Calling All Kids- Vestabulous!

Have you all been following along with Alida Makes’ Calling All Kids Series? Calling All Kids is a series that Alida created that explores children’s clothing as it relates to gender, and today is my day to share in the series!

Calling All Kids with The Southern Institute

Some girls are not fans of the color pink. I am happy to know this first hand, as I have never been much of a girlie-girl myself. I can count on one hand the items of pink clothing that I have in my wardrobe right now. Abby’s favorite color has always been blue, but the gender-stereotype rebellion is not limited to that. This is a girl who has never dressed up in a princess costume or a frilly tutu. Her birthday party themes as a very young girl were as follows: Toy Story, Star Wars, Harry Potter. Yes, her five year old cake was decorated with a light saber battle between Luke and Darth Vader and we gave out chocolate R2D2 lollipops. I loved every bit of it!

Calling All Kids at The Southern Institute

The main item that I wanted to create for the series was this vest. Vests have typically been a menswear item, borrowed by little boys on Easter Sunday or other holidays, but I say that a vest is the perfect layering piece for a fun-loving girl’s spring wardrobe! I used Jocole’s Reversible Vest Pattern to make this one for Abby. It’s available in sizes from newborn all the way up to 14… score!

Calling All Kids at The Southern Institute

The striped fabric is overstock from J Crew and 100% cotton. Our local fabric store gets the overstock from several designers, apparently, and this is the second J Crew fabric that I’ve bought (the first being the Swiss Dot that I used in the Oliver+S Hide and Seek Dress). The contrast fabric that I chose is Robert Kaufman and is a linen cotton blend that feels wonderful! The pattern is reversible, which makes it incredibly versatile, but I chose to switch out panels a bit and put the buttons on only the outside striped panels.

Calling All Kids at The Southern Institute vest collage

I had never sewn a vest before, much less a reversible one, and I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that there was one point that had me completely confused! I stared at the instructions for two days wondering what in the world I was supposed to do. I don’t know if I was missing something (completely possible) or what, but I finally figured it out somehow and it came together perfectly. I had to take it in 1-1/2 inches on each side for a slimmer fit, and it fits her just perfectly.

Calling All Kids at The Southern Institute

I think the skort really adds a lot to the outfit too. I used Heidi & Finn’s Tennis Skort pattern and a dark heathered denim colored knit material. It’s really a pretty boyish looking fabric that looks completely adorable when made into a cute little skort. I love this pattern. The size twelve fits Abby great. She just turned eleven, but she is over five feet tall, so I needed the length of a twelve. It worked beautifully without any modifications. I love the built in shorts (not shown… a girl has to draw the line somewhere. :))

Calling All Kids at The Southern Institute Tennis Skort

It has been so much fun being a part of the Calling All Kids series and following along and seeing what others have done to challenge the typical gender stereotypes in children’s clothing. Isn’t that the best thing about making your kid’s clothing yourself? There is the chance to make exactly what they want and like, the way you want it too! Now that’s a win-win. I hope you’ll visit the others and check out what they’ve sewn up for their kids! Thanks again for stopping by The Southern Institute!

Calling All Kids at The Southern Institute

Oh! And did I mention that there’s a giveaway too! Go on ahead and enter while you’re here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Oliver + S Hide and Seek Dress.

Hide and Seek dress from Oliver + S sewn by The Southern Institute

If you are a fan of Oliver + S sewing patterns than you were waiting with bated breath for the spring pattern release last week. I hope you weren’t disappointed! Three new patterns were revealed: The Hide and Seek Dress and Tunic (pictured above), The Garden Party Dress, and the Lullaby Layette Set. Each of them are completely adorable and beautifully designed.

When I opened my email a few weeks ago to see a message from Liesl Gibson herself, asking if I would like to preview one of the upcoming patterns I just about fainted! Knowing what a crazy time of year this is for us I knew it would be crazy to take on another project, but then I said to myself, “What are you kidding? Liesl Gibson just emailed you!! Of course you will!” So I did. I instantly fell in love with the Hide and Seek Dress Pattern and chose that to be the one I would sew up for Abby.

hide and seek dress back

Then came the hardest part for me… choosing fabric. It turned out to be easier than I expected though, because I had already seen the chambray swiss dot fabric from J Crew the week before. I fell in love with it then! When I went back to find the contrast fabric for the dress, I saw this dandelion fluff design from Moda, put the two together and that was it… I knew I wanted those two fabrics together. I absolutely LOVE the way they look together. They’re totally my style. Unfortunately Abby was not impressed, but I pulled rank this time and went with my gut.

