Franklin Dress by Brooklyn Pattern Co.

Franklin Dress by you & mie

Recently, I was contacted by Erin, the designer behind Brooklyn Pattern Company, to review her debut pattern.  Erin had worked as a pattern maker and draper for 15 years on Broadway, and in the ballet, theater and circus.  After the birth of her second child, she launched her new indie sewing pattern company and the Franklin Dress for kids is her first pattern.

I have to admit, when I first got the email from Erin, I was hesitant to accept the offer.  I’m all about promoting indie designers, but I’ve sewn patterns from many people and companies, and some of them are just not very good and have been frustrating to sew (and blog about).  So knowing that this was her first pattern, I was worried about the quality and that I may not have a positive experience.  But I liked the style of the dress and after taking a look at her website, (I was drawn to the clean design), and skimming through her professional looking pattern, I decided to give it a go.  And I’m glad that I did!  It turned out to be a fun project that gave me just the break I needed from my crazy Halloween costume to do list.

Franklin Dress by you & mie

The Franklin Dress comes in sizes 6 months – 8 years.  The pattern features a pleated yoke, gathered sleeves and pockets.  It’s really a simple and classic design, but cute and modern depending on your fabric choice.  I went with a solid shirting that I bought awhile back at Mood.  It was supposed to be for a top for me, but it’s been sitting in my stash for long enough that I figured I might as well use it for something.

Franklin Dress by you & mie

I made the dress in the smallest size, 6M, but unfortunately, it’s still too big for petite little Kaya, so I’m liking this garment on the hanger more than on the model.  The chest measurement for 6M is 19 inches and Kaya is about 18, so I knew it would be a little roomy, but it’s even more roomy than I thought.  I know that Kaya will grow into it eventually, but if you’re thinking about making this dress for your baby, make sure their chest is at least 19 inches!  Though I love the overall design of this dress, I’m afraid the bagginess and maybe my fabric choice is making this dress look a little nightgown-ish on Kaya.  I have some ideas for alterations, but more on that later!

Franklin Dress by you & mie

The pattern itself is great.  I love the look of the instruction booklet.  It has clean and clear illustrations, charts, and helpful information to get you started.  The pattern printed and taped together smoothly.  The pattern pieces are well graded and have notches and markings for the gathers, pleats, and pocket placement, which are things I look for in a professional quality pattern.

Franklin Dress by you & mie

My only complaint about the pattern is that, for my personal taste, it could use more diagrams and directions in a few places.  It doesn’t walk you through each step as thoroughly as an Oliver + S pattern does, for example.  But if you’re a pretty experienced seamstress or are used to minimal directions (like Figgy’s patterns), you’ll be totally fine.

Franklin Dress by you & mie

Here are a couple of notes/things I did differently:

- To make the pleats, it says to “thread mark” the pleat and center fold lines, but I’m not entirely sure what that meant.  I tried basting the lines and doing it that way, but things just got messy.  So instead, I marked the lines on the RIGHT side of the fabric with a fabric marking pen (disappearing ink) and pressed and stitched the pleats that way.  It was simpler for me.
– I recommend interfacing the placket.  I think it’s helpful any time you are making buttonholes on light/medium weight fabric.  Use a 1 inch strip of fusible and place it 1/2 an inch from the edge on both front facing pieces.
– It doesn’t mention it in the pattern, but be sure to finish your seam after attaching the yoke to the skirt (both front and back), before top stitching it down along the yoke.
– For the 6M size, I found that the directions to determine buttonhole placement didn’t work – they ended up too close together.  So I made up my own.  It would be nice if the pattern had button hole placement for each size already marked on the pattern.  Maybe a note for the next pattern? :)
– I also accidentally switched which way the placket crosses over in the front.  Not sure how I messed that up, but I didn’t notice until after I had sewn the yoke to the skirt.  Oops.  I also need to resew that bottom button because the placement is off and making the placket look all wobbly.  Grrr . . .

