Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sewing: Aqua Easter Dress for Scarlett

We've got a bit of sunshine to usher in Easter and I'm sewing, sewing... Have to leave time for dyeing eggs though so it's not a full time effort.

As you can see I thought I would go ahead and attempt to make the girls Easter dresses despite the very late start. I've got one finished, for Scarlett, and Audrey's about half way there. Not sure I'm going to get there for little Tess. Lucky for her she has a lot (a lot) of hand me down dresses!

I've had this particular design on my brain for a while. It could be a pinafore, or worn on it's own. It's a bit like this jumper I made in cotton velveteen for Scarlett last Fall, but the shape is closer to some of my favorite dresses--these Pretty Posie Dresses I made Audrey and Scarlett a few years ago. The sleeves are more full, almost an angel sleeve, but most importantly, they are lined! This time with a luxurious Liberty Tawna Lawn Becci print, which also lines the yoke. I used the print on the covered buttons in the back too. I love it with this aqua cotton velveteen (purchased at the Online Fabric Store, and sadly out of stock--wish they would get in more velveteens!).

I haven't had time to try this on Scarlett so I hope it looks like I imagined. I may need to make another one and tweak. Thinking about a pattern for this dress with a couple options. No time for a dress rehearsal I'm afraid...

I hope you are having a beautiful weekend!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sewing: Button Back Bateau Neck Top (Pattern Preview)

The landscape is starting to wake up a bit around here, but not fast enough for me. I need more color! Do you feel the same way? I keep gravitating to this yellow.

Tess seems to like it too. She kept pulling this fleece top out of the sewing room while I was working on it and asking me if she could wear it. She even took out the pins.

This Button Back Bateau Neck Top is a sneak peek at a pattern I hope will be ready for testing in the next week or two. As usual, things are taking longer than I hoped. (UPDATE: the pattern is now available here.)

And, Easter is this weekend! Yikes. (Those are Peeps on a stick Tess is eating.) I haven't started the dresses. Think I can pull it off? I'm not sure I should try.

We'll see. I've got a few more days, afterall.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sewing: Rickrack Place Mats and Napkins (Tutorial)

It's that time of year: the Spring tease. Real or not, the warmer weather and bright sunlight have me excited about parties! In our family there are usually a bunch of them between Spring and early Fall. In case you are experiencing a similar warm weather excitement, I thought I'd share a tutorial from a party a few years ago (this first appeared on Kirtsy). (You can check out Audrey's Vintage Zoo Birthday Party here.) These rickrack napkins and place mats would be a fun Spring update or a great detail for your first outdoor event.

Rick rack, or “ric rac” if you prefer, is so simple: up-down-up-down-up-down. Yet whatever it adorns is suddenly transformed with vintage pop and lightheartedness. I think it’s the perfect way to add a smile of color to otherwise plain place mats and napkins whether you are going for modern and bold or sweet and old-fashioned. And, not only does the addition of rick rack make a big impact, it makes one without too much effort. What could be better? If you can find a couple hours you can have a whole set of new place mats and napkins just in time for dinner.

I think I have to order some fabric to make some more of these! We need something fun for weeknights.

Click through to see how to do it:

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Giveaway Winner: Fat Quarter Reversible Child's Aprons

Thank you so much for all your nice comments about the Child's Reversible Fat Quarter Apron. I'm happy to hear it's a tutorial you'll enjoy using.

I have picked two winners, who will each receive one of these aprons. They are:

august said...
I pinned the post, liked it on Facebook, and shared it on my FB wall!! My favorite is the blue/coral one- dying over that!!!
March 4, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Jayne said...
I've happily shared the tutorial for this wonderful apron, thanks for the chance to win!!!!
March 8, 2013 at 6:29 AM
Congratulations! Please get in touch with me and I'll package up these aprons and get them out to you.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sewing: Lime Daisy Ruffle Neck Dress (Ugly Pattern Party)

It is fair to say I've never seen a vintage pattern I didn't like. When I was invited to join Simple Simon & Company's "You Can't Judge an Ugly Vintage Pattern by Its Cover" party I thought it would be simple to find something ugly in my stash. It didn't seem right for them to send me another pattern when I'd been snatching up so many. The party was a good motivation to sew with one. But as it turns out, they're all heartthrobs. Most are from the 40s, 50s and 60s, and seriously, the cover art is beautiful and it's hard to imagine improving on what is illustrated there.

I managed to go forward one decade to the 70s and landed on this sweet thing. But can you really call it ugly? Maybe it's the ponytails that get me...

I found this pattern online but it very well may have been used by my own mother. It's the type of simple ensemble she loved to dress her girls in: gathers, ruffles, gentle a-line, and pinafore! There were many pinafore dresses in our closets during the 70s and 80s and I kind of wish they hadn't been given away. Truth told, I would probably sew with this pattern as is. I'm convinced with the right fabric it would be adorable. The pinafore and bloomers alone are a no-brainer. In fact, one of my own patterns looks a bit like that combination...

But I decided to give this pattern a more modern vibe. Actually, it may be more of a mod vibe, but in any event it was fun!

