Library dress in City Weekend

The green library dress I made for E last wear has been worn and loved so much.  It was made by modifying the Oliver+S library dress for knit fabrics, following this tutorial from Melissa at Meow Made.  She’s been after me to make another library dress for months and I finally got it made.

library dress : lizzieville 1

Her previous dress (using size 3 pattern as a base) is snug so I used the size 4 pieces this time.  I also added some length.  The main fabric is City Weekend, Liesl Gibson’s fabric released in 2010.  I found some stashed away in a fabric shop a couple years ago and have been saving it for something special ever since.  The gray contrast is Kaufman laguna jersey.  My pattern pieces didn’t quite line up in the front so I gathered the skirt piece a bit.  If I make another one I might run the band piece around the entire dress and maybe make the entire skirt a bit gathered, front and back.

library dress : lizzieville 3

I sewed each seam with my machine first and finished the edges with a serger.  I’m still working on my hemming skills, however.  Right now I’m using the double needle (with polyester thread) and wooly nylon in the bobbin.  I think the tension is still a bit off, pulling the stitches a bit more than necessary.  I’ve also been hand-winding the wooly nylon thread onto the bobbin after reading that tip somewhere, but I’m not sure if that’s making things better or worse.  I haven’t investigated using my walking foot or stretch thread yet, so those are other options to consider.  I was so close to buying a cover stitch machine but just couldn’t decide which one to get and whether it would be worth storing and bringing out another machine to the kitchen table when I sewed.

library dress : lizzieville 2

Anyway, even with less than perfect hems this is such a wearable dress and I love the colors.  If I had more time I’d be tempted to make her an entire wardrobe of these.  E would probably approve.  She grabbed this dress out of the clean clothes pile and insisted on wearing it today.  We got a few pictures before heading off to school.

library dress : lizzieville 4 library dress : lizzieville 5

Of course, O wanted in on the fun.  These two crack me up every day.

Sandbox (+hudson) pants

O needs some new pants, so I’m trying out some of my pants patterns to figure out what fits him best.  First up, Oliver+S sandbox pants in Kaufman corduroy with navy knit for front pocket trim and waistband.  I actually made a pair of these in a smaller size a year ago and they were a complete disaster, not even remotely fitting over O’s diaper.  This pair was more successful, but not without some frustrations.

sandbox pants : lizzieville 6

I made a couple modifications to the 2T pattern:

  1. Skipped the button on the back pockets
  2. Used the mini hudson pockets as a guide to replace the patch pockets
  3. Used the mini hudson pattern to make a knit waistband (using 1 inch elastic and no drawstring)
  4. Serged and sewed down all seam allowances like Rae describes here.  This is the best way I’ve found to get sturdy seams and I like the extra stitching lines it creates on something casual

sandbox pants : lizzieville 5

I like the knit waistband on these and I think they’re more comfortable and easier for him to pull up and down (we’re in the middle of potty training) than a drawstring.  I love the little back pockets, but overall the fit on these feels a little funky.  The rise on the back seems too high and the pockets too low.  I think 2T Oliver+S are designed to fit over diapers, and O is wearing a disposable in these pictures.

sandbox pants : lizzieville 1 sandbox pants : lizzieville 2

O is tall for his age so I should have added length as they are just barely long enough.  The pant legs are also fairly wide, which is tricky with boot season coming.

sandbox pants : lizzieville 4I contemplated trying the pattern again with a longer/thinner fit and shorter rise/higher pockets.  But with many other pants patterns to try, I think I’ll just move on.  So, more boy pants, Halloween costumes, and KCW prep up next.

