A Long Sleeved Geranium for Fall

Geranium Dress, Long Sleeve, Made By RaeI dare you to show me a kid who doesn’t need a garment with giant acorn pockets. Seriously.

That’s what I thought when I came across this pin, featuring a dress with these amazing pockets, created by Jess from Craftiness Is Not Optional.

Geranium Dress, Long Sleeve, Made By RaeOf course, I immediately started looking for just the right dress pattern to use as a vehicle for these pockets.  My first idea was to use the Geranium Dress with 3/4 sleeves from 5&10 Designs Volume One.  I cut the Geranium bodice in a 4T, adjusting the arm scythe to accommodate the 5&10 sleeve, as I did when I made this Geranium for Lulu with the sleeve from the Hattie Dress pattern.

After sewing up the bodice and sleeves, I thankfully thought to try it on Kiki before sewing up the skirt.  Turns out the whole thing was really too small and too tight.  Drat.  But honestly, I wasn’t loving the way the 5&10 sleeve is constructed — the sleeve is lined right along with the bodice and is sewn together in a pretty clever way, but you can’t really press the seams open (or at least I couldn’t), and it just didn’t feel right.

So, I wasted no time on tears or regret and formulated a Plan B.  After remembering Rae’s post about adding a sleeve to the Geranium a while back, I decided to unearth my Charlie Tunic pattern and use that sleeve.  As Rae suggests, I just gathered the cap of the sleeve to fit the Geranium arm scythe, and it worked really well!

Geranium Dress, Long Sleeve, Made By RaeIf I were a good person, I’d cut a couple inches off the sleeve length.  But I’ll be honest with you, once something is done, I’m pretty loathe to go back in there and change things up.  Let’s just say that I’ve left some growing room in here, and that next fall these sleeves will be a perfect 3/4 length.

Geranium Dress, Made By Rae, Long SleevesI’m so used to sizing down in the bodice for the slim Kiki (who is now almost 5 and a half), that I was surprised to learn that she needs a 5T now.  That’s the thing about kids — they just keep growing and changing up their proportions on you.  Do you think they do it on purpose, just to keep us on our toes?

Geranium Dress, Long Sleeve, Made By RaeAfter some discussion with my husband, who happened to be in the basement near my “sewing studio” (ie, corner of the basement in between piles of junk) when it was time to choose buttons, we decided on little red, round buttons that resemble berries.  But when I finished the button holes, I realized that I had made them too small to accommodate the spherical shape of the berry buttons, and they were just too tight.  I hate it when I screw up button hole sizes!!!  Luckily, I came up with a smaller, flatter alternative from my stash that still fits in with the autumnal theme of the dress.

Geranium Dress, Long Sleeve, Made By RaeThese pockets are very easy to put together, and there is a free pattern and tutorial from Jess right here.  There’s interfacing in the top section of the acorn to prevent any flopping, and the size is just right for little hands.  Hooray!  I’ll just have to remember to check these pockets for real acorns before tossing this dress in the wash 🙂

Geranium Dress, Long Sleeve, Made By Rae

A Red Riding Hood

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Red Riding Hood I would love to tell you that Kiki wanted to be Little Red Riding Hood this Halloween, and that I lovingly created this cape much to her delight.  But that would be a lie.

Both of my daughters are in full Disney Princess mode (sigh), and we will have one Jasmine and one Ariel or Rapunzel (final decision TBD).  I have come to accept that when it comes to the Disney Princess, my girls would much rather have a blingy (and rather grotesque if you ask me) costume from Toys r Us, complete with wig and plastic shoes — so I didn’t even bother.  The good news is that we waited until last week to buy them, and they were 50% off (silver lining).  And, they love them so much that they are all worn several times a day.  I mean, the whole costume thing is for them after all, so they should have the costume they want, right?

