Monday, April 28, 2014

By Hand London Anna maxi dress

Why, yes. I am the last blogger on the planet to sew By Hand London's Anna. What made me wait so long??
I bought the pattern last year, very soon after it came out. I traced it and even did the alterations. I had the fabric ready, but I kept getting distracted by other things, and before I knew it, it was too cold and I wanted to sew pants and long sleeve tops and coats. So, Anna had to wait.
I think she was worth waiting for though. This is really a lovely, graceful dress.
I made the maxi, of course. I love a long, swirly dress. Makes me feel like a princess, even when I'm chasing my kids. The neckline is basically the v neck, but I rounded out the bottom, so it scoops.
I did add pockets in the side seams. Chasing kids and life in general requires pockets. I also made some fit changes, but I cannot for the life of me recall them all. Most critical was to add some darts to the back neckline. As many other sewists experienced, the neckline gaped quite a lot.
Adding the darts took care of the problem though and I really like the fit through the back. It is a bit less fitted than I typically like my dresses, but I wanted this to be a comfy, casual lounging sort of thing, so it works.
The fabric I used is a rayon challis from Fabric.com. I love how swirly it this skirt is in this fabric! I also lined the bodice with batiste, rather than using the pattern's facings. The batiste is nice and cool, and I prefer the finish of a lining. I left the skirt unlined though. The better to swirl with, my dear.
I do think the skirt is a smidge too long. I hemmed it while wearing platforms, but it's not really a platform sort of dress. I took off 2 inches when I hemmed, and think I could probably take off another inch. Petite sewists, be aware. This skirt is drafted long! Long and fabulous!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Advance 9938: Summer in the Sun for Barbie

A couple of weeks ago, my Mother in Law brought over a bag full of fabric. Mostly small pieces, and a lot of them small prints and solids! Just was Dr. Barbie ordered!
I had to start out with the fresh floral print. Large scale florals are big this spring, and I think Barbie (or Evanora in this case) wears it exceptionally well.
The pattern for this sundress is Advance 9938, a Barbie/Mattel licensed pattern from the 60s. I really like this pattern! I have made a couple of other pieces from it, and they all fit extremely well.
I made a few very minor changes. The pattern calls for straps, which I omitted. The fit is close enough that the dress stays up fine on its own. I also added some lace to the bodice and ribbon at the waistline. The pattern calls for a petticoat to be added under the skirt, but this cotton has plenty of body, so I skipped it.
In back, there are snap closures with decorative buttons or beads. With a design this fitted, I find snaps are more secure than velcro. There are two tiny snaps with green buttons to pick up the green in the print. I love the effect.
I really love this whole look. I totally sewed it on a whim, and I'm so glad I did. It's perfect for Evie!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter dress: Sequins and sparkle not optional

Dresses for Myra follow a fairly straightforward formula. Pink, sparkles, twirl. For Easter, we went with all of the above.
Myra was happy to supply the sass.
The pattern I chose was the Rosy Posy dress, #26 from the 03/2011 issue of Ottobre. I've sewn it for her before here and here, so I knew it was a winner.
It's a very basic style - simple bodice with a full, gathered skirt and puffed, elasticated sleeves. I puzzled over the hem, as this fabric didn't blind hem invisibly and ended up just narrow hemming by machine. It works.
I mostly chose the pattern for it's simplicity. The fabric is definitely the star here! It is an embroidered and sequinned poly taffeta from FabricMart. Frankly, I could have just made it into a big ole sack and Myra would have loved it. The SPARKLES!
I fully lined the dress with hot pink bridal satin from my stash. The bridal satin has a lot of body, which gives the skirt more fullness. It's also very soft.
I'm very pleased with my zipper insertion. The pattern calls for an invisible zip, which would have been a disaster in this sequinned, textured fabric. A lapped zipper was a better choice. I decided to try a technique I read about in Threads (issue #171) for inserting a lapped zipper with a lining using an industrial method. It worked and it looks gorgeous! I'm so pleased.
I really love the sweet sleeves on this pattern. They are gathered just in the cap, and then elastic gathers the hem. They're so pretty, but still darn easy to do.
Of course, the most important part is that Myra loves her dress. She wore it to church and then for hunting eggs. Despite being sparkly and flashy, it's still comfortable and, for Myra at least, practical. I think she might wear it every day.
And who would argue?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Raquelle gets ready for a day at the races!

FYI: This post contains pictures of a Barbie doll wearing lingerie. If you happen to have a curious child looking over your shoulder, and don't want to answer awkward questions, you may want to stop scrolling down when you get to the stars. She's not doing anything inappropriate, but she is scantily clad.
I know I said that the next dolls to get new clothes were going to be Dana or Katniss, but I'm still awaiting some accessories for Dana, and this dress just didn't suit Katniss. And I really wanted to make a cheerful Spring dress!
I really love the way the bodice wraps to form the halter on this pattern (Burda 6960). It reminds me so much of the Sewaholic Lonsdale. The Lonsdale isn't a dress that would work for me, but in keeping with my Barbie fantasy sewing, I thought it would be fun to make for my vinyl friend. I spiced up the bodice with a little brooch made of a scrap of the stretch lace I used on the skirt, and a few small pearls. It is hand stitched in place.
Once I finished the dress itself, it was a little meh. So I polled my online hive mind, and got some great ideas, many of which I incorporated into the finished look. I decided to pull out all the stops, and build an outfit that would work at the Opening Day of the Kentucky Derby, complete with over the top hat, teeny bag and a bit of bling. I thought it would be fun to do a little photostory of Raquelle getting ready for her day at the races.