I pulled one yard of Robert Kaufman Cool Cords Lime Daisies fabric from my stash and managed to cut out what I needed for this little dress. The pattern says "quick and easy" but by the time I added a few things it was less quick and easy! One of those, "I can do this in a couple hours," which actually took a few more hours.
Since I made the dress without the pinafore I decided to design a little piped patch pocket to add more interest. This is a fun shape: oblong but squarish and with a half-circle cut out for the opening.

I also eliminated the ruffle at the bottom of the sleeve and opted for a piped band instead.

Instead of the zipper the pattern called for I decided to create a button placket. I don't really like the look of zippers on most dresses and I thought this big bright yellow buttons (La Mode purchased at Joann) would be fun. They are, right?

I lengthened the dress a bit too by using seam binding to finish the hem. Such a great trick! I probably would have made it just a little longer if I hadn't been so short of fabric. But it's cute to see Tess's toddler legs. I think this dress suits her.

And there you have it. Some lime daisies in a soft baby cord to brighten up our Spring. I can't wait to see what other "ugly" patterns appear these next two weeks.  Thank you liZ and Elizabeth for inviting me to play. I just can't say no to a vintage pattern!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

How to Crochet 11: Understanding Gauge

(Yarn: Berroco Comfy Chunky in Goldenrod; Fabric: Heather Ross "Nursery Versery" for Kokka "Postage Stamp Cheater" in Yellow)

My mother and I both returned to knitting (and I was also learning to crochet) at the same time, about ten years ago. She was a new grandmother and I was hoping to become a mother soon, and the idea of little people around inspired us... I'm sure we weren't the first.

Anyway, I remember finding cute patterns and going to yarn shops to pick out a yarn and being completely bemused by the "gauge" references. I would hold a strand in my hand and compare it to another and if it seemed about the same I would go with it. Seriously. I had no idea what I was doing! One time I was working with a baby cardigan pattern and found a boucle yarn I loved but it seemed very thin so my mother suggested I double it. This is a good trick if you know what you are doing, but I didn't know the yarn's gauge to begin with and the result was a sweater that would fit a seven year old (Audrey is just now able to wear it).

For awhile I was content with these mistakes because I figured one of my girls would be able to wear what I'd made at some point. But I remember the day my mother called me excitedly after visiting a yarn shop. Some nice woman had helped her figure out the gauge thing! A whole new day dawned! I want to help you figure out gauge too. Because it is pretty essential to getting what you want out of crochet, or knitting for that matter.

Hooked? Click through to read all about it.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Giveaway: Child's Reversible Fat Quarter Apron

I had so much fun sewing these Reversible Fat Quarter Aprons that I sewed a couple too many. So that leaves me with two to share. Would you like one?

These would probably fit a little girl between 2 and 8. You can get the idea in this post. They are shorter than the traditional fat quarter apron by about 3 inches.

If you'd like to enter:
  • "Re-Pin" this pin of my Child's Reversible Fat Quarter Apron Tutorial/Pattern on Pinterest, and leave me a comment here on this post to let me know
  • "Like," or leave me a comment on my post of the Fat Quarter Apron Tutorial/Pattern on my Facebook page, and leave me a comment here on this post to let me know
  • Share a link to my Fat Quarter Apron Tutorial/Pattern on your Facebook page, and leave me a comment hereon this post to let me know
You are welcome to enter three times if you would like to try all of the above. Please make sure your email address is visible so I can contact you if you win

This giveaway is open through Monday, March 11, and then I'll pick two winners and mail you your

Good luck!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sewing: Child's Reversible Fat Quarter Apron (Tutorial and Pattern)

A friend invited us to a tea party this week. Such a fun idea to do with friends and just what we needed after a few weeks of Winter storms. We're so ready for Spring! She said we didn't need to bring a thing, so because I was off the hook for food I thought it would be fun to make the girls some little aprons to wear.

With the rickrack and pom poms these have a dressed up feel but they are easy to wear, perfect for throwing on over school clothes, and double as a full length napkin! I made some just like them years ago for my nieces (along with a matching tablecloth and an apron for their mother), and again for Audrey (here's a peek) with matching napkins when she had a kitchen set to play with.

They are the perfect excuse for buying a bit of fabric you love, but for which you have no other plans! Or maybe you have a bunch of odd pieces in your stash and this would be a great way to use them up. I actually went to Joann earlier in the week and found the six different fabrics I used in their quilting section. All so cute!

I also bought this great big pom pom trim there. Very soft and great saturated colors.

This pattern calls for 2 fat quarters for each apron. I first saw the idea when my friend, Amy, shared it with me years ago. She had purchased a kit at a quilt shop. But you can certainly use some yardage and cut your fabric to the size of a fat quarter: 18"x22"  In fact, if you are using fat quarters you'll need to be sure the pattern on the fabric is oriented the way you want it for the apron. I made the mistake the first time of not checking and I had ladybugs creeping sideways instead of up and down, which is what I'd wanted.

These little aprons fit toddlers and children. You can see ages 2 to 6 here. Audrey's (the pink and orange floral) is the full size pattern. I actually used pieces that were about 18" long for Tess's and Scarlett's aprons, so they are shorter. I was trying to squeeze them out of some half yards I bought and it worked just fine.

The little pocket is formed with the armhole cut out so you use every bit of fabric. nice to have a place to stash some buttons, or chocolate chips, or small toy. Tess is always excited to discover a pocket on something she is wearing.

Ready to sew some?

Click through for the tutorial and pattern.

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