9.02.2013

Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress and Sunki Leggings

After sewing two hanimi dresses which met my girls' need to be a little bit fancy, I wanted to make something that felt a little more lounge-y.   (Apparently 'lounge-y' is not a word, but hopefully you understand what I mean.)  :)  The Oliver + S Ice Cream dress seemed just right for that.

ice cream dress + sunki leggings

This is my fourth Ice Cream dress.  (My past versions are here, here, and aww, look at baby Tarikua here).

ice cream dress + sunki leggings

I have been drawn to simple lines lately.  Which is why I omitted the pattern's contrasting band and the pockets, just like I did here.  Simple, simple.

the art of observation

I especially like simple lines when I am using a fabric that really shines, like this does.

the art of observation

The fabric is Flower Power in Denim.  Maybe I'm a dullard but I was very confused as to whether this fabric was actually in denim.  Even when I ordered it I wasn't quite sure.  I don't really envision the color denim as being lavender.  But rest assured, this fabric is just regular quilting cotton.

ice cream dress back

I cut the yoke from linen.  I have used linen quite a lot in the past, but I had forgotten how shifty and wonky it can be.  It feels like the whole thing is cut on the bias.  I had to cut the yoke out twice because the first time, the fabric had shifted so much.  I needed to use a lot of pins and I should have definitely read this first.  

my girl

I contemplated adding pockets.  I wanted to add either side pockets like this, or bigger square pockets.  I talked to Dan about it.  We decided to leave them off, in the name of simplicity.  

searching for 'treasures'

When making this decision, how, oh how, could I forget about Indigo's ongoing quest for snail shells?  She found a handful, and looked up at me, concerned - Mom, where am I going to keep my shells?  I have no pockets!

shell collecting

I may be adding pockets to this dress after all.

shell collecting

I made a fabric covered button for the closure.  I have a thing for fabric covered buttons.  I use them quite a lot.

back closure

I've been wanting to sew leggings for the girls ever since I saw this mind blowing photo on Flickr.  (In my sewing brain, yes, this is indeed mind blowing.  Isn't it inspiring?)  You see, my girls love to wear dresses.  But they also love to climb trees, scale concrete walls and countless other things that aren't the gentlest on bare skin.

leggings recommended

But I have a small confession to make.  I was a little (a lot?) afraid of knits.  I've had some good experiences with knits... and some really bad ones.  

So, I emailed Corie of Banberry Place, knowing she sold knits, for some advice.  She's local, which is even better.  She recommended I use a cotton lycra blend for leggings.  She said if you check the tag of most store-bought leggings, that's what they are made in (cotton + lycra or spandex).  So I ordered this and it worked great.

smiles melt the heart

Nicole recommended the Sunki leggings patten.  I bought the $4 PDF here.  I'm not sure if these leggings are meant to be capri length?  I cut them a size longer but next time I'd add even more length.  They were super tight at first - more like tights, but stretched out as she wore them, making them more like regular leggings.

ice cream dress + sunki leggings

Before sewing the leggings, I did some reading on sewing knits.  I asked some great sewers.  I looked into buying a walking foot.  But ultimately, I decided to keep it simple and if that didn't work, adjust from there.  I started by using polyester thread, a ball point needle and a stretch stitch on my machine.  To my surprise (delight?) it worked great.  No walking foot. No double needles, No serger.  No, I did not finish the seams, and to a finishing stickler like myself, you might think this would drive me a little crazy.  But in the past when I've sewn with knits, I haven't finished the seams and since they don't fray it's never bothered me.  In fact, I don't give it a second thought.

love

I'm definitely looking forward to sewing many more leggings in the future.  I spent $9 on a yard of fabric.  Since knit fabric is 20" longer from selvage to selvage, I had enough to make leggings for both Indigo and Iris.  I feel it's somewhat difficult to find leggings that I love in the store, and when I do, they're often quite expensive.  So this seems like a great option.   Maybe I'll even crank out as many as Nicole!  A girl can dream, right?  :)

Indigo and I wrapped up her shell collection extravaganza.

shells

She informed me it's technically her 'nature collection' because it also includes feathers.  On this particular day she even found a cardinal feather - a highlight for sure.


hanging with my girl

After all of that collecting, she and I capped off our time together by picking up a few surprise treats for the rest of the gang.

sunset - my fav

Then we all snuggled in together for a family movie night.  Ice cream dress and all.

