Oliver + S Garden Party Dress

 

IMGP0387While scrolling through my facebook feed a few days ago, I came across a 20% off promotional code for Oliver + S patterns (coupon code: 4QFEM while it lasts!), which was pretty great because I’ve had my eye on the Garden Party dress since it was released.

I was super excited because as much as I love Oliver + S patterns, they are a little pricey. And I totally get it, they are amazing in pretty much every way. I had to talk myself out of buying two additional patterns by reminding myself I have other Oliver + S patterns that I haven’t even sewn up yet. I LOVE these patterns! And the Garden Party dress is no exception. It’s completely adorable, as all Oliver + S patterns are.

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Since I just received a new quilting destashing package from my husband’s Aunt Pam a few weeks ago, I thought maybe I could use some prints she sent for my first take on the Garden Party dress. Hannah picked out the fabric combination.

She’s starting to get picky these days. I’m finding that they key element is pink! She actually wanted the dress to be made out of the pink geometric fabric that I used for the accent pieces on the front bodice, but I didn’t have a large enough cut of fabric to work with. This dress is not really season appropriate in colors or print, and honestly, it’s a little bold for my taste, but I think she’ll like having a dress that she picked out.

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The Garden Party dress is a pretty easy sew that I think would be appropriate for a beginner. The gathers on the front and the general fit of the dress are pretty forgiving. I sewed a size 2T since Hannah is petite for her age. I could probably even go down a size and just lengthen it, but I’d rather make it a little large for her to grow into rather than too small. One great thing about this dress is it can be a bit roomy without looking too baggy. And it fits nicely in the shoulders despite the roominess.

After sewing up this dress and seeing how beautifully it came together, I was thinking it might be a great pattern to use for a satin Christmas dress. Maybe just use a longer sleeve pattern from another Oliver + S pattern to give it a more formal and winter appropriate look–possibly the Playdate dress sleeve.

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And speaking of sleeves, they are the only part of this pattern that I’m not super crazy about. They are cute, I just prefer the look of an elastic casing over a fuller, more open sleeve. Although, I suppose that style of sleeve might be really great for a light summer dress.

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And here is a view of the back closure. I’m going to sew a thread chain using the Oliver + S tutorial here as the pattern calls for, but for now, a quickly stitched on ribbon will do.


Sleeping Beauty Costume

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Hannah wanted to be Wonder Woman for Halloween. She was absolute about it…for a couple of days. Since then, she has been firm on Sleeping Beauty. Of all the princesses, this is the one I was least wanting to sew. The off the shoulder bodice and the peplum skirt just seemed like a lot of work…and they were. But I’m super excited with the final product. The costume I dreaded most of any costume I’ve made so far, but the one that I might be most proud of in the end.

Since I was really unsure of how I would draft a Sleeping Beauty costume, I scoured the internet for ideas. Not many out there, so I bought the Simplicity 5835 pattern on ebay. Don’t get me started on store bought pattern sizing! Again, a total fail with the sizing. So again, I turned to the trusty Geranium dress pattern and used the Simplicity pattern as a guideline.

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I lengthened the bodice a few inches and used a zipper instead of buttons. The zipper was definitely not done in the proper way, but it works for a costume.

For the sleeves, I used a long sleeve pattern I already had. I tried to make a v-shape hem using a facing, but it’s not very obvious. Oh well. It was a last minute thing after I had already attached the sleeves and I was afraid to cut too deep a v shape and make the sleeves too short.

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For the peplum skirt, I used the Simplicity pattern as a starting point, then drafted my own. I made it one piece and attached it to the bodice before attaching the skirt. It was a good natural stopping point for the zipper and looked better without a seam down the middle.

And for the off the shoulder look, I decided to do the easiest thing possible. Rather than do anything to change the construction of the bodice to include a fully attached collar piece, I took the easy route and sewed a fabric tube. I gathered it and attached it to the front bodice along the gathering stitches and then attached it to the back of the back bodice, sewing along the zipper seam line. Easy and done.

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The crown and necklace were pretty quick and easy. I used the Simplicity patterns but assembled them differently than called for in the pattern. I made the crown one piece instead of two sewn together. I also fused the gold lame fabric to yellow felt using spray ‘n bond instead of using stiff interfacing. Even though the crown is fairly floppy, it stands straight up like it should when worn.

And that’s Hannah as Sleeping Beauty. Phew, done with Halloween sewing! Yipee!