Franklin Dress by you & mie

Clearly, Kaya has a few more months before she can wear this dress.  The only pattern modification I made was to shorten the hem by 1 inch.  I wanted it to be more of a tunic length than a dress, but it could loose a couple more inches of length if it’s going to be a tunic.  I’m thinking of adding some pintuck pleats just above the hem to shorten it more and add some interest along the bottom, though I’m not sure how that will work out with the slightly curved hem.

The other issue that I’m having with this dress is the sleeves.  I think that something about the length and the gathers is also adding to the “nightgown” look.  I really like this flutter sleeve version and Tara’s short sleeve version, so I’m considering altering the sleeves somehow . . .

Franklin Dress by you & mie

I really like this pattern!  I already know that I need to make a flutter sleeve version next spring.  And definitely check out Brooklyn Pattern Co. – if her future patterns are of the same quality and style as her first, I’d say she’s going to be quite successful!

I’m actually the last stop on the pattern tour, so you can already check out all the other versions that have been made before mine!  Head over to the Brooklyn Pattern Co. blog for links to all of the other stops.  AND if you want to win a copy of the pattern, click HERE!

*I was provided a copy of this pattern, but all opinions are 100% my own!*

It’s kind of crazy that I stopped in the middle of Halloween costume production to make this dress, but it’s the only thing I have to show for Kids Clothes Week this time around.  I SERIOUSLY underestimated how long Yuki’s costume was going to take.  I’m still working on it, but I’m excited about how it’s coming along (after MANY MANY fails and frustrations).  Only one week left till Halloween!!  How’s your sewing going??

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Totoro Costume Tutorial

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Hello!!  I’m here with a tutorial today that I’m really excited about!  3 years ago, I made a Totoro costume for Yuki and it was a huge hit with Totoro fans around the world.  Since then I’ve been getting regular emails about custom orders for costumes or selling the pattern for it, but I don’t do either.  I figured the least I can do is a tutorial for the costume so people can try their hand at making one themselves!

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

If you’re not familiar, Totoro is a character from the Studio Ghibli movie, My Neighbor Totoro.  It’s an awesome movie about 2 young girls who move into an old house in the country with their dad to be closer to their mother who is the hospital.  The girls discover magical creatures in the nearby forest and together they embark on an adventure.

There are three Totoros in the movie – the main one is the huge gray Totoro, but there is also a chu-Totoro (medium) that is blue and a chibi-Totoro (small) that is white.  I decided to do the blue Totoro this time around just to do something a little different.  It looks similar to the big gray Totoro, but has less details (no whiskers, less arrows on the chest, etc.)

totoro1[image source]

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

The costume is very similar to the original, but I’ve made some adjustments.  I tried to make this tutorial as simple as I could to make it possible for beginners or even adventurous first timers to give it a go.  I walk you through drafting your own pattern and all the steps to put the costume together.  The tutorial is LONG, but there are a ton of pictures to help.  There is a zipper, but that is the trickiest part of the sewing and I have a suggestion for an alternative if you’re REALLY opposed to installing a zipper.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

The costume is two pieces, the body suit and a separate hood.  The original costume had snaps along the inside leg for easy diaper changes, but I omitted that this time around because it just didn’t seem necessary for a costume (and I was lazy).

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Ok, should we get started??

What you’ll need:

  • Knit fabric for the bodysuit and hood (more information below)
  • Scraps of fabric for eyes, nose, etc.
  • Fiberfill or stuffing for the ears and tail (if you don’t want to buy something special for this you can use anything soft to stuff them – scraps of fabric, cotton balls, stuffing from an old pillow, etc)
  • 1/4 inch wide elastic
  • Safety pin
  • Velcro
  • 12″ invisible zipper
  • Thread in the color of the main fabric, white and black
  • Tracing paper (the larger the better!)
  • A one piece pajama and a hooded jacket to use for making the pattern
  • Hand sewing needle

Fabric: I used fleece for both costumes and it is very comfy and very warm.  It’s got a little stretch and I think it’s great for this costume if you live in an area that is chilly around October.  Other options are sweatshirt knit and french terry.

