Simplicity 2226 Three Ways

People speak of their TNT patterns often.  I haven’t sewn long enough to have lots to choose from, but for now Simplicity 2226 seems to be it.  Plus, I think I like to sew from the same pattern multiple times.  The second and third time through are so much quicker.  I love this pattern for the pockets the gathering in the front and back and especially the chance to accessorize with skinny belts.

First, my most worn version:

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This has been such a versatile skirt and has seen a lot of wear all summer.  Its a mustard linen-look fabric. The color seems to complement half the tops in my closet.  Plus, like I said…belts!  It is such a simple skirt, but I always get compliments and have been asked several times where I got it, which is fun because that is the only question to which I’ll confess, “I made it!”

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Second, a maxi version:

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This is a silky fabric from JoAnn that I thought was so beautiful and muted in color.  I saw this whole outfit in my head and bought shirt, shoes, and belt with this in mind, so it was definitely not allowed to become an unfinished project.

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A better shot of the fabric:

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And in reverse order, the first version I sewed from this pattern:

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Already donated!  I guess that answers the question of whether I am overly attached to the things that I make.  I don’t seem to have a problem moving on if its something I don’t like or isn’t made well.  This one was a rayon print from Joann.  I got sucked in by a better quality fiber than I usually find there, but just didn’t love the print once it was sewn up and, being my first version, it came out a bit big with poor finishing.  I’ve started a denim version that can take the #3 spot, instead.

In all versions I removed some of the fullness from the gathers both in the front and the back.  After I finish the denim skirt, I think its time to move on to another skirt pattern.

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Sea Goddess Maxi

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I just need to state up front that this is a blatant copy of Patty’s awesome cabana dress.  I fell in love with her version of Kwik Sew 3856 (she made a few, and they’re all good).  I’ve got plenty of original ideas swimming around in my head, but so often I love EXACTLY what I’ve seen someone else make, and this was one such time.  Based on Patty’s review, I lengthened the bodice a bit, stitched down the surplice wrap in the front, and added length.  The only slight difference is the way I placed the print.

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The colors in this fabric are so beautiful…the photos don’t do it justice.  Its an Anna Maria Horner voile, and it so soft and breathable for the hot summers we get.

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Given the nature of the print repeat, I had to really carefully lay out the pattern pieces and I barely made it work with what I had.  But the time spent paid off because the print matching came out really good.  The colors and swirling patterns make me think of waves and seaweed and tentacles giving me the feeling of some sort of sea goddess when I wear it.

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I finished this late summer last year, and am looking forward to wearing it a lot this summer.  I don’t have immediate plans to make this pattern again, but I do recommend it.

Coral Laurel

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Well, those folks over at Colette Patterns really know what they’re doing, don’t they?  This Laurel contest has been quite the marketing success.  Truthfully, I wasn’t overly ecstatic when the pattern first released until a couple of things:  First, the competition, of course.  Secondly, Sarai’s shift dress inspiration post.  There was lots of beautiful images, as well as her mention of the desire to wear something not tight in the waist in the heat of summer.  That really got me to thinking ahead about our summers here which have several days/weeks in triple digits.  She was so right!  We get to where we don’t want to wear anything but a swimsuit.  Lastly, I thought about how much I truly do love a good shift dress.  My favorite era of vintage patterns (and I’m sure some will cringe at this) is late 60s/early 70s.  Most of the ones in my small collection are shifts.  So, I clicked purchase!  Well done, CP, well done.

I’ve peeked at the flickr page a couple of times, as well as seen plenty of Laurels pop up in my reader.  Its been fun to see so many different interpretations.  I think the contest has pushed sewists to be particularly creative with this pattern.

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As usual, I had several ideas for this one pattern rolling around in my head.  But with the call of parenting and life in general, I’ve only gotten to this one so far.  I decided on a coral cotton with a slight crinkly texture from my recent stash – a purchase from Hancock Fabrics.  My detail additions were sleeve ties and bow pockets.  I had seen this tutorial and thought I would add them to my Laurel.  I used the tutorial as a starting point, but used the pocket pattern from the Laurel and adjusted the bow measurements accordingly.  Also, I sewed the pocket per the Laurel pattern instructions.  Separately I had been considering Simplicity 3835 recently for a different fabric. But after deciding against it for a couple of reasons, the sleeve ties still sat swimming around in my thoughts and would not leave me alone so they joined in on the Laurel fun.

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That was all the fun stuff.  Now, I don’t know if its my body proportions not matching up with this company’s sloper, or being rather new to this women’s garment sewing thing, but this dress took a lot of work to fit!  This deceptively simple pattern is my longest project to date.  I wisely decided to make a muslin (my first ever!) after the first few reviews came in, and it took me three to get it right.  That’s a lot of boring sewing before getting to actually cut into the pretty fabric.  The first 1 1/2 I will admit was me trying to figure out what size to cut, and I even checked flat pattern measurements beforehand.  I am a pretty slow and careful sewist, because I am really not ok with failed projects.  I know I should feel differently and have that great attitude of, “you learn from your mistakes.”  But I don’t.  I can be a perfectionist and I want something to wear out of the process.  I don’t even want to do the work of writing down every single adjustment for you because there were a lot and I don’t completely know what I am doing with all that yet.  My substantial sewing library really got a work out, though.    The main things were lowering the bust darts, taking in the back and side seams, widening and lengthening the back darts, and work on the armscye and sleeves.  I am happy with my end result and this is something I will wear.

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This is a fun color to accessorize and for the majority I wore neutral shoes and jewelry.  But for a little fun at the end I threw on some mint green since it makes a trendy combination with coral right now.  I have two more Laurels lined up, but they won’t be ready for the competition.  That’s ok, I’ve made peace with it today 😉  By the way, self portraiture is a lot of work!  I am a pretty good hobby photographer, but getting in front of the camera definitely has a learning curve.  I’ll be working on improving.  This round is already looking better than the batch of projects I photographed last week.  This guy photo-bombed me three times before I realized!  We had a good laugh:

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Do You Ever?

Do you ever find yourself crushing on a new look and feel like its entirely your invention?  That was me with black and white this year.  I found myself craving it and daydreaming what I might make in that combination.  Then I look around me and flip through a spring issue of InStyle and find its a hot spring trend.  You have that feeling of, “Hey, I thought of that first!” when in fact you’ve probably just been absorbing things subconsciously and when you wake up to it you realize you’re just a part of the trend.  So this is what I put together from my wardrobe for church today:

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It’s my Simplicity 2215 winter white skirt.  I love this skirt so much I have visions of several other versions such as a slighter shorter denim and a midi coral, not to mention I’d love to make the dress version, as well.

I have some black and ivory fabric set aside for a blouse using Simplicity 3688 with the full gathered sleeve from McCall’s 6702 and possibly some embellishment.  And I have a black and white deco vibe dress in mind.  That would help quench my thirst for this trend.  We’ll see if I get to them!

In the meantime I am working on a couple Colette Patterns Laurels, and I took a bunch of pictures today of finished projects.  New things coming your way!

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.

Simplicity 4762 Oliver and S

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!