Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Vintage May: McCall’s Sunsuit

VM Large
I am so very excited to be joining in with Jess from Craftiness is Not Optional and Kristin from Skirt as Top for their annual Vintage May! So excited! I have actually been planning on making this little McCall’s sunsuit for Ivy anyway, so the timing was perfect.

  A vintage pattern, some charcoal linen, and red embroidery.  Throw in some chickens and a darling little girl I happen to know. Vintage May!

The pattern is McCall’s1330 Toddlers’ Sunsuit, c. 1947. This pattern came to me  from my grandmother, via my mom, who would have been the toddler my grandmother sewed this for. It’s pretty special to me. I love thinking of my grandmother sewing this, and then my mom as a little toddler wearing her little sunsuit.


I’ve sewn this pattern before, two years ago. But the last time I sewed it, I had the sizing all wrong and had to make quite a few changes. (see the 2013 sunsuit HERE) Still adorable, but this go ‘round is much more true to the actual pattern and design. I sewed View B, and even did the embroidery included in the pattern.

The only change I made was to the leg openings. I did a scalloped satin-stitch edging to them, instead of the hand-stitched facing the pattern uses. I wanted to bring more of the red stitching into play, and it was so, so SO much faster to do than blind stitching facing around the legs.

View B has a clean front, with the straps fastening in the back at two hidden buttons on the inside of the waistband.

I could not get my camera to focus on the button here. For some reason, it just wanted to highlight that spot just to the right. Weird. But anyway, see the blurry button on the inside of the waistband? There are two of them, for each strap. And they’re also vintage, from a jar of buttons my mom gave me. 

  I love this pattern.

It’s pretty and delicate and innocent and delightfully ‘40s.

Some off-the-model shots so you can better see the pleats and the overall look of the sunsuit.

The bum is really baggy. I guess to accommodate large cloth nappies. But even then. Huge. I think I’ll probably try to bring the center crotch seam up just a bit in the back, to keep the bum flap to a minimum. But the front. Oh! How I adore the front! I love the crispness of the pleats, and then that embroidery is just my very favorite. Modern patterns really should come with embroidery transfers more often, don’t you think?


Because I treasure this pattern as I do, I want to preserve it as much as I can. I didn’t want to use the transfer paper by ironing it onto my fabric, even though I know you can usually get a few uses out of it. I also didn’t want to iron onto my fabric because I was using dark fabric and I was afraid the transfer markings wouldn’t show. So what can you do instead of ironing the transfer paper? Trace!


I have a light box, but you can also tape your transfer paper to a sunny window. Then tape some tear-away embroidery stabilizer (affiliate link) on top of the transfer paper. Then just trace out the design onto the matte side of the paper.

You can also just make your own designs to embroider this way.
From there, follow the instructions to adhere the stabilizer where you want the embroidery on your fabric.
And stitch away! I don’t have an embroidery machine, and I didn’t want to take the time to do all that design by hand. So I did it on my regular sewing machine. I used a thick stitch, on my machine it’s that C button. If you don’t have a thick stitch, you can use a zig-zag set at the very smallest length. It just won’t get as much detail. Or you could use a regular straight stitch and not get quite the “pop” of embroidery. But I have a thick stitch, so lucky me!

You can lower the feed dogs, if you want, to have total control of where the stitches are going. But I just went slow and left my feed dogs up, gently pulling the fabric to where I wanted the stitches to go along my tracings.

Just go slow, and follow your traced lines. If you have a “needle-down” feature on your machine, use it. If you don’t, just be sure to lower the needle into the fabric before lifting to turn as you go around your designs.

Just keep on stitching!

Then tear away the stabilizer and admire your work!

For the outside edges of the sunsuit, I used a scallop satin stitch my machine has pre-programmed. I’ve done the same technique  when I’ve made handkerchiefs.

You just do the decorative satin stitch all around, then cut close to the stitches. It looks pretty, and is actually really durable. I’ve washed and dried my handkerchiefs probably hundreds of times now, and the satin-stitched edges are still going strong! (see the hankie tutorial HERE)

Beautiful embroidered detail in a fraction of the time and without needing a fancy-pants machine. And my almost-70-year-old pattern is still in great condition, including the embroidery transfers.

