Blue Velvet Valentine’s Day

Everyone needs a new dress for Valentine’s Day, right? I made three.

The Hopscotch Dress sewing pattern by Oliver + S, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
Here is the littlest dress.

Years ago, I made myself the Ever After dress, as a Halloween costume (never blogged). It was lots of fun, but there was so much fabric left over afterwards, including 1.5m of wide, dark blue stretch velvet. For Halloween it was great, but it’ not really my style for everyday wear. And so it sat in a box.

The Hopscotch Dress sewing pattern by Oliver + S, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
The fabric is really very stretchy and extremely difficult to photograph.

But I have recently made a mini inventory of the fabric in my stash, and yikes, there is so much of it. I counted up the meters of fabric, but no, I am not posting it here. Too embarrasing. I am determined to remove some of the largest, oldest pieces of fabric. This was definitely a “what can I do with this?” project, but it turned out quite well.

I made three versions of the Hopscotch Dress by Oliver + S in sizes 18m, 4 and 6. It’s a simple, knit A-line dress with some gathering in the front, and can be made as a dress or top, with long or short sleeves. I made the long-sleeved version because I thought it would look better in velvet.

The Hopscotch Dress sewing pattern by Oliver + S, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
I made three versions: sizes 18 months, 4 and 6.

This is the first time I’ve sewn knits on my new machine (a Pfaff), and it was a dream. I don’t have a serger, but it wasn’t really necessary with this pattern. My regular machine worked very well.

As always with Oliver + S, the instructions were wonderful. The sewing was also quite quick. And the fabric, which is quite stretchy, worked very well.

The only thing to keep in mind with this pattern, is that it is quite fitted and fits very true to size, while I find a lot of Oliver + S patterns are a little big. Unfortunately, that means the dresses might not last past spring, but then the kids won’t be wearing velvet in the summer anyway. And really, I am just happy to see so much fabric out of my stash and in wearable form.

I ended up with three dresses that are very comfortable to wear, but look quite dressy – perfect for Valentine’s Day.

The Hopscotch Dress sewing pattern by Oliver + S, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
I only had one willing model. This is size 18 months.

And don’t worry, Kid No 2 who is not much into dresses, got something nice too. Blog post coming soon!

This dress is part of the Kids Clothes Week  Winter Challenge (a little late),  and the Stashbusting Sew-Along (The Love Challenge), and the Sewcialists’ Blue February Sew-Along.

Summary

Pattern Review: Hopscotch Dress by Oliver + S.

Fabric: Deep blue stretch velvet.

Size: 18 months, 4, 6.

Sewing Level: Average.

Modifications: None.

Results: Great. The dress is very fitted though, so I would go up a size next time. I plan to make this again.

Indigo Linen Jump Rope Dress Redux

Does this dress look familiar? If you read my blog, it might.

The Oliver + S jump rope dress sewing pattern, made by The Finished Garment
Another jump rope dress, this time for Kid No 1.

This is the Jump Rope Dress (view B) by Oliver + S. The shirtwaist dress features cuffed sleeves, gathered patch pockets, collar and front placket. I made view B which has long sleeves and an a-line shape. I made the size 7.

The Oliver + S jump rope dress sewing pattern, made by The Finished Garment
I used contrasting fabric for the placket and pocket trim.

This is the second time I’ve made this dress, and this version is almost the same as the last one, but larger and with different contrasting fabric. The main fabric is a cotton linen chambray. I really like that the pattern and fabric work well both for summer and winter.

The Oliver + S jump rope dress sewing pattern, made by The Finished Garment
Love the pocket style.

I only made two changes. The dress was very long, so I turned up about two inches and made a wide hem that I can lengthen later. I also finished the cuffs so that they are wide and can be turned up with a nice seam finish.

The Oliver + S jump rope dress sewing pattern, made by The Finished Garment
I made wide cuffs that can be turned up until she grows.

This dress is part of the Kids Clothes Week  Winter Challenge,  and the Stashbusting Sew-Along (The Love Challenge), and the Sewcialists’ Blue February Sew-Along.

Summary

Pattern Review: Jump Rope Dress (view B) by Oliver + S.

