Kinder Cardigan

There was a big transition for our family this week as our oldest daughter started kindergarten! Lu was just thrilled to go to elementary school and start learning big girl things. I really wanted to make her a first day of school outfit, but she is required to wear a uniform. Sure, I could have made her a blouse and skirt, but I have to admit uniform sewing is super boring. While I try to make a good chunk of the kids clothing, for uniforms I was happy to put in an order from Gap and use my limited summer sewing time for other projects.

This seems ridiculous since we live in Southern California, but I opted to knit Lu a first day of school sweater!

Gosh, she is so cute. Sure it was a high of 85F on Monday, but it was grey and cool-ish in the morning. She happily donned her new cardigan which looks quite nice with her new school shoes.

I’ve been trying to knit up some of the patterns in my library and yarn in my stash, so I shopped both to achieve a nice traditional sweater. This is the Wee Wildflower pattern from Alana Dakos. There is actually an adult version too, but I don’t think I’d ever knit it for myself. A little too twee. The yarn is Madelinetosh’s Twist Light in the color Care. Twist light is 75% wool and 25% nylon which is a good combination for a kids garment. Technically it is machine washable, but I’ll try to remember to wash it by hand. Care is a wonderful color that includes nearly every shade in the rainbow. It was a limited release color sold to benefit Doctors Without Borders. I took the time to alternate two skeins so there is very little pooling of the colors. Yay!

Choosing a size to knit was a bit tough. Lu has a 19 inch chest, but is average height for a 5 year old, so I ended up knitting the size 2 sweater with a size 6 for the length. It worked out pretty well everywhere except the sleeve caps. The sleeve caps as written have almost no height, just a lot of width. I added some extra height and it was still tough to fit the sleeves into the armcye. Lu also have very thin arms and the sleeves are tight. I cannot imagine shoving a 2 year old’s arms into such a small circumference. Could be my gauge was off, but still I found the sizing odd. The pattern also has no shaping for the shoulders in the back, so I added that too.

This finished sweater is pretty great and fits Lu well right now, but I don’t think this one is going to last long. I have a feeling Lu is going to shoot straight up this year with all the running and learning she’ll do. Just one day into the school year she’d figured out how to swing by herself and by Friday Lu was all atwitter over recycling, the solar eclipse, and science! “Mommy, I want to be a teacher when I grow up.”

Pajama Party

Last weekend temperatures went soaring into the triple digits, so naturally I spent a good chunk of it sitting on our non-airconditioned kitchen sewing new pajamas for me and the girls! Pajama party!

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First up are these matching doggie pajamas in super soft double gauze. I’m almost done sewing up all the fabric I purchased at Hart’s Fabrics back in May. This double gauze hadn’t been on my list, but Charlie started to get antsy so I let her pick out a fabric. She latched onto this Shiba Inu print. I thought it was corgis like my sister’s dogs but nope! Wrong dog breed.

Since it was the end of the bolt I bought it all instead of the 1 yard I’d planned. It was a good decision because I was able to just barely get 2 nightgowns from the yardage.

I was really torn on what style to make. I wanted something that could pull on rather than zip or button. Charlie is starting to get better at dressing herself and elastic helps the process along.

A quick glance through my patterns and I easily settled on Simplicity 2913, an It’s Sew Easy pattern that is now out of print. I’ve made the dress version before, but in order to save on fabric I used the top pattern and added a ruffle to the bottom. I could just squeak out both dresses by cutting out the original top pattern then accessing the remaining yardage and cutting it into strips for the bottom. Charlie got a narrower ruffle cut on the grain and Lu got a wider ruffle cut from the cross grain.

The pattern runs a tad bit on the large side since both gap in the back. I cut a 2 for Charlie and a 4 for Lu which is pretty in line with their measurements. I’m not fussed about it because they are kids and these are nightgowns. Most importantly the girls love these and have already worn them twice this week.


Next I turned to my own double gauze nightgown.

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It’s another version of the Fifi Pajama pattern only I’ve lengthened the top to make it a nightgown. I really like the top portion of the Fifi and even if it isn’t the most supportive thing ever it is lovely to wear to bed in the summer. I’ve followed the same sizing as my last version and I will say the double gauze is a little stiffer than rayon so I probably could have added a touch more coverage at the bust. Oh well!

