The Cherry-picking Dress

This is the Apple-picking Dress, one of the Oliver+S 2011 fall patterns. I’m going to call it the cherry-picking dress though since, (a) it’s not fall, so no apples to pick, and (b) cherry season is ANY MINUTE (if it ever stops SNOWING here. We’ve had very weird weather this spring) and (c) the fabric is covered in tiny blue (?) and red cherries. It’s from Connecting Threads Canning Day line.

Apple-Picking Dress

This pattern had a lot of steps, so I finished it over several nights, but was actually quite easy. Either that, or I’m getting better. The trickiest part is that there are lots of buttonholes, but I’m not usually intimidated by buttonholes as my machine will do them for me. Also, one of the “columns” of buttonholes are false – you just sew the button on top to get the look, but they don’t function.

I love the drop waist. There’s another drop waist pattern in the spring collection that was announced today and I am highly tempted to order it asap. Hm.

Miss M seems to like it too… until I bug her with too many photos.

Apple-Picking Dress - No More Photos Mom!

Finished Tova Top

Phew – finished the Tova dress! And wore it out that same night.

I tried to get P to take a picture of me going out so I could capture the “outfit” but this was the result.

Peter's Photo Attempts

Self-portraits were also not working for me…


So instead you get J taking the picture in the morning – sorry about the bedhead.

Finished Tova

There were a few things about the pattern that were kind of tricky – attaching that square yoke was pretty hard, so eventually I just topstitched it on because I made a dog’s breakfast of it when I tried to do it the way it was described in the pattern. That was in large part due to the fabric – this chambray frays really easily and it was all coming apart. If I had a more stable fabric, I think it probably would have been fine. Also the collar piece was too short – not sure if that’s an error in the PDF pattern or if I did my tracing wrong (quite possible!). The pattern says just to “ease” it in, so I did, but I think it looks kind of bunched, and if I did it again, I’d lengthen the collar piece. Anyway, I still think it’s very cute and I got some nice compliments on it last night. I will definitely make this pattern again, especially because it’s so fast to go together. Even with cutting it out, I was able to finish it in an afternoon. Even with the kids home being neglected learning the value of independent play. However that showed me the value of pulling a muslin together, because I made my mistakes and puzzled through most of it (except the collar!) doing that. Plus it fits!

Bubble Dress!

As part of the sewing madness leading up to my brother’s wedding, I also made this dress for Miss M. It’s the Oliver + S bubble dress, and I adore it… this dress is very easy to construct, and the bubble effect is achieved by sewing an elastic along the bottom, which then scrunches up and gets all bubbly. Does that make sense? I love the finishing on this dress – because it’s lined, I hardly had to use my serger at all. In fact, the inside was finished so prettily that I only noticed part way through the wedding that she was wearing it inside out. Woops!

She’s still crawling but I did manage to get one standing picture of her – unfortunately Flickr seems to be having problems uploading it despite the fact that I just paid $24 for a pro membership. Hm. Oh wait, here it is:

I also made myself a dress for the wedding out of some lovely AMH fabric. But two days before I tried it on and decided it was far too casual, and, well, sister-wife. I stopped immediately and rushed out to Banana Republic and spent a small fortune on a dress there, but I think that was the right choice. Luckily the fabric is still salvageable and some of it has already made its way into a stacked coin quilt I am making for a friend’s new baby.

Next project (besides the quilt) – fabric lootbags for P’s birthday. Also, some beautiful Heather Ross Girls Who Love Horses fabric arrived (ordered on a whim!) and I’m trying to decide what to do with that… as an aside, do not google “Girls” “Love” and “Horses” in the presence of small children. The Internet is a freaky place.

Playdate Dress

This dress sat around my house for ages waiting to be hemmed… I didn’t get it done in time for Miss M’s birthday, but as she had pneumonia and wasn’t celebrating in her usual style, that was okay. I did have it done in time for a celebration 2 weeks later at the grandparents’ home.

This is the Oliver+S playdate dress… one of the slightly more complicated patterns, but really not too difficult. I love the fabric, it’s called “American Jane.”

Playdate Dress

Gingham Dress

Sometimes I forget what I’ve blogged and what I haven’t.

