Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sewing: Blue Wool Bateau Neck Tops (Pattern Soon)

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.

Can't help thinking about this Robert Frost poem (beautiful, brooding, true, though tinged by popular culture). I am crazy for this spring green covering some of the hills. Weeds or not, I love this color.  And it is fleeting.

We've been spotting these flowers while carpooling this past week, so I took the girls to wade through them, and get some pictures for the pattern-in-the-works. If only that work were more fleeting!

Seems like it is taking forever! The Bateau Neck Top is not at all complicated, but there are multiple versions. And I am reinventing some things about how I produce patterns (excited about these!). And there were the Easter dresses and other projects I interjected. So I guess that explains it! Everything takes time.

But it's almost ready to go into testing. (Thank you thank you for volunteering...I'll be in touch!) Which means it will be available for purchase soon thereafter. Fingers crossed. Notice I'm not mentioning any specific dates! (UPDATE: The pattern is available now. Find it here.)

Audrey and Scarlett are wearing Bateau Neck Tops in one of my favorite fabrics: boiled wool. It's pretty hard to beat for cooler weather. All the great properties of wool, but soft and stretchy. I wish it were easier to find! I purchased this light blue boiled wool here and have purchased other wool-blends ("Lana Bollito") here. They also carry some boiled wool blends here. I've even purchased some wool fabric and boiled it myself but I wouldn't say I've perfected that method!

I'm excited about sharing this pattern because I think The Bateau Neck Top may be the answer for every outfit. At least for my girls. I love the ruffle at the neck, and Audrey is wearing it with a pleat. The variations means it doesn't get old and using fabrics of different weights means it's a year round solution.

So anyway, that's my update. Back to work. I hope you have great color where you are too!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Giveaway Winners: Guide to Sewing Techniques Book and Shabby Apple Gift Certificate

Ready to shop for some vintage-inspired clothing courtesy of Shabby Apple?

Or read all about whatever sewing technique has you stumped?
We have two winners!
Receiving the Shabby Apple $50 gift certificate will be:
jenicini who said...
My favorite thing about vintage clothes is that they seemed to flatter the feminine parts of a woman which I so appreciate!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sewing: Easter Dresses 2013

Happy (belated) Easter! It's amazing to me how each day matters in Spring. One day greener. A few more leaves on the bare branches. Bulb shoots multiplying. Thank goodness. We need those signs, don't we?

The weather switches between warm and cool, cloudy and crazy bright. We have to take advantage of the clear blue days when they come.

I hope Spring is treating you well. Reminding of you of all that's good and beautiful.

I need to appreciate more the everyday joys.

Such as these funny girls. So difficult to get a good photo of all three. (And never mind about the overdue haircuts.)

But if I shoot enough I get a few, even if they aren't exactly what I had in mind. They're probably better than the image I had in my head anyway.

And the best thing is, as I'm reviewing them all I remember that these are the faces I get to look at everyday, in real life. And these are the little people I get to take care of, in small ways and really important ways. And occasionally I also get to make something for them. And I have a lot of fun with that.

I love the tradition of new Easter dresses. I shared detail's about Scarlett's square yoked dress here, and Audrey's double-breasted dress here. And for Tess I decided on a velvet tulip skirt and a Ruffled Bateau Neck Top (same pattern design as this one). I'll have to share more about her outfit later.

If you'd like to see past year's Easter dresses you can view them here:

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sewing: Double Breasted Easter Dress for Audrey

I gave you a peek of this dress in the giveaway post earlier this week. Nothing says Easter like blue velvet, right? The thing is, it's not quite full-blown Spring around here at Easter time. It's often chilly. And, before the grass has greened and the bulbs are blooming I can't get enough color--this fabric is about as saturated as it gets. But most importantly, this fabric (Anna Maria Horner LouLouThi Velveteen Coreopsis Marine) is gorgeous! I had to use it for a dress for Audrey.

I think it was the right decision. Easter Sunday the blue velvets stood out like hyacinths in a snow of pastel dresses.

The design for this dress was inspired by the Christmas dress I made Scarlett a couple years ago. But I knew Audrey wouldn't like the gored skirt. She is more tailored. So I found a pattern with inverted pleats, changed it from a back zip to a front double-breasted, drafted the new collar (love this peterpan front and sailor back!), added some length, piping, and (count them) eighteen velvet covered buttons. (Which by the way, are working better now that I'm using this tool--the shanks on the buttons are so much better than the ones I was buying in fabric stores.)

It was a bit much for my short deadline but I am happy it happened. Can't wait to share photos of the girls wearing their dresses, but I don't have the photos yet....
Wondering about making a pattern for this. That always seems to be the question...
Hope you are having a good week.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Giveaways: Guide to Sewing Book and Shabby Apple Certificate

I have a great couple giveaways for you today. Something to do while I try to get photos of the Easter dresses! I was sent a copy of the book Vogue Butterick Step-by-Step Guide to Sewing Techniques and have had a chance to look through it.  You may laugh, but I really found it a good book to curl up with on the couch! I read it cover to cover (while watching TV--I love to multi-task).

It's organized alphabetically so you can easy find a subject you'd like to understand better--different ways of applying facings to collars for instance.

Or the different ways to construct and set in sleeves. I have been using both the "flat" and the "round" construction methods but didn't realize those are the terms.
This is a great book for building confidence if you are a beginning sewer. It's so nice to learn about alternative methods of construction or different techniques for finishing. I love a good finish! But there is something for all levels of sewing. For instance it includes instructions for smocking. Something I've always wanted to try. And it defines all the relevant terms. I found I've been using "edgestitching" and "topstitching" interchangeably. It's actually "edgestitching" that I prefer.

Could you use a guide like this? I think anyone who sews could! I've got one copy to giveaway. Just follow the instructions below.

With all of my Easter sewing I was thinking "Mom is the one who really needs a new dress in her closet!" Do you find yourself doing all the sewing for your little ones and never getting to sew for yourself? I plan to do make a few things this Spring but it's often more realistic to buy something. There's only so much time...

My next giveaway is a great solution for sewing moms: a $50 gift certificate to Shabby Apple! They have great dresses inspired by vintage clothing. I love sewing from vintage patterns for my girls (see here for instance) and have been wanting to sewing something vintage-inspired for myself (maybe a shirtwaist dress?), when I find the time. While I'm waiting for that bubble of free time I went ahead and ordered a couple Shabby Apple dresses on sale (coincidentally right before they contacted me about the giveaway) the Casablanca and the Antisuyu.  So cute! Shabby Apple is also offering 15% their vintage pick of the week.


To enter the Vogue Butterick Step by Step Guide to Sewing Techniques book giveaway:
  • Leave me a comment telling me what sewing term or technique you'd like to bone up on.
To enter to win the Shabby Apple $50 gift certificate:
  • Leave me a comment telling me what you like about vintage-inspired clothing for women.
These giveaways are open until the end of the day next Tuesday, April 9th, and then I'll pick a couple random winners.

Good luck!

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