Monday Outfit! The Spring Thea Dress

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K must be reading this blog, because after I posted about the dearth of kid-sewing around here, she began to pepper me with requests for handmade clothes.

As luck would have it, Mel commented on that post and introduced me to Blaverry (I’m salivating over Mel’s denim Decklyn jacket, by the way). K and I browsed through the site and she chose the Thea Dress. “Make it tight, Mama,” she instructed. She’s really into tight clothes.

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I branched out and used a floral print knit. Isn’t it pretty? This here is an Art Gallery knit designed by my friend Frances Newcombe and it goes by the name Tree Fleur Blanc. I think I bought it some time last year? The minimal, modern dress pattern with the feminine, vintage-y print, it’s a winning combo. If this doesn’t say, Spring is here, I don’t know what does.

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Well, it’s not quite as form-fitting as K would normally like, even though I went down to a size 6 based on the finished measurements, but the fashionista’s declared the dress spectacular. “It looks extra good with blue tights, right?” she asked.

I added 2 inches to the skirt hem, and I’m glad I remembered to do that or else this would have been a tunic.

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I like the binding method of the neckline and how clean it looks. This is a thin, 95% cotton + 5% Spandex blend that’s so easy to sew — hardly curls, presses beautifully, drapes like a champ.

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The key to the Thea dress, which is easy to construct, is in the pleats. I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever pleated a knit fabric before and I don’t think I have. It upgrades the style factor and K enjoys how swingy the skirt is.

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Yep. We’re in love.

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K loves this style so much, I’m going to make a couple more in different colors/prints. Thank you for directing me to Blaverry, Mel! I ordered a few more patterns and I can’t wait to try them out!

Happy Friday + Randomness

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Happy Friday! The flowers. They’re just everywhere, eye candy galore. The winds and general elements are starting to pluck away at the magnolia and the cherry blossom petals, but tulips are overtaking the landscape. Seattle is at its height of floral beauty around this time of year. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

A quick watercolor sketch today (hmmmm, as I’m looking at it, they blooms resemble campfire, do they not?), as I have some preparations ahead of me. My mom is coming next Tuesday, a new baby is joining our little townhouse complex (my neighbor is at the hospital delivering her baby as I type this) and I just feel the urge to freshen everything up.

It’s amazing what a few consecutive days of sunshine will do to boost the mood. I’m wishing you a beauteous weekend, my friends.

No April Fool’s here
Didn’t get the prankster gene
The other two did*

*M and K are both tricksters, so I better be on the lookout today!

P.S. Furoku members, #13 is heading your way tomorrow!!

McCall’s 7251 in Black + White Knit

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As I tossed on my new top, set up the tripod to take these photos and wrestled my out-of-control hair into a braid, I had a major realization: I am at ease in my body. I don’t say this lightly because…well, until now I’ve NEVER been at ease in my body.

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I won’t belabor the point, but when I finally got over all the excuses I built up and sewed my first pair of Ginger Jeans earlier this year (I’m wearing them in these pix — they’re my favorite pair of jeans ever), something shifted. I’m even going to say it was seismic in scale. It’s not like I’ve lost weight or have become super fit, though I do exercise regularly and that’s part of it. Sewing is another part of it, for sure. I’m convinced that the jeans-making was a significant turning point, but this burgeoning ease has been going on for a while in a nearly imperceptible way. I have many thoughts on this but I haven’t yet consolidated them into anything coherent, so I’ll have to mull over this a bit. Or not. It’s nice to feel comfy in my bod (and sort of weird since it’s not a familiar feeling) and maybe I don’t have to analyze it to death like I do with everything.

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Today, though, I’m featuring a knit top I made using McCall’s 7251, view A in a size 12.

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It’s so incredibly comfortable, I may just head straight to bed in it. Don’t I look sleepy up there? The fabric is a rayon jersey from here, and it handled easily without curling or slipping all over the place.

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Now, I know that this demure shirt isn’t going to turn heads, but it was deceptively time-consuming. What with all the pintucks and hand-stitching of the neckband facing and placket, I was pretty wiped out by the time I finished hemming it.

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I like the hi-lo hem. There were supposed to be slits, but I’ve decided slits just aren’t my jam. To accommodate for the change, I curved the edges of the back piece where it meets the front piece.

