Handmade Hanbok for My Girls

img_2952-18pmEvery year at the new cycle of the lunar calendar, there ensues in our household, a discussion between my Korean self and my Chinese husband about the ‘political correctness’ of calling the New Year holiday “Chinese New Year” vs. “Lunar New Year” (instigated by me, of course).  My husband is all for calling it “Chinese New Year” which is not THAT big of a deal, since the Chinese do celebrate it so extensively, (but then it sort of is) so I’m left wondering why my children are bringing home art and “Times” pamphlets from school solely about “Chinese” New Year  and how it’s celebrated by the Chinese, when there are over 20 other countries that celebrate it as well. But I’m not here to start a debate on one or the other, we’ll save that for another time.  I AM here to share how my latest sewing project has turned out and I think they turned out nicely, if I say so myself.

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My “A” has long since grown out of her Hanbok (Korean dress) and my “C” probably wore her  First Birthday Hankbok for the last time last year.  Last Lunar New Year 2016, my A wore her Chinese dress and my C wore her Hanbok, which nicely represented their Korean and Chinese heritage.  This year, the girls wore their Chinese dress on Saturday and wore their Korean Hanboks on Sunday.  I’d been wanting to make a hanbok for my girls for years now, but never got around to tracking down a good hanbok pattern until this past Christmas season when I pulled the trigger and bought a Korean Dress pattern book on Etsy.  It was mailed to me in California from South Korea and it took about 2 weeks to get the book.  I bought it here on Etsy

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I offered to make a Korean boy’s outfit for my son but he wouldn’t have it.  He said he would never, ever wear it… makes my life easier.  He also refused to wear a Chinese jacket sent from his grandpa in Hong Kong… But what can you do? You move on and make cute things for the girls while they’ll still wear it.

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I love the bright and vibrant color combination of C’s hanbok (right) with the little floral design top.  Hanboks are traditionally more vibrant in color and I wonder if I should have picked a bright, mustardish- yellow for A’s hanbok skirt (left) instead of pink to go with her mint top.

Did you notice that the girls’ hanbok bows are on opposite sides?   I made C’s hanbok first (left, below) and accidentally reversed the front bodice pattern pieces and ended up having to put the tie on the incorrect side.  I didn’t have enough fabric to fix the mistake so I figured I would just finish it and no one would really notice… unless you put side-by-side photos of them together like so…

hanbokcollageSo the mint/pink Hanbok has the correct tie placement on the right side of the Jogori (top) with the 1-bow pointing to the left.   (Yes, it does matter, but let’s just assume for C’s hanbok it doesn’t)

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This is the skirt portion of the hanbok that you wear under the Jogori (top).  It’s basically a wrap skirt/dress and you bring the ties to the front and tie to secure.

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The pattern book is all in Korean but it has good step-by-step photos that illustrate each step that made it fairly easy to follow along.  They do use specific vocabulary associated with the pieces of Hanbok that I had to look up, and the book does have a handy picture chart with labels and their corresponding names.

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I think I got the hair right… I recall from watching Korean dramas (yes, Korean dramas, an excellent source) set in the old Joseon time periods usually having a small braid on the side, woven into one long braid in the back for girls and I think it was buns for married women.  Regardless, the girls looks adorable with their braids and hanbok.

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A and C tried to convince me to wear my hanbok to church with them, but I didn’t really want to wear my hanbok from my wedding (which comes with a huge petticoat) to 3 hours of church.  Maybe next year girls… and that’s a BIG MAYBE.

Thanks for reading and Happy Chinese, Korean, Lunar New Year !!!

-Flora

Toki Hops, Toki Sews

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“Toki” (rabbit in Korean) hops to it this Easter, but not soon enough and only finished one dress for my two girls!  Uh-Oh.  Good thing I pulled out a pretty satin dress with coral flower prints on it that the older one outgrew and was brand spankin’ new to this younger girl so we avoided a possible melt-down.  Whew!  Well, actually, if my younger girl didn’t get a dress, she probably would have pouted for a second then forgotten about it.  She’s pretty easy-going and very forgiving, which is a blessing since I’ve supposedly (according to some health articles) lost memory brain cells every time I had another child; quite unfortunate for all children involved.

