Thursday, September 8, 2016

Heidi and Finn Dorset Dress

One of my favorite things to do is pattern test.  I'm not sure if it's the camaraderie of sewing the same thing at the same time as others or that there is a hard and fast deadline so I actually allow myself to commit time to sewing and complete a project in a timely manner.  Why is that always so hard to do? 

If you've visited my blog ever before you know that Heidi and Finn patterns are by far my favorite ones out there.  Her patters are quick and easy to follow along.  Everything is neat and tidy with great pictures to illustrate steps, let's be honest I rarely read, I just follow along the pictures (except when I'm testing I read...that's part of the deal).  But each pattern finishes with clean lines and looks professional even for beginner sewers.

The Dorset dress, by Heidi and Finn, is a simple, comfy and modern staple in any little girls’ closet. This jumper style dress has been updated with clean modern lines, a slim a-line fit with an above the knee hem.

I tested a size 4 for my ever growing 3 year old.  I am in total denial that she is so big.  I would say the fit was a little big on her, since she is three, but the perfect size for growing into.  I think she would be out of it too fast had I've done the 4.  The material used was a good quality quilting cotton picked up at my local Joann fabric.  It was regularly $12/yd and I snatched it up with an extra 50% off clearance for a whopping $3.50/yd.  Since this dress required less than a yard to make, and I used buttons from my stash, I spent less on this dress than the coffee I drank while making it!  A little bit sad I know....

The only modification I made to it, and I don't even know if you'd call it that is I really loved the yellow accent with the navy plaid so I lined it with, and backed the buttons with, some yellow I had.   I also lined the flutter sleeve with it for some interest.  I did this by cutting double (so 4) sleeve pieces.  I followed the directions and folded the piece in half and then pressed it.  I then measured a 1/4 of an inch from the crease and cut all 4 sleeve pieces like this.  I took the larger piece of all the sections and matched one yellow to each plaid and pinned them right sides together.  I sewed a 1/4 seam down the pressed crease.  I then double checked that my modifide sleeve piece was the same size as the pattern piece and continued with the pattern as written.

So here she is, the Dorset Dress by Heidi and Finn on my youngest model who is super tricky to photograph....I haven't groomed her quite like her big sis just yet!!!!  Take a look, ask some questions and go out and get it!

This pattern is available for sale in her etsy shop on sale this week for $7.95 ($6.36 USD).  Scoop it up while it's on sale.  Also, word on the street is she has two patterns getting ready for testing in the next few weeks so keep your eyes peeled and your fingers crossed I get selected again!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Carter's Dress Hack

 I've been on the hunt for the perfect Easter dress to complete the sister duo so while at the mall I checked Carter's.  I don't shop there very often (probably because I'm not on their email list so they don't lure me the way the Gap daily promotions tend too) but I had a gift card and thought what the heck!

While I was looking around I stumbled on this adorable dress and fell in love only to find out the largest size it came in was 24 months.  Short of having another baby, just for this dress, I bought it for a friend's new baby and pouted about it for the rest of the day.

Part way home, I remembered my husband used to have a shirt like this.  He went through a period where he was splitting the sleeves of all of his shirts right near the elbow so I kept them thinking I could do something with them one day.  Fast forward two years and I was thrilled to find this exact shirt.  Tried it on my model, did a few calculations and went to work.   Here's the best part, kept my money in my pocket (even though it's 50% off currently and only $12) and made my girl a free dress from her Daddy's shirt!

I started by removing the arms where they were attached and using a pattern I am familiar with to cut out the body and sleeves.  One of the tutorials on pinterest said to use a dress as a guide adding seam allowance but I was not comfortable with that.  I used Heidi and Finn's Pumpkin Spice Pattern  which I had pattern tested (and apparently never blogged about...huh) because it has a similar shape to how I wanted the dress to come out.  I will say I did have to adjust the body a little bit and make it a bit smaller for the arms to fit nicely but that is probably due to the rough job I did cutting it out.  The top section was cut all in one piece so I cut down only the right side of the photo and then straight across the bottom and then flipped the pattern piece to the other side and did the same thing.  I made sure that the top portion was about 1/2 an inch longer than I wanted to allow for the attaching of the skirt.  That left just attaching the sides of the body for this portion to be complete.

