Sunday, September 28, 2008

Little Red Dress

Annika is done!

Just in time for school tomorrow!

I just love this little dress. It's very much a "little girl" dress, but not so much that it looks baby-ish. The neckline is lower and wider than a traditional square yoke dress. The sleeves, although slightly gathered, do not have a band or a cuff. And the skirt, while quite full and swingy, is not gathered to the bodice. It's a great look for a young lady.

The dress buttons all the way down the back.

It's a great pattern to showcase smocking without looking too young. The Princess is pleased with it.

I'm pretty pleased with it, too, and I'm pretty sure we'll be making it again!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I finished smocking the insert for Annika this weekend.

It's Baily's Butterflies by Creative Keepsakes. You can see it here with the dress fabric in the background. The fabric is red with really bright butterflies, so I had to choose bright colors for the smocking, much brighter than the model on the plate. I think it turned out pretty well, though. It's a very easy plate. It is picture smocking, but it's easy, satisfying picture smocking. There are no color changes within rows and there is minimal embroidery. You have the choice to make the butterflies' bodies with a couple of straight stitches, or with a bullion knot. I chose straight stitches and it looks just fine. I think this would be an excellent plate to try if you want to try picture smocking for the first time.

I'm starting to get really excited about seeing this dress come together. Last night I piped and trimmed the insert and today I plan to cut out the dress and try to get started on construction. Stay tuned- we should have a new dress soon!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

"Official" Kinsey Pics

Here are the photos of the Princess wearing Kinsey by Children's Corner.

This cute little dress looked like an easy weekend project. Yes, I did get it done in one weekend, but it gave me fits! It wasn't all the fault of the pattern, however, there was plenty of user error involved. I wanted to make something that would qualify for both the kids/babies contest and the pattern from stash contest on Pattern Review. Kinsey fit the bill. I've had it for over a year and never got around to making it up until now, and not a moment too soon. The size 6 just fits the Princess.

I decided to make view A with the sleeves from view B. I wanted the white cuffs to play off of the white collar. Turns out the sleeves aren't really "cuffed" at all. The lining is longer than the outer sleeve piece and it forms the "cuff" on the outside when you fold it to the inside and match up the sleeve caps. A word of warning- the markings on the sleeve caps (lining and outer sleeve) don't match up. I had to wing it and, as Tim Gunn says, "Make it work!"

My only real complaint about this pattern is the 1/4 inch seam allowance. It doesn't leave much room to fudge, and quite frankly, it's nearly impossible to pipe a 1/4 inch seam with my machine and the attachments that I own. My first collar was a disaster. I promptly tossed it and started a second one with 3/8" seam allowances. It wasn't until I was done attaching the piping that I realised that I had started at the wrong corner and my piping didn't go all the way around. Cutting another one and starting over was easier than picking out all that stitching so I began collar #3- the one you see here.

The 3/8" seam isn't noticable at all. The collar (all three of them) took most of Saturday afternoon. At that point I decided to put the dress down for the evening. I didn't want to make any more mistakes in frustration.

Sunday I was able to come back with a clear head and finish the dress. Overall, I'm pleased, however, I wish it was a little bit bigger. The Princess is just not going to get much wear out of this one. If I were to make it again, I would go up at least one size, maybe two. I'd also adjust the sleeves to make them just a tad wider. Or I might just do the sleeves from view A.

I love the little pockets. They are completely lined and the little ties fasten through two simple buttonholes. The dress fastens with four buttons in the back.

We'll enjoy this dress while it fits the Princess, and then, who knows? We might just make another.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Kinsey Preview

Here's a peek at Children's Corner Kinsey:

I won't be able to get pics of the Princess wearing it until the weekend, but here are a couple of detail shots. The sleeve and collar:

A close-up of the pocket:

Stay tuned for more photos and a detailed review this weekend. Right now I'm off to smock some butterflies.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

What Are We Up to Now?

Can you believe that September is half over? Where has the year gone?

