Cozy Bimaa Dress

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Hi everyone!  I hope you had a great Thanksgiving.  We did, despite some sickness going around our family earlier in the week (and mine has been going on for over two weeks now – ugh!)  On Friday morning we carried out our annual tradition of going to the Santa Cruz mountains to cut down our Christmas tree.  This is the first year that Ella really understood what was going on, and she LOVED it.  She was Daddy’s big helper, as usual.  🙂

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I’ve actually been doing a lot of sewing lately, but with some for pattern testing, some for a future blog tour, and some for Christmas presents, there’s not much to show you yet… but it’s coming!

Anyway, since it’s been pretty cold (for California) during the nights lately, I decided that Ella needed a new, cozy dress to wear to church this morning.  When did I decide this?  During dinner last night, of course.  🙂

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I received both of these fabrics in a french terry mystery box I bought from Raspberry Creek Fabric in early October, and I knew immediately that they would be something for Ella, and most likely a Bimaa.

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Then, when Tami posted about making the Bimaa into a dress for her daughter, I knew that’s what this was going to be, too.

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I’ve had the Bimaa pattern printed out and put together for a while now (and I’ve used it for some of those secret things I’ve been doing!).  So… last night after the kids were in bed (roughly 7:42pm), I traced out the size I needed (3T), adding some length and a bit of a flare out for the dress modification, and cut my fabric.

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By 8:05pm, I was ready to go, and by 8:50pm this dress was complete!  I received a serger from my mother-in-law as an early Christmas gift this year, and it has been a game-changer in terms of sewing with knits.  I LOVE it! (It’s *this one* if you’re interested.)

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Can I tell you about these fabrics for a minute?  Because they’re just about my favorite thing ever.  Tim laughs at me every time I sew with french terry because I keep hugging the fabric, rubbing it against my cheek, and forcing him to “feel how soft it is!”  And then, to try and throw the scraps away… I mean… talk about torture.

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Ella loves it too, and why not?  It’s like wearing your favorite, cozy sweatshirt, but looking good and ready for church!

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Aside from a couple of random pieces, I’ve gotten all of my french terry from Raspberry Creek Fabric.  It’s a small, independently run fabric shop on Etsy.  There’s also a Facebook group run by the owner, where everyone can share what they’ve made with the fabrics from that shop.  It’s pretty inspiring!  That facebook group has also somehow attracted the most supportive group of people – so if you’re into sewing, go check it out!  As someone who doesn’t have any family or friends that are as crazy about sewing as I am, it’s a place that I can “hang out” with my sewing community, and it’s pretty fun.  Note – I’m not financially associated with them in any way  (other than when I spend my entire fabric budget there sometimes!) – I just wanted to share in case you’re like me and want to find a great online sewing community!

Okay – tangent over – now just a couple more pics of this crazy cute girl!

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Thanks for reading!

*Marked items are affiliate links, and I will receive a small amount of compensation if you buy something after clicking on that link.  Thanks for your support!

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McKenzie Dress and Tunic

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While my family in the midwest is getting their first big snow of the year, it’s still feeling like fall here in California.  I thought it was about time I shared one of Ella’s most-worn dresses of this past summer.
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This dress is the McKenzie Tunic from Shwin Designs, lengthened to dress.  I love, love this dress on Ella.  It doesn’t have any closures, so it just slips right over her head, but it somehow also manages to stay on her shoulders without slipping off.IMG_7254

It’s light and comfortable for her to wear.IMG_7253

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And it’s swingy, which is just about the best thing you can ask for in a dress for a 2-year old.  🙂

A59F1C76-D699-45F3-AA51-3C090F9A9CC7I picked up both of these fabrics on a trip to Michigan in the summer of 2014, at Field’s Fabrics in Jenison.  The pink is a quilting cotton, and the blue is a lightweight chambray.
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Since we both loved the dress so much, she got a tunic length version as well.

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The gold heart material is a quilting cotton from Joann, and it’s adorable!!!  I picked up the aqua material at FabMo.  It’s more lightweight and less stiff than quilting cotton, so this turned out nice and flowy.

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And just in case you were wondering what Ella was holding in her hands in these pics, it’s mini m&m’s.  I bribe her with candy to get her to let me take her picture, and I feel no shame about it.  🙂

2E72B46C-F667-4A57-A5BB-86E80ED400AFSee this face?  This face is the “dee” part of “more can-dee???”IMG_7228

Cutie pie candy-face.

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Thanks for reading!

Flower Girl Dress – Trial Run!

My sister-in-law Megan is getting married next summer (to her high school sweetheart!), and we are all so excited!  We are also all going to be in the wedding!  Ella and her cousin Annalise are going to be flower girls together.  These two girls LOVE each other, and it’s going to be sooooo cute to see them in the wedding together.IMG_4524I volunteered to make dresses for the girls, and Megan showed me some pics of what she liked.  The final dresses will be ivory like Megan’s, but for the trial run I wanted to pick a color that Ella would want to wear for other occasions… guess what color? 😉

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I searched for a pattern to use for this style, but couldn’t find anything that was exactly what I was looking for, so I ended up hacking the Blake pattern by Mingo & Grace.  This is the same pattern that I used for Ella’s two-year picture dress, and it’s one of my favorites.

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For the skirt, I skipped the side seam pockets and gathered instead of pleating it.  I also included a layer of tulle in between the lining and the satin top layer, just to give it a little more fullness.  I also made sure the lace top layer was long enough that the scallop detail fell below the hem of the other layers.