Seam allowance: Since you’re making your own pattern, you can make and use whatever seam allowance you are comfortable with.  I used a 1cm (3/8″) seam allowance throughout, except for the back center seam and anywhere else I specify something different.

And though I will not mention it after each step, press every seam after sewing with a warm iron.

Let’s get started!

BODYSUIT:

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Find a pair of one piece pajamas and lay it on top of your tracing paper so that the center of the pajamas is lined up with the edge of the paper.  Use pajamas that are well fitting or a little baggy, or you can add extra width to your pattern to make it a little baggier.  If you don’t have pajamas, you can really use any type of clothing, just be sure to add width if you want your bodysuit to be loose as opposed to tight fitting.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Adding seam allowance (I used a 1cm seam allowance), trace around the shoulder, side seam and inseam.  You’ll have to move the pajamas and do a little freehand drawing to get the armhole and neckline.  I made my neckline pretty high in the front so that there wouldn’t be gap between the hood and the bodysuit.  It can easily be lowered later if you think it’s too high during a fitting.  No need to add seam allowance to the neckline.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

I rounded out the shape of my pattern a little around the hips and thighs to try and get a more round shape.  Add 3/4″ to the bottom of the leg for hemming (I didn’t give mine enough length and the legs ended up too short on Kaya)!

This is the front of your body suit and will be cut on the fold along the straight edge.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Now we’ll make the pattern for the back piece.  Place another sheet of tracing paper on top of your front piece, but have the edge extend a 1/2 inch past the edge of the front pattern piece.

Trace the front pattern piece, but raise the neckline in the back to match the sample pajamas.  This is the back of the bodysuit and you’ll cut two of these.  The extra 1/2 inch of fabric that you added to the center seam will be used to install the zipper.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Use your pajamas to trace the sleeve shape adding seam allowance and an extra 3/4″ for hemming.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Lay another piece of tracing paper over your “front” pattern piece and draw a circular shape for the tummy.  This will also be cut on the fold.

Cut out your fabric.  You’ll need one front piece cut on the fold, 2 back pieces, 2 sleeves cut on the fold and 1 tummy circle cut on the fold.  You’ll also need a strip of fabric for finishing the neckline that is 2″ wide and several inches longer than your neckline.  I cut mine over 20″ long and it was pleeeenty long enough.  I’d rather be safe than sorry :)

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Make sure that your fabric it cut so that it stretches when you pull on the short ends of the fabric.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Draw the chest details and cut them out of your main fabric.  The large Totoro has 7 (most of the time) and the medium Totoro has 3.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Pin the arrows on the tummy piece and top stitch as close to the edge as possible.  In the original costume I zig zag stitched everything on, but the edges got wavy.  This is easier and looks much better.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Pin the tummy onto the front piece and top stitch close to the edge.  Set aside.

Now it’s time to attach the invisible zipper.  I won’t go into great details here on how to do this, but you can check out this great tutorial (with video) on how to install an invisible zipper.  Honestly, I skipped some steps since this is just a costume and it’s fleece and I didn’t think it needed to be perfect.  I didn’t iron the zipper and I don’t have an invisible zipper foot, but it still turned out just fine.

If you are looking for a zipper alternative, I’d suggest a velcro/hook and loop closure.  This won’t be nearly as clean of a finish, but if you’re just looking to put together a costume, it will be totally sufficient.  Line up your back pieces, right sides together, and sew along the straight edge about 1/4 of the way up the back.  Finish the neckline as directed below and then sew a few 2″ long strips of velcro to each side evenly spaced out.  You’ll have raw edges exposed, but knit fabric doesn’t fray, so no worries!