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Speaking of memory loss, I really wish I could remember where or when I got this pretty fabric, but I bought a lot of it (maybe 5 yards) and I had been saving it for a special occasion to make a dress out of it.  Not only is the big watercolor floral prints just beautiful, but the material itself is gorgeous; silky yet thick, definitely isn’t slippery, and doesn’t wrinkle too much.  Perfect material for a dress!

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I revisited my favorite little girl’s dress pattern “The Fairy Tale Dress” by Oliver+S.  I bought the digital pattern, downloaded off the site, printed and pieced the pattern sheets together, and traced the pattern pieces for the correct sizes and view of the dress.  I made this dress in the size 6 and it fits my 6 yr old just right with a little growing room.

This is definitely a very “nice” dress, fully lined bodice, sleeves, and skirt with a layer of tulle with the skirt lining to create more lift and “fluff” to the skirt and has an invisible zipper.  It is a beautiful end product.

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I used this pattern last year to make the above dress in a gorgeous blue and green print with the green Peter Pan collar and big green sash in the back.  I followed View B of the pattern to the T and loved how it turned out. Although, I did think the front waist could use a little sash because it did look a little “boring” aside from the collar at the top.  I do absolutely LOVE the big bow/sash in the back though.

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This time, I made View A from the pattern with a few adjustments.  I got rid of the Peter Pan collar and cut the neckline out into more of a boat-neck rather than a very high-neck round.  I also used piping around the tulip sleeves and piping around the waist by using matching purple fabric with some cording to make the piping.  I bought very light gray cotton fabric to line the inside of the dress.
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I LOVE how it turned out!   I think i spent a total of about 8-10 hours on this dress.  I procrastinated and started it Friday evening, stayed up until 1am, then worked on it again off and on Sat afternoon and into the wee hrs of Sat. night.  Good thing this dress will be handed off to my younger girl later so we can get as much mileage out of it before they both outgrow it.  Very spring and a nice sophisticated little girl’s dress perfect for this special Easter season where we remember the miracle and love of our Savior!

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We had gone to the town Easter Egg Hunt for the last 2 yrs but didn’t go this year due to a busy game schedule, but luckily a friend was hosting one in her lovely backyard so the kids got a hunt in this season. We also did a cute scavenger hunt from Pinterest where they followed clues to find 3 big (plastic) eggs filled with candy (of course) at the end of it. They LOVed the clues and my oldest boy has since made a scavenger hunt for his two younger sisters and one for my husband and I with a lovely note at the end of the hunt.

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Hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend and a nice spring holiday for others.

As always, thank you so much for visiting and please subscribe!

-Flora

 

 

 

 

DIY: Striped Red/White Knit Dress

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Now that school is out and I have all three of my sweet, wonderful, perfect children at home (always playing nicely, sharing their toys, never whining or pushing my buttons), I can’t imagine why I have no time to sew or blog.  I never realized this end of school year period would be so busy, even with a Kindergartener.  You would think it would be wind down time, but nope.  Just the opposite.  Plus, we had my father-in-law in town visiting from Hong Kong and we got to take a family trip together to Yosemite as soon as my son got out of school on Friday.  It was the perfect place to finally relax after the end of school year fiasco was over; surrounded by nature and no cell phone reception!  I don’t know about you, but I get nervous when I don’t have reception and that’s probably a sign that I am relying too much on this “smartphone” contraption and dumbing myself down… Ode to the days when we could remember all our family and friends’ phone numbers and could actually read a map.  Speaking of maps, I was the designated navigator once we got into Yosemite Park and I panicked (secretly) when I realized I couldn’t use Googlemaps and I actually had to look around at signs and terrain to figure out where we were and where to go.  Imagine my joy when I found our location on the little loops and squiggly roads drawn on the map after confirming we had actually passed the two tunnels that the map said we should be passing through! I had to give myself a pat on the back for navigating us through the park 🙂

Now this red and white knit fabric is from my past Knitfix purchase from Girl Charlee and I must admit, I had the hardest time trying to decide what to make with it.  I finally found an inspiration for this dress after I saw this “Beachcomber” dress by Shabby Apple, which unfortunately, is no longer available.  I loved the look of the dress and how the stripes on the skirt was cut on a bias to create a unique look.  Their dress has pockets, but I didn’t do the pockets because their fabric is a lot more “drapey” and soft, while my fabric is a cotton jersey knit, therefore, thicker and has more structure.  So the feel of the dress is a bit different from the loose, soft, flow of the inspiration dress, but I still like my dress.

