The Confetti Dresses

These are my favorite things I’ve sewn for my girls, although I do have a tendency to say that after each project.  I think that may be a part of getting better with each garment sewn.  Behold the Confetti Dresses, otherwise known as this year’s Easter dresses.

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Remember in my last post, I stated how I like to charmingly coordinate them without the cheesy, matchy-matchy look?  Well, it turns out little sisters like to match exactly.  And when I found this fabric, I could only imagine the girls in the exact same dress.  And I have to say, I love it, and I’m glad I did it this way.  This is the cutest fabric I have found at JoAnn.  I bought enough to make myself a yet-to-be-sewn pencil skirt!  How’s that for matching!?

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This is the Oliver and S School Photo Dress.  I was heavily inspired by this mom’s version, so I went with the same idea of the contrast yoke and sleeve.  This pattern has so many delicious details.  Just read this description from the O&S website: This lined, above-the-knee-length, A-line dress features a hidden, on-seam, front kangaroo pocket and an invisible back zipper. View A has a stand-away, roll collar and 3/4-length cuffed sleeves. View B includes a ruffle collar and gathered, bias-bound, 3/4-length sleeves.  Above, the girls are showing the pocket which is always a hit with little kids.  I just adore the gathering and binding on the sleeves.

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You can see the flower bow I made using pink felt and a Snazzie Drawers pattern (she just retired all of her pdf patterns, sadly).  My older daughter was much less cooperative for pictures and wanted to wear her silly hat instead, but she had a bow, too.  You can see the print quite well, here, and the ruffle collars which were a bit of a challenge to get to stand up.  You can see the lining wanting to roll out.  But to make up for it the invisible zippers are perfect!  The heavier fabrics plus lining makes these dresses warm to wear so they haven’t been in them since April for Easter and a wedding…the most kid-friendly wedding ever.  There was pizza, nachos, donut truck and bounce houses.  My kids had the time of their lives and my husband and I actually got to socialize.  We’ve since attended two weddings where we had to explain beforehand that bounce houses aren’t usual wedding activities.  I look forward to seeing these in rotation again once it cools off.

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My Little Conversation Hearts

I hope this post is better late than never.  I had schemed a darling little photo shoot for these girls in their Valentine’s Day outfits, but March was full of sickness and birthdays in our house and I had to let it go.  I’ll hold the idea for next year.  I’m just not the type A style crafter mom…lots of great ideas, but not always the energy and time to do them all.  I need my sleep and down time.  Despite that, look at these cuties!

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I was in the mood for some hot pink and red.  And I love to coordinate my girls without exactly matching them.  Here we have the Oliver and S 2+2 Blouse done in a knit.  I’ve been wanting to try them in a knit to skip the whole button down back, and these turned out pretty good.  I had some stretching out in the neck when adding the bias ties (this is my first time sewing knit fabric), and there was some tunneling when I hemmed with my double needle.  The contast ties and patches are done in heart patterned fabric from the seasonal quilting section.  This pattern is one of my favorites from O&S, and I’d love to make them some knit dresses from it this fall.  For the rest of the look they are wearing Gymboree headbands, Gap pants, and shoes from Ross.  The headbands were Valentine sale purchases and the rest we already had.

That day ended up being such a fun Valentine’s.  My son had a great party at school that I was able to help with, you see my daughter above on her way to preschool with Valentine’s in hand, and my youngest and I went out to breakfast and surprised Daddy at work with homemade treats.  She still talks about sneaking into Daddy’s office.

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Documenting

So I am working on Valentine’s Day tops for my girls, and I got to reminiscing about what I have made for my kids over the years.  I don’t really want to go far back to do in-depth reviews of everything, so I am just going to document it all here (mostly for myself) with a few notes on patterns if I feel so inclined.  It’s that part of me that wants to preserve memories, so everything is just going in this post.  I’m probably just using this as an excuse to procrastinate on recent things that need to be photographed and reviewed!  Here we go!

