Monday, July 3, 2017

Resurrecting the Zombie Fabric

Once upon a time, I made a Zombie Peasant Dress for a friend's one-year-old. It was a huge success, and worn many, MANY times. Beleaguered, it showed back up at my doorstep a couple months ago, with a request that I "just let out the sleeves a little bit, and maybe she can use it as a shirt."

Well, the way the dress was constructed, I would have had to pretty much take the whole thing apart to re-do the sleeves, and honestly, the way their child (now a lively two-year-old) was growing I didn't think that was going to buy them much time. I didn't want to destroy the dress - just in case its owner ever gets a smaller sibling - but fortunately, I had some scraps left over from the first run.



Not enough for another Tie Dye Diva Peasant Dress, definitely, but... hmmm. With some creative seaming, I was able to make it work with the much-more-efficient Foo Foo Threads Easy Peasant Top pattern I used for A's third-birthday My Little Pony Shirt. The FFT pattern is constructed entirely from blocks, and also has the benefit of being more "forgiving" in size since it's got a ribbon sash, ginormous sleeves, and a gathered skirt-bottom. That's helpful for a growing child.


Here's how it turned out! It took some creative seaming in the back, and the skirt isn't *quite* as full as the pattern calls for due to lack of fabric, but overall, I am very pleased with the result. It's just as Zombie-tastic, and even more femininely fun than its predecessor! I was also able to incorporate the ONE design element I loved from the Pattern Which Gave Me Such Fits - the contrast bands around the arm elastic. I think they're a really nice touch.



If I had it to do again, I think I'd make those bands just a *little* bit wider (they're 1/2" on a size 5 top), but I actually didn't miss the extra fabric in the skirt portion at all; it's still plenty ruffle-ey, and the bow tie in the back hides my extra seam. You also can't argue with a pattern that is flexible enough to be a dress while the wearer is young, and then a top as she lengthens out. Really, it's a win all around.

And, the recipient loved it! Just for fun, here's the little one in her "original" Zombie Dress (Easy Peasant Dress by TDD) ....



... and her new one made using Foo Foo Threads Easy Peasant pattern. Fabric in both cases is Walking Dead by Alexander Henry, and then a basic Kona (or maybe Michael Miller) black.


It's good to see your sewing be so well loved.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Dress for Darryl Fans (Walking Dead)

I am blessed with a family that keeps on growing, so given my time constraints, I have pretty much switched from quilts to clothing items for new-baby sewing projects. And my love affair with knits in general (and Knitorious in particular) continues.

This time the lucky recipient is a brand-new niece, on my husband's side. Her father and my husband are both consummate Zombie-lovers, so when he and his girlfriend announced that they were expecting, I knew I had to do something zombie-themed. My original Robert Kaufman Walking Dead print was running out, though, so I was very, very happy to luck into this:



Honestly, I may have retail-stalked a little bit at Knitorious to score it. 

Originally, I though I was going to make another hoodie (a la Chompers Hoodie) for a boy - the expectant mother "had a feeling." but I'm glad I didn't cut in, because the ultrasound revealed that the upcoming child was very much a girl. And here's where my tendency to overbuy served me well: 


Why make a boring, gender-neutral hoodie out of zombie fabric, when you can make a delightfully tongue-in-cheek, whimsical, and maybe just a little bit frilly Zombie dress for a girl? I mean seriously: try finding that in the store! It took a fair amount of searching for the exact right pattern (and my husband nixed some of the frillier things) but once we saw the Baby Islas Infinity Dress, from Simple Life Pattern Co, we were both in love. I think it was the heart cutout in the back that pushed us over the edge. Fortunately, the reviews checked out, and I bought the pattern off Etsy.

To make this particular dress I chose the "straight" waist, heart cutout on back, a full-on circle skirt, and 3/4 sleeves. I made it in size 6-12, but since part of my learning curve on this item was learning what a "stretch stitch" is - which I only learned after sewing half the neckline without one - it's probably more of a "newborn" or "3-6 month" garment in terms of head size. Ooops. 


