Dartmouth Double Take

Yay! I had unexpected sewing time! Boo! It was because of a sick kid. She’s totally fine, but Lu and I have both been limping along with our colds and adding vaccines on top of her cold meant a miserable little kid for a day or two. I wasn’t terribly sad to stay home and have a little down time for myself. Plus I came home last Wednesday to find a new pattern in my mail box. So nice I made it twice!

This is Cashmerette’s new pattern the Dartmouth Top!

So far Jenny’s knit patterns have worked really well for me, so I was pleased to see her come out with a fixed wrap top. I totally love wearing this style on the weekends or as a pajama top. So comfy, but not quite as casual as a typical t-shirt pattern. I also think they work particularly well on a figure like mine with a full bust, narrow waist, and full hips.

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My first crack at the pattern was using this heavier weight cotton/lycra fabric from Sahara Fabrics. After shrinkage in the wash I only had a 46 inch length to work with and I could just barely fit all the pieces in the yardage if I used the short sleeve and cut the neck band in 3 pieces.

Overall I really like this shirt. I really rarely wear separates, but on Friday I had a mammogram after my doctor found some thicker tissue in my breast. Having this new, fun, and colorful shirt to wear really lifted my spirits. It was also a lot more practical than my usual dresses. (And thankfully my boobs got a clear bill of health!)

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The Dartmouth Top wasn’t quite perfect straight out of the envelope. Besides grading between sizes (14/16/18) I made no alterations. But the front hem was a tad bit on the tick side since there is 4 layers of jersey there. Sure, it would have been easier if I’d used a thinner knit, but 4 layers is still a lot. I’m also going to need to do a sway back alteration of future versions. I think Cashmerette patterns usually have a sway back built in, but I need more.

So we had the feverish 5 year old, my cold, my boob testing, and oh did I mentioned pink eye for the 2 year old? Yeah. It’s been one of those weeks. On top of all of that my husband and I also had our first weekend away from the kids (shout out to my parents for babysitting)! It was an awesome weekend away for a friend’s wedding and then I came home and made a Dartmouth Dress.

As soon as I put on my finished top version I knew I had to attempt a dress version. The hip curve perfectly covered my widest part so I wouldn’t even need to add fullness. Sweet!

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I dove into my stash and pulled out this ugly ass plaid jersey. It was purchased in one of those Girl Charlee Knit Fixes where you get a bunch of ugly fabric for cheap and is some sort of thin cotton jersey/mystery fiber blend. I’d guess polyester. Basically I hate it so much that I figured if the dress was a total fail then I’d have a soft and lightweight nightgown.

But it wasn’t a total fail even though I made it into a mock wrap.

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I spent all weekend mulling over the ways to make the Dartmouth have one layer below the waist and finally determined I’d trace off just the shoulder and see how it worked. I also shortened the neckband.

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This is still going in the pajama pile since it is thin and needs a sway back fix, but my experiment worked pretty darn well! I even got the plaids reasonably matched up despite having just 2 yards of material.

Now tomorrow I pack away my machine while we have family visiting, but I think I’m going to pull out more of my ugly mystery knits to make up a few more of these as a nightgown while I play around with some minor alterations to the pattern because the Dartmouth Top is a fun and simple sew!

Christmas 2016 – Part 1

Before moving on to new projects in 2017, I thought I’d take a moment to post the things I made for the Christmas holiday this year. In order to keep our holiday spending in check, I turned to my stash to find some fun materials for gifts.

First up is the adorable Little Red Riding Hood doll set.

I bought the panel at our (now closed) local quilt shop. In fact I bought the very last one in stock. They sold out super quickly and I can see why. Isn’t it sweet? I ended up making a few alterations to the panel directions. 1) I bound the quilt with some fabric from my stash  and 2) I made the doll’s skirt completely reversible with the left over binding fabric and an elastic waist.

Of course our 2 year old spend much of Christmas day sitting in the doll bed instead of her dolly, but that’s toddlers! And the Lil’ Red set has been dragged all over our house and the clothing tried on many different babies.

