Princess Isabella and Cabbage Patch Lilly

October is a busy time around here.  Given that my girls’ birthdays are 5 days apart on top of the fact that Halloween is then only weeks away, I go until I run out of gas.  I have had very little time to work lately, but that doesn’t mean I’ve had a lack of things to do.  On top of planning a Mickey Mouse themed birthday party, I made Isabella a much requested Cinderella dress for Halloween.

Now let me stop right now.  I have a confession.  I do not like sewing princess dresses.  Now I’m not one of those that are against princess culture.  I am a girly girl and princesses tend to come with the territory.  They just don’t inspire me much.  There are loads of pattern out there for princess dresses and I just don’t feel like I could add much to what is already existing.  That also leads me to my second confession: I HATE sewing costumes.  I know, I know.  That goes against all sacred oaths of moms that sew, but honestly, I hate it.  To be honest, I’m really not sure why.  I guess my biggest part is because I spend hours upon hours of time and materials for them to wear them twice.  A friend of mine said once my littles get old enough to play dress up that will change.  I hope so.  Either way, when a little girl looks at your with her big brown eyes and says, “Mommy, I want to be Cinder-wella for Hawoween,” you move heaven and earth to make that happen.  I know.  I’m a mom.  Which also means I’m a sucker for making my kids happy.  Dang it.  I guess that meant I was making a princess costume.

Now in hindsight, I should have done the practical thing that any mom who doesn’t sew would have done and dragged my butt down to the Disney store and bought a Cinderella dress.  Yea, that isn’t what happened.  The other thing I should have done was just bought a pattern for a Cinderella dress from one of my designer friends that already had all the kinks worked out.  Yea, again, that isn’t what happened.  I’m a glutton for punishment I guess.

In my head, I didn’t want to make Isabella a dress.  I wanted to make her a top and a skirt.  You see, we are on the tail end of potty training.  While Isabella rarely has an accident, we do still have moments of, “I’ve got to go, and I’ve got to go right NOW.”  Not the easiest problem to have when you are wearing a big puffy ballgown.  I thought making the bottom a skirt would be easier.  So that’s what I did.

I must say this is probably the most “homemade” garment I’ve ever made.  My finishes are a little rough, my stitches are a little wonky, but for the two times she will wear it along with my complete disdain for sewing princess costumes, it will do. Unfortunately the bottom “V” of the bodice in combination of the puffiness of the skirt makes the bodice bunch up and not always lay nice.  Now if I planned to make this into a pattern to sell, I would fix it.  But since it’s for Halloween and I was so relieved to be done with this project, I am not.  ha ha.  My daughter doesn’t care, so night do I.

After spending hours making my oldest princess a princess dress, I decided to do the practical thing and bought my baby Lilly a dress for her Cabbage Patch wig I bought off Etsy.  On a side note, the wig was totally worth the price paid if only for the pure joy of watching her crawl around with it on.  She looks hilarious.  So much so, that we even went out to dinner the other night with her wearing it just to get laughs from people around us.  Not many people expect to see a baby with a yarn wig on their head, even if it is October.

Enough with my rambling, let’s get to the good stuff.  We took the kiddos to pick out pumpkins at the pumpkin patch (which really is just an excuse to dress them up and take their picture.)  And the cuteness of the photos makes it all worth the effort.

Halloween-Portraits-web-001 Halloween-Portraits-web-005 Halloween-Portraits-web-004 Halloween-Portraits-web-003 Halloween-Portraits-web-002

Adorable, right?  Ok moms, what did you end up making your kids for Halloween this year?  Let me know in the comments.

