Back to Selfish Sewing

This whole month was eaten up by PR&P but I can’t get the selfish sewing bug out of my system! Actually, I have a dress I made for myself about a month ago but still haven’t been able to get Jake to take a photo of me in it so I can blog about it.. And I’m still not 100% about the sleeves, I might try to seam rip and alter them a little bit..  Anyways, I think the stars are aligning for me to get my butt back into gear! :)

Remember how I bought that Burda bib dress pattern a while back? Well like a dope, I found some decent fabric for it on Fabric.com, but wasn’t 100% sure about it so I delayed pressing the “purchase” button for a few days.. Only when I did, the fabric was no longer available and there wasn’t anything else I found that really spoke to me.

Then I got a newsletter from Hawthorne Threads, I think, talking about a new line of voiles. There was a perfect design on the fabric that I just fell in love with! I planned on buying it as soon as I got to my computer. THEN there was another email from one of my local fabric shops, The Common Thread, saying there was a 20% discount going on this week and there was a picture of the VERY FABRIC I was about to buy online full price!! YAYYY!!! There is also that added benefit of seeing it in person before purchasing and making sure that I REALLY love it (And that it isn’t see through!)

So as soon as Quinn wakes up from his nap, I’m whisking him away to the shop and grabbing it before it is all gone :D I can’t wait!

I thought I’d also share this super sad picture of Quinn since yesterday was his FIRST BIRTHDAY!!!!! I can’t believe my baby isn’t an official baby anymore! *excuse me while I shed my own tears*

I don’t think he liked the chocolate cake! :(

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Don’t worry, we cheered him up with barbeque and presents afterwards :)

Happy sewing!

Rainbow Twirls

*Warning: There are zero edited photos today, for some reason my photoshop is acting up! So there are hilarious Quinn photobombs sprinkled throughout this post!*

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Yay it is the fourth week of Project Run and Play! And of course, that means it is signature style week.

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I can say my style for kids clothes has absolutely evolved over the time I’ve been sewing. Even from the start of this blog! I used to mostly sew with quilting cottons. I loved making little princess dresses for Millie.

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Of course, I had more time (and fewer pulls for my attention) before Quinn was born.

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These days have been all about quick and comfortable clothes for the littles :) That means lots of knits and speedy sewing using my serger! That is why I wanted to make a dress for Millie with this FANTASTICALLY soft rainbow knit I found at one of the local shops here. And it only took part of an afternoon to make, which is really what I’ve been all about these days! I love being able to take something from start to finish while Quinn is napping!

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I didn’t follow any pattern, which is also what I have been into lately.. just drafting things out for myself. I used a nice fitted tee of Millie’s to make the bodice. Then I took the sleeves and fluttered them out a bit to match how swingy I wanted the skirt. Sigh, I remember way back in January how I promised I would make a tutorial on altering sleeve patterns?.. I swear it will happen one day! (again, with the lack of time,  notice I’ve been blogging about once a week instead of once a day like I used to)

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I measured how far I wanted to skirt to fall and made that the length, adding 1/2 inch for seam allowance.

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Then I took the material, folded it into quarters to make a circle skirt. I cut about 3 1/2 inches down from the point to get the proper circumference, then measured out from there in increments to get the length and cut the curve where I wanted it. There are millions of circle skirt tutorials out there, they are pretty darn easy and awesome!

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And did I mention twirly?

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Millie just ADORES this dress, as soon as I was finished, she wanted me to take pictures of her. I couldn’t even talk her into going outside! She wanted me to take the photos RIGHT THEN AND THERE. Sometimes you just have to pick your battles! (and have not so gorgeous photos!)

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She was bouncing around going nuts, we even had a play date to go to and she was more excited about posing in her new dress than going to play with her friend! She made me take over 100 pictures! She is a very silly girl :)

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So I’ll just leave you with a few more jumping pictures because they were just too much fun :) Head on over to PR&P and check out the other talented people sewing up awesome outfits!

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Sunprinted Dress!

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So this is week 3 of Project Run and Play! This week we had to actually design the fabric that we were using. I decided to do sunprinting :D Remember that awesome paper that you could put flowers and other stuff on top of, leave it in the sun and then POOF there would be a negative imprint on the paper of whatever you put on it? Well Millie and I did that with fabric! SUPER FUN!

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I got this dye called “Dye na Flow” from Joanne’s and bought a couple yards of white sateen cotton. While Quinn napped on a sunny day last week, I asked Millie to join me in the yard collecting whatever flowers and pretty leaves she wanted to use. We got a few dandelions, clovers, wisteria, maple leaves, and other random bits of nature. I laid out a black garbage bag that I had cut open. I asked Millie to soak the fabric in a bucket and help me stretch it out over the garbage bag.

