Thursday, August 29, 2013

Back-to-School Bateaux: Craftiness is Not Optional

Look at this happy girl! This is of course the beautiful work (and beautiful girl) of Jess from Craftiness is not Optional, the next stop on the Back-to-School Bateaux pattern tour.

Jess and I have a few things in common, starting with the fact that we are both mothers to three little girls. I wish we lived next door to each other. How much fun would that be?! We both also love sewing for our girls, putting together birthday parties for them (we both wish we had more time to spend on that party planning however) and I could go on... Did you see her Ballet Bash? So darling. I think her Bapron may be the smartest and cutest sewing pattern for babies around. She has dozens of cute tutorials on her site, and she is part of the creative powerhouse behind the new Five and Ten Designs ebook. (I will be reviewing it and sewing from it soon--can't wait.)

Jess has sewn a darling version of the Bateau Neck Elastic Waist Dress. I love this floral knit she found, the purple contrasting chest pocket and the white faux tie. You'll want to see more of her cute photos here.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Back-to-School Bateaux: The Cottage Mama

I'm so happy Lindsay, aka The Cottage Mama, was able to join me for the Back-to-School Bateaxu tour!

Lindsay is one of the busiest women I know. She has a full-fledged sewing pattern business (I just reviewed one of her new patterns), writes a great blog about "all things domestic," is releasing her first book of sewing patterns this October (it looks beautiful!), teaches sewing professionally, and still finds time to make and sell boutique children's clothing. It's exciting to see where her talents have taken her! But, don't be fooled. Her heart is with her home and family, which are her top priorities, and her genuine goodness comes through in all she does. Read this post to see what I mean.

I love this ensemble she put together with the Classic Bateau Neck Top for her Miss Savannah to wear to school. I have been in "knits" mode for a while now but I have to say every time I see another cute print I wonder "where can I get that?!" My girls would love it. You can read all about her take on this top right here.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sewing: Boiled Wool Bateau Neck Top with Ball Monogram (Tutorial)

I have been eagerly anticipating the Back-to-School Bateaux pattern tour for the chance to share this boiled wool Bateau Neck Top with you! I think it may be my favorite sewing project ever!

I love wool, and boiled wool is high on the wool list. I posted about some blue boiled wool Bateau Neck Tops I made this Spring, but this red one was actually the first I made when I was working out this pattern. Well over a year ago!

I took these photos then too. Makes me feel a bit sentimental. This was likely the only time I got Audrey to wear a skirt to school! (Remember this gingham skirt post?) 

And she didn't wear this monogrammed top often enough. It was sized a bit small so it was awkward for her to get on and off (the final pattern specifies going up one size when using boiled wool or other thicker/less-stretchy knits) and she is all about comfort. One day we'll have a good laugh about all the things horribly uncomfortable things I've worn because I thought they looked good!

I have thought about taking off this felted ball "A" monogram and making an "S" for Scarlett to wear. Scarlett actually says she wants to wear the "A." How cute is that? She wants to be just like her sister. And I can't quite bring myself to snip the threads, so it's hanging in the closet, where it occasionally gets admired. Maybe I'll have Scarlett wear it. That ought to confuse people!

I really should just make some more. This felted ball monogram is really simple to do. And so cute and dimensional. Not to mention fun to wear, fun to touch, etc.. Like I said, the combination of Bateau Neck Top and this monogram may be my favorite!

This felted ball monogram is just one of the ways you can get creative with a Bateau Neck Top (stay tuned to the tour for more ideas). I've got a simple tutorial here so you can make one too. I used the "Classic" version of my Bateau Neck Top pattern in boiled wool purchased here (sadly the red has been out of stock for some time but you could find some from other sources) but you could use any simple top in a heavier weight knit--sweatshirts or sweaters would be great too.

Click to view the tutorial.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Back-to-School Bateaux: Simple Simon and Company

The first post in the Back-to-School Bateaux pattern tour is Elizabeth from Simple Simon and Company. But you probably already knew that by looking at this adorable photo! 

I admire liZ and Elizabeth for their shared classic sense of style and their serious sewing skills. I think none of us have met a vintage pattern, ugly or not, we haven't fallen in love with (I sewed this for their Ugly Pattern Party). And they seem to be always doing the right thing. Whether it's focusing on what's important about homemaking and mothering, or organizing the talents of hundreds to sew skirts for little girls who need them. Their blog is always inspiring. One day I hope to create a whole look book for one of my girls. Amazing to be that organized and productive ahead of a season! Not to mention their management of Project Run and Play!

In the meantime it would be nice to sew a dress as cute as this Bateau Neck A-Line Dress by Elizabeth. With a skinny belt! And that preppy patterned fabric! I love the contrasting pocket too! Check out all the details here.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sewing: The Bateau Neck Dress (Pattern Extension)

I have had so many ideas for sewing The Bateau Neck Top in all its variations (and thus the Back-to-School Bateaux Tour). Plenty to keep me busy. But at the same time I, and many of you, kept thinking "dress." Wouldn't this classic top make a cute dress?

And it does! 

Two dresses as it turns out.

I designed the Bateau Neck Elastic Waist Dress with a short gathered skirt and faux drawstring tie. Sporty. Cute. The kind of dress I wanted to wear as a girl with a pair of white Tretorns or Keds. Doubles as a beach cover-up. Perfect casual look for the first day of school. Could add a cardigan and boots when it gets cooler. (Gotta add that to the "to sew" list!)

It can be dressed up with sandals too. And, it works with all the options from the original Bateau Neck Top pattern, which means you can add pockets, a ruffled neck, or a pleat in front.

Scarlett is wearing it with elbow-length sleeves here. Another variation I had turning in my head: shorter sleeves. Not just elbow length, but almost cap-sleeved too (see Tess' shirt here).

