Thursday, September 26, 2019

T-Shirt Dresses

These were a lot of fun to make and are really so simple that they seem hardly worth blogging about, but the pictures of Rosie are so cute that it makes a blog post worth it!
One of our yellow tomatoes! She loves going to the garden each day to check for new ripe ones. 

Last  year I made myself a swing dress for Christmas out of some nice pink knit fabric. It's been an absolute staple for me ever since - I made mine to just above knee length with 3/4 length sleeves so it's honestly been an every season dress. I wore it a lot this summer just because it was light and breezy, even on hot days. I have come to really like this style and it seemed perfect for the knits Rose picked out. 

For my own dress I adapted the women's Plantain T-Shirt Pattern by extending the side seams and swinging them out, to create extra fullness below the bustline flaring to the hem. I did the same with Rose's dress, using the free T-Shirt Pattern for Girls by Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mommy. I can not say enough good about this girls t shirt pattern. It is SO great. The sizing is good, the fit is exactly what I was looking for and it's FREE. And so easy and quick to sew. Each of Rose's dresses took me less than an hour. I made Rose's dresses about knee length so she can wear them with and without leggings underneath. 

For each dress I made a pair of matching leggings from a modern pattern I have on hand. She can mix and match the leggings with these t shirt dresses as well as the cotton ones I made earlier this month. 

The polka dot is a bit heavier and was a dream to sew. However I did experience problems hemming  the dress - I really need to get a double needle so I can make a pretty hem on knits. After a few different tries at hemming I ended up cutting a band and finishing the hem with that. It makes the hem awfully stiff, but that's ok. It just makes the dress more A-line in shape! The leggings were the 2nd pair I made, and I took in the pattern a bit to make the legs tighter. The blue leggings came out a bit loose (but still wearable). 

I had a more difficult time with hems on the blue fabric so I tried a method I've always been curious about - the lettuce edge! This turned out to be perfect for this fabric and I will definitely use it again. It's achieved by stretching the hem as much as possible as you sew over it with a very narrow, very closely spaced zig-zag stitch. 

It was a lot of fun making these for Rose and it got me back in the mood to sew, somewhat. I've begun a few projects for others and have a few more planned for us, including, of course, Halloween costumes! 
Rose wearing her polka dot leggings with her purple dress earlier this week.

Much love,

Thursday, September 12, 2019

A Purple Hiking Dress with Pockets

Rose's second dress was recently finished, just in time for her to wear it for a hike. She only wore it once so far because summer returned! It seems more like late July out there than almost-mid September but that's ok - we will enjoy summer for as long as we can!

For this dress I had a 1 and 1/2 yard length to work with. This pretty purple cotton was on clearance for 3 dollars a yard so altogether this dress was very inexpensive to make. Rose chose the wrap dress pattern that we used for her Heart Day Heart Dress almost two years ago (and which still fits, although it's much shorter now!) and I used the sleeve pattern I made for her yellow dress but added some width to the sleeve for gathers at the shoulder.

I had plenty of fabric to work with so I made TWO pockets, the same pattern as the pocket on her yellow dress. The skirt is made of 3 panels that are gathered to the waist. This dress has unusual construction because I used a different method for almost everything - the bodice fronts and back (but not the neckline) were bag lined with cotton shirting repurposed from an outgrown 1860's toddler pinafore, then the sleeves were set into just the outer layer, and the linings at the armscyes turned under and slip stitched to the armscyce seam, covering all the seam allowances from the sleeves. The sleeve underarm seam and the skirt seams were french seamed. The skirts were sewn to the bodice outer layer and the lining turned under and slip stitched over the seam. Finally, the edges of the dress were bound with bias binding all around. The neckline, the skirt fronts and all around the hem. It may not have been the best way to make this dress but it is what made sense to me as I was making it.

It closes on both sides with wood buttons. I made a size 5 so she has a little room to grow. Hopefully this will work this year as a dress and next year as a tunic! But who knows with this child - she has been eating enormous amounts lately and is certainly gearing up for a growth spurt!

We had a lovely little walk (a hike to Rosie!) up and down a big hill at a forest preserve we love visiting. This particular place is also home to an ancient earthwork fortification built approximately 1500-2000 years ago. Rosie had fun looking for fungi, caterpillars and interesting rocks.

Next up is sewing her knits - leggings and, I think, long sleeved swingy t-shirt dresses. Then the Princess Aurora costume she has decided on for Halloween. The blue kind. She is adamant about that. Not pink. 

And *I* want to make a very early 1890's wash dress before Halloween. My mother sent me into shock earlier this week when she asked me if I wanted my great-great grandmother's sewing machine. Libby Edwards (I don't know her maiden name!) was born in 1899. Her son, my great-grandfather, born in 1918, died when my grandpa was a baby and Libby's sewing machine somehow passed into the possession of my great-Uncle Louie. According to the serial number, the sewing machine that belonged to her was made between 1890-1891. After I got over my shock of the offer and of the pictures my mom sent me, I ordered Marna Jean Davis' Kay's Housekeeping Dress pattern and am eager to sew it up. I am just going for the general look so I'm not making new undergarments (except a petticoat or two - 1890's skirts are vastly different than the rectangular paneled mid-century petticoats!) but I am So. Dang. Excited. 😁

Much love,

Thursday, September 5, 2019

A Yellow Dress for Rose

I planned to get started on sewing up Rose's new material next week, but I've found a little bit of time this week to begin  at least one project. So, we picked out the yellow woven cotton and she looked through my patterns for one she liked and we got to work!

