March 27, 2015

A Princess Dress for My Princess

I should start this off with a warning/caution/some sort of disclosure. When I had my daughter put this dress on, she asked if it was twirly. Then she spun around and yelled, "It is! It is!" And then spent the rest of the time twirling. Except for when she was complaining about the bright sun, like she's doing in this picture.

This is an older Violet Field Threads pattern, the Fiona Dress and Top. I picked it up for just $3 on Black Friday, mainly because I liked how it looked with the Daphne Knickers. But since I just made some of those, I decided to sew it up with this pink crepe back satin type fabric that I got for $1/yard. I didn't realize that it had ruching on the bodice and the sash, but I ended up liking it. I think it gives a little something extra. There is also an option to add some ribbon ties to create a bustle in the skirt.  

The size chart was, I thought, incomplete. It has a waist measurement, but no chest measurement. That was the same for their pants pattern I sewed, but I thought that was just because it was a pants pattern, and you don't need a chest measurement for pants. So I guessed on the size. I was originally intending to sew this for my older daughter, but I realized as I was attaching the skirt that I forgot to add length. I thought about changing it to the shirt version, but it seemed like too fancy of a fabric for a shirt. What the heck would I pair it with? So my middle daughter got it. And it's way to big in the chest. The sash helps it in the front, but from the back, it's obvious its too big. And also, I machine hemmed the skirt. I'm pretty sure that's a huge no no with satin.

The original design also uses button loops instead of a lapped button placket, which I decided to change. It's personal preference, but I really don't like the back to button like that. Although it may have been a mistake to change it. This $1/yard fabric snagged like crazy on my buttonhole foot.

One other note. With this pattern, and also their pants that I sewed recently, they rely on a serger or zig zag stitch to finish some areas, that you could potentially do differently to enclose the raw edges. If that's something that will bother you, read though the pattern so you can make adjustments. Or just be like me and add it to your list of reasons to buy a serger. 

She looks like she's about to fall over here, but really, she's just twirling and jumping at the same time.

Mainly because of my mistakes with the fit, when my daughter asked if this was a play dress, I said "Yep." And she was delighted. Although after re-tying that sash with the slippery fabric about 10 times, I had her change into less fancy clothes and put it with the other dress-up dresses. Hence the Princess Dress in the title of this post.

March 26, 2015

DIY Spring Tulip Wreath

I love this pretty tulip wreath. I saw it on Pinterest last year, and I've wanted to make it ever since. I never did get to it last spring, but I made it this year, and I love how bright and cheery it looks. Tulips are one of my favorite flowers, but they don't last very long, and if you cut them, they have an even shorter life span. Especially with my brown and dead (as opposed to green) thumb.

I got bunches of fake tulips at Michaels. I also used a grapevine wreath. I just stuck the flowers in. I was planning on gluing them, but they actually stay in pretty well with the trick I used (see below).

My wreath holder doesn't fit on my front door, or at least, it won't unless I cut a notch for it in the door frame. And I don't think that would be a good idea. So I brought it inside and it adds some spring cheerfulness to my entryway.

Since the tutorial is great, I won't redo it here.

A couple of things I didn't see mentioned in the original tutorial:

First, make sure to use wire cutters or pliers or something. The stems have wires in them and you'll destroy your scissors if you try to use them instead.

The greenery on the stem can get in the way so that you can't poke it into your wreath very well.

Slide it all the way to the top and you have a nice long stem to work with and also, the greenery helps fill in your wreath.

Also, I didn't have a coupon, so my cost was closer to $25, not the $12 mentioned in the tutorial.

March 20, 2015

Maggie Color Blocked Dress

A little while back I posted a review of a Create Kids Couture paper pattern. I also have some of their PDF patterns, so here is my version of their Maggie Color Blocked dress.

I was debating between this dress and the Brownie Goose Lazy Susan, and ended up going with this one because the shoulders looked like they were a little too wide on the Lazy Susan. Also this one was on sale. 

The thing with Create Kids Couture patterns is they have lots and lots of people sewing their beautiful designs, and I have seen some pretty amazing pieces made from their patterns. I've come to the conclusion that those dresses come from people who already have a good working knowledge of sewing techniques. I am no perfectionist and make lots of mistakes, and am still learning new things about sewing, but there are lots of things I disagree with in their tutorials. For example, they say to only use one row of gathering stitches because high quality thread won't break. While this may be true, I like to use at least two rows of gathering stitches. It's a back up for thread breakage, but it also gives you much more even gathers. In this case, I used three rows of gathering stitches just to spite the instructions. And then one of my rows broke. Karma.

Also, most of the tutorial and inspiration photos show the skirt sewn too high on the bodice, so that the color blocking doesn't come to a nice point. I think that's because their seam allowances are off. I had to adjust to get my point nice and sharp when I attached the skirt. I was also disappointed to see when I bought the pattern that it doesn't include pieces for the color-blocking-it has you sew two triangles together and then cut out the bodice. Since the color-blocking was the reason I bought the pattern, I felt a little cheated. Also, it was kind of a waste of my expensive fabric.

One more change I made-the instructions called for a piece of elastic to make the button loop. Instead I did a search for a thread button loop and found a tutorial on youtube. This was my first attempt, and I had a baby on my lap as I was making it, but I still think it looks nicer than a piece of elastic.

Bottom line: I don't think I'd really recommend this particular pattern, as you could really get the same effect with any other bodice and two triangles of fabric. I do love the design though.

Pattern: CKC Maggie
Fabric: Dear Stella Carousel in Indigo
Michael Miller Glitz-mist quarter dot pearlized and sleek chevron pearlized

March 17, 2015

Easter Skirt from Mack and Lily

Disclosure: I was provided this pattern for free in exchange for my review. I received no other compensation. All opinions are my own.

Guys. This is such a cute pattern. It's not really the type of thing I normally sew, but I'm so glad I gave it a try. It's a basic skirt with a ruffle around the bottom, but what sets it apart is the applique. And the basket that doubles as a pocket. And the cute little plush bunny that fits in the pocket.

I sewed it up for my preschooler, because I knew she would love it. What I didn't know is that my older daughter would be jealous and want one too. It's a simple sew, and there are directions and pattern pieces for each of the applique pieces, but it does take a long time to cut out all those little pieces, fuse them to the skirt, and then sew them on. I just used a straight stitch, so the edges will fray when the skirt is washed, but that is so much faster than a satin stitch. And also, I think the fraying will add some character, especially to pieces like the grass.

She loved the bunny that came with it. She told me it was a baby, and that it's name is Baby Butterfly Bunny. 

If you want this pattern, which would make a great Easter basket filler, you can get it here.

March 16, 2015

How to Organize Your PDF Patterns

When you print off your PDF patterns, do they end up looking something like this? I had mine thrown in a box, and they were getting pretty crazy.

So I did a quick organizational project. I grabbed a pack of folders at Walmart and labeled them with the patterns I have printed out. I label them with the name of the pattern and the size range. Then I just fold the pattern pieces where I've taped them together, which means that they'll be the right size to fit in the folder. I also throw in pieces I've traced if I think there's a chance I'll use them again.

And then I put them in a filing cabinet that my husband gave me. The folders are organized by type of pattern (sort of). Some of them are a little bent, but they for sure look lots better than the pile of paper I had before, and it is much easier to find what I need.