Halloween 2017

It’s been a little while since I paid a visit to this space, but I’ve been busily working away. I’ve been spending a little less time on the internet lately and a little more time sewing, knitting, and volunteering  including joining the editor pool at the Curvy Sewing Collective. We’re also well into the busy season at Heritage Square Museum. Lots of commitments to my time, but in a good way.

When it comes to Halloween I try to keep my sewing to a minimum. I’ll make one piece for each child and then buy or find the rest of the pieces. Its worked really well so far! This year both girls wanted to be fairies, or I should say that Lu wanted to be a fairy and Charlie wanted to be just like Lu. Lu picked her costume months ago so I had plenty of time to think about how I wanted to make a couple of fairy costumes.

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I spent a bunch of time looking for a fairy costume pattern, but most of the Pinterest ideas were geared more towards the occasional crafter. I just wasn’t interested in tube tops and tying a ton of tulle strips to elastic. Both of my girls love to play dress up so I decided to make something built to last rather than for one day.

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I settled on using Rae Hoekstra’s Flashback Skinny Tee for the tops and drafting my own circle skirts for the bottoms. I did not tell the girls my plan. If I had they would have thrown a fit of unhappiness. They wanted frilly collars like the fairies in their activity book. Instead we took the girls to JoAnn’s and planted them in front of the athletic sparkle fabrics. Then I gentle steered them towards two fabric that came in multiple colorways. Lu immediately latched onto pink! Charlie took some convincing, but we got her to agree to gold.

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That one trip to JoAnn’s ended up supplying everything we needed to produce two fairies. While I waited in line to get the fabric cut, my husband and the girls ended up finding the dress up clothes area and procured 2 sets of wings and 2 sequin crowns. Not a prefect match to the fabrics but they worked out perfectly. With an armful of sequins we headed to the register and all our Halloween costume shopping was complete!

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The dresses were so easy to complete. Not my finest work, but perfect for the holiday. Charlie’s also served as her birthday dress. Her birthday is right before Halloween, so we threw a costume party at the park and our newly 3 year old daughter was super happy. It was also impossible to miss them with the sun shining off all those sparkles!

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As a wonderful bonus, we had a super generous employee at the fabric cutting counter and I now have enough left over material to make the girls something else as well. I’m thinking coordinating gymnastics leotards would be super fun. Now I just have to find time to actually sew them up!

 

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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?

 

Narwhal Dress

Did you know there is a whole world out there of specialty printed fabric organized through Facebook groups? No? I wasn’t either! One of my parenting group friends started posting pictures of her daughters in all these cute outfits so I asked her where she found the fabrics and now I’ve been sucked into the Facebook group scene!

So far I’ve only ordered through one company, Sahara Fabrics. It is similar to ordering through Spoonflower in that there are a bunch of prints posted that you can order, but to cut down on the costs they only offer a select number of designs at one time. The companies keeps just a small stock of any item and generally once it is gone that’s it. Some of these companies specialize in science themed fabric, fan art fabric, and fabric to make knock off Lularoe leggings. Many of these companies also offer fun and different PUL fabric for the cloth diaper scene (oh if only I’d know about this when we were cloth diapering!). Sahara stocks a lot of cloth diaper supplies, but they also offer a lot of cute cotton/lycra prints and some bamboo knits as well. Most of the designs are suited to kids, but a few will appeal to adults too.

The fabric for Lu’s dress came to me through a mix up at the post office. I’d ordered this print for my narwhal obsessed friend who welcomed a son earlier this year. But then the package was lost in the great and powerful USPS system. Sahara and I waited the required number of days to declare the package lost and then Sahara graciously sent me out a new package. Well imagine our surprise when the original fabric bundle re-surfaced and arrived at my doorstep! Sahara told me to keep the fabric and so I got a little bit of narwhal fabric to keep.

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Lu’s dress is cut from 1 Narwhal Magic Panel. This is a specialty product in which there is a graphic print and a coordinating print all on one length of fabric. The panel measured 30 inches tell x 58 inches wide making it just less than a full yard of cotton knit.

I sat on it for a few months while trying to figure out what I could make from it. But as the weather has turned cooler at night I realized Lu really needs long sleeved nightgowns and dresses. This could be both depending on her mood.

I used all but a few scraps to make this dress. The front was centered over the narwhal. The back was lined up with the first two lines of stars. The neck binding was from the bottom row of stars (I think mine was missing the very top row above the narwhal). And then I cut the sleeves, skirt, and ruffle from the striped fabric.

The skirt is a little on the narrow side and Lu and I both thought the length was not quite enough. So at the very top of the skirt I added a thin strip of solid navy that was from just above the narwhal on the panel. After cutting the main pieces I had this awkward narrow strip of stripes that I cut into smaller segments then sewed end to end to make a ruffle. It’s the kind of detail that I think really makes the dress more fun!

The base pattern is Made by Rae’s Flask Back Skinny Tee. All I did was cut it shorter so I could make it into a dress. I love this tee pattern. So simple and basic and adjustable. All the traits I love in a hack-a-ble pattern!

And clearly Lu loves the finished dress! She took it straight off the sewing machine to wear to bed last night. Such a great feeling as a mom!

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!

