Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Esme Dress Sewing from Everyday Style By Lotta Jansdotter

Have you had a project that everyone is sewing, but you just haven't made up? Every time you see a new version, you think, "I have to make mine!" That is me with the Sew Together Bag. It has been on my list for over a year and I have yet to make it up. 

I have been seeing the book and projects form, Everyday Style by Lotta Jansdotter in my Instagram feed for weeks. I knew I had to get my copy and start making the wonderful projects like the ones I was seeing. I did not want to repeat my endless coveting like that of the bag.


The first project I chose to make is the Esme dress. It is a simple shift-shape top, tunic and/or Kaftan. I love shift dresses especially those with the mod look. The silhouette of this dress is a blank canvas for a large scale print. I decided to make my dresses in tunic length.

Esme Dress
If you are not new here, you know I am not a fan of tracing patterns. I have passed on many a cute garment because it required tracing or PDF printing. It is a bad trait of mine and I am working on it. I love the few versions of this dress I have seen. and I knew I need to buckle down and make it. To transfer the patterns,  I ironed freezer paper to the pattern sheets, traced the pieces, remove the traced paper, then cut the pattern out. 

I struggled to find the right fabric in my stash for my tunic. I narrowed it down to two top picks and decided to make one of each.  My first choice is Stockholm, a sturdy cotton fabric from Ikea with white black and yellow designs that looks hand-painted. It is not meant for apparel, but I love the bold graphic print. I have had success with Ikea fabric in my whimsical button dress, so I was happy to try their fabric again.  

Tunic length mini dress.
The dress is sized XS-XL and based on my bust measurement, I cut the size M sewn with the directed 1/2 inch. seam allowance. When I fit it, I thought it was unflatteringly loose in the way it stood away from my body. To remedy this, I resewed the side seams with a 1-inch seam allowance. It was a simple fix and easier than retracing the smaller pattern size.  

I had fun playing with the placement of the motif especially with the sleeves. I was undecided if I wanted the wrist design to mimic the hem with the yellow circles. Or to have the sleeve cap design flow from the motif of the upper front and back allowing the wrists to be white. I chose the latter and love the balanced effect.

The tunic length is short! I will be making some opaque leggings to go with this one. Here, I am wearing it with textured tights, but I need more coverage in the future. 

I liked this one so much that I immediately cut and made another one. This time, I chose Cotton and Steel Luminescence Starlight Sparkler by Rashida Coleman Hale. I made the "medium" sewn with the 1-inch seam allowance. 

I added 3-inches to the length to make it a bit more modest for this soon to be 40-year old lady. 

In addition to making it longer, I added large crescent shaped exterior pockets. 

I used my out of print Vogue 8893 pattern for the pocket. It is a double layer of fabric stitched right sides together and flipped. 

positioned the pockets 8-inches below the top of the side seam along the side seam. 

After pinning, I sewed them on taking care to not catch the back of the dress.

The Esme dress comes with  square pockets for you to add. I really like this style of pocket, so I went with it.

Style here with leggings and flats.
I really like the simple stylish pieces in this book. This is my first experience with this designer and I am hooked. The book is about wearable garments that are fairly easy to make. It is good for a beginner, but also provides a blank slate for those who want to do more with the patterns.

I an excited to do some hand-painting of linen for a coat in the book. I would say that will be my next project, but I really should get working on that Sew Together Bag.

**** Update*****

My yellow Ikea dress was featured on the Lotta Jansdotter Instagram page this week. I am pretty flattered that she liked my take on the dress. It is one of my new favorite makes.

I enjoyed my Esme dress so much, I made another in tie-dye stretch denim. I bought the fabric at Hancock Fabrics in a "spot the bolt" sale. I made this one with no alterations and it came together faster than the others. I considered adding pockets like the Cotton and Steel dress above. I decided against it as it would break up the flow of the dye. I tried side seam pockets, but they added bulk and were not flattering. I removed them and am happy with this result. 

Hubby liked the shorter length, so I kept it in this version. 

Now a big shout out to my big sister. She and my nieces made this button necklace for my birthday. It is a mix of metal, coconut and plastic buttons and  I love it!  It is the perfect statement piece.

I made the Wilma bag from the book and will blog about it soon.

Happy Sewing,

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Springers Go to Washington D.C. and The White House

You know how I joke about not having anywhere to wear the clothes I make? Well, that recently changed. My husband, was nominated for a presidential Customer Service Award and was invited to the White House for the ceremony.You can read about the award here on the The White House Blog. We are so proud of him and decided to support him in person at the Nation's Capitol. 

We were thrilled with his nomination, but we did not know if he would win the award. We were so nervous and excited for him.  That excitement made the 21-hour road trip bearable. Yes, we drove. We arrived in Washington D.C. in one piece.  

The reception was held in The Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House at 2 p.m. and the attire was business casual. For myself, I chose my African inspired maxi skirt with a scoop neck long sleeved tee. I needed an outfit that factored in a knee brace and the flat shoes I have to wear because of a hula hooping injury.

Family photo after the ceremony. Pictured with Beth Cobert of the Office of Personnel Management   

For Little Miss, I chose Mccalls 2590 it is a floor length circle skirt dress with a fully lined bodice and an invisible zipper. I made it up in blue satin with a multicolor print satin sash.


This was probably the best tasting cake we have ever had! We dug into it to celebrate the fact that Justin won an individual award! 

Amazing! We are so proud of him for all the work he does for Veterans!
The entire experience was utterly surreal. There were extensive background checks before our travels. There were multiple Secret Service checkpoints to enter the event and for our West Wing tour later in the evening. We needed an authorized escort while in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The most difficult thing were the restrictions on our cameras. We were having once in a lifetime experiences, but could only rely on our memories to capture them. We did manage to lean over the barrier in the Oval Office to steal a kiss.  


Given this once in a lifetime experience, we decided to take advantage of the city sights. We went to the museums and saw the sights. I will highlight just a few because you don't need 632 pictures of my family making silly faces in special places.  The days were overcast and rainy, which made it perfect for us to have many places to ourselves.

The Jefferson Memorial 

The Washington Monument 

Arlington National Cemetery 

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier 
The Lincoln Memorial 

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial 

The Capitol Building 

The White House in my multi-color reverse applique cardigan  

The Washington Monument from the World War II Memorial 

In the National Portrait Gallery wearing my Reversible Ankara Cape.
We had a great time celebrating Justin and seeing Washington D.C. I am so glad we joined him. With all the fun and excitement, do you want to know the most amazing thing? I survived without my sewing machine for more than a week!

Hope your Holidays were memorable and fun.

Happy Sewing,