Sunday, April 28, 2013

Popover Maxi Dress

Piper loves to wrap a blanket or towel around herself to make a long "dress."  It wouldn't be unusual to come to our house and see one clothes pinned to her.  I'm not sure what it is about or why she likes it, but I kind of remember doing the same thing when I was little.  Since she's a big fan of the long dress she's started to ask for me to make her one.  I caved the other day and did it.

I used the same Oliver + S Popover dress I have used many times before.  I had looked online and found a couple tutorials for making cute toddler maxi dresses but decided to take the easy route.  To make it a maxi dress I added 3" to the bottom of the pattern I already had cut and used previously, then added a 4" ruffle to the bottom.  The fabric is a super light weight swiss dot that I got at Hancock Fabrics about a month ago.  It's a nice summery dress.

I will be honest and say, at first I wasn't thrilled with it.  On the mannequin it just looks a little ho-hum.  I also wasn't so sure if Piper would like it.  I had it all finished except to hem the ruffle but wanted to try it on her so I made it the right length.  She wouldn't take it off and ended up wearing it to WalMart unfinished.  I finished it yesterday morning and she wore it to Zachary's soccer game in the afternoon (which his team won 4-2).  I still wasn't sure if Piper would like it in the long term because she's a rough and tumble kid.  She likes to climb and run and jump, if she wasn't able to do those things the dress would have been coming off.  She climbed, she ran, she jumped just fine and wore it all day.  She even got a few compliments on how cute it was.  I do agree, it was super cute on, she looked so easy and breezy.

On a side note, I love the picture with the water pump for nostalgic reasons.  We went to a Ma 'n Pa grocery store near our house after the game for ice cream and this pump is outside the store.  It made me smile because my grandparents lived on a farm when I was growing up.  They had a water pump outside, but theirs was a working pump.  I remember playing w/ that pump and better yet getting nice cold drinks from the pump as a kid. Too bad this one wasn't working.  It was fun to see and nice to bring up some childhood memories.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Library Story Time

Ooops,  I forgot to hit publish yesterday I guess, so here goes for today.

Today is Wednesday and that means one thing, it's library day.  This weeks theme was birds.  There are a lot of bird fabrics on the market, but not a lot of cute bird fabrics.  Or so, I thought until I came across this fabric from Aneela Hoey:

Those little birdies are adorable.  I just didn't know what to do with it.  I decided to go with one of my favorite stand-bys, the Oliver + S Popover Sundress.  

Here are the reasons I love this dress:
1) It's a free pattern for a cute dress
2) It's quick and easy to put together (Zachary said he'd like to try to make one)
3) I love a pillowcase dress on a little girl, this has a similar simplicity and style
4) Piper likes to wear them, so it must be comfortable.

I have made several Popover sundresses in the past.  I haven't even blogged about all of them.  I change things up from time to time if I am feeling ambitious.  This time I added a gathered top and some lace around the bottom.

I do wish I had made the ties a little longer.  I try to keep them short or Piper unties the top all day long but I think I went a little too short this time.  Trust me, there will be more Popover dresses in our future because I do love sewing this one up.  And, look how cute it is on:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

You are Beautiful

Have you seen the Dove video's circulating around the internet yet?  If not, here, I'll help you out.

I have watched this video over and over.  As the mother of a little girl, it has had a profound effect on me.  I do my best to make her feel loved and strong but I forget that the way I view myself will have a large impact on how she views herself someday.  Women are hard on themselves for everything from how clean our house is to how much we weigh and every facet of life in between.  I want to break that cycle for my daughter.  In recent years I have tried in earnest to focus less on things like my weight and the way a certain piece of clothing makes me look.  I try to be thoughtful when talking about myself and not use too many negatives.  I also try to focus on the positive when talking to her not just in her looks but her strength, her character and her mind.  I want Piper to grow up knowing, believing, and owning her beauty, not focusing on her flaws.  I have to remember it starts with me.  But, it's not just me, she will learn from every woman she comes in contact with growing up.  Our daughters need to see us focusing on what is good and not what is wrong.  We are all beautiful regardless of size, regardless of wrinkles, regardless of flaws.  In fact sometimes it's those wrinkles and flaws that add to our beauty.  Nearly 2 years ago, I had abdominal surgery and was left with quite a scar down my belly.  I own that scar because of the what it means.  Life before the surgery was difficult, each day was a challenge.  My scar reminds me of that battle and it reminds me that I am still here, stronger than ever.  I need to look at myself and see those laugh lines and tired eyes as reminders of what I have endured and I am still here. 

