Practice Flower Girl Dress (An Update)

Fairy Tale Dress Pattern
After my first attempt at a flower girl dress, I reverted back to my go-to pattern maker of choice: Oliver + S, with the fairy tale dress pattern. It irks me that I didn’t have enough foresight to order the paper version when it was on sale, but the convenience of an instant download was a life-saver! With less than 2 weeks until the wedding, I am seriously running out of time.

So you might wonder why I chose the fairytale dress, when it doesn’t seem to meet the criteria I was looking for in a flower girl dress (circle skirt and v-back detail). Here are my reasons:

  • circle skirts are overrated – although twirly, the movement and drape make it difficult to straighten out for photos. A gathered skirt behaves predictably and cooperates with the camera.
  • the v-back modification is rather simple – draw an angled line and shorten the zipper.

What I gain: a wonderfully fitting bodice and impeccable construction of an Oliver + S pattern. I’ve also been combing through the fairy tale dress forum to glean useful tips on sewing the dress. There are some great discussion about things that I need to know that I didn’t know that I needed to know. For instance, creating a one-piece skirt, instead of cutting out 3 separate pieces. Brilliant!

I don’t have time to make a practice fairy tale dress, so I just made a muslin of the bodice to get the perfect fit for Froo. Size 6 with an added 1 1/2″ to the length (long torso) and 1/4″ removed from the centre back piece.

I considered adding the tulip cap sleeves because they are so darn tootin’ cute. I made a pair of sleeves, had a bit of a hiccup trying to figure out the construction, added a thread for discussion, and within a matter of minutes, I had helpful people offering suggestions! The internet is one of my best sewing tools! I then sewed one sleeve, had Froo try on the dress and took a FaceTime poll with the in-laws. Sleeveless won by a landslide. I unstitched the sleeve and now, I’m almost done making the BEST DRESS EVER. Seriously, after this dress, I should stop making dresses, because nothing will ever be as awesome. Except maybe another fairy tale dress with tulip sleeves…

I realize that I can’t very well post photos of the finished dress before the wedding, so I’ll leave you with a sneak peek of the fabric:
Flower Girl Dress Fabric
Isn’t it gorgeous?

I am both scared and excited–the makings of a nervous wreck. It is such an exhilarating feeling! I still have a mini ring bearer suit to make and perhaps, finish the grey suit. At this point, I think the plaid shorts are good enough perfect for the rehearsal.

I hope you’ll visit again! The next time you’re here, I should have the actual flower girl dress and ring boy suit to show you!

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Practice flower girl dress for Froo

Froo's Georgia Twirl Dress
I had a style of dress in mind for Froo’s flower girl dress. It would be ivory (as requested by the bride), but I wanted it to look like this dress I made for her. Simple enough: sleeveless, with a v-back opening, lowered waistline and a circle skirt. So the challenge: attaching a circle skirt to a woven fabric, with double layers to sandwich tulle for fullness. Yeah, no.

While searching for a pattern, I saw this beautiful eyelet dress by iCandy, made from the Georgia Twirl dress pattern by Shwin Designs. For Froo’s practice flower girl dress, I decided on a lightweight cotton voile in bright coral pink. I figured it would be worn again if it were pink, as opposed to ivory.

I sewed up a size 6, without any modifications, except added length and a couple layers of gathered tulle. Oh, and a top layer of matching lace!
Froo's Georgia Twirl Dress
For the tulle, I cut 4 layers of the bottom skirt piece. I sewed 2 together, making an extra wide skirt. Afterwards, I layered both skirts together to gather the waist and sewed it to the back of the front skirt piece.
Froo's Georgia Twirl Dress
The skirt on its own is very full and swingy, but the tulle adds a fullness that elevates the dress from “regular princess” to “fairy princess”. An important distinction, I’m told.
Froo's Georgia Twirl Dress
The back has a v-back opening with a button closure. One thing I didn’t realize before buying the pattern is that the skirt is completely open at the back. Not a huge problem–since the circle skirt is wide, it covers really well when overlapped. There are also optional instructions to tack the skirt in place.
Froo's Georgia Twirl Dress
The dress is too big at the bodice, even though I brought the bodice in an inch at each side. I could have moved the buttons over, but then I would have lost the v-back detail. In this instance, style won over fit.
Froo's Georgia Twirl Dress
Froo's Georgia Twirl Dress
Froo's Georgia Twirl Dress
Froo's Georgia Twirl Dress
Froo's Georgia Twirl Dress
The actual flower girl dress fabric is ah-mazing. So excited to sew it up, but a little scared, too. While I love this practice flower girl dress and I can see the potential with a better fitting bodice, I’m not sure if the fabric will work with the open back detail. I might have to try another pattern!

