Deer & Doe Plantain Tunic

Due to the craziness of life, I missed the boat on Selfish Sewing Week, hosted by Imagine Gnats.  But, since I have a moment now, I thought I’d let you in on a project I whipped up a few weeks ago for myself.

Deer and Doe Plantain

Once I decided to go back to work part time, I knew that a bunch of old cardigans from Target and jeans caked with whatever was on the kitchen floor this morning would not make the most suitable wardrobe for facing a room full of undergrads.  I took a look around me to see what adults are wearing these days and headed to the mall.  I ended up with mostly sweaters and sweater dresses that hit just above the knee and leggings, paired with boots.  I really like this look — it’s stylish, easy to wear and pretty low maintenance.  It’s also ok to wear while jumping on the trampoline with toddlers at gymnastics before heading to work in the afternoon.

When it looked like I’d have a little time for sewing again, I decided to try and sew up something like it for myself to add to my new spiffy wardrobe.

Deer and Doe Plantain

I immediately turned to my favorite t-shirt pattern, the Plantain from Deer & Doe (it’s a free pattern, people!).  I’ve made several versions that I wear all the time, but have never blogged about for some reason, so this seemed like a good place to start.  The nice thing about this particular t-shirt is that it flares out a bit in the mid section, which is a plus for those of us who’ve given birth a time or two and are not, shall we say, as “pulled together” as we once were 😉

All I did to transform this shirt into a tunic was to decide how long I wanted it to be and extend the line of the pattern, following the curve.  That’s it.  I really like the result and will surely try it again.

Deer and Doe PlantainThe knit fabric here is Teagan White’s Peonies in mint from the Acorn Trail line.  I sewed up a size 42.

After making this with several different kinds of knit, I have run into problems with the neckline when using interlock, which is thicker and less stretchy than jersey.  For some reason, the neckline turns out a little bit too low for me with interlock.  Maybe the absence of any kind of spandex or other really stretchy stuff causes the neck to stretch out more — who knows?

This happened with my last version in Anna Maria Horner’s gorgeous Mary Thistle Knit in saffron, and I thought it was a fluke.

Deer and Doe Plantain

Nope, it happened again here.

Deer and Doe Plantain

It’s really only a problem when I lean over.  But still.

I really do prefer interlock for this pattern, as it doesn’t cling as much as knit with spandex.  So, I’ll just try cutting the neckline about 1″ higher next time.

Deer and Doe Plantain

My solution with this tunic and my Anna Maria Horner top is to pair it with a scarf.  Here, you see the infinity scarf I crocheted for myself last winter while I had the flu.  Normally, I am not a knitter or crocheter in any way, but Delia’s pattern that showed up on her blog a year or so ago was too tempting to pass over.  It was actually very easy and very fast to make.  I wear it all the time, and it was definitely worth the effort.

Deer and Doe Plantain

Now that the snow is just about melted around here, it’s nice to have some new clothes to take me in to spring.  I have a couple of other things on the sewing table that I hope to have to show you soon . . .

Licensed to Sell, Baby! — Part Two

Whew, it’s been a while since I’ve said hello over here!  The thing is that I went back to work for the first time since kids, and in a completely new job.  So, I’ve been spending all my “free time”  getting ready for my new venture.  I started last week and am still here, so that’s good.  I decided that it’s time to come up for air and think about sewing for a minute.  Yay!

This brings me back to the cliffhanger I left you with over a month ago (haha).  When we last were together, I told you about the holiday craft fair I participated in back in late November, and showed you the mess of Geraniums Dresses I made to sell.  Well, I couldn’t leave the boys out completely, so I also made several gender neutral options.  First up are three Charlie Tunics from Made by Rae.

Here is Kiki wearing a 4T Charlie in Robert Kaufman Chambray Union Stretch in Indigo with a fun print I got on sale at Hawthorne Threads last year after the holidays for the facings.  (Sadly, I can’t remember exactly what it is and wasn’t able to spot it in a quick search of the site today.)

Made By Rae, Charlie Tunic

I also used this print in a Louisa Dress from Compagnie-M last year that still that gets lots of wear.  It’s so nice to find more than one use for a great fabric.

I love those gold buttons!

Here’s Charlie No. 2, a 3T, in chambray and a random leftover from another project — from Joann’s I think.

Made By Rae, Charlie Tunic

I love this pattern.  It’s such a chic look for both girls and boys, and it’s a great way to use up the cherished leftovers of your favorite contrast fabric.  You only need a fat quarter’s worth of fabric for the facings!

Rae also shows you how to convert this fab tunic into a very fun dress with a few adjustments.  You can buy the add-on pattern on her site.   I made a couple of foxy flannel Charlie Dresses last winter for both my girls, which were cozy enough even for the dreaded polar vortex.  I’m thinking about maybe some springtime Charlie Dresses in a few months.

The last Charlie of the day is this 2T, modeled by the lovely Lulu, once again in chambray.

