Sunday, September 20, 2015

Felicity Patterns Review: Carousel Vintage Sundress & Topper

I was given the opportunity to sew the Carousel pattern from Felicity Sewing Patterns. A two part pattern, Carousel contains a vintage styled, princess-paneled sundress, along with a bolero style topper. I had so much fun going through my stash to find coordinating fabrics!

*I was provided with the pattern for the purposes of review, but opinions and words are, as always, my own.*

Even with all the details and precision needed (curved seams) I was able to sew up two dresses as well as coordinating toppers in two nights - the first dress one night, getting used to the pattern, in a couple of hours. The second night I took about 4 hours to sew both toppers and the other dress. It's not a difficult pattern - Stephanie (Felicity Sewing Patterns designer) illustrates each step with clear photos, and the instructions are worded so that a confident beginner would have no trouble.

As far as technique goes, the pattern is suggested for an advanced beginner to intermediate sewist. The Carousel uses bias binding on the topper, and two buttons with buttonholes as well as a small side zipper on the dress.

The hem is finished with a gently ruffled strip. I love the construction method here - you get the pretty soft curves of a ruffle without all that annoying gathering! No extra basting and pulling needed, just piecing and sewing.

All the pattern pieces have grainlines and are clearly marked with any notations and placement points for details. Included also are pieces for a cute little bow, neatly finished, to add interest to the dress. I love the curved seams all over the dress - they really make the shape and flow different and special, and maybe I'm weird here, but curved seams are my favorite to sew! 

I hemmed the sleeves on my toppers rather than using bias binding. Initially on the bigger size (I made a 3 and a 6) I came up a little bit short (less than 2 inches), and mentioned it to Stephanie. She was receptive to the feedback, and upon rechecking the total lengths of the bias strips and measurements of the pattern pieces, I did determine that there was sufficient binding for the pieces, and I can only conclude that the error was mine.

 I feel the need to mention this for transparency, as anyone can see that the sleeves in the pattern listing photos are bias bound and mine are not! When I make another topper, I will be checking (and I suggest you pay close attention to) seam allowances and how much you trim from the bias binding when connecting ends!

The pattern can be found on the Felicity Sewing Patterns website, or on etsy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Sew 'n Style with Lil Luxe Collection: Preschool Posh

I'm so excited to share my mini collection with you today! I'm posting as part of a 6 week long tour, showcasing Lil Luxe Collection patterns and Jessica's initiative to have us all think more about the clothes we create and why - how our aesthetics shape what we make, as well as the role our children play in our sewing.

In creating this collection, I stretched my aesthetic as well as my skills. The majority of the clothes I make are simple, functional, wearable pieces - I don't do a lot of ruffles and "pretties", as my "little ladies" are more rough-and-tumble than anything!

However, I do appreciate a beautiful piece of clothing, and in looking over the Lil Luxe Collection patterns, I could see that they would work well to meet my aesthetic while maintaining their more stylish edge.

I made a total of 3 bottom pieces and 4 tops, using 5 Lil Luxe patterns and two self-drafted. I started with the Charming tee - the charm in back was left off, but I love the back circle detail. It makes your typical tee sophisticated, but it's still a simple, comfy top. 

Natalie can dress the tee up for church or school with a cute little Lakeshore Crop. I made hers out of a soft grey chambray, so it's comfortable, durable, and beautiful.  I love the softness and drape of chambray, and I think it's a new favorite fabric of hers, too.

The Slim Trousers are the first denim pants Natalie has put on and worn willingly - with a simple elastic waist option , they're a step up from your average leggings. She even tolerated the ankle zippers, but I think the sparkle I added on the back pockets helped (hey, she's still a little bit girly!)

Speaking of leggings, I drafted a simple pair and added some ruching on the ankles to elevate them to the level of the rest of the collection. I also self-drafted a simple tank top, to be an underlayer for any of the pieces.

The final bottom piece I made was a pair of Haute Shorts, using the cuffed shorts option. She can wear them over tights in the fall and winter months to come, but they're a great pair of transition shorts, with a summer style and fall fabric. I love the squared off pockets!

The final top was a Lil Luxe Peekaboo hoodie, modified to have a short cowl. You can just see the cute little thumbhole on the cuff in the right photo! Natalie loves that, as well as the pocket. It's a cozy, sophisticated sweater for a budding fashionista - she's getting pickier about her outfits, and she approved all of these! If the upside to that is that she's dressed "posh for preschool", then I'll deal with the choosiness.

I lengthened the sweater by about 4 inches, and it's just short enough to still be worn with her shorts (left) or Slim Trousers, but long enough that she can wear it with her leggings (right)!

To me, a collection is most useful in that the pieces are interchangeable, mix-and-match-able. In keeping my color palette neutral and my pieces classic, I think I managed to develop "Preschool Posh" into a stylish, yet comfortable and wearable collection. Every piece was created with Natalie in mind - her likes and dislikes, her comfort, and her growing sense of what's fashionable!

Read more about the Sew ’n Style Series and visit the contest page with Link up where we have contest prizes totaling over $350 from our gracious sponsors!

Patterns used:

Lil Luxe Collection Charming Tee & Dress
Lil Luxe Collection Lakeshore Crop
Lil Luxe Collection Peekaboo Hoodie (modified)
self-drafted tank

Lil Luxe Collection Slim Trousers
Lil Luxe Collection Haute Shorts
self-drafted leggings

Fabrics used:

Gold Glitter Aqua Triangle Stag on White Jersey Blend, Girl Charlee
Charcoal Chambray,
Maggy London Heathered Oatmeal Rib Sweater Knit, Fabric Mart
unknown - gold glitter grey jersey knit from personal stash

Black Stretch Denim, Denver Fabrics
Dark Chocolate/Toffee Brown Striped Wool/Nylon Suiting, Fabric Mart (no longer available)
Charcoal cotton/lycra, Purple Seamstress