Fortunately for me, other than that the dress came together incredibly well. It was a quick sew, the instructions were easy to follow, and thanks to the high-quality fabric the end result looks good, feels good, and moves nicely. I cannot wait to see it on my niece!





Monday, March 13, 2017

2016 Completions

Ah the joys of a busy mom! Two kids meant not a lot of time to sew this year, and a surprise bathroom remodel (thanks to hardwood floors and a leaky toilet) meant lots of watching the kids while my husband got all the project time.

Nonetheless, I did have two milestones this year - one, my first winging it on a terrible PDF pattern (I have nothing nice to say about the Pink Poodle Reese Dress Tutorial), and my second, working with knits! Both experiences turned out alright in the end, and I think I may be turning into a knits/clothing addict, at least until my kids are more self-sufficient on the weekend. 

No quilts this year, but here's the non-quilt roundup. 

Non-Quilts:

More 'Mingoes (link)



Completed: February 2016
Fabric: Novelty Print, Moda Marbles
Pattern: Easy Peasant Dress by Tie-Dye Diva

More Zombie Fun (link)



Completed: February 2016
Fabric: Walking Dead by Alexander Henry
Pattern: Easy Peasant Dress by Tie-Dye Diva


Shark Shirt (link)



Completed: August 2016
Fabric: Smithsonian print by Robert Kaufman
Pattern: Semi-Freestyle after purchased pattern left lots of holes and ambiguities
For my own Daughter

Chompers Hoodie (link)



Completed: September 2016
Fabric: "Chompers" from Knitorious
Pattern: Dragon Hoodie by Puperita
My first Foray into working with Knits; given to my son

Stats:
Quilts: 0
Other: 4

WiPs that made it from 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 to 2017 with progress but no completion: Christmas Traditions
WiPs without any progress in 2016Star Wars II

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Kaleidescope Pretties

This past May, a new arrival graced my brother's family - he and his wife gave birth to their second baby girl! Their first daughter, V, turned two the month before, giving me a great opportunity to coordinate their gifts.

Anyone who reads this blog regularly is probably tired of hearing me tout the Tie Dye Diva Peasant Dress pattern, but... some things are cliches because they work. At my local quilt shop, I feel in love with this Lumina Metallic print by Robert Kaufman.



Obviously, this was just begging to be fussy-cut into two different dress designs for the girls. Big sis got the medallion, little sis got the "flower," and both had the (small) lilac octagon centered on the back. I paired it with a Moda Weave for the sleeves, and little sis also got a matching diaper cover (another TDD pattern), since her dress is in the 6-12 month size.

What can I say? I love how they turned out. The TDD pattern is an old friend I keep coming back to, but with the right fabric selection, the dresses still turn out unique. I went through 2.5 yards of fabric on these guys - and in the end I used up almost all of it - but it was totally worth it.


Because as always, this dress produced happy customers again! Here are my nieces in their brand new outfits: It's almost too much cuteness to bear!


UPDATE; SIL texted me to let me know that V wanted to sleep in her dress, and wore it for two days straight after receiving it. If that's not a win, I don't know what is!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Chompers Hoodie

Ah, a return to patterns I can use! After the (mis)adventure with my daughter's Shark Shirt, I turned my attention to a patternmaker I knew I could trust, because I had a new experience I wanted to try: sewing with knits!

Last November I fell in LOVE with this bright, vivacious print from Knitorious. Even though I'd never sewed anything with knits, I talked myself into it; there's always time for a new experience, right?


I'd been eyeing the Dragon Vest pattern by Puperita, and the two seemed destined for each other. A trip to my local chain store and some blue fleece later, I was ready to roll.


Construction was smooth and straightforward, with one small glitch; apparently when they say a zipper is "all-purpose" they don't really mean ALL-purpose; they just mean "all purpose unless you need a separating zipper." Ooops. Fortunately my seam ripper, plus some quick customer service at the Zipper Shipper bailed me out.


Aside from some less-than stellar zipper technique (for which I blame myself and my first-time bumbling) I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Knits were definitely easier to work with than I'd anticipated - and the end product is way softer and more comfortable for regular wear.


