A Lulu in Gingham

Lulu Dress Craftiness Is Not OptionalThe Lulu Dress pattern from Craftiness In Not Optional is one of my faves.  This is the fourth one I’ve made for Kiki, and they are all the most worn garments in her closet — which is saying a lot, because this little lady is picky.  The first three were made last September, and she’s worn them all year long.  Now that I’m thinking about clothes for Kindergarten (what???), she clearly needs a new set of Lulus.

Lulu Dress Craftiness Is Not OptionalThis particular Lulu was made with the Fourth of July in mind.  Here you can see it in action at the local parade . . .

Gingham Lulu 12Perfect, right?

The blue gingham knit is from Girl Charlee, and the red trim was cut from an old t-shirt of mine.  I’m not always delighted with the quality of fabric from Girl Charlee, but this one is holding up great.  It’s been through the wash at least a half a dozen times already, with no sign of wear & tear.

Because this dress is all knit, it travels great and always looks good — even if it’s just been pulled out of the bottom of the beach bag.  Plus, Kiki can easily put it on and take it off herself.  Big win.

Lulu Dress Craftiness Is Not OptionalBecause her last set of Lulus still fit well on top, this time I cut a 4T width and 5T length on both the bodice and the skirt.  The longer length really makes her look so grown up. She wore it to her preschool day camp last week, and one of the teachers said that she looks like a real Kindergartner in it.  I agree.  Can’t believe it!

Lulu Dress Craftiness Is Not OptionalThese pockets have been filled with all manner of treasures already.  Rocks, feathers, shells, you name it.  I have to check them carefully before tossing this baby into the washer.  Wouldn’t want to lose anything precious!

Lulu Dress Craftiness Is Not OptionalOnce I finished this dress and saw it on Kiki, I almost wished I had added a faux placket on the bodice, which is one of the options included in the pattern.  I’ll definitely try that out on another version soon.

Lulu Dress Craftiness Is Not OptionalHooray for the perfect little dress to take us from summer to fall!

The Piped Swingset Tunic — the Best of Times and the Worst of Times

Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose It’s been a while since I’ve checked in here . . . but not because I’ve been slacking off. Truth be told, I’ve been pretty much sewing my ass off.  But between finishing projects after midnight on a fairly regular basis and doing all the other things we do in the summertime, I’ve been neglecting this little blog.  So, here I am today to chronicle the trials and tribulations of my very first attempt at the Oliver + S Swingset Tunic. (I’ve since made two dress versions of this pattern, one of which is made with the very same fabric that you see here.  But I’m going back in time today to catch you up on my process.) Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose When I started out on this project, I knew wanted to add piping.  I’m really into piping. I had read on various blogs that the construction of this tunic is a little counter intuitive, so I knew I’d need to put on my thinking cap for this one, especially when throwing piping into the mix.  Let me warn you . . . there was trial and error involved. First off, after reading the directions a time or two, I knew I’d need some help.  I found this very helpful post on the O+S blog.  I highly recommend it if you’re trying this one out for the first time. To add the piping, I got started putting the yoke together and separated the lining from the front of the yoke, as directed . . . Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose Then, I sewed the piping onto the front of the yoke, matching the raw edges. Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose As you can see, the yoke lining is not the same shape as the front, so you have to take care in pinning the lining out of the way. To add the piping to the back yoke, I did the same thing, sewing carefully across the placket. I then smugly sewed along, thinking I’m the greatest sewing genius on the planet.  But when I got the whole thing put together, I realized I’d made a near fatal error.  I didn’t read the directions carefully enough and had cut two of the pattern pieces for the straps, rather than cutting one piece and then cutting that piece in half.  So, the straps were twice as long as they should be.  Crap!! I didn’t want to take the whole thing apart to change out the straps.  I mean, I had already topstitched the yoke and everything.   So, I decided to be a smarty pants and snip the straps at the shoulder, cut them down to the correct size, and then sew them back together as you would when joining two pieces of bias tape.  What a marvelous solution. But . . . when doing something slightly complicated while watching the clock (knowing that the kids will be calling any minute) and while feeling slightly frustrated, things like this can happen. Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose Ouch.  Want another view? Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose Even in the moment, I just had to laugh.  I mean . . . really????  This has to be one of my favorite sewing goofs ever! Needless to say, I regained my senses and decided to leave this to be fixed another day . . . with a clearer head.  Don’t worry — it all worked out in the end. Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose Now that we’ve gotten that little tale of woe out of the way, let’s get back to the piping.  I don’t think it’s a complete success. Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar RoseIt looks pretty nice in the front, but it doesn’t lay flat in the back.  This is because when you construct the back yoke, you clip the seam allowance on either side of the placket. You then press the seam allowance away from the yoke at the placket and toward the yoke everywhere else.  Sounds weird, but that’s how you do it.  Anyway, the seam allowance thing keeps the piping from laying nice and flat all the way across the back. Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose See what I mean?  This is why I decided to forgo the piping on my next Swingsets.  It was worth a try, though. I should also mention that Kiki is wearing the Oliver + S Sailboat Pants I made after she pleaded and pleaded for pants.  You may be wondering why I was loathe to provide her with the pants she so desperately wanted, especially when I had such a fab pattern as this sitting around.  The reason is that this kid never wears pants.  Never.  She swore up and down that she would wear these if I made them for her.  I indulged in this fantasy, because I knew she’d look so cute in them. Oliver + S Sailboat Pants And she does. Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose Guess what.  She’s never worn them.  Not once 🙂  (I coerced her into wearing them for these photos with the promise of chocolate.)  Ah well, it was worth a shot.  There’s always a chance the Lulu will wear them in a year or two. Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose The other unfortunate thing is that when Kiki wears it, she insists on tucking it in.  She does this will all tops for some reason.  I don’t want to stifle her sense of style, but it’s really not the best look . . . Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose So for now, I think we’ll stick with dresses. Ah, motherhood.