So imagine my delight when a good friend and neighbor asked me if I would sew up a Red Riding Hood for her six year old’s Halloween costume.  Hooray!!  And to make it even better, her three year old little sister is going to be the wolf!!  (I’m trying hard not to be jealous.)  Of course, I was more than pleased to oblige.

Plus, it’s Kids Clothes Week this week (participants sew for at least one hour each day and post their makes on the KCW website), and the theme is Disguise this time.  Perfect!

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Red Riding HoodWithout hesitation, I reached for my copy of Little Things to Sew, the book written by Liesl Gibson of Oliver + S fame, which includes a pattern for the most darling Red Riding Hood around.

Now that I think about it, my sewing obsession really started with this book.  Before the mania set in, I was clicking around looking for ideas for a doll carrier for Kiki, who must have been around two at the time.  I came across the doll carrier pattern in this book and got a copy.  I mean, why not try to sew one myself in a fabulous fabric?  The resulting doll carrier never really caught on with Kiki, but I loved the book so much that I started looking into Oliver + S patterns, and the rest is history.

Anyway, my friend chose Robert Kaufman 21 wale corduroy for the outside, and we found this amazing Red Riding Hood cotton print for the lining.

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Red Riding HoodWe could only find 1 3/4 yards of the lining fabric left at Hart’s (it’s sold out now, but I just found more on Etsy), and the pattern calls for 2 yards (for size 5-10, less for the smaller size).  But with some creative finagling, I managed to squeeze all the pattern pieces out of it, even after cutting a couple of pieces backwards and having to recut! There is some selvage in the seam allowances here — please don’t tell 🙂

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Red Riding HoodThis pattern has lots of pieces to sew together — eleven altogether, including the button loop.  So it’s a little more time intensive that I imagined it might be.  But the result is a very lovely cape that fits beautifully over the shoulders and has these wonderful slits for little arms to come through so that your little Red can stay warmer out in the woods when she needs to use her hands for goody distribution and such.

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Red Riding HoodI hope you have a chance to do some fun Halloween sewing this year — even if it isn’t for your own kid!

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Red Riding Hood

A Lotta Dress

Lotta 5Here is the last (for now) of my girls’ new Compagnie M dresses.  This one is the Lotta.

I’ve been wanting to sew up this dress ever since the pattern was released at least a year ago.  I was smitten with the buttons on the collar and the pockets and have seen so many fantastic versions of this dress online.  But I hesitated because, for some reason,  I had it in my mind that I prefer a shorter bodice and a fuller skirt.

I ended up buying the pattern recently because I wanted to try out the very cute button bodice together with the circle skirt of the Ileana Dress pattern for Lulu — which worked so well on her bird dress.  (It’s so cool to be able to mix and match different pieces of the Compagnie M patterns to suit your own style — or more to the point, your kid’s style!)

Since I had the pattern sitting there, I decided to throw caution to the wind and sew up a Lotta for Kiki.

Lotta Dress Compagnie M Cotton + SteelIt turns out that the longer bodice and skirt are fabulous.  Haha!  But I must say that it is a more mature style and makes Kiki look much more grown up.  Maybe that’s why I hesitated.  Ah, motherhood 🙂

Lotta Dress Compagnie M Cotton + SteelThe button “collar” is such a simple design and is truly easy to make.  But the look is so classy!  I just love it!

Lotta Dress Compagnie M Cotton + SteelThe pattern offers several pocket options.  I chose the diagonal pockets, which mimic the collar.

Lotta Dress Compagnie M Cotton + SteelYou can also choose from a button closure or a zipper in the back.  Since there is a lot of button action on the front of the dress, I like the simplicity of the hidden zipper.

Lotta Dress Compagnie MIt was nice to use a fabric that didn’t require matching the print in the back this time!  It’s Cotton + Steel Cookie Book Recipe Box in green.  It is quilting weight — but like all of Cotton + Steel quilting cottons, it’s gorgeous to work with and is great for garments, especially for kids.