I’ll need to work this out soon–the wedding is only a couple of weeks away! I’ll try to keep you updated with my progress. I’m fully prepared for some late night frenzied sewing until everything is done (and perfect). I’m not a perfectionist, by no means, I just want both Froo & Boo’s garments to reflect a careful detail to fit, fabric and style–not simply that it was handmade by mommy. Besides, it’s easy enough to buy ready-to-wear, but this is Uncle E’s wedding–we are all so excited!

Thanks for visiting!
Froo's Georgia Twirl Dress

Practice Suit for Boo

Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
My brother-in-law (aka “Uncle E”), is getting married in Vancouver this September! The hubs will be a groomsman, while Froo & Boo will be the flower girl and ring bearer, respectively.

I’m super excited about the wedding, but I must admit, I have a bit of anxiety about Boo running walking down the aisle and performing his ring bearer duties. I decided to channel that anxiety into sewing a suit for Boo, but I wanted to make a wearable muslin first, to make sure it fits.

I’m especially worried about Boo in photos. With the going rate of wedding photographers these days, I’m not sure Uncle E will appreciate moments like this:
Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
I’m totally dating myself, but the photographer at my wedding shot in film. So what am I thinking? This cute face might require oodles of shots, but it’s all digital and completely worth it! The hubs thinks I’m a crazy doting mommy.
Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
For the suit jacket, I used the Blank Slate Basic Blazer pattern by Melly Sews. I used it once before, but modified, to make Froo a fitted blazer for the Project Run & Play competition. Since Boo is a large 3 year old boy, I sewed up a size 4, without any modifications. The only thing I left out were the welt pockets.

The fabric is a cheap, brushed grey canvas. It has a soft, flannel-like feel to it, but I found it in the duck cloth canvas section at Fabric Outlet in San Francisco. It’s quite heavy, making it more appropriate for a winter suit.
Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
The lining is a lightweight shirting cotton in a green/brown plaid. Although I like that the lining is soft and gives the blazer a hipster vibe, I think I should have used lining fabric: the silky smoothness would help ease the jacket on, especially through the sleeves. At one point, I had to bend Boo’s long arms like a pretzel to get the blazer on.
Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
I used large brown leather buttons on the front. For a practice blazer, they are the most expensive part of the suit!
Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
The sleeve buttons are purely decorative. I used the same ones on the dress I made for my niece last year. They are my favourites and I’ve plumb run out. I’m glad we’re going back to Vancouver, so I can pick some up at Dressew. Not sure why, but I’m always drawn to these shiny buttons. Plus, they are only 49 cents for a 3-pack!
Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
I’m so glad I made a muslin! Usually, I feel that it’s a waste of time and fabric to make what will only become a practice garment. However, I didn’t realize just how big my boy is. He hasn’t been around on ye olde blog since his 3rd birthday, but the blazer is on the verge of being tight and short in the arms. Not the fault of the pattern–it is excellent, with great instructions. Neither is Boo to blame, so I guess it’s on me–I should have taken his measurements beforehand!
Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
Boo’s dress shirt is from Crew Cuts, shorts from Janie & Jack, shoes from Sperry Top-Sider and his bow tie is an oldie. It will be replaced with an ivory satin one, that I will make from the fabric that will become Froo’s flower girl dress. I’m very excited about Froo’s dress. Very, very excited.
Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
I’m hoping to make the Oliver+S art museum vest and trousers to complete Boo’s 3-piece suit. I’m a little behind on time, so I’ll get to those after I make the actual ring bearer suit. Besides, I’m confident that the pattern will work out perfectly and I think it would be cute for Boo to wear his grey suit to the rehearsal dinner.