Moving forward with the zipper!

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Open up your zipper and place it right sides together along the straight edge of one back piece.  Using a zipper foot, sew as close to the teeth as possible.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Repeat with the other side.  Flip the zipper so you have right sides facing and attach to the other back piece.  I realize these are some pretty sparse instructions, but just head over to the tutorial for plenty of pics and details.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Fold the back along the zipper (I had flipped my back piece around here, so the you’re looking at the leg hole up at the top).  Finish sewing the center seam together with a 1/2″ seam allowance (white line).  Be sure to sew beyond the end of the zipper and on the inside of the zipper.  Reinforce this end by backstitching several times.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Your back is constructed and should look like this!

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Line up the shoulder seams of the front and back pieces with right sides together and pin.  Sew along shoulder seam with a 1cm seam allowance.  At this point, if your model is available, you can throw the bodysuit over their head like a poncho and see if you’re happy with the neckline.  Adjust if necessary.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

(Ignore the fact that the sleeves are already attached in the picture, I was sewing a little out of order :P)

With the edge of your neck binding strip lined up with the zipper tape, pin the strip on with the raw edges lined up, right sides together.  Sew with a 1cm seam allowance and trim off the extra strip to be lined up with the fabric tape.  See close up below . . .

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Fold the edge of the strip over so that the zipper teeth are now along the edge.  Then fold the binding over to the wrong side of the bodysuit so that the neckline is enclosed.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Pin along the neckline and stitch in the ditch to sew the binding down on the inside.  Fleece is too thick to fold the raw edge in on the inside, but it looks and feels just fine.  Trim down the extra fabric on the inside close to the stitch line.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

To attach the sleeves, lay your body suit out with the shoulder seam flat, right side up.  Line up the center of the sleeve with the shoulder seam, right side down and pin.  Then carefully continue to pin the sleeve to the arm hole.  Sew together with a 1cm seam allowance.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

For the tail, cut two pieces in whatever shape you want.  Place them right sides together and sew the curved edges together leaving the flat/top edge open.  Flip it right side out and stuff it.  Close the tail with a zig zag stitch or serger.  Place the tail pointed up on the right side of the back bodysuit piece just below the bottom of the zipper.  Sew along the dotted line to attach the tail and be sure to back stitch a bunch at each end to make sure that sucker doesn’t get pulled off!

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

With the tail flipped up and out of the way, place the front piece on the back piece, right sides together and pin along the bottom of the sleeve, line up the seams at the armpit, along the side seams and the inseam.  Sew together!

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Flip it right side out and you’ll see that it’s really coming together!

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

To finish the arm and leg holes, fold the fabric in towards the wrong side by 3/4″.  Sew close to the raw edge to create a casing and be sure to leave about 1.5″ open to insert the elastic.  If your model is handy, measure around their wrist and ankle to find a comfortable length for the elastic.  You don’t want it to be too tight or too loose.  I just guessed and made both 5″ in length and overlapped them by about 1/2″.  Using a safety pin, thread your elastic through your casing and sew the ends together.  Sew up the rest of the casing to enclose the elastic.  Repeat with all leg and arm holes.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Your bodysuit is done!!

HOOD:

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

To make the hood pattern, grab a hooded sweatshirt or jacket and place it on top of your tracing paper.  Leave a 1/2″ of space between the edge of the paper and the edge of your hood.  Trace along the curved edge with a 1cm seam allowance.  Draw a straight line 1 cm below the bottom edge of the hood at the front of the jacket.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Cut two hood pieces.  You’ll also need a strip of fabric that is 4 inches wide.  To determine the length, measure the bottom edge of the hood, multiply that by two and then add about 4 inches.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

With right sides together, pin the curved edge of the hood and sew with a 1cm seam allowance.  To finish the front of the hood, fold it in a 1/2″ and sew along the raw edge.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Take your strip and fold it in half lengthwise, right sides together.  Sew along one of the short edges starting a centimeter away from the edge (in the picture, the raw edges are on the top and the folded edge is along the bottom).  Flip it right side out, use a chopstick or something to poke the corner out.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

