romper revamp + sundress by shelly August 10, 2012

I love Shelly Figueroa‘s work (and her book, Sewing for Boys!) and was so excited to hear about her new sewing class with Craftsy, Romper Revamp. She asked me to review it as part of her blog tour, and of course I said yes!

Shelly's Zephyr sundress

The class is based on one of her original Figgy’s patterns (designed with the lovely Daniela Caine) – Zephyr, a romper for girls in sizes 18m to 6/7. The class shows not only how to make the romper, but also how to adapt it into a sundress (like Shelly’s version, above) and lengthen it into pants. She details exactly how to measure your child, and use each measurement to figure out her true size – instead of just making a 4 for your four-year-old, for example. Here’s the sheet where I noted Pearl’s measurements. She was very excited about it, and asked if she could color in the little girls after I wrote everything down, so I said sure… so one sea of purple crayon later (I can still make out the numbers, luckily) this has been a collaboration from the start!

Pearl's measurement sheet

I love the original romper design, but the sundress adaptation is just so very Pearl and I had to make it for her. I printed out my sundress PDF pattern sheets and followed the super easy video directions to tape them all together for tracing with my beloved dot pattern paper. Here seems like a good place to mention how very well done the videos are. I have also taken Sewing Machine 911 (via a free link from Sew, Mama, Sew!) and the production value of everything is great. My husband worked in the film industry for years, and I’ve taught craft classes for what feels like forever too, and it’s easy to recognize how much care and detail goes into filming these classes so everything is very clear.

the sundress my grandmother made me

Back to the sundress. This is a real project of the heart for me, reminiscent of my own childhood. Shelly gives a sweet introduction to the five generations of seamstresses in her family, and I immediately thought of my grandmother and the dresses she sewed for me when I was little.

the sundress my grandmother made me

I remember when got to choose my own three prints off the bolt at the fabric store and she made me darling sundresses with them, edged with bias tape. I think this was probably around 1980 – I loved wearing this one to school and to camp in the summer. The other two (which I also still have for Pearl to grow into, thanks to my mom) are a pattern of cheerful frogs and lilypads on blue, and one of dozens of little tiny Strawberry Shortcakes on pink.

my three strawberry fabrics for the sundress

So when I planned this dress for Pearl, I thought of the vintage strawberry fabrics I’ve been saving for the last few years, and prewashed and pressed all three of the ones I liked best. The green print has also surfaced in Pearl’s first pair of handmade pants (Burda 9772, 6m size) and last year’s Mic-Mac II.

new mic-macs

Here is where I wish (I really wish) I could go on to say “and now here’s the super cute finished sundress!” and show a pretty photo. But this week packed a punch, with two sick little kids back to back, a couple of my precious childcare days evaporating to stay home with them, and a round of tech edits due – so the pattern tracing stage is where I’m at.

Tracing my patterns onto dot paper

But unlike a traditional class, where I probably would have missed my chance to finish my project with the teacher helping – that’s fine, because the beauty of the Craftsy class is that it is totally evergreen. I have Shelly’s video lesson paused right where I stopped, and I’m excited to jump back in after I’m back from Seattle. So it’s perfect for people like me, who love to take classes and learn new things… but have a tight schedule, are outnumbered by their young children, or just like to sew at their own pace. When I finish Pearl’s dress (I’m so excited about making the braided straps…), I’ll post the second half of the review with a picture of it! Then, whenever I have time to make a romper version, I can dip right back into that section of the lesson and get sewing again. Once you buy a class, it’s yours forever, so if you want to make another version of your project a year from now, it’s right there.

Shelly's Zephyr sundress

If you’d like to take Shelly’s class too, Craftsy has generously offered a 50% discount through this link! There’s a super cute project photo gallery and lots of extras included, and Shelly is a wonderful teacher – kind, down-to-earth, and fun. Check out the other reviews and posts on the blog tour here (including many finished Zephyrs). Thank you to Shelly and Craftsy for offering me the chance to take the class!

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