With the right motivation, I’m sure Boo will be a decent ring bearer. In Boo’s world, motivation is defined as: anything sweet and sticky, usually appearing in a lollipop form. Now all we have to work on is separating Boo from his hippo…
Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
I’ll end with a rare moment–Boo showing his “serious” side:
Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
Thanks for visiting on the day of my 2nd blogiversary! The next time we meet again, I’ll have a practice flower girl dress to show you!

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The hubs’ first DIY project

Bean Bag Toss Board
Last Saturday, the Froo & Boo family went to the movies in the park. We met up with friends, ate from food trucks and sat on picnic blankets. There were oodles of outdoor activities, bean bag toss being a popular one. The hubs looked at the bean bag toss board and said, “I can make that.”

I raised an eyebrow. The hubs uses hockey tape to “fix” things. That is the extent of his aptitude for anything handy. His usual reaction is to find a barcode to scan–trying to find the best online deal.

“Are you sure? There are hinges on the legs!” (Not to mention dovetail joints, a smooth lacquered surface and a perfectly round cut-out hole.)

“Sure, why not?”, he says.

The next day, the hubs went to the Home Depot while Boo and I were napping. When I woke up, the hubs was putting the finishing touches of hockey tape to his bean bag toss board. He asked me to make some bean bags while Froo decorated the board with crayon drawings of Peppa Pig.
Bean Bag Toss Board
Froo & Boo adore Peppa Pig. The hubs thinks it’s because it’s exactly the kids’ lives in a cartoon.
Bean Bag Toss Board
I think the hubs makes an excellent Daddy Pig.
Bean Bag Toss Board
I used leftover charm squares (5″ pre-cut) from my Lotta Jansdotter Echo cushions to make quick bean bags. I filled them up with poly-pellets until they were 2/3 full, giving me enough room to machine stitch the opening shut. It’s still one of my favourite prints.
Bean Bag Toss Board
Ok, so I’ll admit, I laughed when I saw the bean bag toss board. The hubs traced the kids’ butterfly net to get a huge hole, used hockey tape around the edges and the legs do not hinge, but the kids were really excited–they LOVED it! I later found out that the board is called a cornhole. I think you could fit a dozen ears of corn through this one:
Bean Bag Toss Board
It’s actually a good thing that the hole is so big. Boo gets upset when the bean bag misses, so having a large target to hit increases the probability of the bean bag going in. Froo & Boo use both the bean bags and fabric juggling balls to play.

When I asked the kids to take photos, Froo was playing princess dress-up–wearing a tiara and my mom’s upcycled dress as her princess costume. It’s one of her favourite dresses.
Bean Bag Toss Board
Boo didn’t want to be photographed–he was too busy playing with his Lego DUPLO. I managed to get one blurry photo. I wish there was an Auto-Boo-Mode on my camera. By the time I set up my camera to photograph him, he’s gone. I just have to blindly shoot away in a 2-second time frame. Boo is wearing his favourite shorts.
Bean Bag Toss Board
I’d like to think that I inspired the hubs to take on his first DIY project, but I’m not so sure about that. After I started working full-time, the hubs has been working extra hard to create balance within the family. If anything, I’m inspired by his confidence to simply make something. If it were my project, I would have researched different plans and materials, agonized over every detail and it would have taken roughly 6 months to completion.

He decided to make a bean bag toss board on Saturday, then completed it on Sunday afternoon. It’s not perfect, it’s completely laughable, but it’s a handmade project that makes our family happy. What is better than that?
Froo & Boo

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Tutorial: Adding piping to a skirt hem

Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Froo had a cute dress from Target with a piped hem. The finishing is horrendous, but I guess that’s the way it goes with store-bought clothing on the cheap. When I made Froo a skirt awhile back, I decided to write up a tutorial on how to add piping to a skirt hem, that is completely encased. I tend to put piping on just about everything, since it’s such a great way to add a pop of contrast and create dramatic lines.

