[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen it comes to fall sewing, the possibilities are endless. Just walk into a fabric store and you will leave an hour later with soft fabrics made from corduroy and velour or with colors of deep orange, crimson red, turquoise, plum, and chocolate. This changing of season also inspires appliques ranging from pumpkins to ghosts, scarecrows to turkeys, and acorns to owls. I love all of the choices but one thing that I have learned lately with sewing is to be picky. I do not have the time or money to make my girls every single smocked dress and appliqued shirt so I picked two projects to work on for the fall that I thought would be practical and of course, cutie patootie.
Angel-Sleeved Geometric Bishop
I have so enjoyed my trips to Chicago and Pennsylvania this fall and I think it is such a treat for these city-goers to actually experience cool weather. Here in Alabama, we can still wear shorts in the fall months (usually up until Christmas!). So, it just isn't smart to dress my children in heavy clothes until the changing of the calendar year. This fall, I decided to smock a geometric pattern on an angel-sleeved bishop so the girls would stay cool but still have a dress in fall colors. I loved how it turned out!
Maralee and Adeline, October 2012
Last year, I made the girls a Christmas bishop with sleeves. I did not like smocking or sewing the sleeves. Love the look but not the time to achieve it :) I have Ellen McCarn's Ultimate Bishop Pattern and used the 18 month pattern for my girls' dresses (my girls are short so this length works best right now). I only had the sleeve traced out but I made it into an angel sleeve by turning up the lower portion of the pattern so it looked almost like a slightly arched boomerang (weird reference but it is long and slightly curved so that is what it looks like in my head!). I simply adore the angel sleeve look and also love that I can sew the hem on it and be done! Since I used a different fabric on the sleeve, I just folded it over, pressed it, and then sewed the raw edges to the raw edge of the brown micro-check. The contrast of these two fabrics was so lovely to me and I was able to pull those colors in for my smocking.
I used the Daisy Chain Bishop by Crosseyed Cricket as my smocking plate. I wanted a geometric for the fall so the girls could wear these dresses from September-November. I am all about making dresses than can be worn frequently!!!! This was a very easy geometric and the only part that I had trouble with were the french knots; simply because I'm not good at making french knots. You can use a seed bead instead but I liked the golden yellow thread so much that I labored through all of the knots until finished.
I was also pleased with this dress because it is the first smocked dress that I put together completely on my own. I had The Smock Shoppe pleat it for me and they gave me advice on my french knots but I did all of the sewing by myself! Thank you Christy and Ann for teaching me how to put a dress together properly while I was in Montgomery!!!!! I did a french seam on the sides and back of the dress and then used my serger zig-zag stitch on my sleeve seams so they wouldn't be too large when I went to smock. I did cut corners on the lower hem because every time I do a blind-stitch hem my girls step on it and it becomes undone. So, I just sewed a straight stitch instead (you will see this technique done on most smocked dresses you purchase in the store).
Monogrammed Pumpkin Applique Shirts and Corduroy Ruffled Pants
Like I said before, there are a million different appliques for fall. I actually used this pumpkin applique last year but it is my favorite pumpkin in my file, so I used it again. This year, I decided to do it big and to put their first name initial in the middle in lime green. So cute! I think the pumpkin is from Applique Cafe and the monogram is called Jackson (I ordered it from an Etsy Shop). The pumpkin can work for October and November so it saved me time to work on other things instead of Halloween and Turkey appliqued tops.
For the pants, I had bought this lime green corduroy fabric at Sarah Howard Stone when the store closed. I adored it and instantly knew that the fabric would be super cute for the fall. I used my Sophie pants pattern (I made the bloomers this summer) and added a four inch ruffle at the bottom (similar to the Ruthie's romper). Because I did this, the pants were super long but instead of cutting off the top, I just folded it over before sewing the waist band. Since I kept that fabric, I can let the pants out as the girls grow.
With the pants being lime green, I decided to make just tops to match them for fall, Christmas, and even St. Patrick's Day. That way, I'm not having to make a completely new outfit each time, just a top. Some ideas that I have had are to make a peasant top and bring in the corduroy green for some cute pockets on it or use the fabric to make a big ruffle on the sleeves or neck. Also, I have even considered taking the fabric that I choose for my top and cutting a six inch ruffle out to add to the four inch ruffle on the bottom of the pants. I have no idea if this would look tacky without trying it, but I've even thought about adding velcro to the inside of the pants (where the green ruffle is sewn to the leg) and just velcroing the new fabric to the pants instead of sewing them in. That way the pants can be completely coordinated with whatever top the girls are wearing and it would be an easy change-up. Just a thought but figured it was worth sharing. :)
I hope these fall outfits inspire you next time you are out fabric shopping. Sewing fall clothes is so much fun but maybe these tricks will save you some time spent in front of the sewing machine to more time spent with your children and family. If I didn't get a chance to enjoy activities with my girls, there would be no purpose behind making them these clothes. So, get creative but also get outside and enjoy this fresh new season!
Till next time, let your light shine!
[box_dark]If you haven't had time to read the other posts from the "It's Fall Y'all" series, click on these links to read about fall gardening, home decor, and festive food. Your day just might shine a little brighter![/box_dark]