Then there is the Bateau Neck A-Line Dress.  It's the Bateau Neck Top with some length. But not just straight down the sides--it has a slight bit of flare. And side vents at the hem for extra ease.

I love this version with the pleated front on Tess. So simple, but a bit sophisticated. This dress works with pockets (see Scarlett's rainbow version here), a ruffled neck, in the Classic Bateau Neck style, or even with buttons all the way down the back. (I have to make one with buttons!)

These dresses are suitable for knits. In this Heather Ross Briar Rose Jersey the dress is soft enough to sleep in. (Hmm....)

These two dress patterns, and two shorter sleeve options are available in The Bateau Neck Dress pattern extension. You can find it here in my Wee Muses pattern shop. (I'm so excited to see the shop looking a bit more full!) 

**The Bateau Neck Dress pattern extension is an add-on to the original Bateau Neck Top pattern. It does not work as a standalone pattern.**

This pattern extension includes digital patterns and instructions for sewing:
  • The Bateau Neck A-Line Dress
  • The Bateau Neck Elastic Waist Dress
  • Short Sleeves
  • Elbow Sleeves
I'm excited about the ways this pattern extension multiplies the options for The Bateau Neck Top! It includes 19 pages of detailed instructions for using the enclosed patterns to transform The Bateau Neck Top into a dress, or simply add the shorter sleeves to the top. There are 18 pages of pattern pieces for printing but you needn't print all of them--I've included page ranges for the different styles of dresses and sleeves.

You'll need between 1/4 to 1/2 yard of additional fabric to sew the dress compared to the original top. I've included the combined yardage in the chart above, along with a repeat of the extras, such as pockets, for the different versions.

In keeping with the quality of Wee Muses patterns, this pattern extension:
  • is digitally graded and drafted for the greatest accuracy
  • includes markings and guidelines for easy pattern printing and assembly
  • provides full-color photo tutorials walking you through the necessary steps for a great finished garment
  • is tested by seamstresses in the US, Europe and Australia to ensure printing compatibility 
I can't wait to sew with it more! I have plans to share at least a couple more as part of the Back-to-School Bateaux Tour. And I think some of my friends on the tour plan to sew Bateau Neck Dresses too.

How about you? 

You can find The Bateau Neck Top Dress pattern extension here.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sewing: Back-to-School Bateaux Pattern Tour 2013

Are you back to school? Still gearing up? It's hard to believe summer vacation is ending and school is here but it may be my favorite time of year so I'm ready to jump into the routine, the new supplies, and of course, a few new additions to the girls' wardrobes.

So I'm sewing. And to celebrate, I've invited some friends to sew along with me using my Bateau Neck Top pattern

It's a Back-to-School Bateaux (how about that lovely French plural?) pattern tour with:

Whoohoo! I can't wait to see what they come up with. Can you?

We're going to be sharing takes on The Bateau Neck Top from now through the end of September, and by "takes" I mean the variations in the original pattern as well as some tutorials building on it, and, a new pattern extension: The Bateau Neck Dress. Yes, dress!

I love the dress variation! This pattern extension will include two dress versions, actually. But there's something for boys too: two shorter sleeves options--elbow length and short.

Tess is having fun here in the Classic Bateau Neck Top with chest pocket and short sleeves. Scarlett is wearing the Bateau Neck A-Line Dress with hip pockets and the original three-quarter length sleeves.

The rainbow chevron fabric is Laguna Jersey in Chevron Bright by Robert Kaufman and not only is it soft but it makes me happy. Scarlett loves rainbow prints and I love the idea of sending her off to play at school in a rainbow print dress. Tess is pretty pleased with her top too. Smiles all around.

Hope you have a great return to school and can work in a little time to stop by for some back-to-school inspiration over the next few weeks. It's time!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sewing: Beach Robes 2013

We are squeezing in a summer vacation very late this year. Better late than never! But it did feel a bit like the summer was cut short as the going-on-vacation preparation collided with the back-to-school preparation. Audrey's backpack for the first day of school is packed and waiting for her because we return home late and send her off this next morning.  She's not at all concerned however.

I had all sorts of deadlines for myself before leaving, some of which I actually pulled off over a few late nights. (Isn't that always how it goes for moms?) So I arrived at our destination a bit short on sleep. But being here makes it impossible to feel anything but happy and relaxed! Yeah! We are at the beach!

One of the things I had high on my checklist were some new Beach Robes. You probably recognize the pattern by MADE, which I was able to help Dana test when it came out a couple years ago. Aren't they just what you need for the beach? They were the perfect creative-meets-functional project to gear up for a summer trip.

Sometimes cute and creative is enough for me, but I'm learning that it's nice to make things that get a lot of wear.

I love the robes I made the girls originally--they were so cute--but you should see them now. Totally shredded. They got a lot of use. There is nothing left to hand down!

This time I made long-sleeved versions and lined the hoods again. I love the lined hoods! Probably my favorite part of the pattern because I get to find cute prints to coordinate with the towels. I also opted for the tie all the way around the back to show more of the binding. The girls love them!

I used towels from IKEA (on Audrey and Tess) and some polka dot ones I'd bought at Target last year (or the year before?) and stashed. I upsized the pattern for Audrey, used the large size for Scarlett and cut between the medium and large size for Tess. They all fit great, with a bit of room to grow (we're rolling the sleeves at the moment).

Sunny or overcast, early or late, the girls love the beach! Audrey has learned to boogie board. Tess will now get her feet wet. And Scarlett runs up and down finding shells and digging in the sand.

It's a pretty great place for a picnic too. (We love s'mores!)

Hope you are soaking up the last bits of summer as well! Here comes school... (but that's fun too!).
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