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We then went to town squirting the fabric with the dye:) Millie had a BLAST and I’ll admit, so did I! After we thought there was enough dye squirted on, we used a couple kitchen sponges and, soaking them in water, pressed them all around the fabric to help spread the dye. Then it was time for putting the leaves and flowers on. This was also SUPER fun. The hard part was waiting!

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After a couple hours, we went back outside for the big reveal. It WORKED!!!! I was seriously crossing my fingers and had some doubts that this would actually happen. It was SO awesome! I can’t believe how vivid the colors were and how sharp the outlines were!

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Millie was dancing around holding the fabric exclaiming “This is the BEST DAY EVER!!” She was trying to wear the yards of fabric pretending that it was already a dress, lol!

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I decided to keep the dress design simple so you could see the prints, but also loose since it has sort of a hippy tye-dye vibe.

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Millie let it be known that she wanted some ruffles at the bottom, which I was totally into since I just bought a gathering foot for my serger and I wanted to try it out, YAY and FUN! I want to ruffle EVERYTHING now!!

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I measured Millie’s body from the shoulders to where I wanted it to fall. I then measured how long I wanted the bodice part to be. So when I drew out the pattern, I made it 25 inches long, kept the top square until 6 inches, then A-lined it out from there to the bottom. The front and back uses the same pattern piece. I used a zigzag stitch to put on some elastic to cinch in the waist. I used my new gathering foot to sew some ruffles to the bottom, then sewed the 2 sides together.

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I made some bias tape, folded over the front and back of the dress, creating a casing and used a safety pin to put the bias trim through the front and back. Tied a little bow on the one side and there were the straps :)

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I’ve been totally digging the longer dresses, so sweet! I love how sort of 70′s the design of this dress came out!

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And before you tell me, I know, I know, my sister already pointed out that this dress has pot leaves all over it…. they were MAPLE LEAVES!! I was not thinking of pot, but now it is hilarious. Jake told me that he didn’t want me sending Millie off to school in this dress because the teachers might think we are some crazy parents, lol! I guess we know what she can wear to Burning man or Marley Fest, HAHA! OOPS!

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I went out this afternoon wanting to take some pictures in the clouds before the storm came in, and wouldn’t  you know it, the sun came out in FULL FORCE right when we were out there! Aren’t these little yellow wildflowers so beautiful? I just love springtime!

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This girl can be SUCH the model when she wants to be!!

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So there you have it, our little accidental hippy pot leaf looking sun printed dress!! It was so much fun to make! I was doubtful when I first read about creating your own fabric, but this was so awesome to have such a neat project that Millie and I could share! I have a feeling I have a few more of these in my future! Next time I’ll avoid the Maple! LOL! So thanks, Project Run and Play for making us think outside the box!

I Want to go back to Culebra!

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I didn’t think I would make this week’s Project Run & Play, but I totally did, by the skins of my teeth! This week’s challenge is to make an outfit inspired by your favorite vacation spot. It is absolutely no contest for me. I love the beach and I’m pretty sure I’ve been to the best one in the world. It is Flamenco Beach in Culebra, a little island off Puerto Rico. We have been there twice now. Jake recently said we will probably never go back, but it is the most beautiful place I have ever been to in my entire life. The water is SOOO clear and gorgeous, the sand is SO white and clean. The coral reef is RIGHT THERE so you can just pop on your goggles and see amazing fish without having to get on a boat.

Here are a couple pics of our most recent family trip, where you can see the gorgeous shade of blue the water gives and the super beautiful sand. And cute pics of the family :)

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I decided I wanted to keep things simple and make Millie a comfortable dress representing the water at the beach. I found this sparkly knit material at Joanne’s. The blue is almost spot on to the color of the ocean. I wanted to represent the waves of the ocean by doing a little subtle wave effect on the sides of the dress. It is a long dress because that is what Millie asked for :) After all, she will be the one wearing it!

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The material is light and slinky, it seems like it will be perfectly airy for the summer time :)

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I made the side waves first, before cutting out any pieces. That way I could know for sure how wide the measurements were. I then just used a tee shirt pattern for the neckline and sleeves, modifying it a little bit, taking in the sleeves to account for the rib knit and also since it would be a tank dress instead of sleeved. I then took it in a little on the sides giving room for the waves. I cut the front and back pieces a bit A- lined. Then I serged everything together and added the ribbing at the neck and arm holes.