Lotta 4Now that I’m almost caught up with blogging all the sewing that’s been going on around here — it’s Kids Clothes Week already!  Pfew — I’d better get cracking!

Lotta Dress Compagnie M Cotton + Steel

A Mara Dress

Mara Dress Compagnie M Puppet Show Shorts Oliver + SFall sewing for Kiki continues over here with a new Mara Dress from Compagnie M.  This pattern is really for a top (which I have made before), but there are instructions included in the pattern for extending the length to make a very chic dress.

This particular dress was inspired by Beyond the Hedgerow’s very lovely spring dress version of the Mara.

I’m a sucker for the piping/pin tuck combo.

Mara Dress Compagnie M Puppet Show Shorts Oliver + SThe main mustard fabric is a buttery soft sheet that I found at the thrift store for about $3!  The piping and pocket fabric is a scrap leftover from this Oliver + S Class Picnic Top I made for Lulu a couple of years ago — it’s from Joann.  You see, hoarding scraps is a virtue 🙂

Mara Dress Compagnie M Puppet Show Shorts Oliver + STo be sure I got the shape right, I laid my O+S Rollerskate Dress pattern pieces over the Mara front and back pattern pieces to trace the shape and the length of the dress — as I did with Kiki’s O+S Swingset Dress I made this past summer.

Mara Dress Compagnie M Puppet Show Shorts Oliver + SThe pockets are taken from the O+S Puppet Show Shorts pattern.  When I made these shorts last summer, I was sure I’d be putting these pockets on everything.  This seemed to the the right moment to get started.

Mara Dress Compagnie M Puppet Show Shorts Oliver + SThe other tweak I made to the pattern was to used binding for the cuffs — a little trick I learned in making an as of yet unblogged Ottobre Dress.  The cuffs are gathered to fit the binding, and I just top stitched over the whole thing.  I think it’s more comfortable than elastic casing (which is suggested in the pattern instructions), and looks a little more professional.

Mara Dress Compagnie M Puppet Show Shorts Oliver + SThis dress turned out to be perfectly cozy for fall and has made its way into regular rotation.  Hooray!

Mara Dress Compagnie M Puppet Show Shorts Oliver + S

Two Small World Pinafores

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids Pinafore r Small World Corduroy Oh My Darlin Clementine City StreetsFall sewing for Kiki is still happening around here, and she now has two more new dresses for kindergarten.  These are both the “Pinafore r” pattern from the Japanese sewing book Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids, and they’re both made in Small World Corduroy from Made by Rae.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids Pinafore r Small World Corduroy City StreetsI’d been waiting for fall to get my hands on this awesome fabric since it came out last spring, and I just couldn’t do without both the City Streets and Oh My Darlin Clementine prints.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids Pinafore r Small World Corduroy Oh My Darlin ClementineI can’t decide which fabric I love more.  I mean, who doesn’t love these clementines in two shade of orange — which is perfect for the redheads among us.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids Pinafore r Small World Corduroy City StreetsAnd the buildings on City Streets with their bold primary colors look like a box of crayons, which couldn’t be more perfect for kindergarten.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids Pinafore r Small World Corduroy Oh My Darlin ClementineAnyway, this is my first time making this pattern (although I have made tons of other things from this amazing book), and it’s pretty great.  I was inspired to give it a try after seeing this gorgeous version in corduroy from Behind the Hedgerow.  Laura has such an amazing sense of style, and I couldn’t help but follow her lead on this one.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids Pinafore r Small World Corduroy City StreetsThe sewing is pretty straightforward, especially if you’ve sewn projects from this book before, and both pinafores came together pretty quickly.

For Kiki, I sewed up a size 4 with 2 inches of added length.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids Pinafore r Small World Corduroy Oh My Darlin ClementineI did learn a couple of things after finishing the first one, which happened to be the clementine version.  (You may notice that we went from summer to fall between these two photo shoots!!)  I was so excited to see this clementine pinafore on Kiki as soon as it came off the machine — but when she put it on, it just didn’t look right.  The front yoke and straps seemed very floppy and gapey, and the fit looked totally off.  Crap!