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The fabric was also picked up in May at the Birch Fabrics store in Paso Robles. I try to stop in when we drive by because you never know what kind of sale you’ll find. This time I paid full price (boo!), but that’s okay. I tend to pay full price for things I really want instead of impulsing buying more fabric during a sale. Though now that I’ve worked with Birch’s double gauze I am tempted to pick up more for summer pjs.


And last up is another set of matching nightgowns for the girls.

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So silly! Of the two sets I made these simple but soft shifts were the clear favorite. I can’t blame them. The fabric is some butter yellow cotton jersey rib adorned with green pineapples. I got it in a KnitFix from Girl Charlee. I hated my experience with the Knit Fix. Really and truly hated most of the fabrics I received, but this particular fabric is perfect for nightgowns.

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Picking a pattern this time was easy and maybe even unnecessary due to the nature of rib knit. I found my copy of Made by Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee to trace off the neckline and armscyes then cut a rough shape of a dress. Binding finished the neck and arm holes while the hem is left unfinished. Simple. Fast. Most importantly comfy and cool.

I might make a few more nightgowns in the coming weeks, but we’ll see. I want to make Lu some skater dresses, but she doesn’t need them. School starts one month from today and then she’ll be in uniforms all week. Charlie will be in uniforms as of September first so nightgowns make are logically the right thing to make. Which will win? Logic or my heart?

 

Flower Girls

I can’t believe my sister’s wedding took place 2 months ago! Time moves so quickly and we’ve had many milestones in our family this summer as the girls move from on from their current schools to new programs.

I made the girls some pretty sweet dresses for the wedding and by now they’ve been worn on nearly a weekly basis. Gosh it is nice to see Lu and Charlie love something I’ve made them! So here is a little look at the unicorn and mermaid flower girl dresses.

For the actual wedding ceremony we all wore petticoats. The girls had poofy white versions and I added tie on gold glitter tulle overskirts. Hilariously Charlie’s petticoat was stiffer than Lu’s and Charlie’s petticoat actually stuck straight out when the over skirt wasn’t in place. Both girls had a marvelous time dancing and spinning and admiring the fluff.

Charlie is especially taken with twirly dresses right now. Everything must be pink and she declares “Mommy, I feel pretty!”. It is very sweet even if it makes dressing her each morning slightly more challenging. Lu was also a fan of dresses at 2 years old, but wasn’t quite so picky about sparkles and tulle and twirl factor.

Both girls’ dresses were made with Oliver + S’s Fairy Tale Dress pattern only with a circle skirt instead of a gathered skirt. It’s a pattern I’ve used with success twice before and suited the event perfectly. The only negative comment about the pattern is the sleeves are fiddly. Where the tulip sleeves overlap there is 4 layers of fabric in the sleeves plus gathers and that is a lot of fabric to fit into a size 18 month armscye.

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I used quilting cotton from Sarah Jane for both dresses. My sister prefers gold over silver and the Magic line of fabrics all have shiny gold over parts of the design. I picked the prints and colors based on what was available at the time. Buying fabric in the middle of Easter dress season was a big mistake. I should have thought ahead more, but I was stuck without an idea until too close to the wedding date. Oh well! It worked out.

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And as I mentioned, the girls love these dresses and wear them really frequently. In fact Lu wore hers to camp and was the fanciest kid in the group. I’m just glad to see the dresses worn and loved. I really try not to make anything too precious for everyday wear.

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I think it would would shock some to see kids go straight from church to chocolate shake, but I can’t be fussed to make good clothes and play clothes when Lu is growing so tall and Charlie wants to be just like her big sister.  Plus starting this fall they’ll both be in uniforms and I want their mom made pretties to get worn before they are too small.

Goodbye 2016!

2016 has come and gone. Last night we had storms passing through, but today has arrived cool, clear, and with a beautiful bright blue sky. Like many others 2016 was not my favorite year. Beyond the political landscape, it was just an okay year for our little family. We got by fine, the kids grew and thrived, but it wasn’t an easy year. By the end of it I felt quite worn down by the routine but also by the instability.