I used the free Lazy Days Skirt pattern by Oliver + S because it is oh-so-simple (a 1-piece skirt!) and the hem is completely straight. If you are going to add piping to a skirt with a curved hem, you will need to modify the tutorial by creating a curved bottom hem (at Step 6).

Step 1
Cut your skirt pattern. For my almost 6-year old Froo, I cut a 17″ skirt. Cut another length of fabric 3″ wide. This will become the bottom hem.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 2
Following the pattern instructions, sew up the skirt to make a tube. Line the edge of the piping to the front edge of the skirt. Using a zipper foot, sew the piping onto the skirt. Position your needle to sew as close to the cording as possible–I sew directly on top of the stitching on the piping. Start sewing 2″ from the back seam and finish sewing 2″ to the back seam. Leave a tail on each end that extends 1-2″ beyond the back seam.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 3
To ensure you get a nice finish on your piping, follow the next set of instructions. Sophie, from the blog C’est la vie, has an excellent tutorial on adding piping with clear photos on finishing piping ends.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 4
Pin or clip the piping into place. Line up the piping fold with the back seam. Finish sewing the piping to the edge of the skirt hem.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 5
Sew the bottom hem into a tube with the same seam allowance as the skirt tube. Iron seams open. With right sides together, pin or clip the bottom hem to the skirt, sandwiching the piping in between. Match up the back seams.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 6
Using the original stitching as a guide, sew 1/16″ (or super close) to the left side of the seam. This ensures that any thread that is sewn on the piping will not show through to the other side.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 7
Fold and iron bottom hem 1″. Then iron entire bottom hem up so that the piping is at the bottom.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 8
Replace the zipper foot with the regular foot and topstitch the hem in place. At this point, you will want to match your thread colour, since it will show on the front of the skirt.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 9
Finish the waistband of the skirt. That’s pretty much it! Iron your skirt, or don’t (I didn’t!). It’s up to you, really. I’ve found that with piping and an additional bottom hem, there’s enough weight to the hem that it doesn’t wrinkle as much.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
I guess I should have ironed. Oops.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 10
Take photos of your model wearing the skirt, if she’s willing. I love that the piping on the hem is completely encased–you can see a peek of the inside of Froo’s skirt and it still looks great.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
About the fabric: it’s definitely a favourite–both Froo & Boo love to point out different sea creatures (Boo is obsessed with the Octonauts) and it just feels happy. I pinned it a couple of years ago–it’s called Kelp Forest by Kokka, but I’m pretty sure it’s nowhere to be found on the Internet. Sorry to have kept the good stuff hidden, but I thought you’d like to know. I’m always so curious when I see awesome fabric on a sewing blog and the fabric is unidentified, but anyhoo…

Happy sewing!
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem

Navy & Pink Popover Sundress

There is a very good reason for this girl’s closed-mouth smile:
Navy & Pink Popover Dress
A missing tooth!
Navy & Pink Popover Dress
I think it looks awesome. Or rather, the absence of her tooth looks awesome.
Navy & Pink Popover Dress
The little tooth next to the gap is wobbly. At this rate, it will fall out before her new tooth has a chance to grow, widening the gap. I’m not sure why I find this super exciting.
Navy & Pink Popover Dress
Anyhoo, I made Froo a dress! The Oliver + S popover sundress. A free pattern for the best kind of summer dress–one that can quickly slip on and off over a swimsuit. The pink anchor print knit fabric is the same thin jersey knit that I used for Froo’s scoop neck shirt. I love the hungie gungie version of the knit popover and wanted to make a similar dress with added gathers for fullness. I started with a size 6, then added 6 inches to the width and 2 inches to the length of the dress.
Navy & Pink Popover Dress
I opted for packaged bias tape and piping in navy. I added fusible interfacing to the yoke to give it more structure. Otherwise, I sewed up the knit exactly the same way I would sew a woven, since the seams don’t need to be stretched.
Navy & Pink Popover Dress
This is the best full-length photo I got of Froo’s dress. Every time I ask Froo to stand for a photo, she starts to dance, causing all sorts of blurriness and pulled faces. The dancing is pretty funny, as are the faces.
Navy & Pink Popover Dress
This smile. Hee hee. Not a bad way to end my 100th blog post.
Navy & Pink Popover Dress