I just need to preface that for almost every item I could probably state, “I learned a lot working on this one,” because, really, I have learnt as I went and this is pretty much a thorough history of what I have made minus some odds and ends, baby stuff,  and some extensive home dec.

Miss A’s 1st Birthday Outfit:

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I had to sew my first daughter her first birthday outfit!  This is McCall’s 5834 wrap top with the youcanmakethis.com’s Layered Tulle Twirl Skirt.  I LOVE this outfit.  The wrap top has so many possibilities.  I wish I’d sewn more from this pattern.  I learned about bias binding on this one.  A close inspection in person shows one really shoddy arm-binding and a perfect one.  Guess which one is the one my mom sewed (as well as the entire neck-binding)?  That is another theme that runs through some of these clothes:  “Mom Saves Daughter’s Procrastinating Butt the Night Before Big Event/Photo Session.”  She’s really the best, has been sewing nearly her whole life, and was a Home Economics major.  The skirt is amazing, gets lots of compliments, and is a step up from a plain tulle tutu skirt because of the incorporation of fabric in the layers.  BUT, be prepared to gather forever.  I am a slow sewist, but this skirt – which I have now sewn twice – takes a long time to put together.  I don’t think I have it in me to try it again until I do it on my serger.

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Christmas 2009:

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I really like the color story here.  Mr. T (my son) is in a vest made from Simplicity 4762.

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Poor boys – they get vests and ties while the girls get all the fun stuff.  But they really don’t care, and he gets my sewing attention where it counts to him:  Halloween.  He’s very detail-oriented, so I get specific requests and instructions and I have spent a significant amount of time for him pretty much every year in that category.  With this vest, I learned that your lining needs to be at least as big (or bigger) than the shell.

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Miss A is wearing the Oliver and S 2+2 blouse in an eggplant poly silk.  I really love this blouse and it is what I am using for the girls’ Valentine’s shirts, so I’ll review it later, although these can be found all over the internet.  Such a simple, modern top with just the right amount of embellishment.  The skirt is also a tutu from youcanmakethis.com called the Fancy Filled Sewn Tutu in three pretty, subtle shades of tulle: eggplant, rusty orange, and a brownish color.  This one is easy peasy and always get compliments at dance class.  She was 18 months here and both girls aged almost 3 and 4.5 still wear this over a leotard to dance in the fall, so I think we got our money’s worth.  You can make this for every holiday and event throughout the year, and the instructions have ideas for what to use as “filling” in the pocket layer.  I later used it for a princess costume for her and filled it with painted wooden castles from the craft aisle, silk flowers, and ribbon.  It’s a favorite in the dress-up box now.

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Christmas 2010:

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Again, boy gets tie; girls get elaborate outfits!  Mr. T’s tie is a pattern from youcanmakethis.com.  I found the sizing off, and you can see here it is hanging longer than I’d like, but it’s a good tie pattern and you can get it right by sewing a muslin first (or better measuring).  Here Miss A is in the second version of the Layered Tulle Twirl Skirt.  Miss B is in New Look 6903, which I altered just a bit to add various fabric bands, ruffles, and tulle.  I see in my notes although she’s 9 months old here, I sewed the newborn size, but with the size small length.  That’s pretty typical of Big 4 patterns to run large.  Otherwise it was a very simple pattern to sew from and makes a really pretty dress for such simple lines.  I found the yoke with working buttons to be a nice detail.

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And since we’re on this pattern, I am going to sneak in one Halloween costume made from this pattern for Miss B because it turned out so darn cute:

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As Miss A would say, it’s so darlable!  I was very proud to get the point done right in the hat, because I failed years earlier on a Hersey Kiss costume for my son.  We still get great laughs around here about the “poor, melted” Hershey kiss without a proper point!

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We’re almost there!

Christmas 2011:

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That one shows the outfits well, and here is our favorite “fun” one:

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I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with too much sewing that year and I had found the pretty plaid skirts on clearance at Target the year before, so I just wanted to add that extra-special little something for each girl so that they weren’t dressed identical or straight from a catalogue page.  That’s the benefit in knowing how to sew, right?  The boy was thrilled that I let him wear jeans…no need to sew him anything!

