The Modkid Sydney Dress, with Modifications

All the way back in 2010 (which is like centuries ago in blogging years, right?!) :P I made two Modkid Sydney dresses for Indigo and toddler Tia.  The dresses were way too big on them and looked a bit ridiculous to be honest, especially Tia's version.  Dan said the girls looked like Gandolf in them.  I saw Merlin from the Sword in the Stone.

The dresses were never worn, so during one Kids Clothes Week two years later, I altered the sleeves from an oversized bell shape to a tapered sleeve.  (I also played around with selective color when editing my photos! :D)

Iris took a particularly liking to this dress.  She called it her "witch dress" because of the shape of the hood and wore it constantly.

Even though Iris's personality bubbles over with joy and sheer positivity, she has a dark side buried in there somewhere as evidenced by the things she is drawn too.  Her bike helmet bares ferocious shark teeth.  She has been the wolf villain for several Halloweens - by choice... demand even! And she would ask frequently when wearing the matryoshka Sydney dress whether she looked like the cloaked witch from the Rapunzel story, eager for me to confirm that she did.

When she outgrew that dress she asked if I would pleeeeease make her a new one.  So I finally did!

I knew I wanted to make some modifications to this pattern and was very fortunate to have the help and advice of my talented friend, Courtney from Sweeter than Cupcakes.

In the original pattern, the bodice is unlined and there is a simple yoke facing around the center front opening.  The facing popped out frequently last time and I had to hand stitch it down.  I also wasn't entirely happy with the finishing.  So I wanted to line the bodice this time.

Courtney suggested I place the hood in between the bodice and the bodice lining when sewing the neck seam, so that there would be no exposed hood seam.  I loved that idea and it resulted in a much cleaner finish.

I also knew I wanted to remove the bell shape to the sleeve.  I thought I would cut a straight sleeve using a straight line from the sleeve cap edges to the sleeve bottom.  But Courtney suggested I taper it about one inch on each side.  I was so happy with the result.

I decided to draft a lining for the sleeve cuff, so it would show the contrasted fabric when folded back, but the solid blue when unfolded.  And I added some extra length to the sleeves so she could wear this one for a really long time.

This fabric is a Kaufman chambray double gauze and was voted an employee favorite over at Harts Fabric.   It's a great deal for the price. It doesn't have that same thick loft that some of the Japanese double gauzes have, but I was still very happy with it. I used the double gauze chambray dobby marine for the lining.

If you notice Iris is wearing cowgirl boots in some of these photos and knee socks others, it's because I discovered  I didn't get any details of this dress on account of my fast-moving girl on my first attempt.  So about a week later, we went exploring again, and I took some more photos, along with Indigo in her new Laure dress.  I hope to blog about it her Laure dress soon!


The Polina Dress

When my friend Olga from Coffee and Thread showed me the sketch for her upcoming pattern, the Polina dress, I immediately couldn't wait to sew it.  It was love at first sight!

She was in the testing phase and I told her if she needed another tester - wink wink, nudge nudge - I'd love to make this dress. She sent the pattern over and the rest is history.

I knew I wanted to make my first version (because there will definitely be more versions!) of this dress in a Kaufman Swiss dot chambray.  It has that vintage nostalgic feel that I love so much.


The Oliver + S Hide and Seek Dress

Indigo is growing up! She will be 10 in April but is so tall many people ask if she and Jude (who is 12) are twins! As she grows, she is choosing to wear jeans, shorts, and tshirts more often.

This is fine, of course, except that I don't have any desire to sew jeans or shorts with zippers.  I don't mind sewing tshirts, with the caveat being that I prefer to do so when I can't find store-bought alternatives that I like.  This is mostly an issue with little girls' shirts, where there seems to be an assumption that all little girls love purple, pink and/or bling.


A Day in the Life of our Fall/Winter Homeschooling Semester

I feel so grateful to be living in a time where there are online communities of people learning and growing together. I have been profoundly shaped by those in both the sewing community as well as the homeschooling one. I'm so grateful for all of you talented people who inspire me so deeply!

I mentioned in a previous post that I wrapped up our year last year with a solid case of homeschool burnout.  I love to listen to podcasts while I sew and I found myself adding more and more layers to our homeschool.  Three separate, complete Waldorf curricula.  Classical language arts.  Singapore math. And while we're at it, let's throw in a good dose of Charlotte Mason.  Instead of ramping down at the end of the year, I ramped up.  My friend Rachel from Stitched in Color ever so gently asked, "You ramped up in the last month of the school year? That's a time when teachers tend to wind down." She is so gracious and wise.

This year, we made a couple of changes, the biggest one being that we enrolled Jude, Indigo, and Tia in a two-day homeschool enrichment program. (Initially we had enrolled Iris for one day as well, but she preferred to stay home with me and I am great with that.) The homeschool enrichment program offers amazing classes, which I wrote about near the end of this post.   The kids are learning so much and thriving there.  After three years of being home together every single day, seven days a week, it could sometimes feel a bit like Groundhog's Day. The change of pace has helped keep the kids so much more focused on their days at home with me.   And now I have a couple of days each week to focus on my two little girls, which has been wonderful!


A Plaid Flannel Eleena Dress for Tarikua

There was a time when it felt like new patterns were being released nearly every week.  Between Japanese sewing books and indie patterns, I often felt like the options alone made my head spin.  There were so many great patterns to choose from! As much as I enjoyed (and still enjoy) sewing new patterns, there is something so comforting and familiar about those patterns that are tried-and-true.

The Eleena dress is one of those patterns for me.  This pattern was designer by my dear friend, Olga, of Coffee and Thread.  Olga is not only an incredible pattern designer and a talented photographer, but also an amazing woman and a thoughtful friend.


The Janie Dress

I have a tendency to underestimate how long it will take to do pretty much anything.  Pack for vacation for a family of 7? I'd estimate that would take me about 45 minutes. Sewing Christmas nightgowns for each of my girls? An hour a piece.  And so forth.

I might even go so far as to say I radically underestimate how long it will take me to do just about anything.  I mention this because most of the sewing I have been doing this winter has been using fabric and project ideas I had from last winter, but never got to.