Made By Rae, Charlie Tunic, Indelible

I got fancy with the contrasting facings here and used Threaded Shreds in Mamey from the Indelible line.  I bought a full yard of it for this top, so I have plenty leftover for another smallish project.  Hooray!

I also made a trio of long sleeved Flashback Skinny Tees.  I’ve made millions of these and can whip them up in to time by now.  What a great excuse to try out more of these wonderful Acorn Trail knits by Teagan White, and to use more Birch Organics elk in this gorgeous saffron color.  At the sale, I actually got a “commission” for an elk tee in another size.

Made By Rae, Flashback Skinny Tee, Teagan White, Acorn Trail, Birch Organics

My last offering at the sale was this Skater Dress from Kitschy Koo in Gold Bugs Acorn Trail knit.

Kitschy Koo Skater Dress, Teagan White, Acorn Trail, Birch Organics

I actually made this dress for Lulu — and to my utter and complete shock, she refused to even try it on.  I tried quite a few times to sell her on the awesomeness of these bugs and the comfy-ness of this dress — but to no avail.  The child must be crazy to not have fallen completely in love, as far as I’m concerned.  So, I threw it on the pile of stuff for the sale, and someone bought it right away.  That’ll show her 😉

As I did in Lulu’s other, much beloved birdy Skater Dress — I cut the skirt 1 1/2 times wider than the pattern piece and gathered it, as suggested by Rachel of Stitched Together. I cut the bodice in 18m/2T, but shortened it a bit, and I cut the skirt at the 3T/4T length. I like to think that it would have fit Lulu quite well — but the world will never know.  Ha.

So, in the end, I sold about half the stuff I made.  The rest will end up in Kiki & Lulu’s closet, or in the fund raiser auction for our preschool.  I never thought I wanted to make a habit of selling what I’ve sewn, and this experience didn’t change my mind.  I’m glad I did it, but I think I’ll stick to sewing for my own little tribe for now.

But, now that I’m working (part time, but still . . . ), the real trick will be finding the time to sew at all.  It’ll happen. Everything in good time.

Woodland Creatures? Yes, Please!

Yes, yes — I like so many other sewers have vowed to sew only from my stash and to not be tempted by sparkly new offerings from our favorite fabric makers.

That was all well and good until I came across the new Acorn Trail by Teagan White for Birch Organics.  Here you’ll find not only beautiful, vintage storybook-like illustrations in nostalgic autumnal colors — you’ll find them in luscious interlock knit! That’s right — nice, thick knit!  As the weather is turning cool around here, these fabrics were screaming to be made into something toasty for my girls.  So . . . I caved.

Flashback Skinny Tee

I ordered a yard of Acron Trail Penny’s Seasons and a couple yards of Nature Hike from Fabricworm.  When these fabrics arrived in the mail, I was all a-flutter.  They are as soft as anything you’d expect from Birch, and the weight of this knit is just right for fall and winter.  Their thickness makes them easy to sew with, too.

I tossed it all in for a pre-wash, rolled up my sleeves, and got right to work.

Flashback Skinny Tee

If I want to sew something that will surely be consistently worn by the most discriminating of preschoolers in my household, I turn to Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee. Nothing too fancy — just the perfect cozy shirt (or dress, as you will see or may already know).  

Flashback Skinny Tee

For Kiki, I sewed up a 4T, straight up long sleeved shirt with cuffless, hemmed sleeves.  The fit is spot on, and it’s pretty much perfect.  And, she wears it!

Flashback Skinny TeeThe only change I made was to use Jess of CINO’s method of attaching the neckband that I picked up from making Nessie Tops last winter. Using Jess’s method, you attach the neckband as a long strip before sewing it together into a loop, and before sewing the second shoulder seam.  This way, you don’t have to stretch it to exactly fit the already sewn together neckline.  I find that you don’t even need to pin it before you sew.  Just gently stretch the neckband and sew carefully, matching it up with the neckline as you go.

The only drawback is that you have the seam allowance from the neckband hanging out at the second shoulder seam.  But, all you need to do is tack it down right by that shoulder seam.  I think it looks just fine and is way faster and less fiddly to put together.

Flashback Skinny Tee Flashback Skinny Tee

For Lulu, I followed Rae’s tutorial on making this tee into a super chic dress.

Flashback Skinny TeeThere’s really nothing to it — just add as much length as you want, flair out the skirt a little and round the edges of the hem at the side seams.

Flashback Skinny TeeThis is a 2T, with enough length to last her a while — I hope!

One of the other parents at preschool described this dress as “delicious” yesterday.  That pretty much made my day — especially since she didn’t know that I made it (wink, wink)!

Flashback Skinny TeeThere’s more to the Acorn Trail collection.  Check out the bugs in gold and blue.  You may be seeing more of that here before long.

In the meantime, we’ll be channeling our inner woodland creature . . .

Flashback Skinny Tee

Flashback Skinny Tee