Another Novelty Skirt

I just couldn't help myself.
Fabric: Riley Blake, Colorful Christmas and pimatex mini dot.
Pattern: Pink Fig, Girly Skirt and measurements for the doll version from Norasroom. I added rick rack between the main panel and bottom band and it makes the skirt "pouf" a little bit.

PBK doll store is killing me with cuteness

I mean really, I could play dolls all day.
After seeing these adorable outfits on Miss A's doll, I was again inspired to attempt doll clothes. Miss A's doll came with some sort of tween pop star outfit that I wasn't entirely happy with. I found myself wishing I had waited and bought the PBK Gotz doll instead of it's highly discounted twin with a weird get up, JUST FOR THE CLOTHES! Strange, I know. But then I had an "I can totally make that" moment. It's a bit of an illness really. When I have those moments, I forget that though I CAN make it, I may not have the time to. The only thing that seems to break me free from those moments is walking into my sewing room and visually seeing exactly how many things I thought I could make.
I searched for a jeans pattern for some time, but could only find ridiculous looking bell bottoms or pants that looked nothing like jeans that a real girl would wear. Finally, I found these cute jeans patterns (with even cuter pictures) but was leery because I haven't had great experiences with digital downloads. I gave it a try because it was $4, and really how much printing and taping could there be for a 18 inch doll? This is what I got:
Rear View on AG
 Front View on AG
 Rear View on Gotz
 Front View on Gotz
The pattern was easy and had cute details like a fake fly and working pockets. I was nervous when I saw the hand drawn pattern pieces, but it all worked out and the jeans are pretty cute. I used the lightest weight denim I could find, and that was very helpful during construction.
Now, on to what bothered me about the pattern. The back pockets are spaced too far apart. It's just not flattering, even for a doll. Next time I make them, I'll put them closer to the center back seam. The pattern suggests using this to distress the jeans. I couldn't find it anywhere and it appears that it's no longer available. Bummer. That's what made the jeans cute. And finally, the pattern has an entire page devoted to their copyright and user agreement. Which, I'm fine with. I'm not going to copy the pattern for my friends or sale the jeans I make. I believe in being honest and giving total rights to the creator. No problem. I was only minorly irked to see that on the polo shirt pattern, it is suggested that you use the emblem from a ready to wear shirt for you doll shirt. They don't want anyone to misuse their product and original design, but encourage others to use a trademarked embroidery or label in their creations. Seems strange to me. But no big deal.
Anyway, now to make a cute button up top (I'm thinking I'll use scraps of Liberty) and find (not knit, I don't knit-yet) a cardigan and cute sneakers. Wait, who's doll is this anyway?

I was going for a Jackie Kennedy look, but got more of a Jan Brady.

Pattern: Oliver and S School Photo Dress. I love this pattern. I think if I had used a better fabric (more on that below) I would really be in love with this dress. You can't tell, but it has a cool kangaroo pocket in the front and an invisible zipper in the back. B thinks it looks like the dress is on backwards- but that's coming from a man who just recently took his Doc Martens to the DI. And despite her facial expression in the picture, Miss A loves it.
Fabric: Cotton flannel from Joann. It was kind of a beast to work with. Not just because I needed to match the plaid at every (every!) seam, but it was ravely, loosely woven and easily distorted. I really need to pay more attention when fabric shopping. In other words, not shop with children.

A Really Long Halloween Post......

 I love the fabrics on this banner. I just pinked the edges because I'm lazy and needed a quick project.The wind has really given it a beating, so I just pretend that I was going for that "deconstructed" look.
 I wasn't sure if Miss A would wear her actual costume and I wanted her to have a few options that didn't include the super ratty princess dress that she loves. I made this crown and wand from cheese cloth. Pretty cute if I do say so myself.
 I also made a capelet and a little black dress to have on hand. There has been much pretending to be a witch due to all the Halloween songs at preschool.
 For my mantle banner, I spent a little more time. The triangles actually have a front and back piece and it was all a little more involved (but not much) than my porch one. I used Riley Blake "Boo to You" fat quarters for the flags. I made a basket liner with black dot and giant rick rack from my stash and gathered up all the Halloween books in the house to put in it. It was fun to have all the "spooky" books in one place.
And here's the actual costume. Which she did wear. I've had the out of print pattern for years. It was a strange little pattern. I'm still not sure why there was all the attention to detail (faux fly, piping on the pants, topstitching on the back pockets, etc) and then the hokey felt fringe and collar. I kept telling myself there was some great reason I was unaware of, but nope. Just crappy instructions, no reason. The loopy decoration detail was supposed to be painted on, but I didn't have the patience to let it dry and I couldn't maintain a consistent line. So I used piping under the yoke and rattail braid.
Here is S and husband's pumpkin creation. It rained on it and kind of messed it up. G's cardboard Lego costume didn't fair so well. But still, it's pretty awesome. Behind the eyes and bill the pumpkin is cut out so it had a cool glowing effect.

In the words of my favorite minor Napoleon Dynamite charactor,

"I want that."
My sis snapped this pic at Gardner Village for me. It's pretty much the cutest Halloween decoration I've seen. I may have to make something similar. Hmm....