Finally, some swingset skirts

I’ve had my eye on the Oliver+S swingset skirt for so many years.  But E had other skirts that she wasn’t outgrowing (skirts have a ridiculously long life compared to other articles of clothing, I’ve found) and so I just never got around to buying the pattern until now.  My pattern only goes up to size 5 so I knew I needed to get moving.  But I was happy to see that the pattern was rereleased yesterday (going up to size 14), so there can be more swingset skirts in our future.

swingset skirt : lizzieville 7

Both skirts are a size 5 with one inch of added length.  E prefers to wear her skirts low on her waist so the extra length was probably not necessary but should extend the wear.  The first one I made is purple corduroy with a lightweight white cotton for the lining.

swingset skirt : lizzieville 3

This is a simple pattern and my only problem was getting the elastic evenly distributed around the skirt.  It tended to bunch up on whatever side I’d inserted the elastic through but I’m hoping the ribbon covers up some of the bunching.  I think the ribbon is a cute feature but they are constantly coming undone.  I may need to just tack a little bow or ribbon in place because E is always fiddling with them.  Any hints on elastic or ribbon would be welcome.

swingset skirt : lizzieville 2

swingset skirt : lizzieville 4

swingset skirt : lizzieville 5

The other skirt is a Robert Kaufman shirting (same as the nightgown I made here).  I used the same fabric for the lining pieces because it’s what I had on hand and I’m really trying to get my fabric stash down to a couple bins.

swingset 2 : lizzieville1 swingset 2 : lizzieville2

In other news, this gal is finally a kindergartener.  Schools were delayed with a strike, pushing our already late start date even later.  E is exhausted but happy.  We miss having her around but we are settling into our new routine.  And I’m also looking forward to having a bit more sewing time after a busy summer.

Strawberry hopscotch

Just in time for a Strawberry Festival visit, a strawberry dress for E.  This is an Oliver + S hopscotch dress in a Heather Ross knit.  I made this dress one time before and after rereading my notes and the comments I remembered how small this pattern runs.  I decided to buy the bigger size range and sew up a size 6 (rather than the lengthened size 4 I’ve been sewing lately). hopscotch : lizzieville 1 I didn’t make any changes to the pattern except to bind the sleeves with a little cuff instead of hemming.  I also skipped the interfacing on the front because I didn’t have the correct kind on hand.  This made the front a bit floppy and the seam allowance doesn’t like to lie flat.  In the future I might add a little piping/trim along that seam.  Or perhaps topstitch?  Now that I have the pattern thought size 12 I have plenty of time to experiment. hopscotch : lizzieville 4 I did notice that the stitches on the bottom hem have already pulled out in a few places.  I need to figure out the best combination of needle, stitch setting, and threads.  Mostly I just want to buy a coverstitch machine.  I often admire the lovely stitching on our store-bought shirts and wish I could recreate those finishes. hopscotch : lizzieville 5 hopscotch : lizzieville 6 A simple little dress, perfect for play.

Bucket hats, take 3

This is my third summer making Oliver+S bucket hats.  This year I made size large for both kids as they outgrew the size mediums from previous years.  O’s head is large for his age, but this pattern also seems to consistently run small.  I made the hats identical (andover chambray on one side, white with black dots on the other) as O loves hats but would always prefer to take E’s hat off her head.  I’m hoping that matching hats might make sharing easier.

bucket hats : Lizzieville 3

I added one inch to both brims to get a bit more sun protection.  I didn’t have any sew-in interfacing so I used fusible fleece for the brim and also used some lightweight interfacing on the crown.  These hats are so big, I felt they needed a bit of extra structure.

bucket hats : Lizzieville 5 bucket hats : Lizzieville 2

I used the no-handstitch method from A Little Gray and it worked like a charm.  Normally I’m a big fan of hand stitching but loved the machine finish here.

bucket hats : Lizzieville 1 bucket hats : Lizzieville 6

The kids will probably reach for other, store-bought hats most of the summer.  These tend to fly off in the wind or with much movement and they’re fairly heavy and hot compared with the nice fast-drying and lightweight fabrics from our REI hats.  But for now, matching hats are pretty fun.

bucket hats : Lizzieville 4

KCW : badminton dress turned nightgown

One last Kid’s Clothes Week project to share.


