New Outfit for the New Year

No New Year's celebration would be complete without a fancy new outfit, for Miss A at least. I plan on wearing old sweats and being in bed by 9:00 PM. No reason start the new year off tired!
Her top is an oliver + s pattern (love them!) made from pink Kona cotton and trimmed with a black with tiny white dots cotton. The neck ties look cuter untied, but I can't keep her from chewing on them unless tied in a bow. The pants are "britches and bloomers" made with black featherwale cord and trimmed with the same fabric as the top. I really am going to make something without polka dots, and in colors other than black and pink. But once I get something on the brain.....just like last summer's fruit theme.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

I really need to read that book again. I thought it was so great as a kid, but can't recollect a thing about it now. Or maybe I should just let it be a fond piece off my past, and not let my all-too-critical adult mind mess up a great childhood memory.
Speaking of pageants, check out these nativity costumes.

Okay, the picture is really bad. So let me explain: There are three turbans for the wise men, a halo for the angel and a headband with blue silk for Mary. I'm afraid that Joseph and the shepard's head pieces weren't exciting enough to make the picture. But I'm sure you can visualize the various colored scarves and headbands.

Houndstooth Love

This will be Miss A's Christmas dress. I've been planning it since last Christmas. It's a simple A line jumper. I planned a red long sleeve shirt and red tights, or maybe pink. It usually takes me awhile to find a pattern and suitable fabric. But I have to mention (not that I'm so cutting edge cool) that I'm disappointed that every children's store on Earth seems to have a houndstooth Christmas line this year. Look here and here. And it just wouldn't be my blog unless there was some shoe love like these and these. The good news is that this jumper looks ginormous and could fit her next Christmas, in which case I'll look like I'm a little behind the current trends, and I'm okay with that. I wish I would have used a brown and cream houndstooth like this, or a brown and green like this, just to be a bit different. But then I wouldn't have tempted to buy the cute shoes.
Pattern: Butterick 4842
Fabric: Black/White featherwale corduroy from Farmhouse Fabrics. I used black velvet ribbon as a trim.
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Just a few little notes about Halloween night. Miss A wore her hat (which took me longer to make than any other part of her costume) just long enough to take pictures. I consider that a great victory. My mom and I spent several hours wearing the hat to try to convince her how cool it is. S experienced a real to life Indiana Jones injury. S and Grandpa stepped outside to practice cracking the whip and came back inside seconds later with a six inch welt on S's back. Thanks to Grandma and a bag of frozen peas he is feeling better. And it just wouldn't be Halloween without someone getting ill. G complained that his stomach hurt during dinner. I (being the excellent mother I am) told him to eat his vegetables all gone or we wouldn't go trick or treating. About an hour later he was throwing up vegetables on our neighbors lawn. Sorry neighbors!
Now the boring sewing details:
Indiana Jones jacket is made from a home dec pleather material. I used Kwik Sew 3136, with some changes and a lot of quiet swearing. The pattern itself wasn't bad, the fabric was awful. It can't be washed or ironed. It was thick (but thin enough for a whip injury), slightly stretchy and permanently displayed all of my mistakes. The awesome hat is from Zurchers and the whip is from I also tried a downloadable pattern with my first attempt at making the jacket. Good idea in theory, but good heavens, after the 40th page printed with all the pieces but the ones I needed I was not happy. And then to think I would have had to tape or glue the 40 sheets of paper together to make full pattern pieces! Putting the pattern together would have been more difficult than making the actual jacket. So glad I bagged that idea. I contacted and they sent me a new free pattern and removed the stupid downloadable one from their site.
The jedi is a Simplicity 0578 which is out of print. I made shoe covers to look like boots, but he wouldn't wear them. It's probably better since I don't know if they would have been washable. He had a duel with several of the neighborhood Darth Vader's before getting sick. He told a friend I was sewing him a mechanical hand like Luke Skywalker's. He was disappointed that I couldn't find a pattern.
The cute witch is Butterick 4054. I had grand visions of bloomers and a petticoat peeking out from under the skirt (a far cry from the simple costume I planned earlier) but decided to simplify since getting clothes on a wiggly toddler is not so fun. I added the ribbon detail on the pinafore to make it look more "storybookish." Over all the pattern wasn't too bad. It fit okay, and for a costume I thought the bagginess of the cut was okay. I made a matching dress and hat for dolly too. I thought maybe if the doll was wearing a hat Miss A would too. So much for simplification.The hat is Simplicity 2786 but I used bias binding on the brim to cover the raw edge and omitted the ribbon ties since that would have given Miss A one more thing to hate about the hat. Onesie and tights are from Gymboree and shoes are Puddle Jumpers. I would have loved to get these shoes, but my practicality won out. Brent will laugh at that statement.

