I have been working on this dress in dribs and drabs throughout the month of January. With Kids Clothes Week looming on the horizon, I had just the motivation I needed to pull it together.
I found this dark olive green corduroy and I really liked how it matched the fabric I had left from Ella’s Mara’s Blouse. I decided to use the fabrics together to make the Oliver and S Library Dress. I bought both sizes of the pattern during the November pattern sale, but I couldn’t seem to find inspiration despite searching through Flickr. And honestly there was a part of me that thought it would be
complicated because of all the features of the dress like the cuffs on the sleeves, the waistband and all those buttons down the back.
Well I was completely wrong about this being a difficult pattern. There are a lot of pieces. But just like every Oliver and S pattern the directions are so clear that it was simple to make. Oliver and S has created such a high standard in their patterns that I have hard time even considering sewing with other patterns. However because the patterns teach you along the way, I feel like when I do choose to use other patterns I have more confidence.
I made this Library Dress for one of Ella and Delilah’s friends. I’ve known this little girl since before Delilah was born and we have been fortunate enough to receive lots of her hand-me-down clothes. Aside from the things I make and the couple of things we buy, my girls’ wardrobe is largely comprised of Maia’s old clothes. So what could be a better way to thank her (and her mom) than by making her a new dress.
Since I wasn’t sewing for my own children I was extra careful. I did things that I might not have done for my girls. I tacked up the cuffs on the sleeves because they were curling just a bit at the corners. And I also put a couple of hand stitches in where the bodice crosses over so that it wouldn’t gap. I tried something new to me to line up the buttonholes. I made the template out of Pellon and then sewed right through it. When I was done I ripped it off. It worked perfectly. However next time I would do it on the inside of the dress because there is a bit of Pellon in the thread that will have to work its way out. But I have never put in more straight and accurate button holes in my life.
The dress is more than two sizes too big for either of my girls so you’ll have to settle for pictures of the dress hanging.
And check out all those lovely buttons.
I don’t often buy patterns at my local fabric store but the Burda 9564 dress pattern caught my eye so I had to buy it. I was a little bit worried because it calls for a 12 inch zipper and I don’t often make clothes with zippers. But honestly, this is one of the easiest dresses I have ever made. I used a pink herringbone fabric from my stash (that picks up dog hair like crazy). This Kids Clothes Week has been very much a sewing through my stash week. There are only five pieces in this pattern, front, back, sleeves and a neck binding. It sewed together so quickly.
I realized after my daughter had gone to bed that I didn’t measure her. So I used her height measurement that we have on the back of the basement door. Since it is a swing dress I figured that there would be enough room through the body even if the size was off by a bit. When I tried it on her it was nearly perfect. The length worked with the recommended inch and a half hem. The sleeves were a bit long. I had to cut two inches off before hemming them.
This came out even cuter than I thought it would and it was a perfect quick project.
Some friends suggested we sew together using the same pattern. (A real life sew along if you will) and I jumped at the opportunity because one of the patterns was Oliver and S sandbox pants. Since this baby of mine keeps outgrowing things it seemed like a great opportunity to try out a new pants pattern for him. This time I sewed the 12-18 month size. I used the 6-12 month front pockets because I preferred them smaller for someone who doesn’t walk yet. Even in the smaller size the pockets are almost at his knees. I also opted not to use a drawstring waist because I just envisioned Barrett chewing on it and getting it all slimy. Even the thought of that cold slimy string gives me goosebumps. Instead I did an encased elastic waist waistband. But then it looked more like my contrast fabric was a belt. So I decided to go with it and add belt loops.
The pants are a stretch corduroy remnant from Fabric Place Basement and the waistband is left over from a bib making project. It is still in stock at Joann’s.
It seems crazy to me that my six month old is fitting into 12-18 month pants but he is tall and we also use cloth diapers which can add quite a bit of bulk.
Couldn’t think of a better time to get together with friends to sew than Kids Clothes Week. The other pattern we are working on is the Geranium Dress . I am hoping I can get that done before the end of the week.
After making Delilah a dress with my remnant bin find, Ella requested the same dress. But Ella has a very different style than Delilah. And I wanted to make something that suited her. I used Go to Patterns Signature Dress for this dress. The pattern has many different options for sleeves and pockets and can be made tunic, dress or maxi dress length. I chose to layer the ruffle sleeve with the long sleeve and to use the gathered pockets. If I do layered sleeves again, I think I would gather the ruffle a bit more. But otherwise the dress was a breeze to make. This was my first time making gathered pockets. The directions were very clear and well illustrated. There is even a helpful guide to knit fabric in the pattern to help you determine which knits will work best.
I can’t believe how grown up she looks all of the sudden.
Last week I went shopping for a wedding dress with my best friend. She asked me to meet her in a town that is a bit of a trip from my house but honestly it wouldn’t have mattered where it was (or that it was snowing) I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I mean I’ve been planning her wedding on Pinterest way before she ever got engaged. Well she found the perfect dress. Of course I can’t put a picture up yet. But it is beautiful and so her.
