Sewing

Butterfly Blouse Dress for Oliver + S

Hooray! It’s finally Spring! As I was sorting and planning my girls’ Spring wardrobes, I realized my youngest daughter could use a couple of dresses. I could have used a pattern I’ve already made, but where’s the fun in that?

As I browsed through the Oliver + S pattern shop, looking for something new to try, I was drawn to the Butterfly Blouse. Those sleeve ruffles and peplum are so sweet. Even though it is a blouse, I thought it could be easily modified to make a dress…

Butterfly Blouse Dress for Oliver + S | Radiant Home Studio Butterfly Blouse Dress for Oliver + S | Radiant Home Studio

The modification was easy! For more photos and instructions for making a dress from the Butterfly Blouse, read the rest of my post over on the Oliver + S blog today.

Pattern Review, Sewing

Coordinating Roller Skate Dress & Tunic

Growing up, my sister and I usually had at least one set of matching dresses. It was probably all in my head, but somehow, if my little sister was wearing the exact same thing as me, I felt like I looked younger. I preferred the outfits where I had the “big girl” style and my sister had a slightly different style in coordinating fabric. So when I make dresses for my girls, I tend to make them “coordinating” instead of straight-up “matching”. With quilting cotton, it works really well to use mix prints from the same collection. These are a big sister/little sister Roller Skate Dress + Tunic that I made using Dutch Treat fabric by Betz White.

You may remember that I worked with Betz White on some projects last year. Betz just debuted her first line of fabric, Dutch Treat, which features modern graphic designs inspired by the Pennsylvania Dutch. It looks really cute with the clean, simple style of the Roller Skate Dress. You can see more of the designs and read about the inspiration for the collection here.

dutch roller skate dresses

For my little girl, who prefers twirly dresses and feminine designs, I made the dress with pink floral fabric. I made her a size 6. I think I could have gone down a size, but this should still fit next summer! I stuck with the basic dress pattern and skipped the extra collar options. I like the simplicity of the dress and it was super-quick to sew. If you decide to make this dress, double-check your yardage requirements! I underestimated how much fabric I would need for these because I didn’t factor in the full lining when I read the requirements. Two yards seemed like plenty for a girl’s dress, but it wasn’t enough. I dug through my stash and found a gray polka dot print for the lining of this dress.

Roller Skate Dresses |Oliver + S | Radiant Home Studio

For my big girl, I made the tunic version of the pattern in a more neutral color. She’s wearing a size 10, which seems to be just right. I also underestimated fabric here, but managed to squeeze it out of the 2 yards. Though the print has a direction, it is subtle. I decided to flip the pattern pieces to make them work and it’s really not noticeable unless you study the design very carefully.

Roller Skate Dresses |Oliver + S | Radiant Home Studio

The pattern instructions are for an elastic waist. I modified the waistband to have a drawstring. I sewed the upper line of the waistband casing, then marked two buttonholes at the center front. I fused a little piece of interfacing on the wrong side, and sewed the buttonholes in the top layer. (If you do this, just be careful to get the lining layer out of the way.) Then I finished the second line of stitching below the buttonholes. I used a length of elastic about 3/4 of the width of the back of the dress, and then sewed twill tape to each end. Once I threaded the elastic and drawstring through the buttonholes, I tacked it in place, matching the ends of the elastic section with the side seams. The elastic adds comfort and keeps the gathers uniform on the back and the drawstring adds some personality. I really like how this worked out and I will do it again on future versions!

Roller Skate Dresses |Oliver + S | Radiant Home Studio

I usually prefer the paper versions of Oliver + S patterns, but I used the digital version of the Roller Skate Dress. The arranging and taping of the pattern is pretty simple and painless compared to some of the bigger, more complicated patterns. With just two main pattern pieces and a small sheet of collar pieces, the digital version was just as easy and more convenient than the paper version for this pattern. Just thought I’d throw that out there for anyone that might be curious.

I loved the Roller Skate pattern and will definitely use it again. I made the first one pretty quickly, but the second one was even faster. The construction was so simple (even with my addition of the drawstring) that I didn’t even need to look at the directions for the second one. From cutting to hemming, it took less than 2 hours…easily done during naptime!