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The top took a little more effort.  I drafted a sweetheart neckline for the lining and top satin (it’s not real satin, by the way) and only cut the lace layer per the pattern’s bodice piece, but without the seam allowances on the neckline and arm holes because I knew I would be binding the edges instead of having a lining for the lace part.

IMG_7114 I sewed the lining and satin pieces together for each of the front and back bodice pieces, then basted the lace layer to each satin piece at the side seams.  Then, after I sewed the shoulders and sides together, I bound the arm holes with some narrow bias tape I made from the satin fabrics… this was pretty slippery/tricky, but it actually turned out better than I was expecting!IMG_7113For the neckline, I used the same bias binding, but started it at the top of the inner layers in the back, brought it up and around the neckline, and then brought it back down to the top of the inner layers on the other side of the back.  I also made a keyhole-type effect on the back by trimming the lace out in a semi-circle shape above the other layers.IMG_7110Overall, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, but there are some lessons learned and things I’ll do differently for the real flower girl dresses.  First, I want to learn how to use the blind hem feature on my sewing machine for the satin layer so that you can’t see the hem line at the bottom.IMG_7109 I also want to bring the sweetheart neckline up a bit higher.IMG_7106 I also need to work on my invisible zipper installation skills, since this one is far from invisible.  I don’t currently have a sewing machine foot specifically for invisible zippers, but I think I’m going to get one and see if that helps.  I also just picked a button from my stash that was the right size, but it happened to be dark purple… 😛  The real dresses will have matching buttons.  🙂IMG_7087

Oh, and all of the fabrics for this were from my local Joann Fabric – I was actually pretty impressed with their lace selection, and I plan to buy the fabric for the real dresses from there too.IMG_7097IMG_7091IMG_7089Thanks for reading!

Kids Clothes Week – Fall 2015 – Results!

Remember two weeks ago during kids clothes week when I kept posting pictures on Instagram and Facebook of the clothes I was making each day, and secretly crossing my fingers that they would fit my niece who lives over 2,000 miles away???  Well, the clothes made it to Michigan, and the results are in!

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They fit!

Well, for the most part.  🙂

I made all of the leggings with a size 4 width and size 6 length, and I probably should have just gone with a size 5 all around, since they’re all pretty long and skinny.  But since this girl tends to grow up more than out, I think it’ll be okay.

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This first top is a Nessie Top by Craftiness is Not Optional, and it’s the most basic variation.  I made a size 3T width but graded out to a 4 height at the shoulder and a 7 length so that it was more like a tunic.  I love how the curved hem covers her in the back. DSC_0062

The dark gray leggings were made using the Love Notions Leggin’s pattern.DSC_0018This next top is also a Nessie, but the colorblocked version.  The aqua leggings are Bonny Leggings by Made for Mermaids.DSC_0022DSC_0060

This top is also a Nessie Top, but I followed Jess’ gathered pattern hack for some extra variety.

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These are also Love Notions Leggin’s, but with the yoga waistband instead of the elastic.  You can see how the 4T waist looks like it’s actually the correct size, but I probably should have graded out to a wider leg size.

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Up next was a Pretty in Peplum by Sew Much Ado.  I love how this one looks on her!

DSC_0043 I did a 4T width and a 6 length for the main part of the shirt, and then for the peplum I did a 4T width and a 12 length to make the skirt part extra long.  I also did the size 4 sleeves, but added some length based on Lexi’s arm measurement.DSC_0044 The pink leggings are Bonny Leggings, just like the aqua ones.  See how the top gathers a bit at the sides?  I’m not a huge fan of how these ended up fitting her.DSC_0046  And last but not least, a Recess Raglan by See Kate Sew and a pair of black Go To Leggings.

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I love this one on her too!  I made a size 4, but added length and flared it out a bit for more of a tunic look.  I also did just a basic sleeve with a hemmed end, which isn’t one of the pattern options.  I just decided on a sleeve length based on her measurements.  This was my first time making a Recess Raglan (I picked up the pattern a few weeks ago when there was a sale!), and I LOVE making these shirts.  They come together so quickly and are adorable on kids.

In fact, Lexi’s came together so quickly that I had time to make one for each of her little siblings!

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The shirt I made for Chloe was upcycled from a shirt my mom had given me a year ago, which meant that I could use the existing hem… extra fast and easy!  She also got a pair of Go To Leggings.DSC_0031 And look at these two sisters… I mean… wow!  Aren’t they beautiful?!?DSC_0035Nolan got his own Recess Raglan in a straight-up size 18 months, and this one has the cuffed sleeves that the pattern calls for.  I can’t believe this cutie pie is almost 9 months old already!!!
DSC_0079He also got some Go To Leggings, but I modified them a bit – I cut the size 2T width so they wouldn’t fit as much like leggings, and then cut them at the 12 month length and added a cuff.  These were made out of french terry, so they’re super soft and cozy.  The cuff is the same fabric, but inside out.  I love the look of these and I have plans to make multiple pairs for Luke.  You also get a glimpse of my gorgeous sister in this pic.  It’s no wonder her kids are so cute!DSC_0090

I bought all of the fabrics (except the french terry and the upcycled shirt) from Girl Charlee, and they were all great to work with.  I love that the fabric weights are listed on their website, since I still consider myself a novice when it comes to sewing knits, and the heavier weights are more stable and easier for me to work with.

And now, I’ll leave you with this adorable picture:

DSC_0084        Thanks for reading!!!