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.

Tied Up With String

Last week I got my latest Warp & Weft Sewing Society package. Exciting. They always come wrapped in brown paper and tied up in string. It’s such a nice touch.

Anyway, here are some “before” shots of some upcoming projects. Of course, I had two kids who refused to nap photobomb my photo session. Just one of those days…

A new package from Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles.
Yay! A new package from Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles.
Snow Day bundle at Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles.
My first bundle – Snow Day! So cute in real life.
Joel Dewberry's new Bungalow collection at Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles.
So pretty! These are from Joel Dewberry’s new Bungalow collection.
Bromley voile at Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles.
Bromley voile. This will be something for me!
Bromley voile at Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles.
Kid No 4: “Are you sure it’s not for me?”
Bromley voile at Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles.
Kid No 4: “Because this would look great on me.”
Don't Be Koi from the Koi fabric collection by Rashida Coleman-Hale for Cloud9 Fabrics and Stella Solid Charcoal at Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles.
Don’t Be Koi and Stella Solid Charcoal. This is for a Kids’ Clothing Week project.
The Red Thread – Ladybug Dots at Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles.
Kid No 3: “Ladybugs! Mine!”
The Red Thread – Ladybug Dots at Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles.
Kid No 4: “No. Mine!”
The Red Thread – Ladybug Dots at Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles.
Kid No 3: “I don’t think so.”
The Red Thread – Ladybug Dots at Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles.
Kid No 3: “I’m outta here!”

Kid No 3 loves ladybugs and walked around with this fabric for two days. No idea where she gets it. 😉

My First Fabric Bundle: Snow Day

I am super excited to announce my very first custom fabric bundle! Come look!

Snow Day Bundle
Snow Day Bundle – A cool and contemporary selection of Aquas, Reds, Greys and crispy whites hand-picked by Shannon Smith of The Finished Garment exclusively for Warp & Weft | Exquisite Textiles

It’s called Snow Day and it’s available now (and is even on sale!) from Warp &Weft.

This is the really fabulous copy: “A cool and contemporary selection of aquas, reds, greys and crispy whites hand-picked by Shannon Smith of The Finished Garment exclusively for Warp & Weft | Exquisite Textiles”. Oh my!

When Esmari of Warp & Weft contacted me and asked me to create a custom bundle for her first anniversary, using fabrics from her shop, I was so just so thrilled. The tough part (ok, the really, really fun part) was narrowing down the choices.

I wanted something fun, and something with some sort of theme. And winter is coming (which really it always is, unless it is already winter). And of course what does Montreal have a lot of? Winter! (Gotta represent!) So a snow theme just sounded perfect.

Snow Day Bundle - A cool and contemporary selection of Aquas, Reds, Greys and crispy whites hand-picked by Shannon Smith of The Finished Garment exclusively for Warp & Weft | Exquisite Textiles
All the prints in the Snow Day Bundle.

I am really happy about how it tuned out. Can’t you just see these in a quilt with a lot of white for the snow?

You should take a look at the other guest bundles too. Each of the members of the Warp & Weft Sewing Society contributed their own bundle. Carla’s is called Candy Floss and Cynthia’s is called On Rosamund Street. Aren’t they beautiful? And so different, like each one of us.

On Rosamund Street Bundle  Soft Pastel designs with a splash of the unexpected put together by Cynthia Frenette of cynthiaf exclusively for Warp & Weft | Exquisite Textiles
On Rosamund Street Bundle
Soft Pastel designs with a splash of the unexpected put together by Cynthia Frenette of cynthiaf
Candy Floss Bundle  A custom selection of bold pinks and oranges and soft turquoises put together by Carla Peicheff of My 1/2 Dozen Daily exclusively for Warp & Weft | Exquisite Textiles
Candy Floss Bundle
Bold pinks and oranges and soft turquoises put together by Carla Peicheff of My 1/2 Dozen Daily

Special Discount

Anyway, enough gushing. I feel like I’ve already used up my quota of exclamation marks writing this post.

If you order any of the three bundles in the next week, they are also 10% off! Yay!

Happy Anniversary Warp & Weft! Thanks for inviting me to the party!

