Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bedtime Story

I am slowly trying out all the Oliver + S patterns. I have them all, plus in all sizes with the exception of one or two but I haven't made every single one just yet.

This one is Bedtime Story p.j.'s.  I lengthened the top to make it into a housecoat.

This nubbly fabric is a pretty yellow cotton that's been in my stash for at least five years and it's perfect for a little housecoat.

I had intended to make some blue jammies to match the tie but I've run out of time and my sewing room has to to switched back to a bedroom for the holidays.

This is size 3.  It took all of 1/2 hour to put it together after it was cut out.  Talk about easy and quick which begs the question ... why I didn't make it sooner.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I really like the Children's Corner pattern Adelaide.  I've made it several times before with good results.
However my model would only pose if she could make silly faces.

The collar and cuff is black velvet and trimmed with black lace.  It looks a little Goth to me paired with the dark purple and black check in the fabric.

The fabric is a poly blend so it doesn't hold the knife pleats all that well. It's also got a bad case of static cling as can be seen at the armscye.

I found these interesting buttons in my stash.

This is size 4.

Notes to self:
  1. for front pleats don't bother basting, just stitch 2.0
  2. slip a little stabilizer in the buttonhole section of the placket.
  3. make a hem facing
  4. if using larger buttons than 12mm, make an extension on the button section reinforcing with stabilizer
  5. refer to this video for the back inverted placket from Children's Corner.
  6. only use fabric that will hold knife pleats sharply

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hopscotch Dress

When Bessie Mary closed down, I bought some Oliver + S City Weekend knit fabric from Jan, the owner.
And with that fabric I made Oliver + S pattern, Hopscotch dress.

While I was trying to get a photo of the dress, someone came to check out my sewing.

"The knit fabric is lovely to work with," I explained to my admirer.  "And the pattern was so easy and quick to make" I continued.

"It's size 3.  What do think of it?" I asked Miss Doe.

She gave it a '2 hoofs' up.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Birthday Party dress

Another outfit from the hamper of 'cut-and-ready-to-sew-outfits' is finished.

This one is Oliver + S Birthday Party dress.  The fabric is black stretchy denim.  The bow is light blue grosgrain but once again, my camera just can't capture the range between black and light blue.

The facings are light blue cotton matching the bow.

Because the main fashion fabric is rather thick, I didn't include and fold the front facing into the pleats as per the instructions. Instead, I completely assembled the front pleated panel (page 3 col. 3) and then cut out about 5"(12cm) from the front facing piece (page 2 col.3) so it is on the outside of the pleated piece on the inside.

The hem facing is also blue and it follows the folds of the pleats as per the instructions.

No matter how much I ironed the pleated section, the fabric just doesn't want to hold pressed folds or pleats.

I was losing light, so I couldn't get a photo of the back buttons which are also blue.

I bought Caitlin some sparkly black ballet style shoes to wear with this dress.

Dress is size 3.

I love this pattern.  For fall and winter all this needs is a long sleeved T-shirt or blouse underneath.  In the summer, it makes for a perfect sundress.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Puppet Show dress

I'm slowly making headway sewing the fall outfits I cut out way back in late August.

The latest one finished is Oliver + S Puppet Show dress.

I really like this dress but my daughter isn't too keen on it.  However she did ask for long sleeve dresses for fall and winter so hopefully, she'll like this dress because of the sleeves.

The fabric is 100% unknown fibers and it washed really well too.  The collar, cuff and piping is black velvet.

I added length to the sleeves pattern piece to get a full length long sleeve.

For the cuff, I made the band long so it overlapped instead of a gap as per the pattern.

There are lots of buttons for the back and thankfully, I have a load of black buttons in my stash. Unfortunately, the dress is sticking to the mannequin so the back looks puckered and the collar tugged out of shape. 

The dress is size 3. Fingers crossed my daughter likes it.  Lucy does!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Two more patterns

There are a lot of Oliver + S patterns in my stash that I haven't used yet.  Here are two.

First up is Sandbox Pants.
These are just a test run to check for size. 12-18mos. The fabric might be a little itchy but it doesn't matter because they are just a test run.
I really like the pockets both front and back on this pattern.  And like all O+S patterns the instructions were easy to follow with perfect results.

Second is the skirt from the 2+2 pattern.  I've made the top but not the skirt.
This size 3. The fabric is stretchy and was a 100% unknown fibers remnant.  It too is a test run.
I love how this skirt falls from the waist and I know it will meet the twirl-ability factor.

I have a hamper full of traced, cut and ready to assemble patterns.  So I'm taking advantage of the nasty weather outside and will stay inside to sew.
Maybe the leaves that need clearing will blow away on their own thanks to the weather system that is over top of us feeding the hurricane that's heading this way.

The hydro will most likely go out soon .... back to the machine while it still has electricity!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Nature Walk

I've had this pattern for at least 2 years. I have no idea why it's taken me so long to make it because, as it turns out,  it is sooooo simple and quick!  
Gee, I could have churned out a whole bunch by now had I got my act together sooner.

