A Very Disney Birthday

Five feels like such a milestone age. Five! A year of transition as Lu moves from toddler to kid and preschool to kindergarten. She’s learning to read and makes some rather fantastically creative art work. To celebrate we treated the girls to their very first trip to Disneyland.

Sure, I could have bought them t-shirts at Target or grabbed something from their dress up closet, but where’s the fun in that? Naturally the sewing momma had to make them something special.

First up, the birthday girl’s dress.

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I started with the idea of a dress with a circle skirt and a big ruffle. The base is my favorite girl’s pattern the Geranium Dress from Made by Rae. The bodice was lengthened and the skirt swapped for the circle. I grabbed plenty of this Princess Emoji fabric from Michael Levine’s one rainy lunch break. I find a lot of licensed Disney fabric to be pretty ugly, but this was cute and some quick texts to my mom for her expert opinion confirmed I was making the right choice.

Lu’s dress was tricked out with rick rack and piping at the waist and hem. Quite cute! I had a hard time picking trims without spending a small fortune.

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I purposefully picked something sleeveless because March is really hit or miss weather wise. Two days before out trip it was over 80F, but the weather cooled drastically by our trip to the park. Thank goodness I also grabbed some organic cotton knit in bright pink to make a t-shirt and leggings.  Poor birthday girl would have been cold without them.

So, what about that ruffle I mentioned? Lu didn’t want it! I was left with about a yard of leftover fabric! Naturally that meant Charlie got her own dress too. I made a really basic Geranium dress for her as well and dressed it up with a little rick rack I found in my notions box. Lucky little sister. A red school shirt and pair of tights rounded out her princess look without needing to spend anymore money. Hooray! Disney is expensive!

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Lucy showing Sleeping Beauty the Aurora emoji on her skirt, priceless.

Those dresses would have been enough, but I still have a couple more tricks up my sleeve.

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This sweet little dress was made for Valentine’s Day. Charlie loves Minnie Mouse, so she was wild for the fabric. Plus she’s decided her favorite color is pink just like Lucy. Charlie’s in a sister worship phase that is so cute and sometimes frustrating.

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The pattern was the Geranium Dress you’ve seen a million times and the fabric was from JoAnn’s. Just a nice basic yet fun dress she can wear any day of the week.

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I made Lu a Valentine’s skirt too, but she didn’t get to wear it since her school requires uniforms. The Doc MsStuffins’ tiered skirt came in handy for our day at California Adventure. It rained sideways for two hours, but I don’t think Lu even noticed after meeting 6 princesses at breakfast.

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I never did get a great picture of her outfit, but she is wearing a hand knit sweater with her new skirt, so plenty of mom-made clothing on display.

Our trip was wonderful, if exhausting. Special shout out to my mom, sister, and brother in law for tagging along as well as my husband for wrangling the two year old so I could geek out with my newly 5 year old girly girl Lu. It was totally magical.

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In other sewing news, I’ve been working on a big project for myself, a new sloper. The sloper itself is done and just needs a write up and my first dress using it is in the muslin stage. Exciting, but slower work on top of the never ending cold I picked up at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Out of Time Out

Let’s talk about Colette. Their pattern block is somewhat less than desirable for a large portion of the sewing crowd, but several years ago there weren’t as many competitors on the indie scene. Like many others I purchased a few Colette patterns. I loved their vintage inspired esthetic.

Then I made these patterns and they were pretty much flops. I blamed myself. As a largely self-taught sewer I figured I just didn’t have the skill. Now I know that I am not alone!  Colette patterns are notorious for their wide shoulders, odd sleeves, and flat butts. Ahhhhhhhh. It all makes sense now.

I am by no means an expert, but I think I do okay at getting things to fit. I like to experiment, but last year I got really fed up. You see, I attempted to make Colette’s Dahlia. Gosh I love the way the pattern looks on the original model. I’m linking the sew-a-long because Colette has changed the pictures on their site.