I drafted a rough pattern for this dress using a loose top I have for the bodice of the dress then did some math (I know, crazy) to figure out how to split my waist measurement into four pieces for the skirt while adding enough room for seam allowances.  Then I measured the length of the skirt and when cutting out my skirt pieces, I cut it carefully so I could get the right look with the stripes.  When I finished piecing all the parts together, I realized it was too big, so I had to go back, cut, rip seams, and sew it again to get it just right.

I used a straight stretch stitch on my (very basic) babylock and used about a 3/8″ to 1/2″ seam throughout.  I ironed my hems when folding it and pinning to get clean, straight hemlines.

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This top works perfectly since it doesn’t have separate sleeves, which is the look I was going for.

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Trace the shirt and add seam allowances, then cut out your piece for the front and the back. I tried to make somewhat of a v-neck for the front.

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Pin and sew the sides up to the bottom of the sleeve.

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PIn and sew the shoulder and upper sleeve part with right sides together

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Divide your waist measurement by 4 then add 1/2″ seam to each side of your 4 pieces and cut. I tapered each of the skirt pieces so it gets gradually wider as it goes down.

Carefully eyeball the stripes so you get the right diagonal design for the skirt. I did horizontal lines for the middle front and middle back of the skirt. Then cut on a bias for the two side pieces of the skirt.

Carefully eyeball the stripes so you get the right diagonal design for the skirt. I did horizontal lines for the middle front and middle back of the skirt. Then cut on a bias for the two side pieces of the skirt.

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Pin and sew all four pieces of the skirt together with a 1/2″ seam with right sides together.

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The skirt portion should look something like this.

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With the top wrong side out and the skirt right side out, tuck the skirt (bottom hem first) into the top then pin and sew. It helps to make center and side marks on the bottom hem of the top and the top hem of the skirt to match you evenly when you pin.

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Double fold the neckline then sew. I cut my neckline too wide and it could almost be off-shoulder… I was trying to go for the wide boatneck look with a slight V. Oh well.

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Hem your sleeves to desired length. I only single folded the hem for the sleeves.

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Double fold and iron the skirt hem then pin and sew.

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Aaaaaaand you’re done!!!

Hey, this dress would be perfect for the 4th of July!  I just need to add some blue and stars and I’m the US flag!  I’m excited to add this to my small, but growing, knit dress collection.

Thanks for reading!

-Flora

P.S.  Thanks for taking the time to take pictures of me modeling the dress this morning before you left for work, Ken hubby!  Love you!

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DIY Tutorial: Girl’s Tunic Dress

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I have a growing problem: I like to hoard pretty fabric.  The clothes that I used to toss into the “donate” bag are being stored in every nook and cranny of our home if there’s even an inch of fabric to be salvaged; all because I will “someday” make use of the fabric to upcycle the garment and give it new life.  I think the TLC show “Buried Alive” may soon come knocking at my door if I don’t start whipping out some projects from this stash.  So I decided to use hubby’s old, nice, striped dress shirt with some floral fabric from my other stash to make a tunic dress for my little A.  My little princess loves dresses and every day is a battle to get her to wear pants with the much cooler weather that has been blowing into the bay area as of late.  I am usually successful in threatening convincing her to wear pants or leggings under her dress but my victory only lasts a couple hours when she takes them off at preschool.  I hope to whip out many more dresses and skirts for my girls so I can reduce the ever-growing pile of “fabric” in our already cramped home.

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Here’s hubby’s shirt that he doesn’t wear anymore because it wrinkles too easily? Sure~ I’ll take it!