There was a lot of good stuff coming out of our house as well. I spent a lot of time on my sewing skills. I now have a much loved skater-style dress I make and wear frequently. I also discovered I do better when I work off the Gertie block then the Cashmerette block (for wovens). I’m sure in the coming year I will buy more patterns, but I also hope to make my own block again. I have a lot of ideas of dresses I’d like to make, but I think making my own block would really help me spend less time fitting and more time designing.

I made some misses too. A few poor fabric choices and a few patterns that just didn’t work for my shape. And sometimes things turn out okay, but they fail to make it to the regular rotation. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a sewer who doesn’t have a few flops every year.

And then there are my sweet girls! Not as much sewing for them as with previous years. Mostly because Charlie can wear so many things I made for her sister and she’s stayed quite tiny. Partly because Lu finally grew enough that she can wear commercially produced school uniforms! I ordered a select number of skirts and dresses in August and Lu’s been set for school since. I am incredibly proud of their swimsuits and plan to make them new suits for next summer. So much fun and really simple.

What’s next? I still have some quilts to finish. One for my bed and the girls matching quilts for their room. We moved all the baby stuff out over the winter break and we’re contemplating bunk beds this summer, so I’d like to get those quilts done. Otherwise I’ll just keep looking for new inspiration. I organized my fabric stash a bit this week and remembered I have fabric to make the Sewaholic Pacific Leggings, my SIL bought me the Decades of Style Lara Dress pattern, and I have more wool jersey to make a skater style dress. Maybe I’ll get to those things, but if I don’t it is okay. I can’t wait to see where 2017 takes me!

Quilting Round Up Spring 2016

Lots of sewing going on around here lately, but most of it hasn’t been for me! I got a little backed up on my quilting obligations while I made Easter dresses and and recovered from the cold from hell.

First up I needed to work on my Super Awesome Fun Times quilting bee blocks. This is  Wanta Fanta. This was my first time paper piecing and it went fine, but I have to say it wasn’t my favorite thing to do ever. So much  paper waste! A few blocks was fine, but I can’t imagine picking bits of paper out of a whole quilt top.

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Next up was a cute Wonky Star in shades of pink. This was fun to make, though I realized I’m not any better at wonky quilting than I am coloring outside the lines.

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Lastly there is this mini block. I say mini because I was testing it for my friend and she accidentally wrote it for 1/4 the size she wanted. So you might see this one again in a bit when I re-make it at the full size.

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I also caught up on the Modern HST Sampler QAL only to fall majorly behind again. Oh well! At least I got the whole first quarter of blocks done in with both collections I’m working with.

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Lastly a non-quilt make. One of my co-workers had a baby girl this week so I made her a sweet Geranium Dress as a shower gift. Thank goodness someone had a baby girl! My boy fabric stash isn’t very big since I have two little girls and everyone I knew has had boys! I usually use this print to line Lu’s school uniforms, but something school themed seemed a perfect match for a co-worker gift. (I work at an arts school.)

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I wish I could figure out what line this fabric came from. There is absolutely no information on the selvedges, but the print is totally darling.

More is in the works so hopefully I’ll have a write up soon!

 

 

Easter 2016 – Part 2 – The Kids!

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Nothing says Easter like the blur of children as they run around excited by the thought of the Easter Bunny and candy and eggs and toys!

And getting them to both sit still and look at the camera? Hahahahaha Nope.

And gosh darn it, why is the best picture also the one with our neighbor’s trash cans in the background?

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But regardless Easter 2016 is behind us and frankly I’m glad of it. I got hit with a sinus infection of doom on top of having bruised my tailbone so I ended up skipping all the festivities and staying home while my husband took the girls to Easter dinner. Oh well.

The more important part is the girls looks so darned cute in their Easter dresses!

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Lu was so darling in her Lily Dress from Green Bee Patterns. I feel like this is the first time I made her more of a big girl dress instead of a baby design and it shows. Hello my long legged girl! She’s gotten so tall!

The pattern itself was some what annoying so I’ll do a separate post as a pattern review, but the end result was quite nice on her. I am very pleased.

