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

A Lotta/Ileana Mashup

Compagnie M Lotta Dress Ileana DressThis is the third in a trilogy of Ileana Dresses for Lulu.  This time, I decided to frankenstein it together with the Lotta Dress, which I have been dying to make for ages.

Compagnie M Lotta Dress Ileana DressBoth the Lotta and Ilena Dress patterns are from Compagnie M — and the coolest thing about them is that the bodices, skirts and sleeves of all Compagnie M’s dresses can be switched around from pattern to pattern.  All the pieces fit together without any finagling at all!

Compagnie M Lotta Dress Ileana DressI should mention here that one of the benefits of being a Compagnie M super fan is that I’ve become an affiliate.  My goodness, how official!  I’m pretty excited about being in cahoots with Compagnie M — thanks for having me, guys!

Compagnie M Lotta Dress Ileana DressAnyway, I’ve looked longingly at the Lotta Dress neckline with the little buttons since the pattern was released, but I was worried that Lulu wouldn’t wear it due to the lack of twirly-ness in the skirt.  But now that the Ileana has arrived with its circle skirt, the problem is solved!

Compagnie M Lotta Dress Ileana DressThe bird fabric is from Joann’s.  I bought it about three years ago and used it for a couple of projects in my early days of sewing.  I loved it so much that I bought more and have been sitting on it all this time.

The lining is red/cream striped shirting from my local fabric store that I originally intended to use for myself.  But it goes together with the birds so well, I couldn’t help but use it.

Compagnie M Lotta Dress Ileana DressI decided to use the side seam pockets from the Lotta pattern.  I figured they’d work best with the circle skirt without getting in the way.

Compagnie M Lotta Dress Ileana DressAs I did with Lulu’s other two Ileanas, I stitched the entire pocket onto the front of the skirt, which keeps everything together during twirling and such.

Compagnie M Lotta Dress Ileana DressI used the lining fabric to make bias tape for the hem — an extra step that was well worth it, especially since I have my trusty bias tape maker which makes the pressing quick and keeps my fingers from getting singed too much.

Compagnie M Lotta Dress Ileana DressIn the pattern instructions, Marte warns against using directional fabrics for the circle skirt option, as the print will be sideways at the side seams.  I thought long and hard about this before I started on this trilogy of dresses and considered using the half circle skirt instead.  But I knew that if I really wanted Lulu to love these dresses, I had to go full circle — print wonkiness be damned.  I stand by that decision (and I really don’t think anyone would notice if I didn’t point it out, right??).

Compagnie M Lotta Dress Ileana DressThis dress turns out to be perfect for enjoying the last of the summertime mint in the back yard . . .

Compagnie M Lotta Dress Ileana Dress

Compagnie M Lotta Dress Ileana Dress

Compagnie M Lotta Dress Ileana DressBefore we know it there’s going to be a serious chill in the air.  Hmm, my girls are going to need some new fall dresses 🙂

A Feline Ileana

Compagnie M Ileana Dress Lizzy House Catnap Purrfectly HappyI bought this completely awesome kitty fabric almost two years ago and have been waiting for just the right project for it.  Well, the day finally came . . . and here it is as an Ileana Dress (from Compagnie M)!

Compagnie M Ileana Dress Lizzy House Catnap Purrfectly HappyThis is my second of three Ileana creations for Lulu — the child who will wear only circle skirts.  Her skirt requirement is a little limiting, but I can think of worse things.

Compagnie M Ileana Dress Lizzy House Catnap Purrfectly HappyI’ve already declared my love for this pattern here, but it bears repeating.  This pattern is wonderful and has so many options that it can be made into many very different dresses.

For this version, I chose the bow collar.  Isn’t it chic?

Compagnie M Ileana Dress Lizzy House Catnap Purrfectly HappyThe other options I picked are the capped sleeves, full circle skirt (of course) and the tear drop pockets.

Um, Mom, did you say pockets?

Compagnie M Ileana Dress Lizzy House Catnap Purrfectly HappyWhy, yes I did!

Compagnie M Ileana Dress Lizzy House Catnap Purrfectly HappyAs I mentioned before, these pockets are extremely simple to make and look darn fabulous.  As I did in my first Ileana, I stitched the entire edge of the pocket onto the front of the skirt so that it won’t flop around while twirling.

Compagnie M Ileana Dress Lizzy House Catnap Purrfectly HappyWhen searching my stash for contrast fabric, I happened to find an old duvet cover stuck in there in the perfect shade of lilac.  It was a pretty nice duvet cover with a high thread count, so this dress now has a luxuriously soft lining and collar 🙂  And there’s plenty of fabric leftover for several other projects.  Huzzah!

Compagnie M Ileana Dress Lizzy House Catnap Purrfectly HappyI finally realized that I have an invisible zipper foot.  I found it in the bag with all the other feet I got when I bought my new sewing machine over a year ago — haha!  It makes a real difference.  But one thing I had to learn the hard way is that while the invisible zipper foot is perfect for sewing the zipper tape very close to the main fabric, it’s better to use a regular zipper foot when you sew the zipper into the lining.  If you use the invisible zipper foot for both the main and lining fabric, the zipper gets sewn in too tight and you won’t be able to move it up and down.  Ugh.  It’s a fixable problem, but unpicking a zipper is a pain!