I used the sleeves for the sleeves (imagine that?).  Again I used the sleeves from the pumpkin spice pattern  but adjusted the length to my preference.  I knew I wanted them long enough for a small roll at the bottom.  To accomplish this I used 4 sleeve pieces (2 for each sleeve) and attached them at the bottom then sewed the sides together and flipped it inside out to make a tube.  This left a raw edge at the top of the sleeve where it would be attached to the top of the dress. Before I flipped it though I attached the button packet (seen below) to one side of the sleeve which would become the inside of the sleeve.  I ironed this all smooth and attached the sleeve.

My shirt had a pocket but the scale was too large for my dress.  Luckily my front and back body pieces were short enough to finish above the pocket while still also leaving enough length below the pocket for the skirt.  I cut the bottom about an inch longer than I wanted the finished length to be then cinched it to the same size as the top.  When attaching the body to the skirt  I ironed the raw edge of the top up 1/2 an inch and unfolded it to attach the right sides of the button packet together in the front.  I did this first and then adjusted my cinching to ensure the skirt had an even look.  I then attached the skirt to the body with the two right sides facing and raw edges lined up.  There should be a crease where you ironed right above this.  Tuck the skirt up and pull the body down and top stitch into place.

In my opinion, what made this look so professional is that I kept and used most of the original construction.  For example.  Below is a picture of the button packet on the sleeve, I removed it, cut it slightly larger than I wanted it, turned the raw edge inside and top stitched it closed.  The collar, the buttons in the front, the panel in the back and the bottom seam, are all from the original shirt so they are neat and tidy without doing a thing.  That made this a super quick easy sew.

Here's my final product!

I'll have to add some other photos of it on my girl, but they are currently on my husbands phone. 

I'd love to hear if this helped or what you were able to create!  Happy sewing!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Finchley Messenger Bag Testing for Heidi and Finn

If you haven't already figured it out, I love Heidi and Finn patterns.  Whenever she puts a call out for a new pattern to be tested I jump on it because they are always great and need very few modifications.  Each pattern can be made by someone new to sewing yet have a professional finish to them.

This is her first bag pattern but she's been sewing it for years before now releasing it to the public.  The beauty of this simple bag pattern is it comes with a few ways of appliqueing or you can customize it however you want.  It also comes with a bonus wallet.  The wallet is super cute and an easy sew.  Perfect for your younger friends who want to feel like an adult as well.

For testing this pattern Christine, the designer, told us we could applique in anyway we wanted.  I don't know if it's these warm temps in Florida, but I have spring and more importantly Easter on the brain.  I quickly decided to do bunny bags for the girls to use with their Easter dresses.  This was a quick easy sew and based on the girls' initial reaction there is no doubt in my mind that there will be many more of these in our future.  The longest part in this process was appliqueing the purse.  I used the fruit template that comes with the pattern to balance my face.  I folded it in half to find where the nose would go and then half again to make the eyes and length of the whiskers.  I used a washable sewing marker to mark this off and then hand stitched with embroidery floss.  I made a rough pattern for the ears (yes I did reuse a parent reminder from my daughters school...hehe) to mark off and cut the ears.  I then attached them a few inches down from where the flap would be attached to the main portion of the bag and to the sides of the eyes.  I made a wool pompom for the nose (there are a million tutorials on pinterest for this) and then followed the rest of the pattern tutorial exactly.

The only other change I made to this tutorial was I couldn't find the slider at my local fabric store to make an adjustable strap so I just made it stationary.  I measured the length of the strap on my daughter and then just shortened it to where I thought it should fall and stitched it on.   While the adjustable strap would likely last them longer its a quick sew and I can easily whip them up a new one. Let's be honest, white bags are not going to last forever!