I originally used a tunic block pattern from the book: “Pattern Making for Kids’ Clothes” but ended up using one of A’s play dresses to make adjustments after cutting the fabric because it would have been much too big for my A.  The book does a great job in explaining the purpose of a block and sloper (which I had never heard of before… linguistics major here) as well as how to use these basics to create an entirely unique design.  This book was also a loan from my library and it really makes me feel like I’ve hit the jackpot when I can gain access to these awesome pattern books without having to buy the book myself!  I love shared reading. 🙂

To make your own pattern from an existing dress, just fold the dress in half, lengthwise, trace, and add seam allowance.  I ended up doing basically that since the tunic block needed to be adjusted due to it being too big.

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Tunic dresses like these are my favorite to make and to put on my little girls. I love pockets on dresses too and my A totally agrees.

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Trace the tunic block and make adjustments to make a tunic dress.

I printed the tunic block following the link given in the book, pieced it together, traced it onto freezer paper, then made my adjustments.  This tunic block is the 5-6yrs size and it was much, much too big for my 5 yr old.  I wanted to make a tunic dress so I lengthened the skirt, slashed through the armpit of the pattern to make a separate bodice, and added 1.5″ to the skirt width to make gathers (since it’s on a fold, you would be adding 3″ of fabric for gathers).

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After all the adjustments for the front of the tunic dress.

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Trace the back tunic block and make adjustments, keeping in mind the foldovers for button plackets

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I did basically the same thing for the back of the tunic: lengthened the skirt, slashed horizontally through arm curve, added 1.5″ width to make the skirt gathers.  But this time, I adjusted the back bodice portion so I have enough fabric to fold under twice and overlap for buttons and button holes.

Add 1.5″ from the first line for one side of the back bodice, then add another 1″ from the middle line you just drew for the other side of the back bodice. Make sure you cut mirror images of the bodice pieces, one should have a longer “flap”.

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These are my pieces all ready to go.

I ended up having to adjust and cut a narrower shoulder width for the bodices later…  Also, eyeballed and cut out a pocket pattern and used the sleeve from the tunic block, just shortened it since it came as a long sleeve.

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Iron 1/2″ then 1″ for both sides of back bodice.

Add a strip of interfacing to the buttons/buttonhole plackets and then iron a 1/2″ then 1″ to the main bodice line for bodice with the shorter flap.  Do the same thing for the other bodice: you fold over 1/2″ then 1″ and iron.

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line it up to overlap an inch. Should match your front bodice piece.

You should have a 1″ overlap of the back bodice like in the picture above so you can have your buttons on the bottom placket and buttonholes on the top placket.

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pin and sew across shoulders

With right sides of fabric facing, sew the shoulder seams.  See how wide the shoulders are?  I cut it down to size using a nice fitting dress as reference after I had already sewed the shoulders together.  Zigzag stitch raw edges.

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Pin the two back bodice pieces together or you can baste it together, if you prefer.

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Gather stitch

Stitch straight across the top of the skirt piece for both the front and back skirt pieces using a long stitch length (4) and “0” tension.

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Pull threads to gather

Pull the thread on the ends to make gathers and evenly distribute them to fit the width of the bottom of bodice.

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attach skirt to bodice front and back. Skirts are still two separate pieces.

Pin the two skirt pieces separately onto the bodice front and the bodice back with rights sides facing.  Then stitch in place.  Zigzag stitch raw edges.

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topstitch skirt seam to bodice.

Iron the seam up towards the bodice then topstitch along the edge of the bodice close to the skirt.

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attach sleeves to armholes.

Pin your sleeves onto the armhole curve and stitch in place.  Zigzag stitch raw edges.

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prepare pockets

Prepare you pockets by ironing your raw edges onto the wrong side of the pocket.  You can baste the edges if you want to.  I added elastic to the top of the pocket to create gathers and also to give it stretch when the hand goes into the pocket.  Forgot to take pictures of that step.  Basically, cut a thing strip of elastic to the width you want the pocket top to be, pin the elastic to both top ends of the pocket, pin the middle of the elastic to match the middle of the pocket top, then stretch the elastic as you sew it onto the pocket top.  Here’s an example tutorial by Indiesew.  They use it on knits, but basically the same thing I’m doing here.

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prepare pockets and attach to skirt. I did it at the end, but it may be easier while two skirts are not attached.

Find where you want to place your pockets on the front of your skirt, pin it on, and stitch in place.  Think where their hands would naturally fall.