Although I finished this during the summer, it's just now beginning to get some use. Here's little I modeling it a month or two ago. When It comes to knits, I am definitely a fan, and quickly becoming an addict!


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

An Adventure in Mishaps OR This Shark Shirt Bites.

They say life's not an adventure until things start going wrong, and if that's the case, this was one adventurous shirt. I knew I wanted to make a fun new shirt for my shark-obsessed daughter, who recently grew out of her My Little Pony Peasant Top. She's an active kid, so I wanted something feminine but practical, and Etsy is full of dress patterns that are easy to modify into tops. Or so I thought. This shirt was a lesson in *not* purchasing your pattern at the start of your allotted sewing time.

No, I will not be linking to the maker of this pattern. You'll see why shortly.
The pattern I selected was the Reese Dress by Pink Poodle Bows - the simplicity of it, and the practical-but-feminine shape appealed in photos. But as soon as I downloaded it, I knew I had a problem: the pattern itself is terrible. First off, the size chart on the dress is determined by length. Length! Not as in "here's what the length should be for it to fall at the calf, here's what it should be for the knee or ankle." but "if you want a dress this length, you should make size 4T." Uh... length is easily the least critical parameter I use when selecting a dress for my kid. What about chest measurement? What about arms? Stuff is way easier to hem than adjust the sleeves on, I'm just saying.

You have to admit the print is beautiful
But, the kids were out with my husband, and this was my opportunity to work, so I pressed on. I cut into a beautiful ($15 a yard, legacy) Robert Kaufman shark print, and hoped upon hope that the pattern's sizing was reasonably close to storebought. Which, it wasn't. Well, maybe on average it was, but the body was way too big, and the arms were just about right for my child, who is a little on the skinny side. If the whole *thing* were big, that'd be liveable - too-big clothing is a problem time can solve in kids. But having sleeves that fit now and a body that will probably fit later... that was no good. Time to modify!

Anyone who's been following this blog for any length of time knows I have made exactly NINE articles of clothing from a pattern in my life. 5 of which were actually variations on the Tie Dye Diva Peasant Dress, leaving my experience limited to 4 unique patterns and an add-a-strap tutorial. So point being, I am not exactly a master sewist. But I don't have infinite time or infinite amounts of this limited-run fabric, so into the woods I went.

Yes, little A, that is the appropriate face to make
The end result involved some pintucks, a major shortening (which was to be expected when transitioning from dress to shirt), a grey contrast band to hide the part of the shirt I couldn't bear to cut off and so pleated for future growth potential. All things told, I'm pretty happy with it. But I will never, EVER be buying a Pink Poodle Bows pattern again! Lesson learned, read the reviews on etsy, don't just look at the star ratings for everyone who's happy the PDF came quickly. At least it came out cute anyway, and I get some of the design credit this way.

And, we got a smile in the end.


Friday, March 11, 2016

More Zombie Fun

When Jen of the Tie Dye Diva patterns said this dress could be made in the last minute, she was not kidding. We play Zombie Board games with another family, and I ordered this Alexander Henry Zombie print over a month in advance, thinking to make a zombie dress for their daughter.


Well, fast forward a bit, and there we are 2 days before the party, and my husband says, "are you picking up a gift for them, or am I?" Uh... panic! Not that I can't think of any other use for Zombie fabric, but this is the gift that's already paid for! Fortunately, I already stash Kona Black, so it was just a matter of cutting this dress out, and sewing it together.

Oh, and guessing the correct size for the recipient.

Operating on such a short timeline, I had to cut the dress out before the recipient's mom could text me back with a size. So, when she came back with a number two sizes larger than I'd guessed, I had to improvise.


Honestly, I think the black stripe down the side looks kind of cute - and thanks to the simple architecture of the dress, it solved the problem without much of a fuss. I may do it again, just for fun.

Our friends were thrilled to receive a handmade (and so not-stereotypically female) gift, and I got just a *little* impromptu bonding time with my sewing machine. Win, win!