Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sewing for Kauai

After five years of nagging my husband for another trip to Kauai (the nagging commenced approximately 48 hours after returning from the last trip), he finally relented when I discovered a $322 air fare deal (thank you Hawaiian Airlines!). As a result, in early May we spent 10 days in paradise. Our adventures could easily span several blog posts, but I'm trying to keep this particular blog sewing-related, so I won't go into the details of snorkeling, visiting a different beach every day, enjoying some delicious locally grown food, or touring a dairy farm (all of which were amazing). 

I have been collecting Hawaiian-themed fabric over the years in preparation for a much-wished-for trip to Hawaii, and finally, here was my chance to use it. The first fabric I pulled out was my Alexander Henry Lei Hula Girls fabric, which I just adore. I love it so much that I almost used it to make a bag for myself, but decided it would probably look cuter as a dress for my girl. 

Pattern: Modkids Isabel
Fabric: Alexander Henry

Another fabric I've been hoarding forever is this Aloha Harajuku Girls fabric. I love this fabric, but I had a heck of a time figuring out what to do with it. The problem is that it is a really thin jersey, more suitable for a t-shirt than anything else, but I really didn't want to waste it on just a plain t-shirt. I finally decided on a double layered dress. The end result is OK - not quite what I envisioned, but not a total waste of fabric either.

Pattern: Farbenmix Whitney, modified to be a dress

About two days before we left, I was digging through my fabric and found some Michael Miller Pua Wahine fabric, which I had totally forgotten about. Aack! I didn't have much time, but clearly I HAD to make something out of it. Thinking I was being very clever in allocating time properly, I chose the super easy Girly Skirt pattern from Pink Fig. Except that when it was finished, I decided it really needed a cute, embroidered top to go with it, and not just any embroidery, but the Hula Girl embroidery from Urban Threads which is gorgeous but takes something like 75 minutes to stitch out. The point is, my super-quick, last-minute project turned out to be anything but quick, but I do love the end result. As an aside, the bamboo french terry takes embroidery SO well - probably the easiest fabric I've ever embroidered on.

Skirt Fabric: Pua Wahine from Michael Miller
Top Fabric: White Bamboo French Terry from Bamblue Fabrics
Top Pattern: Farbenmix Whitney
Embroidery: Urban Threads

Another UT embroidery that I absolutely had to use for our trip was their "Big Island" design. I had initially envisioned using it in some retro, OP-ish way for one of my boys, but decided, wisely, that neither of them would appreciate the "girly" flowers incorporated into the design. So, my daughter got another dress.

Pattern: Klein Vlieland
Embroidery: Urban Threads
Fabric: Oatmeal & Lavender Stripe from Bamblue Fabrics

Of course my boys needed some new duds for the trip too! First, some basic, but much needed shorts for my oldest. I made a couple of these for him last year, and they are his absolute favorites. He would happily wear this style everyday, throughout the year, even in the freezing rain if I let him. These are an Ottobre pattern which sadly does not go up to his new size (ie, "gargantuan 9 year old").  So, I just lengthened them and, instead of using a grosgrain ribbon on top of the side seam as trim, I added a side panel. Worked like a charm - the fit is quite good. I used the heather gray and heather indigo bamboo french terry for these - so soft and comfy!

Pattern: Ottobre 3/10, #17
Fabric: Bamboo French Terry from Bamblue Fabrics

Ages ago, I bought this striped t-shirt in a thrift store, with the intention of cutting it down to size for one of the boys. But my oldest is going through a phase where he likes all of his shirts to be tent-like in fit. I tried to talk him into letting me cut it down to a size more suitable for a skinny 9 year old than a fully grown mountain troll, but he was having none of it. So, I left the shirt as is, but added the Urban Threads tiki embroidery to it.

The embroidery, which took nearly two hours, stitched out like a dream. I always hold my breath during these long embroidery designs, thinking that for sure my machine is going to go into diva-mode in the final minutes of the design and ruin the whole thing. Luckily that did not happen. Breathing a sigh of relief, I stitched the embroidered panel onto the shirt using my other (usually complacent) machine - which ate the fabric on the final turn. And I do mean "ate" - the fabric was so jammed into the feed dogs that I had to rip it out, leaving a hole approximately 1.5 cm wide. Hence the lizard button in the corner.

Embroidery: Tiki Mask from Urban Threads

I think I became Urban Threads' best customer in the weeks leading up to our trip. My little guy also got a shirt featuring a UT design:

Embroidery: Urban Threads

I even made something for my husband. A dear sewing friend of mine (who has the incredible luck of actually LIVING in Hawaii) gave me this fabric a couple years ago, and my husband promptly claimed it for himself. I made him a Jalie button down shirt, which I will never make again, because the collar is hellish. But my DH seems to really like the shirt, as he wore it several times on our vacation.

Pattern: Jalie

I also made a few things for myself, a few of which I showed on my last post. My favorite of all, though, is this dress. I plan on making MANY more of these, because they are so easy and comfortable!

 Pattern: Kwik Sew 3703
Fabric: Cotton/lycra from my stash

I can't resist adding this picture, even though I actually made the green Farbenmix Lore below a year ago. The embroidery on the back says "dream" which I thought was appropriate given the setting!

And finally, as anybody who sews understands, I can't go anywhere without checking out the local fabric stores. Kauai has some great ones! I got most of these at Vicky's Fabrics in Kapaa. Now I'm fully stocked for another trip!


  1. Sounds like an incredible vacation! And fabulous sewing to go with it.

    You've got me wondering about the Whitney. I sewed one recently, and the neck seemed a lot lower than yours. I'm wondering if I should size down and try it again. Yours look great!

    1. Thanks so much! What size Whitney did you make? I've made a few of the sizes and not had this problem; in fact, I always turn to this one because I like the fit. What size seam allowance are you adding? I add 1 cm, then use my coverstitch machine to do the binding. Perhaps my CS machine is pulling the neckline tighter?

  2. Hi Caroline! Looks like you had a great time!! I love what you did with that black and white fabric, great shirt! I also love the Isabel dress, did I give you that fabric too? You sure know how to turn fabrics to beautiful wear!! Mine are still in the closet! : ( Oh I love the racerback dress too!!!