So here's a test run. Size 18-24mos, using some leftover lime green polar fleece and brown knit.

It's not very sunny out thanks to the 'Frankenstorm' that's on it's way. The fleece is much brighter and greener than in this photo.
Not a good shot of the pants either.  Oh well.

Oliver + S Nature Walk. If it fits Adam, I've got some more fun knits to make this top waiting patiently in my stash.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Jump Rope Dress

Last night I made the Oliver + S Jump Rope dress using brown tweed (100% unknown mixed fibers) and a fat quarter of a William Morris print.  The tweed washed and dried nicely so whatever the fabric is made of, it'll work for children's wear.

The object was to make the placket opening bigger because for the past Jump Rope dresses I've made, it was difficult to get Caitlin in the dress. Therefore, I increased the depth of placket pattern pieces by 2 inches. (5cm)

I used the FQ fabric on the pockets ............

and on the cuffs, which isn't in the pattern ..........

on the hem facing, also not in the pattern .....

and on the collar and plackets.

It's size 3, View B.  Drop dead easy to make as every Oliver + S pattern is.

When I use an O+S pattern I am struck by how ingenious Liesl (the designer) is and that her mum must be so proud of her. Liesl has pretty much revolutionized children's sewing patterns in my opinion.

Note to self: be extra accurate with cutting the neck section of the placket. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Playdate, again

Here is the Playdate dress again.  It's such a sweet little dress and so easy to whip up.
Taking a photo of it is another matter though.  The dress is navy stretch denim and the bib is white cotton. My camera can't capture the range between dark and light and consequently getting a decent photo is not going to happen. At least by me.

Here's a closer detail of the bib section.  I used a pleater board to get the pleats equal. Having all those pleats made the bib rather thick, so I hand basted the piping to the back of the bib and then stitched in place.

Previously for the inside yoke sections of this dress I've tried  1) serging 2)using bias tape,  and this time around made a little facing to finish off that edge neatly.

I used the same fabric for the pockets

and for the hem (notice how the colour changed - the navy fabric isn't this light.)

and made two self covered buttons.

On the sleeves I used some of the bias cut fabric used for the piping around the bib section. However the green looks grey next to the granite background.  Oh well. A photographer I'm not.

If it fits, I'll make a bunch more of these dresses.

Size 3T.  (And in this photo, the colour is more accurate.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Playdate Dress & Swingset Skirt

After a long sewing hiatus it looks like I can finally get back to the many projects that are waiting, already cut out and sitting in two large laundry hampers collecting dust.

First up was Oliver + S Playdate Dress.
As bad luck would have it, construction of this took much longer than anticipated.  First, I agonized over the inside of the yoke front and back trying out several ways to finish off the inside raw edge.
For this version, I used some double fold bias tape.
Then, thanks to some schmutz on my iron that I didn't see, there is now a big brown stain on the very front of the outside yoke that I cannot remove.  Argh.

Size 3T. Teal corduroy from Fabricland with white snowball looking trim.
I added a white cuff with the trim on the sleeve which isn't part of the pattern.  It was a bitch no easy task to stitch the trim and cuff to the sleeve. I tried using a zipper foot and then resorted to a 1/4 inch foot and with a few choice expressions, it seemed to work.

I am going to cut this dress pattern out again later today trying out another method to finish off the inside yoke area.

Since red wine sewing is a great stress reliever for me and because the Playdate Dress got me really stressed, I whipped out this sweet little skirt.  I've made the top from this Oliver + S pattern but never the skirt.

It's called Swingset Skirt. Size 3T. Fabric is from Aneela Hoey from her Walk in the Woods line.
It took less than an hour to construct and bonus, I'm calm now!

Off to cut out another Playdate Dress................

Friday, September 28, 2012

Village Frock

Etta James song 'At Last' is resonating in my head right now as finally, or rather, at last, I have a pattern for the much coveted Village Frock.

It went out of print years ago and of course once you can get something inevitably you want it desperately.

There are plenty of images of the pattern pieces on the internet to make your own pattern like here
Also here ( for some reason I can't find the images of the pieces as I'm posting this) but they are on that site, somewhere.

There are blogs that list several sources for making  pattern versions of the dress such as this blog.
And there are blogs that offer tutorials on the dress such as here.

There is a blog that has just recently recreated a very similar version of the dress and the pattern is downloadable for free here.

The Village Frock dress I made is size 4 and it's a possible wearable muslin.  The fabric is a beige/gray linen.

The neckband is too loose I think.   It'll be a week before I can try it on Caitlin to see how loose it is.

Oh, and I stuffed plastic bags up the sleeves to fill them out so they kind of look weird.

Thanks to everyone who helped me with this pattern.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Apple Picking Dress

Thanksgiving is next week and while this fabric was originally earmarked for a smocked dress for last Thanksgiving, time was on my side yesterday and I was able to finally use it.

(It looks much better in real life.  I can never seem to get a good photo of anything I sew, ever!)