Sweet Pajamas

I love these pajamas. They were really simple to sew. I got the fabric here again. I made them a size bigger than I normally do with this brand of pattern, I wanted them to be worn for awhile. And, um, I didn't know when I would actually get around to sewing, them so I made them big just in case. Fortunately, they were simple enough that they got finished quickly. I'm not kidding when I say they were easy. If you've sewn a thing or too, but never really used a pattern before, this is the one to use.

I needed a break from Halloween sewing, S's pleather jacket has me stumped. On the up side, G said Miss A could be a cupcake Jedi if I didn't get her costume finished. A cupcake Jedi? Bless his heart for being so positive about my inability to focus on Halloween costumes.

More Clothes

I realize I should be working on Halloween costumes, but I just couldn't resist this cute combo. Once again, it's an Oliver and S pattern, the Sunday Brunch Jacket and A line Skirt. Of course, the pattern was a dream to work with. The skirt was so simple, and the pockets are so cute. I lenghtened the hem a bit because Miss A is so tall. The jacket is just adorable, and I hope to make a grey velveteen one for Christmas time. Or maybe a mustard yellow one. Hmm.. the possibilities are endless. The fabric for both is feather wale corduroy from Farmhouse Fabrics. They ship everything so quickly and it all comes tied together with the prettiest ribbon. She's a little wrinkled in the picture, but if she wasn't it just wouldn't be real to life. Just minutes after taking this picture she was digging in the newly rained on flower beds. Anyone have suggestions on getting mud out of "hand wash" only tights?

Halloween in September?

Here's what I have planned: S wants to be Indiana Jones. We found a hat and whip we just need a brown jacket. G wanted to be a pink flamingo.I asked if he wanted to be something more masculine, like a parrot, and he said I was "repressing his creativity." I asked him what repressing means and he said it's what your mother does to you. Today, he wants to be a Jedi. Miss A, well, let's just say I have a lot of ideas and fabric. I'll see what I come up with.
Here's a look at Halloweens past, at least our digital past. Halloween 2003

Megan's costume for Halloween 2004. S had been to so many princess parties that year! He felt ripped off that he couldn't dress up. We let him dress up as Captain Hook for one party and, well, it didn't go so well. He need to be a calmer character, much calmer. So I made him a Prince Charming outfit. It was cute, but he will so hate me some day. Let it be known that at the time he loved it. He didn't wear it on Halloween, but he wanted to.

Halloween 2004, notice me in the background holding G down so he won't run out of the picture?
"the real"Halloween 2005

October 2005, the real costumes weren't finished in time for some of the pre-Halloween festivities. Good thing we had these in the dress up box!

Halloween 2006, I was pregnant. Store bought costumes. 'nough said.

Halloween 2007

Super Easy Project

Sorry for the bad picture. The photographer in our family is asleep. As is the model.
I know that those of you who don't sew hate reading my sewing posts. Or maybe just hate my posts in general. Don't worry I'm not offended.
Here is a super easy project that is so cute. You've read my posts about Oliver and S patterns right? Well, they have a freebie pattern available right now. Check out the flickr group for skirt sewing inspiration. This skirt is so simple, and the ribbon hem makes it adorable. IT REALLY IS SIMPLE! I'm not just saying this to sound cool. It took me all of 30 minutes to make. It would have taken less time if I hadn't twisted the elastic like crazy. Seriously, it's easy as the pillowcase you made in 7 th grade home ec. But maybe that brings back bad sewing memories? Sorry to anyone who had a bad home economics experience.
I might have Miss A be a witch for Halloween. I was thinking of making this skirt in a cute black with white polka dot fabric, hemmed with orange ribbon for the skirt and making some sort of cape. Or using some sort of Halloween fabric with spider webs or something. With a beauty pageant type sash that says, "Miss Halloween 2008." And striped tights of course. Or something like that. But then again, I'll probably change my mind between now and then.
Fabric: Pumpkins Gone Wild by Sandy Gervais for Moda. Ribbon Offray
Pattern: Lazy Days Skirt Pattern it's free!