With your hood right side up and raw edge along the top, line the edge of the strip up with the edge of the hood and pin along the raw edge.  When you attach the band to the hood, be sure you only sew through one layer of the band.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Sew along the edge.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

At the other end, fold the band right sides together and sew from the edge of the hood around the corner of the band.  Clip the corner and then turn right side out.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Pin the rest of the band up on the inside of the hood and on the outside of the hood, stitch in the seam (make sure you’re catching the inside of the band in your stitching.  Trim any excess fabric.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Sew velcro to the hood.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Cut out your eyes and nose out of fleece or felt.  Top stitch everything down as close the edge as possible.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Draw and cut out 4 ear pieces.  Place two, right sides together, and sew along edges, leaving the bottom open.  Flip right side out.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Stuff with stuffing.  A lot of people ask how I get the ears to stand up, so this part is important.  It’s very simple though!  You want to sew the ears on as a circle.  If you try to close the bottom by sewing the two sides together into a straight line, or if you sew the ear on by sandwiching it in a seam, it’ll just flop down.  Figure out your ear placement and pin the ear down in place making sure the bottom of the ear is open and in a circular (or oval) shape.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

With a hand sewing needle, attach the ear to the hood with a quick whip stitch.  Tie the knots on the inside of the hood.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

And you’re done!!  Unless you want to add whiskers or a leaf to your hood – then head over HERE for those directions!

Now try the costume on your little one and be prepared to swoon.  Cuz c’mon – there are few things in this world cuter than a kid dressed up as Totoro!!

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

I really hope that people out there are able to use this tutorial!  And seriously, you can use this tutorial to make pretty much any animal costume – just change the shape of the tail and ears and add other details and you’ve got a cat, dog, tiger, cow, monkey, whatever!

I LOOOOVE seeing your creations with my tutorials.  I’ve already gotten to see a lot of Totoro costumes inspired by the original one I made and I shared some of them here.  If you use this tutorial please share your photos with me!  You can email me, upload them to the you & mie flickr group, or post them on the you & mie Facebook page!!

Happy Sewing!

**I am not taking any orders/selling this costume.  This is a free tutorial for your personal use.  I mentioned on Instagram that I was going to be selling this particular costume, but I’ve decided to hang on to it for a little longer – I’m sorry for changing my mind!**

 

To kick off October . . .

Hey!  It’s been awhile since I’ve posted over on the Miss Matatabi blog as a Miss Matatabi Maker, but I’m back!  And in honor of it officially being October, I’m sharing quite the Halloween project over there.

Halloween Party Dress by you & mie

Wanna see what I did with this fabric?  I’ll give you a hint – it’s something for ME!  Check it out here.

Happy October 1st!

A Joey Dress

**I just heard that Toni is having a HUGE sale on all Make it Perfect patterns – 50% off!  You’ve got about a day left to take advantage of the sale!**

Joey Dress by you & mie

Awhile back, Toni of Make it Perfect contacted me and asked if I wanted to try out one of her new patterns, the Joey dress for girls.  I dunno if you’ve noticed, but Yuki is aaaaall about the knit dresses so I was excited to add another knit dress pattern to my collection – and this one is so cute!  I love that kangaroo pocket and the different sleeve lengths, making this pattern great for all seasons.

The pattern comes in several size ranges: Little Joey (0-5 years) and Big Joey (6-10) and even in adult sizes as the Skippy Dress (XXS-XXL)!  The dress is simple, but has that fun pocket and a fitted waistband.  I love the gathered sleeves – I think it adds a cute touch.  There are three sleeve lengths – short, 3/4, and long.  I made the “3/4 length” sleeve, though I think “elbow length” would be a more appropriate name.  It also has a cowl neck option along with the regular neckband finish.

