Clever Charlotte

Design Updates

Coming Soon: A New Pattern!

Design Updates, In the Workroomcarla macklinComment

Faithful readers, please don't think we have fallen off the face of the earth.  The last month has been extremely hectic for both of us gals here at Clever Charlotte.  I am in the process of a move to a new home in the adjacent community, though still within walking distance to Erin.  Erin has been lawyering around town to keep her cerebral juices flowing.  Every spare creative moment we've had we are putting towards our newest pattern, due out in a couple weeks.   Yes!  A new pattern for summertime!Well.... it's not exactly true that ALL of my creative moments are directed to the new release.  Of course I've had a few little home-decor projects for the new digs, mostly for the girls' rooms. I found matching upholstered headboards at our local thrift store and I'm embarrassed to say how little I paid.  Combined with free leftover pink ikat fabric from my mother's stash, I rid the world of a little more chintz.

BEFORE

Headboard1
Headboard1

AFTER 

Headboard2
Headboard2

"But what about matching curtains?" you ask?  Here they are:

Curtain
Curtain

I had so much fun at my first attempt at grommet-top curtains.  I found the hardware at Rowley.  All you need are the grommets, a little plastic setter, and a mallet.  Easy peasy!

OK.  Back to work on the new pattern.  No more home-dec projects until the release!

~Carla

Introducing Our New AW2012 Collection!

Design Updates, Peridot Blouse & Pants, Patterns, Olivine Dress, Jasper Vest & JodhpursErinComment

We are excited to share Clever Charlotte's three new looks for fancy affairs, school, and play! Look for a separate announcement in the next several days when the patterns are ready for pre-sale.So, without further delay--

1. Olivine Dress:  Our signature dress--lots of pleats really make the Olivine Dress sing and will have your little girl twirling on the dance floor.  Have fun selecting a special fabric (like the Liberty Tana Lawn we've used here) for the contrasting skirt pleats and pockets!

Olivine
Olivine

2. Peridot Blouse & Ankle Pants:  There is no shortage of special detailing in our Peridot Blouse & Ankle Pants--the detachable Peter Pan-style collar can be modified in any number of ways to embellish the Blouse or a ready-to-wear dress or sweater in your little girl's closet. The accompanying skinny Pants have a row of 5 buttons at each ankle. We've styled them here with covered buttons in a contrasting fabric, but this is the perfect opportunity to use other decorative buttons in your stash.

Peridot Blouse & Ankle Pants
Peridot Blouse & Ankle Pants

3. Jasper Vest & Jodhpur Pants: The modern lines of our Jasper Vest & Jodhpur Pants are perfect for boys and girls. The Vest has an asymmetrical zipper up the front.  We show it here with a gathered back and buttoned tab (harkening back to our Finch Shorts).  We think the Vest is a fun accent piece for any outfit as well as a warm, practical layer for chillier days. The Pants have an elastic back waist and pleated side panels that lend a comfortable feel of European styling. 

Jasper
Jasper

We hope you like the new looks as much as we do.  Here are a few other close-up shots of each new pattern in the collection.  

olivine details
olivine details

We hope you'll pin the looks you like on Pinterest!

Peridot Blouse & Ankle Pants - details
Peridot Blouse & Ankle Pants - details

As noted above, we'll be announcing the start of pre-sales soon--with a special offer for our other patterns.  Be sure to sign up for our newsletter if you haven't already so you don't miss a thing!

Jasper Vest & Jodhpur Pants - details
Jasper Vest & Jodhpur Pants - details

Happy Sewing!

~Erin

A New Team Member

Design Updates, Of Note, Shop NewsErinComment

We had a special delivery from Jay, the Printer Fairy, last week and look what he brought, on an old hospital gurney, no less!

New Printer of Epic Proportions
New Printer of Epic Proportions

Now residing in our guest bedroom  studio, against what might have been the last 5' strip of unadulterated wall space remaining in my entire house--

New Printer of Epic Proportions2
New Printer of Epic Proportions2

It's a new printer, very nearly the size and weight of any employee we could have hired, so it is easy to think of it as such.

