And one for me

I always feel compelled to sew something to wear at Quilt Market. I’m not quite sure why that is, but I’m inevitably sitting at the sewing machine a few days before I leave, trying to make a new garment for the occasion.

May’s Quilt Market in Minneapolis was no exception. I’d had the Out & About Dress from Sew Caroline on my list for a while, and the fabric was already washed and ready to cut. Because this was my first time making this pattern, I pulled out some odd cuts of leftover knits and mocked up the bodice to check the fit, adding just a hair to the bodice bottom to move the waistline a little closer to my actual waist. Perfect on the first try!



I modified the skirt portion of the dress to be more of an A-line rather than gathered to the waist. I think the style just works better for my shape.

Sarah talked me into using this Robert Kaufman print of multicolor mustaches instead of the polka dot fabric I’d first picked up. I really love the Laguna jersey and this fabric is really no crazier than any of my funky leggings, so I went for it.

I’m happy with how it turned out and can’t wait for the weather to cool off in the fall so I can wear it again.

Summer is for Shorts

While at International Quilt Market in Minneapolis last month, I fell in love with the Coachella Shorts sample hanging in the Checker Distributors booth. I knew they’d be perfect for Miss L and with summer coming up, I put them at the top of my “must sew” list.

The pattern is by Striped Swallow Designs and features a curved hem accented with trim. It’s sized for girls 6 months-12 years and uses just a small amount of fabric — like, 3/4 yard for size 8-12. Bonus!

My sweet girl had a massive growth spurt since this time last year, so I couldn’t wait to whip up a pair of these as soon as the patterns arrived at the shop. I opted for the size 8, based on her current measurements and the pattern sizing.


They are super cute but clearly not the best fit. And she found them very uncomfortable. Back to the cutting table!

I trace all my patterns so I used washi tape to add an extra piece to the center crotch seam of both the front and back shorts pieces. I measured and extended the pieces about 1-1/2″ to give her the needed room.

While I could have just sized up the shorts, I opted to make the pattern modification because the rest of the fit seemed spot on. Sizing up would have made them larger all over.


I skipped the trim on the second pair, just in case the fit was still off. They turned out much better! The trim really shows off the cute seam lines, so I’ll definitely be using it on future pairs. L says they feel so much better and she’s gotten quite the use out of them.


Have you seen the new Oliver+S patterns yet? Cuteness doesn’t begin to cover it. I’ve been stalking the site for months, waiting for the talented Liesl to announce that they were ready for business. When the day arrived, Miss L helped me pick out the first one to sew, the Puppet Show Tunic+Shorts.

I worked on the outfit this week whenever I had the chance, sneaking it in between this and that. I also bent my “no sewing after 9 p.m.” rule so I could work on it. I’m happy to say that it’s done!

I had just enough of this bright La Zagala fabric for the top, which I accented with pink-and-white-polka dot cuffs and collar. The shorts are a hot pink cotton twill that I picked up at Hobby Lobby. The shirt buttons up the back, and also has buttons on the sleeve cuffs. The pattern calls for using a contrasting print on the bodice pieces but I wanted to do the top pretty much all one fabric. I like the small touches of contrast on this. The main fabric is so busy, I think anything else might be a little overwhelming on such a tiny girl as mine.

The degree of difficulty on this pattern is ranked as three out of four pairs of scissors and I’d have to say that’s pretty accurate. The top involves a fair amount of hand stitching, as well as a little bit of understitching. The directions are very thorough but that’s not necessarily a good thing for me. Because of that whole ADD thing, I tend to skim written material. At one point, I had to go back two steps to sew things I’d skipped over. Whooops! There are a lot of great details to this outfit, so reading the instructions is essential.

The pattern calls for sewing the sleeves and top separately, and then setting in the finished sleeves. I was a little worried about fitting the small sleeves on my free arm, so I opted to attach the sleeves and then finish the underarm and side seams in one fell swoop. This would have worked well had it not been for the little sleeve cuffs. Had I read through and actually comprehended the instructions, I might have followed them. Instead, I had a nice bit of finagling to do in order to get the sleeve edges turned and sewn properly without sewing my own finger. (In retrospect, I should have done the buttonholes on the cuffs before attaching them to the sleeves, since it was a bit of a challenge to get them under the presser foot without getting other parts of the shirt stuck under there, too.)

The pattern also called for cutting out and sewing far more of the bias hem facing than I actually needed. Not a big deal but if you’re going to sew the size 2 (and possibly the 3), you could easily make do with two bias strips.

It’s a really pretty outfit and I think it would look beautiful with linen shorts and a pretty batiste cotton top. Or even a cool seersucker.  I’m already plotting my next pattern purchase and figuring out what fabrics I’ll use. Because I’m nutty like that.

Lazy Sunday

Honey headed into the office today so it’s been just me and the babies. Yes, I still refer to all of them as “babies” even though the older two have towered over me for years. Secretly, I think they like it; after all, they sometimes still call me “Mommy.”

Since conditions were right (a second camera operator) and the sun was actually out, I had J take a picture of me wearing my latest sewing-for-me project. These are the “muslin” I made for my first crack at Favorite Things‘ new Smarty Pants pattern. I did not hem them because I do not intend to wear them out of the house. Or likely ever. Nothing says “I have a big butt” like this fabric print. Why did I buy it? I have no clue. All I know is that I had enough of it to try this pattern without making some sort of hodgepodge clown pants because I had to use two or three fabrics.

But I digress.

I know capri pants are some big fashion no-no according to all those makeover shows but I don’t care. They are comfortable and hide my thighs, and they’re a bit cooler than jeans or long pants during the summer. (It’s not called “Hotlanta” for nothing.)

The pattern also makes Bermuda shorts and there are options for pockets and belt loops but I haven’t tried them out yet. And I’m not sure I will, since that style of pockets draws attention to my hips, which I’d prefer received a little less attention.

This is actually a pretty easy pants pattern. I highly recommend covering up the sizes and looking solely at the measurements to determine the best fit. Go by just your size and you may be disappointed. I know I would have been. Maybe “depressed” would be a better word.

Moving on.

The pants are only six pieces, which sounds like a lot but it’s not. Two front leg pieces. Two back leg pieces. Two pieces for the waistband. The waistband is two pieces because the back band forms a casing in which you insert elastic to fit the waist. The flat front waistband is a flattering look, and I like that the back fits closely so I don’t have to worry about someone seeing my Hanes Her Way.

Because these are a muslin, I didn’t do any serging of seams which did cut down the sewing time. Still, I made these pants from start to finish (cutting, pinning, sewing, fitting) in just a couple of hours. I think future iterations will be faster, especially because I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the assembly of the waistband. This is no fault of the pattern instructions; I’m just a hands-on learner and sometimes have to read the directions a few times, then practice with the fabric to get it down.

Favorite Things also makes these in a Little Smarty Pants version (which I also own) and I expect them to be a cornerstone of Miss L’s spring and summer wardrobe if they sew up as easily as I expect.

In other news, I added these Mommy & Me aprons to my Etsy today. I’m still loving the Heather Bailey Fresh Cut fabrics, accented here with a little Robert Kaufman floral plus a touch of grosgrain ribbon. I had originally planned to do the ruffle a little differently but I’m happy with how these turned out.

We had fun with our little photo shoot. I think L expected to keep wearing her apron as she played, since she dragged my mixing bowl and spoon into the living room. Sorry, kiddo!