Itch to Stitch Birthday Tour: The Marbella Dress

I’ll let you in on a little secret… us designers are a tight-knit group!  I never expected that my competitors would be my biggest cheerleaders (ok, maybe besides my mom and my husband).  Kennis Wong of Itch to Stitch is one of my closest designer friends.  Not only is she ridiculously talented at designing perfectly fitting women’s clothing, she is super knowledgeable about all kinds of technical aspects of sewing.  And she’s a pretty amazing person to boot.  When she mentioned to me that her business was having its first birthday, I knew I wanted to support her on this milestone.  And what better way than to help throw her a birthday party on her birthday blog tour! For the blog tour I knew immediately which one of her patterns I wanted to sew.  The fact that the Marbella dress has multiple cup sizes it a huge selling feature to me.  I am a “busty” girl.  Honestly, sometimes I feel like a real life Barbie doll.  I am used to having to do a major bust adjustment on every pattern that I sew for myself.  The Marbella dress comes in A, B, C and D sizes.  While I still had to do a full bust adjustment due to my DDD size (thanks genetics!), it was a much smaller adjustment than I was used to making which meant I only had to do one muslin for fitting.  This is so not normal for me, and I was thrilled that everything fit perfectly with very little adjustments. Kennis asked that we “hack” her pattern in some way and do our own spin on it.  The Marbella dress is so beautiful on its own, that I had a hard time figuring out what to hack.  Ultimately, I decided to alter the neckline from the boatneck included in the pattern to a more traditional scoop neckline.  Here’s how I did it… IMG_4970First I cut out new neckline on the pattern using a curved ruler.  I tried to make the center of the neckline fairly even with the shoulder strap width.  Then I made sure the back was even with the front. After doing a full bust adjustment, I sewed a quick muslin.  Sewing muslins aren’t much fun, but they are so essential if you want to get a nice fit.  All bodies are shaped differently, and I would much rather waste $2 a yard muslin fabric than my hoarded $$ a yard designer prints.  In this case, I’m glad I did a muslin.  While my full bust adjustment was a success (yay!  My boobs fit!), when I altered the neckline, I didn’t remember that with the boatneck design, the shoulder would have to be brought in more.  See that little excess fabric in the neckline?  I would have been sad had I not done a muslin first!  Most of the time when I do a muslin, I don’t finish the edges or anything unless I need to for an accurate fit.  The more experienced you get with fitting, the quicker you can sew a basic muslin to figure out how the fit will be. IMG_4994 Altering the neckline was an easy fix.  I re-taped my pattern piece to a piece of tracing paper, moved the shoulder in a set pre-measured amount, and I was all set.  Now I should have made a new muslin, but since I had measured the amount the shoulder needed to be moved, and because as a designer I am very used to making these types of adjustments often, I went for it with confidence (and the knowledge that I had enough fabric if I made a mistake.) The end result was pretty spectacular: Itch-to-Stitch-Marbella-Dress-004Itch-to-Stitch-Marbella-Dress-005Itch-to-Stitch-Marbella-Dress-006Itch-to-Stitch-Marbella-Dress-003 This is by far the most favorite thing I have ever made myself.  The pictures (taken by my less than enthusiastic that he was forced to stop working our our new house to step behind the camera husband) simply do not do it justice.  I’m a sucker for Lilly Pulitzer dresses due to the fine finishes, and this dress feels like a Lilly (but without the hefty price tag and made with a lot more love).  I love the fact that the dress is fully lined and has POCKETS!  Plus, all the fine techniques like the invisible zipper and under stitching made it a joy to sew.  It’s so nice to sew something that doesn’t feel slopped together.  I want the things that I spend the time to make to last for a long time and to look nice wear after wear.  This dress most certainly will.  But if you’ve ever sewn a Itch to Stitch pattern, you know that Kennis from Itch to Stitch is known for having stellar designs with professional techniques, so there was no surprise that this pattern produces a fabulous dress.  And how about that fabric?? It is Flamingo Border Seafoam from Michael Miller.  The moment I saw it I knew I had to buy it and hoard it for something special.  I love the color. In some lights it looks turquoise and in others its seafoam. It’s impossible to capture the color correctly on film. And the flamingo border is perfect for our sunny South Florida weather. IMG_5066I almost forgot to mention my other secret hack.  One you would never notice on the outside, but makes me want to jump with joy… LACE!  If you’ve looked around here for half a second, you will know that I’m addicted to the stuff.  So when I decided to do a blind hem on the dress, I added a little lace trim on the hem.  Pretty, huh? What’s a birthday party without PRESENTS?!?!  I have to admit, when I heard about the prizes for the giveaway for this blog tour, I was kinda sad I couldn’t win them myself.  Check out the info below on how to enter, and be sure to check out some of the other bloggers and their fabulous creations! Oh, and all Itch to Stitch patterns are on SALE! Pretty sweet, huh?  

Itch to Stitch Birthday Fun

(scroll to the bottom to enter to win!)

Follow these blogs to see their awesome creations from Itch to Stitch patterns:

Scruffy Badger Time | Call Ajaire | Wally and Grace | Sew Wrong | Bella Sunshine Designs Seaside Notions | Made by Jaime | Sweet Little Chickadee | Inspinration | Friends Stitched Together Stoney Sews | Just Keep Sewing | My Little Sewing Dreams | Allie J. | Creative Counselor Love, Lucie | Girls in the Garden |  FABulous Home Sewn | Goddess of Sewing | Rebel & Malice The Telltale Tasha | House of Estrela | Made by Sara | Sew Shelly Sew | Red Knits

Be sure to scroll to the bottom for your chance to win great prizes by these sponsors:

Itch to Stitch First Anniversary Sponsors

The Fabric Store – $100 Gift certificate

Elliott Berman Textiles – Fabric bundle from France & Italy

Craftsy – three online classes of your choice

Girl Charlee Fabrics – $25 Gift certificate

Indie Sew – $25 Gift certificate

UpCraft Club – $25 Gift certificate

Quarto Publishing Group USA – the SHIRTMAKING WORKBOOK by David Page Coffin

The featured designer of the day will give away 2 patterns to a lucky winner:

 Baste + Gather

Straight Stitch Designs

Megan Nielsen Patterns

Jamie Christina

Hey June Handmade

Wardrobe by Me

Filles á Maman

Follow Itch to Stitch’s blog closely to win these patterns!

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{This post contains affiliate links; however, all opinions expressed are my own.  I never recommend any product that I wouldn’t use myself just for the sake of being an affiliate.}