This new printer will print our patterns in full-scale, which should make test sewing and the like a much faster process for us.  It is but one of several very noteworthy changes we've been making behind the scenes at Clever Charlotte over the last few months, all in anticipation of the debut of our next collection.  

Speaking of new patterns, we are into the nitty gritty of finalizing all the details of the new Autumn/Winter collection, but we are still a little way's off. Postings will be light until then as it feels every waking minute is consumed by these patterns and general midsummer fatigue.

What else does Charlotte have up her sleeve?

Well, for starters, the new collection: it consists of 3 looks in all. One is a dress, and not just any dress--one that will really get your heart rate up (couldn't we all use a little more aerobic sewing?)  The other two outfits are pants/separates just right for back to school sewing.  They will integrate well with patterns from our prior collections.  Fingers crossed that we'll have some pictures/ordering details available on our blog come August!

We are also adopting a new nomenclature for these patterns to replace the avian theme used heretofore and will likely continue changing it up every so often in the future. Surprisingly we were able to  get a lot of life out of the bird names used for our first two collections.  But finding suitable names was becoming increasingly harder (Nuthatch, Titmouse, and Killdee will have to wait). We've reached into one of our former lives for inspiration to name the upcoming patterns.

The final thing I am excited to share with you today is that, after the release of our 3 new Autumn/Winter patterns, we will be moving away from semi-annual releases of pattern collections and instead, we'll be releasing single patterns more continually throughout the year, as the mood strikes us, more or less. We feel that this will enable us to nimbly react to new trends and our own creative impulses and to move patterns from concept to our store much more quickly.

So lots more to come soon.  Until then, happy sewing!

~Erin

A Busy Month

Design Updates, In the WorkroomErinComment

I spent a good deal of time over the weekend planning many, many sewing projects for the remainder of the month.  (All this planning and sewing may have resulted in a missed appointment with the Tooth Fairy on Saturday night, but we can't say for sure.) With KCWC this week, our new collection launch imminent and Halloween just around the corner, there will be no break for my sewing machine or me for the remainder of October.So in lieu of any actual finished garments to day, I thought I'd share what is on my to do list and is likely to appear on our blog in future weeks.

First, Halloween.  This is one of the few times of the year that I sew for my 6-year old son.  JR has requested an Obi Wan Kenobi outfit to go with his prized light saber (pictured below).  Unfortunately, patterns for Jedi Knight costumes are as hard to find as Jedi Knights themselves and, accordingly, sell on Ebay for ridiculous amounts.  So, I am winging it. May the force be with me.

Obi Wan Kenobi Costume
Obi Wan Kenobi Costume

Nora's costume is also going to be a one-off design and is in such an early conceptualization stage right now, I don't dare commit to anything on paper--or blog as the case may be.  I promise pictures of any winning designs, but reserve the right to make a very generic Tinkerbell from a Simplicity pattern instead.

Next, school clothes for Nora, featuring  several new Clever Charlotte designs.

- A pair of Raven Pants in our drake corduroy + several coordinating Chickadee Blouses:

Chickadee Blouses
Chickadee Blouses

- An Eider Tunic in our mustard Etchings cotton with white bib:

Eider Tunic, Etchings Fabric
Eider Tunic, Etchings Fabric

- And finally, a Raven Hoodie featuring this Echino linen/cotton fabric:

Echino Birdsong in Raspberry
Echino Birdsong in Raspberry

I also am hoping to do a boy-inspired Raven Pants & Hoodie with this corduroy and plaid  (I am a huge sucker for plaid pants--the plaider the better):

Raven Pants Plaid + Raven Hoodie Corduroy
Raven Pants Plaid + Raven Hoodie Corduroy

In addition to these kids items, I took the bold step over the weekend of ordering two fabrics for me!  Sound ambitious?  You betcha!  So enough typing already, back to the cutting table...

Happy Sewing!

~Erin

Kestrel Coat Details

Design Updates, Kestrel CoatErinComment
Navy Kestrel Coat
Navy Kestrel Coat

Looking for the complete new fall collection? We mentioned earlier this week that the Kestrel Coat has some unique design elements that will make this coat really stand out on the playground. Today, we want to share some closer up shots of our Kestrel Coat so that you can get a clearer picture of those details.  Above is the coat from Monday's post that is sewn up in our navy velveteen.  Here's a second version in our Drake Corduroy that uses a contrasting lining on the collar.