Next up was a sweater, also for the toddler. I’d purchased the yarn at Vogue Knitting Live here in town last spring. I’ve heard great things about Sincere Sheep, but I’ve come to realize it is best to buy new-to-me yarns in small quantities to test before diving in for enough to make myself a sweater. I quick peek at my phone showed I needed only 2 skeins to make Ysolda Teague’s Wee Envelope pattern in a size 2, so I snatch up Equity Sport in Aegean.

I think you’ll agree the color look just gorgeous on Charlie and kept her nice and toasty on our trip to the beach. The yarn was also a joy to knit! So bouncy, just the way I like it. Ysolda’s pattern was fabulous as always. I’ve knit 3 patterns from her Wee Ones collection and all have turned out wonderfully.

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And lastly here is a snapshot of the girls on Christmas morning. It is hard to tell because Lu immediately donned her Doc McStuffins costume (gift from Santa), but the girls also got matching pajamas on Christmas Eve. I just love this particular tradition. Usually I buy their jammies, but this year I quickly made up a matching set.

It was a bit of a happy accident. The first shipment of fabric got lost in the mail and Sahara Fabrics nicely sent me a replacement. Both shipments ended up arriving leaving me with 3 whole yards of the space print. In the end I was able to get 2 long sleeved long night gowns and two sets of leggings from the yardage. Hooray! I still haven’t quite gotten the hang of using fold over elastic, so don’t look too closely at the neck line. I need a bit more practice.

And so this is part one of the gift sewing! It is really fun to have kids who appreciate hand made items and I plan to keep on indulging them as long as they let me!

Narwhal Dress

Did you know there is a whole world out there of specialty printed fabric organized through Facebook groups? No? I wasn’t either! One of my parenting group friends started posting pictures of her daughters in all these cute outfits so I asked her where she found the fabrics and now I’ve been sucked into the Facebook group scene!

So far I’ve only ordered through one company, Sahara Fabrics. It is similar to ordering through Spoonflower in that there are a bunch of prints posted that you can order, but to cut down on the costs they only offer a select number of designs at one time. The companies keeps just a small stock of any item and generally once it is gone that’s it. Some of these companies specialize in science themed fabric, fan art fabric, and fabric to make knock off Lularoe leggings. Many of these companies also offer fun and different PUL fabric for the cloth diaper scene (oh if only I’d know about this when we were cloth diapering!). Sahara stocks a lot of cloth diaper supplies, but they also offer a lot of cute cotton/lycra prints and some bamboo knits as well. Most of the designs are suited to kids, but a few will appeal to adults too.

The fabric for Lu’s dress came to me through a mix up at the post office. I’d ordered this print for my narwhal obsessed friend who welcomed a son earlier this year. But then the package was lost in the great and powerful USPS system. Sahara and I waited the required number of days to declare the package lost and then Sahara graciously sent me out a new package. Well imagine our surprise when the original fabric bundle re-surfaced and arrived at my doorstep! Sahara told me to keep the fabric and so I got a little bit of narwhal fabric to keep.

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Lu’s dress is cut from 1 Narwhal Magic Panel. This is a specialty product in which there is a graphic print and a coordinating print all on one length of fabric. The panel measured 30 inches tell x 58 inches wide making it just less than a full yard of cotton knit.

I sat on it for a few months while trying to figure out what I could make from it. But as the weather has turned cooler at night I realized Lu really needs long sleeved nightgowns and dresses. This could be both depending on her mood.

I used all but a few scraps to make this dress. The front was centered over the narwhal. The back was lined up with the first two lines of stars. The neck binding was from the bottom row of stars (I think mine was missing the very top row above the narwhal). And then I cut the sleeves, skirt, and ruffle from the striped fabric.

The skirt is a little on the narrow side and Lu and I both thought the length was not quite enough. So at the very top of the skirt I added a thin strip of solid navy that was from just above the narwhal on the panel. After cutting the main pieces I had this awkward narrow strip of stripes that I cut into smaller segments then sewed end to end to make a ruffle. It’s the kind of detail that I think really makes the dress more fun!

The base pattern is Made by Rae’s Flask Back Skinny Tee. All I did was cut it shorter so I could make it into a dress. I love this tee pattern. So simple and basic and adjustable. All the traits I love in a hack-a-ble pattern!

And clearly Lu loves the finished dress! She took it straight off the sewing machine to wear to bed last night. Such a great feeling as a mom!