Monday, March 30, 2015

cousu coat

Last week I shared the Cousu Gauchos I sewed as a tester for Terri of Sew Straight and Gather. This week I am sharing the Cousu Coat I made as part of the same collection.


This was such a treat to sew. Like the trousers, the coat is distinguished by the darts sewn into both the front and the back panels. Again, these are decorative rather than shaping, and again, the pattern walks you though the dart-making process step-by-step so that anyone from a beginner to a dart-making expert can be proud of their results. The coat even includes pockets hidden within the lines of the darts - a polished-looking and clever feature of the pattern. Like the trousers, this is classified as an intermediate-level pattern, but due to the excellent instructions I think a confident beginner could tackle it with patience.




 

The swingy A-line shape is so cute on girls of any age and the longer than average length gives it a classic, dressy look. The pattern even offers options for short or long sleeves, both of which are lovely. As you can see, I chose the long-sleeved option, which fit my daughter great. (Although I am a little concerned she won't get much wear out of it now that we are already reaching the upper 70s and even 80s most days!)


Construction of the coat was not fast, but it was a satisfying sew. It uses the bagged lining technique and I have to say it was so exciting to turn the coat and see the results! It just turned out so professional-looking that I can't help but be proud of my work. This jacket has quickly moved up my list to one of my favorite sews. I have been dragging my feet on sewing outerwear because I knew it would be a lot of work, but this one is definitely worth it!



For my coat I used a melon pink stretch denim (didn't need to be stretch, but I loved the color) for the outer fabric and a white and black swiss dot pattern for the lining. The buttons are flower-shaped plastic mother-of-pearl. I love the bit of whimsy they add to the classic shape of the jacket.


If you'd like to sew a Cousu Coat for a little girl you know (you know you do!), you can pick it up in the Sew Straight Pattern Company Shop, where everything is on sale through April 4th!

Friday, March 27, 2015

cousu gauchos

I have been fortunate to be able to pattern test again for Terri of Sew Straight and Gather, and have been busy, busy, busy the last few weeks as she is releasing not one, not two, but THREE patterns at one time! In fact, they all go live today!

What I love about Terri's patterns is her attention to detail, her classy and unique style and her beautifully-written patterns and instructions. Seriously, they rank up there as some of the best patterns I have sewn. And testing for her has been a joy, as she is friendly, responsive and welcomes and considers all suggestions, rather than taking things personally and/or getting offended.

Anyway, let's get on to the patterns! As I mentioned, there are three different patterns. They coordinate with each other nicely, but are also beautiful on their own. To give each piece its full due, I will be writing a blog post about each... starting with the Cousu Trousers and Gauchos pattern.


Cousu means "stitched" in French, and the main features on this pattern are the decorative darts that run down the length of the wide-legged pants. There are two lengths - Trouser and Gaucho - as well as optional cuffs. I sewed the Gaucho length with cuffs and am so glad that I did because the weather is warming up in Texas very quickly and hopefully my daughter will be able to wear these longer than she would full-length pants.


It was my first time sewing darts, and although these darts are more decorative than shaping, I did get a good feel for them and will be much more confident sewing them in the future. Not to mention the instructions were extremely clear, making the process simple even though it was my first time.

I will also mention that because of the darts and the cuffs, this is categorized as an "Intermediate" level pattern. While not a quick sew, I think it is perfectly doable by a confident beginner. Just follow the directions and take your time. Not so bad at all!


I sewed a size 2 for my daughter. Next time I will probably size up, but only to give her some room to grow. One thing I love about these are how they can be dressed up or down depending on the fabric. I used gray suiting material and think they turned out looking very classy.


They are comfy to wear and easy to get on and off, with a flat front and elastic back. The fit was great on my daughter all around! 


If you are interested in purchasing this pattern, check out the Set Straight Pattern Co. Shop!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

happy second birthday!

My sweet girl celebrated her second birthday just a little over a month ago. While it is still hard for me to believe that she is two, this new age is such fun and I just love the little person she is becoming. Just in the last couple months she has gone from looking and acting like a baby to looking and acting like a "big girl." While we certainly have our challenges (and of course the related tantrums and meltdowns), it is so nice that she is getting old enough to reason with and explain things to. She is developing her own interests (it kind of feels like we have Frozen on a continual loop around here lately) and sense of humor that is so fun to see and experience. So far, two has been great!


We celebrated her birthday with a small party, just the three of us plus my in-laws who live in the area. Small but sweet. We had an owl theme because that has been one of my daughter's favorite animals for awhile... in fact, that was the first animal sound she learned to say! She wore her owl geranium dress with a pair of green go-to leggings (never shared on the blog) and some bows I made using this tutorial.