Kestrel Coat in Drake/Etchings1
Kestrel Coat in Drake/Etchings1

Carla sewed up this size 5 version for a little friend's 5th birthday. She used the mustardy Etchings fabric for the lining. Unlike the navy coat, which has the velveteen on both sides of the collar, Carla used the mustard lining fabric to line the collar as well as the inside of the coat. As a result, you'll see the collar really "pops" now against the rest of the front.

I think this version also illustrates better how the two collar ends weave into each other to form the "integrated" scarf.  Note the collar in this corduroy version is turned in a way to maximize the mustard fabric you see.  You could also twist the collar slightly to turn down the lining to get a more subtle effect if you wanted it.  Of course, like our cover shot, using the same fabric for both sides of the collar accomplishes a totally different feel.

Kestrel Coat in Drake/Etchings3
Kestrel Coat in Drake/Etchings3

In addition to the unique collar, here are some shots of the gathered "poof" (for lack of a better, more technical term) found at the mid-back of the Coat and echoed in the sleeves. The curved gather results in a bit of loft in the fabric along the arc, but it is not at all bulky or uncomfortable.

Kestrel Coat in Drake/Etchings2
Kestrel Coat in Drake/Etchings2

Want to see more about the fabrics featured here?  Here's our original post about the new collection.

Finally, stay tuned for more details next week about when the shop will be accepting pre-orders of the new patterns!

Happy Sewing!

~Erin

PS Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter if you have not already! Look for the sign up box in the upper right corner of the blog.

A/W2011: The Real Deal

Design Updates, Eider Tunic, In the Workroom, Kestrel Coat, Patterns, Chickadee Blouse & Skirt, Raven Hoodie & PantsErinComment

Here we are, as promised!  We still have some finalizing to do before our new patterns will be in the shop, but we are just too excited to wait any longer to share these with you!  We hope you like the new collection.

AW-Unviel
AW-Unviel

So what's in the new collection?  We again have 4 looks this season with a total of 6 pieces, and, as we'll be showing you in future blog posts, these pieces work interchangeably so that you truly can build an entire wardrobe before you know it.

So here's the rundown of all 4 patterns. Let us know what you think!

Chickadee Blouse & Skirt:

Chickadee-Unveil
Chickadee-Unveil

The adorable, feminine Chickadee Blouse has a lined bodice and an off-set collar.  It is paired with the "faux-wrap" skirt--meaning it wraps around the body but is sewn closed so that it doesn't flap up during wear. The Chickadee Skirt is fully lined and requires no hemming!  Genius, if I say so myself.  We are also trying out buttonhole elastic in the skirt's back waistband this season because we think it adds flexibility in the fitting process.

Eider Tunic:

The Eider Tunic hits mid-thigh and cinches at the waist.  Think of all the fun ribbon possibilities for the waist ties!  It can be worn over leggings or, in the event of colder temperatures, with pants (Raven Pants, anyone?).  It features pintucks on the contrasting front yoke as well as on the sleeves at the wrists.

Eider-Unveil
Eider-Unveil

Kestrel Coat

This is the real gem in the collection. Our Kestrel Coat features a gathered, slightly poofed back and sleeves that evoke vintage couture lines.  The pointed collar also serves as a built in scarf, weaving into itself to keep little necks warm. The navy velveteen used in the photo makes the details a little hard to see, but we'll have more views soon to show of the Kestrel Coat's  special charms.

Kestrel-Coat
Kestrel-Coat

Raven Hoodie & Pants

Finally, a look for both boys and girls!  The lined Raven Hoodie is reversible.  It has cropped, kimono sleeves (so they are one piece with the main body of the garment--no separate pattern piece).  It closes with a simple waist tie, though we bet you can think of lots of fun ways to modify the closure!  The Raven Pants have a small pintuck running down the front of each pantleg & there's an elastic back waistband (again using buttonhole elastic for added fitting flexibility). We provide three pocket options that can be sewn to the front or back of the Pants (or even to the Hoodie, if you are so inclined).

