Friday, July 20, 2012

Oliver + S Tea Party Sundress and Bloomers

Two years ago, my very good friend gave birth to her daughter.  I quickly made up the Itty Bitty Baby Dress but made a rookie mistake by not making sure my printer scaled and sized the pattern correctly.  Thus the dress was too small for the newborn.  Disappointing!  The fabric was so sweet too.  A soft swiss dot with little orange flowers.  It matched her nursery.   I had purchased the fabric at a local-ish store called Needle and Thread in Gettysburg, PA.  I went back to the store to see if they still had some fabric to remake the newborn dress, but I was out of luck.

Then 2 years later the fabric showed up again!  My opportunity for a second chance!  It has been awhile since I sewn any clothing, so I opted for my Oliver + S Tea Party Dress Pattern (Digital Pattern Available).  To my surprise the 2T size was already traced! 

This pattern is rated as a beginner pattern (or one scissor rating as noted on the pattern.)  I remember sewing this dress up when it was first released several years ago. I did an OK job, but it was very nice to return to this pattern and fly right through it!  I made the pattern per the instructions with the exception of lining the skirt and opted out of the piping.  The swiss dot is semi-transparent.  To do this, I stacked my lining (a white cotton voile also purchased at Needle and Thread) with my swiss dot and cut them together. I also used a machine blind hem stitch for the hem instead of sewing it by hand.

When I was searching for a coordinating print for the bodice, I ran into JoAnn's and was immediately drawn to the new Denise Schmitt collection for Fabric Traditions (purchased in 2012.) Perfect!  It was only after the fact, did I realize that I pretty much copied the illustrated dress on the pattern envelope.  At least I knew the end result would look awesome. :)

The bloomers were new for me.  I didn't make them the last time around.  I have since come to realize that  active little girls need something to cover their diapers/underwear when playing.  Again, I made no alterations to the pattern (cut the 2T size).  The only change I made was to use pre-made bias tape instead of making my own for the leg openings.  Not only did it speed up the sewing process but I was also running low on the DS fabric.
My favorite part is the little ribbon I used to denote the back of the bloomers.  Gah!  So adorable! 

I gifted this new dress to the mother/daughter a week before she turned 2.  And it FIT PERFECTLY!  As soon as the daughter saw the dress she exclaimed "Pretty!" and stripped down to her diaper to put it on.  I couldn't have gotten a better compliment. :D  This was such a motivating sewing project.  I can't wait to get back in my sewing room. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Giftable sunshine

Burpee Del Sol Pollenless sunflowers. Picked and ready to be gifted to friends. I couldn't help but think of this verse while picking these the other day.

 "And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands."  Psalm 90:17

When I picked these flowers I really couldn't think of anything more beautiful.  That was until I picked the next bouquet for my home.   I only wish the work of my hands was in the garden on these beautiful summer days. 

These flowers are sitting on our new outdoor table.  I found the chairs last year used  for $10 a piece and waited this long trying to find a used table to meet our desires (heavy, no glass or tile, seats +6 people). No dice, so we got the table we had our eye on to enjoy for the remainder of summer.  I find that when I do purchase something retail I am always astonished at the price.  My new normal is 1/2 off Wednesday's at the Community Aid Thrift Store.  Anything more than that and I have mild heart palpitations.  :P 

Monday, July 9, 2012

The rewards of gardening- Vegetables

July 2012 Vegetable Garden
  I've just shown you my flower garden and I admit I'm slightly embarrassed to show my vegetable garden. It clearly has been treated like a second class citizen!  For the month of June I was pretty much not at home, so it got away from me.  And our spring started really early and it got hot quick, so many of my "spring" crops bolted and turned bitter fast.  I had poor germination with my spinach too. *sigh*  Second year in a row.

The far side of the garden is where we started many of our spring crops.  Most, if not all, are done for the season.  We will be pulling out the plants and tilling it over again to plant for fall.  The summer garden plants (peppers, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, squashes, and cucumbers are growing like weeds amongst weeds. :)

Yesterday, I harvested the remaining spring crops.  A handful of snap peas, the secondary broccoli stalks, green onions, and kale.  I was really upset with my kale harvest (or lack thereof) and went to double check the variety so I could take note and not purchase it again.  It was then that I read the seed packet more carefully and noticed it was a dwarf variety. Doh!  Silly me.  I'll replant most of these for a fall crop.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The rewards of gardening- the flower edition

All fall and winter my main hobby is sewing, but when spring and summer roll around my attention is completely on my gardens. I have gotten some gentle reminders recently that I haven't updated my blog, and if you've been wondering what I have been up to, well, take a look.

Orange Cosmos- the original seeds came in the mail as some sort of free enticement to make a donation to some organization.  I collect and replant the seeds every year with stunning results.

Tropical Dahlia from a mixed bag of tubers purchased in 2012.
 Last year I purchased two dahlia bulbs on clearance at Walmart and stuck them in the ground not knowing what to expect.  As soon as the first blossom bloomed it was love at first sight.  I saved the tubers and *I think* one of them grew back.  I tried to keep accurate records of what dahlias I planted, but this year I planted over 40 tubers.  I did have some issues with some tubers I purchased online surviving, and I'll share that story once I get it straightened out. So I have been replanting with some tubers I purchased locally.

Yellow Dahlia from 2011 given to me by my Mom.  I have since learned that I need to debud some of the plants in order to get really big blooms.  I do admit that I have a hard time pinching off those flowers!
2012 Burpee Del Sol Pollenless Hybrid Sunflower
 I experimented with different varieties of sunflowers.  The sunflowers pictured above where planted May 5th and bloomed July 1st. This is a new variety for me.  Del Sol grows a single flower on each stalk.  I did have a couple of plants that sent off an additional shoot or two. I do tend to like sunflowers that branch and have multiple flowers on each stalk (more blooms to pick!) but I really enjoyed these flowers. Some centers where up to 8 inches across.  So big and bright!  They make such a statement.  And I LOVE that they are pollenless and leave no residue on the kitchen counter when cut.  Will I grow these again next year?  It depends.  I'm not counting them out just yet.

The last of the hollyhock blooms. Grew these from seed in 2010.

Botanical Interest- Art Deco Zinnias 2012
My all time favorite flower to grow is the zinnia. So easy to start from seed with great results.  I picked up several new packets of seeds this year.  These where also planted May 5th and started to bloom the last week in June. This Art Deco mix gave me some interesting colors. From coral to Crayola purple. I have been getting some large blooms on long stems, which is always a plus!

July 2012 Cut Flower Garden

I am ALMOST done weeding this garden. The next step is to lay down some newspaper and mulch with straw.  Anyone know where I can find some minions to help weed my vegetable garden?