This is a dress I made from a vintage pattern I bought online. The pattern also came with pants, but I used them instead to make little shorts, and added some elastic at the cuff so they became bloomers. You know what’s cool about vintage patterns? They are generously cut for cloth diapers! I was cutting them out and thinking they were ginormous. Then I realised – oh yeah, everyone wore big bulky cloth back then, just like Miss M.

After watching Miss M try to crawl around in her dress I shorted it significantly so it’s more tunic-length… seemed more practical for this spring weather anyway as we’ve had few warm days and a top over jeans is always a nice option for days with cool mornings and warmish afternoons.

Vintage patterns are lots of fun, but the annoying thing about them is they often contain only one size.

Third Time’s the Charm Dress

Have I posted yet about the dress I made?

I have attempted dresses for me before; first a vintage pattern that went together beautifully, but didn’t fit. Then another pattern that just didn’t go together very well. Third time’s the charm apparently!

The dress is Simplicity 2246 from the Sew Lisette collection.

The designer, Liesl Gibson, does all those gorgeous Oliver + S patterns, like the Ice Cream Dress. I also have her book and made P (and me!) some aprons from it. She even left a comment on my Flickr picture of the apron, which completely made my day. And when I was in San Francisco I had some of her fabric from Joann’s delivered to my brother. I’m thinking if Liesl Gibson ever reads this she will be happy I live on the other side of the continent, as I am a slightly obsessed fan.

I was so excited when she came out with a set of patterns for women’s clothing – the aforementioned Sew Lisette. I immediately bought three; this was the first one I tried and it went together remarkably easily. I was a little daunted by the collar, but it was actually not difficult at all. And my machine has an automatic buttonholer, which made that part pretty straightforward.

I did make a size 10 even though I am actually between a size 12 and 14 according to the measurements. (Sewing pattern measurements are quite a bit different from big-chain measurements, something to keep in mind if you ever buy a pattern for yourself). I had heard the patterns run large, and that was the case for me.

I’m not sure I’m in love with the colour of my fabric choice – it’s a linen blend I got from I may have to make this again in a dark gray chambray, or maybe even plaid. The dress pattern actually has pockets, and I did put them on, but then picked them off as I just didn’t like them in this color.

Ice Cream Dress 2

I made the Oliver and S ice-cream dress again – this time it was much faster. I didn’t do them the contrasting hem this time because I was thinking it would be more of a tunic come summer – also, I didn’t have enough of the stripey fabric. I made this out of a bedsheet I found at a thrift store – love the vintage-y flowers and dots! Of course, it required much washing and sterilising because I am paranoid like that. I let my kid eat dirt, yes, but a thrift store sheet? Hm.

I can’t believe I have just two more weeks of maternity leave. Part of me has been looking forward to the return, but I feel very sad knowing that this time with M is over. For ten months, we’ve been together all the time, excepting the odd few hours here and there. Her little two-tooth grin lights up my day. We know each other so well, and she’s such wonderful company. We’ll never know the details of each other’s lives so well again. And now that time is coming to an end, and I’m going to miss her so much.

Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress

I was listening to CBC Radio 2 this morning and the host was talking about four stages of learning.  As summarised by Wikipedia, they are:

  1. Unconscious Incompetence
    The individual neither understands nor knows how to do something, nor recognizes the deficit, nor has a desire to address it.
  2. Conscious Incompetence
    Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, without yet addressing it.
  3. Conscious Competence
    The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires a great deal of consciousness or concentration.
  4. Unconscious Competence
    The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it becomes “second nature” and can be performed easily (often without concentrating too deeply). He or she may or may not be able to teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned.

I think with my sewing right now, I am somewhere between two and three.  I have enough knowledge to plow (plough?) ahead, but I often make mistakes.  Still, I learn from these mistakes, which is great!

This week I decided to make a dress for M from an Oliver + S pattern I bought a few months ago. I’m quite pleased at how it turned out. It was definitely not perfect, mostly because of the fabric I chose, a light knit. Working with stretchy fabric definitely takes practice, but given that it’s January (or was when I made this), I wanted something warmer than a simple cotton. If I did it again, I might make the yoke and hem from a cotton and the rest of the dress from jersey, although I’d definitely have to prewash in that case.

The hem and notched pockets are a bit wonky. But I really liked the curve of the pockets. I used this method for achieving smooth corners from April 1930s and it was so much easier than trying to iron them under “freehand.”

M showing off her ice-cream dres

I’m sure I’ll make this dress again and I suspect it will go a lot faster the second time.