Raven-Unveil
Raven-Unveil

Happy Sewing! 

~Erin & Carla

A/W2011 Preview: Behind the Scenes

Design Updates, In the Workroom, PatternsErinComment
Unviel6
Unviel6

As a final lead up to the "big reveal" of our new Fall/Winter looks [right here on our blog this Monday(!!)], we leave you this weekend with some behind the scenes shots from our cover shoot back in August. Isn't Miss A, our current "Charlotte", just the sweetest? Her personality truly mirrors her smile. Thanks, Miss A, for putting up with the many hours in our studio under the hot lights!

We'll see you all back here on Monday!

Unveil4
Unveil4
Unviel3
Unviel3

Sign Up for Our Email Updates!

One last thing for our readers--we've added a button to our website so that you can sign up to receive Clever Charlotte updates via email. Be the first to learn of pattern releases, product updates, sales events and the like. We promise to keep the emails to a minimum! Just enter your email address in the box in the upper right corner.

[Note, you may already be on our list if you've previously placed an order with us or signed up using the button in our shop.]

Unveil5
Unveil5

Happy Sewing! ~Erin & Carla

A/W2011 Preview: Color & Textures

Design Updates, InspirationErinComment
A/W2011 Color Swatches
A/W2011 Color Swatches

Last week we brought you our fabulous color palette for our upcoming collection. This week, allow us to translate that visual inspiration into the actual fabrics we've selected for the 4 new patterns we'll be revealing soon.

A/W11 Fabrics
A/W11 Fabrics

While we're pretty charmed by the warm & sophisticated fall colors, we can't overlook the wonderful textures we've introduced into the mix.

Just as with our spring/summer collection, these fabrics have been selected for their ease of wear, care, sewing and comfort. The colors work well together and give a cohesive look across all of our new patterns, as you will soon see! Each will be offered for sale in our shop, available by the yard or as part of our One-Click Sewing Kits.

All A/W11 Fabrics
All A/W11 Fabrics

So, here are some more details on the line-up:

1. First, there's a wonderfully soft, tiny wale corduroy in drake (aka dark teal). I haven't gotten my ruler out yet, but I am guessing this is an 18-wale cord.

2. The white shirting-weight cotton has a fine, herringbone pattern to it, providing it with a subtle distinction to a simple plain weave.

3. Our cotton/linen blend in natural is a holdover from the summer/spring collection, a real testament to its versatility.

4. The mustard print is a quilters weight cotton with a bright, happy dandelion print (Etchings in Gold by Studio E).

5. This taupe floral burnout is semi-sheer. Though it will need to be lined in certain cases, it is quite airy and will take well to layering with other fabrics.

6. The navy print is a voile with accents in teal, white and lime green (Tula Pink Prince Charming Voile Dandelion Indigo by Free Spirit).

7. Finally, our navy velveteen is quite luxurious to the touch and fairly substantial.  Being 100% cotton, this is this type of velveteen that you can make an everyday fabric.

+++++++++++++++

I hope you've enjoyed this preview. In the meantime, happy sewing!

~Erin

A Fall Starling - Version 2

Design Updates, Starling Dress & ShirtErinComment

Welcome back to the second installment of our variations of the Starling Dress pattern for Fall. This one I've dubbed the Butterscotch Dress. 

Butterscotch Dress1
Butterscotch Dress1

What fall line up would be complete without something that is menswear-inspired, a seemingly perennial theme for autumn fashion?

Butterscotch Dress 3
Butterscotch Dress 3

For this version of the Starling, I used a lightweight wool/poly suiting fabric in charcoal gray. It was easy enough to sew, though I had to set the iron to a pretty heavy steam setting to get any creases to hold. To modernize the overall look, I chose these buttery yellow buttons that look like--you guessed it--3 Werthers butterscotch candies down the front/delish. (The larger buttons, by the way, came from the Button Lady in Ann Arbor--but that's another story.)

Butterscotch Dress 2
Butterscotch Dress 2

So I've been kicking around this version in my head for some time now, ever since I picked up this beautiful collar from a local antique store. The edging is hand crocheted in a tiny violet pattern, and I can only imagine how long it took someone to finish this intricate design using such fine thread. I often wonder what happens to vintage pieces like this. Perhaps a child's dress is not the best use, but surely it is preferable to sitting around unused in the top drawer of someone's dresser?

