Friday, April 30, 2010

I'm obsessed

with this fabric. I'm also in love with this one, as well as its sister. I must have them. I really want to make matching dresses for the girls but the pattern I want to use doesn't go up to Maeve's size. Scott calls her his weed because she grows so fast. This morning she put on a dress I bought for her last year and it will definitely be too short or too tight by the time summer really is in full swing, so I can justify a new dress for her. And I justify a new one for Gwyn because she never really gets anything new unless I make it, since I saved all of Maeve's clothes from when she was little. Just call me Miss Thrifty.

Anyway, I'm leaning towards the Farbenmix Sasha dress pattern because I think it will really be a great way to showcase that delft patterned fabric. And I already own it, so that means no buying a new pattern and waiting for it to get here; I can trace it tonight if I want to. I've only sewn it once, for Maeve but it turned out so lovely. Actually, it was the first Farbenmix pattern I used and it was before I had my serger, so everything is zigzagged on the edges. Here's a picture of it:

And here's the back view:

A quick note about this pattern and Farbenmix patterns in general: I made this dress back in the spring of 2008, when Maeve was finishing 2nd grade. This dress is just now getting to be too small for her and she's about to finish up 4th grade. So, when they say that Farbenmix patterns are designed to grow with the child, they aren't kidding. This is the biggest size - a 134/140 and Maeve wears a 140 or 146, depending on the ease of the garment. She really needs the 146 in pants for length because she has such long legs.

Anyway, I want to use the delft fabric for the top and bottom tiers, with the red floral print in the middle and the blue floral print for the bodice; maybe with red straps - I'm not sure, though. I think it would be adorable on Gwyn. Of course, I might have to make a cute t-shirt to go with it, but that's what Ottobre is for, right? I think the Puffis shirt from 3/2008 would be cute with it. The question is, what pattern do I use for Maeve's dress? I was thinking of Abacadabra #64, since I already have that one, too. Plus, it has the tiered skirt and that's similar to the Farbenmix Sasha. I've done the Abacadabra one for Maeve already - not sure if I have it traced in the right size, but I might and that would make things go even easier. Here's the version I made previously:

The only problem with this pattern is that the straps are ruffles that have elastic in them to make them stretch. This in itself isn't that big of a problem; what is a problem is the fact that the ruffles extend into these trailing streamers which are simply gathered and stitched to hold the gathers. That may not seem like a problem, but it does mean that if your child sits on the streamer end and then shifts her weight (as mine did) suddenly, the stitching can rip out rather easily. Now, I have to say that I haven't tried stitching the streamer parts with a zig-zag stitch, which would probably give it the strength it needs; I only used a straight stitch. However, I'm still thinking of altering this to either not have the streamers - which I really don't want to do since they're what makes the dress so darn cute - or to make them with elastic down the entire length of the ruffle, so that the lack of stretch is virtually eliminated.

Anyway, that's what I've got in mind. And I must be obsessed because I've been thinking about it non-stop. Crazy, since I haven't even started on Maeve's Manhattan dress or finished T's spring/birthday outfit and I'm considering whipping up something fun to wear when Scott takes me to dinner next Friday.

What do you think about the pattern choices?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Meet Rachel

So this is the "easter" dress that I promised Gwyn. It actually didn't get finished until about a week after Easter but that's okay, since we don't go to church. I was ambivalent about this mix of fabrics - they seemed good at first but after I got started I wasn't feeling that great about the number of different prints. I'm still not sure, although it does look really cute on. Much better on, in fact, than on the hanger.

The pattern is the farbenmix Rachel dress, which lends itself well to a mix of fabrics. It was actually really quick to put together, after I finished every single piece with the serger. I hate when my mommymade clothes come apart because the fabric raveled so it's worth taking the time to finish everything. It bit obsessive maybe, but worth it. I like to use embellishments but this time there was so much going on with the fabric that I just used a simple aqua satin ribbon around the sleeve cuffs and the circumference of the skirt. I think it adds that extra something while still letting the fabrics speak. And speak they do.

The main fabric is the infamous Carnival Bloom by Michael Miller. I got this about 2 years ago but wasn't sure what to do with it. I got the aqua, pink and green colorways of the brown Dumb Dot at the same time, as well as the aqua with the multi-colored dots and the brown with the multi-colored dots. Anyway, there's clearly a lot going on in terms of print. I wasn't sure if I was going to like the way this ended up because I started to see the colors as too "candy box-like" and I'd seen so much pink and brown of late - the carnival bloom in particular - that I was starting to not like it at all. But I've decided I do like it.

The only problem with using American fabrics is that they are almost universally too narrow when it comes to cutting skirt panels. With the Rachel dress this is true, even for this tiny size (98-104). The bottom ruffle onto which I've sewn the ribbon needed to be cut in 3 pieces, rather than the 2 called for. In order to avoid having seams in the front, I cut that piece as long as possible, then cut the remaining piece in 2 shorter lengths which I then seamed together. It works, and I don't think it's obvious at all.

From a design standpoint, the one thing that bothers me is the fact that I chose to do the center panels all with the brown dot. Too me it looks kind of blah and stands out too much. In retrospect I think I should have put the green and pink dot on the sides of the dress and replaced the aqua multi-dot with the brown multi dot at the center. I think that would have given a better effect. Oh well, live and learn.

Here Gwyn gives us her standard model pose, also known as the "I'm a little tea pot" pose. (Un)fortunately, this pose shows off the front panels and you can see the mass of brown polka dots that I don't like.