A Summer Skirt for Froo

Embroidered Hem Summer Skirt
It’s been awhile since my last post! Life has been changing and moving forward quite rapidly, with hardly a moment to sew. I was finally able to squeeze in a sewing project, so I took it slow with embroidered hand stitching. I know, it makes absolutely no sense. I should be whipping up a quick project or checking off items in my sewing queue for instant gratification. Instead, I was led by a pair of purple sandals.
Embroidered Hem Summer Skirt
I bought Froo a pair of white Saltwater sandals for the summer. I ordered a size up, since my girl is growing like a weed. They were much too big, so I’m saving them for later, but in the meantime, I ordered another pair in her size. Except she wanted them in purple. Shiny purple.

It’s hard keeping up with Froo’s favourite colours! I searched Froo’s closet–she has one purple polo shirt–the one she wore with her Max & Ruby Halloween costume. I’m all for bright show-stopping shoes, but a bit of coordination would bring balance to Froo’s overall look. Besides, these are the shoes she will likely be wearing all summer long.

Instead of going for matchy-matchy, I settled on taupe polka dot fabric and decided to embroider the hem with purple stitches. To keep the skirt simple, I used the (free!) Lazy Days Skirt pattern by Oliver + S.
Embroidered Hem Summer Skirt
Using this amazing Sashiko embroidered pouch as inspiration, I proceeded to hand stitch some purple perle cotton to the bottom hem. I had 3 shades of purple, so I used all of them to create an ombre effect.
Embroidered Hem Summer Skirt
The hem is finished with piping and the inside of the skirt has an additional band of fabric to hide the stitching. The extra weighted hem gives the skirt structure, which I’m hoping will eliminate the need for ironing! I love how it turned out!
Embroidered Hem Summer Skirt
My thoughts on hand stitching? It’s incredibly slow. In a good way. It feels like time slows down, that the world becomes quieter–creating a peaceful space to think clearly. The task is not difficult, yet still requires focused concentration and care. In those quiet moments, I feel like I’ve just hit the “pause button” on life.
Embroidered Hem Summer Skirt
Embroidered Hem Summer Skirt
Embroidered Hem Summer Skirt
After my last post, I was planning on taking a short break, but it ended up lasting several months! I wasn’t even sure if I would continue to blog–I had my final blog post in draft mode and was planning to publish it. I came to a point where I just thought, “what am I doing this for?” The easy answers always hold true–that I enjoy sewing and blogging, I get a thrill out of chasing new designs out of my head and I love to create. I just needed to define some new goals.

My previous goals centered around learning new sewing skills. Everything was so exciting–invisible zippers, welt pockets, lining! But once I had accomplished a set of skills and my confidence grew, I knew that I had the ability to pick up new sewing skills. While gaining confidence, I felt that I was losing excitement–which was so discouraging and surprising at the same time.

While my sewing machine was collecting dust, I donated outgrown kids clothes/toys/stuff, put up a gallery wall, transferred Froo & Boo into bunk beds, transformed Froo’s room into a playroom/guest room, built some IKEA furniture, hosted house guests (twice), looked for a job and found a job! I am excited about working at a start-up in the Silicon Valley. The hubs and I LOVE the HBO show, but rest assured, I am nothing like the Canadian guy, Gilfoyle!

My new goal? Instead of collecting sewing skills, I just want to live a creative life. How’s that for a completely vague and unmeasurable goal? I recently read the book “Show Your Work“, by Austin Kleon. I think it’s just the book I needed to read. Keep on creating, keep on sharing. Now, more than ever, I won’t have much time to create, but when I do, I have this space to share my work. I will post when I can.

