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

 

Another Ruby

 I’ve worn my first Ruby about 4 times already since I made it.  So I sewed up another… This time however, I decided to take it up a notch.

Literally.

The fabric is from Joann, and it’s one I always stopped to look at and never bought… Glad I finally did!  It’s quilting cotton (Denyse Schmidt), so it’s not quite as soft and light as my last Ruby.  As for the notch, I should’ve added a little interfacing before sewing that, since after a day of wear it sort of starts to flap on one side, but I like it anyway!

Happy Spring Top Sewalong-ing!

-Erin

Ruby

Anyone out there sewing for Spring Top Sewalong?

I am excited to do some sewing for myself for a change, and hoping that I actually wear the items I plan on making this time.  It’s a problem of mine.

This Ruby top is definitely one I will rotate through the ole wardrobe cycle.  It is comfy to the max!

I used a basic white cotton for the yoke, and a really lightweight blue and white striped cotton from Joann.

I decided to line the yoke because I thought it would yield a more professional looking finish, as opposed to the bias tape.  There is a great series of videos that Rae put together for you to follow if you’d like to do this, and honestly, I recommend you go that route too.  I set my iPad up on my sewing desk and spent a couple nights hanging out with Rae as she walked me through each step.  Easy.

 

I cut my pattern between the M and L lines, and followed the Large size when it came to length of all pieces.  Next time around I’ll add 1/2″ to all the shoulder seams so it all hangs lower- It’s a teensy bit to high up under my armpits (you can kind of see in that picture)- BUT… this shirt is so comfortable, I will not reject it as I have some other handmade items (a-hem, a-hem)!

 I think the nice thing about sewing for yourself, is that you can fix/tweak those things to custom fit your body.

I’ll also add a full inch to the length next time too- even though I used a 1″ hem as opposed to the suggested 2″.  I’m 5’11” and I’ve never owned a shirt that wasn’t too short!

#tallgirlproblems.

If you want a pretty easy sew, and a comfy relaxed fit, you should make a Ruby.

I’ve also heard it makes a GREAT maternity shirt!

Ha. Gotcha!  I’m not packing a baby in there….it was a windy day!

-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

KCW: hide and seek tunic

Hold up.

Before reading this post, you need to open another tab and play this song because I had it playing in my head on repeat for three days while making this top.  By the end of those three days I was singing this one… which will just make you f-ing crazy.

Still, I gotta take inspiration where I get it, and the dress on the cover of this pattern had me thinking about kaftans and boho Krishna-types, and then reminded me of an old top of mine, which reminded me how much I love to upcycle stuff, and you get it….

so here we are.

This lovely pattern is the Hide and Seek dress + tunic.  One of three newly released ones from Oliver + S.

 

If Oliver + S were to design a pattern just for me (HA.), this would be it.  I love the shape, the looseness of it all, the gathers just at the center front and back panels, the size of the yoke… I really dig it.

This round of Kids Clothes Week has the optional theme, Mini Me.  So, I had fun trying to recreate my old top into something cute for Coco.  The yoke is cut from my former shirt- it’s really neat, with a ton of stitching up and down in black, red, blue, yellow, and mint.  But the white fabric was so thin and gauze-like, and showing some wear.  So I used some lightweight white cotton from the ‘ole stash.

Here’s my former top worn by me a year ago:

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(I’m not posing coyly… I’m holding a phone.  Important business call (NOT.) before delicious meal. Thanks for the pic Amanda!)

I finished this tunic yesterday afternoon (no jesse spano this week- I’m sticking to the minimum KCW requirements of sewing one hour a day) and we snuck outside in the evening to capture some photos of Corinne in the late sun.

Oh, how I’ve missed you, magic hour!

I neglected to see that on the sleeve pattern piece there is a cutting line for the tunic version, which is a few inches shorter than what you see here.  I made the top and then was scratching my head, remembering that the tunic option has short sleeves.  I do kind of like the 3/4 length though, but I may end up cutting and re-hemming.  We’ll see.  Decisions, decisions.

The jade buttons were ripped off (literally) of this skirt that I never wore out of the house.  One of those things I could not stand to look at after a while.  What a waste of many hours!

The bloomers (what you can see of them anyway) are self-drafted and one of several pairs I made a couple of months ago and am still playing around with the fit.

 These ones are made from cotton couture in Mist or as my husband would say, Lime Pudding.  I say pistachio.

Coco’s all, “what does the fox say, mama?!”

 

Hare Krishna y’all.

-Erin

 

Buy the doll, Make the clothes.