14 comments:

  1. I love it. Your posts are so helpful, seriously. I've got this pattern also but haven't made it yet, and wanted to use linen so I'm glad to know about how it sews up, thank you! And I agree about the leggings and have had similar fears about knits. I've used them a little but with moderate success which makes me wonder what patterns to buy. I love leggins in the winter too, to go under dresses and even pants since it gets super cold here. Yay! I always want to jump right to my machine after seeing your posts!!

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  2. Love this post, Rachel! The dress and leggings you've sewn here are such fun fabrics and she looks great in them (all par for the course!). But like the pp said, your post is full of helpful advice. I like how this pattern looks with all the keep-it-simple choices. Could totally see myself trying this one!

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  3. Success!!! I'm so glad that your first foray back into knits was a hit! I see may fabulous knit projects in your future. I'm definitely going to need to check out this pattern. I've been wanting a legging pattern for the girls for quite some time. Things get cold around here quickly and they seem to be a great way to transition dresses and skirts to the fall.
    And that is such a beautiful ice cream social dress. I love the simplicity of it without the pockets too. Although I suppose a girl does need somewhere to store her snail shells :)

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  4. How sweet! Lovely photos. My daughter wore her ice-cream dress today too!

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  5. Great outfit. I've been very tempted by that Sunki pattern, great to hear the leggings are good. There is great value in making these kind of garments and those stripey legs are cute!

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  6. What a great ending to your photo shoot (treats and family movie night) - sounds like a wonderful day! And thanks for all your musings on knits and what has worked for you. I've had mixed success, often depending on whether or not I"m too lazy to put in a double needle:) Your ice cream tunic and leggings look fantastic together! I don't have the Figgys pattern, but I like reading the great reviews the leggings have gotten. Must add to my "wish list":)

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    1. thanks lucinda. if you give them i try, i'd love to know what you think. i just saw today that O+S came out with a leggings pattern with only one seam on each leg instead of two. i think this would definitely be preferable when it comes to matching stripes. :)

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  7. Great post...super informative! One of the reason I've avoided knits is not knowing what exactly to buy (esp online) - you were smart to email and ask. I'm also so inspired by everything you sew! I have a hard time picking out the right fabric and patterns for my oldest (who looks to be about the same age as Indigo), but find your fabric choices and pattern mods are so spot on for a big girl. I just love this whole outfit!

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    1. thank you so much, laurel! i really appreciate that! i'm planning to experiment with a few more things. ottobre suggests using 100% cotton knits with 30% stretch for leggings. but corie from bayberry place was right in that every one of my girls' leggings that i've looked at so far is cotton + spandex/lycra. i'd also like to see how these hold up in terms of fading. some of the more expensive leggings i've bought, like zutano and miniboden have had quite a lot of fading, which is so disappointing. i'm pretty careful with my laundry. so i am really hoping that these won't fade. i wonder if that's more of a knit thing, because i haven't noticed that kind of fading on store bought wovens. i don't know… it's all a grand experiment. :)

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    2. Knits with lycra have better "recovery" - they are less likely to get baggy as the day goes on. One thing that is fun and challenging about sewing with knits is that they vary so much. Unlike, say, quilting cottons, or denims, where they really tend to be relatively similar in weight.

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    3. that's what i read, too - that you're less likely to get baggy knees. mine did stretch out quite a lot over the duration of the day but i was happy with both the 'tights' looks and the standard leggings look. and best of all, indigo thought they were very comfortable. she even slept in them!

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  8. Yay! I love striped leggings! They look fantastic. I am starting to have crazy thoughts like, um, sewing knits is easier than sewing wovens? I think the whole knit conspiracy was planted by ladies who wanted to hoard all the good knits (because it's a fact that good knits are harder to find than woven).

    Whoa. I'm super paranoid. Watch out, you may be next!

    The Ice Cream Dress is one of my favorites as you know, and I love it without the contrasting bottom band. So pretty and light! And I love girls who climb and play hard!

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    1. you know, i think you're on to something. (cue twilight zone music). but seriously sewing these leggings was a breeze. the hem got a wee bit wonky on the ankles (nothing a little pressing couldn't fix) so i used a straight stitch (gasp!) on the waistline hem and it looked beautiful. i stretched it a bunch and there was no ripping of stitches. i figured it wasn't going to stretch much - indigo's a string bean. and if the seam didn't hold - well, i do own a sewing machine. ;)

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  9. Oh, I love this dress! I'm going to have to get this pattern, because that dress looks both pretty and comfortable, perfect for playing and tree climbing. I don't think I'd dare make a dress without pockets, though. My kids are obsessed with them and walk around with their hands in their pockets! Love the striped leggings, too!

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