Monday, July 30, 2012 fits!

All set for the Pirate Cruise and the costumes fit perfectly!  Good old Oliver + S patterns are dependable every time.
Badminton skort, Class Picnic blouse, Sleepover pj's (template for the vest) Size 3.

The solid red skirt was from a Strawberry Shortcake costume I made for my daughter and now it works for pirate-wear!

S9514 was little short through the waist to crotch causing the domes (snaps) to undo when he crawled around.  Next time around, lengthen through the middle and use larger domes. Maybe cut a little wider too.

 All ready to set sail and search for treasure and those pesky Lake Muskoka Pirates!

And there are some on the port side!

Lots of stripes, reference for more costumes.
Diggin' the funky sunglasses too.

After a sword flight with one of junior Pirates, this lake Pirate makes good his escape into the water.

On shore, there are plenty of Pirates with a chest full of stolen treasure of jewels and coins plus other items that look like they came from the dollar store.

Stripes and animal print fabric; good reference material.

The elder Pirate is claiming the wenches on his island cost a lot of money. It must be an inside joke with his weekend guests.
There were more people participating in this skit that aren't in this photo and they were all having a great time putting on a show.

Fun times at the cottage.
Swimming, Pirates and everyone yelling Arrrrrr, until their throat hurts!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Arrrr...more dress-ups

Two pirate costumes are needed right away. So here they are.
One for Caitlin.....

......and one for Adam.

But first here's is the Pirate story....

Once a week one of the steamships on our lake becomes a Pirate Ship. It's special cruise for families. Everyone dresses up like a pirate and there's breakfast and entertainment from a children's entertainer. He's the fellow standing on top of the wheelhouse.
The ship cruises around the lake looking for other pirates (local cottagers) to attack. On the wheelhouse is also an air-cannon so when the pirates passengers count down ...ready, aim, fire... it's followed by a loud bang.
It's great fun.

Some cottagers dress up their boats and attack from the water.

And some cottagers put on a short skit and attack from shore.

Here are spectators watching some land-lubbers walk the plank.

For the skirt, I used Oliver + S badminton skort.  There are shorts underneath but it was just too difficult to photograph. It's size 3 and so easy and quick to make. Like all the O+S patterns the directions were easy to follow and the results simply perfect.

For the blouse I used Oliver + S Class Picnic pattern. Another quick and easy pattern. Size 3. I put large ric rac along the front between the yoke and bodice front. Plus I added a little pirate bling in the form of lace on the sleeves.

For the vest I used the pattern pieces from Oliver +S Sleepover pyjamas. Using the front and back bodice pieces as a guide for size for the back and front width as well as for the armscye, I lay tracing fabric over and redrew the shape I wanted for the front of the vest.
For the front closure I used a little bit of black velcro so Caitlin can do up her vest, or not.

I traced a skull and crossbones on Steam-a-Seam then ironed and stitched the pieces in place. Unfortunately I didn't have any stabilizer to put behind the applique so it puckered like crazy. Right now time is of the essence and driving an hour to another town isn't an option.

Overall it looks just fine and perfect for a child's Pirate Cruise.

Digging out vintage pattern S9514 I also found some scraps of red stripe fabric that I used for a dress up outfit I made for Adam's mom when she was a child.  I also used this pattern to make overalls for her brother when he was little nipper.

Adam is such a chubby baby that as I measured exactly his width on the striped fabric, only two white stripes lined up, as opposed to white and red, and right in the middle too!  Arrgh.  Oh well. It is what it is and this only a costume.
Again, I didn't have stabilizer so the applique is somewhat distorted.

So, what is a Pirates favourite letter in the alphabet?
Arrrrr you say?
It's the sea!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Lately, the measure of my sewing ability is if the dress twirls. Well, here's the test.

First the wind-up........

 ....then let 'er twirl!

She really liked this dress as well but getting a photo proved difficult.
Here's the back as per the tutorial I previously posted.

And here's the front.
But she didn't want to play tea party ......

...she wanted to twirl!

This photo is out of focus, I know, and who wouldn't be after all that twirling?

Notes to self:
Vintage Natalie dress fits just a little on the roomier side in size 3. Perfect for long time use w/blouse underneath for cooler weather. Make more; maybe in pinwale corduroy or viyella. Mom didn't like patterned piping. Gah!
Basic Bodice dress fit exact in size 3. Back treatment worked perfectly. Mom wants more of same with big sash.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tea Party Dress

I've had this tea party themed fabric in my stash for such a long time. I bought it with the intention to use it as backing for a child's quilt.  But I'm just not a quilter so it's been sitting in my stash waiting for another project.