 

 

Rain Dance Jumper

I had so many good intentions to get decent photos of this dress before Charlie really started wearing it and potentially staining it. But getting a busy 11 month old to stand or sit still is not happening.

First I tried our yard, but she looks like she is in baby jail.

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Then we went to Target and the little monkey spent the entire shopping trip trying to stand up and climb out of the cart. See that look on her face? Trouble. Oh yes we have trouble right here in River City, or uh Pasadena.

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Anyways, I thought I’d have one more chance to get in some good photos before she wore this dress to day care and it ended up covered in formula and dirt and who knows what else. We went apple picking this weekend and I fully admit I had a mental picture that we would suddenly be transported to New England. But of course the orchard was in Southern California and it was a bright and sunny day. The light was much too harsh for photos. Plus the ground was mostly dirt, gravel, and burs. Nothing you’d want your baby to crawl on with no covering for her knees.

In the end I gave up trying to get the perfect photo of our baby in her dress and sure enough I got a few cute photos…when we stopped by a brewery on our way home. Figures.

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Look at those sisters in their matching outfits. Warms this momma’s heart to see her girls in coordinating homemade outfits. A lady stopped me at Target to compliment me and it was such a great moment when she asked if I’d made their outfits. Probably something she doesn’t see a lot, but used to be such a standard part of childhood. I love being about to make them such nice things to wear.

I’m calling this Charlie’s rain dance jumper because I keep hoping if I make her more corduroy dresses we’ll get the El Nino rain that’s been promised. At least my girls are ready for it if you considering wearing umbrellas to count as preparedness!

The dress is sewn with Small World Fabric from Rae Hoekstra. I bought a couple yards of 3 different prints specifically to make clothes for this winter. Making a toddler skirt and an infant dress has exhausted this print. Lu doesn’t really need more clothes since she wears uniforms 4 days a week, but Charlie’s supply dwindled once I cleared out all the 6 month sized clothes. So I’m sure most of the other 2 remaining prints will be used for baby clothes first.

The pattern is Geranium Dress which is easily my go-to pattern for kid dresses. Simple, quick to sew, lots of options to customize it. You’ll be seeing many more of these in the near future.

In other sewing news, not a ton is happening right now. I’m knitting away on a sweater for my husband and that take the majority of my crafting time. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably seen a lot of boring grey knitting posts like this one. A sleeve!

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When I’m not knitting I’m working on Halloween costumes and my first (I think ever) plaid dress. Hope to have something else to share with you soon! So many plans, so little time.

Liberty Meets Washi

Oh Liberty of London. I wanted to believe your fabric was not worth the crazy high price. That it was just the name and not really that nice. But this week I had my first chance to make a garment and I’m a believer.

Oh and maybe you have heard of a sewing pattern called Washi Dress? It might have been featured on a blog or two or perhaps about a thousand. Forgive me. I’ve been busy having babies and am just catching onto these trends!

Anyways, a few months ago I opened my Liberty Club package from Westwood Acres and gasped when I saw the top fabric on the pack. It was the Whiltshire pattern in color way S. A classic, but new to me!  They offered a discount to club members who wanted to purchase yardage, so I took advantage to purchase 3.5 yards, the recommended yardage for Washi in an XL.

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And I love it. The combination worked so well. Because Liberty is 53 inches wide I was able to cut the pieces on the cross grain and fully line the entire dress with the 3.5 yards. Fully self lined. Luxurious.

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And after wearing nothing but knit dresses with a cross over front for the last oh…10 months, it feels amazing to wear a regular dress. A-ma-zing. Plus all the shirring in the back highlights the fact that I do still have a waist!

Of course I did have to make a few alterations. I did a 2 inch FBA, lowered the bust dart 1 inch, added 1.5 inches to the bodice length, and added about 1 inch to the hips. All of these alterations were relatively simple and made the Washi pattern into something that will be incredibly versatile for my life. Casual enough for the weekend, but nice enough for the office with better shoes and my favorite sweater. Looks like I might need to make a sway back adjustment next time, but this is still a solid start.

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Okay, maybe the sweater isn’t the best shape, but oh so soft and a perfect weight for LA. And I just put buttons on a new cardigan today. Perhaps it will suit the shape a little better. We’ll see.

But my main take away from this project is that 1) shirring is so damn easy and 2) Liberty is worth every penny. These pictures were taken on a hot day when I’d been running around and sweating and it did not wrinkle a bit. Magic.

An Instant Favorite

I’ll admit it. When I bought this fabric I bought it because I loved it. I had no idea Lu would latch onto it so firmly. I also had no idea she’d suddenly start asking to wear a skirt every day.

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But this is easily the item of clothing she requests most often. Easily.

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It’s a tad on the large side. Lu is hard to fit in that she is average height, but quite slim, so I made a size 2T with 3T length and cut the elastic to be 2 inches smaller than the pattern recommended. It’s still too big.

But that doesn’t stop Lu from picking it first every single time I do laundry. Sadly she wears uniforms Monday-Thursday, but come free dress Friday… only umbrellas will do.

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I am preschooler and I will wear what I want!

(I also wanted to say that I still cannot tell if the fabric is printed ever so slightly off grain or if I am just exhausted.)