Even in my slightly-lower energy state of an allergy diet and no frakkin’ coffee hells yes I’ve been sewing. A couple weeks ago I finished both the Brooklyn Shrug and the Insa Skirt for my daughter. Both were minor failures; both too small (patterns run small sometimes – it happens). Also: just as I sewed the last stitch of the skirt (which was a rather time-consuming venture) I thought to myself, This is so not Sophie’s style any more! Sure enough, when I presented her with the skirt two minutes later, she complimented it and then said, “Mom… I don’t want to offend you, but I kind of don’t like ruffly things any more.”
Well that makes two of us (I hate making ruffles).
Anyway, is she awesome or what? I’m proud of her for speaking up and I look forward to gifting the lovely to a friend’s child who is obsessed with skirts and ruffley stuff.
Funny, but Sophie’s stylings lately are distinctly tween and tween patterns are kind of difficult to find (Ottobre is awesome but I have yet to spring for a subscription). I’ve already moved on to sewing two new dresses for her, hopefully in a style she enjoys – a simple sleeveless square-necked number by Burda (she’s enjoyed her sleeveless bubble dresses very much and is now, a year later, growing out of them). I’m making the two frocks in some lovely, deep colors of linen/rayon I bought on sale at JoAnns:
Let me tell you, this linen/rayon is a dream. You may recall (or you don’t, but I will remind you) that I used a similar blend for Sophie’s self-titled “Priest Dress” I made in the summer. That dress continues to receive heavy rotation on Sophie’s many extremely vigorous outdoor activities (remember, my kids don’t go to school: they mostly climb trees, ride bikes, and dig mud pits) and is still holding up well.
If I had any caveat on the linen/rayon it would be that the slim neckline facing pieces did not hold up at the edges; I couldn’t double-turn the far edge of the facing because of the curve and the bulk that would have resulted. I interfaced and serged the facings before applying them, but that wasn’t good enough. I might have done a very tight stitch at the base of the serge and that might have helped. As it is, this is the only part of the “Priest Dress” that is fraying and obviously, it’s not visible from the outside (my non-sewing and beginner-sewing friends reading are rolling their eyes at the “obviously”).
Learning my lessons in loose-weaves and facings, with these two dresses I instead lined/underlined the bodice with a crisp cotton. This also adds a more heirloom touch as all bodice seams will be fully enclosed. Funnily enough although I don’t have much of a fabric stash I did already own a bit of rust-color that worked to underline both dress bodices. I would have liked to underline the full skirt but I didn’t have proper yardage and I wanted to get sewing now (it happens). I’m considering buying some underlining fabrics on a bolt as it adds so much to most garments. I’d probably buy a batiste and maybe a light, stiff bull denim for some of my more structured items. I don’t know. I am kind of bush league when it comes to underlining, but my garments continue to improve.
Speaking of underlining, I’m also making a brown twill jacket for myself, Simplicity 4081 which is supposedly a forties-retro semi-fitted number. The shell is just about put together and I await via mail a silk twill for the lining. Here’s a peek at the pocket just before I turned it. At the far left you can see the black fusible interfacing I used to stabilize the edge of the pocket.
Borrr-rring, I know. But, I’m not exactly a flamboyant dresser.
Incidentally, the shell fabric I’m using is a sturdy twill my brother sent me a few months ago. It was camel-colored (he’s even more boring than I am!) and I wanted a deep rust-brown. One morning while the kids slept I biked down to our local grocery store and picked up two separate brown shades of Rit dye, blending them with a scarlet packet I’d already owned (I’ve learned deep colors need lots of dye). Dying fabric is fun because it’s easy to do (at the level I’m doing it anyway – a rather mundane washing-machine batch) and it feels satisfying somehow. One of my favorite memories is an afternoon I spent with my then-pregnant friend Becca, stirring our cotton diapers up in deep, steaming vats of rich-colored dye, drinking coffee and eating lovelies and the windows and doors open to the sunshine.
Oh and finally – most exciting! I have been asked to (after my stalkery yielded the offer) pattern-test for my friend Karen and Shelley’s burgeoning pattern company, Patterns by Figgy’s. Tonight I received the email:
Hello my lovely pattern testers!
I will be sending over our “Tee for Two” pattern in the next few days for testing. Please review everything with hawk eyes. Pattern & booklet. Along with the pattern/booklet I will send you yardage needed for all sizes.Please test the size your child will wear so that we know it is a perfect fit. Please check the measurements in order to choose the correct size.
I will need you to test the pattern this week. Deadline 5/24. If you feel like you can’t commit NO PROBLEM I can keep you on the list for the next pattern.
you are testing for:
pattern size legend correct
markings in the correct places
instructions in proper order
easy to follow instructions
instructions that make sense
we believe this is a beginner pattern and we want to make sure of this
Any questions please email me or Karen anytime. We appreciate all that you are doing for us and we hope you love the pattern.
Website live this week!!!
Shelly L. Figueroa
This is only too exciting for me. I love getting things in the mail – and a kick-ass pattern and lovely yardage to sew it up with? Oh yes.