Joey Dress by you & mie

If I’m going to be completely honest here though, I did not have the easiest time sewing up this dress.  And I can’t even figure out why, which is the most frustrating part.  Was it me?  Was it the pattern?  Was it printing problems?  It seems like everyone else who has made it had no issues, so I’m not sure what went wrong!  But I emailed Toni and she responded so sweetly and quickly trying to help me through my issues – it made me feel a lot better.  Though I still am not entirely sure what the problem was . . .

The part that gave me the most problems was that darn pocket!  For whatever mysterious reason, my pocket was just too small and Yuki’s hands would never fit through the openings.  I couldn’t get the binding on correctly either, they weren’t wide enough.  So after trying it twice, I decided to draft my own pattern piece for the pocket and attached the bindings the way you do a neckband (not as directed in the pattern directions).  I’m seriously baffled though, because not one person who has blogged about this dress has mentioned problems with pocket size.  I’m thinking it was a printing issue?

Joey Dress by you & mie

I made this dress in size 2 based on Yuki’s chest measurement and it fits perfectly.  I probably should have gone a size up to make it last longer, but it’ll at least last this season.  I was worried a little bit about length, and also feeling too lazy to hem the dress, so I added a band at the bottom instead.  While I think the added length is good, I don’t really love how it came out.  The aqua fabric I used here is a french terry that is thick and cozy, but a little too thick for this.  Folded in half as a band basically created a hoop at the bottom of the skirt, so the shape looks a little funky.

Joey Dress by you & mie

The main fabric that I used for the dress was purchased from fabric.com after seeing this adorable tee by Erin of Hungie Gungie (unfortunately, not available anymore).  The fabric was sooo cute and soft looking, I couldn’t resist!  I hoarded it for a long time, thinking I might make something for myself, but never figuring out what.  I finally decided to use it for this and still have plenty left over.  The fabric is very soft and stretchy, but I did have some issues sewing with it because it was a bit flimsy – it would get eaten up by the machine and then it would also stretch out like crazy.  After washing it, it pilled up, so now I’m rethinking sewing something for me.  I wouldn’t be able to stand the pilling, unless it was a pajama shirt or something.  But it’s fine for a kid’s dress and still super comfy, which is what matters most for Yuki.

Joey Dress by you & mie

Despite my difficulties, I DO love the way this dress came out and it looks great on my little one.  Plus she loves it, and that’s definitely a win in my book.  I definitely think I’ll make it again and just play around a little with the shape and length of the skirt and try different sleeve lengths, etc.  It’s just such a fun style while being comfy and practical too.

Thanks Toni for giving me this pattern to try out and for being so helpful and responsive.  If you’re interested in buying the pattern, you can find it along with all the Make it Perfect patterns!

Alder Shirtdress for All the Seasons

Plaid Alder Shirtdress by you & mie

Happy Saturday!  This past week has been Selfish Sewing Week, a week to focus your sewing energy on things for yourself!  I love this idea, because though I have a huge list of things I’d love to sew for myself, those things usually get pushed aside to make things for the kids.  This year Rachael of Imagine Gnats invited me to be a Featured Stitcher for Selfish Sewing Week which was great because, honestly, if she hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t have sewn anything for me!  I had also just bought the latest Grainline Studio pattern, the Alder Shirtdress and needed the push to actually make it instead of joining the epic “to do” pile.

Plaid Alder Shirtdress by you & mie

This is my first time sewing a Grainline Studio pattern!  I’ve heard such great things about them and own a few, but just haven’t gotten around to sewing them yet (did I mention my huge to-sew list?).  What I’ve heard is that they are excellently drafted patterns with great style and fit, but that the directions are a bit lacking.  From my experience with the Alder pattern, I’d say that description is pretty spot on, though I didn’t use the directions from the pattern at all, so I can’t say too much about them.  I started reading the directions, but was a little confused right off the bat.  Then I remembered that Jen had just done an incredible sew along breaking down each step of the pattern, so I just used that to construct the entire dress.  And it’s GREAT.  Really clear photos and directions – I think it probably saved me.