The Finchley bag is set to release in the next few days.  You can find this great pattern and all the Heidi & Finn pattern here on etsy.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Heidi & Finn Cocoon Dress

It's been a long time since I've posted a sewing project but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy.  In fact, the opposite.  I'm often squeezing sewing in wherever I can and so there is not much time left to blog about it.  I've posted before about my love for Heidi & Finn and again I'm going to boast about how great these patterns are.  I recently pattern tested her latest release, the Cocoon Dress.  The great thing about testing is that you have a deadline....this little beauty couldn't be cut only to sit on my sewing table for months.  The fabric was bought, cut, sewn and modeled in about 4 days.  My model even have an ear infection and strep throat so we waited an extra day until she wasn't was less of a nightmare.

The Cocoon Dress is AMAZING.  It is a quick easy sew that can be made with or without pockets (my girl loves her some pockets).  And can we talk about the exposed zipper?  I love it!  Due to the shape it is best suited for heavier fabrics.  I used a thick tweed that was $49.99 a yard...I know you think I'm nuts right...well I'm not.  It was $49.99 on clearance for $24.99 and 50% off that.  Yes, $12 and since I was testing a 2T I only needed 3/4 of a yard, so this baby cost me $8.  Call me crazy but this dress looks like it could've come from a high end boutique right?  Or am I just bias?   Either way, I'm in love with it and anytime my girls can look fabulous for $8 I'm a happy woman!

I tested the 2T for my girl.  She is about 30lbs and tall for her age (36 ish inches).  This size fits her like a glove.  I currently have this same dress in a sweat shirt material dress cut for her it's just in line behind another pattern I'm testing and maybe even a project for Mommy!  I can't wait to sew one of these for my big girl.  I'm looking into adding sleeves to pair with tights or leggings in cooler weather.

 For the next two days this pattern from 12M-12yrs is on sale for $7.95 over on etsy.  If your looking for a little inspiration, head over to the Heidi & Finn Blog to check out the Cocoon Dress Tester Round up!  Let me know what you make!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Military Inspired Sleeveless Coat | DMK Pattern Flip

 When I was trying to decide on my final plan for Frances Suzanne pattern flip I stumbled upon a sleeveless coat and fell in love.  So much so I almost gave up my original plan.  So, you can imagine how happy I was when I realized I had enough material to do both.  My original plan for my big girl and the sleeveless jacket for my little.

I started with the Dear My Kids, Trendy Unisex Pea Coat, when cutting the body of the coat I simply did not cut our the arm wholes.

I followed the instructions fully but when it came to adding sleeves I left them off.  I added the pockets, the collar and a rectangular shoulder before sewing the liner in. When sewing the body shut, I left hole from the bottom of where the original sleeve would end down 3 inches.  To finish the arm holes I folded the outside fabric (wool) and inside liner in a 1/4 of an inch and top stitched all the way around.

The Collar
For the collar I used the 6T length but the 2T width.  I cut 4 individual pieces rather than 2 on the fold.  I ended up having to piece this together a little bit because I was using left over scraps.  I didn't mind this at though because it gave the more military look I was going for.    I also added 2 pieces that were 4 inches each giving me an approximate finished length of 18 inches.

The Pocket
To add detail I added a pocket to the front.  This was much easier than expected.  I decided where I wanted to place the pockets then cut a straight line through the outer layer of the jacket, in my case the wool. I cut out two pieces of the liner and placed them right sides facing on each side of the slit.  I then sewed a straight stitch to hold them in place.  I then pulled the two pocket pieces through the slit and sewed around the outside of the pocket with the right sides together.  The bottom left photo shows how it looked completed.  I then folded a piece of fabric together and to stitched it to create a small rectangle.  I then hand stitched it to the front of the pocket hiding my mess giving the military look I was going for.

This coat was a simple sew with a large impact.  The details gave it a fun boutique look.

Then my little model went to town.  Anyone ever try to photograph an 18 month old?  Yeah they don't pause, or ever stop moving!


DIY Bubble Pea Coat | DMK Pattern Flip

This round of flip this pattern made me nervous because a coat seemed like a big commitment.  Expensive materials, a large project and lots of room for error.  After stressing over it I finally decided to give it a go.  My final product was a Bubble Pea Coat and I could not be more happy with the final product.  The Dear My Kids Trendy Unisex Swing Coat was a great pattern.  I loved the cuff detail and collar.  The directions were easy to follow and a quick sew.