Hide and Seek Dress Doorway

As it turns out she adores her new dress, fabric choices and all. Let’s talk about fit for a minute. The Hide and Seek Dress is meant to be a bit oversized, loose and easy-fitting, with the shoulder seams not quite hitting the shoulders. You’ll notice that they do hit the shoulders on Abby. I made her dress in a size twelve even though she is not even quite eleven yet. Abby is really tall and lanky, at 5 feet tall. The size twelve fits her perfectly in the shoulders and torso, and quite well in the length. I’m so happy with the fit!

Hide and Seek Dress side view

Can we just talk about how old she looks? I can’t believe how fast she’s growing up. My sweet girl.

Hide and Seek Dress pocket

There are so many beautiful design elements in this dress. The welt pockets are a nice detail, and although I think they were meant to be sewn down, I liked them free like this. Maybe I’ll change my mind later… who knows. There are several pieces to the dress, with the front and back yoke, front and back panels, side panels, and pockets. It was a bit time-consuming to cut out the pieces and was not a quick sew, but if you’ve ever sewn an Oliver + S pattern, you know that they are (IMHO) the most well thought out children’s patterns on the market. Liesl’s instructions are so thorough and easy to follow that, upon completing the garment, you feel like you have just created a masterpiece! And you have! The options for completing this dress are many, with a tunic version included. There are two sleeve lengths, and the numerous fabric panels and pieces leave you with endless options as far as fabric combinations.

Hide and Seek Dress front yoke

The Hide and Seek Dress is one of my favorite dresses that I’ve made for Abby. This will work perfectly as her Easter dress this year, which means that I’m officially ahead of the game! How about that? Really, the thing that makes me happiest about making a beautiful dress from a great pattern is when Abby loves it, and she does, so that makes me a very happy person.

Hide And Seek Dress archway

You can see more of the new O + S line at Delia Creates, Skirt As Top, You & Mie, and Probably Actually.

I was given this pattern to review. Opinions are honest and my own.

Anna Maria Horner Museum Tunic Tutorial.

Headband by Lori Danelle

Awhile back I posted this tutorial for how to make the Anna Maria Horner Museum Tunic, then for some reason the photos in that post along with many other photos in many other posts vanished! I could not figure out where they went or how to retrieve them. Well, today I solved the puzzle and was able to grab the original posts from my old blogging account to share with you again! Hooray! Here is the tutorial, complete with photos. The text is a bit out of sorts, I apologize, but the tutorial is good, so I hope you can see past the minor issues. :)

Let’s give Anna Maria Horner a hand for coming up with a great dress idea and the loveliest fabrics I’ve seen. As you can see, I made my Museum Tunic in the yellow Square Dance print. I thought it was the most summery of the three and besides, the store was out of the other two colors, so my choice was made very easy for me! When I saw the fabric at the store I realized just how sheer it was. Way too sheer for me to wear by itself. Anna Maria suggests wearing a slip/camisole underneath, but I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t own either one, at least not that fit me. What I decided to do is self line the dress. I chose a very lightweight batiste fabric in a pale blue (they were out of white) and laid it underneath the yellow fabric, doubling the dress. The two practically stuck together making it very easy to cut the pieces as one. Together they were still light and airy, very breathable and comfy to wear. So let’s get on with the tutorial!

Materials needed:

- 1 1/2 panels of Anna Maria’s Square Dance Fabric (the length is about 45″).  Our fabric shop will only sell by the panel, if yours does too you’ll have a little bit leftover.  If you choose to use another fabric your panels should be about 14-15 inches wide.  So you’ll have four panels that are 14-15″ wide by 45″ long.
- elastic thread
-coordinating thread

all inseams 1/2 inch.

This is what one panel of the Square Dance fabric looks like 
(please excuse the terrible lighting, I had to take this at night).