The next time you look in the mirror, try to see what we all see, how beautiful you are.  I know I will.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Spring Sunshine Badminton Dress

This was what it looked like at my house on March 25:

This is what it looked like at my house on April 10:

So, I guess you could say that Spring literally sprang upon us.  I LOVE warm weather.  Some of the happiest days for me were when we lived in Hawaii.  One of the things I like most about warm weather are all the cute dresses and sandals you can wear.  I wear dresses all spring and summer and so does Piper.  So, naturally I needed to start sewing some for the warm seasons that are upon us.

I have had the idea for this dress in the back of my mind since I first saw the Riley Blake line Hello Sunshine. Isn't that the perfect title for my first spring dress, after all we are all happy to see the return of the warm sun.  Wouldn't you know though, the day I want to take a picture of my Sunshine dress, it's raining. 

This is my second Badminton dress (the first I wrote about here).  There is a lot of nice details in the dress but it does take a little more time to make as a result.  It's not terribly difficult to make, just takes some time to get all the details just right.  The flutter sleeve and rounded yoke are so cute when finished though, wouldn't' you agree?

I really like the flowers on the dress and wanted to keep with that theme, so instead of adding a bow to the front, I made a little fabric yo-yo and attached along with some buttons.

I had never made a fabric yo-yo before and it certainly wasn't rocket science.  I found a great tutorial here.  In hindsight I wish I had made the yo-yo a tad smaller, but I was flying by the seat of my pants.

You will notice the hem of the dress is a narrow hem.  The pattern uses a scalloped bottom to finish but I just don't care for it.  Maybe it's my laziness maybe it's something else.  

Hopefully I will be able to get some photos of Piper modeling later and if that's the case, I will certainly update.  It does make me happy that no more than a minute after finishing the last stitch and cutting the last thread, she was asking to put it on.  I do hope that means it will get lots of use this summer.  My only concern is that I decided a white background was a good idea, not sure what I was thinking.  Oh well, a dirty kiddo is a sign of a happy kiddo! :)

Edited to add a few modeled pics:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesdays and Things

Today was library, we went to library but we didn't stay long.  It was one of those days when I should have known very early on and listened to the universe and stayed home.  For starters, I found my sunglasses in my car to look like this when I got in the car this morning:

They weren't like that when I got out of the car yesterday.  Of course, no one in my house knows what happened.  When we got to library I realized I had left the house with my shirt on backwards.  It wasn't until Piper threw a fit and tried to bite me that I got what the universe was trying to tell me and went home.  So, it was one of "those" days.  Fortunately, it didn't last all day long because we had a tree service out to remove a dead tree in our yard that was very close to the house.  I did consider calling to cancel, just in case the universe had more in store for me.

The tree removal was fun to watch and entertained Piper.  I'm glad the tree is gone, it was very dead and was only a matter of time before it fell, I worried so much when the kiddos were in the front yard.  Check it out, TIMBER!

After the tree was gone, Piper wanted to stand on the "stunk" so I was able to get a picture of her in her library outfit.

I quickly put together this Oliver + S Lazy Days skirt yesterday during nap time.  The theme this week was Hugs and Kisses.  The fabric is Dear Stella Red Lips and was very appropriate for the theme for today.  

Instead of doing a ribbon hem as suggested in the Lazy Days pattern, I did a standard narrow hem to finish it but added a ribbon and bow detail onto the skirt.  I also added a ribbon and bow to her Piper's t-shirt to match the skirt.

So we didn't have the best day today but that happens, life has it's ups and downs.  After a little nap and snack, Piper was back to her silly self.  And because she was happy, so was I! :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Oliver + S Ice Cream / Cherry Blossom Dress

I have had this dress finished for a couple of weeks now but was so waiting for the spring cherry blossoms to bloom before letting Piper wear it.  Finally, the weather has decided to warm up and the blossoms are in full bloom.  This morning, DH, Piper and I made our way into DC to see the blossoms in all their splendor.  The cherry trees in full bloom in Washington DC truly are a beautiful sight, if you have never seen them and have the ability to go you really should.