UPDATE: If you want to use an inexpensive but beautiful costume fabric that will stand the test of time, I included links to the fabrics I used. After one year of near constant wear and many washings (oxyclean spray ‘n wash, cold water, gentle cycle), the costume is still in excellent condition and looks almost new! I will only use slipper satin from now on for all costumes. The crown and necklace did not survive long but lasted for Halloween, so they served their purpose.

https://www.fabric.com/buy/0290217/slipper-satin-hot-pink

https://www.fabric.com/buy/0290218/slipper-satin-candy-pink

https://www.fabric.com/buy/ee-824/slipper-satin-white

https://www.fabric.com/buy/dh-996/tissue-lame-gold


Fall Foxes Geranium Dress

 

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There is no better basic dress pattern than the Geranium dress pattern from Made by Rae. I have made so many variations of this dress that I’ve lost count–definitely more than ten! And anytime I need to make a dress and I don’t have the right pattern (like this year’s Halloween princess dresses, which you can read about here and here), I just modify the Geranium dress to get what I want. It fits perfectly EVERY SINGLE TIME! My girls have different body types and it still fits them both perfectly.

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This Geranium dress was a little bit unplanned. Usually I like to pick a pattern first and then find a fabric that suits the pattern. It was the opposite this time around. I had this fabric from Joann’s that I thought was adorable and just didn’t know what to make with it. I realized that fall is quickly passing us by and so I wanted to make something cute, quick, and easy. The Geranium dress with cap sleeves fit the bill.

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I added the red ribbon to break up the mostly neutral tones and to give the dress an added pop. Since I didn’t really have any buttons that matched, I just went with clear buttons. Not the best buttons for the dress, but certainly acceptable. Besides, the ribbon is what I wanted as the main embellishment anyway.

I was a little worried about the large print, thinking it might be overwhelming on such a little dress, but it looks great. And it is especially precious on my sweet Katie, who by the way is getting three teeth right now. Yikes!


Vintage Junebug Dress

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I made a Halloween Junebug dress for Hannah last week, which you can read about here. I wasn’t planning on making another Junebug dress in the near future, especially with more costume sewing to do, but I stumbled upon this print in the clearance section at Walmart. I almost resisted until I saw it was only $3 per yard! Couldn’t pass it up.

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I love vintage feedsack prints and it was totally perfect for the classic/vintage look of the Junebug dress. And the piping and large buttons add even more vintage charm. Love it!


Cinderella Costume

 

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When I asked Katie what she wanted to be for Halloween, she said Rella. I was sort of joking when I asked her, thinking she wouldn’t really get it since this will only be her second Halloween, but she seems to understand and has not wavered since I first asked her. Despite Hannah’s daily attempts to get Katie to change her mind for some unknown reason, Cinderella it is.

I intended to use the Simplicity 2563 pattern that I already had, but unfortunately the muslin I made was too wide, even sewing one size down from what Katie normally wears, so I ditched the Simplicity bodice and skirt patterns in favor of the tried and true Geranium dress pattern from Made By Rae. One of the best sewing purchases I’ve ever made!

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To alter the Geranium pattern to look more like the Simplicity one, I lowered the neckline on the bodice about an inch or so to make it more of a scoopneck.

I also made the front bodice two pieces so that there would be a seam in the center front. To do this, I simply added a seam allowance to the fold line of the Geranium pattern, cut two, then sewed them together to create a front bodice with a center seam.

I didn’t do the pointed base on the bodice like the Simplicity pattern because I didn’t want to fuss with it while attaching the skirt.

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The Geranium dress does not include a sleeve pattern, so I used the Simplicity sleeve pattern and followed the Simplicity elastic casing guidelines. I’ve done this before and it’s always turned out perfectly.

For the puffs around the waist, I used the Simplicity pattern piece. They are simply large circles folded in half, gathered along the curved edge, and then basted to the bodice before attaching the skirt. Having the seam in the front of the bodice helps to line up the puffs in the exact center of the dress. A bonus to adding the extra step.

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And finally, the Simplicity headband and a grosgrain ribbon necklace to complete the look.

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And there you have it, miss Katie as Rella. She is one happy girl!


Halloween Junebug & Halloween Sally

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Our first fall in Nashville has been really great. I’m enjoying our new house and all of the fall related decorating, which you can read about here and here. I’m super excited about my Halloween sewing projects too. These dresses are the first on my to-do list with costumes to come very soon.

