Farbenmix & Fledge Fashion Show

As much fun as I’ve had with the red plaid Cardiff pants, I was itching to do a less conservative pair. I think I accomplished that with these pants.

Both fabrics are from Joann’s and part of the fall juvenile apparel line. They are a heavier weight cotton, more of a twill than a quilting cotton but not quite that heavy. They’re just the right weight, though, to hold those pleats nice and crisp.

I made these before my minor sewing meltdown, although they’re not without problems. I’d wanted them a little longer than the red plaid pair, so I added a squint to the seam allowances here and there. Silly me added the length in the wrong place! For some crazy reason, I added to the yoke/saddle, which makes the rise longer. I should have added to the upper pants leg where it meets the pleated leg panels (and probably a touch of length to those panels, too). *sigh* They’re still cute and they fit, even if I know they’re not quite right.

I’ve got quite a few ideas in mind for this pattern and can’t wait to make some more. I think I’ll even make a pair for one of my nieces, who’s a bit of a rock-and-roll princess.

I’ve had the Farbenmix Kim pants pattern forever but never got around to sewing it. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I have a ridiculous number of patterns and a “to sew” list that grows by the hour. Part of it may also had to do with the fact that I get twitchy about sewing pants with lots of parts. No particular reason why; I just do. And there are quite a few pieces to this pattern. Oh, but look how fabulous they are! The fabric is again from Joann’s (seriously, there is such cuteness there, I can’t stand it) and definitely a pants-appropriate weight. I don’t mind using quilting cotton for pants but I think it really is better to use a heavier weight fabric, especially for fall and winter.

These pants run slim, which is great for my girl. I do think I need to trim the rise just a touch. It’s a little full for my potty trained Miss L. But other than that, they’re awesome.

The shirt, on the other hand, is a mess and a half. It’s the Zoe raglan tee, also from Farbenmix, and I really should have trusted my instincts when I was working on it. I did lengthen the shirt about an inch and a half, which was the right decision. So why I didn’t cut the ribbing for the neckline differently is beyond me. (For the record, I sewed this top around the time when all of my sewing disasters were happening.) I followed the pattern instructions for the ribbing size and sewing, in spite of the fact that I *knew* the ribbing was too long for the neckline and that I always get better results serging the neckline in the round than in the flat. And that’s how I ended up with a strange funnel neck look to the shirt. Kind of makes you wonder why I didn’t rip it off, cut a new one and fix it, doesn’t it? I’ve got no answer. What I do know is that I’m going to remake the shirt before the weather changes so my daughter doesn’t have to wear that hot mess out of the house. (I think I’ll repurpose this one for a pair — or three — of the That Darn Kat panties. She can wear them under the pants.)


I’m going to take a break from sewing for the next day or two. Why? Because everything I have attempted to sew in the past five days has been a disaster. The Sewing Gods/Goddesses are talking and it’s time for me to listen.

You know, the whole blogging process is incredibly selective. No one sees my mistakes and disasters — or even knows they exist — if I don’t talk about them. I think it’s far too easy to get a skewed perspective about what I do when all I share are the successes. Let’s head into the Craft Addict Confessional and look a little closer at what’s sent me into temporary exile.

Exhibit X: I made myself the cutest skirt, sewn from a 2007 issue of Ottobre and made with the prettiest babywale corduroy from Joann’s. Only one problem: It’s two sizes too big. I could possibly wear it if I were willing to tug it down until it barely covers my bikini line. Ummm, no thanks.

Exhibit A: I bought an out-of-print Butterick pattern and decided to give it a whirl. Although the pattern calls for knit fabric, it also specifies the use of a zipper. I have no idea why, since the neckline appears to be plenty big enough.

Since it was my first attempt at the pattern, I opted to use a cute, expendable knit I bought at Joann’s, rather than one of my pretty (and spendy) finds I bought elsewhere. That proved to be a wise decision.

First goof: I flipped the bodice pieces when cutting them out. According to the pattern, the right side of the bodice is supposed to cross over the left. Not a big deal and I cut both pieces wrong, so it worked out.

Second goof: Because I changed the neckline (omitting the zipper down the back), I didn’t really read the directions too closely. Big mistake. After I coverstitched the entire neckline, I realized that I needed to cross the larger bodice piece over the smaller and topstitch them closed. Not as easy to fix but it actually turned out OK; I just crossed them and did a second pass with the coverstitcher. Didn’t notice until later that the smaller piece isn’t quite in the right position but that doesn’t really matter because of …

Third goof: I never checked the sizing of the pattern pieces against Miss L’s measurements. Not once. Which is why the dress is waaaaaay too big. See the rolled-up sleeves? That’s where they needed to be hemmed to fit her arms. Doesn’t matter, though, because the shoulders hang over hers by about two inches. The hem, however, is barely long enough.

