Southport Dress for Imagine Gnats

I’m over at Imagine Gnats today with this awesome Southport dress….Head over here to see more pics and read all about my new-found love of rayon challis- after overcoming a complete fear of it. Yep, I’m still a scaredy cat sometimes when it comes to sewing with new substrates. And I wouldn’t normally choose a print quite this bright and bold but I’m actually loving it in this dress.

rayon challis southport (4 of 5)

Sleeveless V-Neck Archer Variation

sleeveless archer (3 of 6)

So this is probably the most I’ve ever hacked a pattern for one garment! This shirt kind of evolved along the way to end up where it did, but I enjoyed the process. It took me several weeks to finish because I didn’t hurry through any of the decisions but it was nice to not have a deadline and really take my time to get something just perfect.

I started out with the Archer button-down, size 6. I knew I wanted a sleeveless shirt for summer so I used Jen’s tutorial here to take out some width from the shoulders- I think I ended up taking about 1.5″ off each shoulder and then a 3/8″ wedge from the back piece at the yoke seam line. I did have to take a little more off the sides due to armhole gaping so next time I would probably increase my wedge to 5/8″.

sleeveless archer (6 of 6)At first I thought I wanted to do the v-neck mandarin collar variation of the shirt so I followed Andrea’s tutorial here for that. Super duper easy to do if you follow her instructions! I love how easy the plackets were to draft! Unfortunately, once I was finished with this part of the shirt, I decided that I didn’t like the mandarin collar. Because you take some width out of the collar, it ends up being really close around your neck and with this summer we are having, I knew I would never wear it because it was sooo hot!

sleeveless archer (4 of 6)I did an after-the-fact hack and used Jen’s v-neck alder variation as an example to help guide me. Basically I seam-ripped the collar stand, cut 3/4″ off the shirt back neckline, and then angled it down in the front to make a V- this cut out most of the v-neck that I had created with the placket so I kind of did this work twice, but oh well. It was a learning experience. Once I had the angle right on the shirt, I used bias binding to finish off the neck seam. I held my breath a bit during this part because I was so afraid that i wouldn’t be happy with the collar-less result but I am so happy to report that I love it! It’s so perfect for a summer top- so light and airy along the neck.

sleeveless archer (8 of 6)I made a few more little tweaks to the shirt along the way just for fun. Instead of pleating the back, I gathered it between the pleat lines. The pockets were giving me some fits at the very end. I was going to leave them off completely, but my husband thought the shirt needed small pockets so I tried them out. Two pockets just wasn’t doing it for me- looked a little too symmetrical if you know what I mean? After polling the IG world, I took the majority’s advice and just did one pocket which I altered it into a v-shaped bottom to mirror the neckline. I’ve still wavered about leaving that one on, but I think I like it. Adds a little contrast to the front. One final tweak I made to the pattern was to try out a split hem at the side seams. That was a really easy tweak, and while it’s not super noticeable it’s still a fun added feature. sleeveless archer (5 of 6)

I bias bound the armholes to finish them off. Like I mentioned above, I had just a bit of armhole gaping once I was all done so I took the side seam in another 1/4″ at the armholes and angled that down to nothing to fix that problem. This fabric is one of the three fabrics I bought in London- such self control I showed there!! It doesn’t have any information on it but it feels like a light-weight shirting. I had plans to use it for the boys but it was just calling out to be made into this shirt and I’m glad I gave in to its siren call. ;) I really love how this turned out and I think it will get a ton of wear during the rest of this HOT summer. Also, it’s another entry on my #GrainlineBingo card. ;). Yep, thanks to my friend, Kristin, that’s totally a thing now. hehe. sleeveless archer (7 of 6)

The Nani Iro Sew-off Challenge

nani IRO en garden challengeI am so lucky to get to be one of the bloggers who contribute to Imagine Gnats. Several months ago some fellow contributors and I challenged each other to a sew-off of one of the Nani Iro fabrics Rachael was ordering. The idea was too fun to pass up so the contest was on! Ajaire and April are my competitors so be sure to head over to their blogs today and judge for yourself who, indeed, sewed it better. :)

