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Skater Dresses 3, 4, and 5

August 17, 2013

I love making Skater Dresses.

I don’t really know how else to put it… It’s a fantastic pattern, it’s the perfect dress for my girls, it’s super easy to sew, it’s just fantastic all around.

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When I first learned how to sew knits through a basic t-shirt sewing class, it was exciting – like a world of (very practical) possibilities had been opened to me, sewing-wise. Especially since my kids pretty much live in knits; if you see them in woven fabric you can safely assume it’s a holiday or a special occasion. Except… Really cute patterns seemed scarce. Once my girls graduated from toddler sizes and most of the big box clothing stores assumed they were ready to start dressing like teenaged girls (I’m looking at you, Old Navy and Target), I would eye the slightly more modest (but kind of expensive for what they are) knit dresses in the Lands End catalogs and think “That shouldn’t be hard to make…” But it was, because I’m lost without a pattern.

Enter the Skater Dress pattern into my life, just a few months ago. It’s like the skies opened up and the angels began to sing. Perfect. And almost identical to the dresses from Lands End. But way cheaper.

Expect to see a few more of these coming up soon.

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Skater Dress 3 Details:
Size 5/6, made for my 6 year old daughter in blue polka dots from JoAnn. The only modification I made was to use a slightly wider seam allowance on the sides, as it was slightly too wide on M. Other than that, as written. This is the perfect dress for M.

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Skater Dresses 4 & 5 Details:
Both are size 18 mo/2T, made for my 18 mo old niece. No idea if they will fit her as she lives across the country and we last saw her several months ago, but if not she’ll grow into them. Blue polka dots and pink flowers both from JoAnn. The pink flowers also made an appearance in a baby outfit I made for her forever ago. Again added a bit to the seam allowance.

I’m back, with some Geraniums and some lessons learned

August 12, 2013

Hello! I’m back. We’re out of 3-year-old-broken-leg crisis mode now and settled into a temporary rhythm (soon to be broken by the looming start of school for the big kids and hopeful cast removal in 3 weeks for J). Note to any parent who finds out their 3 year old needs a spica cast: it definitely sucks at first but after a couple of weeks you’ll be amazed at how much less it sucks than it seems like it would. Our biggest challenge at the four week mark is keeping J from trying to walk, as he’s pretty convinced that he could if only his pesky parents would leave him alone.

But is this a spica cast blog? No, it is not. It’s a sewing blog, and as it happens, I’ve done some. Not a lot, but enough to get the two Geraniums I started during Kids Clothes Week done, and to start the Skater dress I cut out for M as well.

So here they are, in all their glory… My first Geranium dress(es). They’re almost identical, but for the buttons on the back. Both were sewn as gifts for new babies we know, and both were well received by the babies’ moms.

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Boring details:

  • I chose the cap sleeve and pleated options;
  • the size is 0-3 months;
  • I added piping between the bodice and the skirt
  • I hand sewed the lining down as the piping prevented any easy way of stitching in the ditch.
  • I extended the buttons all the way down the back rather than just halfway.**

**Words fail me for how to clearly explain this, but as far as I can tell the instructions provide for no built in overlap for the button placket so when you pull the button holes over the buttons the skirt fabric goes wonky, especially right under the bottom button. I read and reread the instructions to see if I was missing something but I didn’t come up with any alternate way to read them. I worked around it by keeping the entire back open and extending the buttons all the way down the back, but might try doing a zipper the next time instead, or else overlapping the bodice backs by an inch or so when attaching the bodice to the skirt.

Otherwise, though, I loved the pattern. It’s written in a really informative and helpful style, and is really quite comprehensive – there are so many options but not in an overwhelming way (as my husband can attest, I get freaked out when faced with too many choices but I totally didn’t here). I just noticed that you get a discount if you buy the 0-5T version at the same time as the 6-12 year version… I wish I had as this is such a versatile pattern – basic enough to keep things simple, but with enough options that you can really class things up if you want.

Because really, we’re all about classing things up here. (Spellcheck just changed “classing” to “lassoing”. But hey, we’re all about lassoing too). Next up: another Skater Dress. To be continued…

There goes that plan.

July 20, 2013
tags: , , ,

My 3 year old son, J, broke his leg on Wednesday. We’re lucky to have many wonderful friends and neighbors who were willing to help us out in an emergency, especially since both my parents an my in-laws are out of town. These wonderful people watched over my girls as I took J in the ambulance to the ER and over the following 24 hours that he was in the hospital, and continue to offer to help beyond that.

It’s going to be a long 6-8 weeks, as the cast leaves him unable to even sit up, but he’s doing about as well as you could expect and we’ll take it day by day. We’re grateful that his prognosis is very good, and surprised anew by the presence of a wheelchair in our living room every time we come down the stairs.

As she headed over to my neighbor’s house with the ambulance on its way, M (my 6 year old) was heard saying “This totally ruins my plans for the afternoon!”. I think she spoke for all of us in that moment. My grand KCWC plan is definitely on hold indefinitely, as something tells me that an immobile 3 year old and a newly mobile 9 month old are going to leave little time free for extras. Such is life. Messy, and chaotic, but ultimately pretty beautiful. Or so I tell myself.