Right now I am trying to work on the Sewing for Kids/Babies contest on Pattern Review. It's not going the way I planned. I had origially planned to make Little Asian Doll from Sew Beautiful Magazine. But it turned out I didn't have quite what I needed in my stash to do it justice, and a trip (60 miles one way) to the fabric store was not possible right now so I had to come up with a Plan B.

So I decided to work on a couple of other things I've had my eye on for a while. First up is Children's Corner Kinsey:

I'm making view A, the yellow dress with the floral collar, with the sleeves from view B, the pink dress. I'm using a cute 30's reproduction cotton. I love the colors: peach with red and green accents, while the Princess loves the print: kittens. The collar and cuffs will be white pique, and it wil be piped in green microcheck. Here's a sneak peak:

I was hoping this dress would make up quickly, but I spent most of the afternoon yesterday working on the collar. Can I just say I was off my sewing game? I hope it goes a little more smoothly today.

I really wanted to make a smocked dress for the contest, too. After scouring my pattern and fabric stash, I decided on Annika, from Maja's Heirloom Treasures:

The dress will be made out of a red cotton butterfly print and the insert will be smocked with, what else, butterflies! The insert and collar will be white, piped with blue microcheck. I think it will be really cute when it's all done. I've already started the insert (I'll spare you the pleater disaster story that goes with it!) and I'm just hoping I can get both dresses done in time to enter them in the contest. But if not, they will both qualify for the Pattern from Stash contest that runs through October.

Stay tuned for progress updates.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Baby Duro

I made a Baby Duro:

This is McCalls 5458. I made it out of a groovy butterfly print quilting cotton and the leftover black and white dot print from the Wall-E dress. I'm pretty pleased and the Princess likes it, too.

I made view E, The "Duro styled" dress (I'm sorry, but this is a tunic to me!) with contrast sleeve bands. I plan for the Princess to wear it with black leggings, just like the model on the pattern envelope, but we couldn't find them for the photo. I made a size 6 and it turned out very roomy. In fact this Baby Duro has some of the same issues that the Big Duro has- it runs large, and the neckline is wide and low. The Princess has to wear a t-shirt under it. I deviated from the pattern just a little bit. It calls for a draswtring and casing in the back. They'd have you make a buttonhole in the center of the one-piece back, sew a strip to the inside to make a casing, and thread ties through the casing, catching them in the side seams and bringing them through to the outside through the buttonhole. You then cinch the dress up with the ties. This seemed a bit tedious to me so I left off the casing entirely. I just happened to have some black grosgrain ribbon with white dots that closely matched the contrast fabric, so I used it to make sashes/ties that are stitched into the side seams and simply tie in back.

I probably will make this pattern again. It's relatively quick and easy and it takes less than two total yards of fabric. It's cute, too. I might even try making myself a similar top so we can have matching outfits!

I kinda like view B, too. Hmmm. I might have to go peruse my stash...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Miss Daisy- FFP

Miss Daisy is done and ready to be worn:

This is the adorable little sundress (sizes 1, 2, 4, and 6) from Australian Smocking and Embroidery issue #58. It's pictured in blue in the magazine, but we decided to go with the hot pink microcheck we had on hand. Other than color, I made no changes to the dress. Well, no, I take that back. I used pink plastic buttons from stash rather than covered buttons, and I added a snap inside the button band between buttons 2 and 3 to prevent the slight gaping you may notice in the pictures.

I'm embarrassed that it's taken me so long to finish this little dress, but then I kept putting it on the back burner to work on other things, including a four piece wardrobe, so I guess I just shouldn't sweat it.

Picture it with a little white t-shirt underneath. That's how the Princess will be wearing it to school.

Monday, September 1, 2008

AFP- Almost Finished Project

Miss Daisy is almost finished:

I just need to choose buttons and put them on. I'm really feeling some anxiety over this one. It's taken me forever to finish it and now it's September 1st- sundress days are pretty much over. Luckily I had planned for the Princess to wear this dress to school over a plain white t-shirt, so that will extend the wearing time on it, but I'm afraid this dress won't see much use. I'm pretty sure it will be too short by next spring.

Oh, well. It was a fun dress to make, and the Princess will get to enjoy it for a little while. Stay tuned for pictures of the finally finished dress.