But making the pattern proved to be very frustrating. I’d searched pattern reviews and only found nice versions! But when I put on my finished dress the shoulders were so big they stood up and touched my ears. I was dismayed. I was upset. I knew someone who had made the dress and her’s turned out great, but mine was unwearable.

So I gathered the neckline, turned the binding under, and then stitched it all smaller. I still hated the dress. Pissed off and disappointed I threw Dahlia in a corner and forgot about it…until today.

I pulled it back out because I was going to use the skirt fabric along with my leftover yardage to makes a blouse! But I thought I should try on the dress one more time and photograph it. I put the dress on and well, it looks pretty good!

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I mean sure, it’s not perfect. The neckline looks pretty crappy, but a cardigan is going to hide all those sins. Still a little wrinkled in these photos, but not bad over all. I remembered I really liked the skirt and waistband!

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I have zero memory about what size I made or what alterations I made to the pattern. None. Oh well. I’m unlikely to try this pattern again anyways.

I do remember this fabric.

I’d bought it at Michael Levine’s for maybe $5/yard. It was labeled 100% cotton, but it probably a cotton/poly blend. I really need to throw a slip on underneath so the fabric glides more freely! But another reason this fabric stands out in my mind is because as I was watching Modern Family I saw Cam wearing a shirt from the same fabric!

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Hilarious, right?

For now I’m just happy to come to peace with my version of Dahlia. It’s not what I originally wanted, but far from the wreck I saw in the mirror last year.

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Beach Babies

Nothing like a wave of 110F+ weather to tell you it is officially summer! Until 2 weeks ago I’d never ever made a bathing suit. Now I’ve made 3!

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Yep, we all match. I started with my bathing suit then had enough fabric left over to make each of my girls a suit too! No losing these two at the pool.

I wrote up a long post for the Curvy Sewing Collective all about my suit (It can be found here), so over here I’m going to talk about the kid suits and how my tankini has held up to real life.

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Lu has pretty much asked to wear hers every single day. “It has a skirt momma!” A dream come true to for my girly girl. The pattern is the Sun n’ Fun Swimsuit and Leotard from Peekaboo Patterns. I’m still kind of mad at them for a shady deal at Quiltcon this year, but I put my anger aside because they had a ton of cute kids swimsuit options.

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To add a skirt I roughly followed the tutorial from Sewlovele. I had SO MUCH FABRIC left from my swimsuit that cutting out a full circle skirt for each kid was no problem. In fact, I think the was Sewlovele constructs the pattern is better than the Peekaboo directions. It leaves a seam free finish to the inside that is much more comfortable to wear.

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The fabric is probably this one from Michael Levine’s. I bought it in person so I’m not 100% sure. It is super drapey and lovely to wear. Though I did line all our suits in power mesh because that’s what I had on hand. For fun I used the reverse side for the main body of both kid bathing suits and the shiny side for the skirts and bow in the back. It’s hard to see both in pictures and in person, but still a detail that makes me happy.

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The downside to lining the suits with power mesh is they aren’t as stretchy. Lu’s is a size 4T and Charlie’s is a size 18 months. Both kids are just growing into those sizes, but the bathing suits perfectly fit right now. I might need to make them each a new suit by the end of summer if they grow at all.

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We all have worn out new bathing suits to the pool with great success. Then today we went to the beach to beat the heat and the suits held up well to the sun and the sand too!

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Including mine. When I wrote my pattern review I was kind of sad I hadn’t made a bikini. I feel like this suit hides my waist (and smallest part). But then today wearing my tankini to the beach I was able to fully appreciate the coverage Lisette 6360 provides. Mostly that I didn’t need to sunscreen my very very pale midsection. I also felt really good walking the beach and not like I needed to hide my body. I don’t generally feel that way at the pool when I’m wrangling two kids, but a beach full of college co-eds is a different story.

Now I have  conquered making swimsuits I feel like I could sewing anything! What should I make next?