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I decided to not hem the bottom because I wanted it to be flowy like water. I also thought it would be pretty to let the bottom of the waves fan out a little to give it some more movement. That decision caused some annoying seam ripping, but it was well worth it, I love the look :)

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Millie Is very excited about this dress, which of course makes it all worth while :) I hate when she doesn’t like something I make for her!

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This looks like it is  possibly thee most comfortable thing I’ve ever sewn. I am kind of jealous!

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I’m pretty proud of this one, folks! I think it totally represents the awesome beach of Flemenco! If anyone is ever out in Puerto Rico, PLEASE do yourself a favor and take the annoyingly difficult to board ferry over to the most amazing place you will ever be in your life, the island of Culebra, it is way beyond worth it!! (if you are a beach person!)

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Take Me to the… Circus!

Holy Moly can you believe it is time for Project Run & Play AGAIN ALREADY!!?

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For some reason I thought it started next week, heh heh.. But for reals I love the motivation and inspiration it gives me to sew for the little ones. This first week’s challenge was to create a look inspired by a favorite animal, without actually being a costume of said animal. I had a really tough time thinking of what I was going to do. Then last month we took the kids to Cirque du Soleil and I asked Millie if she loved it, she said yes but she likes the circus’ with the animals in it better. Oh well, child, you will soon prefer the people circus to the animal circus! OH and I can’t leave out the awesome fact that Quinn clapped for the VERY FIRST TIME there! He clearly loved it :D Anyways, mix that with the fact that we have been eating popcorn pretty much EVERY NIGHT since Christmas, when my mom gave us an air popper. So the combo of popcorn and Circus made me think of circus lions! And I had JUST the fabric for the pants! Amazing popcorn box looking red and white vertical stripes!

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I thought it would be SO cute to give a nod to the lion’s mane by adding a little furry element to the shoulders of a cute tank for Quinn.

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This all came together REALLY quickly. I took a pant pattern that I had, but I changed it so it would just have one pattern piece, therefore not messing with the stripes on the side. It was really easy, I just took the pattern pieces and combined them by drawing      up a new one, accounting for seam allowances, combining the front and back, creating just one. Then I cut two and sewed them together.

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The shirt was drafted from a store bought tee of Quinn’s, then I drew where I wanted the furry shoulder pieces to go, traced that and added my seam allowances and voila!

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I seriously want to eat this kid. All. The. Time.

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Go check out what other people did for pr&p, there are always amazingly cute and inspirational little outfits!

New Summer Wardrobe?

I am totally into the idea of sewing myself up a summer wardrobe now that I’ve conquered my fears of selfish sewing :) So I was looking at different patterns online for sweet summer dresses and I found this Burda dress that I thought would be awesome. And it is only 6 bucks!

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I set out to prepare for this dress today. Okay, that is a lie. I tried printing it out starting yesterday, but I just COULD NOT figure out how to print it properly with the exact scaling! I was getting all sorts of different sizes of the test square, wasted TONS of paper until I figured 1/8 of an inch off would just have to be fine. So today, I printed 50 pages, cut off the sides, then taped them together in a grid, then traced the pattern onto freezer paper. Was my job done? No. Burda does not add seam allowances, so I had to use my ruler and measure out 5/8 of an inch on every single pattern piece. THEN I cut them out. Let me tell you, adding your own seam allowances is a PAIN IN THE TUSH. I guess I’m spoiled having used independent patterns in the past?

Also the directions look abysmal! It is all just in words, no pictures (I’m a visual learner and have never made anything without something to have a picture reference to), and there are actual pattern pieces that I printed, traced and added seam allowances to that are NOT AT ALL shown in the diagram for where to cut! I can’t figure out where these are supposed to go! It seems like there are 2 options for a back piece? And there is one thing that I can’t for the life of me figure out where it is supposed to go… Maybe I’ll figure it out when I start making it! (hopefully)

Anyways, I’m still excited to try it because I’m in this total mode of wanting to learn new things. I’m pretty confused at this point, but I have total faith that I can figure it all out and make a gorgeous dress out of this pattern :)

Wish me luck!

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This post was brought to you by:

Quinn taking two nice long naps, giving me ample time to be productive in my creative endeavors, and also by Annie’s Frozen Lasagna, giving me the extra time I would NOT have had if I actually had to cook something, which was amazingly given to me for free by Influenster. Let me tell you, it is friggen GOOD. And easy.

Another Plantain Shirt!

  I told you I love this pattern, The Plantain Shirt by Deer and Doe.. I know I already talked and gushed all about this already, so I’ll just talk about my experience with *this* top.