And lest you think I would just throw the whole thing into the washing machine, I have only lightly tacked on the collar, with the intent that it be removed prior to laundering. I am thinking of picking up some sew-on snaps that would hold the collar onto the dress when worn, but would allow for easy removal for washing or when spaghetti and meatballs are on the menu. (The snaps themselves could be clipped off later without harming the collar.)

Butterscotch 4
Butterscotch 4

Now, I should probably admit here that in all likelihood the collar is meant to be worn Peter Pan style--that is, with the bow and opening in the front. However, since the dress has a center back zipper, I didn't see much utility in closing it up with the crocheted collar. This also gives the back of the dress something interesting to look at.

The only variations I made to the pattern itself were to extend the sleeves to 3/4 length and add a petite cuff with a continuous lap sleeve placket (I lightly gathered the sleeve too to add a bit of fullness to the look). I kept the yoke even though it is largely hidden from view--I thought this would be better in the event that I choose to remove the collar later. I also kept the front placket to add some dimension to the front of the garment.

Peter Pan collars from Mollie Makes
Peter Pan collars from Mollie Makes

Oh, and if you're interested in coming up with your own detachable collar, the first volume of Mollie Makes had this DIY article from The Savvy Crafter, though I can't tell from these pictures how they are fashioned. Do any of you have that magazine at home?? I am intrigued...

Have a great weekend everyone!

Happy sewing,

~ Erin

{Mom: Sorry there aren't any shots of Nora wearing the dress. It has turned steamy again here in Northern Ohio and I just didn't have the heart to ask her to put on the dress when she got home from school, what with her sweaty bangs all plastered to her forehead from playing on the playground.}

A/W2011 Preview: Fall Colors

Design Updates, InspirationErinComment
Mustard, Navy, Teal, Linen Inspiration 1
Mustard, Navy, Teal, Linen Inspiration 1

To kick off the unveiling of our Autumn/Winter 2011 collection, we first wanted to give you a peak at the colors that inspired us this season.  Following up on the light, airy and feminine collection we debuted for our Spring/Summer looks, we wanted to work with colors that were more unexpected for children's wear this fall.  We were sold on the irresistible combination of dark teal, navy, mustard and taupe. Warm and earthy, this color palette instantly evokes harvest moons, swirling leaves and pumpkin patches. We can just smell the hot apple cider and donuts as we sew.

Here are a few pictures from our inspiration board. Enjoy!

Mustard, Navy, Teal, Linen Inspiration 5
Mustard, Navy, Teal, Linen Inspiration 5
Mustard, Navy, Teal, Linen Inspiration 2
Mustard, Navy, Teal, Linen Inspiration 2
Mustard, Navy, Teal, Linen Inspiration 3
Mustard, Navy, Teal, Linen Inspiration 3
Mustard, Navy, Teal, Linen Inspiration 4
Mustard, Navy, Teal, Linen Inspiration 4
Mustard, navy, teal, and linen inspiration 6
Mustard, navy, teal, and linen inspiration 6

On Fabric

Design Updates, In the WorkroomErinComment

So Carla and I have been crazy busy trying to finalize the fall line up of new patterns, and it is killing me not to spill the beans about all the fun things we have in store for you.There has been a lot of test sewing as we try to get everything just right. Usually, when we make up the first few drafts, we use the ugliest fabrics from our stash. Only as we get closer to the end product do we start dipping into the "good stuff".

I thought I would share a little vintage piece that Carla found a while back that she used in a recent garment, paired with a delicious chocolate velvet.  This print definitely falls into the category of "I wish I had 10 more yards of it".  It is so simple, yet fun.

Bird on a Birdcage Fabric
Bird on a Birdcage Fabric

Do you have any fabric in your collection that you wish you had more of?

I also wanted to share this French video on the European linen industry that I discovered via Elsa Mora.  It is a bit long (15 minutes or so), but so well worth it.  Soft music, wonderful French and Italian narration with soft imagery, it is a lovely cinematic piece.  A nice way to start your morning with a cup of tea in hand, I should think.