I bought the Oliver+S badminton skort/top/dress pattern for the skort.  The top/dress wasn’t quite my style so I had no plans to make it.  But somehow knowing that E was about to outgrow the pattern, I felt this urge to sew up all the options.  I figured that a simplified version of the dress would work well as a summer nightgown.

badminton nightgown : lizzieville

badminton nightgown : lizzieville 2

This is a size 4 with added width and length, no hem facing/scallops, and no bow detail across the bodice.  I really love the little shoulder ruffles.  The fabric is Botanica from Felicity Miller.  The colors and print are lovely but I miss the lightweight drape of the Heather Ross fabrics I’ve been working with lately.

badminton nightgown : lizzieville 1 badminton nightgown : lizzieville 3 badminton nightgown : lizzieville 4

Even with the added length this dress is on the short side, although just fine for a summer nightgown.  I can definitely move into the size 5 Oliver+S patterns now.  I’ve been saving up a few patterns in the larger size range and it will be fun to pull them out come fall.

badminton nightgown : lizzieville 5

I think that’s all for Kid’s Clothes Week, although we do have a sudden need for some new summer hats.  And I’m trying another sewing project for myself, after seeing all the fantastic Me Made May creations last month. We shall see!

KCW : strawberry skirt, strawberry bows

0315-15-sum-button3 This one has nothing to do with the traveling theme, but at least I made it this week.  This is the simple skirt from MADE.  It’s my third time with this pattern, after making two unicorn skirts before.  This is such a fast sew.  Perfect for this, a birthday gift for one of E’s preschool friends. skirt and bows : Lizzieville 3 I used the full width of the fabric, 15 inch length, and 1 inch elastic.  Nothing much to say about this one except that I do love this strawberry fabric from Heather Ross.  Lovely and light and the colors make me so happy.  To go along with the skirt I whipped up some hair bows from the free Oliver+S pattern.  Super fast and super easy. skirt and bows : Lizzieville 2 skirt and bows : Lizzieville 4 Kid’s Clothes Week summer edition + strawberries seems pretty perfect. skirt and bows : Lizzieville 1

KCW : sailboat set

0315-15-sum-button3 It’s Kid’s Clothes Week, summer edition!  I don’t really take part in many sewing challenges or sew alongs but this is one I really enjoy.  I’m starting off the week sharing something I finished up last week because my plan-trace-cut-sew-photograph cycle is really slow. Plus it’s Oliver + S sailboat top and pants, which fits so nicely with the traveling theme. Sailboat set : Lizzieville 7 The sailboat pants are a size 2T in Kaufman double cloth.  This is such lovely and soft fabric but it was not a great choice for these pants because it added a lot of bulk.  We’ll see how it wears.  I skipped the side vents due to a tracing error and didn’t make button holes, just sewed the buttons through all the layers. Sailboat set : Lizzieville 3 I’m having a little trouble figuring out the sizing on these pants.  O is currently wearing his old 18 month pair, this pair, and a size 3T passed down from his sister.  The rise is kind of screwy on all the pairs and they tend to fall off when he’s wearing disposable diapers.  But they do look pretty cute with his little belly. Sailboat set : Lizzieville 5 Sailboat set : Lizzieville 6 The style of the sailboat top never really caught my eye, but I figured I should give it a try. I repurposed an Old Navy tshirt and modified the size 2T pattern in a couple ways.  I slimmed the arms and reused the sleeve hems.  I eliminated the front hem facing and curve to be able to reuse the tshirt hem and also added 2+ inches to length.  I also used snaps at the shoulders instead of buttons.  You need to unsnap all the snaps to take this on and off and I’m hoping that the snaps will hold up better than buttonholes. Sailboat set : Lizzieville 8 Sailboat set : Lizzieville 2I was not expecting to like this shirt pattern.  But in the end I am much more satisfied with the shirt than the pants.  There’s just something cute about little boys in stripes, trying to sneak into the chicken coop.  Love this little guy. Sailboat set : Lizzieville 4 I have been putting in my hour of sewing a day and hope to report back soon with some other finished projects.