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You know how some stores you buy things from you feel super excited, thinking you just got some awesome quality type garment? That is what Jake thought when he bought this sweater from Banana Republic years ago. We never really understood why it didn’t look great on him, it just draped weird. Then it would stretch out sideways and get short and it just looked weird. That is how it ended up in the up-cycle bin.

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Well I figured it out when I started to line up up to cut out this shirt! It was SOOO off grain!! When I tried to line it up on the grain, the bottom would be straightish and the top would be wayyy off, there was no way I could have actually cut a pattern piece from it. SO I made it a little better, but not perfect, and there was no way I could properly line up the stripes because of it. I really should have taken a picture of how ridiculous it was.

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So as much as I LOVE the pattern, I *like* this shirt. It still has that weird stretchy non-recovery thing as fabric. I can’t pull it down to nurse even though there is room too because it will get all gape-y at the neckline. And apparently it is a little see- through (hello, polka-dot bra, not so nice to see you!). When I showed Jake I was like “Hey, remember this shirt?” He said “HEY I spent like $100 on that shirt!” Looks like we will both think twice before spending lots of money on stores we *thought* had great quality stuff. At least I have some skills to make something so expensive wearable!

I’m Obsessed!

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I had pinned this Plantain Shirt from Deer and Doe ages ago, but was a bit scared to sew for myself. But now that I have started to dabble, I decided a good break from those darn Clover pants would be to make this shirt!

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This pattern is AWESOME!!!! It seems like it is flattering on EVERY BODY. (Except on deep evaluation of these pictures, I think it would look better with a real bra, not a nursing one!) I decided to take my measurements from above my bust instead of the actual bust because I was afraid the shirt would be gigantic on me otherwise and I wanted it to fit around my armpits. Measuring from my actual bust put me at size 44, where my upper bust put me at size 40. The knit, I figured, would stretch out and give me enough room for the booby area. I am SO glad I did! This shirt fits PERFECTLY!! It is officially my new favorite!

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The material was a mystery knit that I bought during that Austin fabric shop hop.. It was just folded, not even on a roll, so I have no idea who the maker is. I do know that it was 20% off of $10 a yard, so all in all I paid 8 bucks for this top! SCORE! It is very good quality and keeps it’s shape very nicely. Jake, of course, ruins everything. He said “looks like Christmas trees.” WHATEVER I still love it!

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This pattern was SO easy to sew and best of all? IT IS FREE, PEOPLE!! The pattern calls for elbow patches, which I think are cute, but not really my style so I left them off. Also, I only had 1 yard of material so I had to make the sleeve length in between the short sleeve and the 3/4 sleeve because that was all I could fit. I actually LOVE where it falls, just below the elbow.

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I have already rummaged through the bin of up-cycle clothes to make more!! YAY!

Clover Cluster #*@%

These Clover pants are destroying me!!

*warning* there are photos in this post that are extremely unflattering and you get to see me standing on a stool taking selfies in the bathroom, toothpaste spots on the mirror and all… anyways..

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The actual construction is easy enough, but the fitting is driving me crazy! Like a moron, I made the initial muslin in a non stretchy sheet material, against the advice of the actual pattern makers. The butt barely fit, but the legs looked good so I decided I needed to do a full butt adjustment for the next muslin, in which I used a stretchy corduroy material, 97% cotton, 3% spandex.

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Well, turns out when using the stretchy material, the pants ended up HUGE. I don’t think I actually needed the butt adjustment at all. I also noticed that the pants were just bunchy EVERYWHERE. And the crotch area was just boxy and unflattering. And my hips go IN where the pattern goes out. Where most girls have hip curves, my body is apparently concave where it should be convex. Awesome. So that was bunchy and weird. That was all before I even put the waist band on.

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So I made little chalk marks all around where I needed to take it in. I also decided that I wanted it to be more of a skinny pant than a slim pant. The material was just too weird to be “slim”. Again, just too bunchy. I’m not really sure if the “slim” actually works on my body. Also, I found something on the good ol’ internets that suggested making the crotch area curve more “J” like, which totally helped the boxy front. This may have been my only “win” here.

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I kept paring it down, trying it on, paring it down again, trying it on again, over and over. Remember, I have no real idea of what I’m doing, lol! I was getting worried that all the pulling on and off was stretching the material like crazy. (turns out it wasn’t, this corduroy has great recovery!). So when I thought I had something good going, I adjusted the paper pattern accordingly and cut away at the pattern pieces and got to making these pants for real. I was REALLY hoping for some sort of wearable muslin, but also was getting really excited to own awesome pants that were custom fit to my body. HA!

