Groovy Girl

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Cultural Heritage Foundation. Are you interested in saving Victorian architecture?

Hope everyone in the USA had a lovely Thanksgiving with their family and friends. We took our first family road trip to visit my sister. Two kids, two adults, and one dog all jammed into a car for 6 hours. Really it was a lot of fun, but so hard to get back and head right into Lamplight at Heritage Square!

This is the biggest event the museum holds each year and and this year I was assigned to be one of the tour guides. I was super happy with my role as getting to weekday rehearsals is really tough with two small children. As a guide I only had to attend the 3 main rehearsals. But there was a catch, the tour guides were actually characters this year! We played the museum founders and spend the evening talking with guests about the importance of Los Angeles’ Victorian architecture and why it was important to save. It also meant we all dressed for roughly 1970. Groovy!

Every year I spend waaaaaaay too much time and energy trying to get my clothes as accurate as possible. This year was no exception. As soon as I knew I was aiming for 1970 I started scouring my pattern stash and looking for inspiration. It was a little harder than I expected because searching for 1970 brought up a lot of clothing for the 1970s that was too late for my particular needs.

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I settled on Simplicity 1059, one of their Jiffy patterns that was originally published in 1969. The big selling point was this pattern had sleeves! As a tour guide I needed to spend a portion of the evening outdoors at night in cold (for LA) weather. Sleeves!

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It was also a very simple shape. Here it is without the sash so you can see there are no darts, no waist seam. Really it was just a front, back, sleeves, and facings. All the bust shaping is provided by one pleat at each shoulder. I simply graded from one size at the bust to another size at the waist and hips to ensure enough wearing ease.

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The pattern was not without it’s issues though. If you look really closely at the pattern art you’ll see the neckline was supposed to be a deep V. What I didn’t realize is the V would go really low, like you could see a significant portion of my bra. I’d cut the front on the fold instead of putting in a front seam so I could avoid pattern matching down the front. I’d even raised the neckline a tad to account for the lost seam, but apparently it wasn’t enough!

I did play around with the idea of buttoning the front closed, but that pulled the shoulder pleats out of alignment, so the finished dress has a triangular piece sewn in for modesty. I tried to sort of line up the print to make it less noticeable.

Also I spend a lot of brainpower and timing putting in the invisible zipper and matching the pattern down the back only to find I could pull the dress over my head without ever unzipping the back. Sob!  If I make the pattern again I will cut both he back and front on the fold! Can you spot the center back seam?

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For the fabric I knew I wanted to use rayon. I wanted long sleeves, but it had to be thin fabric because my jacket sleeves are quite tight and thick fabric wouldn’t fit. So I started looking for some 60s/70s prints online. I sent the choices to my mom who helped me pick the best of my options. We settled on this print from Free Spirit Fabrics. It cost a tad bit more than I anticipated, but I can wear this dress to work.  A++ would buy again.

Was I cold? You bet! But I was only outside for 5-10 minutes at a time so I’m satisfied with my choice of fabric. Even though the dress isn’t a shape I usually wear, I really love the way it turned out. Especially such a dramatic sleeve!

And now with Lamplight behind me I’ve moved onto Christmas gifts. Anyone else doing some holiday sewing?

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Division Quilt aka Man Quilt

Back when I was working on my Buzz Quilt my husband mentioned how much he would like a quilt. Truth is I’d been looking for manly quilt fabric for a few months already! Quilting is a majority female craft and it is no surprise there are tons of feminine and juvenile fabrics available for sale. But trying to find modern quilt fabrics appropriate for a man, that is kind of tough. And while my husband is a big fan of Liverpool Football Club he is not the type of man to want a fan fabric quilt. Likewise he is a camera operator/director of photography, but does he really want a camera quilt? Not really.

Enter Franklin by Denyse Schmidt

Photo from Denyse Schmidt’s site.

Franklin is inspired by the magic of possibility and discovery found in the small-town libraries of Denyse’s native New England. Combining the comfort of the familiar with excitement of new ideas and places, Franklin transports and trancends with the timelessness of our best-loved classics. Nostalgic calicos, stripes, and geometrics are reminiscent of beautiful end papers – and elegant, wise librarians. Franklin’s library is the oldest (1790) public library in the US and houses a collection of books donated by the town’s namesake, Benjamin Franklin.

Denyse’s mom (who taught her to sew) visited her local library every week, without fail, creating a lasting and deep influence on her daughter!

The line reminded me of the pocket squares my husband wears when is dresses up for special occasions and felt like the perfect fabric line for his quilt.

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And designing a quilt with him turned out to be really fun. A collaborative effort. I gave him a choice of 14 different designs and we both liked Division Quilt from A Bright Corner the best. We also agreed grey sashing would be far more practical and more his style. I made all the blocks and they he picked the layout. He picked the batting (wool). And he picked the backing fabric and design too (Moda’s More Hearty Good Wishes Ripple Ocean).

I think this is my new favorite quilt. All the design choices played together perfectly.

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The quilting is very a very simple diamond pattern. So glad I picked a batting that could be quilted up to 8 inches apart.

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And the backing is so simple and classic.

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Such nice little waves that read as a semi solid from afar, but little waves up close.

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Both husband and dog agree this quilt is a winner.

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Clothing Sisters

So confession time. My favorite part of having two girls…matching outfits. It is soooooo about the matching outfits when your girls are young and the parent is still mostly selecting their clothes. I live for holidays. My husband is not a huge fan of putting our girls in perfectly matching outfits, so we reached a compromise. Coordinating outfits.

For Christmas they had coordinating sparkling dresses I knitted. (This is seriously the best picture I have.)

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So as Easter approached I started searching for the best pattern and the best fabric to use. Ultimately I landed on the pattern Geranium Dress by Rae Hoekstra. If you’ve read pretty much any blog that features little girl’s clothing you have seen this pattern before. I’d say for good reason, because is it dead simple to make, classic, and easy to modify.

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For the fabric I settled on two prints from Nest by Free Spirit Fabric. The fabric is so lovely. Soft, easy to work with, and washed really really well.

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I did the ruffle trim on the sleeves for both, but DD1 has a dress and DD2 has a tunic. She’ll be trying to crawl soon and I know dresses are much less practical for that stage of baby-hood. Both outfits are fully lined. DD2’s tunic was pair with Rae’s pattern Big Butt Baby Pants that I shortened to bloomers. They’re trimmed with some sweet lace I purchased at a rummage sales more than a decade ago.

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Sadly I have no photos of both dresses together. DD1 was recovering from a stomach bug and DD2 only has short windows of time when she is willing to be photographed. Oh well. There’s always the next holiday.

Anyways, I really loved making these outfits. I love it a whole lot and seeing these photos is making me even more excited for the start of Kids Clothes Week! I wonder how many things I can crank out in 7 days? I’m hoping at least one school dress for DD1 and one more tunic/bloomer set for DD2.