Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Simplicity 2572 - Skinny jeans for a skinny girl

My first son was a big baby. He was born at 9lbs. 2oz. and just got bigger and bigger. People use to stop me and say, "Wow! He's healthy!!!" And I would think, "Shut up! He's gorgeous!" Now when I look back at his baby pictures, I realize he really was a chunk. With huge baby cheeks. He was always in the 95th percentile for height and weight compared to other babies his age.

My second son was born at 8lbs. 11oz., and was a very average size baby. He wore the same clothes that his brother had worn 2 years earlier, but they usually fit him for a little longer. I never made them anything because sewing boy clothes didn't seem very interesting, and there were hardly any cute patterns for boys.

Now this new little person has been an adjustment. She started out tiny - 6lbs. 7oz. - and hasn't grown much in the 2.5 months since then. At the doctor's office for a checkup last week, the nurse put her on the scale to weigh her - 8lbs. 14oz.! I was shocked! My home scale read at least 10lbs. I had them reweigh her, thinking surely there had been some mistake. No mistake. She's in the 5th percent for weight and the 10th percent for height. It looks like she'll be a petite girl, and it's a good thing I know how to sew.

Making pants was not high on my list of cute baby clothes to make, but they are now a necessity that I can't find to fit her. We have a few pairs of leggings that don't fall off when I pick her up. Dresses aren't too bad since they don't have to fit in the waist, but no tights fit and her legs get cold. So, I guess I'll now be making lots of bottoms.

These little jeans only took a day and a half to whip up. I used the same pattern as this skirt, which I now realize will never fit. I love the bottom ruffles on this design and decided to do topstitching with orange thread to break up all the denim.

I also added a little heart pocket to the back. Originally there were two hearts on the back, but since her bottom is so tiny, two was too much. I made the XXS. In order to get these to fit, I cut 1" off each side pattern piece, resulting in pants that are 4" narrower then designed. I've compared the original pattern size to other RTW 0-3 months pants, and it is spot on. So other then being off by calling this a newborn size, this pattern should fit other babies with no problems.

This fabric is a cotton denim I've had in the stash forever. I'm not sure what I originally purchased it for, but there's enough of it left over for some baby overalls. These were so easy and such a success that I'll be making a black pair next. I'm thinking side cargo pockets and bottom cuffs.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Butterick 5454 - Black floral knit wrap dress

Hello! I finally have a new FO to show you. This is a simple wrap dress design that I usually wouldn't have looked twice at (too simplistic/non-challenging) except that I kept seeing it pop up over at Patternreview.com. And as I am attempting to use simple patterns for busy fabrics, it was perfect for this border print ITY knit.

I wish there had been enough fabric to cut the sleeves and bottom tie on the border as well. That would have been so eye-popping. As is the ties get a little lost with all the busyness of the print. With such a short amount of yardage, I was squeezing in pattern pieces wherever they would fit. I did try to match up the skirt and bodice pieces where they intersect at the waist. However, it was a total fluke that the sleeves match up perfectly to the front and back bodice! Honestly, I'm not sure I could have pulled that off if I'd had 2 extra yards and the willingness to try.

At the moment, the girls are pulling the neckline out and the waistline of the skirt up slightly in the front. This is how the dress will lay once they go back to normal non-nursing size. It's a rather low neckline for me, and will still require a cami underneath.

I did make the effort to match up the border motif at the hemline. Oh, and I took a 1.5" hem instead of the 5/8" per the pattern instructions. Otherwise, no other changes were made.

I used bias tape to finish off the neckline so it wouldn't stretch out. I liked the idea of using clear elastic instead, but couldn't figure out how to attach the ties with it and still have neat insides. French seams were used throughout. As I've written before, I have nothing against the use of a serger to finish off seams, and would certainly utilize one if I could. But my sewing space is in the corner of our master bedroom, and I only have room for one sewing machine.

That's it for now! Rachel is in desperate need of some pants that fit her super skinny waist, and I've got another knit dress already cut out. Hopefully it's a productive week. If I don't get another post done before then, happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Simplicity 4243 - Maroon print w/ zebra corduroy baby dress

This one actually fits! Doesn't she look like a little doll?

I originally bought this pattern for the gingham dress on the cover and never thought to use it for winter. But of course you have to get creative when you've only got a handful of patterns to work with. I'm still planning to make the gingham one this summer.

Both of these fabrics are thin wale corduroy; the maroon print is from JoAnn's, the zebra print from Hancock's. I added pink piping to the neckline, armholes, and between the fabrics at the bottom. It is not easy to do this on such tiny openings, especially the armholes. What a pain! But it makes for a super cute dress! Aren't the little pleats at the neckline a fun touch?

