Monday, June 18, 2012

Summertime take two

Every year, my brother and sister-in-law take Gracie and now Nikki to Florida for my SIL's family reunion.  Usually I make a couple of beach-appropriate outfits, but this year I went a bit nuts!  The swimsuits and criss-cross dresses were the first.  I've always made those, but this year, I wanted to do playsuits and dresses, because I fell in love with the vintage patterns of them over the winter.  I was lucky enough to find Simplicity 1151 in both size 1/2 and 3--the correct sizes for the girls!  But before I lucked upon the right sizes, I'd asked around for something similar, and was referred to the Petite Poché Sandy pattern. 
I think it was here that I went from manageable plans to "I've totally lost my mind!"  See, I took the girls to Wal-Mart to choose fabric from their discount fabrics.  $1.50-$2.50/yard is within my budget, you see!  Gracie fell asleep on the way and so stayed in the car with Grandma, while Nikki and I went to choose fabric.  Whichever fabrics she decided were yummy (literally) came home with us.  The crisscross dresses were the first to use some of the fabric,  and I did a pattern hunt for other things.  I fell in love with the back closure of Kwik Sew's "Oh! Riley's Ruffles" and made it with some help from my stash. 

And just to be fair, if I make something for one child, I have to make something for the other.  So, mostly because I still had the pattern out, I went to my stash and pulled fabric for Simplicity 4203.  My SIL had commented how cute it was, anyway, and I'd picked up a new with tags outfit for $1.50 last year at a yard sale in a similar style that Gracie actually wore out last summer, so I knew it'd be popular!

I also happened to have bows and ruffley socks made to match, so when that outfit was done, they went home with the girls, too.  But I wasn't crazy... yet.  After all, it was still two and a half weeks until they left for Florida, so there was still plenty of time to make the playsuits and dresses.  In the meantime, I'd tracked down different overalls patterns for the girls to go with the vintage playsuit pattern, because it was too young for Gracie, and there was no way that Nikki would hold still long enough to put on the original pattern's version.

I also knew that Gracie would dub the Sandy pattern's overalls to be too "babyish", so I had to go digging through my pattern stash in search of high waisted shorts.  This is where I lost it, I'm afraid!  You see, I'd stumbled over McCalls 3191 during the winter, and couldn't resist it.  I'd clicked BIN with only a half second's thought.  So I decided I would make the ruffley one.  But of course, I had to show it to the girls' Mom for input, because if she hates it, I won't make it because then it won't get worn.  She was in love with the double-strapped back, so I needed to make that one, too.  But if Nikki had those, Gracie needed two more outfits, too!  So when I cut out Nikki's new clothes, I dug out a couple more patterns for Gracie, too.

I'd had this pattern since last year and wanted to make it when I bought it but hadn't gotten around to it.  I finished it over the weekend along with Nikki's, but had to wait until the embroidered appliqués got here to send Nikki's and Gracie's other outfit home.  I gave Gracie the choice, and she wanted the ruffles immediately! 

This one was from the ever-popular Butterick 3477, which was also what I used for the bottom of the Petite Poché Sandy pattern for Gracie.  Nikki's clothes turned out cute, as well--it just took time for the appliqués to arrive.

I love the giant bow in the back of this one and all the ruffles!  I was lucky in finding a sunflower patch that was almost identical to the sunflowers in the print that I found in my stash.

And I loved the flowers and butterflies I found for the pockets and the potted flower for the front of the double banded one. 

Once these were done, I knew I had to get the playsuits done if the girls were going to have them to wear at the beach.

I used New Look 6768 for Nikki's overalls, and cut them off to shorts.  But the bottom was so huge that I gathered them in to bloomers.  The dresses in this one aren't quite what they looked like finished, because I found ribbon that matched the whipstitch piping, so I tied bows and sewed them in the collar gap to make it look more purposeful instead of an accident.  It was also around this time that I found the Sweet Cheeks Peasant top, which I found impossible to resist!  But if I made that, then I needed something for them to wear on bottom.  So I went to what is fast becoming my favorite PDF pattern source and bought the Pier 49 pants. I found a great twill on ebay at a fantastic price (A little over $2/yard) so I bought some of that and started on the Sandy pattern.

So I finished that one, cursing all the appliquéing, and being mad at the scallops because they weren't deep enough.  They were simply too gentle to show up well!    With three days left before my deadline, I had to redo the straps on Gracie's because even with being cut to size 6, they were four inches too short.  And here I thought I was good because I'd chosen the shorts pattern to replace the bottom based on the fact that the rise was the same!

So I quickly replaced the straps (and I'm still not quite happy with it.  When they get home, I'm stealing Gracie's overalls back and replacing the shorts with a two-inch higher rise) and started speeding though two pairs of Pier 49 pants and two Sweet Cheeks Peasant blouses.

Both were fairly straightforward and easy patterns, but the pants were complicated by the fact that I'd decided to test my theory of how to make the waistband on the pants adjustable.  I'd spent some time a year or so ago examining similar waistbands on RTW toddler clothes ad thought I'd figured out how to replicate it.  Turns out I was right!  (Tutorial to come.) 

I sent the last outfits home that day, happy that I'd finished right on time... only I hadn't!  The sleeves on the blouse are raglan sleeves, and like all raglan sleeves, have to be reinforced at the join to keep from ripping out.(This is something they don't say in all the books, but I learned it at my mother's knee)  Of course, I didn't realize I'd forgotten it until after ten that night!  So after a dash to my brother's house and caging the blouses and 20 minutes of reinforcing later, we dropped them off.  And I was done.  For now.

Why I say for now is that I know Gracie and Nikki could use some pretty summer dresses for church.  So as soon as I recover from three weeks of mad sewing,.... here we go again!


  1. What cute little outfits, they are just adorable!

  2. I'd love to have the size 3 Simplicity 1151 (I have sizes 1 and 2). Is there any chance you could send it to me? I'm happy to pay for it, or for a tracing of it.. I've made loads of the sleeveless dresses with i the size one and 2, and my grandkids wear them with tops and tights. But they are getting bigger...

    1. Sorry, but I can't afford the materials to trace it for you, and I don't have them. I haven't looked in a while, but this used to be a fairly common pattern. I don't even sew much anymore because I can't afford the thread!

  3. Yeah, it did used to be common There are a couple of 'sold' ones listed on ebay and etsy in that size. I'd be glad to send you tracing paper and some money if that would help. Just let me know.

    1. I also don't have the time. between Grace, Nikki, Alex, running the household, and taking care of the two autistic siblings I'm responsible for, my free time is non-existent.

    2. OK, it does sound as if you have an awful lot on your plate. I'll just have to keep looking! If you change your mind just let me know. I really should learn to resize patterns, it seems very complicated though..