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As I said before, the actual construction of this garment is pretty darn easy. I had to learn the invisible zipper as I’d never sewn one before, but that was pretty simple too, even though I could have positioned it up a little higher so it didn’t gap at the top. But when I sewed them all up (minus hemming them) and tried them on, there are SO many odd things. The waist band is SO BIG. And gappy. For some reason I thought that part would fit no problemo.Turns out, big problemo that I don’t even have a clue how to fix. And the knees are STILL bunchy. I really want to put this damn pattern on the shelf, but then I also REALLY want to finish them and make them awesome!!!

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Truth is, I have deviated SO much already from the original pattern that it is almost silly! And the thought of unpicking all those seams to fix the waistband is stressing me out…

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I think I’m going to have to make something fun and easy that requires no brain power to get my groove back.

Anyways, since this was flooded with awful pictures, I will leave you with a cute picture of Quinn trying to climb my step stool to get to me as I was trying to take terrible photos of my terrible pants.. I hope everyone else is having a more successful week than I am!

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I finished my Washi Dress on my 100th Blog Post!!

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So how fitting is it to have my very first dress sewn all for myself coincide with my 100th blog post?!!! I’m not sure I thought I would actually post that much when I started this little thing! No wonder the kids have so many clothes, haha!

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Anyways, back to the Washi Dress :)

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I did a lot of sewing on Friday then finished it up Saturday. Everything came together extremely smoothly and easily. There were zero sewing snaffoos that I came across, which is awesome! The pattern directions are seriously easy to follow!

I realized that I need a pressing ham, though! Since I always sew for kids, there really hasn’t been much need for pressing something with a curve, so I had to made due and wad up a piece of scrap fabric and use that as a pressing ham when I was working on the bust darts. Worked great in a pinch!

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Another fun thing: I bought glass head pins ages ago because I thought they were pretty. Turns out they have function and the purpose of them is to tack fabric down to press it without the tips melting! WHO KNEW?! It made making the pleats on the skirt SO easy!

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The dress ended up a little loose on me, I was counting on the extra 7 rows of shirring in the back pulling the front tighter. The pattern calls for 6 lines, I put in 13. Having big boobs with a draped dress makes you look a little bigger than you actually are, which is why I lengthened the bodice in the first place. I’m thinking of maybe using the Medium size next time and doing a full bust adjustment for it.. Or maybe using the medium size for the back and using the same front bodice? Either way I still really love it! I think this will be my go-to spring dress! It is super comfortable and light! I’ll just throw a belt on if I want it to be more fitted.

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The fabric I used was Triangularity in mustard by Chromatics. It is so soft for being a quilting cotton! I also used Aurifil thread for the very first time, and it turns out that stuff is as good as people say it is! It is just such fine thread! So much fits on the bobbin and I felt like every seam pressed so much flatter! I think I’m a thread convert! It is just so expensive and I can’t use a Joanne’s 50% off coupon for it since they don’t sell it!! :(

I am SO happy that I lowered the neckline. It still is very modest, even with the cut out! I feel it would be way too high if I hadn’t. I was a little worried that I might not be able to nurse in it, but I totally can, which is awesome! Makes my life easier and my baby happier!

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I decided to use the facings instead of doing a fully lined bodice. It seemed like a lot of people didn’t like the facings flopping around, but I just did some blind stitches and anchored that sucker down. You can’t see the stitches at ALL from the front  :)

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Speaking of blind stitches, I also used my blind hem foot for the bottom hem. I LOVE that foot! I remember when I first started using it I could NOT figure the darn thing out. Well, now that I know what I’m doing it is SUCH a breeze! I love not having to see the thread line in the hem :) I also love not having to hand sew the hem to get that look!

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I love how different kinds of sewing help in unexpected ways. If it weren’t for the quilting I’ve done, I would have no idea to hand sew the bias on the arm holes to make them look nice and seamless! The Drunkard’s path quilt I made also helped me set in those sleeves, understanding how to sew together curved lines and doing it over and over and over again.

Sorry there aren’t very many amazing photos. I had Jake take a few snaps of me this morning before he went to work. It was 25 degrees out here, people! Don’t let all the sunshine fool you! I was absolutely freezing and this is how I really felt:

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Then after he left, I wanted to get some more detailed shots. I did get a couple of the bodice, but then Quinn woke up and shortly thereafter peed on me, christening the dress. Thanks, buddy! Now the dress is being laundered, ha!

This dress has completely made me obsessed with wanting to sew more for myself!! It is SO satisfying to be able to wear something I made!! Especially since I HATE shopping, but love sewing? Perfect! I’ll just make everything from now on! I have officially struck the fear of selfish sewing right out of me!! YAY!

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