1 1/2 panels looks like this (I’ve marked where you’ll be cutting):


1.  Cut fabric from top to bottom into four panels.  You will end up with four of these:

You can see where I have lined the Square Dance fabric with the liner fabric.

2. Right sides together, sew two panels together along the top edge.

3. Press open seam, turn under seam allowances and press again.  This is kind of tricky… I nearly steamed my fingers off. 


4.  Topstitch along each side of the seam to secure the allowances underneath.  I sewed about 1/8 of an inch over, but don’t do that.  When I looked at the seams, I noticed that all of the turned under edges did not get caught in the stitching, so I just sewed another line another 1/8 of an inch in.  You’ll want to sew your original line about 1/4 over from the seam to catch it all the first time.  Your stitches should be closer to the outside edge of the folds.



5.  Repeat Steps 2, 3, and 4 with the two remaining panels.  You now have the two main pieces of your dress.


6.  Now it’s time to figure out how deep you want the neckline to be.  Lay out your two long panels, right side up and next to each other.  Going from the shoulders seams in, mark where you would like the v-neck to be.  Both the front of the dress and the back of the dress will be a v-neck.  I marked mine about 10.5″ from the shoulder seams.  Anna Maria made her V a couple inches deeper.



7.  Right sides together, and starting from the hem, pin the two panels together, stopping at your marks.  


8.  Sew from the hem to your mark on each side, leaving the neck open.  After you have done this you can throw it over your head to see if you like where the v-neck opening hits.  I decided to take mine up a bit higher.



9.  Now we’re going to do the same thing that we did with the shoulder seams, pressing the front and back seams open, folding them under and topstitching them down.  This time you will continue along the neckline.  Do a check every once in a while to make sure that the stitching is catching the hem underneath.



Now it’s time to create the gathered empire waist.  On her blog, Anna Maria sews the side seams first then sews 1/4″ elastic to the wrong side of the dress to gather the waist.  I have never sewn elastic on this way before, and I’m sure it’s easy, but I didn’t want to risk it with this dress.  I decided to use elastic thread in the bobbin and use shirring instead to gather the waist.  
Here is a good tutorial on using elastic thread.  If you haven’t done this before, go check it out.  It really is extremely simple, but a lot of sewers are afraid of it… don’t be!

10.  BEFORE sewing the side seams, sew across the front panel, in between the large squares and the smaller squares, with elastic thread in the bobbin.  I’ve shown where to sew the first line in the picture below.  Sew about 4 rows (totally depends on how wide you want the waist to be), using the edge of the presser foot as a guide.  Your first row might not look very tightly gathered, but with each row you will see it take shape even more.  




11. Repeat on the back panel.  Finish off the shirring by using your iron on the steam setting.  Steam over the elastic rows and you will see the fabric magically gather more tightly.

12. Right sides together, line up the right side seams and pin from hem up to where you would like the bottom of the arm hole to be.  I stopped 8″ from the shoulder seam.



Sew from the hem up to your mark.  Repeat this step with the left side seams.  I also sewed over the shirred waist again to reinforce the seam at that spot.  Make sure you take the elastic thread out of the bobbin before doing all of this!




13.  Now finish off the side seams just as you have the others, treating the arm holes the same way that you did the neckline.  You’ll topstitch up one side of the seam, around the arm hole, and down the other side of the seam.


14.  Now all that is left is to hem the dress.  Fold the bottom hem under 1/4″ and press.  Fold under 1/4″ again, press, pin, and sew.

You’re done!  Now try that beautiful dress on and get ready for the compliments! 

As I was working on this dress, I happened to look up at my inspiration board and saw this…


I had seen this in the Garnet Hill catalog and wanted to figure out how to make one myself.  As I was sewing the Museum Tunic I realized it is practically the same dress!  I think I may be buying some knit fabric and making another!  That’s the beauty of the Museum Tunic!  I hope you enjoy making this dress… I know I did!

Many thanks to Anna Maria Horner for giving this tutorial her blessing! 
 She is a kind and generous woman!

If you have any questions at all about this tutorial, please feel free to email me!
And if you make the dress, be sure to send me a picture… I’d love to see it!