4th of July, Part One – The Outfit That Almost Wasn’t

4th of July is a pretty big deal in our town.  So, like any good sewer, I figured that my kids needed something appropriately festive to wear to the parade — something that gives a healthy nod to the stars and stripes, without being too overtly flag-like.  Little did I know that this project would almost get the best of me . . .

Oliver and S

First up, Kiki.  I decided to fully embrace her new “Shirts & Skirts Only” law with an Oliver & S Hopscotch ensemble.  I got bonus points for the top’s tuckability, as that seems to be a crucial corollary of the law.

Oliver and S

(Yep, she made that necklace herself.)

I sewed up a 4T all around on this one, even though I usually go smaller on bodice width for Kiki.  Both top and skirt fit well.

Oliver and S

The top fabric is jersey from Girl Charlee, giving a shout out to my Dad’s Navy days with the anchors.  The skirt is chambray from Joann’s.  There were cheers all around when we found the red buttons with anchors on them.  Kiki agreed that this touch really brings the whole outfit together.

Oliver and S

So, I have made four hopscotch top/dresses in the past nine months.  Like so many of us, I made Briar Rose Strawberry dresses and Birch Elk Grove tops for both girls this fall and winter.  With that in mind, I figured that I could coast through sewing the top without paying much attention.  Ha!  Through pure carelessness, I managed to twist the neckband as I sewed it to the front gathered piece.  Of course, I didn’t realize this until I had serged the seam allowances and removed the gathering threads.  So there was much seam ripping and fiddling to get the gathers right when I put it back together.  And then, when attaching one of the sleeves, I sewed over a fold of fabric and poked some pretty nice size holes in the sleeve, necessitating a new sleeve piece altogether.  The lesson here is, don’t think you’re a genius and can phone it in while sewing, giving all your attention to a Radiolab podcast, no matter how cool it may be.

All things considered, I think it turned out fine.

Oliver and S

Then came the skirt.  I hadn’t tackled this one before, as it seemed pretty complicated with the fancy folded pockets and button placket.  But, those pockets (although designed to look like Asian takeout boxes) kind of remind me of nautical flags for some reason — so it made sense to put it together with the anchor theme.

Oliver and S

I’m glad I took up the challenge, as this is a pretty cool little skirt!

Oliver and S

But this one was not to be a picnic, either.  Initially, things went well.  I did sew a couple of things on backwards and all that — but this is par for the course for me when I sew something new.

One thing that didn’t quite fall into place was the top button/button hole placement.  The anchor buttons, as awesome as they are, are larger than what is recommended in the pattern.  Liesl of Oliver & S tells us to make the top button hole horizontal, and the rest vertical.  Being the trusting devotee that I am, I followed instructions, though knowing that the largeness of the buttons might muck things up — which it did.

Oliver and SThat top button is just too far over.  Awwwww, man.

Anyway, I finished it promptly on July 3, much to Kiki’s delight.  Anticipation of the big day was high!  The next day, our lemonade was packed in the thermos, and we were getting ready to head out to the parade, when the elastic came loose from the waistband.  Major four year old crisis!  I’m still not quite sure how this happened.  I must have clipped the ends of the elastic too close after stitching it on.  Luckily, this was an easy problem to fix in a jiffy, and we were on our way.

Then, imagine my surprise at the end of the day to find a sizable rip in the fabric on the front.  Ugh.  This once was not sewing related — it was pure operator error.  Something having to do with the swing set out back, no doubt.

Oliver and S

I thought about just zigzagging over it and calling it a day.  But, since this skirt is so beloved by Kiki at the moment, and because I was never very happy with that top button-hole placement, I decided to perform some major surgery.  There was to be a front side panel and double button placket transplant.  This procedure of taking pieces from one thing and inserting them into another is known as “Frankensteining” around here.  (Luckily, I had just enough fabric leftover to pull it off.)

A few hours later, all was repaired.  I made the top button hole vertical this time, which solved that problem.  Many lessons were learned here.  That’s how I like to look at it.

Oliver and S

Ahhhh, now that’s better!

Here’s a little preview of what’s coming up in Part Two . . .

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids


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