Thursday, July 25, 2013

Secret Squirrel for July

There is a challenge hosted by SewPony and Straightgrain.  The idea is to have a current month host gives 5 pieces of inspiration (acorns) to a pre-selected recipient (the Secret Squirrel) to sew something that interprets the acorns.
Other folks can sew along too and that's what I've decided to do because this particular challenge looks like fun!

For the month of July the 5 acorns were:

The Secret Squirrel for July and her creation can be found here.   Nicely done!

Here's my interpretation for the 5 acorns.

#1 The Mandarin Duck has beautiful jewel tone feathers making for a great colour palate but my thoughts went to a "mandarin collar"like the one found on Simplicity pattern 3900.

#2 Not Done will apply to my interpretation of #4 and #5......... read on

#3 Painting "69 Stations Kisokaido #37 (Miyanokoshi)" by Ando  Hiroshige. He is one if Japan's most celebrated artists. Most of his work reflects Japanese landscape and by just looking at his artwork, you know right away it's Japanese.  So I went to may stash and looked at fabric that 'sang' Japanese to me and I found "Misaki" by Melissa White for Rowan. Westminster Fibers: Mallow and Bee for the main dress and Shanghai Cut Outs for the hem.

#4 Pleat. Initially I thought about smocking a dress (lots of pleats!) but then when I settled on S3900 I decided to make pleats in the skirt instead of gathers as I have done in the past. Therefore, pleats are something I have #2 Not Done before with this pattern.

#5 Ella and Louis ... does jazz get any better?  Sadly they are both gone and the only way we can hear their music is through old albums/CD's and remastered mixes. Remastering is like repurposing and that gave me the idea to take an old sweater and repurposing it for this project ... again something I have #2 Not Done before.

So there's the dress, S3900 with a Mandarin collar,  using a Japanese themed fabric with a pleated skirt section.

I've made this pattern several times but this time around I totally messed up the mandarin collar edge where it meets the front band. Argh.
Initially, I had planned on making a Chinese frog closure on the front band but I didn't have the correct colour cord in my stash. Luckily I found 2 green buttons, so they will just have to do.

Also in my stash I found a recycled zipper that matched the background of the fabric exactly. How fortuitous!
The pleats were easy to make and it wasn't necessary to add any width to the pattern.

Lastly, I made a repurposed sweater for when "Baby it's Cold Outside" a fun song that Ella and Louis sang together.

I simply took apart an old white sweater, cut 2 front pieces, a back and 2 sleeves and stitched them together. I cut strips of leftover jersey crib sheet fabric for the front and neck edges making a casing in the neck to thread ribbon.
And as good luck would have it, I found some green ribbon in my stash that matched the green buttons.

Best of all, this dress twirls.  That's the main concern - the litmus test so to speak - for Miss C.

This dress is size 5 and is far too big for her to wear right now. She has plenty of dresses to wear this summer and this one I intended for her to wear next year.

This was fun!
If time permits, I will make something for the sew-along in August.
Here are the acorns:

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Roller Skate Arrr!

Every Sunday a bunch of Pirates ply our lake in their mighty ship looking for other cottagers  Pirates to fire upon with air cannons and water pistols.

On board and on shore, everyone is dressed as a Pirate and saying "arrrr" a lot.
Some of the cottagers, along with their weekend guests, put on a skit for the passing ship full of Pirates.
It's a whole lot of fun and everyone has a good time acting silly.

Last year I made Caitlin a Pirate costume when she went on one of Pirate cruises however she has since outgrown most of the outfit (skirt and top) except for the vest.

Today I made her a new outfit and used the Roller Skate dress pattern.

I scalloped the hem using the template from the O+S Badminton skirt.

It's really hot and humid here right now so instead of lining the dress, I made the bodice lining longer and used that portion for the elastic casing.
I used black piping on the sleeves but simply topstitched the neck edge.

Caitlin is happy with her new Pirate costume.  She is already sporting several Pirate tattoos at the moment.

And bonus ... I can add this Roller Skate Pirate costume to Flip This Pattern!

Monday, July 8, 2013

My first swimsuit!

One of the items on my bucket list is to make a swimsuit.
Today was the day and guess what .... it was easy peasy lemon squeezy!

I used the pattern and followed the tutorial from here at

I had already cut out the main pattern pieces a week or so ago but hadn't got around to assembling it.
Caitlin insisted I make it today and she also insisted on sitting on my knee while sewing it together.