I used an invisible zipper for the back closing and tapered the neckline piping into the neck seam right before the zipper. The maroon topstitching you see is from the bias tape finished edges.

Here you can see the bias tape around the neckline. This is per the pattern instructions, but of course you already know I like this method of finishing and use it quite a bit. I topstitched with black thread in the top of my machine and maroon in the bobbin.

French seams were used for the shoulders and side seams, bias tape finished off the armholes and center back seam, and I slipstitched the bottom band up.

It was really fun to make this little dress, but not nearly as much instant gratification as the zebra print I made before. Incidentally, this is the last of the zebra print, in case you are worried I'm making a wardrobe full. It was the only corduroy print I could find that went with the maroon. Oh, and I made size XXS, which I'm happy to report fits like a 0-3 month RTW size. I've fabric for one more winter dress from this pattern, so expect to see it again soon.

But up next, a knit dress for me. Can you believe I'm completely tired of making lined jackets?! Well I am, and gave myself permission to make whatever I want for the rest of the year.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Check out the new Buttericks!

Lately I've been stalking the Butterick website. They are always the last ones to put up patterns for the coming season. They finally posted them today and I LOVE this new lineup! Usually I find only one or two that I like (except for Vogue) because pattern companies like to repeat themselves a lot. Surprise! These new ones seem fresh and interesting and even a little challenging!

This first one is dress 5554, and yes, I have seen this color blocked design before. The pleated sleeves are what make this special to me, especially since they attach right where the front and back princess seams meets the sleeve.

I really don't know why I like this next one, 5555. It's not that new or different. I guess because the sleeves have a lot less poof to them then I normally see. And the fabrics listed for it include stable knits. And it doesn't look like there's a ton of fabric gathered up in the waist area. Something is appealing about it...

I really adore this next one, 5558, a Maggy London design. Check out the blackline drawing - there are pleats around the entire midriff. Fabric choice will be crucial to get a nice drape below the pleats.

Okay, love love dress 5559. Those lines are tucks sewn on the outside of the fabric. Plus they are present on the front and the back. This is another design for stable knits. It's fun and interesting. Did I mention I LOVE it?!

This is a fun little knit top pattern, 5561. The front line is actually a deep pleat, and I really like the short sleeves and cowl neckline on the top left example.

This next picture is from top 5562. It's pretty simple, but the sleeves are fun.

Check out the outside pleats on the bottom two drawings of 5566. Don't they look very Anthropology to you? I also like the top right two fabric combo. Very nice!
I like the shawl collar long sleeve jacket of 5568, but would probably add the front breast pockets and use the plain sleeves. It has interesting front tucks and a pleated back peplum. Hmm, it snaps closed. That's a little weird. I might be adding some front buttons as well.

What do you think? These are cute, right? Hooray for Butterick, they finally put out some patterns that I'm excited about!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bad fabric choices and other random things

I've nothing new to show you as I've been experiencing a string of wadders these last few weeks. I still love both designs and will make them again in different fabrics, but it is so frustrating to waste time and money.

First I attempted vest 123 from the October 2008 Burda:

I found this lovely shade of quilted polyester taffeta at JoAnn's and thought I'd struck gold. It was a gorgeous fabric, but too stiff to be made into such a high-necked garment. It feels very choking to me. Also this was my first time putting in this kind of zipper, and for some reason it is wavy all along the edge. Is this my fabric or the nature of plastic zippers? I don't know, but the next go around with this pattern will involve a metal zipper. (Possibly this was user error as well.)

Then I spent 3 days sewing time tracing and cutting out each individual piece for the Claudia Strater jacket, also from October 2008. I have been in love with this design for 2 years and finally got around to making it.

Except the houndstooth I picked is too big to show any of the details that make this jacket special. See this welt pocket? I spent practically all of last night trying to get it perfect, only to realize it's invisible unless I stick my hand in. Not to mention the fabric is too light a weight for a jacket and raveled like crazy. Sigh.

So, to cheer myself up from all these mistakes, I've decided to make a little dress for Rachel. We'll just see how Simplicity's XXS measures up. It's suppose to fit up to 7 pounds, but I'm hoping to get at least small enough for a 0-3 month RTW size.

In other news, I just purchased 3 Oliver+S patterns from Fabric.com at the recommendation of Amber, and some fabrics to go with them. The patterns are on sale until Nov. 9, in case anyone else is interested. (Plus I found a 15% off coupon code online.)

Here's a picture of baby Rachel. She's now 10 weeks old and has started smiling. And sleeping for 10 hour stretches at night, which makes for a great night's sleep for me!