*************************************************************

It's a beautiful day to Open the Kentucky Derby!
Raquelle has been looking forward to today for weeks, but boy. Sometimes it is hard to get out of bed!

Raquelle's bra and panties were designed and sewn by me out of scraps of stretch lace trim. All the stitching was done by hand, as my machine just wanted to eat these teeny bits of lace.

Here's my dress!! My seamstress worked on my outfit for weeks and I love it so much!

Raquelle's bra straps cross in the back. Since the lace is stretchy, no closure was needed. Her panties are a full coverage bikini that utilize the natural decorative edge of the lace as the waistband. The leg openings are unfinished.
Don't you love my dress? The matching belt makes the look.

Raquelle's belt is a length of ribbon, stitched to a jewelry ring. It closes in back with a snap.
And here's my hat! You have to have a fabulous hat at the Derby!

Raquelle's hat was self drafted. It's a basic bucket style with some lace trim and a very wide brim. I didn't interface the brim at all, as this fabric has some body, and I wanted to be able to shape the hat around her face.
Well, the dress went on perfectly! Now to see if I can manage this hat. My dressmaker had to fix it for me last time! I'm impossible with it.
Ok, almost ready! Now, where is that other shoe...
Ooops! I almost forgot my bag! Can't have that. My betting money is in here.

Raquelle's bag is two circles of fabric, stitched and turned. The "flap" is just the upper 1/3 of the circle, stitched down with a decorative pearl "closure". The strap is made from embroidery floss.
Does my hat look right? I sure hope so, because it's time to go! This is going to be so fun!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Pattern Parcel #2: Hanami Top and Hosh Pants

I had so much fun sewing my Dandelion Top for the first Pattern Parcel, it was a no brainer when Jill asked me to participate in the blog tour for the second one. A collection of cute girlie clothes? Yes, please!!
Perfect Pattern Parcel #2
Hanami Top or Dress by Straight Grain Hosh Pants by LoubeeClothing Celestial Tee by Figgy’s September Tunic & Dress by Too Sweets Patterns Caroline Party Dress by Mouse House Creations
This parcel is seriously not to be missed if you are sewing for little girls. I really had a difficult time decided what to sew for the tour.
So difficult a time in fact, that I decided to make up two of the patterns.
Seriously, are the Hanami Top and Hosh Pants not made for each other??? I love this sweet little outfit so much!
The Hosh Pants by LouBee Clothing are an old favorite around here. This is my third pair and it won't be my last. Myra adores these pants, and I love how quick and easy they are to sew.
One of the super star features of the Hosh Pants is the adjustable back waistband. The method for inserting the elastic is not only easy, it looks great. But I've already made several pair, so for this one I didn't make it adjustable. I inserted the elastic prior to sewing the waistband onto the pants and added a line of stitching through the center of the elastic. It give a nice flat appearance to the back waist that I like.
You can see the wiastband a little better here. As well as my other modification. Pockets!! Myra likes to have a place to stash essentials like Barbie shoes and chapstick. I embellished one pocket with a teeny bit of embroidery from the top. I like that it ties the pieces together.
The fabric for these is a powder pink stretch sateen from FabricMart. It's perfect for this design, and Myra loves the color and the slight sheen.
This was my first time making the Hanami Top by Straightgrain. It won't be the last. Myra adores this top. The flippy little peplum is her favorite thing.
I cannot get over the cuteness of the wrap back and sweet little gathered tulip sleeve. Precious.
The top has a side closure. I used snaps that match the darker pink in the watermelon embroidery. Myra can actually pull the top on without undoing the closure, but I'm glad it's there. She'll need it as she grows.
The top is a great length and the peplum makes it cool and comfortable. It's a great shape for an active kid, but so much cuter than a tee shirt!
The construction method for this top is absolutely fabulous. The bodice and sleeves are fully lined, and the only exposed seam is the waist, which could easily be bound if you don't have a serger.
The fabric I used is an embroidered cotton seersucker that I found years ago at Hancock Fabrics. I'd been saving it for the perfect project and this was definitely it. I lined it with china silk that has been in my stash a while.
I made this outfit a couple of weeks ago, and it has passed the wearability test with flying colors. Myra wants to put it on as soon as it comes out of the wash. The pieces mix effortlessly with her wardrobe, so she wears one or both of these every few days. Perfect.
Perfect Pattern Parcel #2
Now head over there and get yours, if you haven't already. You've got less than a week to get this amazing bundle, name your own price, and donate to kids in need. It's a win-win-win situation!

And while you're at it, go check out the other bloggers on the tour. Seriously. Talented. Folks.