Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sewing: Sunny Back-to-School Bateau Neck Tunic and Dress

Well, it's that time of year. I love back-to-school! And I love the idea of some new clothes to wear back to the classroom.

Truth be told, my plans for summer sewing were too big. I had more planned than they could wear or I could photograph. (Kind of nice for a change, actually.) So some of it is now officially part of their back-to-school wardrobe.

Take this set for Tess: I love the sunny orange and yellow polka dot jerseys (both from Euro Girls Boutique) combined with the Heather Ross Briar Rose Cotton Jersey. I used my Bateau Neck Top pattern and lengthen the top to tunic length. I took the short sleeves from the dress pattern extension and added side vents (also included in the pattern extension).

I added the yellow embellishments to Tess's tunic by creating a stack of three roughly cut circles with the largest size on the bottom and the smallest on the top. Then I stitched an "x" on top of them to attach them to the tunic. Cute I think! And so easy.

Scarlett got another dress. Because that's what she likes best. I made a sleeveless version of The Bateau Neck Elastic Waist Dress (Bateau Neck Top pattern + extension)

I was inspired by Dana's sleeveless version of the Bateau Neck Top with bow. It makes a happy back-to-school outfit. I love the pink and yellow striped jersey from funkaliciousfabrics on Etsy.

I think we're all set to go. Audrey too, pictured here in one of her summer outfits--a striped middy blouse. It should double just fine for back to school.

Here we go! I hope your transition is going well.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Craft: Forever Summer Surfboard T-Shirt (Cricut Explore Tutorial and Free Template)

I'm sure you've heard of the Cricut Explore™. I have been meaning to play with it for sometime so I was thrilled to be invited to participate in their Cricut Design Space Star (#DesignSpaceStar) competition. They have put together teams of bloggers for a monthly competition to inspire you with design ideas. This month's focus is Fashion and Gear and my team, Team 12 (#DesignStar12Love), chose the theme "Endless Summer." I love that iconic movie poster.

It is that time of year when we are wishing summer wouldn't end, right? Inspired by that I designed a graphic surfboard t-shirt for Audrey to wear back to school and I've got a tutorial and free template below so you can make one too.

I love the combination of pink, orange and yellow with black text. I cut freezer paper templates for the orange and yellow surfboards and then cut Cricut Iron On Glitter in Black for the type. Once I learned how to use the  Cricut Explore™ and their Cricut Design Space™ software (this was my very first project!), which didn't take long, I was amazed how slick the process was. My girls and I all gathered around the machine to watch it cut.

I haven't used other cutting machines in the past because I've been waiting for one that would make it possible for me to upload my own designs. Cricut Design Space™ makes this pretty easy. I have to admit it took me a bit of trial and error figuring out the best way to create and upload the files. But once I arrived at creating an .svg file (I used Illustrator to create a layered file and then saved it in this format) it was a breeze. Tip: don't forget to convert any text to outlines so it is supported in Cricut Design Space.

Now that I've finished my first project I can't wait to play around with Cricut Explore™ again.

Check out the great projects the rest of Team 12 made. There are some really great ones! I love this color scheme! You can also search #DesignStar12Love on your favorite social media outlets.

Gifting Sweet: DIY Dry Brushed Earrings
The Celebration Shoppe: DIY Clipboard and Coffee Mug
Three Little Monkeys Studio: DIY Wood Veneer Earrings
Little Retreats: Temporary Beach Tatoos
The Road to the Good Life: Picnic Blanket Tote
Small for Big: Geo Necklaces DIY
Clever Pink Pirate: Stenciled Splattered Tank Top

Disclaimer: Cricut provided me with a Cricut Explore machine and invited me to participate in their Design Space Star competition. This post contains affiliate links. The opinions expressed here are genuine based on my experience. I only review products I use and believe in.

Click for the tutorial and file below.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sewing: Preppy Caftan Resort Dress in Pink and Green

Is it just me? Or do we all have a fantasy of being a resort-bound 1965 housewife with a chic style and a wardrobe to match? Maybe a Lily Pulitzer long wrap skirt in a bright pattern (similar to the one that hung in my mother-in-law's closet) or a white pique tennis set or maybe a trendy caftan to wear with a head wrap? My mother wasn't one of those women, and I'm not either, but sometimes I like to play by their rules. 

So for this year's beach vacation I pulled a nearly-all-nighter to make myself this preppy caftan inspired by vintage Lily Pulitzer. I used some Jennifer Paganelli Multi Floral quilt fabric from Jo-Ann and modified Simplicity pattern 2702.

I added three-quarter length sleeves with a slight flare (because you know that is my favorite length) and eliminated the pleats in the front so that the dress isn't as full. Then I ended up taking out even more of the fullness and compensating with small side vents at the hem. I sewed a lining first (which isn't called for) but then finished the dress unlined because this fabric has some great stretch which makes it really comfortable on its own. So we'll just call that lining a "muslin," which is a first for me. I usually jump right in.