I’ll see you when I see you, little blog.

KCWC Day 1: What I’m working on

July 16, 2013

It was 93 degrees here yesterday and we don’t have air conditioning, and we all got up about 2 hours earlier than we have been so that A could get to camp on time.  Everyone, save our never-tired night owl, was dragging yesterday.

But.  I got some sewing done: the beginnings of two Geranium dresses that I plan to give as baby gifts.  Both are in the same fabric (Sweet by Urban Chiks for Moda) to minimize the need for thread switching.  I got a pretty minimal amount of sewing done on them, but plan to bust through them tonight as our attitudes are all a little bit better today (the temperature hasn’t improved, but we’re all a little less tired).

Here’s where I am:

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Good stuff.

Kids Clothes Week Summer 2013

July 15, 2013

I am super-duper excited about the new Kids Clothes Week web site* (my username there is MeganSews) and the fact that for the first time in over a year, I feel like taking on the challenge is a possibility.  This summer has been fantastic so far, if only because I’m not dealing with the challenges of moving five people from a nicely fixed up house to a badly-in-need-of-fixing-up house while pregnant in the middle of summer.  And part of its fantastic-ness is that I have had time to do all the prep work necessary to spend a week actually sewing.

Cutting has never been my favorite part of the sewing process.  But I find that once I get into it, I don’t really mind it.  So, I’ve spent my spare (hah!) time over the last week cutting out the pieces for a number of Kids Clothes Week projects.  I may have gotten a little overly ambitious, as my list includes 4 Skater dresses, 3 Geranium dresses, and a bucket hat.  But truly, my goal isn’t even to finish all of the projects I’ve cut out, it’s just to log some  hours at the sewing machine and to enjoy the process.

Because I’m guessing that sewing and blogging are mutually exclusive endeavors right now, I’ll post my projects under my profile on the Kids Clothes Week site and on Flickr over the course of this week, then get them posted here when I can.

Hooray for Kids Clothes Week!  Is anyone else taking part?  Leave me a comment and tell me what you’re going to make, one of the best parts is seeing what everyone else comes up with!

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July 9, 2013

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KCW Recap: Surprise, I got something done!

April 27, 2013

So last week I said that I wasn’t even going to attempt to participate in Kids Clothes Week as it would be setting myself up for failure. I won’t lie: this hasn’t been the easiest week. 3 out of 6 of us had a cold, and I was one of them. At the same time, the baby had two teeth coming in and to say that she was having a rough time sleeping is putting it mildly. The hours between 1:30 and 3:30 am in our house have not been pretty, with me coughing and baby K crying.

I found myself stealing away time to sew – not for KCW, but for my sanity. I think the biggest difference between having three kids and having four (at least for me) is that these days, just about every single hour of my waking day is spoken for, filled with the needs/requests/demands of someone under the age of 9. And while I do appreciate feeling needed, the introvert in me sometimes just wants a little room to breathe.

Thanks to some babysitting help from my parents and mother-in-law and some marathon baby naps (hooray for teeth breaking through!), I’ve had it in spades over the past two days.

So, in a few hour-long sessions on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights, plus some daytime sewing on Thursday (my older two were off so they played with the baby while I sewed!), I busted out this bad girl:

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That’s right, a Skater dress. In crazy soft (modal maybe? no idea what this is made of – I got it cheap on sale at local fabric store during an I-need-to-collect-more-knits phase) purple fabric with green and orange butterflies. I wasn’t sure what to make of this print at first but it’s grown on me. And A loves it – she says she wants to wear it to bed too, it’s so comfortable. I finished it Thursday night, in time for her to wear it to school for dress-down day on Friday. I apparently have her well trained, as anytime anyone complimented her on her dress, she automatically said “thanks, my mom made it” with no prompting from me.

Here’s another picture, this time of her wearing it (see the threads hanging down? This was pre-hem and before I cleaned it up, but the best posed shot I got):

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So here are the details. Dress was sized to 5/6 for width and 7/8 for length, and fits her perfectly. The pattern is ridiculously easy to follow with excellent explanations for every step (especially the application of the neck binding). The dress took me a few days of short sewing sessions, but I’ve since made a second one in just a few hours (I cut out the pieces yesterday morning and sewed them up today, all that’s missing is the hem). I want to make about 20 more, it comes together so easily and is so satisfying. Right now I’m just using up fabrics in my stash but I could see making things even more fun with a few carefully selected fabric purchases. Here’s dress #2:

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The only thing I did differently from the instructions was that I applied the binding to the sleeves before sewing the side seams, so that I was sewing a straight line instead of a tube. Just a personal preference, but it made it a little easier for me.

All in all: great pattern, great dress, and I feel an enormous sense of accomplishment for having sewn not one, but two new dresses for A this week.

The only downside to is that I’ve had this Avril Lavigne song in my head all week.

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