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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Butterick 5397: Easy tunic dress

While it feels like all I've sewn this fall is baby clothes, I have managed to squeeze in a few things for me. I've tired to focus on softball projects that would go together quickly so I could get back to gift sewing. I'm in dire need of dresses for fall/winter, so this Fast & Easy tunic pattern was a no-brainer.

I had originally wanted to make it in a remnant of grey doubleknit in my stash, but there wasn't enough to make it work. Instead, I copied the pattern photos and used a deep red doubleknit - so original. Ha! The construction was a breeze though I did have to alter the pattern a bit to fit my pear-shaped body, cutting an XS on top and tapering to a M in the hips. I had added a few inches to the length, then cut off too much when I went to hem it, so it's a bit shorter than I would have like. Not a huge issue since it will always be worn with tights or leggings.

I wore it to work a few times this fall, but after picking up a classic leopard print scarf, it made a perfect Thanksgiving outfit. Comfy and cute - my kind of holiday dress!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Baby Clothes Bonanza for Blondie's little girl

Much like I did for Vino, I stitched up a bunch of clothes for Blondie's little princess. Even though I love pink, I specifically shied away from sewing pink clothes for her figuring that she would get more pink stuff than she knew what to do with at the shower. Let's just say I wasn't incorrect in my assumption. ;)

First up, my favorite baby gift of late - a minky blanket and coordinating Bedtime Story Pajamas from Oliver + S. I fell in love with this ladybug minky fabric last year and bought a ton of it for my stash. It was nice to use some of it for my bff.

I chose a coordinating red and black quilting cotton for the pajamas. While I thought it might have been too loud at first, it got rave reviews from my co-workers, and Blondie liked them as well.

Blondie and Chaz are huge Chargers fans and I thought it was only right that their little girl have an appropriate outfit to wear to help cheer on the team next year. I've made Butterick 3782 before and I still think it's a winner. This particular version was made from a mid-weight white stretch denim and Chargers quilting cotton. I cut everything on single layer to get the patterns situated just so, although I miscalculated a bit on the back. Oh well, at least I made sure to get the logo right on the booty of the diaper cover. ;) Blondie reported back that this was Chaz's favorite gift. I can't imagine why....

Lastly, I wanted to make a quintessential summer dress for the little gal. I stumbled across Heather Ross Mendocino Swim Class fabric in Pacific and absolutely fell in love with it. It screamed summer, but also felt chic and not too childish. The problem, of course, is that this fabric is now discontinued and only sold on the secondary market. Hmph. I really tried to find something else, but I kept coming back to the Swim Class fabric. I finally just bit the bullet and ordered 2 yards from an Etsy seller - one for this dress and one for my stash. Hey, if I was going to go to all the trouble to get this fabric, I wanted some for me, too.

Can I just tell you that not only is this print adorable in person, but the fabric itself is amazing. It's a beautiful crisp cotton with a slightly brushed feel. Even after a tumble in the washer and dryer, it maintained it's character. I really wish I had been sewing when this line was first released. I think I would have bought the entire line, no joke.

Anyways... the dress. I knew I wanted a classic sundress - round neck, sleeveless, big gathered skirt - and ultimately settled on Simplicity 3854. When I first cut out and sewed up the skirt portion, I really thought I had made a mistake. I could have worn the thing as a (very short!) skirt, it was that wide around. However, once I started the gathering and got it attached to the bodice, I fell in love. LOVE! You guys, I think this might be my favorite thing I've sewn to date. Like, I've already warned Blondie that if we ever have a daughter, I totally want to borrow this back from her. I made sure to finish everything with french seams or bias tape so there isn't a raw seam to be found. I really love the juxtaposition of the formal dress shape with the casual quirky cotton fabric. The deep machine hem on the skirt also adds to the balance. This really feels like something that would be sold in a baby boutique, so I was pretty much thrilled to be able to give it as a gift.

One last touch was adding a baby bolero (from the same pattern) in aqua cotton. I think a bit of piping might have dressed it up, but I was very under the gun, so self-bias tape had to do.

