Gardenia Dress by Cali Faye

A month or so ago, I was researching the Cali Faye Perri Pullover.  I had seen it around, mainly the little girls version, and thought it would be a nice change from yoga pants and GAP hoodies for wearing around the house.  While I was doing some extensive market research on the pattern (i.e., asking sewing friends on facebook to upload their versions…), I happened to see a pattern tester call on the Cali Faye facebook page for the new Gardenia Dress.  (note…the perri pullover links to her etsy shop, the gardenia dress links to her website)

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Perfect.  Timing.  I would get a chance to test out her patterns before buying, and well…make this dress, which I liked even more than the perri.  Knit dress with long sleeves and a gathered skirt?  Yes, please.   It really couldn’t get more fall perfect.  Or Monica perfect, really.  Love me a dress.  Especially a cozy knit one.  Looking at this photo of myself is kind of funny, because in my head I was wearing a TON of eye make up.  I’ve been a little obsessed with this site, and felt very ‘made up.’  Ha.  Hahahahaha.  On the flip side, I think I’ve mastered the “no-make-up make-up” look.

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This is my tester version, so it isn’t quite right, but I love and wear it anyway.  After the testing, the sizes were all scaled down a size, so this is essentially a size too large.  The yoke hits at a weird place in this version, and it’s…well…just too big.  I think it may actually be a couple sizes too big on the top.  It doesn’t show a lot in these photos because of course, you go through and pick out the best ones, but I swim in it.  The thing is, I still love it and wear it once a week!

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I have the new version printed, taped, and traced (two sizes smaller than this one) ready to go, now it’s just time to find some fabric and share.  As far as the pattern goes, it is beautifully tiled and easy to print, tape and follow directions.  The pattern pieces are overlayed with a grid, which I love for matching and taping.  I don’t like just relying on the one little triangle to match up, you know?  Next time I sew I may add some clear elastic at the waist, or maybe some interfacing, just to help it keep it’s shape.

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Now that the days are so short (and getting shorter…) I can’t rely on my husband to take photos, so this marks my first tripod photoshoot.  Here is Lily to help me, bed-head and all ;)  She didn’t last long in that little nightgown, it was FREEZING outside.

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I’m s-l-o-w-l-y building up my handmade wardrobe.  I’m having trouble figuring out how to online fabric shop and pick good fabrics.  That is definitely what is slowing me down the most.  What are your favorite types of knits and online knit sources?  I’m thinking soft and don’t pill after a few washes… :)  This is some sort of knit from Jo-Ann, and it’s actually been holding up really well!

The Feather Shirt

This shirt  gets a lot of wear these days.  More wear than anything I have made that child, actually.  Except maybe this.

After a sewing lull, I tested the Raindrop Tee by Gracious Threads.  I really thought about stopping pattern testing, but I decided to make some rules for myself, instead and only sew patters that 1) really appealed to me and would be something I would purchase perhaps in an actual store, and 2) I thought I could make multiple times, for multiple variations, and for multiple children.  The Raindrop Tee fit that criteria pretty effortlessly.

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I liked the high/low hem because I thought she could wear it with leggings, but my girl who refuses to wear a woven fabric on her upper half seems to have no problem with skinny jeans.  Kids are so weird, man.

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Actually, Chloe has been asking me to make her some more clothes these days.  This is coming from the kid who burst into tears on the floor of Jo Ann’s when I tried to get her all jazzed up about picking out her own fabrics for a school concert dress.  [sobbing]…I just want a store dress, Mooooom!  A dress that you….you know…go into a store and buy.  (She got the store dress, and I stopped sewing for her for months!  Abuse by handmades is probably a prosecutable offense.)

The fabric was from Girl Charlee, another fabric gifted to me by the lovely Erin.  Seriously, that girl is the best.  I wish we lived in the same town, I bet she’s the kind of friend that brings you casseroles and shows up with coffee (or wine) when you’re feeling blue.

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As for the sewing, it’s stating the obvious that it sews up fast.  The curve would have been tricky for me a year ago, but now I always hem curves (and a lot of hems in general) by sewing along the seam allowance and then pressing up to stitch.    The girls over at Indiesew have a great tutorial on this process (and a few other hemming options).