Dolls & Memories

I've always liked dolls. I secretly wanted an American Girl doll as a teenager. I would have never admitted it at the time! I was a little jealous of my younger sisters for having been born at a time when it was acceptable to play with them. And the thought of books that tell their stories, it couldn't have been more up my alley! My mom bought a pattern for one of the original AG doll's (Samantha) wardrobes years ago. I bought the rest of them on eBay more recently ( love eBay for that reason). I'm slowly working on them. They are amazingly difficult for such small things, but they are very fun to make. I hope I relax enough to actually let Miss A play with them someday.
I did have My Friend Mandy, Becky and Jenny as a girl. My mom made a lot of clothes for them. She also made a lot of Cabbage Patch Kid clothing. It's amazing to me how much she did sew when I was young, even though if you asked her she'd say she didn't. She got quite a lot accomplished considering all 5 children. Easter dresses, Halloween and dance costumes seemed to be her speciality. I have really fond memories associated with the things she made. I wouldn't have been able to learn to sew without her closet full of fabric and free reign over the sewing supplies that I had as a kid. She let me make a lot of crap. Amazingly she always acted excited about the junk I made.

I made this doll dress several years ago, before having an actual female child of my own to sew for. I made it during my "heirloom sewing" phase (said like I'm some sort of artist or something-ha!). There are so few boy things to make. I made a lot of dress ups/costumes and pajamas for my boys before Miss A was born, but never really felt fulfilled in that. There's just something about making an item that gets used often. My oldest child wore nothing but costumes (and actually lived in the land of make believe) from about the ages of 2 1/2 to 6. We often had to let him wear a costume in the car on the way to church and remove it before entering the building. My second child has never been much of a costume wearer. He lives in the land of reality only, and is very literal about everything.

The patterns and fabric that I was longing to create with were so feminine. I took a couple of "heirloom sewing" classes and loved learning the techniques. The patterns are usually well designed and written. I love that there is as much care taken on how the interior of the clothing looks as the exterior. I also love the great fabrics and details that heirloom sewing incorporates. I love the hand work, smocking and embroidery. I don't always like that every item I make looks like it is from another century. I find it difficult to make items that are timeless, and not just dated. I made a linen suit for my oldest once. It may have gone over well in the south in the early 1900's, just not now and especially where we live. Brent was very relieved that S never had to wear it in public. It is in my flickr group for memories sake. It will have to remain there.

Oliver and S Bubble Dress

I recently realized that all of Miss A's clothing have been fruit themed this season. She owns a strawberry dress, 2 watermelon outfits, a cherry sun suit, her new citrus sun dress and an apple outfit. I almost made this dress from cherry fabric. Rather than having her closet look like a fruit salad, I went to Brooks Fabric and picked up this cute combo. I made sure I ate lunch before I went to try to avoid any prints with food themes.
I admit I'm obsessed, in a good way, with these patterns. The fall line comes out this week and I can't wait! This bubble dress was so easy to sew! And it is so darling on Miss A. She has a yellow cardigan to wear with it once the weather gets cooler. I just thought I would share what I've been doing while the boys are at school. Lest any of you think I'm watching soap operas and eating bon-bons.
Pattern: Oliver and S Bubble Dress
Fabric: Robert Kaufman (brown print) Mary Engelbreit (yellow dot) for the lining.

Tea Party Sundress

Yes, more dresses to justify shoe purchases. I admit I have a problem. Well, several in fact.

This is an Oliver + S Tea Party Sundress . I love it. It was simple to sew. It has some great details like a hem facing on the dress and bias casings on the bloomers that give avid sewers like me something to be excited about. It's exciting to find great patterns. I swear a lot less while sewing since finding these patterns.

The fabric is "Fresh Squeezed" by Sandy Gervais for Moda. I love the bright citrus colors. It makes me happy to look at it. I used a diagonal stripe from the line for the lining and bloomers. It caused some grief while trying to match the stripes in the seams, but I gave up and feel ok about it. They're bloomers for heavens sake!

I'm working on a matching dress for dolly again, but my pattern making skills are seriously lacking. The fact that the dolls legs are in a permenant sitting position doesn't help any (how will I make pants for her?). I hope to have the dolly dress done before the weather gets cold, or Miss A outgrows the dress. Whichever comes first.