Exhibit B: I’ve been itching to try my hand at a corduroy version of the Fledge/Studio Tantrum Feliz and, having made three of them, figured it was a good pattern to get my sewing luck back on track.

These cute cord coordinates were in my stash and I just knew they’d be fabulous with the pattern’s layering. I was going to love this dress!


First goof: At what point did I decide to check the nap of the fabric? After I cut out the overdress. Ya know what? The nap runs the wrong way. Luckily, not a tragic mistake but still annoying. Too bad that wasn’t where my mess-ups ended.

Second goof: For some unknown reason, I decided to attach the ties to the outside of the overdress instead of the inside. It would have been good to realize this before I sewed, serged and topstitched the two seams. The smart sewist would have redone the seams from the bottom of the straps to the top of the bodice edge. Smart me decided to pull apart the seam just enough to cut the straps, re-sew the seam and re-attach the straps on the backside. That course of action left me with weird little bulky areas on each side of the bodice.

Third goof: And then I decided to place the ties too high when I reattached them. Which means the channels I stitched on the outside of the overdress are too high.

Fourth goof: Neglected to cut the elastic in the back channels short enough so I’m pretty sure the dress will be too big around the upper body for my sweetie.

I have enough of this fabric to make a second dress and originally thought I’d offer it in my Etsy. For.Get.It. I don’t even want to put this dress on L, much less make a second one.

Tonight, I’m going to watch some TV or maybe read a book. Maybe do a little drawing. And tomorrow, I’m going to play with some paper and Sealah Tape so I can finish a project (and tutorial). Because it’s just not fair to the fabric to be sacrificed in the name of stubborness.

Make Your Own Cardiff Pants

I wrote out these instructions for someone else and thought they might be helpful for others. The biggest thing for me was figuring out which was the apron panel and which was the leg panels, but the alternate cutting list is for a skirt, so I could tell from there which was the right one. The way I did it was

1. Mark pleats.
2. Serge edges and bottom of apron panels. Turn edge, press and top stitch.
3. Attach pants front and pants back at the side seams. (The pants back is the hinterhose.)
4. Attach pants yoke front and pants yoke back at the side seams.
5. Make pleats (this was a little challenging for me but I have pleat issues). The pleated panels are set in about 1.5-2 inches from the edges of the pants legs.
6. Lay pleated panel on top of pants leg panel, wrong side of apron to right side of pants leg. Baste along top edge.
7. Lay pants yoke right side on right side of pleated panel and sew seam (make sure you match up side seams). Press up and top stitch.
8. Finish sewing pants legs. (I did the inseam and then inserted one leg into the other. This was a little bulky because of the skirts, so I think I will try doing the front seam, back seam and then inseam next time.)
9. Pleat leg panels. Baste top edge. Sew side seams of leg panels.
10. Attach pleated leg panels to lower legs. Press toward leg and topstitch. Hem.
11. Sew band for waistband along short edge. Press open seam. Fold in half, wrong sides together and press.
12. Sew around the band one inch from top edge and leave gap for inserting elastic.
13. Insert waistband elastic, sew ends together, then close opening in waistband.
14. Line up seam on waistband with center back seam on pants. Attach waistband to pants. Press seam down, away from the waistband and topstitch.

Recovering My Mojo

I have a little confession to make. I haven’t been feeling the sewing love lately.

It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed sewing; it’s just that it’s felt a little forced to get to my machine and make something. And that’s bothered me. Sewing has been such a release for me and having it feel like a chore is just not an option.

So I wrapped up a few things and spent a couple of days doing nothing sewing related. No pattern browsing, no fabric fondling (oh, you know you do it, too), no sewing. And suddenly, I reached the point that I missed it. I could see projects in my head and itched to make them happen. Sewing again feels like a creative outlet and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.

Of course, with this kind of feeling, I can’t help but spend every available moment sewing. Ready for the onslaught?

Another Feliz, this one in a pair of fabrics I bought last year at Joann’s. Island something-or-other, IIRC. I made the modifications I thought would make for a better fit for Miss L, since this one was made for a niece’s birthday present and she’s a wee bit smaller than my girl. Perfect fit. It’s actually stretched a bit to fit on my dress form. I can’t wait to make some fall versions of this dress!

