springtime! early! damn your eyes!

I finished a little dress for Phoenix today; I worried she wouldn’t enjoy it because she’s been quite distasteful of anything “girlie” lately.

But, I was silly to worry. She said the dress is Beautiful! then: Cool! (both just like her). Verily I present thee SKELE-PHONE DRESS, made from a Norman Rockwell licensed phone print, and an Alexander Henry “Born to Ride” motif featuring skeletons and roses. The entire dress is lined in a black quilting muslin, making for a wonderful weight.


The pattern is a vintage Simplicity 4924 – way, way out of print (the original pattern cost was 60 cents) that I purchased from kalliedesigns on Etsy. Older patterns usually have only one size in the envelope which makes for a much more fun experience sewing (for me, anyway); I made her a size 10 and added a bit of length, for the perfect amount of growing room.

Ralph took our daughter out this morning and later told me with all the drabness seeing her in her bright dress was like a “beacon of hope”. She was instantly complimented when they hit the grocery store.

Ready For Action


Thrifted buttons, of course:

Vintage Buttons

In other news of sewing-awesomeness, I finished a lovely but strange item – the Miniature Giant Japanese Baby Bunting:

Soft, Soft, Sturdy

It’s made from a Japanese import fabric (cotton canvas) including motifs of – wait for it – skulls, the American flag, shamrocks, strawberries and flowers. OF COURSE.

The bunting is lined and underlined in fleece, making for a very sturdy piece. I experimented with some quilting too!

Back Seam

Zippers, buttons and snaps were all bought from thrift stores – vintage, frugal, FTW!

Vintage Button

You can see more details of each item at my Flickr tagsets: dress, bunting

Sophie Flying High

if i can sew, nothing really gets me down too badly

Last night, while we hosted one of our children’s (11 year old) friends, I finished the white linen dress I’d been envisioning for Sophie.  It’s actually a linen / rayon blend (underlined with a cotton / poly batiste), and it’s oyster-colored, not white:

The dress plus her latest Lego creation.
The dress plus her latest Lego creation.

Honestly? Linen is hard to photograph in a flattering way. Or at least it was today. The dress is lovely and very substantial – a perfect dress for our winter weather. The coolest thing is Sophie helped design it: she asked for a pocket on the right-hand side for her bus fare:

The pockets were free-form created by myself and M., the little girl who was so fascinated last night while I finished it.  She actually helped quite a bit.
The pockets were free-form created by myself and M., the little girl who was so fascinated last night while I finished it. She actually helped quite a bit.

No wait – there was another great thing about the dress – besides working with the linen, which was a dream. After I finished sewing it last night Sophie immediately put it on. She wanted to sleep with it. And this morning, when she woke up, she slipped it on again and came out to see me with her hair sticking up, looking very well-slept.

Sophie, with her killer gaze
Sophie, with her killer gaze

You can see more detail shots of the dress here.

The pattern is from Ottobre magazine’s Winter 2004 magazine (I had a friend gift me with a subscription; after the year ran out I didn’t renew. I want to renew someday, as they are a wonderful pattern line). Here’s a picture of Sophie in the same dress pattern (different details) – and also the first thing I made from the Finnish magazine.

My wee little girl, all sunburned and tiny
My wee little girl, all sunburned and tiny

By the way – I loved that Drive-In fabric used in that earlier dress. It was so bright and fabulous. And if you’ve followed my sewing efforts thus far, you’ll also know I love matching, or rather mis-matching, fabrics. In this case a very garish novelty print featuring a lot of hot pink with a more demure Asian-inspired red floral. I got a lot of compliments on the dress – I wonder where it is now?

I also recently finished a princess-seamed flannel blouse – in a wonderfully soft blue and green cotton flannel houndstooth (I loves me some houndstooth!) from Denver Fabrics – which after all the effort didn’t fit me correctly. My mom spied it today and when she heard I wasn’t wearing it, she asked if she could try it on. She was very happy with the fit and now it’s hers.

Yup, very happy. Can’t you see how happy she is?