Fabric: Cotton linen chambray in Indigo Washed by Robert Kaufman. The contrasting fabric is  FloraDots in Violet from the La Dee Da collection by Erin McMorries for Free Spirit Fabrics.

Size: 7.

Sewing Level: Intermediate to advanced.

Modifications: I made a wider hem and cuff and used contrasting fabric for the pocket binding and inside front placket.

Results: Great. This is the second time I’ve made this pattern and I will definitely make it again.

A Staple Dress in Radiant Orchid

Warp & Weft Sewing Society
A Warp & Weft Sewing Society project

You may have seen that the Pantone colour of the year, for 2014, is Radiant Orchid. I was so excited when I saw the colour, because for the last couple of years, the colour of the year has been just a little outside of my colour palette, and finally, this year, it isn’t.

But what to sew?

I have been hoarding this beautiful piece of Bromley voile from Warp & Weft, in just the right shade of purple. It’s really pretty and very soft.

Bromley voile at Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles.
Bromley voile in brown from the Breeze collection by the Victoria & Albert Museum for Westminster Fibers.

I had just the pattern in mind. This summer, Jeni Baker of In Color Order was one of the stops on The Staple Dress Blog Hop. It featured The Staple Dress by April Rhodes and I was lucky enough to win their giveaway.

The Staple Dress sewing pattern by April Rhodes.
The Staple Dress sewing pattern by April Rhodes.

The Staple Dress, is a super simple, whip-up-in-a-day, pattern. There are only a few pattern pieces, no darts, little fitting, no closures and no fussy details. I made the version with the straight hem and with pockets. (Who wouldn’t add the pockets?)

The Staple Dress in Bromley voile from Warp & Weft, sewn by Shannon of The Finished Garment.
The Staple Dress in Bromley voile from Warp & Weft, sewn by Shannon of The Finished Garment.

The toughest part was adding the elastic thread shirring. I’ve used this technique before and it was a breeze.

Elastic thread shirring
Adding shirring at the waist was a breeze.
Top stitching
Check out those stitches.

I received the paper pattern, but you can also get the pattern as a PDF. I prefer paper, since I don’t have to tape things together and the instructions come in a handy booklet.

I found the instructions very easy to follow and extremely thorough. This is definitely a good project for a beginner. It’s hard to go wrong.

Neck facing
The dress has simple facings.

I made the large, though the finished measurements said it might be snug. I wanted to be sure that the dress wasn’t too blousy, especially with a fabric that doesn’t have too much drape, and the unstructured design of the Staple Dress.  In the end there was plenty of room.

The only problem I had was that the waist is really high (by design). The high (but not empire) waist ended up being very unflattering on a curvy, long-waisted girl like me. So I had to undo the shirring and move it all down, and I moved the pockets down as well by three inches.

A wide hem
I used a wide hem, in case I have second thoughts later on.

The only other thing I changed was to make the dress a bit shorter. I’m 5’5″, and I ended up shortening the dress by 2 inches. I also made the dress hem a wide one, instead of the recommended narrow one, in case I change my mind about that shorter skirt later on.

Would I make this again? Yes. It’s super easy to sew. Though I think next time I would either use a draper fabric, maybe even a knit (you can see some examples here and here) in a smaller size, or add darts, for a bit more shaping. But overall, I’m pretty happy with the results. It’s a nice, simple, comfortable dress, that I can just throw on, and that fits well with my lifestyle. And of course, it’s the perfect colour for 2014.

Summary

Pattern Review: The Staple Dress by April Rhodes (printed version) with the straight hem style, courtesy Jeni Baker from In Color Order and April Rhodes.

Fabric: Bromley voile in brown from the Breeze collection by the Victoria & Albert Museum for Westminster Fibers, courtesy Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles.

Size: L.

Sewing Level: Beginner.

Modifications: I lowered the pockets by 3 inches, lowered the waist shirring, shortened the dress by 2 inches, and used a wide hem.

Results: A quick and easy project that would be great for a beginner.

The Staple Dress is Bromley voile from Warp & Weft, sewn by Shannon of The Finished Garment.
The Staple Dress in Bromley voile from Warp & Weft, sewn by Shannon of The Finished Garment.