BE LINEN MOVIE from Benoit MILLOT on Vimeo.

Happy weekend everyone!

Sandpiper Capri Tutorial

Design Updates, In the Workroom, Patterns, Sandpiper Capri & Topcarla macklinComment
Sandpiper Tutorial
Sandpiper Tutorial

Our Sandpiper Capri is a unique pant design that leaves the side seams open to the breeze. While different from the standard pants patterns you have probably sewn, the Sandpiper Capri is extremely easy, if not easier, to sew.  Once you understand how this pant is assembled, you will find it a quick and rewarding project and your little girl will love dancing in the results.

In this tutorial, I walk you through the basic construction of the pants so that you can follow along with your printed pattern.  To help you with this, I've cross-referenced the steps by number from the written instructions.

The Sandpiper Capri basically consists of 4 pattern pieces: Front, Back, Front cuff, and Back cuff.  In this example, I’ve chosen a striped cotton fabric for the main fabric and polka dot print for the lining. To start, I adhered the interfacing to the wrong sides of the lining waistband.  Next, I sewed the Front to Back pieces along the inseam of both the lining and the main fabrics (Step 4A).

Sandpiper Tutorial 2
Sandpiper Tutorial 2

Once the seams are pressed, line up the crotch seams for each side of the pant.  The picture below shows the main fabric being joined at the crotch seam (Step 4B). Repeat for the lining fabric.

Sandpiper Tutorial 3
Sandpiper Tutorial 3

Now the Fronts and Backs of the lining and main fabrics are sewn (at inseam and crotch) and it is time to sew the main and lining pieces together. Before doing so, place the twill tape where you have marked at the tabs of the Front waist (see pattern piece for placement). Sew the twill tape just inside the 1/2" seam allowance as shown below (Step 5A).  Once the twill tape is secure, I like to pin it to the right side of the fabric away from the seam allowances so that it doesn’t get caught in the seams I plan to sew in the next step.

Sandpiper Tutorial 4
Sandpiper Tutorial 4

With right sides together, sew the lining pieces to the main pieces all around the edges of the garment. (Step 5C)  You see below that I pinned the Back main fabric to the lining fabric starting at the bottom left, continued up the pant leg to the Back waistband, across the waistband, and down the other pant leg.  In the photo, you can also see that I have repeated this pinning on the Front leg pieces.  After pinning in this manner, sew these seams.

Sandpiper Tutorial 5
Sandpiper Tutorial 5

Trim all seams just sewn to approximately 1/8”. (Step 5D)

Sandpiper Tutorial 6
Sandpiper Tutorial 6

Next, reach into one of the pant legs and pull the entire garment right sides out. (Step 5E) You are left with a garment that has no raw edges except where you will attach the cuffs.  Press around all the edges of the garment for a crisp finish and topstitch to secure the main fabric to the lining.

Now, on to the cuffs. Sew the front cuff to the back cuff and press seam allowances open (repeat for both main and lining cuffs). (Step 6A)

Sandpiper Tutorial 7
Sandpiper Tutorial 7

Before attaching the cuffs to the bottom of the pant leg, you should choose whether you want your cuff to match or contrast with the pant leg. Here, I have chosen to contrast the cuffs/pant legs and, therefore, I pinned the polka dot cuffs to the striped pant legs (right sides together)a. (Step 6D)

Sandpiper Tutorial 8
Sandpiper Tutorial 8

Next, I match the striped cuffs to the polka dot cuff (rights sides together) with the end of the pant leg sandwiched in between. It is a bit difficult to see from the photo above that the striped cuff is under the polka dot cuff, but it is.  Now I am ready to sew around the cuffs from one edge of the pant leg to the other, pivoting at the corners of the cuffs, leaving that portion of the cuff that is atop of the pant leg open.

