A sewing blog about building a functional, cohesive handmade wardrobe, one garment at a time.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Sewing souvenirs

There is a fabric store here that I pass twice a day, on my way to pick up and drop off the girls from school.  Occasionally I'd stop in and browse the fabrics, which are all imported from Dubai.  This past spring, they got in a new collection, and among them was a smooth, lusciously drapey, Burberry-esque plaid rayon challis.  I kept going back to visit it until last month, when I finally gave in and bought two yards.

Sadly I did not think to photograph it until it a few days later, and by then it had wrinkled.  Ironing fabric just for a photo shoot seemed a bit precious, so here you go.

I just can't photograph it in a way that does it justice - and further, I have NO IDEA what I am going to do with it.  But I just couldn't resist.

They had it in three color ways - the one you see here, a hot pink and a black.  I'm still thinking about that black one; I may yet be tempted to go back and buy it and carry it home in my suitcase since all our stuff has already been packed.

In the last couple months I've also done a bit of button shopping.  I haven't been the happiest with the buttons that are available here - they are heavy on novelty buttons without a lot of plain, serviceable quality ones.  But I have collected an assortment that spoke to me.

The cream and light blue ones have sort of an iridescent crackle effect going on.  The polka dot ones are really cute - no idea what I will do with them but - polka dots!  So there you go.  My Georgian sewing souvenirs.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer nighties

I love sewing nightgowns for my girls.  My sister and I had a lot of handmade nighties thanks to my grandmother, and I have fond memories of floaty, ruffly summer ones and snuggly flannels for winter.  I'm happy to be able to provide the same for my daughters.

I made these using Kwik Sew 3423, which includes toddler sizes up to size 4.  There used to be a version for older girls, Kwik Sew 3105, but sadly it appears to be out of print.  The toddler version is quite roomy, though - I cut a 2 with added length for both girls - so I think it will do for us for a few more years.

The pattern isn't the most elegant I've used, construction-wise.  The instructions for attaching the lace leave a messy-ish inside, and only 1/4" seam allowances are included.  Since the nightgowns are so long, the girls sometimes step on them, putting pressure on the seam joining the bodice to the skirt.  With delicate voiles or shreddy flannels, this is a problem.  I had to fix holes where the seam shredded apart on the girls' flannel nightgowns multiple times.  I prefer a 3/8" or 1/2" allowance for this pattern, so I can sew a seam on my machine and then serge the edges together without trimming.  More room for error.

I used a floaty voile that I got from FabricMart awhile ago for only $1.99 a yard, and two yards made two nightgowns.  Score!  I really love this fabric - it has plaid, flowers and some sparkly Lurex threads running through it.  What more could a girl ask for?  I trimmed the arms with bias tape rather than lace so that they would not be scratchy against the skin, but I did use lace to trim the neckline.  The girls are thrilled.

These nightgowns were actually sewn weeks ago; currently my sewing room is all packed up.  We are moving in a couple weeks and our stuff won't catch up until August at the earliest.  Most likely there will be no sewing until mid-September! So posting will be sporadic until then.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What I am doing instead of packing

When I finished up the wedding sewing, I immediately packed up all my fabric into bins.  I thought that would be enough to keep me on task (i.e. organizing and packing, not sewing).  Turns out it wasn't.

In my defense, I did buy big sister some RTW clothes to fill her summer wardrobe gaps.  But the leggings were balloony and the tops slip off her shoulders, yet I can't go down a size without her parading her belly button around for all to see.  Not worth it, even if they were cheap.

So today I assembly-lined some basics.  Two pairs of leggings and two tees for the big sister, and a pair of ardently requested butterfly leggings for little sister.

I used my beloved Oliver+S Playtime pattern for the leggings.  The tops were made using this tutorial.  I made several tops from it last summer.  As big sister has recently decided that skirts can only be worn with tucked-in tops, I didn't flare the tees out at the bottom as the tutorial has you do.

All the fabric came from Girl Charlee except the pink jersey, which is Robert Kaufman Laguna knit.  I used the butterfly jegging fabric for a pair of leggings for big sister last fall, and they have held up spectacularly.  The other knits are a bit thin for leggings, so I hope they last through the fall.

Little sister is wearing a top that I made from the same tutorial last year.

Now I should really pack up those machines ...

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Wedding sneak peek

Way back when my sister-in-law got engaged, I volunteered to sew the ring bearer and flower girl outfits for the five littles in the ceremony (my offspring account for 60 percent of said littles).  I had planned to sew during the end of April and first half of May, but then my mother passed and I went home for the funeral, and honestly I didn't feel much like sewing for awhile.  I finally got started about 12 days ago and after some seriously furious sewing, I am done.

I'll be double-posting this project to provide modeled pictures after the Labor Day wedding, but for now here is a sneak peek.

The ring bearers will be wearing Oliver+S Art Museum ensembles.  The vests are gray-and-white gingham save for the back, which is khaki twill to match the pants.  I really love the effect the gingham has when turned diagonally for the welt pockets.  The shirts are store-bought (I really need to be packing), and I made snap-on bow ties for them.  This was necessary because the shirts have mandarin collars, but I think it is more comfortable for little boys than a band that goes all the way around the neck.

The flower girls will be wearing dresses made from a mishmash of the Oliver+S Music Box Jumper and Bubble Dress patterns.  I used cotton batiste for the outside and voile for the lining.  There is also a tulle layer in between the two  I made up the pleated cummerbunds as I went along (you can see I was not exactly consistent among the dresses) and added knife pleats at the hems.  The cummerbunds become sashes that tie in the back.

Whew!  I am beat.