Gramercy + Chambray Lulu Dress

Today it was downright chilly (by August standards).  It drizzled all day, we had the windows in the house wide open, and it was just a nice break from the usual.  The kids were amazing and played together so nicely for few hours in the afternoon, leaving me some time to sew.

They played babies and babysitter, camped in a fort on the couch and ate lunch, and my personal favorite, Guacamole!  Guacamole is the best.  They simply take every chair in the house and put them in the living room to make a restaurant.  Then, they take every single bowl we own and every kitchen tool, and “make” guacamole for each other, tableside.  Ole!

We must be eating a lot of Mexican lately.

Since Ellery has grown 6 inches in the last two weeks, I decided to make her a dress from one of my favorite patterns- the Lulu by Craftiness is not Optional.

I drew the pattern between the 7 and 8 lines.  It’s a pretty perfect fit.  (She had her bathing suit on underneath, so that’s what you see through the bodice.)

The bodice fabric is this great Art Gallery knit by Leah Duncan (city lights in day from her Gramercy line.  I purchased mine from the Imagine Gnats shop and literally got the last 1/8 yard during one Rachael’s great sales).  The skirt is a lightweight Kaufman chambray.  This time, we went the capped sleeve route, and added pockets too.  Girl loves some pockets.  A long strip of coral knit creates a faux tie at the front- it’s a nice touch.

I really recommend this pattern if you’ve got a school-aged girl (it goes up to a size 8).  It is the perfect school dress, so comfy and cute.  Ellery wore her last two (blogged here) at least once a week.

My girl!  How can she be wearing a size 8???

Sniff.

-Erin

Two Swing Dresses

I started an etsy shop almost a year ago, and it’s really been a fun little venture for me. It’s really a good way for me to justify buying more fabric, and it’s also really cool to sell some random person a handmade garment. I don’t have it stocked at all times or anything, but when the holidays settled down, I got motivated to sew for the shop.  I also started listening to the Serial podcast while I sew and I am hooked!

(Jay did it.)

Anyway, here are a couple of dresses I made using Dana’s First Day Dress pattern, size 7. I lengthened the bodice by an inch and a half or so, and also cut the front neckline about 3/4″ wider.  I really like the fit on my girl.

This color-blocked version is made with 4 different Cotton Couture solids: Cream, Watermelon, Gold, and Confection (for the lining).

I top-stitched the hem with metallic gold thread, and added a little gold tag for fun.  Oh, and a gold button at the back too. :)

I like that this dress could come off as a little fancy for a special occasion, but also it could be casual with a pair of flip flops in the Summertime.

With the dress fully-lined, It feels a little more substantial and it’s fun to see the pink popping out when she twirls around.

This next one is a favorite- Remember when I gushed about the Handcrafted line by Alison Glass?  I was so torn between choosing that Bouquet in Duck Egg print, and this one- Geese in Storm.  Actually, I wrote back to Alison and had changed my mind about the Bouquet print and wanted to try this one, but she didn’t have enough yardage for me.

So I snatched some up at Hawthorne Threads.

It’s just such a cool print.  So modern, and I love how all of the colors look together.

l lined this one cotton couture in Mist- a favorite shade as of late.

And a cute little orange button at the back.

I love the shape of this dress, and it moves so nicely!

As always, thanks for reading!

-Erin

Charlie Dress

This little ditty is the Charlie dress pattern by Mingo & Grace.

I love the shape of a drop-waisted dress, and now that I’ve made one, I think I’m smitten.

It’s just so cool, swingy, and casual.

I used this darling-as-ever Princess in the Pea print by Heather Ross.  I don’t sew a whole lot with the cutesier prints out there, but there’s something I just love about this one- Heather’s style is so unique.  The colors pop against the cream background, and I just love that little princess and her red cheeks atop those beds.

So, the Charlie dress is a sweet pattern, but I didn’t totally follow the instructions here.  Mostly, because the armholes, neckline and back slit, are finished with bias tape.  I realized that the fact that bias tape was involved was probably what was keeping me from being motivated to sew this one (I’d had my pattern cut out and sitting on my desk for a month but inside would hem and haw about using the bias tape for some reason.  I guess I hate sewing with it?).  So, I decided to sort of “mash-up” this pattern with Dana’s First Day Dress pattern.  I love the look of a fully lined dress, so I basically followed Dana’s instructions so I could do that here.   I really love Dana’s pattern, by the way- it’s become a steadfast favorite, and I’ve got a few more versions coming down the pipe soon.

Of course, I used Rae’s sausage step to line my bodice because you now it’s all the rage now. (<—that’s for you, Rachel! hee hee.) Heidi has a good tutorial as well that shows how to do this as well.  You should try it sometime if you haven’t.