Plaid Alder Shirtdress by you & mie

The dress has two views.  View A is a simple A-line sleeveless shirt dress and View B has a gathered skirt.  When I first saw the pattern, I wasn’t really drawn to it.  I didn’t think it would be flattering on me and I really didn’t like the gathered version – I thought it was a bit weird.  But then it grew on me.  And I thought maybe the gathered skirt would help my shape by making me look like I had a waist.  Then I couldn’t get it out of my head and immediately bought the pattern determined to make one.  And now I love it!!  Funny how that happened huh?

Plaid Alder Shirtdress by you & mie

According to my measurements, I should have made size 14.  But I wanted it to be fitted and I think I’m a bit in denial about my size and really wanted to be a 12.  So I cut that size for my muslin and it fit!  My guess is that this dress is supposed to fit slightly loose, so depending on your preference, you may want to go a size down – but definitely make a muslin first!  I didn’t make ANY FIT ADJUSTMENTS.  Ahhh, what an amazing feeling.

Plaid Alder Shirtdress by you & mie

The pattern isn’t necessarily hard to sew, but there are a lot of different pieces.  And it takes time, if you want it to look good.  The hardest part for me was attaching the collar to the dress.  I kind of freaked out because my collar/collar stand seemed WAY longer than the neckline and I thought I had done something wrong.  My buddy Kristin (skirt as top) suggested clipping the neckline (within the seam allowance) to help line up the seam lines and that worked like a charm.  I even emailed Jen to ask her about it and she was so awesome and emailed me back right away with her thoughts.

My only complaint about this pattern is NO SKIRT POCKETS.  An easy fix for sure and I can’t believe that I didn’t think about it when I was constructing it, but pockets are a deal breaker for me!  I’m totally considering ripping my serged seams to add some, because I don’t carry a purse and pockets are essential for phone and wallet.  It would look fine on the gathered skirt version of this dress.  The A-line version, I’m not so sure . . .

Plaid Alder Shirtdress by you & mie

On to the fabric!  Do you love this plaid or what!??  The fabric is from Bolt Fabric Boutique in Portland and I first saw it during my last visit in July.  It caught my eye, but I passed it up for some knit fabrics instead.  Kristin bought some though and after we left the store and I left Portland, I couldn’t get the fabric out of my head.  So she went back to Bolt and bought up the rest and shipped it to me.  TRUE FRIEND.  I had already envisioned this fabric as an Alder Shirtdress and had my heart set on it.  The pattern called for slightly more fabric than what I had, but those estimates are pretty generous and the fabric was so wide (58″) that I had plenty.  I don’t know too much about the fabric except that it’s cotton and pretty lightweight – like a shirting.  And I love it.  Of that, I am certain.

Plaid Alder Shirtdress by you & mie

The trickiest part was plaid matching!!  I didn’t have a ton of extra fabric to work with, so I had to be very careful.  I matched up the plaid on the front and back bodice, as a priority, but then when it came time to sew – I realized that after sewing the bust dart, the plaids weren’t going to line up anyways!!  I did make sure to cut the bodice/center skirt pieces, the button band and the gathered skirt pieces with stripes lined up and so the front looks good.  But then I didn’t have the right pieces of the fabric to match the plaid on the side seams.  Oops, don’t look at my profile ;)

Plaid Alder Shirtdress by you & mie

Overall, this dress turned out exactly how I imagined it and I love it!  When I pictured the dress, I also started imagining how I could take this dress from our warm summery fall, into the colder months and played around with some different ways of layering and styling the dress.

Plaid Alder Shirtdress by you & mie

I’m not entirely sure about the last outfit, with the sweater and jeans, but I do think it’s a really versatile dress and I can’t wear it year round!!