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sew on the pockets

Backstitch a small triangle into the top corners of the pocket for added durability.

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Finish neckline

Cut out a strip of 1.75″ wide fabric and make your double fold bias tape then pin and stitch in place.

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sew sides of skirt all the way to the bottom of the sleeves. I wasn’t going to do sleeves but changed my mind later so this picture doesn’t show sleeves.

Sew the skirt sides and the lower sleeves together with right sides facing.  Zigzag stitch raw edges.

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sew on the “hem” part of skirt.

I cut out about a 2″ strip of fabric to match the width of the skirt to hem the bottom for a cleaner look.

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finish the hem

Fold and iron at the seam then iron the raw edge onto the wrong side, pin, and sew.  Hem your sleeve as well by folding in and ironing about 1/4″ of the raw edge onto the wrong side then folding in and ironing again about 1/2″, pin and sew.

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find desired button placement

Now figure out how many buttons you want and place them on the back bodice.

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mark where you want your button holes

Carefully mark where the buttonholes need to go, make you button holes, and sew on your buttons.

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Finish buttonholes and add buttons!

Finished buttons and buttonholes always leaves me with such a sense of accomplishment!  Perhaps because I was afraid to buttonholes for the looooongest time.

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Voila~ Done!

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My little girl wanted to wear it to school the next day and I couldn’t say no when she was so willing to wear her denim leggings under them and put on her cardigan.  Good thing I took pictures of her in the dress before school because when I picked her up, she had pink glittery paint all over her dress.  I started to worry the paint wouldn’t wash off and couldn’t get my mind off of the paint the entire drive home.  Needless to say, I hand-washed the dress right when we got home and the paint did come off with a bit of scrubbing.  Don’t worry, I won’t freak out next time.  It’s just the day after I finished it, so I was a bit sensitive (and sleep-deprived).  🙂

Go ransack your hubby, brother, whoever’s closet and there’s bound to be shirts they don’t wear that have perfectly good fabric for making children’s clothes.

Until next time… Have a great week and thanks for reading!

-Flora

On the Hunt for Korean & Japanese Sewing Patterns

It’s a week from Easter and here I am sewing a dress in a green that looks like it would be more fall appropriate.  But I don’t care, I love the color, the fabric, and the design of the dress.  It really is simple in construction, but it took a lot longer to finish this garment due to some language stumbling blocks which sent me searching the Korean-English online dictionary for words in Korean I have never heard before (I never learned “topstitch” or “interfacing” in Korean!!!).  Despite the hiccups, I was determined to finish the dress and am going to make almost every pattern in the book.  I’ll have to think about the little capri pants with a sideways uni-suspender though.
I’ve been wanting to get my hands on a few Korean and Japanese children’s sewing patterns books for a while and found them extremely difficult to get without having to pay 2x the price of the book for international shipping.  I know there are quite a few Japanese sewing books that have been translated into English and are available for purchase on Amazon, but they didn’t have the same draw that this book did.  I was able to see sample pictures of the book on a Korean e-bookstore and even tried drafting my own pattern (still in the works) after a cute and simple girl’s tunic from one of the books, but I still wanted the other patterns… Well, I found a copy of the book on Etsy in Korean and ecstatic is an understatement to the joy I felt when I finally got it in the mail; international shipping needs to be quicker.  I did have to pay a bit more than I would have liked in shipping fees, but it was better than other online bookstores shipping from Korea.
Direct translation of the title: My Child’s Closet
I know it’s hard to see the pictures of the patterns making up the table of contents, which is such a cute idea!  The book includes patterns for dresses, a tunic, shirts, pants/shorts/capris, tutu, and one too many jacket/coats; I will likely attempt no more than one coat pattern.  I learned the hard way that seam allowances are NOT included in the pattern pieces and you have to add seam allowances according to the book.  For example, you have a skirt, and it says to add 1 cm seam allowance on all sides except the hem, you add 4 cm.  Also another thing I wasn’t used to was the metric units and the different symbols they use for “fold” when you cut.  I’ve come to realize that I like having seam allowances already built into the pattern pieces.