Once sewn, I trim the cuffs all around to approximately 1/4”, leaving a 1/2" allowance at the opening. (Step 6E)

Sandpiper Tutorial 9
Sandpiper Tutorial 9

Then flip the cuffs to the right sides. (Step 6F)

Sandpiper Tutorial 10
Sandpiper Tutorial 10

When you do this, you’ll be left with a hole at the bottom edge of the cuff where you turned it through. Press, then topstitch around the entire cuff from one edge of the pant leg to the other, making sure to catch the seam allowances to close this hole. (Step 6G)

Sandpiper Tutorial 11
Sandpiper Tutorial 11

The only steps that remain to complete the garment is the addition of buttonholes and buttons at the waist.

There you have it--the Capri pant!  Hopefully these pictures of an actual garment make it clearer to you how to tackle each step. I promise it is super easy and fun! Send us pictures of your finished Sandpiper Capri pants… we’d love to add them to our project gallery to inspire others.

Happy Sewing!

Unveiling the Starling Dress & Shirt

Design Updates, In the Workroom, Patterns, Shop News, Starling Dress & ShirtErinComment
starling1
starling1

Last up in our Spring pattern introductions is the Starling Dress & Shirt, which is sure to prompt lots of ruffly fun for  your little one.  Think birthday parties, school plays, Mother's Day brunch, or just heading off to school.

As an added option, we have provided instructions to make a shirt version of this garment.  I think the shirt would look great with our Finch Shorts or a pair of pants come fall.

The dress has raglan sleeves and a wide, flat yoke.  The unique ruffled flounce gives the dress its real visual punch.  The first time I sewed up the flounce, I was really surprised how easily it came together and how nicely it looked.  I previously have sewn a lot of ruffles using a gathering stitch (where you baste long stitches along the fabric edge, then pull the bobbin thread to create a gathered ruffle).  The Starling ruffle is a lot different in construction, but not a lot more involved.  And, might I add, it is pretty fun to sew!

Starling Dress
Starling Dress

A great feature of this design is that it allows you to showcase fun fabrics.  In this dress, we have again used our mauve sateen (for the main body) and Alexander Henry's Larkspur Meadow (for the yoke and ruffled flounce).  You could certainly mix and match other fabrics, in differing combinations, to give your Starling a different look.

By the way, this is probably a good time to mention that we are putting together sewing kits for all of our patterns to sell in the shop and help you see different styling options.  We think these kits are a great way for you to minimize the time you spend picking out the right fabrics and notions and to maximize the time you spend creating!

Now that we've unveiled all of our looks, I am happy to report that the shop opening is just around the corner, so please stay tuned.  I am ready for a celebration, everyone!!  I could use a little pick me up, so here are some pretty party things to do just that.

Cake collage
Cake collage

A Sandpiper Summer Holiday

Design Updates, Shop News, Uncategorized, Sandpiper Capri & TopErinComment
Sandpiper Capri and Top
Sandpiper Capri and Top

This outfit just seems to scream "Summer!"  The Sandpiper Capri and Top are both easy and breezy, and, let me just add, completely reversible!  When I was a little girl, the fact that something was reversible put it at the top of my favorites list.  I bet I wasn't the only one, was I??  Even if you don't make the garments reversible, lining each with a fun fabric allows for a small flash of color to peak through from the inside.

Sandpiper Front View
Sandpiper Front View

The Capri pants are open at the sides and have cuffs that tie just below the knee. The Top is a pinafore style with buttons at each shoulder.  We think both designs are perfect for brushing away sand and for letting in summer breezes.  Both are lined and sewn together in a way that requires no seam finishing or hemming!

Sandpiper in Reverse
Sandpiper in Reverse

We have shown the Capri pants here made in a mid-weight poplin that is a rich taupe color.  The inside is a great pink/white/mauve plaid that is a smooth shirting fabric.  The plaid can be used for the Sandpiper Top as well as any other shirts or dresses you may be sewing up for summer for yourself or your little girl.  We have also shown the Top with Alexander Henry's Larkspur Bloom cotton lawn.  Bloom is from the same collection as the Larkspur Meadow fabric that we'll also be selling in the shop, as featured with our Wren Dress a few weeks ago.

As the name suggests, we think these make for a great beach-comber outfit.  While there may still be a little chill in the April air where you are, to get you in the spirit, may I suggest a DVD on how to make the perfect sandcastle?  Do you have the patience for something like this??

Sandcastle
Sandcastle