So I’ve thrown out my old sewing queue. With limited time, I want my sewing projects to count. While redoing the kids’ room, I bought a pair of fabric bins. The horror! I could have made them myself, for cheaper, with just the right fabric… but it felt GOOD. I’ve come full circle–one of my earliest memorable sewing projects were fabric bins for Boo’s nursery. That felt AMAZING! But who knows, maybe projects will still be driven out of necessity, as in this case, to coordinate with purple sandals!
Embroidered Hem Summer Skirt

KCW Spring 2014: Froo’s Mini Me

Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
I’ve missed the last 2 seasons of KCW (Kids Clothes Week), so I was determined to participate in this one. As luck would have it, we are away the entire week, so I made Froo & Boo’s outfits last week and photographed them wearing their new outfits this week!
kid's clothes weekThe theme for KCW is “mini me”. I already have several examples of handmade “mini me” garments with both Froo (matching dresses / shirts) & Boo (grey shirts), so instead, I thought Boo could be Froo’s “mini me”. Besides, they were both in need of a pair of easy-wear bottoms and spring-time shirts.
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
For Froo & Boo’s bottoms, the common fabric is Essex yarn dyed linen in denim. The fabric looks like chambray, but with the linen content, has a more textured feel. Froo’s pants are pattern “O” from the book, Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids. Boo’s pants are the art museum trousers by oliver+s. If the combo looks familiar, it’s because I repeated the bamboo knit versions I made for Project Run & Play. Can’t go wrong with what works!
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
While Froo’s pants are wonderfully simple, I love the details of the art museum trousers! The welt pockets took some time sewing in, but give the trousers a professionally finished look. The pockets look a little funky from the inside and I’m not sure if they will be comfortable sitting in–which shouldn’t be a problem, since Boo does not sit still.
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
I thought navy blue would be the perfect pairing for linen pants since the colour works well for both girls and boys. Froo’s pinafore is pattern “R” from the same book. I omitted the frilly sleeves and added a colour block hem, shortening the dress into a top. The navy blue fabric is part of the Uno collection, from the Danish company Stof. The bright pink fabric is Kona Cotton in Pomegranate–also used in Froo’s self-designed dress.
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
I wanted to make Boo a super lightweight, long-sleeve shirt, using the field trip raglan pattern by oliver+s. I have a hard time getting Boo to wear a jacket, so long-sleeve shirts are our happy compromise. The navy slub knit sleeves are slightly sheer, but nice and soft. I added banded cuffs on the sleeves and hem for extra length. I even managed to match up the stripes on both sides!
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
We have enjoyed an early start to spring break with a trip to Legoland, where we celebrated Boo’s 3rd birthday! We celebrated a little early, leaving Legoland yesterday, on Boo’s 3rd birthday. We took advantage of his last couple of days as a 2-year old to get free admission and meals. We are currently enjoying a great time in San Diego!
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
Boo is in many ways, Froo’s “mini me”. He follows her, repeats what she says and mimics everything she does. But with increasing age, begets increasing wisdom–he is completely unafraid of telling his sister she is wrong. Froo is unaccustomed to being told she is wrong–resulting in heated arguments between a 3 and 5 year old pair of accusatory (but loving?) siblings. My ears cannot handle the loud squabbles. I just need to remember the tender moments between them–usually when they are in cahoots, trying to hide something from me. Oh brother.

Boo’s shirt stayed clean for roughly 30 minutes, until it was time for breakfast and became spotted with red smoothie. I can’t believe my Boo is 3! When I asked him if he was big or little, he responded with, “I’m a little bit big, but I’m still little.” I think I’m ok with that. xoxo.
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014

Perfect Pattern Parcel: The Lady Skater Dress

Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
I made a dress. But hold on a life-altering moment, I made a dress that I actually like AND one I would wear often AND could work like a boss* (those were actually part of the sewing instructions!). I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I LOVE my new dress!
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
I’m participating in the Perfect Pattern Parcel #1 blog tour today! Bloggers extraordinaire, Jill (Made with Moxie) and Rachel (Imagine Gnats), have put together a great selection of PDF patterns to support independent designers and to encourage a growing community of makers. Proceeds from Parcel #1 will raise funds to Donors Choose–a charity organization that helps students in need. I’m honoured to be sharing my handmade dress with you!