Maybe I’ll even get to pass the pattern onto Ivy to sew for her own toddler one day.
From my grandmother to my mom to me to my daughter. A pretty great legacy for a little sunsuit pattern. 

Make sure to check out all the other lovely vintageyness in the Vintage May series at Craftiness is Not Optional and Skirt as Top

VM Large                     
Sunsuit: Vintage McCall’s 1330 c. 1947 Toddlers’ Sunsuit, fabric is linen blend from
Jo-Ann Stores
Sandals: Salt Water Sandals by Hoy Shoe The Original Sandal (affiliate link)
Special thanks to my sister for letting us use her beautiful garden and chickens for our photoshoot.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Cropped Green Hudsons

I made myself some new Hudson Pants, aka: the most comfortable pants on the planet.

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Oh, Hudsons, with your dropped crotch and trimmed pockets, how I love you so.
I wear my other Hudson Pants at least weekly. At least. I have been meaning to make another pair for months and months, the pattern getting moved around on my sewing table with every new project. Today, I finally made the time. Mostly because my faux-leather-trimmed pair was dirty, and I couldn’t bear the thought of wearing jeans, so had to make something. It just made more sense at the time to make a new pair than to wash the old. My life and priorities are really weird.  But new pants! And this time, I went with the cropped option.

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The pattern is by True Bias available HERE. Such an easy sew, such a comfortable end product.  I used a funky “denim” knit from Girl Charlee. It’s knit, made to look like denim; navy on one side and green on the other. I used some scraps of penguin jersey I’ve owned for nearly a decade for the pockets. Penguins in my pockets.

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I actually have a whole big ol’ list of things to make for my spring/summer wardrobe, I’m hoping to get through in the next couple of weeks. These Hudsons were Project One. A pretty comfy start, I’d say.

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Friday, May 8, 2015

Cotton & Steel August Quilt, and a dress to match

Quilt Two of 2015 is complete!  And I even made a dress to match it!

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Not a dress for me, a dress for that tragically under-clothed daughter of mine. 

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You can get all the details of Ivy’s beautiful August Fresh Bloom Frock, and the hiking vest I made her using the same pattern over at Melly Sews today for my Blank Slate Sewing Team post.frock to vest sew a straight line

The quilt.  fresh bloom dress cotton and steel quilt sew a straight line-2185

I used Cotton & Steel’s August line for the entire quilt, except for some Kona navy at the sashing and back.  I have been in love with this fabric since its release last year. Every few weeks since, I get online and look at it. Then a few months ago, I was on Craftsy and saw that it was 40% off!  I grabbed it so fast! And guess what? When I went to grab the link for you, I found it’s 40% off again (as of this posting 5/8), along with a ton of other fabulous fabric HERE  (craftsy links are affiliate)

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I didn’t have a quilt pattern in mind when I ordered my fabric, and bought more than I ended up using.  With some of the leftovers, I made a sweet little dress for Ivy. 
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The pattern for the quilt started with the Double Slice Layer Cake from Missouri Star Quilt Company.  I added sashing of the navy between the double-sliced rows.  Then I used some of my leftover half blocks to make the back a little more interesting.  Also, on the back, you can see what a horrible quilter I am.  I don’t care, though.  I really love it.  I’m still very much a novice quilter, so mistakes are expected, right?
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For the quilting, I went with a weird zig-zag pattern that resulted in a separated-diamond effect. Or would have, if I had kept things lined up better.  It’s pretty bad.  I’m really hoping I get better at this quilting thing at some point.

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I keep reminding myself of where my garment sewing started five years ago, when I started this whole Better-Sewing Goal, and that gives me hope.  Speaking of garments and better sewing, don’t forget to check out Ivy’s matching dress HERE

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Quilt fabric: Cotton & Steel August from Craftsy (affiliate link)
Pattern: Missouri Star Quilt Company’s
Double Slice Layer Cake block, with sashing.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Kids Clothes Week: I Want This One

This outfit is the one I really wish was in my size.

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Short-sleeve, boxy sweatshirt and a pair of bleached out overalls.  I’ve heard that if you wore a trend the first time, you shouldn’t go for it when it comes around again.  I wore overalls pretty much nonstop through the late 90s-early aughts.  But I never had a bleached out pair, and I for sure never had a sweet little floral top to wear with them.  So I could pull this off now, right? 