By the way, my mom doesnt always look like shes about to break her foot off in your ass. In real life, shes a rather gentle creature.
By the way, my mom doesn't always look like she's about to break her foot off in your ass. In real life, she's a rather gentle creature.
Little Traveling Mouse


Sophie, ready for a summer adventure.
Sophie, ready for a summer adventure.

I finished Sophie’s little linen traveling costume and managed to get her to stand still for a few photos.  While she was at camp and at her request, I also made a hat using the faux suede/fur hat pattern #24 from Ottobre 04/2003).  She wanted a polar bear hat; can you tell how I mussed up?  Yes, I made the ears to big!  We have since decided it is a mouse hat, and I will try again for the polar bear effect.

*kiss*, right on the nose!
*kiss*, right on the nose!
Jacket pockets were attached with a fell stitch.
Jacket pockets were attached with a fell stitch.

I have entered the suit in the Threads magazine’s “Express Yourself In Linen” contest.  There is some stiff competition!  I am proud of myself to have not only completed a challenging garment, but to have blogged it as well.  You can view the previous blog installments on this project here: 1 (fabric preparations), 2 (underlining and pockets), 3 (shell construction), 4 (pants), and 5 (finishing jacket).

On to new things!

River Sun

little owl

Up this morning, just before breakfast
Up this morning, just before breakfast

I finished the knickers and cami set from Ottobre magazine (04/2004, designs #38 and #40). I have a touch-and-go relationship in sewing with knits. Mostly things have been rather successful – but a bicycle jersey I recently finished had popping at the hem seam – and I don’t know why).

I am also a novice at the serger, but in using it to finish the leg hems of these little knickers, it really made for a beautiful treatment:

Softly Softly
Softly Softly

The 100% cotton owl print is very, very light and soft, yet was relatively easy to work with – on the serger especially.

Beautiful Girl
Beautiful Girl

My daughter, of course, loves the set. What more could a seamstress ask for except that her customer is 100% satisfied?


Blue, Ivory, Deep Red
It was torture not to blog one of my more recent sewing projects. I couldn’t chronicle it on the off-chance the intended recipients would see me do so on Facebook!

I don’t know why I like making baby buntings so much. Part of it is the size; no unwieldy amount of yardages to haul around. Suffice to say they are one of my favorite things to sew!

My Design Sketch, Pattern
I have taken to sketching my ideas first. If I was super-organized I’d have a notebook of all this; but, I’d rather sew than document.

Embroiderins & Bastin'
Ralph came up with the horn template. Which is pretty cool. It looks lethal. In a really soft, baby sort of way.

The tail is one of my favorite parts. I love all the free-hand (fins, embroidery) I got to do on this project.

I knit a super-soft hat in Cascade 220. I tried to do a little chain-stitch and applique on the hat, but it sucked, so I removed it. Our new gas furnace is super-great for fast blocking.

Ye Wee Narwhal
Voila! Ready for some fierce, marine-themed snuggling.

Full Flickr set here; pattern review here.

coats ‘n’ more coats, in the 75 degree weather

Front-pocket Assembled - Almost
Today I joined the lining and underlining for Ottobre 05/06 #10. I also marked the pattern pieces and assembled the pocket. I am currently fretting over the pocket flap and hood trim, which instead of a cotton fur knit (P.S. Ottobre, *where* do you get these fabrics?) is a fleece. I don’t think the fleece looks all that good as a trim although with regards to the above pocket flap I know trimming seam allowances, pressing, and topstitching will improve matters.

Shout-out to Gutterman’s topstitching thread which really does look nice on this twill.

In other news, today was my brother’s birthday. I made him a CD, my daughter drew him a fabulous card, and I created him a Custom Order Form for what I’m calling his Portland Coat – as he’s moving soon. Here’s what he got in his card (click to enlarge):

To my surprise, he actually assented to filling this out with me which included me discussing technique and measuring him at his shoulders, arms, chest, waist, and hips (tee hee!).

Although I can’t afford to buy fabric right now (or rather I can… but my gas heat has been turned off for a week and perhaps I should pay that bill instead!) this project will be the next fabric purchase I make – along with that for my Vietnamese Ao Dai.