SOSM : Round Two Challenge – Roller Skate Dress

For The Super Online Sewing Match, this week we were given the fabulous Roller Skate Dress + Tunic from Oliver + S. I haven’t made any little human clothing before so this was an exciting undertaking for the week! I love this pattern, it was well written and the garment is darling. In fact, everything I’ve seen by Oliver + S is completely adorable!! I highly recommend checking out their website to see all the beautiful patterns 🙂

I got the pattern printed full size at the local Kinkos, something I’d never done before. It was super quick and easy to take the digital pattern file there and get it done. That was a relief as I was not looking forward to taping together letter sized pages!

The fabric I used was all from my stash, a light-weight white cotton for the lining, and two patterned cottons that I’ve been holding on to for years! It was the perfect project to use it for. I decided my dress would be a princess dress, but one that was a bit more practical than a full-fledged costume. The fabrics are all comfortable cottons, full washable, and the multi-colored patterns won’t show the evidence of stains from playing outside so much. (the outdoor shots are on a bit of an angle with the top of the dress further back from the camera)
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A shot of the dress turned inside out showing the front inside lining.
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I split the dress pattern in to a “skirt” and bodice piece in order to have a seam at the dress waist. I then created a color block in the center front so I could add some contrasting fabric with lace at the seams. I felt it needed a bit more fun so I added three little white bows down the middle. Below you can see the neckline and the upper part of the color block.
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The neckline in the back closes with a white shank button and button loop made from the pink patterned fabric.
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At the waist, I added in a peplum which has a double layer of fabric and was gathered to give it more structure. It can be fluffed up more or smoothed out to be flatter as the wearer would like. Party Princess vs. Casual Princess! I moved the elastic waist casing so it sat underneath the peplum because I didn’t want the stitching to combat the top of the peplum and it looks a lot cleaner.

al-r2-peplumAs this is a practical princess dress, it also desperately needed pockets! I created in-seam pockets using the white contrasting pattern fabric, making them low enough that they can be reached under the peplum. The first image shows the peplum lifted up on one side and the side seam where the pocket is located. The second image you can see inside the pocket.

al-r2-inseampocketal-r2-openpocketThe seams were serged to finish and pressed open. I didn’t want to add any additional bulk to the dress so I felt this was the most practical for this construction. 

al-r2-insideseamThe hem was created by double-folding the edge and finishing with a 1/8 inch edgestitch. Again, for this dress I felt that the less bulk, the better. And I wanted it to be a bit more heavy-duty for a practical princess!

al-r2-hemI don’t have any little humans to model for me but I hope you enjoy my design regardless! I had so much fun making this and I’m looking forward to finding it a good home. Thank you to Sew Mama Sew, Janome, Oliver + S, and all the sponsors and judges! I am really having such a fabulous time 🙂

SOSM : Round One Challenge – Self Drafted A-line Skirt

r1-sosb-fullbodyI have a confession.. I have never (as far back as I can recall anyways) owned an a-line skirt. So when I received The Super Online Sewing Match – Round One project brief which was to create an a-line skirt, I had a slight case of panic! It’s one thing to be trying out a new pattern, but figuring out the nuances of a new silhouette to fit your body at the same is a totally different story. Luckily I like a challenge 🙂

My paper pattern drafting experience is pretty limited, I usually just figure things out as I go. Making a fully fitted skirt pattern in my own measurements was a great challenge for this first round! At the start of the competition we were given access to the Craftsy class Creating an A-Line Skirt from Deborah Moebes in order to learn all the drafting and construction skills we would need for this challenge. I found the platform easy to follow; the lessons were thorough, the videos professionally shot, and Deborah was a charming instructor. She makes sound effects, how can you not love her?