Charlie is a girl on the move! She was just thrilled to sit at her grandparents house and eat cheese and crackers and hunt for Easter eggs.

For her dress I made McCalls 6913 and OMG I loved it so much. This is the 1 year old size and it was still quite large (Charlie is just now out growing 9 month clothing), but that means she should be able to wear it all summer. The pattern didn’t include a diaper cover, so I grabbed one from another baby pattern. Didn’t end up showing, but oh well!

The fabric from both dresses is from the Sommer collection by Sarah Jane and trimmed with some Free Spirit Voile in this bright melon color. I just loved the way these are Easter dresses, but the bunnies are a small fun little surprise so these can be worn all spring and summer.

And now onto some other sewing. I’m not really sure what to do next. I have fabric for a couple skirts and I have some quilting to do, but for right now I think I’m happy to knit and relax while I recover from being ill.

 

 

 

Kid Clothes – Fall Round Up

I’ve been making lots of little things for my girls this fall. They are so quick to make and so satisfying. Kids just don’t have the same level of fit concern that an adult has!

So Charlie first!

She has lots of hand me downs from her big sister and she’s teeny so some of the things I made last fall still fit. So I only made a few things for her this fall. Such as this cute little cardigan she modeled on her first birthday.

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This was part of a KAL on Raverly called the Child for All Seasons. The designers put out three patterns each quarter. One that is styled for girls, one styled for boys, and one accessory. This was the Fall girl sweater knit in two skeins of very poorly matched Madelinetosh merino dk in Truly, Madly, Deeply that had been sitting in my stash waiting for the right project. This is a great littler sweater that gets worn multiple times a week!

Next is my favorite thing I’ve knit all year, a baby dress I’ve named Rainbow Brite.

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Gah! This one just kills me with the cute. I love it so very much. The pattern is the Baby Bubble Tunic and this 6-12 month size should last Charlie all winter. The yarn is something really special. Neighborhood Fiber Co. made kits called Shades of the Rainbow to celebrate the Supreme Court’s ruling that same sex marriages are legal! Woot! So I snatched a kit in studio dk . Along with some leftovers I purchased from a knitting friend I have enough to make Lu something too. So more rainbows to come!

And now Halloween costumes! One of the things I just feel a deep desire to do is make homemade costumes. This year we had a baby Madeline and Frozen’s Elsa.

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Charlie’s costume is a big 4 pattern. I can’t quite remember which one. I made it with some Robert Kaufman corduroy and essex with a little red ribbon tie. Super simple and this is most likely her Christmas dress too. Lu’s costume was way more involved. I started with the Geranium Dress and re-drafted the bodice so I could sew in the cape. The whole thing is built on kona cotton to give those cheap sparkle fabrics something to hold onto. I wasn’t sure it would work, but it totally did! This costume has been worn to school, and for a birthday party, and trick or treating, and around our house and it still looks perfect. Yes! Most importantly the picky preschooler loves it.

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And now for Lu this fall I’ve been working on making her plenty of school clothes. She wears uniforms so I bought a mess of navy and red fabric have been making things as a palate cleanser between other projects.

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First up is this Music Box Jumper from Oliver + S. This is how I learned I don’t need to go so overboard on upsizing. Lu is pretty petite just like her sister so cutting a 3 with 4 length turned out kind of crazy big. But she still wears and lives this jumper.

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Next is another Oliver + S pattern, this time the Music Class skirt. It’s cute and very functional, but I will admit it is not Lu’s first choice to wear.

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Last of the uniforms is this Flashback Skinny Tee turned dress! I actually made two of these at once because I figured something this soft and easy would be a hit. It is. I will definitely be making more of these those I want to pick up some fun fold over elastic to trim the necklines.

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What uniform would be complete without a sweater for those chilly fall mornings? So now Lu has a Peachick Eyes Cardigan knit with Madelinetosh Dandelion in the Vintage Bandana color way. Another item she wears all the time. Sadly with the time change our mornings are much much cooler so another warmer sweater is already in progress.

Whew! So made kid things completed this fall with more to come, but also so much love put into clothing my girls.