Sunday, April 28, 2013

KCW - Finale.

Well, I can't say it was my most productive KCW ever. I didn't sew for an hour a day. Okay, I didn't sew every day. Okay, yeah, I didn't even sew most days.

But hey, I sewed! I'm all about defining my own success these days. The kids and dogs are fed? Yay, me! I sewed a little bit during KCW? Awesome!

As I've shared, the fact that I have very little time to sew these days hasn't stopped me from dreaming about projects. Or buying new patterns. Or finally subscribing to Ottobre (for kids).

Which is totally as awesome as everyone says!

So here is my first Ottobre pattern, the Mariken gingham dress from issue 1/2013. I was drawn to it because it's so hard to find dresses with sleeves, but a light cotton dress with long sleeves is the perfect garment for chilly SF Bay Area summers. I made it up in gingham, just like the sample in the magazine, because (a) I am not very imaginative (however, I did choose celery gingham, rather than the red in the magazine); and (b) I love gingham. This is in size 98 (about 4T), for my little niece Helen (who is a very tall almost three-year-old now).

Dress for Helen.

I am a bit gingham-obsessed lately, I admit. Every time I see nice 100% cotton woven gingham at a fabric store, I have to buy it. Fortunately for my wallet, it turns out that 100% cotton woven check is suprisingly tough to come by. This gingham is Kaufman's Carolina Gingham. It has a slightly homespun feel - it's not a smooth shirting - and is pleasantly crinkly (although I'm thinking you'd want to get it out of the dryer and shake it out right away). I love the color range these ginghams come in! I also got a couple yards of the larger scale orange gingham. Of course. I can't be expected to resist orange gingham!

This is a simple, basic dress. A good starting point, I thought, as I try to get used to Ottobre patterns and instructions. Or I should say, lack of instructions. Basically, if you like to be told exactly how to sew a garment, you might want to stick to Oliver + s patterns (and other indie pattern makers who really walk you through the whole process). Ottobre pattern instructions ... well, I don't really know, because I ended up just making the dress the way I thought I should make the dress. In short, not for beginners. But for your money, the sheer number of awesome, hip, and versatile patterns per issue just cannot be beat. Also, the size range in patterns is fantastic; it's actually pretty overwhelming. One issue could outfit your children through high school.

Dress for Helen.

Here's a major first for me: My first invisible zipper! It looks pretty good, and I only ripped it out twice!  Again, I'm defining my own success here. No, seriously, as zippers go, the invisible zipper actually went in pretty smoothly. It might - *gasp* - be a little easier than a regular zipper? That's something I did not expect.  But look, no topstitching to mess up! My biggest hiccup here was getting that back bodice seam to match up horizontally.

So I don't think that seam allowances are included in Ottobre patterns, but instead of taking a systematic approach to this and adding seam allowances to the pattern before cutting, I just eyeballed seam allowances ... in some places, but not others. Yeah, not systematic. Hopefully it won't look too wonky on.

I serged this throughout, so hopefully it will stand up to lots of washings. Below, you can see the dress inside out. When have I ever shown my readers the inside of something I've made? (Okay, maybe a few times, but not frequently.) I thought Helen would enjoy a little surprise, so I faced the neck with pink gingham and dug into my vintage bias/hem bindings stash for pink facings for the wrists and hem.

Dress for Helen.

When I see it like this, it makes me want to make a dress that has the facings "facing" out! Cute! Anyway, it's super clean inside.

Yes, yes. I'm a happy serger now.  I did great without it, I will continue to tell new sewists that they don't need one, but now that I have it, I'm using it and loving it! For any of you on the fence, the purchase is completely justified! (I also bought a dead cheap serger, and it's fine.)

In other news, I think we can safely say that Maggie likes refried beans.

Refried beans.

Refried beans.

And with that, we end this Spring (or Autumn for my Aussie readers) KCW. I sewed about the same amount that I always do, but one thing was different: I got to read all of your awesome KCW posts!


  1. Your dress is awesome. Funny, but as I put in an invisible zip this week I thought much the same thing. It seemed to be much easier than a regular zip!!

  2. Oh, Miss Maggie!
    I really like the dress - may have to go investigate that issue...
    And honestly, I think invisible zips are way easier than regular ones :-)

  3. So, so cute! And your description of the green gingham as 'celery gingham' makes it all the more irresistible.
    Those Ottobre magazines are pretty amazing, how full they are of enticing patterns. I just made a dress from a women's issue, and noticed at least three or four other things in there I'd love to make. So many possibilities... so little time!

  4. Your blog is absolutely wonderful!

  5. This gingham dress is so sweet. I'm very excited that gingham is back in this summer. I always wanted to be a Gingham Girl when I was growing up. There is just something so happy about colorful checks!

  6. love.the.gingham. this dress is so sweet!! and maggie is adorable as always. great work!


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