Saturday, April 25, 2015

Solar Powered Whale

This is Wubby she likes to rock.

Bad puns aside the girl really does love rocks.

 When Kids Clothes Week announced Wild Things as their theme for this quarter the first thing that popped into my head was Kurt Halsey. If you are unfamiliar with his heartbreakingly sweet paintings you've been missing out. His art makes me both incredibly happy and a little bit weepy. Some things though are just a perfect slice of bliss.

The Green Album is one of my absolute favorites of his. In my head it was the perfect thing to Sharpie paint and embroider on a Solar Dress.

I made my first Solar Dress nearly four years ago. I credit Charity Beasley and Indietutes as one of my main teachers when I was learning to sew and this sweet drss was the first pattern I felt really comfortable making.

 Sadly the pattern only goes up to 7/8 and Wub has outgrown.

 Fortunately because so many wonderful people have shared their skills and knowledge through magic of the interwebs; in addition to learning how to sew  I've also learned how to grade a pattern up.

Tuesday evening I washed the fine cotton sheet I had decided to use as fabric. Wednesday morning I woke up got everyone off to work and school whilst dyeing the sheet from white to pale blue and upsizing the pattern. While the fabric was rewashing and drying I worked on the Hooded Maggie Mae. Once it was done I could concentrate on something simpler.

 The solar dress is an incredibly fast sew. I had it cut out and sewn in under an hours time. After Sewing it all together I used a light box to trace the painting onto the bodice using an aqua colored Sharpie. I used freezer paper behind the image to protect the rest of the dress and I lightly filled in the whale with aqua and teal using rubbing alcohol to blur and soften the lines. I was going for a dreamy watercolor effect.

 After I had the Whale painted to my satisfaction I embroidered all the outlines with 4 strands of navy blue cotton thread because I didn't have any embroidery floss of appropriate color and I wanted to get started.

 I had no idea that I was secretly in love with embroidery until I was making Wub's Easter outfit earlier this year. One hand picked zipper and a few lazy daisies later and I am hooked through the nose. Pretty funny considering that I kinda despise hand sewing.

 Finished up the embroidery last night and this afternoon we took it out for a spin.

Twirly? Check.

Sassy? Check

 Full of sweet, charming details and comfy to boot? Check, check and check.

Kinda makes you want to jump for joy...

The end.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A bear is an animal, right?

To say I had a hard time with this dress would be putting it mildly. This was an absolute bear to sew. As I was finishing it up today I looked at my choice of fabrics and started cracking up. "Of course! It's hexed!!!"

I have sewn Shwin and Shwin's Maggie Mae at least a dozen times. I even added an exposed zip to the last one. Honestly, how hard can it be to add a hood and long sleeves?

 Let me tell ya'...
The first thing I did was drop the neckline to accommodate the hood addition. I decided to draft my own hood and to make it extra snazzy I added a racing stripe down the back.
Simple enough until I realised I had made the hood absolutely GINORMOUS. I trimmed it down and assembled it and set it aside to work on the bodice.

I decided not to do the interior lining since the hood would finish the neckline. I extended the arms and flared them slightly out to make it long sleeved. The I added a facing to the cuff to give a nice clean look.

You will notice there is another racing stripe running underneath the sleeve. I meant to do that.  If by "I meant to do that." you mean I had Wub try the dress on and thought I should probably add some extra fabric so she didn't lose feeling in her hands. Also being able to move your arms is a nice bonus.

Bodice assembled I moved on to attaching the hood.
Notice the super cute grey zipper guard that totally ties in the racing stripe on hood?

Yeah, apparently I was drunk when I measured the hood because after initially making it HUGE I decide to cut it just a little too short.

You know what they say measure twice unless you're Kristi then measure sixteen times and then let Karl measure because you're gonna get it wrong.

Hood modified, attached and zipper inserted...

(Oh yeah I couldn't find any of the THREE zipper feet I have so I had to fudge that a little. Plus it's a zipper, not traditionally my friend, so that took a little bit out of me.)

I decided to (intentionally this time) add a little bit of the print to the side seam pockets for even more visual interest. Initially I sewed them on wrong. After unpicking it all and getting them in the right place I went on to assembling the skirt.

Traditionally a Maggie Mae is pleated but as this was an exercise in punishing myself I decided to gather the skirt.
I don't generally enjoy gathering. It's so fiddly and something always ends up slightly wonky. I went ahead gathered, pinned and sewed. Oh my! so beautiful! Perfectly even, no puckering or ripples and the seam was perfectly straight. The only thing that could have made it better was if I hadn't sewed it front to back.

When I was younger I always wanted my very own Inspector Gadget gadget. It's changed over the years as to what it would be (although I have to admit that Sharpie makes the list quite frequently) However, for the past seven or so years that I've been sewing it's definitely been Go Go Gadget Seam Ripper!

 I frogged the skirt resewed it and it turned out almost as nice. I got all the side seams sewn (which is how I discovered the sleeves were a wee bit strangle-ish and also slightly too short.) I ripped the bottom sleeve seams added a strip of fabric Narrowing it to a point as it reached the armpit seam. What was originally intended to be a neat facing on the sleeve hems was turned into a cute little cuff detail instead.. Because really this dress has already taken up three weeks of my sewing time so why not add more stuff?

The hem was originally intended as a peekaboo facing but I decided to drop it down and let it show.

For all the ripping, picking, poor planning and general frustration I am 94% pleased with it. Which is pretty high for me.

 I'm pretty sure that Wub is 100% pleased though.

 Yeah, 100%.
 The end.