I love the large patch pockets. Very handy for a cell phone or a pair of sunglasses. And I love the top stitching I added around the yoke. It's stitch 713 on my Bernina 580. It resembles hand embroidery! Green stitching on pink of course to go with my preppy theme.

My giant beach bag is from IKEA (it's our swimming bag at home). Scarlett is wearing her own preppy beach outfit I sewed for the trip and Tess is wearing (out) the Floral Lulu Dress I made her earlier this summer.

Now that I've fulfilled this vacation idea I can move on to back-to-school!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sewing: School Bus Applique for Bernina "We All Sew"

It's that time of year! And we're pretty excited. The summer went by too fast, as usual, but that's not going to stop me from enjoying the back-to-school season. I love the prep and the anticipation of a new classroom, a new teacher, new friends, new box of crayons. It's all good.

Oh, and new school clothes! How could I forget that? It may be more fun for me than my girls, but that's OK. I've been hunting down some bargains but I've also been sewing and this striped Bateau Neck Dress is my idea of the perfect first-day-of-school dress.

Easy to put on, comfortable, cheery stripes. And a school bus applique. What more could a girl want? (Well, maybe perfectly matched stripes on the side seams but I've had to let that go....) I designed this school bus applique for the Bernina USA blog, We All Sew. They have the free applique template and my step-by-step tutorial on their blog. 

I am hoping some of you have a little boy or girl with an equal love of school buses. This would be great on a plain purchased t-shirt or any basic shirt or dress pattern. Enjoy the back-to-school rush!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sewing: Polka Dot Middy Blouse and Whale Shorts

Scarlett was the recipient of a knit middy shirt for the beach trip too. Hers in a white and pink polka dot knit. These shirts are an instant hit with my girls! They must be really comfortable because they were skeptical at first but after trying them on the middy shirts have been in heavy rotation this vacation. 

I'm excited to find another equally comfortable alternative to the t-shirts I've been sewing. It's nice to have a shirt with a collar. I think I'll be making some more for the Fall.

I think it's a great look with shorts, but would work equally well with jeans or a skirt.

Speaking of shorts...don't you love a good preppy pair of shorts? These are they! This whale fabric is by Dear Stella and I was only able to score a half yard of it. Just enough to make another pair of Kids Shorts! Longer style. And I did my own thing with the pockets. The front are patch pockets with slanted tops and I put some faux flaps on the back.

Even better for an East Coast trip I guess, but this ensemble worked on the West Coast just fine.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sewing: Striped Middy Blouse for the Beach

Inevitably I come up with something I need to sew the day before leaving on a vacation. This time it was a knit middy blouse. I love this sailor style blouse for boys and girls and the style suits Audrey and a beach vacation. It was compulsory.

I based this design on some modifications I made to a vintage middy blouse pattern I sewed for Audrey years ago. I changed the split front a bit so it's not so low, added side vents, lengthened the collar in back and of course, designed it for a knit fabric.

The striped fabric was purchased at Jo-Ann this summer during my hunt to fill some gaps in my stash for summer outfits. I purchased the shorts fabric there too, in the shirting section. The shorts are the flat front version of Dana's Kid Short's pattern. I've put that to good use this summer!

It works! I may have to play with this some more.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sewing: Elephant Lulu Beach Dress

In my spurt of casual sewing I purchased this darling Rebekah Ginda "Frolic" fabric and Audrey commented that she liked it. "Great!" I thought. "I'll make her a simple t-shirt."

So I whipped out a little cap sleeve t with the Lulu Dress pattern from CINO. I just lengthen the bodice and skipped the binding. Simple simple. But I guess not. Audrey wouldn't even put it on. "I said I liked the fabric. Not that I wanted something out of it." Oh. I guess it does look a little young for her.

Lucky thing: Tess loves elephants! So I put three inverted pleats along the front neckline and one in the back and voila! Tess has a new dress.

Perfect for the beach.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sewing: White and Lavender Chemise Dress and Blouse (Pattern Preview)

Who doesn't love a field of sunflowers? And girls in white linen dresses. 

I found this embroidered polka dot linen when I was in Spain last year and knew it would be perfect for a simple dress for Audrey. She loves purple. And she loves wearing this simple a-line chemise. (My Ruffled Chemise pattern without any ruffle....)

I had a tiny bit leftover to make a little skirt for Scarlett, with the addition of another longer layer underneath. Scarlett's double bow collar blouse is a pattern I've been toying with since the Madeline dresses I sewed last year. I would love to finish it soon--I adore the look! But I've learned not to make promises....

Tess's chiffon polka dot dress was purchased by her grandmother years ago for Audrey to wear.

I sewed and photographed these last September before the sunflowers disappeared. It seemed too late to share then so I've been hanging on to them and nearly forgot about them. Thought I'd share them now before it's too late again. Funny how August also brings thoughts of Fall.

I haven't been sewing dressier things for the girls this summer but I may need to head that direction again. Always something else to sew.... That what I love about it.

Hope you are enjoying the last blast of summer.
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