So, this is the dress I made just for the blossoms:

You would think I would have a better picture of it than that, I don't.  The Ice Cream dress is probably my favorite dress to make and to have Piper wear.  I made this one using Kaffe Fassett Shot Cotton in apricot, pink and granite.  The shot cotton is divine, so soft and light, the perfect fabric for a spring / summer dress.  I did have concerns about how lightweight it was and considered lining the middle panel so it wouldn't be see through but thanks to the lovely ladies on the Oliver + S discussion forum I was convinced it would be fine without a lining and it is.

The original inspiration for this dress was this top I saw at Target months ago:

I really like the colors of the top, but didn't like the cheapness of it.  I knew I could do better.  Once I had the dress finished, it was just a matter of waiting until the right day for Piper to wear it.  Today was perfect.  The weather was in the mid-80's.  The sun was shining bright.  The blooms were at their peak.  

Isn't this the perfect cherry blossom dress?

More cherry blossom photos can be found here.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Zachary's Sewing School

A couple weeks ago, I was working on some sewing and the kiddos were hanging out with me.  Piper decided she wanted a skirt for her bear.  Zachary has been asking me to teach him to sew for a while now, so I thought this might be the perfect opportunity.  I handed him some fabric, a measuring tape and some scissors and put him to work.  He did a fantastic job making a tiny skirt for Piper's bear.

A couple days after this school was closed due to Mother Natures last attempt at winter weather.  

After all the fun outside was had:

While Piper was down for a nap, Zachary decided he wanted to sew a skirt for her.  He used the Oliver + S Lazy Days skirt and some purple (her favorite) polka dot fabric from my stash to make her a perfectly adorable skirt.

She was thrilled with the results, we had to put it on right away.  Too bad she looks like such a rag-a-muffin in all the pictures I took of her wearing it.  She has worn it a few times since, you would think I would have snapped a better shot, but alas I have not.

Zachary's next plans are for a pair of PJ pants for himself.  He's already picked out some really nice blue, plaid flannel I have in my stash.  I love that he is interested in something I do.  It's nice that he and his Dad are able to bond a lot over gadgets, video games and other technology related things but sometimes I feel left out.  Now, I get to be a part of things he likes to do too. :)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Oliver + S Roller Skate Dress

First up in my catch up posts is the Oliver+S Roller Skate dress I made for Piper to wear to library a week ago.  The Roller Skate pattern was released this spring and it was love at first sight (or so I thought, more on that later)!  There really isn't a lot to the dress, so it's quick and easy, my kind of pattern.  After the release immediately there were really cute versions showing up in the Oliver + S Flickr group like here, here, here, and here.  I couldn't wait to make one myself, or rather for Piper.  The library story time theme for the week was to be pond life.  I had the perfect fabric and the perfect pattern, I was ready to go.  This was my finished product:

For some reason I never took a mannequin shot.  It's a cute dress with fishes on it.  The fabric is Michael Miller Fishies with a green polka dot contrast on the yoke and is completely lined with a light blue broadcloth.  I struggled putting this dress together.  When I make another, I will do a few things differently.  First and foremost, I think it's best to finish the edges of the side and back seams of both the main fabric and lining before sewing the pieces together.  Wether you serge, or zig-zag or whatever, I think it will make it much easier later on.  I didn't like the finishing on my dress, I like the inside to look as nice as the outside and I just couldn't do that as well as I like in this case.  The dress is fully lined, which I like but to make the casing you just sew the front to the back.  That had it's own set of challenges.  I ended up with a pucker in the back, it wasn't really noticeable because of the elastic in the casing, but I knew it was there.  I think maybe using some Wonder Tape to hold the layers together would have helped and possibly eliminated the shifting that seemed to occur leading to the pucker I had.

It's an easy play dress.  Piper really liked it, I guess there were some little details that I was personally unhappy about.  I wanted to have a warm and fuzzy about this dress.  I had a hundred different ideas for ways to make it but was disappointed in this particular one.  I will try again, once I get a few more other pieces finished.  It would be a great dress for summer in a nice lightweight fabric.  It does sort of remind me of a few dresses I already have in Piper's closet from Hanna Anderson like this:

Just a few more shots of Piper modeling her dress: