Thursday, May 30, 2013

The wedding dress saga continues

This is the dress that I'm assigned to wear.

Cute, right!  I'm trying to recreate it in a child's size, but I am learning that no matter how many times I go to the fabric store or how much fabric I order on-line, I'm never going to be able to match the color shades exactly.  So between my pattern practice and color choices I have a few questions.

Question #1 the waist-
High waist (black dress) or low waist (cream and coral)?
With the high waist I have to add so much length to the layers that they look a little strange, so I'm thinking that the low waisted dress looks best.

Question #2 fabric choices-
Now that the dress I'm supposed to wear has been decided I know that I need to have the skirt lined with  beige instead of coral.  (so that small swatch on the front of the dress is what the whole skirt would look like.
Or, I could go with a different shade of coral.  (The bottom one in this photo is the other option.  It is not as see through as the fabric in the coral and cream dress, so it wouldn't have the same effect as the one I'm trying to recreate with the 2 layers.  But I wonder if it is a better color match.)

Question #3
Is the top too creamy?  The only other fabric option in the fabric store for the top was a champagne color.  Would that be too dark?
Question #4
What do you think of the lace?  Is it good or should I get something with a smaller pattern?  No shine?

So to sum up my questions

  1. High waist (black dress) or low waist (cream and coral)?_________________
  2. What shade of coral should I use, the see through one or the one in the bottom of the photo?_________________
  3. Should I use a champagne color lace for the top instead of cream?_________________
  4. What type of lace should I use for the top?_________________
  5. Bonus question, am I just obsessing over all this too much, and it doesn't really matter?

And for your enjoyment, here are some more goofy pictures of Gwen in her dresses.

 These two are my favorite :)

She LOVES the black one, so I know that all this work will be worth it when she has 2 fun twirly dresses.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Wedding dress #4

So I've submitted dress #3 to the bride and we will see what she has to say.  If she doesn't like it, or is disappointed that there is no lace on it, I will try a little harder to make this dress come to life. It was my first dress idea when my Mom told me that we needed to get the girls dresses that would coordinate with the wedding.  It's obviously inspired by Kate Middleton's Royal wedding dress.  The great thing about this one is that I could probably easily buy a coral dress on line and only have to make the jacket.

Here was my first attempt at a jacket.  (I didn't have any scraps of lace, so I used Georgette fabric.  So just use your imagination on that.)

The things I don't like:
  • The sleeves are too big for this jacket
  • The front of the jacket is poofy, I'm not sure if that is from me stretching it out as I folded down the edge to hem it, or if I need to alter the original pattern I made.
  • The shoulder is not wide enough.  It needs to reach closer up to her neck.  
  • The bow should be a little wider because even though it looks cute in the picture, every time she moved there was a gap between the 2 layers
  • It needs a loop on the sides for the ties to go through to help it stay in place.

The things I like:
  • I think that the basic design is good.  
  • The bow is cute from both the back and the front and it is functional to make it fit perfectly around the waist.
If she likes this one and I work out the kinks it looks like I'll have to order the lace on ebay.  (My local fabric store had a very sad selection of coral special occasion fabric.)  It makes me so grateful to be a seamstress during this day and time and not 30 or more years ago.

P.S. I'm having so much fun being creative right now with all these dresses.  I think it hit me recently that in a year or so we will be moving and our new place probably won't be as big, so I won't have a room where my sewing machine can be left out all the time.

6-14-2013- I tried today to make the adjustments that I noticed needed to be made, but they didn't really help much.  This is so frustrating to try and try and try and not make any progress.  (Today's jacket was jacket #3 for dress option #4 I must be crazy.)  Maybe I'll go back to New Look 6930 and just add the supper long waist band so it will fit better.  Because I really love the long wrap around look, and I think our bride really wants there to be lace on the dress.  My drawing was just so cute, I wish I could make it happen.  I guess there is a reason why a dress like Kate's or Princess Grace's would be so expensive.  It would require A LOT of tailoring.

