Bug’s Third Birthday {Kid’s Choice}

My sweet baby is THREE! When did that happen?! This year her birthday lined right up with the Kid’s Choice series hosted by Elegance & Elephants. Basically, the idea is to let your kid choose what she wants you to sew – pattern, fabric, embellishments, everything. So for this year’s birthday, Gracie got to choose.

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Let me tell you something about this sweet child. She has got a fashion OPINION. Her all time favorite outfit is a black and white polka dot dress decorated with neon butterflies. With floral tights underneath. She refuses to wear pants and t-shirts for some unknown reason. I wish I’d gotten a video of her excitement when I asked her what she wanted me to sew for her. “Lady bugs. RED ONES! And polka dots! And zig zags! And circle pockets! And LADY BUGS! And a dress! And and and and!” At which point she got distracted and wandered off singing something completely unrelated.

Alright, Baby. You ask, I deliver:

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The pattern is Simplicity 2269. I picked it up last year on one of Joann’s dollar sale days. It’s super cute! I love the neckline (though it was a little tricky to sew…). I made minor modifications: length (always…), rick rack trim on the sleeves (Grace’s request for zig zags), and plastic snaps instead of buttons on the back. Lately buttons have been catching her hair and that always leads to drama.

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(She’s smelling the tulip, if you couldn’t tell)

A dear friend and I were discussing age appropriate clothes a while back and we both mentioned how much we love this pattern. It’s so sweet and childlike; not miniature adult clothing. We’re toying with the idea of a sew along – the neckline can be a little tricky and photos would definitely help! Other than the neckline it’s a very easy sew, meaning even beginners could jump in. Next time I want to do the neat 2 part bubble sleeves. If you might be interested in a sew along of Simplicity 2269, would you please comment on this post?

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She’s thrilled. Even though I didn’t get circle pockets on, the rest of her requests made it on the dress. We were in the store for all of a minute before she zeroed in on the green lady bug fabric. I was glad to give her just what she wanted for her birthday.

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Oh, and the dolly! Her big gift from us this year was one Bitty Twin. I wanted the baby with hair, but American Girl only sells them as twins! Grace doesn’t need TWO expensive dolls (especially since she has no interest in a boy doll – I asked) so I split a set with a good friend. Now the girls have matching dolls 😀

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What kind of mommy would I be if the yet-unnamed dolly didn’t have a matching dress?! She’s super fashionable in the Tea Party Sundress from Little Things to Sew. The only modification was to switch the hem facing to the outside, to better match Grace’s dress. I’m one step closer to completing the challenge to sew through the book! I’m starting to think I might not make it all the way, but I’m not giving up yet.

I’m linking up to Kid’s Choice! You can see the other creations here!

Elegance & Elephants

Bubble Pocket Skater Girl {Tutorial}

A few days back I showed you my contribution for Flip This Pattern July – a combination of the Roller Skate Dress from Oliver + S and the Bubble Pocket Tunic from Elegance & Elephants. I still love it. Grace still loves it. She’s worn it twice more since I made it on Thursday. I’m considering fabric choices for more renditions, probably utilizing the currently popular color blocking. Combining these two absolutely lovely patterns makes for the perfect dress for my rough-and-tumble toddler.

Want to combine them yourself? I’m describing everything as if you own both patterns, which you should. They’re beautiful patterns with a lot of workable pieces, and they’re copyrighted! Therefore I’m not giving any measurements, just techniques. Roller Skate Dress from Oliver + S; Bubble Pocket Tunic from Elegance & Elephants.

Here’s how it works:

1. Prepare your pattern. I love digital patterns for drafting because I can print only the pieces I need, then draw all over them, cut them up, tape them back together, and draw on them some more without losing my original pattern. Then next time I can start all over with a fresh digital print-out. For this flip, you need all the pieces from the Roller Skate dress except the yoke, unless you want that style detail. It doesn’t affect this project. You also need the side front and bubble pocket pieces from the E&E Tunic pattern. Cut each out to your needed size (Grace is a 3!)

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2. To add the pocket, we need to add a side front piece to the Skate Dress front. I sketched it onto this pattern piece – roughly straight down from the bottom of the cap sleeve. This creates a barely A-line center front piece.

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Trace your new center front onto tissue paper (I save it from birthday parties) and add a 1/2″ seam allowance. Don’t cut up the original – you need it for the lining.

