Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Chloe's Second Bunny Dress

Once You are real
you can't become unreal again.
It lasts for always.
Margery Williams The Velveteen Rabbit

I seem to have a big desire to see my friend Kaye's little girl, Chloe, in bunny themed outfits!  I made her first bunny dress 3 years ago (blogged HERE) (which she was able to wear for two years) and recently I made a detachable bunny apron outfit for her (blogged HERE).  Each one has been unique and a lot of fun to sew and to see Chloe wear.  This pink dress was made two years ago when Chloe was four.

Dress Pattern:  Simplicity #1208 (Designer: Ruby Jean's Closet).
Dress Fabric:  teddy & bunny print over toile by David Textiles and pink gingham. 
Bunny Pocket Applique':  Adapted from Mary's Patterns "Pet Pocket Jumper", remnants from my fabric and trims stash.

Back loop closure.
The cute bunny hides a pocket behind her skirt!  Lift the arm/bodice flap and you have a place to carry a hankie, candy, or a little toy.  Chloe loved this pocket!

The sleeves on this dress are so sweet!  They have the perfect 'puff', are lined, and tie so that the lining makes a cute little bow knot.

In the Spring a bunny came down the road.
He was going to find a home of his own.
A home for a bunny,
A home of his own,
Under a rock,
Under a stone,
Under a log,
Or under the ground.
Where would a bunny find a home?
A Home for a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A Little Southern Charm for Avery

Signature Style for Project Run & Play Sew-Along

"Charm is more valuable than beauty.
You can resist beauty,
But you can't resist charm."
Audrey Tatou

This sweet little baby dress is for Avery, a darling little 1.5 year old who is the daughter of a former kindergarten student of mine.  Megan's mother, Jill,  was the speech and language specialist at my school for over 25 years.  I had the pleasure of teaching all of Jill's children in my kindergarten class and she taught my daughter.  (She had a lisp.)  Now I have the pleasure of working with Megan as she is the occupational therapist at our school.  Megan has very similar tastes to mine.  She loves smocking and embroidery, lace, and vintage styling.  She loves the southern style bonnets little girls in the south wear in the spring and summer months.  I very much enjoyed making this for Miss Avery!

In my last post (HERE) I discuss my two signature styles.  This outfit is obviously The Classic Children's Clothing style.  It has nearly everything:  hand smocking, lace, vintage buttons, a bonnet, hand hemming, heirloom pattern and techniques, and a longer hemline.
Outside & Inside of Front Bodice:  hand smocking, min piping, antique lace, glass beads, hand stitched facing.

Avery's Dress & Bloomers:  New Look #6501 size 19-21 pounds (Medium) for the dress and the bloomers.  This size was chosen because the pattern seems to run 'large'.

Materials:  I used a soft tiny blue and green floral cotton print from my stash from Concord Fabrics, Inc.  The selvege says that if is designed 'By THE KESSLERS' and crafted with pride in the U.S.A.  A piece of vintage Irish crochet, mini piping from Farmhouse Fabrics, an antique shell button, and tiny blue glass beads were the notions used.

Adaptations:  I widened the front skirt width to 3 times the width of the bottom of the bodice piece to pleat it for smocking.  I also added a couple of inches to the width of the back skirt piece and cut it on the fold.  I lengthened the hem to give a more traditional 2 inch hem,  I completely changed the back skirt placket in order to make a more dainty heirloom style placket.  I made narrow bias for the underarms (instead of using purchased bias tape) and hand stitched it down.  I hand stitched the linings, as well. I used French seams on the sides of the dress.

Avery's Southern Bonnet:  Petite Poche "Le Petite Enfant" (size 18 months), the tiny floral print, mini piping, antique shell buttons, white cotton sateen, woven interfacing, and a bit of elastic were used to make this adorable bonnet. 

Bloomers & Bonnet
The back of the dress.
A tiny running stitch for 'ease' was sewn on the A-line back hem to bring in the fullness when making a deeper hem.  

The heirloom placket is nearly invisible from the front and is neat and tidy on the inside.

Smocking Plate is part of 'Spring Riot' by Julia Golson.  Crocheted lace was found in a basket of trimmings at an antique store.  It was nearly teddy bear brown with age and dirt but a good soak in a Biz bucket restored its beauty.

I am very pleased with the way this bonnet came out and look forward to making more of them!  I actually have a reproduction of an antique baby bonnet collection pattern that includes this very bonnet with a slightly deeper brim.  There are several companies that sell this style bonnet for rather steep prices.

Unbuttoning the bonnet for laundering makes this bonnet much easier to care for than you might think.  There is a little bit of elastic in the bottom back that causes it to curve a bit there but otherwise, you iron the bonnet sections flat.  Buttoning the brim to the back causes the fluting/ruffling around the crown.  