Parcel 1 CollageThe Skater Dress by Kitschycoo / Dandelion Dress & Top by Seamster Patterns / Summer Concert Tee by Dixie DIY / Ava by Victory Patterns / Accordion Bag by Sew Sweetness

I used black bamboo stretch French terry, my all-time favourite knit, which is also the same fabric I used for Boo’s art museum vest and trousers. It is sooooo soft and drapes beautifully. I would highly recommend bamboo stretch French terry because it doesn’t curl, making it easy to lay flat, cut and sew.
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
I chose the 3/4 length sleeve option. Then I decided to mix things up a bit and add a cowl neck collar with side zippers, the same way that I made Froo’s yellow sweater. I inched up the front neckline by 3 inches and attached a 5 inch collar. The zippers give me options for wearing the collar in different ways. Scroll down for a mini tutorial!
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
I can see this dress becoming a staple in my wardrobe. Which is surprising since I hardly ever wear black, solid colours, or dresses. I live in jeans and shirts with happy colours and interesting patterns, polka dots, florals and graphic prints.
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
The dress came together really quickly. The instructions were clear and straightforward, with oodles of useful information on sewing with knit fabric. I even bought black serger thread to match my fabric! I like the cowl neck collar the best folded over once.
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
As for outfitting the Lady Skater dress, I’m obsessed with my moccasin boots. I can’t help it. I wear them with everything! I ordered the very last pair that just happened to be in my size on sale, as a Christmas present from the hubs. They didn’t arrive for over a month, so I woefully thought they weren’t meant to be. Meanwhile, the hubs felt bad and surprised me with a Wacom tablet for Christmas. Then my boots arrived and I have been wearing them ever since!
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
As for my mini tutorial, bear in mind that the zippers have some weight, so the collar doesn’t stand up on its own. If you want a stiffer collar, you could back the fabric with fusible interfacing. Otherwise, let’s begin!

Start by measuring your neck opening and using the calculations in the photo, cut your collar pieces. My zippers are from zipit. You can play around with the placement of the zippers, as long as the width measurements will add up using the calculations below (click on the photo to enlarge):
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Using a zipper foot, sew the tops of the zipper down to the backside of the zipper. Trim edges.
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Sew both zippers to the back collar piece first, following the photos below:
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Sew a loose gathering stitch 1/4″ from each length of the front collar piece.
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Your collar should now look like this:
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Baste the bottom of the collar closed and put a pin to mark the centre front & back of both the collar & dress. Pin the collar to the dress, with right sides facing together. Serge or sew together. Reinforce the zipper ends by sewing across the bottom of the zipper, trying to get as close to the metal bottom as possible. I don’t have a clear picture of this (sorry!).
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Et voilà!
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
There’s still some time to get your Perfect Pattern Parcel #1 before the sale ends tomorrow! There’s also a rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win some great prizes.

Thanks for visiting! Be sure to check out what participating bloggers have created with their parcels:

One Little Minute / SeamstressErin Designs / One Girl Circus / casa crafty / the quirky peach / Kadiddlehopper / Sew Caroline / Groovybabyandmama / Fishsticks Designs / the Brodrick blog / verypurpleperson / sew a straight line / Adventures in Dressmaking / true bias / Idle Fancy / La Pantigana / Crafterhours / Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts / Max California / YoSaMi / la inglesita / Diary of a Chainstitcher / four square walls / Lauren Dahl / Sewbon / mingo & grace / Dandelion Drift / VeryShannon / Sanae Ishida / buzzmills / Sew Jereli / Figgy’s / a happy stitch / Disaster in a Dress / Things for Boys / mama says sew / sew Amy sew / Sew Busy Lizzy / Made With Moxie / imagine gnats

Frozen Elsa Cape

Frozen Elsa Cape
My friend asked if I could make her daughter an Elsa cape from the Disney movie, Frozen. Apparently, Elsa costumes are sold out everywhere. I thought the oliver+s “little things to sew” red riding hood cape pattern would be perfect, so I agreed. Besides, I’m participating in Lightning McStitch’s cover to cover challenge and I’ve been wanting to make another lovely project from the book.