I think the weight of a lined dress is so nice- it’s not heavy at all, but it just hangs so nicely (better in person).  I’m just really happy that I went that route.  Not to mention, the mint lining peeking out is pretty sweet.  These are the things I live for, people.  Add Americanos and raw cookie dough to that list too.

The Charlie closes with a simple button and loop, but of course I forgot to slip my elastic loop in before sewing, so I just made a buttonhole.  It works.

Her face in this next shot kills me.  It’s so her.  She makes the best faces.

So I’m all, “Coco, guess what?”

Coco: “what?”

“That dress is going in my etsy shop.  So… that means you don’t get to keep it.  Okay?”

Hahahaha… mean mommy.

Nah, she loves me.

-Erin

Birthday Dress (a little late)

Avery turned 5 a couple weeks ago!  She is such a dynamic girl.  There are many dimensions to my girl Avery: smart, determined, tenacious, dramatic, hilarious, honest, sweet, loving, mysterious and wild (good luck future boyfriends).  This face kind of says it all…

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She recently started watching the runway portion of Project Runway with me. I know she has craftiness in her future, its in her DNA, so I thought I’d jumpstart her interest in sewing by letting her watch the show.  She really likes it.  She asks me, “Mom, which girl do you want to win?”  I explained that those girls are just wearing the clothes that the people made, they are not the ones who will win.  “Oh…I want to be one of those girls,” she says.  “A girl who wears the clothes and walks in them,” I ask?  “YES,” declares Avery!  Great.  I just helped my daughter aspire to be a walking mannequin.  Fabulous.  She will have to work at that modelling career, because this was about the least awkward pose she was offered me during our shoot.

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We headed to the playground to try for some candids.

DSC_7734 (2)She was dying to show me how she learned to use the monkey bars!

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DSC_7726 (2)That’s my girl!  She is really athletic, and she loves to wear DRESSES!  I knew that the skater dress would be an instant hit in the comfort department.  I sewed a size 5Y/6Y and I am so glad that it is roomy enough for her grow into it.  I increased the width of the skirt pattern piece and gathered it before it was attached.  Avery really appreciates a dress that she can twirl in.  What 5 year old girl doesn’t?

photo (3)If you’ve seen this dress before, its because Rachel from Stitched Together made an almost identical one before I got to it.  Ha!  I didn’t mean to be a copy-cat (even though I’d copy what Rachel makes all day long if I could)!  When I bought this knit months and months ago from Girl Charlee, the skater dress was on my agenda.  But, alas, my sewing productivity is very low these days! DSC_7737

Thank you for stopping by!

~Caroline

 

Bouquet in Duck Egg Dress

I recently came across a new fabric collection by Alison Glass, called Handcrafted (for Andover fabrics) to be released later this month. I have become completely enamored with this stunning combination of prints and color.  These fabrics are hand-dyed, and hand stamped using the same wax-resistant dying technique that is used in creating traditional batik fabric, though they are so much more modern and vibrant.

Just look:

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So pretty, right?

(You can read more about the process and see more photos of the fabrics here on Alison’s blog.)

Anyway, I spent about an hour one morning deciding on a few prints to pre-order because I HAD TO GET ME SOME.  After that, I decided that I would write Alison a little email and let her know how inspired I was by her new line.  I just felt like I needed to profess my love for such unique beauty.  She has such an incredible knack for color and design (You might remember the peplum top that I made Coco– Alison designed that fabric, and I just adore it!).  What can I say, it just speaks to me.

Well, turns out she is just the nicest gal, and really appreciated the email.  She even lives a couple of hours away from me in Virginia (which is for fabric lovers, if you didn’t know).  She asked if I’d like to get my hands on her new line sooner than later, and make something to be displayed in her Quilt Market booth in Houston later this month.

A sewing bloggers dream!

I fell for this particular print (bouquet in duck egg) immediately, and Alison sent me a couple of yards.   I decided to make it into a special dress for Ellery because I just love that girl in blue. This fabric. Oh man, it is just so beautiful!  Light, airy, such rich color.   This shade of blue is so lovely, and it’s just sort of gently splashed these globs of watermelon,  golden yellow, and fire-y orange.  It reminds me of a sunny Fall day.  Hence the autumn props. ;)

I love how the whole Handcrafted line is sort of imperfectly beautiful.

So, for this dress I started with Dana’s First Day Dress pattern (the swing variation in a size 7), and made a few modifications. First, I scooped the front of the neckline out a bit more, maybe about ½”.  I lengthened the bodice by adding about 1 ½” to the bottom so it hits her a little lower on the waist.  I also added a panel in the center of the bodice and followed An’s Improvisational Pleating tutorial– I love how it turned out.

