Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kitty Cat Dress- S2436 Version 2.0

That's right- another one!
This is S2436 2.0 This time I made a size 10, which fits much better (perfect length with room for growth.) I left off the sleeves- the Princess likes the sleeveless look- and it will be very cool and comfortable when/if hot weather ever gets here.

I used the neck facing pieces as contrast on the outside this time. A tiny flash of orange mini-piping sets it off perfectly.

The hem features a similar "facing on the outside" finish. I had to trace facing pattern pieces from the front and back pattern pieces, and then cut out and finish with mini-piping. The neck facing and hem are machine stitched at the neckline and at the bottom of the dress. The facings are then flipped to the right side and "stitched in the ditch" between the piping and the purple fabric to hold them in place.

I used the pockets again (pocket details) and set them off with triple topstitching in a contrast color (purple.)

The focal point of the dress is the belt, which was added at the Princess's express request.

There is no belt included with the pattern, but it was super easy to add. I started with the iridescent, white plastic buckle from Hancock's. I measured the inside to determine my finished belt width (taking into account the width of the piping.) I cut two strips to that width plus 3/8" seam allowances, long enough to go across the front of the dress plus a little extra. I interfaced one side (the right side), basted the mini-piping on both long edges and then sewed them together with the piping sandwiched in between. I trimmed it carefully, turned it right side out and threaded the buckle on.

I basted the belt to the dress at the side seams using the upper markings for the waist tabs for placement (that just happened to be the right place to put it to get the look I was going for.) I tacked the belt to the dress behind the buckle to keep it from drooping while it's being worn. I have to thank the Subversive Sewer for giving me a heads-up on that.
The back of the dress closes with an invisible zip that ends at the edge of the contrast, and a small button and loop at the top edge.

I used a tiny piece of 1/8" elastic in the seam for the loop.

The armholes are finished with simple bias binding on the inside.
Using the neck facings on the outside of the dress caused a finishing dilema. There was no facing on the inside to finish off the zipper! Yuck! For lack of a better idea, I ended up using a bias binding on the inside of the neckline as well.

It works, but I don't neccessarily think it's the best solution. It's a little bit bulky. I'll have to give this some more thought because I like the contrast neckline and I plan to use it again.
I love this little dress.

More importantly, the Princess loves it. (She'd better- since she asked for it!) I love the pattern. This may become our "go-to" dress for this year...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fat Quarter/Leftover Skirt

I said I'd try and come up with a tutorial for the Fat Quarter Skirt from the last post, and here it is. I used four fat quarters for the first skirt- two for the over skirt and two for the underskirt. Here, I've used leftover yardage from a previous project. This project is great for those pieces that are less than a yard, but you can't just throw them away.

My daughter wears a size 8/10 RTW, and this skirt fits her perfectly. You might want to adjust for a smaller/larger size. (If you want a fuller skirt, you will need 3 to 4 FQs for the overskirt and 3 to 4 for the underskirt. If you want a longer skirt, you can use 3 to 4 FQs for each skirt and turn them longways or use longer yardage.)

If you are using FQs, which are approximately 18" by 22", you'll want to use pretty much the entire piece for the underskirt. Lay your underskirt FQs right sides together and stitch along both short (18") edges, making a tube of fabric. I trimmed the overskirt pieces to 15" so that there would be about 3" of the underskirt peeking out at the bottom. Stitch the 15" sides, and then serge all seams to keep things nice and neat. (I used 1/4" seams to make the most of the fabric.)

Here I've used yardage instead of FQs. I cut my underskirt to 18" by the fabric width, and my overskirt pieces to 14.5" (I didn't have quite 15") by the fabric width. You can see that the blue fabric is slightly wider than the pink fabric. Make sure to trim them to the same width- this is important later on.

With yardage, you will only have one seam for each skirt instead of two! I used a 1/4" seam (excluding selvedges, which I trimmed off) and serged to keep them neat.

Press the seams to one side and then hem your skirts. I used a simple, 5/8" hem.

Now comes the fun part. Pin your skirts together at the top edge (this is why they have to be the same width!), right side of the overskirt to the wrong side of the underskirt. Like so:

Stitch with a 1/4" seam and then press that seam open.