I set up a party table (similar to last year) and my daughter and I baked a pink cake together (she LOVES to bake with me). I made owl invitations and owl balloons. The balloons were supposed to be helium-filled but we ran into some problems so I ended up just propping them up around the house... still cute. 




The day was lots of fun. My daughter was THRILLED with her presents and her cake and just beamed as we sang "Happy Birthday" to her. She had been talking about her party and her pink cake for weeks leading up to the big day, so she was just so excited that it was actually happening.



Happy Birthday, Little One! :)

Friday, March 20, 2015

2nd birthday dress

My girlie turned 2 last month and of course I had to sew her a party dress! (See last year's dress here)

Surprise, surprise, I picked another Geranium Dress! For an explanation of why, just read my last post, haha. I will quit for awhile with the Geraniums, though. I promise. I have some new patterns ready to try.

And I will also note that I sewed this as part of the February Kid's Clothes Week. I know, I know... I'm just now getting around to sharing it!


Anyway, her birthday party was owl-themed, so I had to sew an owl dress. I picked up this cute floral and owl printed corduroy at JoAnn and decided it would be a perfect fit. Fun for her party but not so dressy that she can't wear it lots afterwards.

I sewed the sleeveless version with pleats in size 2 and it turned out cute. Really, I love all the Geranium Dress variations... I think I have tried them all by now!


Sage green bodice lining and sage green buttons from my Grandma's collection. 

Not much else to say about it but had to share!


Party pics coming up next. 

kid's clothes week

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

little geranium

Soooo... long time no see!

I made a personal goal for 2014 to post at least 52 times, or an average of once a week. I met my goal and was so happy and thought... I can totally do that again in 2015. But here I am already falling off the blogging wagon. I have mixed feelings about blogging lately. I love sharing what I have made, but find it hard to strike a balance between sharing too much for comfort and not sharing enough to be interesting. And I like to make whether I blog or not, but sometimes it feels as though I am only making things so that I can show them off on my blog... not true but do you know what I mean? And I love the community but it feels as though people don't really comment or respond to blogs as much as they used to. I know the reasons... it's a pain in the rear to comment using smartphones... Instagram (and Facebook still, of course) has kind of taken over as an a social media platform that encourages comments. I don't blog for the comments, but I have to admit, it is hard to keep it up when it feels like I'm out here talking to myself. And that's without even mentioning the difficulty of fitting blogging into my personal life. Taking care of my daughter and the house and all the other daily "mom" activities, as well as finding time for sewing and even rest, all leave little time for the work that is blogging - taking good photographs, editing them, attaching them to a post, writing appropriately interesting and witty (who am I kidding?) blog posts all takes time. 

I don't know where I'm really going with this, except to just say that when I feel like blogging, I will blog. And when I don't, I won't. The end.

Anyway, I thought I'd ease back into things by sharing a little dress I made for my cousin's new baby girl due in April... because who doesn't like seeing a baby dress? (Don't answer that!) It is another Geranium Dress, which seems to be my dress of choice lately - see here and here and here. (Seriously though, if you haven't made one and you have a little girl to sew for, GO BUY IT. It is a simple pattern but so versatile. And it always turns out perfect.)


I sewed a size 0-3 so that hopefully the baby can wear it for most of the summer. I did end up trimming about 1.5" from the skirt because maybe I'm weird but I don't really like little babies in dresses that are too long. They can't stand or sit even and a long dress just looks awkward.

The bodice fabric is a lightweight dark denim and the skirt fabric is the same Cotton + Steel fabric I used for my daughter's Christmas dress. I added the flutter sleeves and I think they are darling. The gold buttons on the back are from my grandmother's button stash... she would be the new baby's great-grandmother, so even though the buttons are obviously used and a little bit scratched up, I thought they would make the dress a little extra special.


I sewed a quick diaper cover using Dana's Perfect Diaper Cover tutorial, and a darling gold leather bow on a headband, using the Oliver+S felt bow pattern. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to photograph them with the dress.

The shower was on Saturday and the mother-to-be was thrilled with the outfit (or so I heard), so that makes me happy. Now I'm just waiting for the sweet baby girl to arrive so that she can wear it!

http://www.straight-grain.com/?p=5711

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Christmas dress

[You may be thinking its a little bit late to share a Christmas dress... sorry, not sorry!]

Shortly before Christmas, I finally decided that I wanted to sew a Christmas dress for my daughter. Well, of course I wanted to... I'm not sure why I didn't decide that sooner!

I chose the fabric first, a Cotton + Steel print by Melody Miller. I love the metallic dot accents and the floral border print. I also loved that it included traditional Christmas colors - red, green and gold - without looking too Christmas-y. The dress can be worn any time of the year without looking out of place. 


I went back and forth between trying out a Caroline Party Dress and sewing another Geranium Dress. The Geranium won because I was short on time and already familiar with the pattern. I knew that it would be straightforward to sew and the fit would be perfect. I guess I'll try out a Caroline next time! 