I also drafted some tulip/capped sleeves… I sort of had to wing it, but in the end I preferred having the “tulip” look just at the back instead of up at the center of shoulder.  I like how they look like regular capped sleeves in the front, and then she turns around and there’s a little somethin’ extra going on.

This is the first time that I’ve made my own piping, and it was definitely not as hard as I had anticipated.  I used some gold fabric from Joann, and some ¼” cording.  (p.s. Props to Kristin and Carolyn for the gold trim inspiration!) The vintage button is one from the stash- I love that this pattern closes with a button and elastic loop.  It could not be easier.

This dress is fully lined in Cotton Couture in Graphite- a smoky dark blue that seems to go with just about anything.

I absolutely love the shape of this dress.  I’ve made so many dresses with a gathered skirt, but my current fave is this style… so sweet on the “bigger” little girls.

Ellery was sad when I told her this dress was going on a trip to Texas and that she would need to take it off.

She really seems to love it.

And twirling in it.  Obvi.

Thank you, Alison for the fabric.  It really is amazing stuff!

You can pre-order Handcrafted at several online fabric shops, including ordering from Alison herself:

Alison Glass

Hawthorne Threads

Finch Sewing Studio

You know you want some.

-Erin

Peacock Feather Skater Dress

Behold!  This is the skater dress pattern by Amanda of Kitschy Coo.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen this pattern circulate all over blogland many moons ago.  I have admired the simple, practical style of this pattern- it just seems like the perfect dress for a busy young girl.  It’s comfy, it’s a little swingy, and cute to boot!

I’m so happy I finally made one.

So, this pattern is sized in 2 year increments… 3Y/4Y. 5Y/6Y. 7/Y/8Y, etc… My kid is 6 and almost a half and pretty average, so I drew my pattern lines right between the 5Y/6Y and 7Y/8Y.  I think it’s just perfect- she will be able to wear it next year too.

The peacock feather fabric is from Girl Charlee, though it looks like it’s out of stock. Sorry peacock feather lovers (Caroline)!

The crazy-blinding-coma-inducing-neon pink binding is from a mistake purchase never-worn tank of mine (yikes.  what was I thinking?!?!), and I think it completely overshadows compliments the feathers fabric.  Am I right?

I sewed this entire dress on my regular machine, a pretty basic Kenmore from Sears that I’ve had for 4 years and not ONCE had an issue with (LOVE you, Kenny!! mwah!). I used a jersey needle using my stretch stitch, and I’m really happy with the result. I haven’t had the best luck with my serger for knits because the seams just don’t feel as sturdy. I haven’t found my serger groove yet I guess.

Oh, and using a little spray starch helped immensely when it came time to sewing the hem.  I spritzed a little on, ironed up 1″, and then sewed 2 rows of regular stitches.

I’m happy to report that this dress really is a quick sew.  The pattern is clear and really easy to understand.  I can’t wait to make more.

Ellery loves anything knit, so she immediately put it on and goofed around in her room.

Want to be hilarious?

Lose your two front teeth at once.

I can’t even look at her with a straight face.

-Erin



Back-to-School Babydoll

School starts on the 20th.  So soon, so soon!! Ellery will be a big first grader this year.

I wonder if she’ll be brave enough to buy lunch sometime.  Last year, she asked if she could buy lunch one day and I said, “Of course! What would you want to buy?”  Thinking she’d say, “pizza!” or “tacos!”

Nope.

“Trout Treasures.”

My kid wants trout.  In treasure form.

 Let’s talk about this dress.

Once again, it’s the Bohemian Babydoll pattern from Elegance & Elephants.

The fabric is an organic cotton designed by Carolyn Gavin for Windham.  It’s Petite Fleur in Navy, and the contrasting Citron solid for the hem is from the same line.  I kept checking out this print in my fabric closet, imagining it as a dress for the fall, layered with a cardigan and over tights… or, knee socks.  KNEE socks people.  Can we get a straight-up revival?

This is my 5th boho baby dress.

I’ve had a few custom etsy orders since my first, and I can say that I love this pattern now that I’ve decided how I like it.

This is how I like it: I cut my 6 year old a size 6 with the 7 length for the skirt… But, I still felt that this dress was a leeetle too short.  So, when I was sewing the hem facing, I decided not to fold it all the way under, and just stitched in the ditch on the front.  It probably added another 3/4″.  I love this length on Ellery and I will probably make this dress in this way again!  Oh, you know I did the “sausage step” again for the bodice- once you get the hang of it, it’s so much faster and so much cleaner!!

I am really a fan of not having to make buttonholes.  This dress is sweet and simple, and just has an ease about it that I like a whole lot.

I think Ellery will rock this all school-year long… We both love it!

I hope she rocks those knee socks too.

WHILE tearing up some trout treasures.

-Erin