KCW : bias-trimmed bee apron


E has needed a new art smock for quite a while now.  She’s worn this art smock from Little Things to Sew for almost three years and has completely outgrown the size small. Her previous smock has been so well-loved and heavily used that I was planning to make her a size up in the same pattern.  But after flipping through the book E decided she preferred the bias-trimmed apron instead. bias trimmed apron : Lizzieville 6 bias trimmed apron : Lizzieville 2 I made a medium (sizes 3-6) and it is plenty roomy on E.  Since the theme of Kid’s Clothes Week this time around was Wild Things I searched in my stash for some more animal fabric.  I came up with some more Heather Ross, this time two different bee-themed prints.  I had a fat quarter of each print and was able to squeeze this one out, just barely.  I love the vibrant colors although it’s definitely a bit wilder than my normal. bias trimmed apron : Lizzieville 5 I used skinnier-than-called-for bias tape and I like the more delicate look it created.  I hand finished most of the bias tape because I like how clean it looks.  I ran out of bias at the end so I just hemmed as usual.  Hopefully this will protect E’s clothes for the next three years. She’s such a busy artist these days and it’s so fun to watch her create. bias trimmed apron : Lizzieville 4 I think that’s it for Kid’s Clothes Week this time around.  Next up, some sewing for O.

Happy birthday roller skate

E turned 5 (five!) this weekend and so I made her a dress for the occasion.  She went through my fabrics and eventually settled on a floral fabric from my grandmother.  My grandmother was a quilter so most of her fabrics are small pieces, but she must have intended this one for a quilt backing as she had a few yards.  After a bit of deliberation I decided to give the Oliver+S roller skate dress another try.  I made a tunic version two summers ago.  rollerskate dress : Lizzieville 4 E’s measurements put her at a size 3 for chest/waist and a size 5 for height.  I used the size 4 pattern with some added length and dress width.  I modified the collar facing to be rounded (inspired by Gailhere) because I was concerned that getting an even and orderly v shaped point on the front facing was going to be tricky.  I’m not much for that kind of detail.  I am glad I added the contrasting facing this time and I think it’s my favorite part of this pattern. rollerskate dress : Lizzieville 3 rollerskate dress : Lizzieville 2 I also love that E’s decided to start wearing knee socks, inspired by the fabulous Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows.  Ivy has some great outfits and is often sporting knee socks.  I kind of want to copy as many of Ivy’s outfits as I can for spring. rollerskate dress : Lizzieville 1 This is an easy dress to whip up (although the facing slows things down a bit).  I appreciate only having one button and no buttonholes.  But the fit on this pattern just doesn’t work well for E.  Same as last time, the bodice parts tends to ride up and the fit is funky around the arms.  You can see it pulling up a bit here, although it tends to be much worse than this picture shows.rollerskate dress : Lizzieville 5 She spent the entire day pulling her dress down.  Last time I sort of fixed the problem by loosening the elastic a bunch.  I forgot to do that this time and followed the directions for elastic length.  I’ll have to go back and add a chunk of elastic and see if that helps. [Edited to add:  a went back and added 4 inches to the elastic after all your help advice.  Thank you!]  Anyone else have this problem?  I’m sad that this dress wasn’t as great as I’d hoped for E’s special day.  But it was lovely to celebrate this fabulous girl.  I am so excited to see what five brings for her and us. rollerskate dress : Lizzieville 9 After her party we headed outside to get these pictures.  Of course O wanted in on the action.  He got to wear his art museum vest from Christmas, in reverse, for the festivities. rollerskate dress : Lizzieville 8 rollerskate dress : Lizzieville 7 rollerskate dress : Lizzieville 6 And hooray, it’s spring!  I love that E’s birthday means the flowers are blooming in the front yard.  Hope spring (or fall!) is a welcome addition to your life these days.