Princess and the Pea Nightgown

E needed a spring nightgown.  I turned to my Japanese pattern books for ideas, as I think they tend to look like nightgowns more often than not.  I set E down with a stack of books and she picked out a few of interest.  We ended up with dress K from Sew Chic Kids in size 4.

nightgown : Lizzieville4

I added a ruffle to the bottom and took off the sleeves.  I should have used a size 6 for the bodice as it’s a tight squeeze getting on.  I should go back and enlarge the armholes so she can get in and out of this without help.  The skirt pieces were barely squeezed out of a yard of fabric.

nightgown : Lizzieville1

nightgown : Lizzieville 1

The main fabric is Heather Ross from the Far Far Away reprint.  I bought a bunch of Heather Ross fabrics to make E a quilt but then went for a yellow theme instead.  Now I’ve had fun using the fabric on other projects.  They are nicer than many other quilting cottons and I love the whimsical prints.  E picked out this Princess and the Pea themed fabric as it seemed appropriate for a nightgown.  I added the blue to balance out the big/bold print.

nightgown : Lizzieville3

She was thrilled to have a new nightgown and wore it right to bed.  Please excuse the post-sleeping wrinkles.  I take my pictures any way I can get them these days!

KCW : a kinda-sorta Anna costume

We were seriously late to the Frozen party, but ever since seeing the movie this summer E has been smitten.  Despite some initial talk about being Glinda from The Wizard of Oz, she  eventually decided to be Anna for Halloween.

I had such a hard time getting motivated to make this costume.  Finally I just decided to make something Anna-like, using patterns and fabrics I had and enjoyed.  It may be lacking in authenticity, but E is happy enough.  Which is good because oh my goodness, did this costume ever take a long time!  And technically speaking it was completely before Kid’s Clothes Week, but I’m breaking the rules a bit because my only other project (O’s costume) is also taking a very long time.

Anna costume : Lizzieville6Anyway, the details.  I decided to make a dress and a pinafore for the main costume.  The pale blue dress is the smock dress (pattern E) from Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids.  I like the sleeves and the front detail on this pattern and it also comes with sweet little pockets that I might add later.  It is size 110/4 with the equivalent of an 8 in length.  The main fabric is Kaufman pinpoint shirting with some Kaufman lawn for the bindings.  The shirting is quite lovely and I can see using it for other projects.  I completed this piece first and E thought it looked like a nightgown and wore it to bed for quite a few nights.  I agree that it definitely has a nightgown vibe (which seems common in Japanese patterns).

Anna costume : Lizzieville1

Anna costume : Lizzieville7

The pinafore is a modified Made By Rae Geranium dress using the scallops from the Oliver+S badminton pattern for the skirt trim/facing.   I used ric rac trim (instead of the gold ribbon on the original) because that’s what I had on hand.  I’ve never added trim/piping to anything before and it wasn’t actually that difficult.

Anna costume : Lizzieville3 Anna costume : Lizzieville4 Anna costume : Lizzieville2

At this point the costume wasn’t looking much like the movie, especially since I decided to skip the flowers on the bodice and skirt edge because I didn’t feel like dealing with fabric paint.  So I decided to buy some cheap fabric for the cape from Jo-Ann.  I used a bit of a Japanese pattern for the cape but mostly made it up as I went along.  There is a little shot cotton for the trims because that polyester was depressing to work with.

Anna costume : Lizzieville10

And there you have it.  One Halloween costume complete!

Anna costume : Lizzieville5

End of summer sewing : a romper

E had a beloved romper, a gift from my sister, that she wore the past two summers and has now outgrown.  I wanted to make her a new romper this summer and showed E a couple different options.  As soon as I showed her Sanae’s lovely linen romper she told me that was the one.  Luckily they had this Japanese pattern book in stock at our Seattle Kinokuniya bookstore and I set to work.

romper : Lizzieville1

I skipping the faux pockets and buttons and added some length to the shorts.  Otherwise this is a size 110.   I figured that size 110 would be safe as 110 in European clothing and other Japanese patterns have either fit or are too big.  But I should have taken the time to translate the measurement chart in the book because the 110 barely fits E.  Next time I’d make a size up and add some length to the top of the shorts pieces and to the bodice.

romper : Lizzieville5

The fabric is Kaufman berry interweave chambray, left over from this apron.  I also used a Kaufman interweave chambray on a jumprope dress and I love the colors and the shimmer but I do wish it were a bit softer.

