer who is dabbling into making garments.  The pattern is loaded with clear pictures for each step, and a very handy pattern map which really helps the cutting out and taping process.  I sewed my Debbie up one rare afternoon while my entire crew was napping, and it was blissful.

 I’d say the only thing that took some time for me was the peter pan collar.  It was the second one I’d ever done, and I forgot to mark front and back (as suggested!) so when it was time to sew the pieces together I was stumped…but well worth it- I love those apples.

And that face.

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I like that you can stay in the vintage realm here but you could totally go another direction with this pattern (like this rainbow one Sanae did here for KCW- gorgeous!)- it’s a simple design that is a great starting point for your own creative interpretation.

Suz is offering a 20% discount on this pattern for the duration of the blog tour.  Just visit her etsy shop, Sewpony Vintage to purchase and don’t forget to use the code BLOGTOUR1.  And keep your eye out for more vintage-inspired patterns from Suz in the future!

So long,

Erin

(p.s. check out the Sewpony flickr group for some more Debbie dress eye candy!)

Knit Popover

We’re heading to the beach tomorrow for some Summer fun, and I was determined to finish up another KCW project before we left.  Since Ellery has gotten a lot more persnickety when it comes to the things I make her, I decided change things up by sewing her a knit dress- I knew she’d appreciate the soft and stretchy fabric since she still doesn’t like to wear my “bumpy” (a.k.a. woven cotton) frocks!.

So here you have it!

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The pattern is the tried and true (and free!) Oliver + S Popover Sundress sewn in a 5.  I extended the length a few inches, and also cut the pieces wider so I could pleat the front and gather the back so the dress would be flowy.  The main fabric is a repurposed blue jersey maxi of mine (I kept the original hem to save a step), yellow knit from Joann for the binding/straps, and pieced woven cotton scraps for the yoke.

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This is such a great little pattern- actually, it was the first dress I’d ever sewn!

I’ll end with a few of my favorite popovers.

First, this one (I swear it would be a fave even if it weren’t made by my sis!), this vintage-y top version from True, Pure, Lovely.  This one by Kristin- I  love love love the fabric she used!  And this fabulous zebra face one from Rachel… so great!

Hope you all have a great weekend!  I’ll say hello to the Atlantic ocean for you.

-Erin