*fabric courtesy of Betz White and Riley Blake…thank you!

Do you like making coordinating clothes for your kids? Do your kids like wearing them??

Pattern Review, Sewing

Floral Gallery Tunic With Hand Stitched Details

If you have been following me on Instagram, you’ve seen a couple of posts about my participation in the Liesl & Co Gallery Tunic sew-along. I’m one of the 5 panelists judging the sew-along entries and helping to choose a winner! You can find the intro post and my plans for the pattern over at the Oliver & S blog.

Here’s my finished Floral Gallery Tunic with some hand stitched details and lace embellishment…

Liesl & Co Floral Gallery Tunic with Hand Stitched Details | Radiant Home Studio

The pattern includes a ton of options. You can choose tunic or dress length, traditional collar or band collar, and several sleeve options. I decided to make a tunic (more practical than a dress for me) with the traditional collar, and 3/4 length sleeves with a simple rolled cuff. I used a a lightweight voile, which has the perfect drape for a blouse like this.

The fabric (designed by Maureen Cracknell for Art Gallery Fabrics) has a little bit of a bohemian feel, so I had planned to incorporate some small embellishments to complement the style. I pulled out some lace and embroidery floss that worked with the fabric and kept them them nearby for inspiration. Small embellishments are like these are what take a garment to the next level.

Think about Anthropologie… What makes them so popular? I think the artistic and feminine details on their clothes are what make them unique. I browsed through their blouses a few times while I was sewing my tunic, scouting for little details and gathering inspiration. While I didn’t copy any particular blouse, I kept the details in mind. In the end, I have a blouse I love that looks as if it came from a boutique store.

Sometimes with the details, less is more. This fabric is already pretty busy, so I didn’t want to compete with the florals. I added a few rows of running stitches on the top placket. I tried a couple of the brighter colors, but they were too much. The earthy olive green color worked better—just enough to draw the eye, but not so much that it took the attention off the beautiful print. All of the stitching is tucked neatly between the placket and the placket facing.

Liesl & Co Floral Gallery Tunic with Hand Stitched Details | Radiant Home Studio

On the sleeve cuffs I added a small scrap of lace. I considered making a little fabric strap decorating with the lace that wrapped around the cuff and buttoned above it, but this looked just as nice and didn’t take as much time and planning. I used some of the same olive embroidery floss to stitch it down on one side. Again, tiny details are enough. If I had put lace around the whole cuff, I think it would have been way too much.

Liesl & Co Floral Gallery Tunic with Hand Stitched Details | Radiant Home Studio

Let’s talk about the fit. My bust measured between a 2 and 4 and my hips between a 4 and a 6. Because this is a loose fitting garment, and I generally have to narrow the shoulders, I ended up cutting a 2 in the top and sleeves, grading out to a 4 in the hips. I think this worked perfectly. I wouldn’t make any other size or fit adjustments next time. I don’t feel like I’m drowning in fabric (which sometimes happens with loose tops) and I can still move my arms freely.

One other detail that I should mention…floral patterns like this require careful placement of the front pattern piece. I took extra care to make sure that there were no flowers directly on the apex of the bust. You definitely don’t want to inadvertently draw attention there!

Liesl & Co Floral Gallery Tunic with Hand Stitched Details | Radiant Home Studio

Overall, the pattern was pretty straightforward. The placket might be a bit confusing if it’s the first time you’ve sewn a placket, but if you do each step line-by-line it’s pretty clear and simple. If the illustrations seem unclear, you can also check out the step-by-step photos in the sew-along. The collar was much less complicated than I expected because it’s all one piece. I also love Liesl’s tips for sewing a nice even hem.

Liesl & Co Floral Gallery Tunic with Hand Stitched Details | Radiant Home Studio

The Gallery Tunic is such a versatile pattern that I had a hard time narrowing down my ideas. I’d love to make a plain lightweight linen version. It would be a great basic addition to my wardrobe.

There’s still time to enter your finished Galley Tunics in the sew-along contest at the Oliver + S blog. I’ll be helping to choose a winner. I’m looking forward to seeing the creative variations everyone sews up!