Have you seen the new Lila Tueller patterns? There are all these great, funky patterns for kids but not so much for moms (or teens). And her comes Lila with her Funked Out Peasant Blouse. The pattern out now is only three sizes (8, 10 and 12) but she’s planning more sizes. Her blog has info on the pattern sizing and also corrections to the pattern (some don’t list a 14-inch zipper among the needed notions).

I grabbed the pattern as soon as I saw it at Intown Quilters. Had to have it. And then when I was talking to the class coordinator a few days later, she told me the owner wanted me to know it was in. I guess they know me well over there. LOL!

I had little bits and pieces of these Amy Butler fabrics on hand and I think they worked well together. I’m finding it a bit difficult to sew for myself out of my stash. I tend to buy just a yard at a time and so many things take more yardage. This top works nicely because it’s just a bit here and there — just enough to pull together a cute, one-of-a-kind top. This one is now hanging up as a sample at the shop.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t paying attention the day I bought this pattern. The Cardiff pants by Studio Tantrum remind me of some of the funky pants you might find at Hot Topic in much bigger sizes. That’s probably why I couldn’t resist buying them.

Had I really read the store listing, I would have realized the instructions were in German before the envelope arrived. I still would have bought it, though. I’m just now getting around to sewing them because they start at a size 98 and that little tyke of mine is just really fitting in that size.

So, no translation to work from but I didn’t find it to be much of a problem. The only thing that gave me issues were the pleats. I couldn’t get the panels small enough to fit where they were supposed to. I ended up doing the aprons twice. Definitely worth it. They are seriously fun! That little nut of mine kept spinning around to make the panels flare out. I’ve seen some variations of these with little dangly detachable pouches and the like but decided against it since she’s so young and likely to get them caught on things. I can’t wait for the boys to come home and see these — they’ve been so eager for me to sew them up!

Last but not least … my first playing with Heather Bailey‘s Pop Garden fabrics. Can I tell you how much I am loving these prints? (When they first arrived at IQ, I threatened to pile them on the floor and just roll around in the yardage!) I swear, I will end up owning every piece before too long. They are just delicious! I decided to make some things that coordinated so both L and I could enjoy them.

Her dress is another of the Miss Madeline style by Samantha at The Handmade Dress. It is just so bright and fun; definitely suits that girl of mine!

My tunic is by Indygo Junction. I have to be honest here. I’ve probably seen the pattern in the box at the shop a hundred times or more and never given it a second glance. The samples on the envelope looked a little frumpy to me, just totally not my style. But something about it caught my eye this time. It’s shape reminded me of one Jennifer Paganelli has shown on her blog, made with some of the fab Bell Bottoms fabrics. And in that instant, I was able to visualize the top in bolder, more colorful fabrics. I’m glad I gave the pattern a chance because I’m really happy with the finished product. This one is hanging up as a sample at the shop right now, but that’s only because it’s so darned hot outside. I’ll definitely be wearing this one out and about just as soon as the weather allows!

Fast, Fun Feliz

I have been itching to get my hands on this pattern, the latest from Studio Tantrum. It’s the Feliz party dress and it just looks like such a fun pattern. When my friend Dawn started raving about it, I knew it would be a hit with me, too, since the two of us are pretty in sync when it comes to sewing.

I was not disappointed.

I had this dress cut and sewn in about an hour. My biggest challenge was finding two coordinating fabrics with enough yardage. The under dress requires a little more than a yard; I usually only buy about a yard of anything I sew for L because she’s so petite. I actually have a striped coordinate for the floral fabric but only a scant yard of it — and no hoping and rearranging of pattern pieces was going to make it magically long enough. Good thing I had so much of this polka dot (which I loooove); it’s a perfect match and really makes the orange pop.

The only thing I’m less-than-happy about is the elastic panel in the back of the underdress. The little miss was still asleep so I just winged it on the elastic. It’s turned out a little too roomy. It’s OK; I’ll adjust it next time. And it gives her a little growing room so she can wear it next summer as a longer top.

Actually that’s one of the things I think is cool about the pattern — it definitely grows with your child. It can be worn as a dress one year, a top the next and the designer says the straps can be removed and it worn as a skirt to get another year’s use out of it.

I’m going to cut and sew another one after dinner to send to my niece as a birthday gift, and I have a few more in mind for my sweetie with more fall transitional fabrics. Or maybe some of the summer ones I still haven’t gotten around to sewing.

(BTW, if you’re looking for the pattern, Fabric Hound, Bunte Fabrics, Banberry Place and Sewzanne’s all have it or have it on the way.)