C’est orchidée la couleur Pantone de 2014, alors voici une petite robe très simple pour commencer la nouvelle année. Le patron est ‘The Staple Dress’, un projet à fabriquer dans un après-midi, et apte pour même les débutants.

Adventures in Pattern Testing

Way back in July I volunteered to do a little pattern testing. I’d never been a pattern tester before so I thought I’d give you a little run down on what it’s like. The pattern I had the chance to test is the super cute Sally Dress from Very Shannon (great first name!) of luvinthemommyhood fame.

Now before you look at my version, you should hop over to her site and take a look at the finished versions there, then hop back here.

Sally Dress Sewing Pattern sewn by The Finished Garment.
Nice big pockets.

The dress is fully lined with nice big pockets (love those pockets!). It has no closures so it’s great for beginners and comes in sizes 2T to 8, which is a nice range. It also comes sleeveless or with two sleeve variations (short sleeves and elbow-length sleeves).

Sally Dress Sewing Pattern sewn by The Finished Garment.
A closer look at the bodice of the Sally Dress.

This is a really cute dress and it’s very easy to sew. I think Shannon did two rounds of testing, but I was only available for the first round. So when I did my round the sleeves weren’t quite ready and the bodice was also changed in the second round. I do like the sleeveless version though.

Sally Dress Sewing Pattern sewn by The Finished Garment.
Sally Dress Sewing Pattern sewn by The Finished Garment.

Now one thing about pattern testing is that you are sewing to a deadline, which I try not to do too often. In this case my busy schedule meant that I only had one day to get fabric. And there was only one place that was open on the day I could go. Ack! So this isn’t my first choice of fabric for this pattern (I do like the prints though), but I still like the way it turned out.

Sally Dress Sewing Pattern sewn by The Finished Garment.
Sally Dress Sewing Pattern sewn by The Finished Garment.

The prints are Houndstooth and Swell Strip, both in multicoloured, from the Textured Basics collection by Patty Young for Michael Miller Fabrics. The houndstooth was a gift from Double Decker Fabrics.

Sally Dress Sewing Pattern sewn by The Finished Garment.
Inside out view. I lined the bodice with super soft cotton batiste.

This is the inside out view where you can see how nicely it’s finished on the inside. I lined the bodice in super soft cotton batiste.

Sally Dress Sewing Pattern sewn by The Finished Garment.
Fun colours.

Now I have to say this testing didn’t go as easy as I would have liked. I had to resew the bodice twice, and shorten the skirt (which meant taking apart the pockets), and because I was matching the stripes, redo the pockets. Now of course, all the little problems that had me resewing were fixed and retested before the final pattern was released, so have no fear! You will not be subjected to all of that. And if I hadn’t chosen a striped print, I could have made life so much easier on my self.

But it all still went a little wrong. This dress relies on a very fitted bodice for the fit and my little one is very slim in the chest, which mean she’s floating in the dress. I made the size 7, which I always make, and it’s just too big. I probably would have been happier making the size 4, but lengthening it.

And the other thing that went wrong was that I hadn’t seen how long the dress was supposed to be. None of the photos showed the full model. Of course now there are quite a few cute Sally Dresses out there, and some are quite short, some shorter than I’d like, but all are much shorter than mine.

So I had a choice. I could rip out everything and recut, or I could just hang onto it until next spring when it will probably fit perfectly. And since my little girl loves it as is, I went with the second choice.

Sally Dress Sewing Pattern sewn by The Finished Garment.
A little big, for now.

I will, hover, have to try again, and maybe this time add sleeves too.

Summary

Pattern Review: Sally Dress from Very Shannon of luvinthemommyhood fame.

Fabric: Houndstooth and Swell Strip, both in multicoloured, from the Textured Basics collection by Patty Young for Michael Miller Fabrics.

Size: 7 (though really I should have gone down a size or two).

Sewing Level: Beginner.

Modifications: None.

Results: Good (would have been great in a smaller size).

Disclaimer: The pattern was generously provided by Very Shannon, in return for testing the pattern. As always, my opinions are my own.