I really wanted to do a long pea coat because I love little girls in pea coats.  Growing up my parents did not have tons of money but we always had beautiful pea coats, or what we called a "church" coat.  It was the coat we wore when we were dressed up or going somewhere special, like church.  I spent some a lot of time on pinterest looking at different coats and picking out elements that I really liked.  At the same time, I was pattern testing for Heidi and Finn's bubble dress.  The slim fit version is already available in her store but for the more full figured baby girls (like mine) a regular fit will be released later this week.  I have seen a few high end coats that are similar for adults and thought how adorable would this be for a little girl.

 I extended the length, added a bubble bottom and added darts to the front and back to give a more fitted look and make the bubble more dramatic.  I cut the original pattern pieces from both the coat and the dress and laid them on top of each other to create the new pattern.   My favorite detail is the bow on the adorable.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Halloween| Brownie Goose Pattern Flip

Flip this Pattern- Brownie Goose, Hattie

April was the first time I ever participated in a "Flip the Pattern" with Frances Susanne and it was so fun!  You can see my flip here.  It truly inspired me to do more and while I've had every intention to do the next and the next and the next, we decided to move from Toronto to Florida and my life is currently chaotic. I have checked in monthly, voted for my favourites and longed for a time I could rejoin.  And, while my life is still spread across two countries, my parents home, my in-laws home and a storage unit, Halloween always gets me sewing for my girls and getting creative.  In fact,  Halloween 2011 was my very first "Flip the pattern" ever, even though that wasn't a thing then.  I used a Heidi and Finn pattern I loved and altered it ever so slightly to make a Shamu costume for our whale loving daughter. 

This year I was worried she would want to be Elsa and look like every other child trick or treating in 2014.  She actually settle on Rapunzel which I thought could be fun, naturally baby sis would be pascal.  She then changed her mind to Aurora.... this actually shocked me because Aurora is the one princess I know very little about.  I wasn't sure where she was coming from since there hasn't been much hype about her until...the re-release of Sleeping Beauty on DVD October 7.  My girl is ahead of the curve.  So while everyone else will be Aurora in 2015, my girl will be leading the charge on the next big princess.

Once we decided on Aurora I set to work trying to figure out who Baby sister would be and decided on Merryweather.  Nothing could be more perfect!

And here's how we ended up with our flip.  I had already purchased the Brownie Goose Hattie pattern and was dying to give it a try.  I absolutely love the vintage vibe it has.  When I saw it was this months flip, it was the right motivation to print that Hattie and get one made.  So Merryweather's costume was inspired by the Hattie.  The gathered sleeve and the stand up collar are the perfect Disney costume details.  

I didn't make huge didn't need huge changes.  It fit so perfectly for what I had in mind.  I started with blue broadcloth, this was not a recommended material and I would not recommend using it for this pattern, but it was cheap and this was a costume not an everyday dress.  The fabric was thin so it was difficult to get the structured look that I love about this pattern, but again for a costume it did the trick.  I used tulle instead of fabric for the collar and doubled the width of the neck ruffle to 4 inches to make it larger and more Disney like.  I also used the selvage length and didn't cut it down nearly what I says in the pattern as tulle is much finer than other fabrics and I wanted to give it a fuller look.  I added tulle to the bottom of the skirt and then put a tutu our daughter already had under the dress to make the skirt appear fuller (although our almost 18 month old has a fairly similar shape to Merry Weather to begin with!).   I added sequence to the neckline and a sequence and ruffle embellishment to the bottom to give it the fairy detail and make it special for Halloween.
I added a cape by purchasing I meter of broadcloth.  It was a super simple construction, again relying on embellishments to give the fairy costume look.  Here is what I did. 1. Folded the fabric in half 2. Then I traced two semi-circles at the top sides then trimmed the outer edges to leave the semi circles at the top.  3. I stitched it up leaving a small opening to turn it inside out.  4. I then folded the top section (the semi-circles and across to create a collar).  I then used a basting stitch to gather it and create a flowy look.  5. Cover the basting stitch with a ribbon or an extra piece of fabric.  See the terrible diagram below (I did feel like pictures helped explain my process).

The final touch....her hat.  I purchased a mini-brown cardboard witch hat from target and covered it with remaining fabric from the dress.