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3. Now we draft the side front piece. Be brave, this is pretty simple and the patterns are forgiving. Let me show you the picture first then explain what all the different lines are:

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First, trace the side front section we drew in Step 2 onto a fresh sheet of tissue paper. You’ll want the parallel lines for the elastic casing, too. These are the pencil lines in the middle of the piece. Second, lay the E&E side front pattern under your tissue, lined up with the arm hole seam. Copy the pocket placement line onto the tissue (in pencil, parallel to the hem). Third, we’re going to widen the side front piece to accommodate the pocket. The tricky part of this is we do not want to add any width to the elastic casing area because that will mess up that step of the Skate Dress. You can see where I drew these in, angled starting at the bottom line of the casing out to meet the pocket placement line. Below the pocket I took it straight down so I’m not adding too much sweep to the hem.

Take a breath, the hard part is done! And it wasn’t too hard, was it? Add a 1/2″ seam allowance to where it will meet the center front only – it’s already included on the side seam. Smooth the lines out for easier sewing. Add a notch to help you line it up (I placed it on one of the large circles on the Skate Dress, originally to help tape the printed pattern together). You can see my final pattern piece in black marker.

4. Cut out of fashion fabric: back, new side front, new center front, bubble pocket, button loop, and yoke if you’re using it. Cut out of lining: back, original front. Start by assembling the side front/pocket section using the directions from the Bubble Pocket Tunic pattern:

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Then attach those to the center front section to get your completed front:

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And from here, follow the directions from the Roller Skate Dress to assemble the rest of the dress.

It’s such a simple alteration, but I’m mad in love with it. This is my new “perfect dress” – at least until the next one comes along!

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Bubble Pocket Skater Girl {Flip This Pattern}

Do you remember a few years ago – back before the housing market crashed and burned – when “flipping” was the big thing to do? Investors would go in and buy a house for cheap, then improve it and sell it for a profit. Bad idea, really, but it made interesting tv for a few seasons. Thankfully, there’s a much better spin-off going around blog-land these days – Flip This Pattern, hosted by Frances Suzanne! Every month for the next YEAR seamstresses will take the inspiration pattern and “flip” it – apply their own creativity to it in order to come up with a unique garment all their own. And I knew that I’d be sewing in July the moment I saw the pattern: The Roller Skate Dress + Tunic from Oliver + S.

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Now, this is not the dress I’d originally intended. But like every good episode of the flipping shows, mine was filled with a fair bit of drama. Primarily, I thought the sew-a-long closed NEXT week. Alas, no… it’s today.

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Then, my fabric was missing. I still can’t find it. Thankfully I’ve got a fairly stashified stash! The pink daisies are left over from the back of Grace’s baby quilt {which, ahem, isn’t quite done yet} and serve beautifully. I buy lining fabric by the bolt and have a button box and elastic box. Now… if only I were able to find the original fabric… I absolutely love my flip and will definitely be doing another!

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Grace is in need of sturdy cotton play dresses. She’s going through a phase of utter girliness. Yesterday she had 3 bows in her hair. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard “pitty dess!” today – the one I’m wearing, the one she’s wearing, the ones she pulled out of her closet while I was distracted by sewing… But she’s also so rough-and-tumble, getting hot, dirty, and sweaty with reckless abandon. She’s also in love with pockets which lead me straight to the newly released Bubble Pocket Tunic from Elegance and Elephants!

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That’s the heart of my flip – combining these two simplistically beautiful patterns into one “pitty dess!” that will stand up to my sweet toddler’s crazy antics.

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Like a house flipper racing to sell before the next mortgage payment comes due, I raced today. From absolutely nothing at 8am, to a drafted pattern and fabric in the dryer at 9am, I finished the hem at 4:57pm. I even kept my appointments of the day – gymnastics for Grace {followed by a blessedly long nap} and a catch-up date with a dear friend. The Roller Skate dress is *so simple* and yet *so perfectly adorable*. I can see many, many of these in the near future – probably some inspired by the other flips everyone submitted!

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{Oh and in case you’re interested, I’m writing up a tutorial for combining these two patterns. The pictures are done but I  think I should cook dinner instead of writing… since I spent the day sewing instead of doing housework!} EDIT: Tutorial is here