Even though the last Geranium Dress I sewed was the 18-24mo size and still fits, I went ahead and sewed the 2T and am so glad I did. The length is just right and there is room to grow in the bodice.


I love, love, LOVE how this dress turned out! It could be my favorite handmade dress so far. The colors are gorgeous and the fabric fits the pattern so beautifully. I added brass buttons from my Grandmother's stash (always love the chance to add a little bit of family history to a homemade piece) to compliment the gold accents in the fabric.

 

The gold ribbon around the waist and small bow I added to the front of the dress are probably my favorite features. The gold ribbon just made the dress pop. It was sweet before I added it, but after the ribbon and the bow, the dress was over-the-top perfect.


My daughter wore an ivory sweater from Target over the dress since it's been a little chilly. A matching green headband and ivory tights with sparkly gold shoes completed the look. I may be biased... but SOOO CUTE!!!


Sunday, January 11, 2015

2014 in review

I'm a bit overdue for my yearly review post but I like doing them so I'm going to post it anyway! It's so nice to step back and look at what I've done and accomplished in the past year. 2014 was a busy year. My daughter grew and changed every day, I sewed lots (especially little girls' clothing!) and we went on some great trips. Nothing too out of the ordinary but a nice year overall.

See my past yearly review posts here:


In January I posted about our trip to Iowa when my daughter got to go sledding! Then I sewed some baprons, shared a freezer paper tutorial and got really excited about Kid's Clothes week. I sewed the cute Valentine's Day outfit in the photo above (still one of my favorites!), along with a checked circle skirt and a birthday geranium dress.


February was a fun month because we celebrated my daughter's first birthday. We had a "You Are My Sunshine" themed party and my parents came down to visit for a week. We even took a day trip to Dinosaur Valley. A good month!


In March I kept busy with a variety of projects. I shared the photo board book I had printed for my daughter and the rocking scooter that my dad and husband built for her. Then I shared an idea for a wipes container baby toy that my daughter still plays with almost a year later. I finished my cargo duffle bag, which I still maintain was probably one of the most complicated things I have ever sewed... making it one of my favorite things that I have sewed! Finally I shared springtime flowers, a fun vintage find and some handmade baby gifts.


April was filled with lots of sewing. I attempted a Plantain t-shirt for me, then went to town with little girl clothes - puppet show shorts, a yellow sunsuit, another geranium dress and a bunny skirt (with tutorial!) We also had a lovely family Easter and my daughter loved, loved, LOVED meeting the Easter bunny!


In May I continued my sewing streak, making the izzy top and puppet show shorts set above, along with my first lulu dress and another retro izzy top (love that pattern!). And my cats celebrated their birthdays. Ha.


In June I made a snappy mani pouch, a nessie top and even more puppet show shorts. I also shared some handmade doll clothes I found while antiquing. Toward the end of the month, my daughter and I took a long trip to Iowa to visit family and attend a wedding - so many wonderful memories!


In July I shared a cute infinity scarf that I made, but the highlight of the month was a long driving trip that my husband and I took with my daughter. We spent time at museums and in the mountains and on the beach. So wonderful.


August was hot and I had a little bit of trouble getting back into the sewing swing of things after our multiple vacations, but I did manage to crank out a whale lulu top, a hanami top and a reversible apple pinafore - all favorites that will hopefully still fit in the spring!


September was a quiet month on the blog, but a busy one in real life (isn't that usually how it goes?) I did some contract exhibit work and we had carpet put into the entire upstairs level of our house. I also ventured into the world of pattern testing for the first time and made the first of several etage dresses.


In October we had some friends visit at the beginning of the month, plus we did some typical fall-ish activities like the fair and the pumpkin patch. I also revved up my sewing a bit, finishing a yellow etage dress, an owl bimaa sweater and a strawberry etage top for Kid's Clothes Week. My favorite part was making my daughter's Emily Elizabeth Halloween costume - so much fun!


In November I shared the sanitary napkins I sewed for Craft Hope. We also had a lovely family Thanksgiving here in Texas and it was a beautiful month - probably the most beautiful fall in the 4 1/2 years since we've lived in Texas. I also sewed a bunch of felt turkeys and felt pumpkin pies, one set of which I gave away as part of Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day in December.


In December I finally shared the navy natty jane shoes that I made way back in June! I just love them. I sewed up a couple of lua sleepsacks for my cousin's twin boys. And we had a wonderful trip to Iowa over Christmas and New Year's to visit my family. 


So there you have it. A full year. Looking back, I am always surprised at what I accomplished, even though at the time it often felt like I wasn't really getting much done. (Besides the laundry and the dishes. Always the dishes.) I am looking forward to what 2015 will bring. Still planning to sit down and plan out some personal goals for the year... better late than never, right?