For everyday wear, woven mid weight cottons are less desirable for me than they were in the past. I really like knits now! They are soft and comfortable and don't bind or pull since they stretch with the movement of your body. On loose garments, knits can flow so prettily. Mid weight cotton wovens also tend to fade with much washing and drying in dryer. However, this yellow caught Rose's eye and she had to have it! It's a bit on the heavy side but it's made of pretty fine threads and is smooth and soft. Hopefully it will wear well as she puts it through regular rotation in her wardrobe. We will see!

Rose picked out a cute jumper pattern that was in a lot of patterns I was given last summer. I always thought it was cute but never made it. It's good we are using it now since it only goes up to a size 4 and Rose is currently in a pattern size 4. 
I modified the pattern to make it into a dress instead of a jumper. To do that I had to raise the neckline, raise the armscye and come up with a sleeve. I raised both the neckline and the armhole by eliminating the separate shoulder strap piece and extending the shoulders of the front and back up 1 and 1/4". It worked out almost perfectly! I did have to shave a little extra out of the bottom of the armscye to make it roomy enough for my preference but otherwise, this was a good fix. For the sleeve, I drafted a slightly gathered 3/4 sleeve that should be nice for slightly cooler days.

I had one moment of terror when I realized that the yellow fabric was only 1 yard in length. I had thought I bought a yard and a half but apparently not. By cutting the back in two pieces instead of 1 I was able to cut out the front,  back and two sleeves. Out of the tiny scraps leftover I had enough to make some bias binding for the sleeves and the neckline. There was just enough binding left over to make a tiny bow sewn to the front of the dress. And from my very, very last scrap I had juuuuust enough to make one gathered pocket. Because Rosie must have that! There is almost nothing left but a few tangled threads from the yardage! 

It's almost all machine sewn and all the seams are sewn with french seams, even the sleeve heads, which is only the second time I've done that. I like the clean inside finish and it should hold up well in the wash. The back of the dress closes with two fabric loops and buttons, but you can't see that in these pictures since Rosie's hair is in the way. 😊 (her desire is to grow her hair "as long as Rapunzel!")

The length is good, I think. It's long enough to be a dress on warmer days and short enough to be worn as a tunic on cooler ones. It's been pretty warm this week although the nights are cool and getting cooler. We went to the fair this week and by 7 we were already starting to get a little chilly! I strongly desire to crochet Rosie a little sweater but I promised myself I'd finish sewing her new clothes before starting any new crochet projects! 😂

Much love,

Sunday, September 1, 2019

A Crocheted Belt

This is kinda really a pitiful project to post about, but I *did* finish it, and my oldest son said he could take a few pictures for me last night while dinner was cooking, so, for what it's worth, here is my measly bit of fiber related productivity for the month of August. 😂

Early in the month, before any of the weary things started to occur, I planned to attend an educational day at a local site where there would be drumming and dancing. I started this crocheted belt to wear but, as is prone to do, things happened and I ended up not being able to go. While I was sick I worked on it a bit, but after a few rows each day would need to put it up. At last, however, it was done.

I had a really clear idea of what I wanted this belt to look like but I had a hard time finding a pattern for a belt like this. In the end, I watched a lot of video tutorials on how to crochet ripple blankets and for my belt I worked two halves, each a mirror image of each other, using one repeat of a ripple blanket pattern. I sewed the two halves together at the center back and added ties to the front to close it. I used scraps of wool yarn leftover from 1860's knitting projects to make the belt. I had just enough of each color!

I meant the belt to fit snugly around a high waistline but it ended up coming out quite a bit bigger than I wanted. So, it's a hip or belly belt now. 😂 I don't mind though, since I have a number of  skirts I wear at hip level and this will go with most of them. The skirt I'm wearing here I actually just made at the end of last week. It's the simplest skirt ever, being just two rectangles french seamed at the sides with the selvedges used as the hem and the top gathered to an elasticized waistband, but I love it. I planned for a simple black skirt for awhile and I'm glad I made one. It's a heavier textured fabric that won't need ironing - a huge plus!

Rosie and I went to the city yesterday for an outpatient appointment and stopped at Hobby Lobby on our way back home. I don't stop there often, but when I do we *always* find fabric! Rosie picked out two pretty floral knits and two woven cottons to make a few new fall dresses and leggings. I am actually really excited about making these for her. Once this next week of school vacation is over, we will get started! Out of all the kids, she is the one who can actually  use some new clothes the most. Anne is so hard on her clothing that there aren't many hand-me-downs! 😂