Butterick 4967 Pattern Review

Wedding dress option #3
I was putting off this dress option because I could tell it would be more work than the others.  It had no sleeves and the sizing wasn't quite right for my oldest who is growing tall and thin.
But I sat down to make it and after about a weeks work it was done.  She loves the dress and I was able to make it out of fabric that I had in my stash, so all it cost was 1 zipper and my time.  I might go to the fabric store to buy stuff to make the sash that goes around the waist as seen in the pattern.  I'm sure she'd love it to be fuchsia like her shoes.

 I put it on her and told her to go in the other room to check it out in the mirror, when she came back she was so excited. I asked if she loved it and she said that it made her feel like a princess.  I was so glad because last month I tried to make a shrug for her and when she tried it on she was grumpy and told me it made her feel like "a fat old woman."
  I'm not sure where she heard that kind of talk because we never say fat in our house in hopes that it won't promote a poor body image.  (If I'm dieting or something I always try to say "I am trying my best to eat healthy so that I feel good." stuff like that.)  Anyway, it must have come from school.
Cons to this pattern

  • It was just not made for my oldest's body type.  I read some other reviews online that complained about the same thing.  She wears a size 7 dress, but i had to make her the size 5 and add 4 extra inches to make it fit.  (2" to the bodice and 2" to the tiers)
  • Another place that obviously needs to be adjusted if I make this dress again is the neckline.  If she grows out of this dress quickly it will be because it is choking her.  If I make it again I will need to adjust the neckline by and inch or two so she has a little more room up there.
  • It didn't have a sleeve option.  So I just used the sleeve from the last dress I make and it turned out great (New Look 6930)

Pros to the pattern:

  • My daughter LOVES IT!!!
  • I love that it doesn't look babyish.  So she gets to feel grown up without looking too grown up.  (I think my husband will like it for that reason :)
  • The tiers are so cute and playful.  They move beautifully because they have a circular shape instead of being a straight strip of fabric that is ruffled.
  • I learned a lot of new techniques (How to PROPERLY finish a circular hem, how to add a sleeve before sewing up the side seems, and more about how to sew delicate fabric.)

Overall, This is a cute dress, I love that it has a lining, but if your daughter doesn't fit the sizing very well, keep shopping for a similar pattern from a different company that might be more suited to her body type*.  It will just save you a lot of time.

*After reviewing the different pattern companies the only other pattern similar to this one is made by McCalls, but they seemed to be owned by the same company as Butterick and have the same size charts.  So I don't have a similar dress to refer to, but I reviewed the patterns of many of the popular company's and I noticed that Burda has a lot of patterns for girls that I liked.  When I looked at their size chart it seemed to be more suited to my daughter's body type.  I think I'll give them a try next time I am pattern shopping.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

New Look 6930-Pattern Review

This is wedding dress option #2 for my girls.  
New Look #6930


  • It is too baggy around the waistline-  I think a roomy waist is cute in some dress styles, but with the trim around the rib cage on this dress, the baggy-ness just makes it look like it doesn't fit right.  In order to make the dress look better I'd suggest getting a very long ribbon that ties in the front like show (because that is so adorable) but instead of sewing it to the dress all the way back to the zipper closure, stop at the side seem and let it hang free so that you could use it to tighten the dress to improve the fit.


  • I liked the use of bias tape to fold down the neckline.
  • The directions were great and easy to follow.  
  • It went together faster than I expected
  • The ruffle and trim is SO CUTE!!!! 
  • This sleeve is ruffled instead of lying flat, so as sleeves go it was on the easier side.
This project would be good for a seamstress who is ready to graduate from beginner to intermediate.

Saturday, May 4, 2013


I know I've posted about this trail mix we like someplace before, but I don't think I've shared the recipe.
We don't make this very often, but my husband and I took the kids out camping this weekend and let the kids help with the meal planning.  This is one of the things they said absolutely must be on the menu.  So I think they'd be sad if they grew up and couldn't find the recipe here on my blog.
My kids were little when we came up with the recipe and they kept forgetting the name and called it mix-trail instead of trail-mix.  So the name has stuck.