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For Miss A, I sewed a vest from Simplicity 2534.  I love this pattern, and how this turned out.  Plus I learned the difference between bias binding and bias facing.  This one called for bias facing.  I am pretty sure I figured it out through my Reader’s Digest Complete Book of Sewing.  The size 3 (her age here) fit well, but seemed a little short for my taste.  I would add length next time, and hopefully there will be a next time in either the vest or coat version.  Miss B is in New Look 6039:

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This pattern would make an awesome princess/peasant costume with the criss-crossing straps.  Although I did staystitch the neckline, it still seemed to stretch out too large.  Or perhaps the pattern drafting is off.  I’m not really sure which it is, and it has made me hesitant to try this pattern again.  But it made a very cute overdress.

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Easter 2012.  I did a little bit of reusing here.  Miss B wore the 1st birthday outfit at the very top of this post as a hand-me-down, and I made Miss A a coordinating dress with the leftover fabrics:

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This dress is another version of the Oliver and S Birthday Party Dress that I reviewed thoroughly on a previous post here.  On this one I used the tie variation instead of the button tab.

We made it!  You deserve an award if you have read this far.  I can see that I have mainly sewed for occasions such as birthdays, Easter and Christmas.  I have less motivation to finish if there isn’t a deadline looming.  I hope to change this in 2013 and sew more consistently on most days and at a fun, enjoyable pace.  Also, I spent the last several years sewing for my kids and upon reaching a certain skill level I decided last year I wanted to sew for myself, too.  So I hope to spend 2013 sewing mostly everyday,  wearable clothes with just the occasional special-occasion outfit, because there is a certain amount of items here that got very little wear.  However, I regret none of it.  Each project has taught me so much and I remember fondly them wearing each one.  Sewing is such a rewarding and useful hobby.  Until next time!

Everything Birthday Dress

Everyone else has a sewing blog, so why not me?!  I have decided to join in the fun so that my name in blog comments leads to somewhere interesting, among other reasons.  The first thing up for sharing is The Everything Birthday Dress:

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I used the Oliver and S Birthday Party Dress pattern to make her birthday party dress for her birthday party and for this birthday photo shoot with birthday balloons.  Add to that an embroidered birthday present on the covered button, and you have everything birthday!

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Pattern Description: Blow out the candles! This children’s sewing pattern for a sleeveless A-line dress has three box pleats at center front with options of button tab or ties. Buttons at back and our signature hem facing are just two of the details featured in this cute girl’s sewing pattern.

Pattern Sizing: 6M-3T

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, and I followed them closely since I am a newer garment sewist.  I even used the forum to help me with the hem facing and sewing this particular pattern with french seams, which was a little tricky with the facings.

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What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the design of this pattern, and the opportunities for mixing fabrics and embellishment.  Oliver and S seem to be well known for accurate drafting and detailed instructions which was a great help to me.  Even though this is a distinct looking pattern, I think there is room for lots of these in a little girl’s closet without looking like the same dress.

New techniques learned: I get excited (and nervous) when faced with new techniques.  That is really my goal right now…to learn at least one new thing with each garment that I sew.  With this dress I did my first hem facing, first catch stitch on said facing, first french seams, first machine sewn-on buttons with thread shank, and first embroidery used on a garment.  Yay, me!

Fabric Used: Amy Butler printed quilting cotton with a pink quilting cotton from Joann.  The pinks were a perfect match.

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Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Oh, yes, and I have for my other daughter for her Easter dress with the ties instead of button tab.  I had another one cut out for this little one, but didn’t get around to sewing it this summer.  Hopefully I’ll finish it sometime and use it as a gift.

Conclusion: Darling dress that I realize has been made and reviewed countless times.  This is a special one to me for many reasons including how much I learned while sewing it.  I am sure I will make it again sometime.

Up next: More reviews! A review of my other daughter’s birthday dress from New Look 6140 and a trio of skirts for me from the popular Simplicity 2226, plus a maxi dress.