Sally Dress Sewing Pattern sewn by The Finished Garment.
Fun to twirl.

A Summer Geranium

There is one little person who has been missing out of the handmade sewing this year, and that is my smallest. As kid number four, she has a huge selection of hand-me-downs, but it’s still nice to have something new once in a while.

As soon as I saw this fabric I knew it would be perfect for a summer dress and I knew just the right pattern – the Geranium Dress from Made by Rae.

Baby dress made by The Finished Garment using the Geranium Dress sewing pattern from Made by Rae and Floral Meadow fabric from the Storybook Lane collection.
This is the 12-18 month size and the length is great.

I bought this pattern way back in January, so it was about time to actually make it.

This is a great pattern. It’s cute, quick, easy to sew and comes with some nice variations for sleeves, neckline and pockets. You can also make it as a top. And it’s easy to add a personal touch with piping, rickrack  and other trim.

Baby dress made by The Finished Garment using the Geranium Dress sewing pattern from Made by Rae and Floral Meadow fabric from the Storybook Lane collection.
Geranium Dress sewing pattern by Made by Rae

I chose the simple curved neckline and flutter sleeves. The pattern calls for the sleeves to be finished with a zigzag stitch, which sounded a bit odd to me. I saw some versions of the flutter sleeves online which were lined, but they looked really stiff. So I stuck with the directions and I’m happy with the results.

The bodice is lined and I used a very soft cotton batiste. If I were to make the dress again, the only thing I would do differently is to understitch the lining to better hide it. I thought about it as I was sewing, but I wanted to keep the inside nice and soft- as if a couple extra lines of stitching would suddenly make the inside unbearably itchy for my baby. The things mothers do for their little ones…

Geranium Dress sewing pattern by Made by Rae
The fabric is Floral Meadow from the Storybook Lane collection by Kelly Lee-Creel for Andover Fabrics (courtesy Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles). The lining is white cotton batiste.

The sizing was really good. I made the 12-18 months size and it fits well, but will also probably last through to spring. I have a new walker, sometimes crawler here, so she sometimes finds the length a bit annoying, but I think it looks adorable.

Geranium Dress sewing pattern by Made by Rae
I love the colour. Nice and bright.

For fabric I used Floral Meadow from the Storybook Lane collection by Kelly Lee-Creel for Andover Fabrics (courtesy Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles). So beautiful! It also has a great hand. I don’t think I’ve ever used fabric from Andover and I was quite impressed.

Geranium Dress sewing pattern by Made by Rae
I used simple white buttons. You can see how the fabric has a slight sheen.

The pattern calls for 1 1/3 yards of fabric for the 12-18 months size. Even though the print I used is directional, I still had a lot left over. I was even going to make a matching diaper cover, but my printer ran out of cyan ink – because you need that to print in black and white. I hate it when that happens.

This is possibly my favourite sewing project. I love the results. Super cute!

Only one thing could make it cuter… a bonnet!

Baby dress made by The Finished Garment using the Geranium Dress sewing pattern from Made by Rae and Floral Meadow fabric from the Storybook Lane collection.
It’s hard to up the cute factor with this dress, but a bonnet will do it every time.
Warp & Weft Sewing Society
A Warp & Weft Sewing Society project

Warp & Weft Sewing Society

This is a Warp & Weft Sewing Society project. We are a group of talented sewists  and quilters creating beautiful projects inspired by the fabrics from Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles. You can find the fabric used in this project, Floral Meadow from the Storybook Lane collection, online in the Warp & Weft shop.

Summary

Pattern Review: Geranium Dress from Made by Rae.

Fabric: Floral Meadow from the Storybook Lane collection by Kelly Lee-Creel for Andover Fabrics. Courtesy Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles. The lining is white cotton batiste.

Size: 12-18 months. (Comes in sizes 0-5 or 6-12.)

Sewing Level: Beginner.

Modifications: None.

Results: Great. I would recommend this pattern and would make it again.

Baby dress made by The Finished Garment using the Geranium Dress sewing pattern from Made by Rae and Floral Meadow fabric from the Storybook Lane collection.
Not quite steady on her feet.