The thoughts, sewing projects, and fabric oglings of a dedicated sewist.

Pattern Hacking Simplicity 2580

Ugh, you say, "This pattern again???"  That's right - this pattern again!  It might not be worth posting except that I made some (new!) changes this time aroud.

First, a review.  At last count I have made this pattern at least 12 times, including at least one version (for a client) that I forgot to photograph.  I even made the dress twice with the exact same fabric (once for me, once for a client).  I've hacked it in various ways (see here and here and here).  I had one failure (see here) which I recently tried to fix recently by chopping it to make a top (we'll see if I wear that when the weather gets cooler).  It's a bit overwhelming when you put them all together.

But you can certainly say that I got my money's worth when I bought this pattern for 99 cents!

My last make of this pattern was for a friend/client from my bookclub.  Judi doesn't wear a lot of dresses, but she really loved the multi/brown rectangles dress when I wore it one night and she decided to splurge on some absolutely luxurious rayon jersey from (sadly now out of stock - but you can still get the multi/brown rectangels here and it's on sale!).

She wanted a more flared skirt than the original pattern.  I thought about doing a slash and spread on the skirt pattern pieces, but then I looked through my pattern stash and decided to just use Vogue 8571 instead.

So, Simplicty 2580 + Vogue 8571 =  Voglicity 8571-2580?

The fabric was very lightweight and drapey so I underlined the back bodice with black knit tricot lining (the front bodice is already a double layer of fasion fabric) and lined the skirt with the same.  Judi wanted to come in a bit more under the bust (and I wanted to stop the heavy skirt from dragging down the bodice) so I created a casing in the bodice/skirt seam allowance for 1/4" elastic.

I like that the elastic give the dress more support without having an obvious elastic waist.

Next week I've got some new makes to show you, and I'll hopefully be almost done with my Elisalex by then.  Onward, Ho!

STOP PRESS: I just discovered a new blog on Victoria's 10 Thousand Sewing Hours.  It's called The Lost Art of Fine Tailoring, and the gentleman who runs the blog is offering a giveaway right now - check it out!

More Birthday Twirls

In my last post I mentioned that the non-birthday girl always gets a skirt from the leftovers of the birthday girl's dress.  Mooper wanted to play around while I made help make her skirt this year, so I needed something quick and simple.  I went to my go-to circle skirt tutorial from Dana Made It.  This skirt is fast to make because there's no casing for the elastic - you simply sew the elastic straight onto the skirt.

The only time consuming part of this tutorial is the hem.  Even with a teeny-tiny skirt for a 3-year-old, the hem on a circle skirt can take some time, and I knew Moops wouldn't have the patience to wait.

So I decided to line the skirt, attaching the lining at the hem first.

I cut the lining out just as I did the main fabric and then laid them right sides together and pinned at the hem:

I sewed around the hem  with a 3/8" seam allowance and then trimmed that back to about 1/8" while Moopser did some of her own work.

Next you need to turn the skirt right side out and press:

Then baste the layers together at the waistband:

And finish the skirt as per Dana's instructions in her tutorial.

See the nice crisp hem with no measuring, handstitching, double turns or rolled hems??

The skirt was ready in less than an hour and then Moopsy got her turn in front of the camera!

Birthday Twirls

If you've been following this blog for a while you know that I do very little sewing for my own girls.  They have tons of clothes (handmedowns and grandma gifts) so they don't really need anything, and I prefer to build up my own wardrobe during my personal sewing time.  But I do make a birthday dress for each of them and the non-birthday girl gets a skirt from the leftover fabric.

Belly's birthday is today but I had to get her dress ready for the family birthday party that took place over the weekend.  Belly has a light yellow eyelet dress that was a hand-me-down from someone.  She decided she wanted a pink version of the dress for her birthday this year.  The original dress has princess seams, empire waist, ribbon sash and full gathered skirt. 

Inspiration dress

In drafting the pattern using the pin through method, I skipped the princess seams since their only role was to hold the ribbon sash and Belly didn't want to have to tie anything.  I also decided to make the skirt a circle skirt because my girls are currently in love with twirling.  And there's nothing like twirling in a circle skirt, right?

We couldn't find any suitable pink eyelet fabric, so Belly helped me dye the fabric early last week.  I used RIT fuchsia dye because I hadn't gotten around to ordering fiber reactive dye in time.  She had a lot of fun watching the fabric turn from white to pink.

Sorry for the blurriness - I took the photo while it was still steaming

From this point onwards I wanted to use what was in my stash which led to a bit of a hodge podge construction process.  We decided to line the dress in dark gray cotton lawn except that I didn't have enough of the dark gray so we used light gray for the skirt lining.  I wanted to add piping at the neck, arms, and waist, but I didn't have enough 1/8" cording so I used 1/4" cording for the waist.  Belly had chosen decorative purple flower buttons but I misplaced those in my sewing room (ack!) but she settled for these slightly different purple flower buttons.  And, Watch out! Here she comes!

Check out the twirl!

I did a variety of rolled hems for the skirt: a serged rolled hem on the lining (since it was short enough already) and a regular rolled hem on the eyelet.  It was a little tough sewing the thin hem on the embroidered bits, but no one will notice the bumps on this.  Cora wanted to help with this but she got fed up about half-way through the first pass on the hem ("This is hard, Mama." Sigh.)!

I also made fancy cupcakes for the party and Cora chose popstar microphone cupcakes from the crazy cupcake book:

And today my big girl is 6! 

I'm Back!

Whew.  That last month of the summer crushed me.  But as of yesterday Belly is back in school and Moop is back at daycare and I am back in my routine.  So glad to be here.

I've got a bunch of finished projects and tutorials and teaching moments to share with you from the six weeks.  I'm excited to start writing (and reading) again.  In the meantime, I have a bit of fun for you.

I taught two week-long camps with my friend Nancy Sidman of Miss Nancy Schmancy at The Little Bits Workshop in River Forest  The first camp had 12 girls, age 9 through 11.  The second camp had 11 girls, age 9 through 13 (the big range led to an interesting social dynamic).  In both camps, a bunch of girls with little or no sewing machine experience sewed a garment and a tote bag in just one week and then walked the runway.  It was crazy fun!  You can watch a video of the first runway show here and see photos here