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We are full on in the second grade year now.  It’s amazing how independent they are at this stage.  She does her homework on her own, reads chapter books (she loves anything funny), and has turned pretend kitchen play into full on making lunch for herself and her siblings.  I remember being pretty jealous when a friend’s son (probably the age Chloe is now, actually) made his own toasted cheese in the toaster oven.   I mean, I had a newborn, 2 and 3-year-old, and not one of those freeloaders could dress themselves or buckle a car-seat.  Good thing they were cute.

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Sewing for kindergarten

 

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Hi all!  I am so excited to be participating in Mie’s Sewing for Kindergarten series.  (If you don’t know, Mie is the impeccable seamstress behind Sewing Like Mad, and a new friend of mine!).  I happen to have a fresh kindergartner on my hands who loves some new gear for him, so let’s get to it.

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A few questions from Mie…

Is this your first time sending a child to Kindergarten?  Nope, I’ve done it once before.
If not, what number child is this?  He’s the second, and middle, child.

Do you feel like crying or celebrating?  Celebrating, mainly.  The thought of him growing up is a little sadder than the girls, just because I know my days of snuggles are probably more limited with him.  By the end of the summer the kids were both really good at annoying each other and really over being annoyed.  I love having the kids all pretty close in age, but the fighting.  Oh, the fighting…!

And what about your child?  Oh, he is celebrating.  In a week he will ask when the first vacation is, but for now he’s happy to be back with his friends.  He’s more low-key, so the full day kindergarten will probably exhaust him by the end of the day.

What type of school (public, private, homeschool) will your child attend?  Our school is a public school that strangely goes from pre-K up to 9th grade before sending the kids on to another district for highschool.  They have really small classes, which is great. His class has 10 kids in it right now, which is a nice size.  And there are a lot of really sweet kids in there.  I substitute taught for him a few times last year and it was great to get to know the kids.  I moved to the Adirondacks when my dad became the school’s superintendent in the mid 1980’s.  My mom is the school treasurer and my husband works there.  It’s pretty easy for me to send them off there and feel completely secure, I’m lucky.

What was your own first day of school like (if you remember ;-)?  I remember my Mom made my dress!  She didn’t sew a ton for me growing up, but she did make my first day of school dress and I can still picture it!  Fabric that reminds me of it always pops out at me when fabric shopping, too.  I actually remember quite a lot…the names of my friends, my old phone number, the number of the bus I rode home on…

I wonder what this guy will remember from his Kindergarten year.  He was very nonchalant his first day, running off to be with his friends and eating with them at breakfast like nothing.  The biggest difference is that he is a BEAR when he gets home.  And not a cute cuddly cub, more like a pissed off grizzly.  Handle with care.  I’ll chalk it up to an adjustment period, and see what next week brings.

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Pattern deets:  this amazing (!!!) double cloth fabric, this red chambray, and some chambray gifted to me by the talented, gorgeous, and generous Erin (if you don’t already, you should be reading her blog).  The top is from Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids and the pants are an updated version of the Hosh pants that I’m testing out (I blogged the original here).  Spoiler–they are incredible.  You’ll be hearing more about these in the future….stay tuned.

The total effect was a bit like a chambray suit or something, and I was on the fence about it, but really, we aren’t a match up your clothes kind of house (especially this kid), so they won’t pair up often, and I love them separately.  The hoodie was a comedy of errors (the front was not intended to be red), but it always happens to work out in the end.

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I could eat this wild thing up, I love him so.

**Posting today as well is my friend Sara, who blogs over at Made by Sara.  I love connecting with people over the internet…Sara and I both have biology degrees, three children, and a passion for sewing.  I knew I had a twin out there somewhere, and one day I’ll have to travel to Portugal to meet her!**

 

Sewing for fall with Indiesew

Well, hello there.  It’s been a long summer off from blogging, an endeavor I wasn’t so sure I was going to come back to for several reasons I’m sure I’ll yammer on about in other (lengthy) posts.  For today, I want to celebrate my return to blogging with a collaboration I’ve joined in on with Indiesew, to sew some pieces for my fall collection.  Fall is nothing if not the time to buy new clothes after all.

If you’re unfamiliar with Indiesew, it’s a website where you can buy clothing patterns exclusively from indie designers.  I am already a fan of indie designers, and it wasn’t for any altruistic purposes.  I really didn’t think about it when I started sewing, what with being so preoccupied trying to sort out needle sizes and wind and load bobbins properly.  I just found that they had much (much!) better directions.  And they are accessible.  And if you make something and post it where they can see it, they typically tell you how awesome you are.  Basically, I was already a huge fan of these women, and now I love having a place to check out a bunch of them at once.  Another thing I’m digging about over at Indiesew, is that you can upload pics of what you’ve made.  Since I search for these images before buying patterns anyway, it’s great to see them right away.  A one stop (pattern) shop.