The contest: Rachael sent each of us 1.5 yards of the fabric (Nani Iro- En Garden double gauze– the green is on order but she’s got the pink color way in stock)  and we could do whatever we wanted with it. No rules! I just sat and admired the yummy fabric for a week before I cut into it. It really is so exquisite!

nano iro shorts final (1 of 7)I took a long while debating on my project. A top or dress were the first things that came to mind but I wanted to do something different for this challenge. So I landed upon shorts. I mean, double gauze shorts, what could be better, right? I didn’t want these to end up looking like pajama shorts though, so I needed a legitimate shorts pattern. I have made two pairs of Grainline Studio’s Maritime Shorts in the past but neither one has fit quite right. Third time’s the charm though so it just seemed fitting to end up with that pattern. Not to mention I’m a Grainline junkie :) .

nano iro shorts final (4 of 7)My last pair were a 6, and while they fit, they cut into my waist too much for comfort. I have a very wide waist compared to the rest of my body so it makes buying pants/shorts difficult unless they have a stretchy waistband. This time I cut out the 8 in the waist and graded it down to a 2 in the legs. I also added 1.5″ to the length as the pattern is just a little short for my comfort level. You will notice that I added a button instead of the hook and loop closure. As much as I dislike buttonholes, I dislike hook closures more, so a buttonhole it was!

nano iro shorts final (3 of 7)I used the sew along on Jen’s blog to help me through the zipper fly, but everything else was fairly simple since I’ve made quite a few pairs of shorts (for the boys) recently. The pocket and waistband facings are artisan cotton (in this beautiful purple!- also from Rachael’s shop). Double gauze is kind of delicate, and I thought using the artisan cotton would give the waistband more structure and help it keep its shape. I so wish I had a picture of the inside of the shorts because they are so pretty with all the purple but alas I forgot to take one!

nano iro shorts final (2 of 7)I modified the pockets a bit because I thought the shorts needed a more delicate pocket to go with this fabric. I cut off the sides and bottom of the original pattern piece by .5″ and chopped of the top angled portion so it just went straight across. Then I folded the top under twice, top-stitched, and continued with the pocket as normal.

nano iro shorts final (7 of 7)I adore these shorts! I wore them all day yesterday and they feel like a dream. The fabric is so soft and comfortable but also breathable for these hot summer days. Just a little note- we realized after taking the pics that there was some dust on the lens creating a weird echo effect on some of the pics and making them look fuzzy. Editing helped some but it’s not perfect. And no time for another shoot before the deadline so here ya go. :) Just keeping it real, folks. Thanks so much to Rachael for sponsoring us in this little contest. It was loads of fun!

Snail Sketchbook Shirt Take 2

oliver snails (1 of 7)I’m back with another Lotus Pond shirt for you today. Previous one blogged here. This time it’s the multicolored snails (still available here). Funny story- I had a yard of each of the snail fabrics and asked the boys which one they wanted for their shirts. Eliot immediately grabbed the yellow snails and Oliver grabbed this version. Whew! No fighting for once. So nice when it works out that way- it doesn’t always in case you wondered. ;)

oliver snails (7 of 7)I wanted the boys’ shirts to be a little different from each other, so for Oliver’s version, I accented the snails with this artisan cotton in green-blue from imagine gnats store (it’s similar in weight to shot cotton or chambray). I used the accent fabric on the button band, the collar, and the yoke. This artisan cotton is the perfect contrast to the snails as it has both blue and green threads in it.