Seven Seas Gym Bag

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

This year I did quite a bit of back-to-school sewing. With two kids in school there is just so much to buy, so it’s nice to be able to make something as well.

The Fabric

I started off with six fat quarters from the Seven Seas collection by Michéle Brummer Everett for Cloud9 Fabrics, courtesy Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles. The prints I chose are Laddies Poppets, Sea Critters, and The Fleet in Grey. These are just so darn cute! When my little boy saw them he was over the moon. These are really fun prints and the fabric is organic, which is always nice.

Laddies Poppets, Sea Critters, and The Fleet in Gray from the Seven Seas collection by Michéle Brummer Everett for Cloud9 Fabrics, courtesy Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles.
The Before shot: Laddies Poppets, Sea Critters, and The Fleet in Grey from the Seven Seas collection by Michéle Brummer Everett for Cloud9 Fabrics, courtesy Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles.

The Pattern

I used the Jeni Gym Bag tutorial by Katy Jones of I’m A GingerMonkey.

The Jeni Gym Bag sewing pattern by I'm A GingerMonkey, sewn by The Finished Garment
The Jeni Gym Bag sewing pattern by I’m A GingerMonkey

This is a free online tutorial (with a super convenient PDF download). The directions are very clear and easy to follow.

The Jeni Gym Bag sewing pattern by I'm A GingerMonkey, sewn by The Finished Garment
Looks a bit like a superhero cape when it’s empty.

The tutorial makes a lined drawstring bag that is kid-sized. It’s a little big on my 5-year-old but not so big it looks silly. Just big enough that it will last a while though.

The Jeni Gym Bag sewing pattern by I'm A GingerMonkey, sewn by The Finished Garment
I used The Fleet in Grey to line the bag.

I used white cording for the drawstring, but you could also use ribbon, homemade bias binding stitched closed, etc.

The Jeni Gym Bag sewing pattern by I'm A GingerMonkey, sewn by The Finished Garment
Easy for little hands to open.

There is plenty of room inside for sneakers and a change of clothes.

The Jeni Gym Bag sewing pattern by I'm A GingerMonkey, sewn by The Finished Garment
Love how one of the little poppets appears to have already walked the plank!

The toughest part of the pattern was installing grommets (which really were not that hard to install). Much easier than eyelets, if you’ve ever had to use those, because the grommets are so much larger and more stable when you whack them with a hammer. You do need a special grommet tool though.

The Jeni Gym Bag sewing pattern by I'm A GingerMonkey, sewn by The Finished Garment
Another shot of my awesome grommet.

My son really likes the sea creatures and the colours. It’s really hard to find fabric for boys that isn’t too babyish, or too serious, or too dark. These prints are bright and fun and and the bag was a big hit.

The Jeni Gym Bag sewing pattern by I'm A GingerMonkey, sewn by The Finished Garment
Just one more grommet pic. Really though, check out that great grommet!

I’m really happy with this bag. It’s just so much cuter than anything I could buy in the store. And it was super quick to make. In case, ahem, you have to make one the day before school starts because your summer was just too crazy (just saying).

The Jeni Gym Bag sewing pattern by I'm A GingerMonkey, sewn by The Finished Garment
The Jeni Gym Bag sewing pattern by I’m A GingerMonkey, sewn by The Finished Garment

Summary

Pattern Review: Jeni Gym Bag tutorial by Katy Jones of I’m A GingerMonkey.

Fabric: Laddies Poppets, Sea Critters, and The Fleet in Grey from the Seven Seas collection by Michéle Brummer Everett for Cloud9 Fabrics, courtesy Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles.

Sizes: One size fits most. The finished bag is 14″ x 17″.

Sewing Level: Beginner.

Modifications: None.

Results: Great.

The Jeni Gym Bag sewing pattern by I'm A GingerMonkey, sewn by The Finished Garment
Well now, what could this be?

Once the rightful owner was conveniently out of the way, there was some unauthorized testing. (And no, I do not normally allow my infant children to play with drawstring bags for obvious reasons).

The Jeni Gym Bag sewing pattern by I'm A GingerMonkey, sewn by The Finished Garment
“Mine!”

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.