Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Pink Fig's Vintage Jane - Love!!!

I am just having so much fun.  You should really join me over at Elizabeth's as we share what we are sewing and reading.

This week, I tried a pattern designed by Chelsea Andersen over at Pink Fig, the Vintage Jane peasant top and dress.  This is the top.  Isn't it adorable???

Many of Chelsea's designs challenge you to s-t-r-e-t-c-h out of your sewing comfort zone and try something new!  Think scalloped ruffles, shirring, rouching; the list goes on!  But, nothing ventured nothing gained, I always say :).  This particular pattern however, was fairly easy to sew so its a good one to start with if you like her style!

I love the attention to detail that Chelsea gives.  Note the contrast fabric waistband.  Rolled hems on scalloped ruffles.  Option to add another ruffle on the bottom (I did not).

This top goes great with leggings (long or short), jeans or any pair of pants, really.  So versatile! I especially like the sleeves.

I added a rosette made of tu-tu netting.  I saw this idea on a baby shirt from the Gap.  You cut a 2 inch wide x about 20" long strip of netting, fold it in half lengthwise, then run a basting stitch down the center from top to bottom of the strip.  Gather it up. It curls up into a flower.  Sew it down in a circle, or hand-tack it if you like.  It doesn't have to be perfect, because as long as you use a matching thread, you can't really see the details but you get the look.  The netting gathers up sweet.

In this case, the top calls for a serged rolled hem on the scalloped ruffles.  It turned out very pretty, but if you don't have a serger you could just cut strips for ruffles (with no scallops) and finish the raw edge with a standard fold-over-twice-and-sew. 

Do you have a blind-hem foot or an edge-stitch foot for your machine?  Many machines come with one, or have the option to purchase.  Never mind the blind-stitch, these feet are awesome for topstitching a perfect line!  This pattern calls for lots of topstitching, and this presser foot takes the guesswork out of lining up your edge.  LOVE it. 

The top needed just a little something to complete the look ...  How about headbands??? Gosh I love these.  The pink is more of a wide-band headband.  The green covers most of the head, and it needed a ruffled flower, 'cause everything I sew now needs a ruffled flower :)

The headbands were a cinch to make! I used one that I own to come up with these versions.  I might add, many of the Pink Fig patterns come with patterns for head-coverings of some sort.  But not this one.  Would there be any interest in a head-band tutorial?  I did take pictures along the way, and they were so fast and easy ...

See, this is what I love about sewing children's clothes: the sky's the limit when it comes to adding the extra-something.  I encourage you to think a bit differently when you sew.  Embellish and adorn!  There are some lovely notions out there, such as giant rick-rack, pretty ribbons, sparkly jewels, button-cover kits and netting.  Let your inner creative emerge :)!  Make matching headbands!  A little book-bag or purse! If you can think it, you can make it.  Use up all the scraps! 

Fabric by Amy Butler, ordered online at

love love love the amy butler.

Sometimes it can be hard to pick fabric for a pattern like this, because you need to choose several different pieces that work together.  Always a safe bet to stay within the same product or designer "line," but even then there are lots of choices.  If I go all coordinating, sometimes I get a very boring look.  So I like to choose one fabric that will pop it.  It may be a bit of an oddball, too, in that it isn't a complete and perfect match.  For this top, the brown print matched quite lovely with the yellow bodice.  But the brown has mostly orange and green in it. Very little pink, and the pink it has is a paler pink.  The initial instinct might be to choose a bright orange for the ruffles.  But ... that would be too obvious. So I chose a brighter pink that has a similar yellow in it to the yellow bodice, and it really popped the outfit together.  Somehow it really worked.  

We quilters also have a little trick.  We soft-eye it.

We lay the fabrics we are considering together in a pile, then stand a few feet back and squint.  See how the colors blend from a slight distance.  Soft-eye.

Soft-eye works well in other areas of life too.  Like when your little girl likes to pick out her own clothes for the day and insists on wearing this with that, you just soft-eye it, and its all good. 

OK, so moving on from the sewing to the reading.   

On my handy-dandy Kindle this week:

I'm pre-reading Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens with my older kids in mind.  It moves me, so I'm hopeful it will also move them :) I absolutely LOVE all things TJEd.  There are some fabulous, fabulous concepts for thought here.  A little taste?

Great education is usually not formal so if you get a great education it will likely be in addition to school - not because of it.  Don't get us wrong; schools have great tools for a superb education. It is just that most school "systems" don't allow you to use the tools optimally.  For example, most schools have libraries, but few allow or encourage students to spend most of their time in the library just reading and thinking. Most schools have some truly great teachers, but few students spend long hours discussing important ideas with these teachers in small groups and medium-size groups of other students - day after day, month after month.

Find or found schools that emphasize lots of personal reading of the greats, individualized studies, which empower your personal goals and interests, and lots of personalized projects and writing. Look for mentors who will help you achieve your unique life mission by gaining the skills and knowledge you need to become the best you.

Inspiring, isn't it?  I should mention that the foundation of a TJEd or "leadership education" involves the core education - your "core book" - and for us that would be the Bible and our Catholic faith. I love how this book purports to inspire our "young adults" by telling them they have a mission - a purpose in life - and the teen and early adult years are ideally spent in preparation for the mission.  The authors provide a framework for getting started; taking an inventory of talents and strengths; how to set up a study area and then how to actually begin; and even asking teens to consider some broad categories of where their mission might fit and what to do about it.  This would be a perfect teen bookclub book, and is recommended as such.  So I need to find some eager readers and get one going!!


  1. Michelle, the book sounds GREAT!

    And the dress/top is completely adorable! I would like to give something like that a try. I'm a little classic, and this might broaden my horizons a bit!

    And the matching headbands/accessories are awesome! Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. LOVE this post. I totally want a headband tutorial PLEASE!! I love the top. I love the fabric and I am tempted to go out of my comfort zone...aahh!!

    1. I hear and I obey! LOL! I'll work on one for next week :)

  3. That top is absolutely adorable. It turned out beautifully. The book also sounds great. I have a few years before my oldest is a teen and I am a little worried that I won't have it together. I will definitely have to take a look at it. Thanks for sharing.


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