oliver snails (6 of 7)Oliver is wearing a size 4 of the sketchbook shirt and has plenty of room in the waist for his skinny little body. I think if I made him a long-sleeve version, I would slim the sides down a bit for a more slim-cut version, but I like this boxier look for a short-sleeve shirt. oliver snails (5 of 7)We were struggling with our photo shoot so I had idea to give him one of our old cameras we have and he had so much fun “taking pictures” of everything. Which led to an interesting discussion of film versus digital cameras as he couldn’t understand why he couldn’t see his pictures on my laptop. oliver snails (2 of 7)FYI his shorts are the sunny day shorts I blogged here. These are his favorite shorts to wear since he found out they match with everything! The drawstring got lost along the way because he kept playing with it and pulled it out so that part is a bit of wasted effort. Such is life, I guess.oliver snails (3 of 7)And now I’ve got to move on to another sewing project that’s easier on the eyes. I’ve about gone cross-eyed taking and editing pictures of these snails! At this point, my eyes are so fuzzy I can’t tell which pictures are in focus and which ones aren’t so I’ll apologize for any weirdness you see. I’m moving on to some selfish sewing now and will have something pretty fun to share with you on Friday- if I can finish up the sewing for it that is!! oliver snails (4 of 7)

Lotus Pond Sketchbook Shirt

eliot snails (1 of 6)I’ve got one last Kid’s Clothes Week make to share with you- bringing my total makes this week to 4 pairs of shorts, 1 tank top, and 1 button down shirt. I had one more button down shirt that I was hoping to get to this week, but that was pretty ambitious so I’m not bummed to have skipped it for now . I’m just happy with how much sewing I was able to squeeze in this week!

eliot snails (5 of 6)This is an Oliver+S Sketchbook shirt (guess I was on a roll with that pattern) in a size 2T for Eliot. Timing wise this worked out well for me because I made Oliver a sketchbook shirt in 2T last spring for Vintage May (blogged here) and so all the pattern pieces were traced out already. Woot! This shirt is about as complicated as the shorts are easy so it was a huge bonus to have the pieces traced- about 7 or 8 of them in total, I think.

eliot snails (4 of 6)I’m not normally a short sleeve button down person but I think it’s pretty cute on little boys. Plus I’m so not motivated to do all the sleeve placket/cuff work of a long sleeve for a shirt that will be grown out of within a year’s time! I’m not a completely crazy sewing mom. lol. Even with the short sleeves, I had a time of it with those sleeves! I don’t normally struggle with sleeve easing, but I ended up with quite a few puckers this time. In the efforts of not being a perfectionist and also not having any more time to mess with it, I left most of them alone and hope no one will be looking closely enough at his shirt to notice them.

eliot snails (3 of 6)Snail fabric is from Rae’s Lotus Pond line for Cloud9. (not sure where I bought this but I found some at Fabric.com) I’ve been saving this fabric for this very shirt ever since I saw Jessica’s version…a long time ago! Side note- we miss your blog and Film Petit very much, Jess (not that she’s reading this but I think Kristin is so I’m speaking to you too ;) )!!

eliot snails (2 of 6)I was just going to make the shirt straight snails, but as I was cutting it out I had the idea to add some chambray for a bit of contrast. The chambray used is double cloth and quite a nice weight (cannot for the life of me find a link to the exact fabric-sorry)! I wavered back and forth on exactly what pieces to make contrasting and ended up going with the collar, yoke and pockets in the chambray. I posted a picture of my progress on Instagram and was blown away by how much love this little shirt got. Thanks to all my IG friends for bolstering my confidence because I had a moment of self doubt as to whether the final project was actually any good or not. Love my supportive IG community!!

eliot snails (6 of 6)The 2t size ended up fitting Eliot fairly generously- leaving plenty of room to grow, but I’m happy with that because now it will hopefully last him a while before he grows out of it. Two year olds are a bit of a booger to photograph- hence the animal cracker bribes you see in this pictures. Whatever works, amiright? Anything is better than crying pictures. And that wraps up my summer 2015 kid’s clothes week! I didn’t stick too closely to the travel theme but I kinda feel each of my items could loosely work in that framework…I mean, snails are always traveling around to get places, right? ;)