Compagnie M Ileana Dress Lizzy House Catnap Purrfectly HappyLulu is having a blast wearing this dress all around town.

Compagnie M Ileana Dress Lizzy House Catnap Purrfectly HappyIsn’t it nice when your kid loves her new dress as much as you do?

Compagnie M Ileana Dress Lizzy House Catnap Purrfectly Happy

My First Ileana Dress

Compagnie M Ileana DressGreat news!  There’s a new pattern out from Compagnie M — the Ileana Dress.  If you’re like me and you have a kid who will wear only dresses that twirl, this pattern is for you.

The Ileana has tons of options, so you can make a whole bunch of unique dresses from this one pattern.  There’s a full or half circle skirt, a raglan or regular bodice, cap or short sleeves (or sleeveless, of course), different faux placket options, three different collars and three different pockets in there!  And, the best thing about it, I think, is that you can mix and match sleeves and skirts from Compagnie M’s other patterns.  That means you can use Lotta, Mara or Louisa parts with the Ileana to create just about anything.  I’ve already made three of these dresses, one of which is a Lotta/Ileana hybrid (which I’ll show you later).  Whoopeeeeee!

This solves some problems for me, as I’d like to make Lulu as many dresses as I make for her big sister Kiki, but her very strict “circle skirts only” policy makes it tricky to keep sewing without getting bored with just one style.

On to Lulu’s Ileana #1 — which she loves so much, she slept in it the night she tried it on the first time just because she didn’t want to take it off.  I hadn’t even gotten the buttons on yet!  She also reserved it for the first day of preschool this week.

Behold . . .

Compagnie M Ileana DressFor this Ileana, I made a raglan bodice with regular raglan sleeves, the bodice length faux button placket, the round Peter Pan collar and the tear drop cutout pockets.

Compagnie M Ileana DressEven though Lulu’s chest measurement points toward a 4T, I made a 3T here, and the fit is just fine — not too big yet still roomy enough to grow.

Lulu chose the fabric herself on a recent trip to Joann’s, and she now refers this dress as her “Owl Dress”.  It’s quilting cotton, which works well for this pattern.  I think it needs some structure, and the slightly heavier weight of the quilting cotton is perfect.

The collar, placket, pocket detail and hem tape are all a solid red Kona cotton.

Compagnie M Ileana DressI love the retro buttons — and I love even more the fact that a faux button placket requires no button holes 🙂

Compagnie M Ileana DressThe hem is finished with single fold bias tape, since it would be just about impossible to press up and hem a circle skirt.  But when I was about half way through attaching the bias tape here (which takes a while, as the circle is pretty big), I realized I was accidentally sewing it on backwards, so that the tape would show on the outside, rather than on the inside of the skirt.  I couldn’t face the prospect of taking it all off and starting again (especially after taking the time to make my own bias tape to match), so I decided to leave it as is and have the tape show on the outside.  I think it turned out great this way!

Compagnie M Ileana DressThis pocket design is awesome, and surprisingly easy to do — even easier then invisible side seam pockets.  I did make one change, which was to stitch around the entire perimeter of the pockets on the front of the skirt on the inside, so that they don’t flop around while twirling and won’t get all bunched up in the drier.  This was a good move.

I did my best on the zipper pattern matching.  I hadn’t done it in a while and had to consult my own blog post about it to remember just what to do.  Haha!

Compagnie M Ileana DressThe only problem I had was turning the bodice right side out and getting it to press flat where the bodice meets the sleeves.  I trimmed the seam allowance in there as much as I could, and it still doesn’t press perfectly smooth.  But hey, let’s not obsess on the trivial. However, I do now know from recent experience that the regular bodice/cap sleeve option is easier and eliminates this problem, so I’ll probably stick with that plan in the future.

And now, for the ultimate test — twirlability . . .

Compagnie M Ileana Dress

Yee HAW!!!

Stay tuned for Ileana #2 . . .

KCW: A Lucy Dress

It’s already Kids Clothes Week again!  I can’t believe it!  I’ve been sewing up a storm this time around and am coming up for air just long enough to show you what I’ve been up to . . .

Compangie M Lucy Dress

Kiki has been asking for a dress with a “neck thing” — which can be translated as a halter dress.  I poked around the internet a bit looking for a pattern, and I came across the Lucy Dress by Compagnie M.  I’m pretty familiar with Compagnie M and have made a Louisa Dress or two, but somehow missed this little treasure — until now.

Compagnie M Lucy Dress

It’s as simple as can be — just a tube with straps and shirring at the top.  Marte from Compagnie M gives lots of great tips on shirring (sewing with elastic thread in your bobbin, creating a stretchy “smocking” look) with instructions and photos using several different brands of sewing machine — how great!  I’ve shirred a time or two, but still found the tips helpful.  One of her best bits of advice is to be sure to use high quality elastic thread.  I had been using Dritz on other shirring projects, but I decided to heed her advice and ordered some Gutermann thread.  What a difference!  Totally worth it.