E has picked this out to wear a couple times since making it, so I think she’s pleased.  And while she thinks the ties are lovely, I have found them to be a bit of a hassle.  I shortened them from the pattern, which helped a bit, but they’re still not a practical wardrobe choice for a four year old.   They come untied constantly and she needs help for every bathroom trip.  To make this a more practical garment I might swap the ties out for some elasticized straps.

romper : Lizzieville4 romper : Lizzieville6

So, my future with Japanese patterns is still to be determined.  The styles can be delightful and the patterns are certainly a bargain.  But the fit seems iffy, which is a bummer after putting all that time into making the pattern pieces and deciphering the directions.  For this pattern, I think there was an error on the pattern pieces for the waistband and top band.   I also ended up constructing them a bit differently (I think) so that there were no raw edges on these parts.

romper : Lizzieville2

And now, a bit more summer sewing for O and then I’m ready to move on to fall.  It was cool and rainy this morning and I loved it.  This poor land needs some water.

KCW : an outfit for E


It’s Summer Kid’s Clothes Week again.  This time around we were camping for most of the week so I only have two things to share.  I hope to squeeze in my hour of sewing tonight and get something for O completed.  Until then, E has some new summer clothes:

KCW outfit: Lizzieville 3

The top is blouse A from the Japanese sewing book Girly Style Wardrobe, in size 110.  The exterior fabric is quilting cotton from my grandmother, likely part of her collection of 1930’s inspired fabrics.  The print is actually a bit bizarre- some kind of Jack and Jill crossed with Humpty Dumpty, I suppose??  I used a light-weight red cotton for the lining.

tie top: Lizzieville 5 tie top: Lizzieville 1

This is a very simple pattern but I ended up making a few modifications.  I skipped the pockets and topstitching and added a full lining (rather than partial as in the pattern).  I also added to the length, but next time I’ll add to the middle (Liesl explains here) rather than adding on at the bottom, as this made the top really flare out.  In Japanese patterns I think E actually needs size 100 width and size 120 length, as this is too big on top.  But hopefully it will last until next summer.

My sewing pal Christine and I both had this book and we decided to try out one of the patterns together.  Her version is so sweet and I loved sewing together.  We’ll have to try something again soon.  It was also reassuring to have a buddy as this was my first Japanese pattern that wasn’t from a translation.  It turned out to be a fairly simple sew, apart from the fantastically crazy pattern sheet.

The shorts are Oliver+S class picnic shorts, size 4, in a lightweight denim.

Class picnic shorts: Lizzieville 4

I love this pattern.  I have already made two pairs of shorts (blue linen and modified green terry), and two blouses (umbrellas and flannel, some of my first sews for a tiny E).  I do feel like these shorts are a bit wide and too short on her.  She could probably fit into the size 4 again next summer if I lengthened the pattern.  Which is great because it makes me so sad that she is outgrowing all my Oliver+S patterns that end at size 3 and 4.  There are so many left to make or remake.  Sigh…

KCW outfit : Lizzieville 2

But we’ll enjoy them while we can.  And at least I have something to show for Kid’s Clothes Week.

Happy Homemade : pull-over parka


When I saw that Meg from Elsie Marley and Cherie from You & Mie were having a sew-along I thought it would be fun to join in.  The chosen pattern was the pull-over parka from the Japanese sewing book Happy Homemade.  I have the English version and I’ve used it before to make E this little tunic.  I also made the wide leg pants a bit ago but E refuses to wear them because they are not shorts.  Maybe in the fall…

Anyway, back to the parka.  It’s designed for woven fabrics but I thought E would reject a woven top.  She strongly prefers knit tops at this time.  So I used some striped french terry I had around.  I added a front pocket and hood lining in denim to try to tone things down.  But it is still very striped and frankly hurts my eyes a bit.

SCK parka : Lizzieville3 SCK parka : Lizzieville2

The french terry was from Girl Charlee but is no longer in stock.  I’m not sure what it is made from but it’s definitely not all cotton.  I quickly discovered this when ironing and it would not hold a crease but would melt.  So I skipped the cute little drawstring on the bottom because hemming the sleeves was enough of a nightmare.

SCK parka : Lizzieville1

I had some serious pattern preparation issues on this one-  cutting stripes the wrong way, cutting out the body pieces so that the wrong side was on the fold, and messing up the seam allowances.  But I did manage to at least match up the stripes on the sides.  I loved the hints I got from Cheri and Meg as part of their sew-along posts.  I’m also excited that E should fit the patterns in this book for a good while longer.  I made her the size 4 (100) with added length and the book goes up to size 8 (120).

SCK parka : Lizzieville4

Did you sew along?  I have enjoyed seeing all the creations in the sew-along Flickr group.