In this sweet sister pic, Hannah is wearing a Junebug dress and Katie is wearing a Sally dress. (I promise this is the last Sally Dress for awhile! As much as I LOVE that pattern, I’m starting to experience some Sally overload…)

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While I’d love for you to be amazed at how productive I am in pumping out dresses, in all honesty, I sewed this Sally dress for Hannah last year. My mom sent me the fabric (I think it was from Joann’s?) but I didn’t know what to do with it. I wasn’t sure that it would work for a girl’s dress but I had just bought the Sally dress pattern and was itching to make one. I figured if it didn’t turn out, I just wouldn’t have Hannah wear it. But I LOVED it!

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Here is a Hannah throwback. This was taken at Lemos Farm in Half Moon Bay, California last year. Hannah and Katie’s first time visiting a real pumpkin patch! Although Katie was fairly young at the time and obviously won’t remember it…

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Again, one of the very best parts of the Sally dress is the pockets. Nothing better than big pockets, except maybe big pockets with a contrasting/coordinating fabric. So much fun!

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For Hannah’s Junebug dress, I used Riley Blake’s Halloween Parade Spider Webs. I really wanted the purple but it was on backorder at fabric.com until November, and I obviously would have no use for it then, so I went with the gray. Thankfully I had some pink buttons on hand because pink is pretty much all Hannah wants to wear these days. The black, white, and gray wasn’t going over too well at first…I think she’s getting over it now… The other day she insisted on wearing neon pink head to toe and could not be persuaded otherwise. Sheesh!

The Junebug dress holds a special place in my heart. This pattern is by Jess from Craftiness is not Optional, my favorite blog of all time! When I was first thinking of learning to sew baby clothes, I found her site and instantly fell in love with the Junebug dress tutorial. I made one using a self drafted pattern, which looked cute but was horribly proportioned and unwearable. I had always wanted to revisit this dress but just haven’t until now. And now there is a pattern, so no more self-drafted patterns this time around! I love the classic look with the buttons on either side of the front placket and the adorable puff sleeves. It doesn’t get much better than this in my book.

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There are only two minor downsides to this dress. The first, that I sewed a size 3 instead of a size 2. Hannah is pretty petite for her age and in between the sizes, so it’s a little roomy. Since it’s a Halloween dress, I could have made it a size smaller for a closer fit without worrying about her outgrowing it quickly. Afterall, it will get put away for Katie for next year in a matter of weeks.

The second downside was that it wasn’t as full of a skirt as I typically prefer, which is partially my own fault. I eeked this dress out of only one yard of fabric! Awesome way to maximize yardage and minimize expense, but the result is a slightly slimmer skirt than the pattern calls for. The next time I sew this dress, I’ll likely make it fuller than even the pattern calls for. I prefer a twirlier skirt and I have found that gathers look nicer and more even with more fabric. But it’s a super cute dress and I love it in spite of these two itty bitty regrets!


A Sally Dress for a Special Girl

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This is a Sally dress I made for someone very special. J is a friend from our church in California, who from our first meeting when she was in first grade, has always been extremely friendly, helpful, caring, trustworthy, responsible….and the list goes on and on. This past summer, she was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and has had quite a journey, which has included hospitalization and ultimately surgery. Thankfully she has adjusted well and has overcome many challenges in this process and seems as upbeat as ever.

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This fabric was a gift from my dad, one of a few different prints he sent me awhile back. The first time I saw it, I immediately thought of J and of her love for vibrant colors and groovy prints. It had her name written all over it. I never knew what to make with it until I fell in love with the Sally dress pattern. Who doesn’t love big pockets?!

I started making this Sally Dress as a destashing project right before we moved to Nashville (and before any of her symptoms had manifested). Obviously I never finished it before moving and have had it sitting around now for a few months. The other day, while thinking of J, I realized that I really needed to finish it up and get it sent off to her.

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Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about this special girl as she gears up for another surgery (the second of three). I’ve been thinking about how much I love her and miss her and how I am deeply proud of her courage as well as her generosity during this new challenge she faces. Rather than just going through this process, trying to make it day by day, wondering why it happened to her and the normal things we all might wonder, she instead decided to start making bracelets (while in the hospital!) and selling them to benefit the Chrohn’s and Colitis Foundation. She sold them to family and friends and ended up raising $500! Truly a remarkable young woman. I love her and miss her. And I hope that when she receives this dress in the mail next week sometime, that she knows how truly special she is and how much we all love her.

If you would like to learn more about Chrohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, please visit the website www.ccfa.org. And even better, you can donate to support new research that will help people like J!