Summer sewing

Sewing is a huge challenge for me right now (how do those of you with babies do it?!!!) but the intense craving to sew something quick and summery just would not be satisfied until I did it. So I did! I made summery little dresses in subdued Fourth of July colors for my girls.

July4Dresses-101
I'm always torn about whether I'm better off using a pattern or not. I'm such a sloppy sewer! I'm really much better off knitting because yarn is more forgiving. For some reason my sewing shears always get dull right away and the fabric I cut looks all chopped up, with crooked edges. I don't measure very well – I can't find my ruler right now. I made bias trim without any tools, just kind of slashing away at the fabric on the diagonal and then sort of folding it together under an iron. So if you take a close look, it's really quite crooked. Also, my sewing machine is fading away on me – the zigzag doesn't work, so these have been put together quite precariously – if I put them through a washing machine I'm afraid the delicate seams won't hold up! So impractical!

But anyway, I decided to try to make the camisole from a pattern (though I had the same problem with the bias trim), and I'm very glad I did. I have a small but growing collection of Japanese sewing books, which I look through for inspiration more than anything else. This is from one of them. 

July4Dresses-102
One concrete thing I learned from actually cutting out and using this pattern is that the cloth has to be cut deceptively wide, much wider than I'd ever imagine it has to be (as you can see in the below), to get a nice swingy look that, in the end, isn't that wide at all.

July4Dresses-103 

July4Dresses-105
The pillowcase dress is a bit too narrow all around because I didn't follow a pattern. Would be OK on an upright, walking child, but on a crawling baby, it's too constricting and would have been better off as a little top. So now I know what to do next time!July4Dresses-110

My goal last summer was to work through at least a few patterns from my Japanese sewing books…..this year I'm going to be less ambitious and more realistic and just see what I can do. I'll be happy with any small bits of sewing I manage to do. 

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11 thoughts on “Summer sewing

  1. ThePomegranateGrl

    They are beautiful! I love them. I always feel the same about my sewing and always find myself going back to knitting as well. What a great sewing book. I can’t wait to see more patterns.

    Reply
  2. sarah henry

    How talented are you? And you have fabulous little models. Sweet as. I can’t sew to save myself — so I’m super impressed with these adorable little dresses.

    Reply
  3. MarthaAndMe

    These are so cute. I can’t sew at all and sometimes I wish I could because there are times when you know exactly what you want and it would just be easier to make it than to find it!

    Reply
  4. Michele

    These are so sweet!! And they definitely don’t look sloppy at all. I especially love the pattern combinations. Do you use your sewing scissors only for fabric? That’s very important for keeping them sharp.

    Reply
  5. Pippa's mom

    Did I ever say how adorable these are? I am really impressed, both with the design and color scheme, and also that you found the time! The girls look so darling, and the simple, clean lines make the dresses timeless.
    Pippa is saying she wants to sew something “real” that she can use (instead of tiny little doll clothes and things she randomly stitches up). I have to remember to show her these photos for inspiration since she’ll soon have a little cousin to sew for!

    Reply
  6. Christine - Origami Mommy

    I do use them for fabric only – that’s what makes this so mysterious! Of course, in this family, it’s entirely possible that someone is using them for other projects without realizing what they’re meant for – maybe I’ll label them.

    Reply
  7. Pippa's mom

    We have a fairly basic sewing machine – it works for the limited sewing I do! She hasn’t used it, but years ago in after school care in elementary school she learned how to use a sewing machine. If I give her a refresher I bet she’ll be fine – but she really loves sewing by hand too!

    Reply

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