Needless to say this bathing suit was hastily made and the stitches are beyond wonky.  The main thing is it fit, and I actually made a swimmy!

I didn't have the right width-size elastic and had to cut strips off ... hastily.  The good news was I had Miss C. with me all the time to try it on as we progressed.

After she posed for me, she went for a swim. It was decided later the straps should just sit on the shoulders as opposed to crossing at the back. Easy alteration.
And maybe add some more ruffles to the front .. maybe across the outside leg opening too because Caitlin said it would make her swim faster!

At any rate, I MADE a swimsuit and it turned out not too bad.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Roller Skate Hannah

Yesterday I made a Hannah dress using raspberry pink linen. I was pleased with the outcome.

Last night after dinner as I was about to tidy up my sewing space, pattern pieces for both the Hannah dress and Roller Skate dress (made the previous day) lay beckoning me on the card table cutting table.
So I thought, "hey, why not marry these two patterns together?"

Well I did and this is the outcome.

I'm not crazy about the two buttons for the closure. To me, they look like a couple of Owls eyes.
My initial intention was to have a big aqua bow.
I asked my husband at 10 p.m. last night his opinion and he felt the buttons looked better than a bow might look.  In hindsight, he probably said the first thing that jumped into his head so he could get back to his movie!!

The other thing I'm not happy about is the quality of the fabric. It was 'craft end' that I had intended to use for dolly items or making dress-ups.  The fabric was distorted and horrible to iron. However this was merely a fun project ... an experiment .... that gave me something to do because I didn't want to watch the movie my husband was viewing!

Another "Flip This Pattern" entry for my favourite Alabama sisters.

Edited later to add the aqua bow......I think this looks much better ....and I shall not ask my husband again for his sartorial opinion!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hannah dress

I saw this dress some time ago and wondered what the collar and front bodice pieces would look like.
So I asked my friend Judith who knows everything about sewing and is a designer herself having published lots of patterns, what it would look like. She sent me a drawing with directions how to make those pieces myself.

Well the fog set in as I attempted to make my own draft and thought, "oh what the heck, I'll buy the pattern."
I had also read somewhere that this pattern maker was no longer in business. Yikes!
After the Village Frock lesson that I learned the hard way, I scoured the internet and found the pattern for sale on Etsy and bought it right away.

I made size 5 using hot pink linen.

The directions were clear and easy to follow and I was able to make the dress quickly.
Seam allowances are not included and the designer gives clear instructions on where to add 3/8 and 5/8 SA when tracing out the pieces.

On the pattern, the front closure is a little rectangle with domes (snaps) for fasteners.  I chose to put a huge bow on the little closure.

The bow was rather heavy so it needed not only a dome (snap) to fix it to the rectangle but also a few stitches to hold it in place.

I wasn't thinking (still in that fog) when I added topstitching to the collar. The bobbin thread is showing on the outside of the collar. 

Overall, I'm happy with the results of this sweet little dress.

I'm still playing with light and exposure though. It's going to rain soon .... thunder boomers and all ... so I had to get this photo right away instead of waiting until later.

Hannah dress by Yeppar.

I think this dress would be ideal for winter using a pinwale corduroy and underneath a mock turtle neck and leggings.

Asian inspired Roller Skate

For the month of July the Flip This Pattern challenge is to have some fun with the Oliver + S Roller Skate dress pattern.

I've made it once before however I'm not so sure Miss C has ever worn it.  It was a little big for her and it doesn't twirl.

However she does wear Simplicity 3900. As a matter of fact one of the dresses from S3900 is in my repair bin (it's a deep bin - chock full) because there is a paint stain on the tie. It's an easy fix.

Here are the two dresses from S3900 that I was totally inspired to make from here.


So for the Flip This Pattern I thought I'd incorporate the mandarin collar and neck opening from the bodice top of S3900 and fit it to the bodice top of O+S Roller Skate dress.

There's a zipper for the back opening.
The sleeve edges have piping as does the collar and neck band.

Putting in lining to the bodice top was very difficult to do.
The inside of the collar and the lining are not attached, they are butt up to each other. The lining at the neck opening is folded inside itself. Hope that makes sense.

I left off the waistband tie.
Oh, and I gathered just a little bit on the skirt front.

The fabric is "Kyoto Paisley" from Alexander Henry that I got initially to make a handbag around 10 years ago. It popped out of my vast fabric stash as the perfect fabric to use for an Asian Inspired Roller Skate dress.

Size 4.