Froo wanted one too, of course. I asked if she would prefer an Anna cape–being the nicer, warmer, happier, and care-free younger sister (ahem), but she was insistent. We also went to a Frozen-themed birthday party for Froo’s BFF, so I thought I would make her one as well. Yup, that’s right, a total of 3 capes! I don’t even like princess dress-up clothes! Seriously. But I loved the movie and I love winter capes even more–so I was determined to make my own version of the Elsa cape and make it right.
Frozen Elsa Cape
I made one small cape and 2 large capes. I lengthened each cape by 10 inches to give it a dramatic princess look. We had to outfit Boo and his bunny to get some photos of all 3 capes.
Frozen Elsa Cape
Frozen Elsa Cape Frozen Elsa Cape
I purchased all of the fabric from Jo-Ann. I scored the polyester shantung in the redtag clearance section for $3/yrd, after an additional 50% discount. It is the PERFECT colour with an amazing flowy drape. Cutting & sewing it, however, was a nightmare. It’s shifty and slippery. I’m pretty sure I started with some skewed pieces (the fabric had to be completely flat before cutting), but the shantung didn’t always match up after sewing it together, whereas, the lining did.

The great thing about making a winter cape in March–the lining fabric was also on clearance. The drawback: there wasn’t quite enough. I used a super cute aqua flannel with white snowflakes for 2 capes and a subtle tone-on-tone white snowflake quilting cotton for Froo’s. There wasn’t enough of that one either, so the hood is self-lined.
Frozen Elsa Cape
The overlay is really quite spectacular. I found a sheer, stretchy fabric with glittery silver sparkle swirls that looks amazing, with even the slightest movement. However, the shimmer comes at an annoying cost: it sheds pixie dust everywhere. The good news–no finishing required! I was going to trim the edges with sequins, but I thought it would weigh down the fabric and seriously, I’m not that crazy. Maybe just a little.
Frozen Elsa Cape
Frozen Elsa Cape
My favourite part of this cape is the fur lined hood! There are iridescent tinsel “hairs” dispersed within the fake fur, giving it a subtle sparkle. Love it. The hood is embellished with snowflake crystals and buttons stitched at random.
Frozen Elsa Cape
I used a big rhinestone aqua button as a closure. I like the bright pop of colour it adds to the cape.
Frozen Elsa Cape
Finally, I bought a couple of bead and rhinestone appliques from Britex Fabrics to make hair clips. There were so many beautiful ones to choose from, but finally, I chose one that resembles a snowflake. I used E6000 glue to attach an alligator clip to the applique.
Frozen Elsa Cape
So my thoughts? The red riding hood cape pattern is amazing. It really is. The shape is circular, while accounting for the curves at the shoulders, with clever arm openings–the design is brilliant! The hubs even said, “that is the best thing you’ve ever made.” I was completely surprised. I mean, I’ve made oodles of things, to which the hubs either says, “that’s nice” or on rare occasions, “that’s very nice”, but this one definitely has that wow factor. An hour later, he scowled at me after vacuuming up all the pixie dust. Hee hee. I should have made the overlay detachable, maybe?

I took some photos of Froo wearing the Elsa cape with her winter wonderland tutu and my wedding shoes. The girl would not stop twirling.
Frozen Elsa Cape Frozen Elsa CapeFrozen Elsa Cape Frozen Elsa Cape
Frozen Elsa Cape
My final thoughts? I sincerely hope Disney does not come out with a new princess movie for a long time. I’m hoping this cape will hold enough magic to last until Halloween! Although, now Froo is asking for an Anna cape and I might be crazy enough to make one…

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