Tuesday 1 October 2013

Summer Envy

A lot of the blogs I follow, and patterns / tutorials I find online are from amazing creators overseas .... and when you live in Australia, "overseas" often-times means the-other-side-of-the-world.  So whilst we were freezing and snuggling in our winter woolies this winter, many of my online blog reading was of amazing little summery, brightly coloured, flowing dresses and outfits from summer on the other-side-of-the-world, with munchkins modelling their new outfit in sandals or flip-flops on the beach or in the garden.  I had a serious case of summer-envy!

At first I started to put all my favourite online tutorials into my general "to do" file on my computer.  Then I thought, well it's not summer yet, but it WILL be summer, and I could totally get a start on some summer wardrobe fillers for my girls. So I made some new folders on my computer ... one called "Bethany for Summer", and one called "Hannah for Summer" (I know ... very cryptic), and I started to fill these folders with tutorials and patterns ready for the girls for summer.  Then I started sewing, and once I started I couldn't stop, and before I knew it I had a whole bag full of clothing for the girls.  We've had some beautiful warm spring days these past weeks, so I decided to photograph (actually, I got Daddy to photograph) the girls having a play in the garden in some of their new clothes as a tribute to all those beautiful tutorials and patterns in the blogosphere... so I call this my Summer-envy round-up, and I've included some links to the amazing blogs/sites where I found these treasures in case you've got summer-envy too!

So, first up were these amazing Sweet-heart dresses from luvinthemommyhood.  At the time I made these, Shannon (creator of this design) had a free tutorial and pattern for size 2 and size 6 ... just perfect for my 2 this summer.  Since then, Shannon has actually made this into a full online pattern for sizes 2-6, and is selling this pattern here.  It's pretty reasonably priced, and it really is the cutest little design, so go for it if you're keen!  
I love that it's super cute on Hannah, but also looks grown-up on Bethany.  It's really all about fabric choice for this one ... dress up or down by playing with different fabrics.

Here's a few more pics of this one ... just 'cause Daddy got so many good shots, I couldn't decide which ones to use!

This dress for Bethany was made from a free tutorial at Sovanisa, and it's called the Playdate Party Dress.  Lately, with only 1 term left of kindergarten and all, Bethany is feeling VERY grown-up and is constantly telling me that certain things are "too baby-ish for me now Mum!".  So, I wanted to find a fabric for this dress that was a little more grown-up in the hope she would love it.  I instantly fell in love with this fabric when I was at Spotlight a couple of weeks ago ... of course I only went there to get some elastic, and came out with no elastic, but 4 metres of fabric and some other cute bits and pieces ... I tell you, I'm hopeless in that place!!  
Anyway, I think this dress turned out beautifully, and I love the fit of it.  I used Pamela's instructions to increase the size of the pattern to fit Bethany's measurements, and I love the shirring at the back.  Haven't done any shirring since these little dresses last summer, so it was fun to get that elastic thread out again and have a go.  I only made 1 change ... I crossed the straps over at the back, as I just couldn't get them to stay up on Bethany's shoulders without crossing them over.  I have since made another one of these for Hannah, but in much more "babyish" fabric!!!

I saw this free pattern and tutorial for 18-24 month size Box Pleat Shorts from Crafting Zuzzy quite a while ago now, and have had it sitting in my to-do file.  So with my Summer-Envy in full swing, I decided to give them a go.  I loved the original ones on the Crafting Zuzzy blog with the tangerine fabric, but I adore how they turned out with this floral fabric, and who doesn't love a pair of almost-2 -year-old chubby knees sticking out of cute shorts.
Oh, and boy that plant got some watering on this day ... modelling and gardening at once ... great multi-tasking Hannah!

Bethany's favourite dress of her new summer wardrobe so far is this one.  We called it ... very imaginatively ... the Rainbow Chevron Dress ... Work that model pose Bethany!  She cracks me up!
I bought a yard of this Riley Blake Chevron on a super-cheap special recently (designer fabrics like Riley Blake are often a lot more expensive in Australia due to shipping costs), and thought this little dress would be perfect for it.  It's the Summer Social Dress from Sweet Benanna & Sam.  It is a free tutorial and pattern for sizes 2 and 6, and I loved it as soon as I saw it.  What makes it better is that from the very first minute that Bethany saw the completed dress, she's been dying to wear it.  And now that the weather is warming up, she can ... one happy girl!  The best part about sewing for my girls is when they love my creations as much as I do!!
And what to do with the leftover designer chevron that's really too good to go in the scrap box ... well make a tiny skirt of course, for the tiniest person in our house!  
This was your basic rectangle skirt ... (2 x waist measurement  x the length of skirt).  Just sew up the back seam, turn down a waist-band at the top, thread the elastic, then hem the bottom.  Can't be any simpler, and Hannah loves it .... Mummy does too!