This dress, “Baggy Look One-Piece”, is one of the first patterns I’ve tackled from this book and it just may be my favorite little girl’s dress design.  I love the loose, comfy linen fabric that’s shown in the picture, the colors, and the cute pockets.  I tried to find a linen-type fabric as close to the one in the picture as I could, but I think mine is a bit thicker and has a bit more structure than I would like.  I actually like the way the dress seems to be a bit baggy and drapey on the model…

My little A loves the dress (of course) and says it’s now her favorite dress, but then she says that every time she gets a new dress. My sweet little girl.  She says it’s her fave because of the pockets.  Come to think of it, I don’t think she has pockets in any of her other dresses.  I love pockets in my dresses too and I didn’t know some wedding dresses have pockets!

I cut the pieces out for the dress a week ago and finally got out my sewing machine last night to construct it.  I really thought I would be done in a couple hours, but like I mentioned before, I got stuck on the Korean…  and here I was pretty confident about my Korean… I guess what other opportunities do I ever have to brush up and practice my Korean?  The only other time I use Korean is when I talk to my mom (over the phone) and when I make a conscious effort to use Korean when talking to my kiddos (which I forget to do most of the time).  It’s hard to remember to talk to them in Korean and it’s also inconvenient because I know they’ll understand me right away when I talk to them in English…

I really do love this dress! I want one in my size!  Probably wouldn’t look to flattering on me though.  That’s why I love sewing for little girls.  They look so sweet and cute in almost anything.

Maybe a muslin-type fabric would give the dress the loose, baggy, look that I was going for.  Next time.

For now, thanks for reading!

-Flora

Night Owl Projects: First Day Dress

Hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend.  I think I did, but then every weekend seems to be a blur of activities with the only trace of it ever happening, safely documented on Instagram thanks to my overgramming addiction.  I do recall purchasing a pattern, tracing and cutting the pattern pieces, cutting out my fabric pieces, and sewing them all late into the night, but then I didn’t Instagram that process so I can only conjecture.  *wink*  As my kiddos are getting older and participating in more activities, our Saturday schedules are becoming packed with back to back activities.  I find it quite fun and fulfilling at this point, but ask me again in a year.

I used to print patterns for boy’s shorts, neckties, skirts, etc. from Dana Made It a couple years ago and really liked all the tutorials and free patterns she had on her site.  That was when I was trying to learn how to make children’s clothes for my littles and had been scouring blogs and printing off everything that was free.  When I revisited her site last week, I found this First Day Dress Pattern that I just had to get and make for my girls.  My older girl is 5 and she will only wear dresses (as mentioned in a previous blog post) and her little sister, almost 3, is following in big sis’s footsteps.  So I have been meaning to make more dresses and skirts for them in hopes to also use up some of my hoard of fabric I have been sitting on for years.  This was the perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.

I love how simple and quick this pattern went and love that you get multiple dress and top options.  I made the A-line dress and the Swing dress both with full linings and it got so many compliments when the girls wore them to the Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday.

I know the navy blue one is not very Easter-y in color but I loved the little apples on it and thought it would be perfect for my my little C since she will be starting preschool for the first time this fall.  I made her dress in the size 3 and my older A’s dress in the size 5.  They fit nice but have to put it on with arms fully extended straight up and my help for now.  There’s enough growing room for them both for the duration of the year or so they wear it.  Good thing C loves hand me downs from big sis.  Such a waste otherwise.

A is loving the skirt portion of her dress and the way it can “twirl like a princess”.  They wore it all day yesterday and today for church.  I’m already thinking of making more of these.  I might even venture to add some pockets on C’s A-line dress.  We will see how that goes and I will document the process on a future post.

Thanks for reading and sharing in my enthusiasm for darling girls’ clothes!

"Sewing Mod Kid Style" Bubble Dress by Toki

2015 is already here and it’s really starting to feel nippy in the Bay area, which can be quite challenging if you have a girl like mine who always wants to wear a dress.  I would wake up freezing and seek out my warmest sweater, steal my husband’s thick socks (that roll up all the way up my calves) from his drawer, and slip on my fuzzy slippers before I even think to walk on the ice tiles in the bathroom.  Then in twirls my almost-5-yr-old with a piece of cloth draped over her in the shape of a dress with no socks or any tights! I immediately send her back to change which turns my twirling, prancing princess into a creeping, crawling slug bent on never making it back to her closet.  SOoo we compromise and we add a multi-colored jacket (with sequins) and pink polka dot tights which turns her into a walking rainbow with blinding sequins in the shape of a cat named Hello Kitty.