Not clothing and I had to break my "no pink" rule here, but I did make her a set of flannel-backed burp clothes. I knew that the nursery was pink and brown and thought she might appreciate that at least one thing that I made matched her theme. Again, this is becoming a favorite baby gift item - easy to make, useful and super cute!

So, it is a damn good thing we had Blondie's shower when we did. The following Saturday morning, at 36 weeks, her water broke and by lunch that day, she was cradling her daughter MJ in her arms. :) I was able to go and see her after Thanksgiving and OMG, she is so teeny tiny and absolutely precious. Blondie and Chaz are smitten and I can see why. Blondie is a trooper and we still made it out for a bit of Black Friday shopping with Sporty where she was able to get a bag of tiny little clothes for MJ. Needless to say, they didn't have a whole lot of newborn stuff on hand so now she is all set for winter. I figure it's only a few years before Blondie's daughter will start to join us on our crazy after-Thanksgiving shopping excursions. Puts a smile on my face just thinking about it. :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's a baby shower for Blondie!

Last weekend was the second of two baby showers that I've helped to plan this fall. This one, a Beatrix Potter Tea Party for Blondie, who is due with her first baby, a little girl, in December. I've been working with Blondie's sister, Sporty, throughout the fall to get things coordinated for the shower. While this one was a bit more stressful to get together and resulted in little sleep for Sporty and I, it was still a great event.

I headed down to San Diego after rehearsal on Friday and found Dressing Queen and Sporty hard at work on the food prep. Thank God for Dressing Queen - she generously volunteered to help with the food at the end of Vino's shower and we quickly took her up on the offer. While Sporty and I had a good outline of what we wanted to do, it was great to have Dressing Queen offer her expertise and to clean up the final menu. I love to cook and all, but things have been so crazy this fall that it was a blessing to have someone else really pulling the food stuff together.

After a yummy dinner from Sporty's mom, we got down to business putting together the favors and tissue poms. Oh, the tissue poms. Yes, they're adorable and in the end, I'm so happy we used them, but oh my. They took for-ev-er to assemble. We we're punchy by the end and it looked like the kitchen table had exploded with tissue paper balls. Heh.

The next morning we were up super early to get everything ready. Vino, Dressing Queen and their mom Crafty joined us as well and between the 6 women (including Sporty's mom) and the two guys we recruited for brawn, it all came together right as the first guests were arriving. Nothing like cutting it close. ;)

Sporty's mom has several sets of beautiful china that she has collected over the years. She happily let us use them for the shower. Each table was set with a different pattern and I think that they fit the theme beautifully.

Hard at work in the kitchen!

Appetizer Table

We also had a full spread for lunch - 2 tea sandwiches, chicken salad in cucumber cups, spinach salad, but I completely neglected to take pictures of it. Oops. :/

Dessert was mini NY-style cheesecakes with strawberries and pumpkin spice cheesecakes.

The happy grandmas-to-be

Games and gifts

Group Pics

It was a such a fun afternoon and I think Blondie had a great time. Blondie, I'm so excited for you and can't wait to meet your little girl in just a few weeks. :)

Our group has now planned almost a dozen parties together for one another - baby showers, bridal showers, birthday parties, etc. The moms always joke that we should just go into business together already. We all just laugh it off, but I think that after planning these two showers practically back to back, it was a thought that seriously crossed my mind. Realistically, we all just live too far apart to ever consider it for real, but I've never met a group of women who are able to plan events so efficiently and without any drama. We all just seem to feed off of one another's ideas and visions and the events develop and grow in ways that always appear to be more than the sum of their parts. Sure, we all put in a ton of work to make the parties beautiful and special, but it's always more fun than it should be and I look back after all of the hard work and am so happy with the final product. I love these girls so much and am so happy to consider them all friends and partners in crime. It'll be nice to have a bit of a break, but let's get back on the party bandwagon soon ladies. Anyone up for starting to think about 1st birthday party themes for the wee ones? ;)