Well, the other day my internet sewing friend Sharon posted this tutorial found here.  
It gave me inspiration so I dug down deep in the abyss of the turquoise fabric box and unearthed the tea party fabric.

I have a tea set for Caitlin that's lime green and turquoise, so this will be a perfect outfit for dress-up when we have tea in the Gazebo.

Truth be known, the image reminds me of myself pouring imaginary tea for my childhood and lifelong friend Kathy. When we were kids, we played tea party for hours on end.

So here's the finished dress with piping (of course) on the arm and neck opening.

While I was sitting on the rock stairs taking this photo, mom Blue Jay and one of her fledglings landed beside me.
I think this is her second brood because it's so late in the season to see young Jays. And speaking of the unusual (or maybe proof of global warming) is the presence of many Common Buckeye butterflies that rarely appear here. They've even been spotted north of Lake Superior which is in the Boreal Forest.

None of this has anything to do with sewing though.

Nor does this photo.
Beside where the Jays landed is a bench with a basket of Iceberg Pansies and I have long blamed the local deer eating the blooms.  Not any more.  It's Chippy who is the culprit!

Okay, back to sewing.  The pattern I used was Bodice Dress by Collars Etc.  I omitted the collar on view 4 and used Sharon's directions.

I made it size 3.

Okay, so now I'm going to go jump in the lake because it's outrageously hot and humid here again. And when I dry off ... tea in the Gazebo of course!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Vintage Natalie

When I saw this pattern I knew I had to make it. As good luck would have it I was inspired from versions here and here made by my internet sewing friend Jenny Jo, as well as here made as an entry for PR&P.

The fabric for my version is by Robert Kauffman called Betty Dear. The dress is size 3.

The pattern was designed by Janet Gilbert for Sew Beautiful and you can read all about how she got her inspiration for the pattern here.

The instructions were quite detailed as there are many versions of this dress. Overall, they were clear to follow and there were lots of tips too.
It's a good idea to read through all the steps before even cutting out this pattern. It's not a difficult pattern by any means, there are just a lot of versions.

While the illustrations and instructions were straightforward, I managed to goof up the placket. It didn't come out sitting as flat as it should but my trusty iron fixed that problem!
I dithered about adding a belt/tie and in hindsight perhaps a narrow one might have been a good idea.
Next time.
Also, perhaps I should have tried to line up the flowers so that the front panel matched the sides. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough fabric to do that.

If this dress is a little too big for Caitlin, which I suspect it might be, my plan is to make a white blouse that she can wear under this dress in the fall.

Note to self:
For the back skirt, cut on fold and make placket with slit and 2" facing.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ruffled Halter

On the Oliver + S website there are several free patterns to download.  Today I decided to make this one called Ruffled Halter. Download it here.

The fabric is raised dot voile and it's sized to fit 3/4.  It was really easy and quick to make. The hard part is getting a decent photo.

Maybe this is a better angle and better lighting?

The neck strap ties at the back and there is elastic around the back bodice. 
On the hems of the ruffles, I serged using the rolled hem technique and because I didn't have the correct colour of cotton thread, I had to use several shades of rayon thread. 

Perhaps this is better photo? Maybe not. The Day Lilies look good though because the deer haven't eaten them yet.
At any rate, this top ought to be light and cool for the hot and humid dog days we're experiencing right now.

Now it's time for lunch, afterwards a quick swim and then back to the sewing room!

Saturday, July 7, 2012


I have my sewing room back for a few days as all the guests have gone....but not for long.
Today I was able to complete this dress, it's called Antoinette, size 4.  It was designed by a very talented lady named Nele from Belgium.
Despite that the instructions were written in Dutch, it was really easy to put together. There were good photos and the rest was intuitive.  Unfortunately, the pattern is no longer available.
The next time I make this dress, I will add 4cm to the hem as opposed to 2cm as per the instructions.

Nele's website can be found here . She has many beautiful items that she has made, designed plus a lot of sewing tips and tutorials.
She got the inspiration her Antoinette dress from this dress at

The fabric I chose is periwinkle blue linen and the collar and piping is light green cotton.