I came to the Sarah Jane love fest a little late. But better late than never, right?
Last year my dear friend Meg commented on this outfit in the Coral Belles etsy shop and said Sarah Jane was one of her favorite childrens’ book illustrators. Well if Meg says someone or something is wonderful you pay attention because Meg has impeccable taste. Naturally after her comment I started paying close attention to Sarah Jane fabrics. So much so that when Hawthorne Threads offered a preorder option on Sarah Jane’s newest collection, Wee Wanderer, I jumped right on it. I carefully selected prints that I thought my daughters might like and preordered them in the middle of the night while I was up with my then 4 month old. Well the problem with ordering fabric whilst completely sleep deprived is that when it arrived nearly a month later I had no idea its intended uses. I know there are people out there that buy fabric just because they like it, with no project in mind. I mostly don’t do that because my house is way too small to hold a giant fabric stash. I have just one cabinet and I didn’t even buy all the fabric in there. Some of it was a gift from my Mother in Law or from a friend of mine that knows I sew and found a great deal. (I owe her a dress for her daughter). But, I digress…. I have no idea what middle of the night fabric buying Emily intended to make from the Wee Wanderer fabrics so I waited a bit until there was a need or I was inspired to sew something.
Inspiration came in the form of an opportunity to teach a sewing class. The pattern picked for the class was the Oliver and S Rollerskate Dress. A pattern that I think lends itself perfectly to the border print Summer Night Lights fabric.
I’ve about made this pattern to death. But I really love the way it fits both the girls. Every version including this one has been made for Ella. Last year’s dress has already been passed on to Delilah. And it works with no alterations necessary. Delilah still has a bit of a toddler body at freshly four years old while Ella at five has more of a kid’s body so I’m finding clothes don’t often hand-down as well as they used to. Since this dress does,
I often find myself turning to this pattern.
I made the pattern almost exactly as directed. I did understitch the seam at the neck because I have found when I use anything other than a polyester lining fabric it tends to roll a bit. I prefer to use a muslin, shot cotton or even lightweight shirting for the lining so that the inside of the dress doesn’t stick to sweaty legs on hot days. (Not that I think it will ever be hot again given the winter we’ve had). In addition to the understitching, I also dropped the elastic an inch. Ella says it is uncomfortable when I put it as directed by the pattern. So I moved it down slightly and it is okay.
The pattern is pretty straightforward. My very new to sewing student is doing amazingly well at interpreting and executing the pattern. Hopefully she’ll let me put some pictures here when we’re done. I encouraged her to choose an Oliver and S pattern as a project because the instructions and illustrations are so clear for a beginner (or really anyone). So many people have said they learned to sew using Oliver and S patterns. Hopefully my student will come out of this feeling like she learned some things.
Until we finish her version, here is Ella’s dress.
Ella, before I promised her a lollipop if she would just smile.
And the post-bribe Ella
Further proving candy can fix almost anything. Even organic, food dye free vitamin C lollipops.
I don’t often sew for myself. Adult sewing usually requires more fabric and precision than children’s clothing. I
don’t mind can tolerate when a print is a little off on something that I’ve sewn for one of my children. Really it fits for 6 months at most and they are only three feet tall so it isn’t as in your face as adult clothing.
So even though it is rare that I sew for myself when Andrea Pannell reached out looking for testers for her Parisian top, I couldn’t pass it up. Her Signature Dress is one of my favorite dresses to make for my girls. And I had decided that 2014 would be the year I sew a couple of things for me.
I chose a black and white striped knit for the shirt and a black knit for the collar. They were both fabrics I owned because this is also the year that I need to sew through some of what I have rather than buying new fabrics.
Let me say, I love this top! There are so many cute details. First of all, the Peter Pan collar. I just love it. And it can be made from a woven or a knit fabric so you really have options. Second, gathered sleeves. Such a sweet feminine detail. And something that really works well in a knit fabric. And I can’t say enough about the sleeve bands (cuffs) and waist band. Not only do they fall really nicely but they mean no hemming. Just sew it in and bam professional looking finish at all the edges.
This is a pretty easy pattern to make. I made it a lot harder by using a stripe. Like I said when you sew for an adult it takes a little more precision. Those pesky little stripes need to match at the seams and they need to be straight. So the stripes did slow me down but otherwise everything about the pattern is very straight forward.
Andrea provides some great tips for working with knits in the beginning of the pattern including the fact that you don’t need a serger to sew knits. Yes, it’s true. You can see knits on your regular old sewing machine! And why wouldn’t you want to? Think about the clothes you wear most of the time. Chances are many of them are made from a knit fabric rather than a woven.
My friend Victoria was kind enough to take these photos of me as I was trying to convince my children to behave so I am making some pretty awful faces. But don’t look at my face. Look at the cute top.
Hooray Peter Pan Collar!
And the always lovely, “get your shoes on so we can go home and stop overstaying our welcome face”
The Parisian is one of four tops that are in the Just Add Jeans collection by the very talented ladies of Pattern Anthology. Until March 24th you can get the Parisian and the three other shirt patterns for $29.95. After that each shirt pattern is sold individually. It’s such a great deal for some fun and practical patterns. This is the first collection that Pattern Anthology has created for women. (Prior collections have been for kids). After a win with the Parisian I am so excited to sew the other shirts in the collection.
Thanks to Andrea for allowing me to pattern test. Opinions are all my own.
This year Delilah asked again to have an adults only birthdays party. I think she’s figured out that with only adults in attendance she truly is the center of attention.
Well first there was a snow storm, then we all had the stomach flu. So Delilah’s party was postponed twice. Finally this past Saturday we had her butterfly and hearts themed adults only birthday party.
She was going to wear a long sleeve two tone version of the Skater Dress that I made specifically for the party. And is oh so cute but in the end she decided to wear Ella’s Rollerskate Dressfrom last summer because it had big butterflies on it.
Here’s the dress she didn’t wear. (A nice warm seasonally appropriate long sleeve dress.
And one more because I can’t stand how cute she was the day we took these pictures.
And then some party pictures with cupcakes, tea sandwiches (in butterfly and heart shapes) and cookies.
And here she is finally blowing out the candles.