Monday, November 11, 2013

Sewing up Christmas: The Practice Dress

Time to practice up for my big sewing adventure! 

To sharpen my skills - and test my plan - I choose the Sally Dress, by luvinthemommyhood.  The is an adorable little dress that I wanted to try because it has sleeves.  Most of the other patterns I have are either tanks or flutter/cap sleeves and I just don't think that's going to work for a Winter Christmas dress.

As you can see, it turned out pretty good!  My little bug choose the fabric - she wanted purple and I picked the accent from my stash. 

The big new thing is that I tried piping around the bottom of the bodice! 

I bought the cord for like a dollar at Hobby Lobby and decided to use the green as contrast.  Now, I do have to admit that I cheated somewhat on my first use of piping.  I used knit to make the piping.  I figured that since knit stretches, it didn't really matter if the strips were actually bias tape or not, which allowed me to practice making it with some scrap material and not have to worry about wasting a lot of good stuff.

Now for the non-sewers out there, biased tape is fabric cut on the 45 degree.  This makes it "stretcher" (don't ask me why)  so that it is easier to use to sew around curves like arm holes or the bottom of bodices...  When you make it, you use a large piece of material and cut it all the way across the diagonal making it essentially unusable for anything else.... 

So basically, all I did was cut out a strip of green from a scrap I had and sewed the piping cord inside using a zipper foot.  Worked like a charm! 

The dress turned out pretty good.  The piping worked.  The sleeves aren't too bad and Little Missy loves the pockets... Success!

I even threw together some matching leggings with ruffles because really what else would go with this dress?

Tips and Hints:

1.  It's tough to tell the front from the back of this dress.  It probably doesn't really even matter most of the time... unless you sew on piping... and then you sew the skirt of with the pockets facing the place where your piping begins and ends...  yeah I did that...

2.  The bodice is somewhat hard to get on and off since it doesn't have closures.  I made a 3T and it fits great, but I have to wrestle and control my girl to get in and out of it.  For the final version I will be making a 4T bodice and 3T skirt.  I think this will give her a little more arm room with out making it turn out too big. 

3.  Get really close to the piping cord when sewing the piping on.  Otherwise there's a gap and it looks strange.  It's not too hard, you just have to be conscious.

The bottom line:  I'm glad I practiced.  I learned a lot and I think the real version will go a lot faster and better!

Now, on to pants...

Friday, November 8, 2013

Sewing up Christmas: The Palette

So, much to my dear husband's chagrin, I am one of those people that loves matching holiday outfits.

Sometimes my kids are into them..... 
And sometimes not so much....

But I simply can't resist!
Last Christmas I decided to branch out and go for a coordinating look instead of the traditional matchy-matchy. 

Last year was also the year I taught myself to sew, bought 5 yards of material and went for it!  Not too bad, I think, but my sewing skills and my design aesthetic has changed a bit since then.
This year I'm Sewing up Christmas again and I'd like YOU to join me! 
I have decided on a more "non-traditional" palette of aqua, olive and grey...

I was inspired by the gorgeous aqua velveteen, which I just love with the olive contrast. It looks somewhat darker here since the camera can't quite capture the sheen, but I assure you it's very winter ice-princess.  I can't wait to sew up a little dress with it!

For the boys I have planned some more ambitious garments (for a self-taught sewist) with this white and aqua polka dot cotton, silvery-grey corduroy and a delicious olive and grey accent fabric.  I plan a button-down, complete with collar and buttons and not one, but two pairs of "tailored" pants with zipper fronts.  I have used zippers before, just in things like pillows....  Should be interesting...

I'm not fooling myself into thinking this will be easy here, but I'm hoping for some Christmas pictures I will be proud of not just because my kids aren't crying in them. 

I've got 6.5 weeks, a dress, two pairs of dress pants, a button down shirt and a dressy knit long sleeve ahead of me....  Hard work (for me), but I'm sure it will be fun and I plan to keep you all updated every step of the way.

This is one of those proving to myself "I can do anything if I put my mind to it" moments so, wish me luck!  (And feel free to send coffee and chocolate because I'm sure I'm going to need them :))