I took a long look at the problem, and it occurred to me that a little interfacing just might do the trick.  I had enough fabric leftover to cut a new front yoke, and I ironed the interfacing onto the front piece.  The difference was so huge, that I decided to go ahead and redo the back yoke and straps, adding interfacing to those as well.  Magically, the fit was just right 🙂

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids Pinafore r Small World Corduroy Oh My Darlin ClementineIf you’re thinking of sewing up one of these pinafores, I highly recommend adding in that interfacing to the front yoke and the back yoke & straps.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids Pinafore r Small World Corduroy City StreetsThe other thing that I did the second time around was to add side seam pockets.  I grabbed the pocket pattern pieces from the Oliver+S Playtime Dress that was on my cutting table and stuck them in, no problem.  I stitched the entire edge of the pocket bag onto the front of the dress, as I’ve done before — and Kiki approves.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids Pinafore r Small World Corduroy City StreetsAs you can see, this pinafore is great for layering and transitioning from summer to fall (or winter to spring, I presume).

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids Pinafore r Small World Corduroy Oh My Darlin ClementineHappy sewing!

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids Pinafore r Small World Corduroy City Streets

A Fall Corduroy Jumper

Tie Dye Diva Perfect A Line Dress for GirlsAfter sewing up several Ileana dresses with circle skirts for Lulu, I figured Kiki could use a few new dresses with a theme.  After seeing so many great corduroy prints out there, I knew she needed some classic, straightforward fall jumpers.  And once I came across this wonderful foresty corduroy print at Joann’s, the hunt for a no frills jumper pattern ensued — one that would showcase the print without the distraction of other features.  The search ended with the Perfect A Line Dress from Tie Dye Diva.

Tie Dye Diva Perfect A Line Dress for GirlsThis dress (which can be made reversible) is your basic jumper with buttons at the shoulders.  That’s it.  Perfect.

Tie Dye Diva Perfect A Line Dress for GirlsThe shape is just right — not too flowy, yet not straight enough to restrict playground antics.

As usual, I sewed up a 4T width with 5T length for Kiki, and it fits fine.  There’s enough room at the top for layering, which we’re going to start needing to do here in a week or so, as that autumn chill blows in.

Tie Dye Diva Perfect A Line Dress for GirlsThe construction of this dress is very clever.  You sew the front and back pieces of both the main and lining fabric together at one side seam.  Then you sew the main and lining together at the top (around the neck and straps) and the bottom of the dress.  Then in order to sew the remaining side seam, you do some kind of magical voodoo folding which looks confusing but makes perfect sense as you are sitting in front of the machine with the dress in your hands.  You then turn it right side out and hand stitch the opening.  The end result is a dress that’s completely reversible and looks equally nice both inside and out.

I knew Kiki would never want to cover up the forest creatures by reversing this dress, so I just used a plain red/orange Kona cotton on the inside to match the foxes.

Tie Dye Diva Perfect A Line Dress for GirlsAfter the first time I washed this little dress, the hem got folded up inside itself, and I decided that it needed some top stitching to keep everything in place.  Easy fix.

One change I’d definitely make next time is to put interfacing inside the straps on both the button and button hole side.  The instructions don’t tell you to do this, but really, I should have known!  I think it’ll hold up fine, but the button area does feel a bit flimsy.

This other thing that’s lacking is pockets.  I meant to add some side seam pockets (which would be so simple to do), but somehow it didn’t happen.  Patch pockets would be really cute too.  Next time.

Tie Dye Diva Perfect A Line Dress for GirlsAll in all, everyone seems pretty happy with this dress.  It’s been worn several times and looks like it’s make it into the regular rotation.  Score!

Up next, I’ll show you a couple of other corduroy creations . . .