Less-Healthy version of Mix-Trail

6 cups of Cheerios
1 bag of Peanut Butter M & M's (11.40 oz bag)
1 bag of Craisins (10 oz. Bag) 
1 bag of Milk chocolate chips (11.5 oz bag)
1 can of Peanuts (14 oz. can)
1 bag of Caramel bits (11 oz. bag)

  1. Combine everything into the biggest bowl or pot you have.
  2. Mix
  3. Separate into 2 gallon sized zip lock bags (1 for now, 1 for latter)
I like to serve this at big parties like Bunko night.  
But if you don't have a lot of people coming through the door, you will end up with a lot of left overs, eat them all shamelessly, and be sad about it when you realize your pants don't fit good anymore. So I made a more healthy version with a larger cheerio to candy ratio.  1/2 cup of this is about 235 calories for those calorie counters out there.  Also, this all fits into 1 ziplock bag.  I like to put the 1/2 cup measuring cup in the bag so I know how much I am eating.  

Healthy-er version of Mix-Trail
1 cup Caramel Bits
1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
1 cup Peanut Butter M & M's
2 cups Peanuts
2 Cups Craisins
4 Cups Cheerios

  1.  Put everything into a gallon size ziplock bag and close it without squeezing all the air out.  Shake it up good to mix everything together.  Serve
Now hide the left over candy or feed it to your kids so you don't end up eating it all in a moment of weakness.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

SIM 2464 pattern review

Wedding dress option #1
We have a wedding to go to this summer and my Mom tells us that my girls won't be flower girls, but she wants them to wear Coral dresses so that we can have family pictures that will look nice with the wedding backgrounds/flowers.  So first I searched Amazon (My favorite store :) for some dresses that would work, but I didn't see any coral dresses with sleeves that would work.  So I decided that I should consider making the dress.  I chose this pattern to try out from my stash and found some fabric scraps to try it out on. 

 I don't like spending $ on fabric for a pattern I've never tried before.  I made the size 8 top because Gwen already has plenty of clothes in her current size.   So you can see in the pictures that it is a little big, but I'll put it in the top of the closet and she will look adorable in it next summer with some leggings under it.

 She wasn't all that thrilled about doing a fashion show 1st thing in the morning.  but I had just finished it while she was sleeping and couldn't wait to check it out on her.
 My review of the pattern is this:
  • The pattern is for intermediate sewers who know how to:
    • use bias tape
    • piece together curved pattern pieces
    • handle a "3 way intersection" of pattern pieces (On the front)
    • sew a casing
    • Make a ruffle
  • The guide for the elastic on the sleeve seemed to be too big.  It was as long as the sleeve was, so it would not have made a ruffle on the sleeve as shown.  I had to take it in a bit.
    • That being sad, this is the easiest sleeve EVER!!!  I love that the top front, back and shoulder are all 1 piece.  That saves a lot of time not having to ease in a sleeve.
  • There is not interfacing, so you skip that step, but then have lots of turning under of seems and stitching them in place to reinforce.
  • I LOVE that there is no zipper and no buttons!
    • However, Where the side seems come together, the elastic was a little bulky.  Next time I will make sure that the elastic is hidden about 1/4" or 1/2" in from the edge of the seem to cut down on all that bulk and hopefully make it more comfortable to wear.
    • Also, I used 2 strips of 1" wide elastic instead of the recommended 5 strands of 1/4" elastic.  I think it still looks cute and it took way less time.
  • The wording on some of the steps was not specific enough for a beginner seamstress.
Pros and Cons aside, I LOVE this pattern. I will make it again because...
  • it is beautiful, it adjusts to fit any body type because of the elastic.
  • It is light and airy without showing too much skin.  Perfect for a hot day.
  • Elastic is SO much cheaper, easier to sew, and easier to wear than a zipper, buttons or Velcro.
  • It does not take a ton of fabric and as you can see from the pattern, you can use coordinating fabrics from your stash, so it might not cost you anything to make it!  

However, I'm not sure if it will be right for this summer's wedding.  What do you think?  It's not very fancy and there are a lot of other patterns out there.  Maybe I could dress it up with a soft crepe and some sparkly trim.

I have a few other patterns that I'm going to test out this month before I make the final call.  And hopefully I will finish my swaddling blanket tutorial soon.  I just made another swaddling blanket last week for a little miracle being sent to some friends here in New England.  When I printed out my how to swaddle directions I realized that I don't have directions on how to make the blanket, and it is so easy, I should.