Ellery asked for an American Girl doll this past Christmas, and I was happy to make that happen.  My kid doesn’t like to play with Barbies, but I had a feeling a big doll like this was right up her alley.  She really enjoys changing her doll Saige’s outfits and doing her hair.  She gets her ready for bed at night and sleeps right next to her.  It’s sweet.

I remember as a kid a lot of my friends had these beautiful dolls with amazing hair and eyes that opened and closed. I specifically remember sleeping over my friend Gillian’s house when I was 9. We got into sleeping bags on her bedroom floor. She snuggled up with beautiful brown-haired, Samantha, and gave me some ratty old stuffed animal to sleep with. Not cool.  Anyway, I don’t think I ever begged my mother for one of those dolls but I think I deep down always wanted one. I suppose I caught wind of them a little too late in my youth.

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O + S popover sundress: sewn by me

Here are my thoughts on AG dolls:  They are quite pricey (though there are free shipping codes everywhere- that’ll save you $15 in the end).  However, they are really well-made dolls. They have adorable faces with bright eyes that open and close, and perfect hair. They are not gussied up in tacky tween clothing that you see on dolls in toy stores everywhere now. They arrive in tasteful outfits with cute shoes and a book (Ellery and I currently are on chapter 4 of Saige’s book). They are sturdy, their bodies are stuffed nice and tight, and their legs and arms move around 360 degrees. Your child will likely have this doll forever. And even if the face gets ruined with a permanent marker, or it gets an unexpected haircut by a little sibling, a nice new head can be purchased and put on for something like $28.  I totally justified my purchase of Ellery’s doll by the fact that I sew and would be (or my mom would be as it turns out) whipping up an entire wardrobe with my fabric scraps instead of buying any or many doll clothes or accessories.

If you are considering purchasing a doll and you happen to sew, my advice is to buy the doll, and make the clothes.

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reversible wrap skirt: sewn by my Mom

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leggings made from adult sock: sewn by my mom

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more leggings made from adult sock: sewn by my mom

Ellery loved Saige immediately, but my little girl Corinne became OBSESSED. As soon as Ellery would go to school in the morning, Coco would run back to her room, search for the doll (Ellery often hides her so her little bro and sis can’t leave their greasy prints on her perfect face, or smear peanut butter into her loose side-braid). She’d find her under a pile laundry or pillows, and just clutch her for the next hour as she roamed through the house.  At bedtime every night, when Ellery would change Saige into her pj’s, Corinne would sit on her own bed, looking over at Ellery’s doll, and just sob the biggest tears. “I want Saige! I want big doll!” . Really, it’s pitiful, but so adorable.  I’d leave their room and my husband would be like, “BUY THE KID A DOLL ALREADY.” And while it might seem totally ridiculous, we did.  Coco had a birthday this past weekend and we surprised her with her own.

Oh, that smile she had when she saw that silky-haired beauty.

(Note: there is a set of AG “bitty twins“- two 15″ dolls that are geared towards toddlers- it was an option that I ultimately decided against for two reasons: I don’t like their expressions as much, and I was not going to start making separate clothes for a different sized doll.  I’m not suggesting you get any 2 year old an AG doll.  But, hey…she’s my 3rd kid, and I can do whatever the heck I want!)

Here is Corinne’s new pal:

Blue

Winter Pyjamas: sewn by my mom (these ones are my fave.  so cute.)

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O + S tea party sundress: sewn by me

AG1

O + S popover sundress: sewn by me

My mom sews all kinds of things. Kid’s clothes, quilts, head wraps, totes, pouches, and now, 18” doll clothes. When Ellery got Saige, my mom started making the cutest things. Most of the clothes you see here were made by her.  Thanks Momma! She is so good at pumping stuff out. So good, that she recently decided to open a little etsy shop!

Saige6

Little Abbee Doll pj’s: sewn by my mom

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Winter Pyjamas: sewn by my mom

There are a ton of patterns and tutorials out there for doll clothes.  It’s fun, but I’ll admit that I needed a break from all that 1/4″ bias tape!  My real-life friend and fellow sewing blogger Allie of Crozette, made the cutest Sunday brunch jacket for her daughter’s doll.  And Sanae has a great post full of amazing clothes that her mother made her daughter.

I would love to know if any of you out there have made doll clothes, and which patterns you like.  I need quick sews at this point, and I’d love to find a little moccasin pattern too.

Hope Spring has found you!

-Erin

p.s. doll photoshoots are totally creepy after a while.

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