More dresses

Summer is almost over. The stores are advertising "Back to School" supplies, and I'm just not ready to stop sewing summer clothes for Miss A. I could attempt to guess what size she'll wear next year, but I've failed miserably at it in the past and decided to live for today. Besides, her red polka dot sandals won't fit next summer (and I'll still trying to justify to myself the need for them). So the moral of this story: If you find cute shoes that may only match a few outfits you own, buy (or in this case, sew) more outfits to justify their purchase. Then you'll feel better about owning so many pairs of shoes while the rest of the country worries about the economy, gas prices and the pummeling housing market. Think about it as a way to stimulate the economy. I'm just doing my part.
Pattern: New Look 6796 (so far so good with the New Look patterns). It was simple, straight forward, and not too ill fitting. The doll's dress is my own design made to match the Miss A's dress. I love dolly/owner matching outfits! Miss A seemed to think it was pretty cool too. She kept pointing to her dress, then the doll's dress and giggling. So cute!
Fabric: Fabric Traditions from Joann. Yes, this is the second item of clothing made from lime green ladybug fabric, but if you look closely, the prints are different. Not that you can really tell. Maybe I just have a ladybug fixation?

Crayon Tote Bag

This tote bag seemed like such a cute idea. My mom told me about an apron that she remembered seeing when I was a kid with little pockets for crayons. She had good intentions to make one for one of us kids, but never got around to it. I think I get my love of fabric from her and my love of sewing from my Grandma. But that's an entirely different (and much more boring, if that's possible) post. I thought a tote bag would be so cute since Miss A likes bags better than aprons. I thought it would be so cute with a pad of paper and coloring book inside, and truly it was. But what was I thinking giving a 18 month old crayon portability? Seriously! Within nano seconds she had colored on every surface in the house. Luckily it all came off easily. The bag is now hidden and to be used only under the strictest of supervision.
Pattern: My own design
Fabric: Micheal Miller Carnival Bloom and Moda Deb Strain dot.
On to other randomness:
Saturday we had a family "Chinese Cultural Day" of sorts. It started out with lunch at PF Changs and a matinee of Kung Fu Panda (a must see for all Jack Black fans). The only difficulty was when the boys began practicing their newly found Kung Fu moves on each other on the way out of the theatre. Other than that minor set back, we all walked away with a better appreciation of American stereotypes about the Chinese.
The boys are taking swimming lessons and loving it. I'm loving that the weather is no longer in the 100's, it's cooled down to the 90's. It makes it so much easier to sit during lessons when I'm not melting in the heat. I do however think G is drinking more pool water than necessary, but his teacher and I haven't been able to convince him to close his mouth. Well, he is his mother's child!

Just In Case You Were Wondering

With so many posts about what Miss A gets to wear, some of you may be left to think that the males in our house go naked. This picture should clear that thought up.However, it does prove that whoever does the shopping at our house needs to diversify a bit and buy something besides khaki cargo shorts. As a side note, this picture only shows roughly half of our khaki holdings. Sad but true.

4th of July

Miss A is sporting new shorts which I made the night before. Aha, maybe that's why I always have crappy holidays! I seem to get hair brained, least minute project ideas to completely push me over the edge. It happened while I was ironing the kids clothes. I thought, "I wonder why Gymboree only sold long pants with this line? I should make shorts. I'll do it now and forget my need for sleep. Everyone is in bed, I have time. It's only 10 pm." And sure enough by midnight the shorts are done and I'm already wondering why sewing is so much more important to me than the sleep I so desperately need.

Her shorts are the Oliver + S puppet show shorts. Easy to make and fun to sew. I love the "girly" cargo pockets. And I love that the fabric had been in my stash for quite some time, it makes me feel so thrifty. I don't even remember what I bought it for originally. But it's just some inexpensive red gingham. It turned out very cute I think. I love that the shorts look bloomerish, but not baggy. Well worth (in hind sight) the lack of sleep.

Oliver and S outfit

I'm always a little hesitant to make clothes for my kids. I love doing it. I love trying to make something tangible out of what I have envisioned, but I hate patterns. I hate spending time, tears and sweat and then not having whatever I've made fit. Last summer I made a bunch of size 3-6 months size clothes for Miss A. I carefully measured her and chose patterns sizes accordingly. I was so mad when they didn't fit. Most of them were too big, and a few were too small. It was maddening. At least with ready to wear clothes you can return them when they don't fit. With sewing, you're stuck paying for something that will never be used. I even threw away a bunch of patterns with fabric that had been cut out and vowed to never use that brand of pattern again. Thankfully a few of the outfits could be salvaged and she can wear them this summer. I've been on the hunt for good fitting patterns but have approached the task with some skepticism.

