Sunday, January 6, 2013

Christmas Crafts: Lucia's Backpack

I've been wanting to make Lucia a backpack for a long time.  Christmas was the perfect occasion.

The fabric, Ukulele by Heather Ross, is perfect, both for the bag and for Lucia.  One of her favorite things is playing the guitar with her dad.  So awhile back he bought her a real, nice ukulele.  I thought it was a little much for a two year old, but she has not only learned how to strum, she has also learned respect for the instrument (most of the time) and tune it (haha).

Back to the bag.  The pattern is the toddler backpack by Made by Rae using the backpack instructions from the Oliver + S Little Things to Sew book.   I bought the pattern before she added the lining instructions, so with the new pattern that should be all you need.

This was definitely the most rewarding sewing I've done recently.  The look on her face when she opened the gift was priceless.  And the first words out of her mouth... "my fabric"... even more priceless.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas Crafts: Lucia's Dress

Do you ever see a sewing pattern and a piece of fabric that you think just HAVE to go together?  This was one of those times for me.  I can't remember which I saw first but once I had the idea in my head I just had to do it and I knew it would make the nicest Christmas dress.  But I was also having one of those times when I couldn't spend any extra money on sewing.  So, back in October when Oliver + S was having their 50% off paper patterns sale I bought this one.  And then on Small Business Saturday I ordered the fabric from Purl Soho, it was all coming together.

The fabric is "Green Peaceful Cooing" a Nani Iro double guaze from Summer 2012.  I need to do a whole post on my love for Nani Iro fabrics by Naomi Ito--these fabrics never stay in my stash long.  I love this one in particular, the border print and the color worked perfectly for what I wanted.  The print reminds me just a bit of popcorn--another Christmas tradition.  And guess what, I just read that emerald is the Pantone color of 2013, so maybe she can wear this dress beyond the holidays.

The pattern is the Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress.  I wondered if the pattern was really worth purchasing because I was sure that there was something similar in my stash or in an Ottobre magazine somewhere. But I should have know that like all of their other patterns, Oliver + S makes it special.  As others have commented, this dress is quite intricate and involved.  I love the little details, like the self-facings on view B.

I made a size 4 for Lucia and decided to leave off the waist darts because in many ways Lucia still has a toddler's belly (which I love).  Liesl has a nice blog post on how to modify the bodice to accommodate this but I noticed that the smallest sizes don't have the darts so I fit the bodice muslin without them and it was perfect.  I didn't end up adding extra fabric to the skirt either, so it is a little less full than the original.

I think the most time consuming thing about the pattern is all of the hand sewing.  But that actually ended up creating one of the best memories for me.  I got to sit on the couch and sew it while Lucia sat next to me sewing some lacing cards.  She also "made" me a Christmas dress several times using a dishtowel.  And then she went around church on Christmas Eve and told everyone that I had made her dress.  The best part of all of this is that she is learning that such things are made by people and that if she wants to do that someday she can.

Anyway, the only thing I really regret in making this dress is that I wasn't careful enough with the collar to make sure the undercollar didn't stick out and that made the left collar flip up.  It was an easy fix when I noticed it, but it was too late at night to care.  (That's when you know you should go to bed.)  I tacked it down in the end and it is better after it was washed, so in the end it wasn't too bad, but lesson learned...

I definitely have plans to make this pattern again.  In fact, I have the perfect fabric in my stash to make one for Elena's first birthday--this time with the petal sleeves.