kid's clothes week

kcw summer 2015: superhero shorts

superhero shorts (8 of 6)I’m back with another pair of sketchbook shorts to share with you. I know, I’m totally a broken record sometimes, but when you find a good pattern, you gotta squeeze the life out of it. I have been seeing superhero shorts around the internets for the last few weeks (check out these from Jane and then Tara’s got a great pair unblogged but you can find them on her instagram- @girllikethesea) and just knew the boys would love a pair for themselves. I took them to our local Joann and let them pick out the fabric they wanted and then I got to work. superhero shorts (6 of 6)
I used the same mods as the last version- blogged here. To recap: Oliver’s wearing a 3T and Eliot a 2T- with about an inch cut off his length.
superhero shorts (5 of 6)When I finished the shorts, Oliver decided he HAD to have a matching shirt. I wasn’t sure exactly what he meant until I realized he wanted something similar to the superhero pajamas I made him a while back. Because I’m a super nice mom ;) , I decided to humor his request. We decided upon a white tank with a superhero pocket- he was very specific about the need for the pocket. The white (PDF to be specific) is more Kaufman laguna jersey. It’s the only color I have left actually so I’ve got to stock up on some more! I had this red ribbing that coordinated nicely with the superhero fabric so I used that to bind the arm and neck holes. I used the Titchy Threads Twisted Tank again for the tank top. Can’t say enough good things about how awesome that tank pattern is. Very highly recommend it. And I still have yet to try the twisted version but it’s on my to-do list!
superhero shorts (9 of 6)Eliot did not get a tank because I ran out of time…and that’s totally unfair, I know, but being the less verbal child does have its drawbacks… His tee is an old up-cycle I made for Oliver way back during a long time ago Kid’s Clothes Week.
My next KCW project is not shorts- imagine that ;) but the week’s end is coming so quickly I’m afraid I won’t get to it! I’m going to start plugging away at it during nap time today though so we will see how much I can get done!
superhero shorts (10 of 6)Oh and I totally forgot about Rachael’s Shorts on the Line sew along going on, but head on over to Kollabora to view all the awesome shorts being made and link up your own if you have some. Quite serendipitous that I just happened to be in a shorts mood during all that! Don’t forget the Kid’s Clothes Week project pool either!

kcw summer 2015: sketchbook shorts

anchor shorts (10 of 6)A quick little photoshoot today to show you my first kid’s clothes week makes- two pairs of sketchbook shorts. I’ve had this oliver+s pattern for several years and I’ve made the shirt a few times (blogged here) but I never really gave the shorts a second glance until I saw these two versions from gail and tara…I mean, how could I not try this out after this cuteness?? Another item worth mentioning is that the more I sew, the more I enjoy using oliver+s patterns. They are just such an enjoyable experience all the way around- so well written and you end up with such a professional-looking garment. These shorts in particular are such a quick and easy sew that I highly recommend them.

anchor shorts (9 of 6)I picked up this chambray anchor fabric at five-eighths seams back in January when I tagged along on my husband’s business trip to Charleston…sigh… I could use another one of those business trips now! Anywho I’ve been saving this for the right project and these shorts were definitely the right choice.anchor shorts (5 of 6)

One comment I would have on this pattern is it seems to run pretty long. Which is kind of funny because I thought the shirt version ran a little short. Oliver is pretty tall but skinny so I made him the 3T even though he’s typically a 4- and even then I deepened the hem a bit to have them hit where I wanted them to. Eliot is wearing a 2T and I cut about an inch off the bottom of his and also sewed a deep hem. Eliot wears cloth diapers so I sometimes have problems with shorts being too tight in the bum area but these turned out pretty good for him. Not a ton of extra room but they aren’t too small either.

anchor shorts (6 of 6) Oh and in case you were wondering there’s some Dr. Seuss fabric hiding in those pocket linings- this little trick is making all my recent handmades get worn a ton! And Eliot has been asking for some “grinch pockets” so I’m happy he got himself some finally. :)anchor shorts (8 of 6)I’ve got the sewing bug for this Kid’s Clothes Week so I’m excited to see what I can pull off- fingers crossed for happy naps and quiet times this week!kid's clothes week