I hope that you have enjoyed looking at Avery's Southern Charm outfit.  I will be linking up this post to the Signature Sew-Along at Project Run & Play HERE.  I think that you will enjoy checking out all the other wonderful outfits there.

"The South....
Our tea is sweet
Words are long
Days are warm
And faith is strong."

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Harper's Unicorn for Project Run & Play Sew-Along Season #13

"Always be yourself.
Unless you can be a unicorn.
Then always be a unicorn!"

Sweet Harper is in love with unicorns (until recently pronounced: 'you-me-corns').  A wooden pull-toy unicorn was the only thing she asked Santa Claus for this past Christmas.  Now where to find one?!  It is a good thing that "Santa"  can carve wood and put one together for her.  It travels everywhere with her, dressed in ribbons and sometimes with a sock around its neck. (!?) 

When I saw Sarah Jane's "Magic" collection, I knew that I would have to order the fabric and make Harper a special dress.

My "Signature Style" has evolved over the last several years into two styles with some overlapping elements.  I believe that with both styles I am still being myself.  I am "always being a unicorn"!

1.  Classic Children's Clothing:
Detailed finishing
Hand work:  hand hemming, hand sewn facings
Heirloom patterns and techniques
Vintage buttons
Hand embroidery
Hand Smocking
Lace and lace work
Feminine styling
Ribbons, ruffles, other trims
Classic style patterns
Dressy looks
Longer hemlines
Style 1:  Classic Children's Clothing

2.  Boutique Children's Clothing
Brighter colors
Detailing finishing
Up-cycled vintage linens
Hand embroidery
Hand work:  hems, facings, etc.
Modern patterns
Independent pattern designers
More casual looks
Ribbons, pom-poms, trimmings
Lace and ruffles
Shorter/asymmetrical hemlines

Style 2:  Boutique Children's Clothing
Harper's Unicorn dress falls into the second style category.

 Pattern:  Violette Fields Threads "Clara"  for the dress, size 3
Australian Smocking & Embroidery #78 for the shorts, size 2
Fabrics:  Michael Miller "Magic" collection by Sarah Jane ("Unicorn Parade",  "Unicorn Forest", "Stars and Stripes", "Lucky Stars") and white embroidered batiste from my stash.

 I love the high low hem and the ruffles over the shoulders and down to the bottom of the bodice in the front and back.  The fit was a little smaller than I expected.  Harper can still easily were a ready-to-wear size 2 and I sewed a size 3.

Pattern adaptations:  I added a full lining with a growth tuck because the pastel sections of the fabric were a bit sheer.  I also added an inch and a half to the hem to extend the life of the garment.  This was hand hemmed because the inside can be seen (high/low hemline).

During the PR&P 'Greenery' contest week my beloved Elna Diva sewing machine sewed it's last seam.  I was devastated!  I had purchased that machine over twenty years ago.  It wasn't new then.  It had been a demonstration/class sewing machine in a quilting fabric store in Tampa for several years.  I can tell you, I was beside myself!  My sweet husband told me to go and find a replacement "And get what you really want!"  I am now the proud owner of a Janome Memory Craft 9400.  Of course, there is a 'learning curve' and 'Change' isn't my first name!
 The lovely tiny rolled hems on the bodice were accomplished after practicing with the special rolled hem foot on the lining hem.  That hem has a couple of little 'hiccups' but those ruffles are perfect!
The headband was made with some trim found at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts and a bit of elastic.

 The little shorts were an afterthought.  I am glad I made them!
Shorts or bloomers are important for under dresses when you aren't quite four!

Shoes were found on-line at Payless.
Harper was so much fun to photograph!  We just did a little photo shoot after school was over right at our school.  Harper kept saying we needed to find more places to take pictures.  She loved the whole process!  She really loved her dress and didn't want to take it off!

 The Many Faces of Harper!

I am linking this post to the Signature Style sew-along contest over at Project Run and Play HERE.  I hope that you will stop by and see all the other beautiful creations.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Kayla's Easter Dress

Spring is nature's way of saying,
 "Let's party!" 
Robin Williams 

Two years ago, a year after I made my first bunny head dress (blogged HERE), I made another  friend's little girl a bunny dress in blue to match her beautiful blue eyes.  Kayla's mommy also teaches at my school.
I used a sweet print I found at JoAnn's years ago.  I loved it so much that I that I bought several yards of it in both the blue and pink color ways.  The blue for the bodice was another sweet print I had in my stash.  I again used the pattern pieces from Ruby Jean's Closet design for the bunny and another pattern for the dress (Petite Poche' Jennie Carra).
I love how the bright pink of the ears is set off by the sky blue!