I don’t mind that my daughter looks like she walked out of a “Fancy Nancy” picture book, but I had been wanting to make her a long-sleeved dress for her from the “Sewing Mod Kid Style” book I had borrowed from the library.  My little fashionista had even picked out ALL the dresses and skirts in the book for me to make for her.  The bubble dress was her favorite and asked for that one first.  I had been sitting on the project for a while even after picking out the fabric (Joann) for it before the holidays.  Right, the holidays, there’s my excuse!  

This bubble dress is really simple and easy to make and doesn’t have all those little pieces of bodice linings, interfacings, zippers, or buttons to make it complicated.  It’s meant to be made with knit fabric so it’s a comfy every-day dress that can be slipped on and off over the head.  
While making the dress I made a few notes to myself and one of those are that the sizing of the dress seemed to be quite a bit on the larger side.  I made two dresses, one for my almost-5-yr-old and one for my 3-yr-old.  The one pictured is the size 3T that fits my almost-5-yr old.  It was too big for my 3-yr-old so she’ll have to wait until it’s “handed” down to her, like a lot of her other clothes…  And the size 5T dress I made is way too big so my 5-yr-old, so she will have to grow into it later.  
A note about the neckline hemming.  The pattern and directions instruct you to fold in the neckline of the bodice fabric and sew it. Very simple.  I did just that with a stretch stitch setting but it stretched out the neckline so much it was warped and wavy.  It was ugly.  That didn’t happen to my other 5T dress so I think it’s a difference in fabric… So to remedy that problem, I added light pink bias tape with pink rickrack under to add a little something around the neckline and I think it turned out super cute! If you notice in the picture directly below, I didn’t add the bias tape and rickrack all the way around the neckline.  That’s to allow the dress to be slipped on and off over the head without having to cut the back and add buttons since the bias tape doesn’t have any stretch to it.  

She LOVES her dress!  And it’s long-sleeved! Or actually it should have been long-sleeved, but since this dress was actually for a 3T, the sleeves are three-quarter-sleeves on my 5 yr old, which is just fine.

The “bubble” part of the dress is really quite simple! Always wanted to make a “bubble” dress and finally made two!

Thanks for reading,

Toki

Striped Henley-type knit dress

I have a folder on my comp where I save pics of kids’ clothes that I like for future reference, and I decided to try this dress out from GAP.

 I know the dress I made doesn’t exactly look like this henley dress from GAP, but this is what I got my inspiration from.  
First off, I used the pattern I had for my daughter (which I made from tracing her shirt, add seam allowance), then cut out sleeves, and cut out two strips of fabric double the width of the bottom of the dress for the ruffles.

You can see I folded the solid color fabric so it’s double the width of the bottom.

Then sew the shoulders together with right sides of fabric facing each other.

Then get your sleeves and do a gather stitch and gather until it fits your armhole

Pin the sleeves onto the armhole then sew it together (again, right sides of fabric together)

This is what it should look like after you sewed on the sleeves

Now take the long strips you made for the ruffles, gather stitch them, then pin them onto the bottom of the dress w/ right sides together.  Sew it together

Now, this is another strip of fabric I cut to make the ruffles in the middle of the dress w/ the buttons.  I just eyed the measurements to what I thought would look good after gathering it.  Sew a gathering stitch in the middle and gather it.

Pin it onto the front, middle of the bodice and pin it in place.  

Sew it down with matching color thread then remove the loose gathering stitches so it looks neat.

Now for the neckline.  Take a good amount of solid fabric and iron it in half like so.

Then pin it onto the neckline while pulling the bias strip around the curves of the neckline.  So when you go to sew it on, you’ll have to stretch the bias strip.  That way your neckline isn’t stretched out and loose and ugly.

Now we’re going to add the elastic to the bottom of the sleeves, so iron and pin the bottom of the sleeve.  Make sure you leave enough room to pull the elastic and safety pin through.

