Girl’s Summer Dress

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Girl’s Summer Dress

While perusing the pattern books, there are so many adorable clothing patterns for girls (poor boys…). The benefit of kids clothes is that they don’t require as much tailoring in the hips/butt/chest regions as is necessary for those of us who were blessed with curves.

So, to escalate my sewing escapades, I chose a McCall’s pattern for a girl’s summer dress, and my niece selected the D version, the sleeved dress without skirt pleats. My niece also selected the fabric, which is a rather interesting type of fabric. The selection of fabrics from this collection is very bright and colorful, but the fabric itself has this strange beveled quality to it and feels thin but stiff.  After washing the fabric, it did feel softer. I also noticed that when you press the fabric, the bevels flatten out which can be a good or bad thing, depending on whether you were intending to do that.

I used a contrast color (from the yellow fat quarter) for the waistband instead of the main fabric. I also omitted the flower after my attempt to make it resulted in a hot mess of both pointy and curved petals. I added lining to the skirt portion and skipped some of the top stitching in the bodice.

Fun things I learned while making this dress.

1. Read the back of the pattern envelope. All of it. I neglected to do so and it required a return trip to Jo-Ann’s to pick up the contrast color and a zipper, and a second return visit to pick up a cotton lining. I suppose the purpose of listing all the fabric and notions needed in one handy place is so that you only need to make ONE trip to the store.

2. Read the directions. All of it and in order. I have a horrible tendency to skim directions rather than read them thoroughly. I made the mistake of adding on the liner at the beginning…only to realize I was supposed to add it at Step 6 or so. Yeah, I had to rip seams and start over.

3. Don’t drink and sew. I don’t think this one needs much explanation. You know that test where you make people walk in a straight line to test their sobriety? Well, that’s what my seams looked like.

The skirt length ended up being shorter than I liked, given that I know she’s probably going to hit a growth spurt soon. If I use this pattern again, I’d definitely add a couple inches to the length, just to extend the life of the dress as she grows. Of course, this is assuming the dress doesn’t fall apart by then!

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DIY Double-sided Table Napkins – Version 2.0

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Double-Sided Table Napkins, Version 2.0

  • Fabric Used: 1 yard of 100% cotton twill (Doodles Collection at Jo-Ann Fabrics) and 1 yard of quilter’s cotton
  • Product Dimensions: 13″ x 13
  • Quantity: 6 napkins total, 3 from each cut of fabric

My sister requested a set of cloth table napkins for her kids to use, as a way to encourage them to actually wipe their mouths during/after meals. Who knew kids were so filthy? (Filthy cute, that is.) She chose two patterns, a cotton twill from the Doodles Collection at Joann’s, and a quilter’s cotton. They were one-sided, meaning there is an obvious front and back to the fabric. Uh oh, this was venturing into new territory…challenge accepted.

The mitered version I had previously made wasn’t going to work because you’d see the backside of the pattern. I took two square pieces, sewed them right side together leaving an 1.5-2 inch opening, turned it right side out, then topstitched the edges and the opening where I turned it. These were way easier to construct than the mitered version because it requires much less precision pressing. However, it requires twice the amount of fabric. As I did last time, I only purchased one yard of each fabric. I opted to make these napkins slightly smaller, since they were meant for 5-year old hands and laps, with the final dimensions being 13″x13″.

I got the brilliant idea to take pictures of steps, except this stroke of genius happened when I was midway through the process. I’m probably going to make some more of these so I may try to put together a more comprehensive how-to.

If I could go back and change something, I wish I did a better job of turning the corners so they are more pointy, but I didn’t have a good tool at the time. Thanks to Amazon, that problem has been fixed. Amazon Prime is the best.

Felt Minion

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Felt Minion

My nephew was recently introduced to a new iPad game called Minion Rush and has since become really into all things minion related. (Ironically, he has not seen either of the Despicable Me movies nor does he want to.) While perusing Pinterest, I found an adorable pattern for a felt Minion pincushion by Lady Joyceley. I’ve been doing a lot of machine sewing so I thought this would be a good way to practice my hand sewing. It didn’t look hard and I thought I could easily get this done in one evening.

Mistake #1: Thinking an project that requires skills I do not have is easy

Mistake #2: Thinking it would be a quick project.

I was sewing and googling videos/instructions on different types of stitches far into the night and through the next day. The only major modification to the original design was I re-cut the arm pieces bigger and sewed it into a loop with a running stitch, instead of a blanket stitch, because the thread I had wasn’t the same color as the felt and I didn’t want it to show that much. I would also recommend embroidering on a mouth BEFORE stuffing the minion, which I did not. I ended up having to buy a curved repair needle in order to complete the mouth.

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I think if I were to make this again, I would use a higher quality felt. Perhaps if this was being used just as a pincushion, the felt wouldn’t pill so much, but because this was being schlepped around by a kid, it is beginning to show some wear. I would also perhaps use a thinner thread on the parts where the seams shouldn’t be noticeable. The embroidery thread is totally fine, but it peeks through in some spots. My nephew was also quick to point out that minions had hair (which is what the pins are supposed to simulate) but I told him this was going to be a special bald minion. So, future renditions would probably include hair as well. I was super enamored with the end result that I started to make the smaller version of the minion to use as an actual pincushion. Unfortunately, it wasn’t coming out as clean as it’s bigger predecessor so I nixed it. If I get inspired, I might try to make another big one for my craft room. Back in the crafting queue it goes…