Now, turn the overskirt to the outside and press again. Your skirts will be attached at the top edge, both right sides up, with the seam enclosed between them.

Take your skirt to the machine and edgestitch the joined edge (optional.)

Now sew anther row of stitches 1" away from the first row. This forms the waist casing. Make sure to leave an opening for the elastic.

Open your skirts out and insert your elastic from between the two.

I used 3/4" elastic which I measured against the Princess's waist.

Once the elastic is threaded through, join the ends and stitch up the opening in the casing. Voila! Finished skirt!

Sorry I couldn't get any model shots- there's almost a foot of snow on the ground outside!

I hope you like this simple little skirt. It's very easy to make and very quick. I think it took me about an hour, and I'm rather slow.

I'm off to sew some more, but I'll leave you with a sneek peek at what I'm working on now:

Friday, March 19, 2010

Easy, Headache-free Sewing

I really needed an easy, quick, sewing project to boost my mood and get me back into the sewing swing. This little skirt was made with 4 fat quarters and it only took about an hour to make.
The Princess loves fat quarters. Every time we go to Hancock's or to our local quilt store, she makes a bee-line for them and she always picks out a few that she just has to have. Yesterday was no exception. She found this cute stripe and bright floral at Hancocks. (Doesn't she have an eye for matching prints?) We bought 2 of the stripe and 2 of the floral. That was just enough to make this little skirt.

Like I said, it was quick and easy. The only other thing I needed besides the fat quarters was a piece of 3/4" elastic for the waist. It was all straight seams, with a little serging to keep the inside nice and neat.

The Princess loves it. She's already planning more of these. I have a few ideas, too... Just think what you could do if you added a little rick rack or a little bit of lace...
I wanted to do a tutorial on how I made this, but I couldn't find my camera until after the skirt was finished. I'll have to take pics along the way as I make the next one. Oh, yes. I'm sure there will be a couple more of these!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I Can't Decide What to Work on Next

I hate this feeling of not being able to settle down and just work on something!

As I mentioned earlier, I have a very old UFO that I could finish up. Here you can see a smocked bodice and sleeve. I need to smock one more sleeve and add bullion bows to the top of each trellis and this will be ready for construction.
This is Moppet's Day Out from issue 51 of AS&E, one of my all time favorites. I started this for the Princess years ago and never finished it. It's a size 4 so it must have been languishing for 4 or 5 years now. Luckily, I have a precious little niece who will look beautiful in this... if I can get in gear and finish it!

I also pulled out some fabrics and trims last weekend thinking that I'd love to make a simple little bishop dress. A sweet little geometric would be great to work on at night while I watch my season 4 DVD set of Criminal Minds.

The little floral is really calling to me (can you believe that fabric came from Walmart??) I think it would be precious with the white eyelet trim at the sleeves and possibly peeking out from a tuck on the skirt.
And microcheck is one of my favorite fabrics! It's so light and cool for summer. I have enough on hand to make something for the Princess... maybe another Larkin.
I guess I'll go work on the UFO for now, since it's the closest to completion and I should be embarrassed for letting it sit unfinished for so long!
Maybe if I can get it done, I'll feel a sense of accomplishment instead of stress.

Photo Shoot!

As promised, here are some outdoor, natural light shots of S2436.
I made the 8, and it just fits the Princess. I will definitely go up to the 10 for the next one. (Yes, I already have an idea...) As you can see, it's a little short. She will need to wear it with leggings, or as the weather gets warmer, with shorts underneath.

She's warming up to the dress a little bit now. She actually said this morning that she's starting to like it.

Here's the back. It closes with an invisible zip that ends about an inch from the top. I put a small button and elastic loop right at the top and it turned out perfect.