The pattern has several strap options — there are regular shoulder straps, tied shoulder straps and tied halter straps.  Each is so cute in its own way.  You can choose dress or top length.  There is also an optional faux button placket.  Whew — so many options!  This little pattern is so quick to sew up (and so beloved by Kiki), I think I’ll whip of several more, trying out some of these other fun options.

Compagnie M Lucy Dress

For this dress, I decided to sew only 5 lines of shirring.  The pattern shows examples of tops and dresses with 10 lines of shirring, which really just means a longer bodice.  I’ll try that next time.

Compagnie M Lucy Dress

This fabric is some very light weight voile I picked up at the local fabric store last summer on sale.  When I was pressing it, I realized it’s a little on the sheer side, but since Kiki usually wear shorts under her dresses nowadays anyway, it doesn’t matter much.  And, the light weight of the fabric really works nicely with the shirring.

Compagnie M Lucy Dress

I added these funky green buttons just for fun — they aren’t at all functional.  But I think they add a certain something that gives this dress great personality.

Ok — that’s project #1 . . . now, on to project #2 . . .

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.

As Summer Comes to a Close

In order to really savor the last days of summer, I felt that the girls needed the appropriate diaphanous attire.

Presentation1My real excuse for sewing these up so close to the end of summer dress wearing season was the annual family photo shoot (and my deep denial about the cold weather to come).  We don’t have the photos back from our photographer yet, so my backyard versions will have to do for now.

I wanted the girls to be coordinated for the shoot, but not too matchy-matchy of course.  So, they got different dresses in complementary patterns of Palos Verdes voile.

Kiki’s skirt/top combo is the lovely Mara Blouse from Compagnie M and the Swingset Skirt from Oliver & S.


I am a real fan of Marte’s patterns from Compagnie M.  I’ve tried a couple of versions of the Louisa Dress and have tried the Mara once before as a dress.  I’m also anxious to try the Lotta Dress this fall for Lulu.

I’m a sucker for pintucks, so this top makes me pretty happy.  I also love the yoke and piping details.  I used flat piping made from the same fabric as the skirt, which is pale pink cotton shirting from my local fabric shop.  I thought corded piping would be too heavy with the voile, and the flat turned out pretty well — plus, it’s faster to make.  The lightness of this voile works nicely for this top, I think.


The only change I made was to cut a couple inches off the length.  If Kiki was going to wear this with pants or shorts, the original length would’ve been fine.  But, the volume of the Swingset Skirt needed a shorter top so that it could achieve maximum twirlability.

This was my first time making the Swingset skirt.  And given the fact that Kiki will wear nothing but skirts everyday, I’m glad to add this one to my repertoire.  The shape is so fun, and the waistband and drawstring make it unique and, dare I day, professional looking?

20140813_162853For the lining, I just used white muslin.  Before I sewed this up, I had the idea that a lined skirt would feel a bit formal.  But now that it’s done, I think the lining makes it fun and gives it more vavavavoom when it’s time to twirl — and let’s face it, for a four year old, it’s always twirl time.


Now, on to Lulu . . .

Bohemian BabydollFor the little one, I sewed up a Bohemian Babydoll Dress from Elegance & Elephants. The high low bodice and hem was what really sold me on this dress, and is what makes it stand out from other dresses with a similar shape.  There are no closures, which makes it fast and pretty simple to sew.  Honestly, in my experience, dresses without closures tend to be hard to get little arms into and out of — but Lulu and I haven’t had too much trouble with this one.

20140813_105509This pattern calls for a lined bodice with an unlined skirt.  I was planning on making mine that way, but once I saw the sheerness of the voile, I decided that the skirt really needed a lining too.  Luckily, I had the Swingset Skirt lining instructions handy, which served as the perfect guide.  I cut the lining (from the same white muslin that I used on Kiki’s skirt) an inch or so shorter than the main fabric of the skirt.  Then, I basted and gathered them together as one piece.  Easy peasy.

20140813_163243The next time I make this dress — and I’m sure there will be a next time — I think I’ll follow Erin of Hungie Gungie’s suggestion of using the “Sausage Step” to attach the lining to the bodice at the armholes.  Yes, I love that name, too 🙂  The pattern instructions have you press the raw edges of the bodice and lining armholes under separately and then top stitch them together.  This other method allows you to sew them together with right sides facing and turn it all out magically.  Erin leads you to this tutorial from Heidi of Elegance & Elephants, and also to a cool video by Made by Rae.  Super helpful.

This pattern includes a very cute hem facing option, which would be pretty awesome in a contrasting fabric.  But after some thought, I decided to go with a regular hem here.  In my next version in a slightly sturdier fabric, I’ll definitely try it.


So we say farewell to summer, and both girls will be starting preschool in a few days. Hmmmm — it must be time for back to school clothes . . .