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Well, whatever.  Ivy wears it well.

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    The overalls are the Okey Dokey Overalls from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop (affiliate link).  I got a little confused on the back button tabs, but other than that, the pattern is pretty easy.  Just a ton of steps. I narrowed the bib a little and the legs, to make them a bit more feminine and on-trend.  And I did some extra top stitiching on the bib pocket just ‘cause.  I also screwed up on the side snaps and somehow managed to install two different colors: bronze on the left and black on the right.  I didn’t notice until I was all finished, and I’m not sure I care enough to switch out the black for another bronze.   The fabric is leftover from these jeans I made Seth two years ago.  I had bleached the denim for that look, and had quite a bit leftover I’ve been saving.  I still have enough for a pair of shorts for one of the kids.  The denim is pretty lightweight, and perfect for spring and summer.

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The top is the “Meow, Meow” Sweatshirt from Ottobre 1/2015 (#5).  I shortened the arm length to make it a tee.  The fabric is some sweatshirt fleece from Girl Charlee I picked up a loooong time ago.

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A fun little spring look.

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I seriously love it.  And if I didn’t have motherly hips, I would totally make this exact outfit for me.

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Fashion rules, shmashion shmules

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Top:  “Meow, Meow” Sweatshirt from Ottobre 1/2015 (#5), size 92 cm. Fabric is sweatshirt fleece from Girl Charlee

Overalls: Okey Dokey Overalls from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop
(affiliate link), size 3T.  Narrowed bib and legs.  Fabric is denim from Michael Levine, that I bleached

Salt Water Sandals by Hoy Shoe The Original Sandal (affiliate link)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Kids Clothes Week: Bunny Dress and Striped Crops

Playing catch-up from last week’s Kids Clothes Week.  I have two more Ivy outfits I completed last week to show you.  Today it’s a little bunny dress and some striped, cropped leggings.

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The dress is the same as I used for Ivy’s birthday dress this past year HERE.  It’s the Wood Mouse Dress (#16) from Ottobre 6/2014.  I started to sew the smallest size, a 92cm.  But I was super short on fabric, so I graded it down just a bit to fit on the fabric I wanted to use.  I wasn’t too worried about doing this.  Even though Ivy measures at about 91cm high, she is very thin and I was confident the smaller size would still fit.   

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The original pattern is for a long-sleeve top, but I wanted short sleeves for spring.  I drafted a short sleeve pattern using the arm scythe from the original sleeve piece.   

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But even going short sleeve, I didn’t have enough fabric to cut out both sleeves.  I was working with a [pre-washed] half meter of the knit, and I just couldn’t get things to fit.  So the one sleeve is pieced.  And I didn’t have enough of the fabric to pattern match the piecing very well.  I tried to at least match up the “hill”, and hope for the best.  Thankfully, the print is busy enough, that I don’t think the seam down the center sleeve is all that noticeable, unless you know it’s there.

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To go with the bunny dress, I made up a pair of cropped leggings out of a coordinating stripe.  The pattern is Caterpillar Leggings (#2) from Ottobre Designs 1/2015 in a size 92cm.  Super fast and easy to sew.  I cropped the leggings from the full-leg length of the original pattern. 

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Both fabrics are by Liandlo: Little White Rabbit and Green Stripe Cotton Knit, purchased from Emrose Designs.  Oh! how I love European knits!  So buttery soft and easy to sew, with the perfect drape and weight. 

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Ivy picked out the print this past fall, and was so happy that I finally did something with her chosen fabric.

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And now for a few random shots of my favorite little girl playing in the spring sunshine.

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Dress:  Wood Mouse Dress (#16) Ottobre 6/2014, sized down from size 92.  Fabric is Liandlo Little White Rabbit Cotton Knit from Emrose Designs
Leggings: Caterpillar Leggings (#2) Ottobre Designs 1/2015, size 92 cm.  Fabric is Liandlo Green Stripe Cotton Knit from Emrose Designs
Flip Flops:  Roxy TW Tandi Sandal (affiliate link)

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