KCW: A July Desert Rose

Here is my final project for Kids Clothes Week this summer — a Desert Rose Dress by CailaMade for Lulu.

Desert Rose Dress CailaMade

This makes six finished projects this week.  What was I thinking?  It’s like I’ve gone insane. I think the answer is that since I started teaching part time in January, my sewing time has been pretty limited.  But now that school’s out, I feel like the world is my oyster, and I just can’t stop sewing.  Is this normal, or should the authorities be notified?

Another problem with this sewing thing is that fab new patterns and fabric seem to be coming out all the time.  And no matter how OCD I may become about sewing, there’s just not enough time (or money) in the world to make everything on my ever growing list.

Desert Rose Dress CailaMade

The Desert Rose has been on my list since it came out last summer, but alas, the weather got cold around here before I got around to sewing it up.  But summer’s here again, and I finally got to give this one a try.

It’s a simple lined bodice and gathered skirt — but the shape of bodice makes it really unique, I think.

Desert Rose Dress CailaMade

Lulu chose the ladybug buttons and has been obsessed with them since the moment she saw them actually sewn on.  It was hanging in the closet yesterday afternoon with only the top button buttoned, and Lulu ran to find me, saying that she was worried that she could only see one ladybug.  I assured her that the other one was still there, hiding behind the button hole.  What a relief!

Desert Rose Dress CailaMade

Our town has  a pretty cool Fourth of July Parade each year, and it’s probably clear to you that this dress was made for the occasion.  I figured you can’t really go wrong with red gingham and chambray for the fourth.  The gingham is actually a cotton/polyester blend, and it’s really light and flowy.  The chambray is Robert Kaufman Chambray Union.

Desert Rose Dress CailaMade

This dress is very simple and easy to put together, especially if you’ve made this style of dress before.  But I still managed to run into a minor crisis in this process.

Caila has you fold the bottom raw edge of the bodice under 1/2 inch and press, and then attach the gathered skirt to the bodice lining.  Then, you’re meant to pin the top of the bodice over the seam allowance and top stitch.  But after making about a zillion of Geranium Dresses over the past couple of years (which is done the opposite way), I forgot that I was attaching the lining, and not the main bodice to the skirt.  It wasn’t until after I had sewn the skirt on and trimmed the seam allowance, that I realized that I had managed to sew it on backwards.  The already sewn on buttons were now on the inside of the dress, with the lining on the outside.  Gak!

After considering my options, I decided not to pull it all apart and re-gather and sew on the skirt.  Too much work.  Happily, I lined the bodice with the same fabric as the outside — so all I had to do was take the buttons off and re-attach them on the new “outside” of the dress.  Then, I sewed in the lining by hand.  The buttonholes look a little nicer on the inside than the outside (since they were meant to face the other direction), but you can’t really see it when the dress is buttoned.  So who cares, really?

Desert Rose Dress CailaMade

The first test of any dress that Lulu tries on right now is it’s twirlability.  She’ll say, “Let’s see if it spreads around,” with a look of doubt and disdain all over her face.  She is a real stickler on this point.  She was almost shocked when this dress passed the test with flying colors . . .

Desert Rose Dress CailaMade

Don’t tell Lulu, but I upped the twirl factor by adding an additional 2 inches of width to both the front and back skirt pattern pieces, giving the skirt a total of 8 extra inches — just to be sure Lulu would be satisfied.  I really wanted her to like this one!

I also added some eyelet trim around the bottom of the bodice.  I just pressed the raw edge of the trim under and top-stitched it on after attaching the skirt to the bodice.  I tucked the ends of the trim under the lining on the inside of the dress before stitching it in.

I have to say that I love the result!  I think this dress is cute as hell, and I’m sure I’ll be making more — I just have to find the time 🙂

Desert Rose Dress CailaMade

I hope you finished all your projects this Kids Clothes Week.  I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a drink!