Aug 31, 2014

teacher clothes

I'm pretty lucky to be in a profession that does not require that I dress in a narrow, specific sort of way.  Obviously, there are dress code parameters I am expected to follow, but they aren't particularly restricting, mostly just common sense.  If I taught elementary school, I'm sure I would be more concerned about being comfortable at recess duty and sitting on the carpet for circle time.  High school is nice because I can actually wear all those dresses I sew in my everyday life.

For the first day of school, I wanted an outfit that would look a little dressier than usual--first impressions are important, after all.  I went with the Sewaholic Alma blouse and Simplicity 1541.

Can we talk about how wonderfully this skirt turned out?  This is my second 1541 skirt (my first one was a muslin that I wore during me-made-May).  I went with the curvy fit this time with four darts in the back instead of just two and found that no other changes were needed.  I love how this skirt fits.  I used a cotton sateen with a tiny bit of stretch, which is one of my favorite fabrics for skirts, and I added a lining.  The busy pattern obscures the princess seams a bit, but I'm okay with that--this is my favorite handmade skirt so far.

I wish I could say that I love the blouse as much I as I love the skirt.  I love the Alma pattern, and I have another version that turned out really nicely and fits well.  I think the problem lies with my fabric choice.  This fabric was labeled as rayon, and it has a texture similar to crepe.  It shrank like a boss on the first washing, so I washed it again.  However, when I ironed it, it seemed to stretch back out.  Weird.  It's a tiny bit sheer, but I went with the facings anyway, and I keep thinking that I might take it off and use bias tape on the neckline.  This fabric just doesn't behave.  I do like those tiny polka dots though, and it works well for some subtle pattern mixing.

In spite of that unruly rayon, I am still pleased with how this first day of school outfit turned out.  I just hate that Labor Day signals the end of wearing white...or does it?

Aug 24, 2014

back to school

And....we made it through the first week of school.  Big sigh of relief.  Cara went off to kindergarten like a champ, and of course, I cried.  She was so big and awesome sitting in her tiny chair chatting up the little girl next to her.  Her teachers seem like the most wonderful, kind people--actually, everyone I've encountered at Cara's school seems like a kind, wonderful person.  Without a doubt, I know she is in good hands, but I think it's hard to let go at any age. 

I left Cara's school with tears in my eyes and a few on my cheeks, but I didn't have time to think much because I had morning duty in the main lobby of my school on the very first day.  I encountered at least three parents walking in their new freshmen who were so afraid that their babies would be lost or overwhelmed in the big world of high school that they were hesitant to leave.  I hugged one mom, telling her that I completely understood how she felt; I had just left my baby in a new school too.  It's hard to let go at any age.

For Cara's back to school dress, I went with the Oliver and S Jump Rope dress, view B with short sleeves.  I originally bought this fabric with the Library dress in mind, but the Jump Rope dress is such a classic school dress.  I just love the contrast fabric on the pockets, placket, and collar, but it meant that I had to redo the placket when my first attempt looked a bit asymmetrical.  It was an easy fix though.  I also had a bit of trouble with the collar, which is strange because the collar on my first Jump Rope dress went together like a dream.  Fortunately, the less-than-perfect parts are hidden, and I'm not worrying about it.

I don't know if you can tell, but Cara was super-excited for her first day of school.  She actually only went for two days last week, but I can tell those two days took it out of her as this weekend has been a struggle.  I'm sure she'll adjust over the next few weeks (and I'm sure I will too).

Aug 7, 2014

three new skirts

We are t-minus 12 days until Cara starts kindergarten, which means I have twelve days to get her first day of school dress finished up.  However, I understand that, realistically, the girl is going to need some play clothes for school.  Since she is still aspiring to be a princess when she grows up (in fact, she told me yesterday that when she grows up, she's planning to build her castle right next door to my house), she much prefers skirts and dresses--my goal is to make her skirts and dresses perfect for the playground.  I decided to whip up a few skirts to mix and match with Cara's array of t-shirts.  A skirt plus a t-shirt seems like a great play time outfit, if you ask me.

Skirt #1: 

This is another layered skirt based on this tutorial from Made.  Cara loves her polka dot layered skirt so much that making another was a no-brainer.  This skirt is great stashbuster as it takes less than a yard of fabric.  Cara's t-shirt is also handmade.  I used the Oliver and S School Bus T-Shirt, and Cara added the sparkly stencils.  

Skirt #2:

If something works, why not repeat it?  This is another reversible Oliver and S Hula Hoop Skirt in another batik print (see the previous version here).  It's actually the leftover fabric from my third Cambie.  This skirt is such a clever, yet simple design, and the flounce adds quite the satisfying twirl factor.

Skirt #3:

Never fear--not all of Cara's back to school skirts are repeats.  This one is the Oliver and S Music Class Skirt.  I scored about 3 yards of this polka dot stripe fabric at a yard sale.  I love the little pleated inserts on the sides of the skirt, and there are slightly hidden pockets right above the pleats.  This was a really quick project, maybe two hours at most. 

Of course, if Cara's going to wear skirts and dresses to school, she has to stay covered up on the playground.  I went back and forth with myself about whether I should buy a pattern or just draft my own for some leggings.  In the end, lazy won out, and I bought the Oliver and S Playtime Leggings.  This pattern was totally worth the money to me.  Not only is the fit awesome, but I also whipped up three pairs of shorts in an hour!  You can just barely see the bottom of these peeking out from under the Hula Hoop Skirt.

The best thing about these little shorts is that again, all I needed were scraps from some previous knit projects.  I'm thinking we might not buy leggings ever again.
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