Lorelei's Building Block Dress Adventure

When I heard about Liesl Gibson's new Building Block Dress book, I was super excited to see it. Not only has she chosen to self-publish it, but the book itself is like having a garment teacher in your sewing room. Your very own Liesl Gibson, if you will. Liesl's Oliver + S patterns are some of the first modern garment sewing patterns I first noticed when I first started quilting that made me think to myself, hey, maybe I should try sewing garments!




The Building Block Dress book is focused on the art of learning a simple dress, the Building Block Dress, and then learning a zillion ways to alter or customize it, to make it in a bunch of different ways, essentially giving you a ton of new skills along the way. I look forward to spending more time with this book because I know I am going to learn ever so much from it!!! There's custom sleeves, different skirt options, pockets, necklines, you name it. Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books? It's like that, but with garment patterns, in sizes from 6 months all the way up through size 12. For a beginning seamstress like me, it's a little overwhelming to start from, but at the same time, it's super exciting because I know it's the kind of book I'll come back to over and over again. In fact, I need to take it to my local UPS Store to get the binding cut off so I can have them spiralize it!





I started off planning to make a sleeveless tunic for my daughter, Lorelei, who's now nine months old and crawling up a storm. I still love putting her in dresses, but she seems to get kind of irritated by them lately, because they get caught under her knees. Measuring her to figure out how long I could make a tunic however, proved to be easier said than done so what I thought could be a tunic, really wound up being a dress. For that same reason, I also didn't quite follow Liesl's advice about making a muslin - though I think maybe next time, or maybe when she stops growing so quickly, I will go that route. I definitely can see why that would be wise.


While not everything went exactly as planned in making this dress, partly because I managed to slam my thumb in a car door (for the record, it's my right thumb, not shown above, and you're welcome for that!) and it severely changed my hand's normal mobility, I'm still super proud that I made this dress. I love that I sewed a bias neckline. I love that I shortened the bodice and skirt of the dress without fear. I love that my dress is unique, and is a mish-mash of many different techniques in the book. I think it looks adorable and I can't wait to plan out my next Building Block dress.


You can check out all things Oliver + S, including their fantastic patterns, great videos and tutorials and so forth on their website right here. And best of all, you can find the new book right here.

Have a wonderful week everyone, and hopefully once my thumb heals, I can manage to sneak into my sewing room to sew up another Building Blocks dress, or do some more fun cross-stitching. :)

Even more adventures in garment sewing

Thanks for all the encouraging comments last week! They were just the kick in the pants I needed! I spent the weekend, well the free time at least, working on my first Geranium dress. If you haven't heard of the Geranium dress, it's a super adorable little girls' dress or top pattern by the indomitable Rae Hoekstra (a.k.a. Made by Rae), and it's a garment pattern that I've heard from some friends was not entirely scary, so I decided to go for it, after my successful attempt at knits.


I will say this - I tend to bite off more than I can chew, so to start with, I truly considered making four of them. At once. Then the rational side of me took over and I decided to try one first, sew it all the way through, before cutting into the other pretty, pretty fabrics I gathered for my Geranium possibilities pile. I narrowed it down to a gorgeous Eastham by Denyse Schmidt print, and got to pressing and cutting.



Everything was going well with the cutting and such until I got to the actual sewing and realized that while I thought "View A" in the pattern was the cuter of the options (though both are adorable), it was also the more challenging one, for me, because it required gathering, which I am absolutely dreadful at. I always pull the threads so hard that I break them. And unsurprisingly, I did just that in this project, but kept on trucking and gathered the best I could.



Aside from the gathering, I didn't really struggle much. I fully expected to struggle. A lot. With the whole three dimensional-ness of garment sewing, I expected that I'd have a hard time understanding what to do and where, but the instructions are written quite well, very clear and concise at the same time, so it was really a breeze.



The dress still needs buttons or snaps - I haven't decided which yet, in part because I've never installed either, but also because the mom in me thinks the snaps are more practical and I don't have any so it requires a trip to Jo-Ann's - but other than that, it's totally done. All hemmed and everything. And it's super cute!




And it even fits her! Look how darned adorable she is in it!



So, I think the chances that I'll make another (or twelve!) are mighty good. This pattern was definitely a good one for a complete garment novice like myself, so if you're on the fence about trying your hand at garment sewing, go for it. It's not as scary as I thought it would be. Need some proof? I even bought a few adult garment patterns, like the Scout Tee and the Bianca top/dress. And I might actually use them! Have a fantastic week everyone :)

Adventures in garment sewing...

There's nothing like having a daughter to make you want to sew pretty, pretty clothes. I've wanted to try garment sewing for years, but always felt intimidated by the large pattern pieces and crazy thick pattern packets for adult garments. But baby clothes? They're tiny! How hard can they be?


I've been slowly gathering my courage to try making something garment-y for a few weeks now. Goodness knows that I surely have plenty of fabric to do it with! But I was totally lacking in the confidence department. Quilts are flat. They don't have to go over anyone's head. They always fit. I like quilts. Garments? That's a whole different story.



So I thought I'd start small - even though I wanted to dive in and make a Geranium dress right away. I decided to pace myself, and start with a simple knit headband. I've never sewn with knits, so it was a bit of an adventure, but it turned out pretty okay. Having a cute baby to put said headband on sure helps it turn out okay! But sewing the headband made me feel a little more prepared for garment sewing, what with the curves and wiggly fabric and all.



Now I'm thinking that maybe I might just be ready to a Geranium dress, having been told by a few friends who know better that it would be a simple pattern for me. I just need to work on printing out the pattern pieces and taping them together and then build up my guts to cut into some pretty, pretty fabric. I'm leaning toward this print from Denyse Schmidt's Eastham collection, because purple is totally Lorelei's color. It looks so adorable on her. So we'll see what this week brings, but who knows - maybe by next week I will have officially sewn a garment! Imagine that! Have a great week everyone :)