It's an Oliver + S pattern. Size 3.

The pattern calls for 10 buttons but I only had 9. Doh! So I fudged the spacing and put on 8.

To make buttonholes, I use really thin crochet cotton.   Cutting off a length, I wrap it around the sticky-out part on the back of the button hole foot, and then pull it forward and hold it taught.

Then step on the gas and do the buttonhole.
The buttonhole attachment in this photo isn't the same as the one in the above photo because on this one, the sticky-out part is hidden with the automatic buttonhole contraption doohickey.

You end up with a nicely crafted buttonhole that keeps it's shape after many buttonings (is that a word?) All it needs is a little snipping to remove the tails of the crochet threads.

 I also like to use piping wherever and whenever.  In this pattern, the piping get's sandwiched when the right and left placket gets attached to the dress front sections.  I also put it on the cuff.
Maybe I should have put piping where the skirt meets the bodice?

Is this photo any better?
No better.

It's supposed to be warmish next week so this little cotton dress will do just fine.  Some years at Thanksgiving it's rainy with even some snow in the air. This year we'll be outdoors in the sunny weather collecting fall leaves to decorate the cottage while the turkey cooks in the oven.

Notes to self: Neck tie could be another colour. Maybe the plackets and cuffs too?  Make the hem longer. Put piping between skirt and bodice.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Smocked dress ... again.

I got my sewing room back for two whole days!

My plan was to make something different, as in try out a new pattern, but I got a request for another smocked dress.
No matter what new style or pattern I show my daughter, she always comes back to a basic yoke style smocked dress just like the ones I  made for her and her sister when they were little.

Well, if I can't change the style, as least I can change the construction method. Over the years I've used several different methods and the following is the latest. I'm documenting them here so I don't forget.

Here goes.
Referring to the pattern pieces in AS&E issue 58 (Giggles) or issue 57 ( Rosebud) for a basic yoke style dress cut fabric and pleat 11 or 12 rows.

When smocking is complete prepare for construction by making piping for the sleeve band, front panel, collar and back bodice sections. Although the latter is just an option.

Assemble the collar; fuse interfacing, attach piping and trim seam allowances, turn, press use spray starch for crisp finish.

For the front smocked  panel, hand baste the piping and then stitch in place using a cat claw or similar tool to straighten the pleats while sewing.

Next, stitch the 2 front yoke and 2 back bodice pieces together at the shoulders. All the pieces will form a circle.
Fuse interfacing along the fold edge of the bodice pieces.

Mark 3/8 from neck edge on front yoke piece, assuming you are using a 3/8 seam allowance throughout.

Then line up the fabric part of the collar pieces so that they are just slightly above the mark. The piping will overlap beyond.  Tack in place.

Pin the collar pieces to the front yoke and two side of the back bodice pieces.

Note: this may not be the correct way to attach a Peter Pan collar but it works for me.

When it's pinned in place, baste all around.

Next, sandwich the collar by folding over (right sides together) the yoke facing and the 2 back bodice sides.
Stitch all around with a 3/8 seam allowance but at the marked centre, stitch just a little more than 3/8th.
Turn right side out, press, trim away excess seam allowance and then stitch the seam allowance to the yoke facing close to the collar edge.

The collar should sit so that the piping on each piece is touching each other and there is no gap. 
Maybe there is supposed to be a gap?
Well, I'm not keen on gaps.

Then put in the placket on the back skirt.

Stitch a V the length of the placket on skirt back. Slit and pull open and pin placket in place then stitch.
Press under raw edge of placket, fold over to stitching line and hand stitch in place.
Fold placket together, turning inside the right side of the placket baste in place. This side fits into the back bodice section that will have the buttonholes.

Gather back skirt and attach to the bodice back leaving facings free.

Attach front panel to yoke front leaving facing free.

Pin ties to side of dress where bodice back meets skirt then baste in place.

Sew side seams. (serge or french seams)
Insert sleeves.
Turn inside out and hand stitch facings in place.

For tucked hem, begin by turning up skirt bottom edge and press.

Then turn up again the same amount and pin in place. Basically, fold hem up twice.

Then stitch about 1 inch in from the folded edge.  This catches the raw edge that was in the first fold and tucks it neatly inside the second fold.

Makes for a neat hem with a decorative fold that can be lengthened and also dispenses with hand stitching a hem which is real reason I use this method.

Last step is buttons holes and buttons on the bodice back. Buttonholes on right side, buttons on left.

Smocking design plate I used was from AS&E issue 58, Giggles.


A vintage style smocked dress just like Grandma used to make.
Wait a minute. I am the Grandma!
Notes to self:
Size 3.
Armbands were cut 1" wider than pattern piece indicated.  Cut them 1/2 wider next time.
Sleeve cap was trimmed from pattern piece to reduce fullness. Worked out well.
Make smaller collar next time.
4 inch hem X 2 made perfect hem length.

2 meters of flowery fabric from the stash busted!