Monday, May 19, 2014

The Maia Dress

So... I was pretty dang excited a couple weeks ago when I received an email from Kate of See Kate Sew saying that she was testing a collection of women patterns and that I could pick one to try!  I had signed up to do so a while ago but didn't think I'd get the chance.  I love her style and am amazed at how she keeps cranking out creative pattern after pattern.  Anyway, I chose to test the Maia Dress/Top.

The dress consists of a fitted bodice that stops mid bust and continues on with a gathered skirt.  It also has a retro feel with a mod round collar that meets at the center back.  The skirt is a bit flowy, (see below) and I prefer to belt it to control looking extra wide with this wacky tribal-stripe printed crepe de chine I found at JoAnn Fabrics.  Looking at the entire Garden Party pattern collection now, I think it would be best to pair very spring-like and airy pastel fabrics with the patterns in the future.
A close up of the collar and fabric...

This was the first time I've used crepe de chine and I absolutely love it!  It's easier to sew with than rayon challis (which I love to wear) and has the same weight and feel to it.  I bought a few other prints that I can't wait to sew with.  

The Garden Party Collection of Women's patterns by See Kate Sew is being released today!  Check it out!!!  I have my eye on the Emaline (that bow!) and Olive.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sew-a-bration of Womanhood (Maritime Shorts and Scout Tee)

I'm honored to be a part of the Sew-a-bration of Womanhood sewing series by the Shaffer Sisters and Call Ajaire.  I follow many of the blogs by the ladies that are participating and am inspired by them daily.  I've even discovered several new blogs to add to the reading list!

For my post, I went in circles on what I would sew up.  One thing I knew for sure ~ it had to include floral.  I'm obsessed with floral prints and have been stockpiling them since winter.  I planned on some floral pants (how awesome but possibly bad would that be?); however, with summer quickly upon us, I realized I was severely lacking in shorts.  Yay!  A chance to try out a pattern I was eyeing - the Grainline Maritime Shorts.

I'm so happy with these shorts!  Anyone else have the most difficult time shopping for shorts?  I dread it - they're either too short in length, not right in the rear, or just boring.  When I find a pair that works I usually buy three.  

I measured a size 10 that surprisingly fit!  I was sure I'd need to grade out to a bigger size from the waist.  I have a lot of extra in my rear and legs which is part of why I have trouble finding the perfect pair.  I only made one change to the pattern after making a muslin - that was to change the pocket piece and pocket lining into one pattern piece.  I couldn't get the pocket to keep from bunching the way it was supposed to be sewn, so that solved the issue.  

Sorry for the rear shot, but you gotta see all the angles!  The floral print (cotton sateen from JoAnn Fabrics) is a little busy and kinda hides the interesting back pockets that I think are perfectly placed.  

The most difficult part of sewing these shorts was not the functioning fly as I expected.  That was cake compared to sewing the simple waistband on.  It takes forever to wrap my head around which sides of the pattern pieces should face up and where the right and left goes.  Every time I sew one.  Practice should make perfect though, right?  I plan on making a few more in some neon twill.

And when thinking of what to pair with the floral shorts, I immediately remembered all the stripe and floral looks I've been seeing lately.  But I'm more of a polka dot person so I went with that and made a Grainline Scout Tee.  

I wish I had tried this pattern sooner!!!  I have a large collection of woven fabrics that I'd love to turn into tops, but I can never decide on a pattern to use.  This top was super simple to sew.  And sometimes you just need to sew something that's not gonna give you too much trouble.  (Seriously, any beginners out there should give it a go.)

I hope I've inspired you to go sew something for yourself!  It can be easier than you think if you pick the right pattern (as in something without a lot of large fabric pieces to wrangle), and so satisfying for the soul.  Check out the other awesome women participating in the series below.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sewing for me

So now that I'm a SAHM, what I decide to wear each day has a lot more possibilities!  And that includes wearing a lot of jeans, not just on Friday.  Which also means that I can wear (and sew) a lot more casual tops in knit.  

I had purchased the Just Add Jeans collection of patterns from Pattern Anthology but never got around to sewing any of them up because it usually takes me forever to make myself an item.  But it turns out these two patterns are pretty quick since they are knit and I can use my serger.

I made this Parisian top with a thin mint sweater knit and used a woven cotton floral for the collar.  My favorite feature is the puff sleeves.  I love it, but next time I think using a sturdier knit would make an even better top.

The other pattern I tried out is this Daytripper Top.  I used a double sided knit with polka dots on one side and stripes on the other.  Anyone else have a heck of a time choosing between dots and stripes?!?!  I've come to the conclusion that I prefer dots, but still added a bit of the stripe in the waistband and shoulder tabs.

I cut a size medium with a longer hem which was a mistake for this heavy and stretchy knit.  So while is is beyond comfortable, it quickly looses shape after wearing it for a few hours.  I've also made the medium in a woven which was still a little big, so I think I could get away with a small.  Though I think this pattern was made to be a little relaxed.  

The most fun part is the addition of pockets in the side seams.  The pockets have already been useful for carrying treats during photo shoots of the kids clothes :)

Overall I would definitely recommend trying these two patterns, but listen to the fabric recommendations!  Can't wait to try the Wildflower top next ~  it's all cut out and ready to be sewn, if the kids ever take a nap that is...

Friday, May 2, 2014

Caroline Party Dresses

I've been meaning to post about these dresses for 2 weeks...actually, I've been meaning to post about several things lately, but life is a moving puzzle right now.  

The biggest change:  I quit my day job as an Environmental Engineer to become a stay at home mom!  I've been working for 10 years and even achieved a professional license, yet I did not enjoy it anymore.  It was one of the most difficult decisions I've ever made.

I'm pretty sure it was a smart move :)

The Etsy shop is also what has changed up my blogging pace.  I just can't say no when some one tells me they need a dress for their daughter ASAP for their birthday.  So shop sewing has pushed fun or selfish sewing to the side.  But the girls had to have some new dresses for Easter, right?

Good thing the Caroline Party Dress pattern is super easy though fancy enough for special occasions!    

This pic is different from the rest because it was taken on Easter.  They were super excited to get these dresses and were ready to go find some eggs (and candy)!

The blue dress is a basic Caroline with gathered tulle attached to the lining.  I love how the tulle is between the lining and the dress, so it protects their skin from any tulle itchiness.  The inside lining is an awesome yellow and grey floral that she picked out because yellow is lately her favorite color.  I really regret not adding yellow piping to the dress!

Actually they both picked out their fabrics from my stash - I think they did a great job and the fabric definitely matches their personalities.  

The floral one is a Caroline with peter pan collar and no tulle.  I also made her a couple different sashes to pair with it.  

In other minor life changing news:  We got chickens!  For egg laying - two golden comets, an ameraucana, and three silkies that are still itty bitty and not yet in the coop the hubby built.  Life at home sure is busier than expected!