After doing an initial (or two) muslins based on the instructions, figuring out the dart size and placement, I proceeded to create my self-drafted pattern. I added in single welt pockets, which I’d never done before, a contrast panel on the bottom, and moved the zipper to the back. You can see my pattern pieces below!
pattern-1Challenges: I had a big problem when I was drafting my pattern, and it’s possibly the reason why I don’t own any a-line skirts. Deborah instructed us to make the front and back of the skirt the same size, the only difference being the darts. I had a feeling this would be an issue right off the bat, but I went ahead and tried it anyways. *three patterns and a crying fit later* The cause of my pattern trouble was that I have what I like to call a negative butt. By that I mean there is basically nothing back there, so the back of my skirt needed to be quite a bit smaller than the front in order to make the side seams sit where they are supposed to and everything look proper. Two full inches smaller to be exact! Once I made that modification, life got much easier.

For fabric, I knew I wanted to work with something I already had. I’m a big advocate of sustainability and upcycling unwanted materials so I decided to harvest fabric from three button-down shirts I had been saving for a special project. Below you can see images of them, the purple ones are a cotton and cotton/poly blend, and the patterned one is a blend of some kind (content tag was missing).
r1-sosb-all1By harvesting I mean that I didn’t use any of the original construction or seams. I broke them down purely in to usable pieces of fabric which I cut out my pattern on and the rest was saved for other projects, even the tiny scraps and thread. I like to use every little bit! 

Taking advantage of the beautiful colors and pattern from the fabric was the main inspiration for my design, but I also wanted to created something functional which is why the pockets and the right length of the skirt were paramount.  This is my final skirt! It turned out I don’t really own clothing that works with this style of skirt, so the leopard top was the best I could do 🙂 The ridges parallel to the waistband, especially on the back, are from my top bunching up underneath and not the skirt construction itself.
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I created the waistband with double-fold bias tape which I made for the first time ever, using Colette’s super easy tutorial for bias tape as a guide. So excited to have learned how to do this! The fabric wasn’t the easiest to work with, but I was determined to have an extra pop of the pattern on the skirt. Instead of topstitching on the binding to finish, I “stitched in the ditch” at the seam where the binding and the skirt meet up.
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I changed the zipper to center back because I thought there might be issues with bulk at the side seam from the welt pocket. I had access to limited zipper colors so I went with a light blue! I tried using my normal zipper foot like in the class video, but felt that it was making things more difficult so I gave in and bought an invisible zipper foot. It wasn’t expensive and definitely worth the purchase! I added a hook an eye closure to keep the top together as suggested in the class instructions. Note: there are tiny holes on the left from where the pocket on the button-down shirt originally was.
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Inside Seam

All my edges were serged to keep them from fraying once the skirt had been pieced together. Here you can see my ½” seam allowances pressed out with the serged edges. Because the fabric I used was second hand, the darker fabric in particular is more worn out (thinner) and looks a tiny bit wonky on the serged edges (only on the inside though!).

For the hem, I first finished the raw edge with my serger and then used my sewing machine to put in a blind hem.
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My version of the skirt has a single welt pocket which I worked in to the front darts. From the waistband, my pocket measures 8” deep and has a contrast pocket facing and bag, with a 1” contrast welt with fusible interfacing on the inside half. “It will be so fun and easy to make a welt pocket for the first time during a sewing contest!”- Said no one EVER. These are terrifying, especially being that I put it on a diagonal so I could work the dart in to the seam. I think they turned out pretty good considering, but I will be practicing a lot more before attempting to do them again. One wrong snip and your whole garment is ruined. Eek!
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I also added a contrast panel to the bottom which you can see in the hem image. I was planning to use the patterned fabric, but it wasn’t wide enough and I wanted to avoid a patchwork nightmare so I opted to use the lighter purple cotton.
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Overall, I think this skirt worked out pretty well! I’m still not sold on the a-line style just yet, but this project has definitely given me pause. I had such a fabulous time learning brand new techniques during this round, I really hope I can continue next week! Thank you to Sew Mama Sew, Janome, the amazing judges (I practically swooned when I saw who you all were!), and all the lovely sponsors. This is a grand adventure that I am honored to be a part of 🙂