As I've mentioned before, I find it really difficult to find cute knit fabric prints that are suitable for the munchkins.  Occasionally there are some baby-themed fabrics, or some striped fabrics ... or some that just aren't my style, but on another trip to Spotlight a few months ago (it sounds like I'm always there doesn't it ... I'm not .... really!), I almost fell over when I found a whole collection (like about 5 or 6) of these cute print knits.  I bought up big, 'cause I never find anything I like, and have been dying to give knit-fabric sewing a bit more of a try.
Anyway, the first project I decided on with my new knits was this cute little dress from Kitschy Coo, called the Yoked Knit Sundress.  This has got to be one of the best tutorials I have followed so far.  The wording was great, and I felt like my dress worked out just as well as the original Kitschy Coo one.  And I love how it showcases the fabric really well.  It was also great practice for the neck-line that I struggle with so much.  This is definitely the best neckline I've done so far in knit-fabric.

I really loved how that fabric with all the little faces on it turned out for Bethany's dress, so I thought Hannah needed one too.  And this one from my "Hannah for Summer" file was the perfect way to do it.  This is the Braided Collar Dress from Make It & Love It.  The original dress was made by recycling an old T-shirt.  I obviously used yardage instead this time, but it did make me think that I need to make sure I scan any discarded clothes in our house for fabric opportunity before letting them go.
The only change I made to this was the braid.  The design at Make It & Love It called for a 5 strand braid.  I was intrigued and gave it a go, but in the end the pink knit fabric I was using for the braid was a little too thick, and the 5-strand braid ended up MASSIVE.  I changed back to a standard 3-strand braid instead.  I love the little contrast pockets ... and so does Hannah ... I have to remember to empty out all kinds of treasures before throwing this dress in the wash!!

Another tutorial I spotted at Make It & Love It is this "30 Minute Stretchy Tube Skirt". I pretty much love everything on this blog.  But as soon as I saw this skirt I knew it would look great on Bethany.  Oh, and it totally is a 30 minute (or maybe less) project.  Perfect for a quick sewing fix when there's no time to have one!  
This skirt is super comfy, and can be dressed up or down.  She's worn it with boots and tights on a cooler day, and also with sandals to the park.  Oh, and you know how I said Bethany's all grown up and doesn't like baby-ish anymore? ... well, she's named this her "adult skirt", 'cause she thinks she looks so grown up in it.  Did I mention she cracks me up ... funny girl!

And last but definitely not least in my Summer Envy Round-up (and believe me, this is just the tip of the ice-berg of What Mummy's been Up To lately ... I'm going a little sewing crazy at the moment ... I will not be buying any clothes for the girls this summer ... cough ... yeah right!), I decided to have a go at this Keyhole Tee design from Craftiness is Not Optional.  It's certainly not my best work in pattern-making ... I think the shirt I traced was a little too big ... and my neckline binding really does need some work, but overall I think it's effective, and I loved the idea of an alternate coloured button to add a pop of colour and interest.
And, coupled with a pair of ruffle-butt leggings (a staple for every little girl's wardrobe), it's definitely a winner!

So I still have a few things in my Hannah and Bethany folders to be made this summer, and I did recently buy Dana's PDF shorts Pattern, so let the summer envy sewing continue.  Oh, and I think I'm slowly using up my stash of fabrics ... gasp ... well, off to the fabric shop I go!!  Anyone else had any great summer envy sewing finds that I need to add to my to-do list?


  1. Hi Wen, I am happy to see you made my Playdate Party Dress! I would love to show it on my blog! I hope that is ok?!?

    1. No worries at all Pamela. Thanks for a great pattern and tutorial. Share away!

  2. So cute, I love the chevron version of my Summer Social Dress, thanks for sharing!! Could I share it on my blog as well? I am actually doing a remix of this dress for Riley Blake's Cutting Corner's College on Monday (although I suppose that would be Tuesday for you)

  3. Great job! they are all fabolous!! Now the summer envy comes from this side of the planet!! (Spain!!) Oh! no! winter is coming... °0°