Other changes:

  • This pattern is meant for a woven, but I knew I wanted it in a knit.
  • Instead of snaps, I added faux buttons (I couldn’t find enough black ones in a small enough size so I settled for dark blue, which I think is a fashion no-no? Who knows)

I messed up the neckband a little where it meets the top of the placket pieces, causing the neckband to curl inward, but it’s not too bad.

One of the hilarious parts of keeping my camera on continuous shooting is that it captures candid moments. Like when I spotted an errant mosquito in my house and started to chase after it:

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OK! I have other sewing in the pipeline and I’m scheming up marketing plans with the publicity team at Sasquatch Books in a couple of days, so I hope to have some cool and noteworthy updates for you next week! I will try to post this Friday, but it might be iffy…

M7251-blackknit9At any rate, I love my new top!!!

WIP + Lamenting the Lack of Tween Sewing

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I remember this same feeling last year as I prepared for the book launch of Little K. Full of anticipation and bursting with ideas, terribly intent on creating elaborate behind-the-scenes blog posts and the whole shebang.

But all I have for you today is a work-in-progress shot, making it look ever-so-slightly less mundane with some shallow depth of field photography of a cool print fabric and even cooler pair of Gingher shears.

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Easter was a big success, though we had to delay the egg hunt due to the pouring rain. Luckily, a sliver of sunshine and a respite between showers gave the kids just enough time to find the dozens and dozens of eggs we hid.

I felt a little sad because I realized that this is the first year that I didn’t make an Easter outfit for K. I’ve hardly sewn for her these past few months. Her closet and dresser are overflowing with RTW hand-me-downs from our neighbor and she rarely wears the clothes I’ve made her now. She keeps asking me when I’ll take her shopping so she can choose clothes that she wants. I’m told that the clothes I sew are never “quite right,” which I can understand. I knew this was coming, and I thought I was prepared, but I’m still a bit deflated. She’ll come around again, I know, and I’m going to build up my couture skills for prom-dress-making in the meantime. Wait. By the time she’s in high school, maybe school dances will be held somewhere in the universe so my time might be better spent studying space suit engineering and design.

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So what you see here is something I’m making for myself. A nice and stretchy and comfy top if all goes well. One of the benefits of sewing in my bedroom is that the bed provides ample surface area to spread out fabric pieces. I hope I’ll get around to finishing it this week. Things are revving up on the book promotions front and I’m doing everything I can to keep up.

I will most likely post a little more erratically this upcoming week and beyond, but I’m incorrigible and my brain is firing up more and more ideas, begging me to make them happen. We shall see…

Happy Friday + Randomness

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Happy Friday! On Wednesday, K went over a friend’s house to paint some eggs. She made the one above for me — isn’t it perfectly neutral? What can I say, the girl knows her Mama. The pre-Easter party was hosted by K’s friend’s grandmother, and at pick-up time I was politely half-listening as I gathered stray socks and zipped up bags when she told me that she had prepared seven dozen eggs for the girls. Seven dozen eggs?

It turns out that she saves the shells every time she makes an omelet or bakes cookies or poaches up Eggs Benedicts throughout the year, washing them out and stockpiling them until Easter. “My mother did the same thing, and I painted eggs like these as a child,” she said. Her mother upheld this tradition for 81 years with kids, grandkids and great grandkids!

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The egg shells are filled with jelly beans and bits of tissue paper, and hearing the backstory makes them all the more endearing.

In my family, my mom boiled a dozen eggs, and using pens and acrylic paint, my brothers and I spent hours drawing and painting intricate designs on them. They took so long that we each completed two or three at most. I tried to do the same last year and promptly dropped all the eggs I was working on. A steady hand and a gentle yet firm grip are required, none of which I possess, it seems.

Anyway! Happy Easter weekend to you all! We’re gearing up for an egg hunt bonanza followed by a hearty outdoor brunch. It’s our own annual tradition we’ve created with our neighbors, and it’s going to be loads and loads of fun! Let’s hope it doesn’t rain…

Haiku by K (she loves coming up with them):

They have hidden eggs
Filled with candy and money*
I will find them first

*Our neighbors must be overly generous — I’ve never stuffed the plastic eggs with money.

 

P.S. The winner of the giveaway is Amy M, congrats!!