Pattern Review, Sewing

Swingset Skirts

Oliver + S is hosting a Swingset Skirt sew-along this week! The Swingset Skirt a simple, lined skirt with a combined elastic and drawstring waist. It has a pretty shape that is perfect for twirling.

Swingset Skirts | Oliver + S | Radiant Home Studio

I made one for each of my girls. Keeping up with clothes for 6 kids is a full-time job, especially when the seasons change and nothing from last year fits! All the kids are in need of basics that can mix and match. I planned to use solid fabrics, but then I found these fabrics with geometric metallic shapes (from JoAnn Fabrics). They are more fun but still fairly neutral. The girls were enthusiastic about the fabric, which will (hopefully) ensure the skirts are actually worn. Sometimes the plain things just end up shoved in the back of the drawer…

I made a size 8 for my 8 year old, but left the length at a size 14. She prefers longer skirts when she’s playing and I think she’ll be much more likely to wear a skirt she’s comfortable in. I made my 5 year old a straight size 5 with no adjustments. It’s really easy to get the right fit with this skirt. If you happen to cut a size too big, you can easily tighten up the waist by using shorter elastic. My kids tend to be slim, so it really helps to use patterns where I can customize the waist sizing like this.

Swingset Skirts | Oliver + S | Radiant Home Studio

I really love how pretty the waistband looks with just a couple strands of elastic and the drawstring. It looks fancy, but the construction is simple enough for a confident beginner. And if the pattern illustrations become confusing, there are step-by-step photos available online to guide you through the process.

Swingset Skirts | Oliver + S | Radiant Home Studio

It also has a nice lining, so you can use lightweight fabrics without worrying if it will be too sheer. I just used muslin for mine.

Swingset Skirts | Oliver + S | Radiant Home Studio

This is the first time I’ve used a digital version of an Oliver + S pattern. I definitely prefer the paper version. The pattern tiling is not as intuitive as I would have expected, and it took me a few minutes longer than usual to get this pattern taped together. Thankfully there aren’t too many pages. Digital was a good choice for this small pattern, but if I make any more of the larger garments I’ll definitely get the printed paper version.

You can find more ideas and inspiration for styling these skirts over at the Oliver + S blog. There are several pretty versions already, and I’m sure more will appear next week before the sew-along ends. There’s also another week to make a skirt and share it at the link-up!

Sewing

Heart Field Trip Raglan {KCW Fall 2015 – Day 2}

Yesterday, I made a Field Trip Raglan for my 5 year old. Basic t-shirts always get worn, and a raglan tee looks great with coordinating fabrics. I had about 1/2 yd. of white jersey and some leftover floral knit from a dress I made for her last spring. Kids clothes are great for using up smaller pieces of fabric!

Heart Field Trip Raglan Shirt | Radiant Home Studio

I’m always hesitant to make (or buy) white clothes for the kids. Especially if it has colored accents that can’t be bleached. I’m hoping the heart appliqué catches the worst spills and that the white makes it through the season. Since the theme for Kids Clothes Week is “disguise,” maybe I should say the heart will “disguise” the inevitable stains.

I’ve made this top before. My daughter loved it, but the neckline got pretty stretched out. I made sure to stabilize the seams around the neck and shoulders this time. I haven’t been able to find my clear elastic since we moved, so I used some knit interfacing which I cut in strips and fused to the fabric before sewing the seams. I’ve used that method before and it seems to work well.

Heart Field Trip Raglan Shirt | Radiant Home Studio

The heart appliqué caused a little bit of trouble. Originally, I cut a big heart and centered it on the shirt front. Then I did some free motion stitching around the edges. It looked great…until I tried it on my daughter and it was centered over her belly. Not the look I was going for. I took a chance and started picking out the stitches, hoping that steam would close up the needle holes in the fabric. Thankfully, it worked! I cut the heart a bit smaller and moved it up near the neckline. Then I used fusible web (which I had skipped the first time) and a zigzag stitch to secure it. Lesson learned. Hold up the shirt front to your child before stitching down the appliqué!

Heart Field Trip Raglan Shirt | Radiant Home Studio

One more project down, and a few more days of kids sewing to go…