After we finished dress shopping a sensible lady would have driven home because the snow was really staring to accumulate. But not this lady. I had heard about a fabric store that was near the dress shop and since I was in the neighborhood, I had to check it out. The store is called Fabricplace Basement. I gave myself exactly 45 minutes to look around because of the snow. That isn’t usually enough time in a regular fabric store let alone one that takes up the entire basement of a good size shopping mall.
Oh my gosh! How did I not know about this place. They have everything from home decor fabrics, designer quilting cottons and such an amazing array of shirting and suiting fabrics that I didn’t know where to begin. After I determined what designers they carried and made a plan to return, I headed to the apparel remnant bin. If you haven’t figured it out, I am a sucker for a deal.
I found a black and white striped knit that I had to have. How can
you pass up sixty inch wide knit at 5.99 a yard? It had some stains on it near the selvage but I knew if I was careful I could cut around them. I also bought a tiny piece of red knit that I planned to use with the striped fabric. I was thinking of making t-shirts with a red neckband but when I got home and played with the fabric, I decided to try making the Oliver and S Playtime Dress. The pattern says that it is suitable for light to medium weight knits and I would say my fabric fell somewhere between light to medium in weight. I chose to make the bodice with the grain of the fabric and the skirt against the grain. I’ve made the pattern before out of corduroy so I wasn’t worried that skirt wouldn’t have stretch across the body. Because the skirt is gathered there is plenty of room to move (and play). And the red fabric? Well it became a heart appliqué of course.
This pattern made out of a knit is perfect. There was nothing complicated. I thought it might be difficult to get the button holes perfect, but because the facings are interfaced it was no problem. And putting the sleeves in you can almost do with your eyes closed when you work with a knit.
Delilah wore the dress the very next day to the library story and craft hour and (of course) to our local fabric store, where I only bought thread. Because once I sew through some of my stash, I have a big spring trip planned for Fabricplace Basement.
Making bubbles at the library
The back with red buttons that Delilah chose from my button box.
And most importantly at the table with the pattern books picking out an Easter dress pattern. (The faces this kid makes kill me).
I don’t often sew clothing for my son. He’s six months old and he is growing so fast. Strangers always comment on, “what a big boy” he is. He isn’t abnormally huge but compared to his petite sisters, he seems gigantic to even me. I often find myself taking an outfit off just as I have dressed him because he has outgrown it. So if I do sew for him it is usually something that he can’t outgrow like a blanket or a bib.
But once I saw some of the elk prints Jay-Cyn designed for the Birch Fabric’s Oak Grove knit collection, I just had to make something for Barrett. Of course once I decided to order the fabric it was out of stock most places. I finally found a half yard at this Etsy shop. Lucky for me I only needed half a yard to make Made by Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee in the 12-18 month size.
I purchased the pattern specifically for the Elk fabric. And let me just say, I’m in love. Seriously, if you are considering trying a pattern for knit fabrics, start here. It comes together so fast and has great little pointers along the way. And no, you don’t need a serger to successfully sew this pattern.
I paired the shirt with Oliver and S nature walk pants.
My only warning about the pattern or any pattern really is check out the size chart and measure your child. Even though Barrett is a hefty six month old, who wears mostly size nine month clothing I knew he would mostly fit into the 12-18 month size based on Rae’s sizing chart. The only change I had to make was to cut two
inches off the sleeves. (I could have cut off a bit more but I really want this to fit more than a few weeks). This was so fast and so easy. It has made me rethink my unwillingness to sew for babies. Oh and it has totally opened my eyes to all the great boy fabrics that I’ve overlooked. Barrett was totally uncooperative for photos, but you get the idea.
I first discovered Marte and Compagnie M through Gail at Probably Actually. Gail is an amazing sewist and I just love her aesthetic. So when she reviewed a Compagnie M pattern I had to check it out.
Marte of Compagnie M creates lovely patterns that have a very retro feel to them. Each one has details, like piping or artfully placed buttons that really make an exceptional finished piece and the patterns lend themselves nicely to customization. I chose to purchase the Mara Blouse pattern because it has the option to have long or short sleeves and it can also be made into a dress. Since it is winter here, the long sleeve option is important if I want to see my children actually wear the things I sew.
I used a baby whale corduroy from the red tag section at Joann’s as well as some print quilting cotton. I had originally intended to sew the dress for Ella to wear for Thanksgiving so the fabrics have a bit of fall harvest look about them.
I’ve only worked with corduroy once before and I wasn’t sure how it would work with pleats so I omitted the pleats in the front. I didn’t even realize when I bought the quilting cotton just how versatile it would be. I chose one stripe to make the bias tape for the collar so that it wouldn’t get lost in the large busy print. This gave the top a distinct collar. I also added a decorative stitch around the cuffs and the hem because it just looked too plain. Without the pleats, the drape seemed to lend itself better to a tunic length so I did end up chopping a bunch of fabric off the bottom before I hemmed it.
The end result reminds me a bit of traditional Ukrainian shirts that my grandparents had. I don’t think I could have come up with a better plan for a heritage sewing piece if I had tried.
Here’s my unintended inspiration. My grandfather in his 20’s when he first came to the United States.