At last Peter Rabbit 
made it back to the cozy burrow
where he lived with his family.
He was a very tired rabbit indeed!
Beatrix Potter

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bohemian Butterflies and Bobbles for Chloe and Project Run and Play Sew Along

Project Run and Play's Sew Along Contest challenges me to think a little differently and stretch my sewing designs in different directions.  This week's challenge was "Bohemian":  very different from my usual designs.  Of course, Chloe would be the perfect recipient and model for this style dress!  

I actually searched for and purchased a pattern because none in my gigantic stash of patterns would do for this theme!  (I am rolling my eyes at myself!)  This is 'Luna' from Violette Fields Threads.  While at the website I couldn't help myself and purchased several more patterns!  I needed them!  (I am a crazy woman!)

 Violette Fields Threads 'Luna':  size 6
Fabrics:  "Floral Border in Gray" from
 the "Meet Me in the Meadow" collection 
from Michael Miller Fabrics and 
Allison Glass' "Endpaper" for Andover Fabrics.
Trimmings:  JoAnn Fabric and Craft Store
Buttons and white cotton lace:  My Stash

Chloe as a regal Boho Butterfly Princess
 I purchased the fabrics for this dress on sale from Hawthorne Threads.  I really love shopping for fabric online there because they have an awesome matching system where you can find prints that match your chosen main fabric and know that they really match...even from different fabric lines!

 We went to The Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg 
for our photo shoot.  
What a beautiful place!

I am linking this post to Project Run & Play's Bohemian Theme sew along contest HERE.  Please check out the great outfits entered by the other 'sewists'!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Chloe's First Bunny Dress

Spring is in the Air!

When my little friend Chloe was three, I was enchanted by some little dresses I saw on Pinterest.  They featured a bunny head on the bodice with 3-D details.  I followed the link to Ruby Jean's Closet on Etsy and purchased the PDF pattern.  (The pattern as well as some others from this designer ccan now be purchased in paper form from Simpicity.)  I used the applique and pattern pieces for the bunny but did not use the dress pattern.  Instead, I used a pattern I had in my stash and knew would fit her:  "Jennie Carra" by Petite Poche'.  The fabrics were some Susan Winget prints I had in my stash.  I loved how the dress came out and Chloe and her mommy were asked often where the dress came from.  It was a hit!  She wore that dress until it was way too short and I knew I would have to make her another!

Image result for peter rabbit quotes

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Valentines Day Tea Party

Chloe and Harper in the skirts I made them.  (Blogged:  HERE.)
This year our kindergarten classes had their second annual Fancy Nancy Valentines Tea Party.  Each classroom did it just a little differently but all the children had their photos taken at our two 'photo booths'.  The one above was set up in the hallway outside my classroom and featured plants and flowers, china tea service, antique linens, etc.  Almost 80 children had their photos taken playing with my china and not one accident!  Chloe is in first grade now and Harper is in our 3 year old pre-K class but they play together every day while their teacher-mommies stay and work after school.  

I used vintage table linens on all the tables and draped over the small book cases and cloth napkins. One table had yellow depression glass dishes and the others had clear glass snack sets from the 70's.  Each table was decorated with a vase with flowers, glass candle sticks, vintage embroidered table runners, and small tea pots.  One of the mommies sent in shiny red necklaces for everyone in the class.  The parent volunteers shaped the necklaces into hearts at each table setting.  The party favors included bubbles and heart shaped sunglasses sent in by other parents.  The food was simple:  tiny cup cakes, cookies, fruit and cheese skewers (made by another of the moms who just happens to have been in my kindergarten class years ago!), grapes, gold fish and chips, and strawberries.  Little candy conversation hearts were placed at each setting in fancy little paper cups.  Two different types of hot tea was offered as well as lemonade and white grape juice.  We discussed proper tea party etiquette, what to do with a cloth napkin, and what topics of conversation would be appropriate.  We all had the best time!  (And not one accident with any of the fragile things!) It took forever to do all the dishes (no dishwasher in the pod) but it was so very worth it!  the children had a wonderful time!  Me, too!

The children's faces have been blurred but you can see the tables and part of the room set up for the party.

Center table set up with the teas and extras for the parent volunteers.  One teapot holds new fancy Valentine pencils.

Top:  Harper and her mommy.
Jac (He was in my class last year and his mommy is a teacher at our school.)
Victoria-Rose, my daughter, who came to help out that day before she had to leave to teach piano and voice lessons.
The Kindergarten Team

Victoria-Rose and Me

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