After you sew the bottom of the sleeve, pull the elastic (with the help of a safety pin) through the sleeve to the opposite end, make sure you hold onto the other end of the elastic so it doesn’t get lost inside the sleeve. (I’m lazy and just stick the other end in my mouth…)

Then sew the sides of the dress and the bottom sides of the sleeve together with right sides of fabric together, and you’re done!!!  Oh, and just hand sew on the buttons.

I know the buttons look neon green, but they’re really not.  It’s a pretty combo w/ the navy blue.

"Easy Breezy Dress" copycat

Inspiration from Hanna Andersson
I got the Hanna Andersson catalog in the mail and saw this cute dress/shirt on the front page and thought it looked simple enough… just add ruffles, right?
I used about a 3/4 yard of the stripe fabric and about 1/2 yard of the solid pink fabric (for ruffles and neckline)
I used the same pattern I had for Avie (made by folding a shirt that fits her in half and tracing around it to make a pattern- adding seam allowance) and cut out a longer piece so it’s longer than a shirt.
I cut out a front and a back w/ this cute cotton knit fabric that I found at Joann’s, which actually is almost the same as the design in the “hanna” picture

I also cut out 4 long pieces 1  1/2″ strips for the ruffles (but I ended up needing a little more since the lower the dress, the longer strips I need for the entire front and back)
Also made and cut out 2 sleeves on the fold
I forgot to cut out the strip for the neckline but did it later.

Then pinned the shoulders together w/ right sides together and also pinned the sides and sewed it together.

I gathered the sleeves then pinned it onto the armhole and sewed it on

just like that

cut out another strip of fabric for the neckline.  Basically ironed the strip in half, then pinned it onto the right side of the fabric, pulling it at the curves (so it doesn’t stretch out the fabric when you stitch it), then sewed it together and ironed.
Now for the ruffles:

Use the strips you cut and gather them to make the ruffles (stitch w/ the longest stitch length and pull one side of the thread and it gathers), which I then pinned onto where I wanted them.

After you pin them on, sew it down (it’s pretty tedious… next time I think I’ll add regular cotton fabric for the ruffles instread of knit fabric.)

Here’s the finished product!
Notes to self:
*next time use cotton fabric for the ruffles and not knit fabric
*cut the sleeves shorter 
*make the neckline a little more higher around all sides of neck.
*and perhaps cut a thicker strip for the neckline bias
Now… wish I had more solid pink fabric to make those cute matching capri pants…

Playdress (or nightgown)

I’ve been pretty addicted to trying out different sewing projects and here’s another one.  I found this cute cotton knit fabric at Joann’s and thought I’d give knits a try.  Well… they sure are a handful to work w/… probably more so since I’m a beginner sewer or seamstress… whatever they call it

I used the same pattern I made for the other two projects (the scallop shirt and the pleated shirt) and finally got up the nerve to make myself sleeves for the dress.  So i cut out a front and back for the dress (I made it much longer to make it a dress, though my pattern is for a shirt).  Then I cut out two sleeves and had to think about it when I cut so that the cats won’t be upside down when I put them onto the dress.
I sewed the shoulders together for the front and back dress pieces then gathered the sleeves

Next, I pinned the sleeves onto the armhole of the dress

looks funny… but that’s what I did

Then I contemplated putting a green strip of fabric in the middle, but decided against it and just drew some lines almost right under the arms and sewed it w/ elastic thread (the elastic thread only goes in the bottom bobbin)

 See how it’s starting to gather so it’ll make a waist for the dress  (I read somewhere to iron the elastic part afterwards to make it gather more) so I did that and I think it worked.

Then I sewed the sides and the underside of the sleeves (obviously not the part where you arms go through)

This is the neckband w/ the bias… that was the hardest part.  I found a really good video where the lady explains how to do it without stretching it out and making it look wobbly/wrinkled.  Basically, you pin around and pull the neckband and stretch it out around the curves so that the knit fabric doesn’t stretch.   I tried to find the video again so I could post the link… but I can’t find it!  I’m sure if you search online you’ll get some other good videos or tutorials for it.  Sorry

hemmed the bottom of the dress… and VOILA~

It looks better on, I promise.

I think it turned out cute 

It looks so comfortable… I want one!