On to my creations!  I am desperately needing some loungewear to fill in with all the dresses I like to make myself.  And when you live in yoga (pajama?) pants most of the time, they are going to be essential to a handmade wardrobe.  Plus I have this notion I’m entertaining of starting to workout a bit more, so I figured some fun workout clothes would help that out a bit.  It definitely can’t hurt.  So I picked up the Lane Raglan and the Sew Simple Leggings.

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The leggings seriously sewed up in 15 minutes.  I’ve sewn them for the kids, but I really didn’t expect the sewing to go equally as fast for me.  But of course, they did, because it’s one pattern piece and three seams.  Voila.

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I modified the Lane Raglan to be all high-low hem and drapey-like.  I basically mashed up the Foxglove with the Lane Raglan.  The shirt is pulling a bit under the arms and if I made it again I might go up a size.  I actually have two other ideas for this top.  I can’t draft my own patterns yet, but I do like messing around with patterns that are already out there!

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I think the scariest part of sewing for yourself (as opposed to the kids) is the fitting issues.  Kids are quirky for sure, but women’s bodies…oooooh boy, that’s a whole different game.   Here’s a little rundown of what my particular body needs adjustments for…  sloped shoulders, narrow shoulders, swayback, long torso, small bust adjustment.  This is why lovely, stretchy knits are a perfect place to start. And honestly, it’s the bulk of my store-bought wardrobe anyway.  So if you’re thinking about diving in, start with some knits, or blousy no-darts-needed woven styles and go from there!

And for some motivation to start sewing for yourself, hop on over to Merricks Art where you’ll get to see her great styling and enter for a chance to win the ENTIRE Indiesew fall collection!

 

 

The Ash Jumpsuit

Let’s get back to a little sewing for the kids, shall we?  This summer we don’t have a huge need for clothing, but a few new items go a long way.  At this point, I am not breaking the news on the Willow & Co. folks.  Their first pattern collection has a ‘glamping’ theme, which fits my neck of the woods just perfectly.  I noticed this project months ago, immediately drawn to it because of the ‘Willow’ name.  My AOL Instant Messenger screen name was ‘Willow312.’  Ha…remember those days…’hey, IM me when you get home from school…’   That will be my ‘when I was a kid’ story for my kids.  Not I walked to school uphill in the snow, but ‘I had to wait until I got home from school to message my friends!’  Delayed gratification is so 1998.

A few months later, I’ve been lucky enough (seriously lucky) to get to know these ladies a little better, and I am so happy to share my Ash Jumpsuit.  I love the jumpsuit/romper thing that’s still going strong.  And while I really was tempted to make it as a one piece outfit, I just didn’t want to chance any setback in the potty training arena.  (For the first time in 7 years, I am not changing diapers..)  So I made the two piece version.  Well, one of them.  There’s a lot of variation you can do in one little pattern, and without further ado, here is what we did!

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The fabric is a linen floral print I picked up at JoAnn Fabrics last summer.  I adjusted the elastic to give it a higher neckline (I just kind of put it on and fiddled until I really liked how it looked) and I took about an inch off the shorts to make cute little bloomers.

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I love the curve of the line the pattern makes around the side to the back.  There are a lot of patterns I’ve sewn and enjoyed, but some have little design elements that make me feel little flutters of happiness when I see the kids running around in them.  This top is one of them.  It’s my spidey sense seal of approval.  I love the pattern designer, Celina from Petit a petit and family, and her sense of style, so I had a hunch that I would really take to this pattern.

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A little sidenote about the differences in the pics…the photoshoot was done in three different takes.  Basically, it goes like this… run outside and snap a bunch of photos until the mosquitoes find you, then flee into the house.  Repeat!

I love it paired with little leggings, too.  This was also the allure of not sewing it as a romper, but having separate pieces.  She was throwing rocks off the ledge here…and by ledge I mean cliff. This is her response to ‘mom is trying to save my life again…’  Moms are such a buzzkill, man.

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Oh, and this is the very first time she ever let me put pigtails in her hair.  Major win.  It does not get cuter than pigtails.

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Oh, AND…today is the LAST DAY to get 30% off your Willow & Co. patterns.  Seriously, scoop that deal UP!!  There are so many great patterns in this collective, so stock up while you can!