KCW project #3: Carefree Clothes apron

button-250-sqMy third project for KCW was the apron pattern from the book Carefree Clothes for Girls.   I got this book from my library last summer but quickly learning that it wasn’t my style. There are a lot of lace, doilies, and unfinished hems.  Only this apron caught my eye, so I traced the pattern (in size 4) onto a big piece of Sewdish tracing paper and returned the book.


Last fall I cut out the pieces and I couldn’t figure out why I’d traced the pieces so spaced out.  Normally I squeeze everything in as tightly as possible because I’m kind of cheap like that.  Then I remembered, after cutting of course, that these patterns don’t include seam allowances.  I’d left all that extra space to add them in later.  Oops.  I kind of faked the seam allowances and then set the whole thing aside.

Pulling the apron out for this KCW I puzzled a bit over the construction.  The directions want you to zigzag and fold under the raw edges.  That just feels unfinished to me, and also tricky around curvy little armholes and necks.  I considered using bias binding around the whole thing but eventually decided just to make a full lining.  I goofed a bit as I’m not super experienced with linings but it worked.



The main fabric is Kaufman interweave chambray in berry and the pocket is Kaufman essex yarn dyed linen in blue.  I really like both fabrics.  The interweave chambray is probably too substantial for most shirts but I think it would work well for shorts, pants, and some dresses.  It has the same shimmer as shot cotton which I always enjoy.



I also like the swingy curved hemline and back.  It fits fine right now but without much wiggle room.  Perhaps the best part was when E stuck her hands in the apron pockets and said, “maybe I’ll put some pancakes in here.”  Which we both thought was quite funny.  And you might too, if you’ve read The Dragons of Blueland as many times as we have.


I actually made two more little items during KCW that I plan to share soon.  This KCW was perfect for clearing out old projects.  So while I’m not wild about this apron, I’m excited to get one more unfinished item cleaned out as I get ready for a new season of sewing. Anyone else getting ready for spring and spring sewing?  E was stepping on bulbs as we took these pictures, so spring must be just around the corner!

KCW project #1: navy tunic with pockets


It’s Kid’s Clothes Week time again and project #1 is complete.  This is Pattern B, Dress with Square Neckline, from the book Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids.  I traced a size 4, shortened to be a size 6 equivalent tunic length.

Navy tunic + rabbits1

I have a couple Japanese sewing books that I’ve been too intimidated to try.  I figured this English-translation would be a good stepping stone.  Overall, I was pleased with the whole experience.  Tracing was a bit tedious as you have to hunt down the needed pieces and add seam allowance.  The directions are mostly picture-based and brief but I only had trouble with a few steps.  The binding on my back placket doesn’t lie flat and I couldn’t figure out the fancy button loop method described in the book.  So I just made the loops like an Oliver+S pattern.  Which was pretty much my entire approach: rely on my knowledge from other sewing patterns and use this book for the pattern pieces and order of assembly.

Navy tunic + rabbits1

I bought the main fabric a while ago from Dry Goods Design (maybe this?).  It is lovely and very forgiving with wonky topstitching.   I’m happy to have enough left over to make myself a bag someday.  The pockets, lining, and armhole facing are Bluebird Park Bunnies in Tangerine.  E fell in love with the fabric and kept asking me when I’d use it.  The pattern didn’t originally have pockets so I added them for a bit more color and rabbit fun.  I drafted the pattern inspired by these cute pockets here.  And then I stitched them to the back of the shirt instead of the front.  Oops.  But nothing that some seam ripping couldn’t fix.

Navy tunic + rabbits6I used french seams for the inside and decided to use covered buttons to keep the orange theme going:

Navy tunic + rabbits8I’ll definitely use this pattern book again.  It has 20 basic patterns in sizes 2-8.  I like almost all the patterns and there are patterns for girls and boys.  At less than a dollar a pattern, that’s a great deal.  As for the fit, I’m glad I added the length (and wish I’d added a bit more to get us through summer).  The bodice is a bit too wide and bunches, but better that than too small.

Navy tunic + rabbitscNavy tunic + rabbitsa

I’ve decided that the most challenging part of this Kid’s Clothes Week so far has been getting pictures taken.  Taking pictures in dark and rainy Seattle with a 3 year old who has far better things to do with her time has been a challenge.  It has involved funky lighting, umbrellas, and some jelly beans.  She does seem happy about the rabbits, though.

Navy tunic + rabbits2

Next up, some shirts, underwear, another Japanese pattern, and maybe something for O.  I’m having fun seeing all the other fun creations pop up.  How’s KCW going for you?