Monday, July 25, 2011

FO: Chocolate Chips & Aqua Polka Dot Baby Dress! (Simplicity 3765)

FO: Aqua & Brown Polka Dot Baby Dress

Toddler dress action shot

Inspiration: I wanted to make some cute baby dresses in bright patterns. I usually sew knit baby clothes on my serger, but I was visiting my family in Massachusetts for a week and since I'd be using my mother-in-law and mother's unfamiliar sewing machines I decided to stick with wovens. I picked up some cute, but cheap, quilting cotton at Joann's and a $1 pattern, and went to town.

That was back in March 2010, when I was still pregnant. It should have been a one-day project, but my mother's sewing machine broke down, and the dresses went unfinished into my suitcase, and I worked on them a bit in September 2010 but got distracted ... so they sat there until my now-toddling daughter was 13 months old and I realized I had better finish them before they got too small for her.

The pattern: Simplicity 3765.

Simplicity 3765 flats

"I've got your iTouch, Mommy" Front View:

FO: Aqua & Brown Polka Dot Baby Dress

Raiding the toy box back view:

FO: Aqua & Brown Polka Dot Baby Dress

Pattern Description:

Simple woven baby separates: Baby Dress, Top, Pants, T-Shirt, Hat and Stroller Bag. The tops and dresses have a center band, waist seam with tie belt, cut-on (kimono?) cap sleeves and gathered skirt. This review is for the dress.

Pattern Sizing:

XXS-L (Newborn-18 months) I made the 12 month size, and found it fits my large 24-lb toddler just fine, even though she usually wears 18 months in ready to wear. She can probably wear it for at least a few more months.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Definitely. But the project took a lot longer than I expected, due to the bands and belt and top-stitching and other fiddly bits. It wasn't really the "easy-to-sew" project I expected.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It's simple, cute and stylish, and there are a lot of options for playing with color and pattern. For this version I did the band/belt in the same color as the bodice and skirt, but I'm finishing up another version with a contrasting band and belt.

Fabric Used: Turquoise quilting cotton with brown polka dots from Jo-Ann's. With about as much drape as a paper bag or hospital gown--I won't use this stuff again. It's totally off-grain--the polka dots don't line up with the grain at all. What a mess! But my toddler runs around so fast no one will notice, right?

Finishing notes:

    I had to look up how to do a thread chain (the back neck button has one instead of a buttonhole) but that was easy once I got the hang of it.
  • I hemmed the skirt by hand as that was something I could do while my toddler was zipping around the room without worrying about her grabbing dangerous stuff out of the sewing machine cabinet.
  • My top-stitching isn't the best or most even.
  • I just pinked the seams. She's only going to fit into it for a short while, no need to go all heirloom on this thing.
Successes: This is the first complete sewn baby garment I've actually finished since I gave birth to my baby 13 months ago. Room for improvement?: I need to work on my top-stitching. And when/if I make this again, I'll use better fabric. Also--my productivity rate is crap. Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes--I'm finishing up another version now. Conclusion: Cute, fun baby dress pattern, good for playing with color and pattern. And Miss Z seems to like it too!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Finished Objects: Stuffed Doodles!

Stuffed Doodles

Cartoonist Husband and I recently (well, two months ago) made it out to our first post-baby cartooning convention, the East Coast Black Age of Comics Con in Philadelphia. I wasn't exhibiting my own cartoons, so I decided to sew up some little softies with Masheka's drawings on them since I had already designed the fabric for Z's Blue Doodle Hoodie.

They're really simple--just upholstery fabric, stuffing, etc. But they are ACTUAL SEWING. Here they are in progress:

Stuffed Doodles in progress

They sold quite well, though some folks thought they were cat toys--maybe next time we'll put catnip in them. Family shots:

Family cartooning convention

Family cartooning convention

P.S. Been meaning to post these for a few months, but better late than never. Since I work full time, I pretty much get home and it's all Baby Z all the time (well, Toddler Z--she started walking at 10 months, nearly 3 months ago) until she finally succumbs to the warm bath/bedtime story/dark room/nursing marathon and falls asleep, at which point I collapse into bed as well. Because at that point, it's generally like, midnight. REALLY. (And she still nurses at least twice during the night too.)

Except last night, when she actually went to bed at 8:30, and I sat up for an hour hand-hemming two baby dresses I had started sewing when I was still pregnant. Hope they actually fit her--we'll see tomorrow! They were 12 month size but seem to run big...