Oliver and S patterns have been awesome. The fit is wonderful, according to the size measurements. I made this Puppet Show Tunic and Shorts and they fit perfectly. The instructions are very clear, and I loved looking at the photos on the blog to make sure I assembled the tunic correctly. The pattern was given a 3 out of 4 difficulty level. It wasn't particularly hard, just a little time consuming. The set in sleeves were the most difficult part, but only because a size 18 month arm hole is so small. Definitely not a problem with the pattern. The shorts however are my favorite. They are gathered slightly around the bottom and give a cute fit without being too baggy. They were very easy, but look like a lot of time was spent on them. Be sure to check out the "errata" tab under the patterns section of the website, you may need to adjust your pattern piece for the binding on the shorts (pattern piece was misprinted). I plan to make another pair soon. The patterns also have the cutest paper dolls that come with them.

My only regret is my choice of fabric for the tunic. Originally I bought the fabric to make a bag for me. I could see that my interest in bag sewing had waned and wanted to use the fabric for something else rather than continue to hoard fabric. The prints are a little "busy" for the tunic. The scale is too large. But overall, it's OK. Brent will be proud of my ability to make do with what I've got, until the next trip to the fabric store. Ha!

Pattern: Oliver and S Puppet Show Tunic and Shorts

Fabric: Benartex "City Girl" for the tunic and espresso brown Kona cotton (Robert Kaufman)

Little LadyBug

It is so hard to get a picture of this little stinker. I'm a poor photographer to begin with, add a runaway toddler and you've got a mess. I hate to think what my pictures would have looked like in the "olden days" before digital cameras. We probably wouldn't have any pictures of anyone actually looking at the camera. Well, at least you get the idea. Just don't compare my photos to the dozens of bloggers who own really great cameras and have super photography skills.

I made these super easy pants for Miss A recently. They were so easy I made them during her nap time, start to finish. It's really a good feeling to complete a project, especially when I feel so overwhelmed by the amount of half finished products in my craft room.The prints are a little wild, but they look so darn cute together I couldn't resist. I made a top to match it, but she can remove it too easily. It's just not worth the effort it takes to chase her down and try to put it back on her 12 times a day. So we'll stick with a not so easy to remove shirt for now.

Fabric: Joann (lime green with ladybugs and red with white polka dot)

Pattern: Britches and Bloomers by Jackie Clark designs (purchased at Farmhouse Fabrics). I shortened the leg length to make them capris and added 1/4" to the ruffle at the bottom to make it easier to hem. I have great difficulty with narrow hems (it's my chubby fingers) and adding to the ruffle length made it much easier to press and sew.

My Favorite Creation, So Far

So far, this is my favorite thing I've made for Miss A. I think it's the print for the top that I love, maybe it's just the bright, happy colors. I almost hated cutting the fabric to make the top, I adore it so much. I love that quilt fabrics are so hip. They are no longer the pioneer calicos they used to be. I also love that quilt stores are everywhere! It's so conventient to be surrounded by so much inspriation. Not so good for my wallet, but great for my creativity!
Pattern: New Look 6473
Fabric: Micheal Miller, Carnival Bloom. The polka dot for the yoke is Deb Strain for Moda
Shoes: Pediped

How many dresses can one girl have?

Not like she needs more dresses, or clothes. It's just so fun to shop for a little girl. Especially a little girl who doesn't yet have an opinion about what to wear.
This is a jumper I made for Miss A. At first, I thought the fabric would be too busy for a baby. But I'm glad I took a risk because I love it! We get so many compliments when she wears it.
Pattern: Simplicity 4711
Fabric: Michele D'Amore for Marcus Brothers textiles. The neckline and arm holes have baby piping made from a turqouise fabric from the same collection. I added turqouise grosgrain ribbon at the waist and it ties in back. The onesie is from Target.

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I Sew Stuff

Yes, I sew stuff. Mostly, I sew stuff for me and my family. I don't really like sewing for other people. Not because I don't enjoy the praise, it's just that I really like the "whole" creative experience. I love fabric stores, sketching out ideas, and even being awakened in the early morning with an idea I just have to sew.
I'm not so good at making other people's creative vision a reality. If you want me to sew something for you I will probably say "Yes" but I will wish I had said "No". It's not that I don't like you, It's just that once I say yes, I feel all this extra pressure. Thoughts run through my head like, "Crap, I gotta get that done", "I hate hemming pants, I don't even hem my own", "Oh, this isn't good enough for someone else"or "Next time I'm charging $100 an hour because this is taking a lot longer than I thought."

So here is what I will do instead:

How about I post pictures, ideas and patterns on this blog and you can do it yourself?
Your creativity via inspiration from me. You can take the credit, I don't mind.