It really does feel good to take the time to sew something nice for yourself.  A couple of years ago I made myself a Darling Ranges dress for my birthday and I am considering this dress a birthday present for myself this year since it’s coming up.  I’m thinking of making this a tradition!  Birthday dress for me!

Plaid Alder Shirtdress by you & mie

My brother took these photos of me – thanks Mike!  And I love this pic that he snapped of me and the girls who were so patient through (most of) the photo shoot!

Thanks Rachael for hosting Selfish Sewing Week and inviting me to be a part of it!  I love sewing for me!  I hope you take the time to do it too!  And be sure to click over to check out all the amazing projects and add your own!  Happy Selfish Sewing!

 

Sew Geeky: Jiji the Cat

Jiji Sweatshirt by you & mie

So so so much sewing going on over here!  I wish there were more hours in the day so I could sew more!  But who doesn’t right?  I’m here with a post for Sew Geeky, a fantastically nerdy series hosted by Sew Chibi and Max California.  Each month, they pick a theme and invite some people to sew along with them!  In fact, everyone can sew along!  Everyone is encouraged to celebrate their inner geekiness!

This month’s theme is Studio Ghibli.  I jumped on this opportunity, because I’m a HUGE Ghibli fan.  If you’re not familiar with Studio Ghibli movies, I urge you to go and look some up and watch them immediately.  The director/writer/producer that is most strongly associated with Studio Ghibli is Hayao Miyazaki and he has created some of my favorite movies.  He is the genius behind My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle and many others.  And Studio Ghibli has produced other amazing movies as well, like Grave of the Fireflies, Arrietty and Whisper of the Heart.  Seriously, go watch them all now. Continue reading

i-know-where-it-goes drawer stickers

I-know-where-it-goes drawer stickers // you &mie

I have a fun review today of a product that I think is awesome!  Around the time that Yuki turned 3, she started dressing herself.  That year, she also started being in charge of putting away her own clean laundry.  Crafterhours makes these awesome drawer stickers that help label your child’s dresser drawers to help them remember where things go.  They are fun and practical! Continue reading

Strawberry Skaters

Strawberry Skater Dresses by you & mie

 A month ago, I talked about a bunch of clothes I had made a month before that, and well . . . I still haven’t blogged half of it.  So two months later, but here are some dresses I made. :P

The fabric may be familiar to you . . . it’s from Heather Ross’ Briar Rose Jersey Knits line.  It came out about a year ago and it was all over the place at the time – I feel like everyone was making cute things with them!  Strawberries!  Knit fabric!  Cute!  But since I’m not one to follow the crowd (*cough* I’m actually just super lame), I decided to sew with this fabric when it’s not so popular and no longer available.  Haha. Continue reading

Watermelon Pouches {Tutorial and Free Pattern}

Watermelon Pouch Tutorial and Free Pattern by you & mie

Woohoo – finishing up with the last watermelon project today!  Last week I shared a couple of projects from Yuki’s Watermelon Party: the watercolor invitations and a hand stamped dress.  I was hoping to share this last one last week as well, but you know, tutorials take time.  And I’m guessing that no one was sitting on the edge of their seat waiting for this last watermelon post, but if you were, I apologize!  :P

My last watermelon project was a stack of felt pouches to pack up the party favors.

Watermelon Pouch Tutorial and Free Pattern by you & mie Continue reading

Watermelon Dress

Watermelon Week!  All watermelon!  All the time!

So yesterday I shared the watercolor watermelon invites that Yuki and I made for her party.  But what would a watermelon party be without a special watermelon dress?  I was having a hard time deciding between a color blocked dress that mimicked a watermelon slice like this one, or a solid fabric with watermelon printed all over like this one.  I was leaning toward the color blocked dress since that seemed easier, but finally I just asked Yuki and she said, without hesitation, the all over print dress.

Watermelon Dress // you & mie

Continue reading