I love this dress. I love the bright, happy fabric (that reminds me of sliced boiled eggs!) and the cute, mod shape. I think this will be an adorable summer dress.
Now that this one is done, I'm feeling really restless as far as sewing goes. I'm off for Spring Break for most of this week and I want to sew, I just can't seem to get in gear and do it! I have at least two patterns already muslined and adjusted for myself. They're ready to go, but for some reason, I'm feeling the need to make more children's things. I have another idea for this dress for the Princess, and I have a stack of pretty floral prints and microchecks pulled out for possible smocking projects. I even pulled out a really old UFO- a dress from AS&E that's all smocked, it just needs some embroidery and to be sewn together!
Hopefully I'll get myself in gear. I don't want to waste my days off thinking about sewing and not doing it!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Preliminary Pics

Simplicity 2436 is done! Finally!
I thought I'd share some preliminary pictures with you. I apologize for the crummy, indoor, nightime shots. I find it nearly impossible for me to take good indoor photos. Hopefully we will get some good outdoor pics this weekend...

In the meantime, here are some of the details.

Quadruple topstitching at the neckline holds the facing inside firmly in place:

The waist tabs are piped in orange and held in place with big orange buttons (and yes, there are bust darts on a little girls' pattern!):

The pocket topstitching adds some interest to the side of the dress:

I had the Princess try the dress on last night and it looks very cute, if a bit short. (Next time I'll go up a size to the 10.) However, the little stinker told me flat out that she "doesn't really like it." Oh yeah? Well, she's gonna wear it. Just like I made her wear that adorable Children's Corner Abby made out of that cute monkey print fabric that I fell in love with...
Excuse me while I get ahold of myself...
Seriously, I think she didn't like the sleeves. I didn't press the seam allowances inside well enough and I think it was irritating her. She must like it a little bit, though, because she's requested another dress from this pattern, but with a "belt" rather than waist tabs. I have a sketch already, which she's approved. I just need to find a suitable buckle and make fabric choices. I also have an idea to make this using a colorblocked insert on the front. I'm really excited about that idea... I just need to pick some fabrics!
Sigh... If only there were about six more hours in every day.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

In Which Shannon Learns a New Pocket Technique

What is going on here at Shannon's Sewing Room you might ask? Well, I'm working on S2436:

I'm making the adorable little view in the lower right corner, the one with the topstitched pockets and the waist tabs (except I'll be adding the little capped sleeves.)

Here's a sneak peek of the front. Recognize this fabric? That's right, it's the same fabric I used for BWOF 02-2009-124.

This is a cute little pattern and it's going together quite well so far. The pocket technique is very interesting. I'm sure it's nothing new or earth-shattering, maybe you've seen it before. But it's new to me and kind of cool. I like it because it reduces bulk and you don't have pocket bags flapping around inside the garment. So here, step by step, is the process for adding the pockets to S2436 (pretty much exactly as per the pattern instructions.)

First, of course, you have to mark your notches, which you can just barely see I've done by clipping the fabric and then using a fabric marker. Next, you have to stitch a line of reinforcing stitches just a hair's width inside the seam allowance starting about an inch above the top notch and ending about an inch below the bottom notch. I made sure to use a really short stitch length at the notches and lengthened it slightly between them.

Next you clip the seam allowance at the notches all the way to the stitching. You turn the part between the notches to the inside along the stitching, and then fold the raw edge under like this:

Press it well, and then from the right side, you stitch 1/4" away from the fold, squaring the stitching at the top and bottom of the opening.

This is what it looks like from the inside. I used a little bit of Fray Check on the raw edges at the top and bottom of the folded part.

Next, you apply the pocket piece. The pattern did not give any instructions for finishing the edges of the pocket, so I just serged them to keep them nice and neat.

You baste the seam allowances together above and below the pocket opening like so:

Here it is from the right side:

Now the pattern instructs you to baste the pocket 5/8" from the edge from the right side. Hmmm. How do you that when you can't see it? I decided to just pin the pocket and then baste around the very edge from the wrong side:

Here it is basted and pinned from the right side:

Here you can just see the basting stitches on the inside:

Using the basting stitches as a guide, I topstitched 1/4" away:

Then I removed the basting stitches and topstitched again 1/4" inside the first stitching:

Here it is from the outside:

And this is what it looks like from the inside:

I really like this technique. It's pretty simple to do and like I mentioned before, it keeps you from having a lot of bulk inside the dress or pocket bags flapping around. I'll have to let you know how well this holds up when the Princess wears it.
I'm off to make waist tabs! Stay tuned for a progress report soon!