I'm questioning my fabric choice

I really should have referenced a manual or two about working with a fabric with a nap. Yah, sometimes I forget things like pressing with a needle board and watching the direction of the nap. But sometimes I just need a quick project and sometimes it's still better than what I can find at a store. So, it's not perfect...but neither am I.
Fabric: Corduroy from Joann. Not great, but it's what I could find. The color was right though.
Pattern: Oliver and S Hopscotch Skirt. Great little skirt. I've already got my moneys worth out of this pattern. The buttons on the front are not "working" ones. The placket was a little to bulky for my machine's buttonholer, so the buttons are sewn on through all layers. Works well, and with the elastic in the back, Miss A can dress herself. I think she would have had a problem with buttonholes anyway.....
Now, after a summer of being barefoot, Miss A has rediscovered "ice skating" in her tights on the wood floor. There are so many important things to do (besides pose for pictures) when you are three.

Legos, Legos, and more Legos

You know how I said I never craft for my boys? That was a lie. This post proves it. Or proves how crafty my husband is. You decide.
G man turned 8 this week. To say he loves Legos is a huge understatement. HUGE understatement! So a Lego themed party was in order.
Okay, don't tell anyone but this is actually the second Lego party he's had in his lifetime. Shhh..... I needed to get more mileage out of the Lego shaped ice cube trays! They are available for loan by the way.....
I bought invitations and stickers (for the favor bags) from Acorn Designs on etsy. This was such a fun and easy way to go. I highly recommend it. Now for my rant:
I do not recommend buying any of the party supplies from experience. I received opened packages with only part of the quantity I ordered the day before the party. Apparently 5-7 day shipping means 2-3 weeks. After 3 hours on the phone with customer service, they made it right- but really? After I had already had to make other plans because my package sat in a warehouse forever, I get to go through prompt after prompt and be put on hold only to FINALLY talk to a representative (who was very nice by the way) who had no power do do anything but say sorry? I should mention, I initially sent an email about my package after several failed attempts to contact customer service and got an automated response about how much they care about my business. Nothing more, ever. End of rant.
We played a game of "Pin the Sword on the Mini Figure Pirate," drawn by my husband. We also played a game of "guess how many Lego bricks are in this jar."

Next, a brick shaped pinata, also crafted by my husband.

A cake, made by me, that I'm sure will end up on Cake Wrecks. The frosting, oh the frosting! Why does frosting hate me!?! At least the color was right, even if the consistency was so very wrong!

Next, my two favorite pieces, that none of the little boys even appreciated, for shame!
I attached a green base plate to a wooden picture frame with a picture of the birthday boy inside. My husband cut the base plate to the shape of the frame for me, but it was my idea. I'm thinking a few of these would make cute play room decor.
Second, the bunting. Card stock rectangles and squares with die cut circles attached to them with 3D glue dots to resemble bricks. I used this idea in the first Lego party for the invitations. Super easy, and the kids knew what they were even if the grown ups did not.
Overall, despite my problems with and because my husband is so handy with all things crafty, it was really cute and fun. G and friends had a great time.

Then and Now

Made by my mom in about 1983. She also made a yellow one, I suppose two of everything is a necessity when you have two sets of girls; 14 and 12 months apart. If I remember right, she made them both very late one night before a "Cabbage Patch Kid" theme party my sister and I were going to.
My recreation started in 2008, and after almost starting a backyard bon fire with the pattern, put away until last week. Last week I was reminded of why I HATE this pattern. Did anyone test the pattern before it went to print? I doubt it. Really a frustrating sewing experience.
Pattern: Vogue 8441 (out of print). The quilt should be a brick pattern, but if you cut and sew like the instructions state, you'll end up with not enough blocks to make it the right size. I added two additional rows of blocks, lined them up, and barely had enough. And that was one of the easy problems to fix.
Fabric: Gingham and rosebud print from, I can't remember.

Yup, there's more

Same dress pattern, but I used the long and short sleeve together to create a faux layered look.
*The resident photographer is at work right now, so not a great picture. You'll have to trust me on how cute this dress is. It looks MUCH better in person.
I used a double needle on all the hems and at the neckline (I used my edgestitch foot to follow the neck binding seam, one needle on the yoke and one on the binding). I serged the raw edges before using the double needle.

Watch out world, I can sew with knits!

I'm so excited to have overcome my fear of sewing with knits! I have now successfully repressed all bad memories of the Units outfit (with shoulder pads) I made in 8th grade sewing and made this simple dress for Miss A. It was so easy thanks to the great instructions and I now see more knit fabric in my future. The pattern also includes a top and skirt. I think these dresses would be great for a humanitarian project or as a night shirt.

Fall is on it's way!

I love fall. I love blue skies and crispy air. I love layered clothes for when the afternoon gets warm. I love it all.
Pattern: Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress. I love how different it looks from the spring version I made, you almost don't even notice it's the same pattern. This time, I didn't use the pockets or the neck notch.
Fabric: Plaid of questionable content from Joann. I cut the hem band and yoke on the bias for interest. I used a lightweight fusible interfacing to keep the bias cut pieces from distorting. In hind sight, I should have used an even lighter weight stabilizer. It looks pretty cute for being, in Miss A's words, "not pink and sparkly enough."

Mini Bike Basket Liner

This is the "test" liner I made. It was never intended to actually be used, but Miss A insists that it is perfect for taking her Polly Pockets for a ride. And if she's pleased, I'm going to go with it.

Bike Basket Liner for My New Ride

While everyone around me is talking centuries, Tour of Utah and triathlons, I'm just happy to have a liner on my new bike basket (on my new bike!) that will keep my cell phone from falling into the storm drain ever again.
My new bike happily pulls the trailer to the playground and other places in the neighborhood. It is so fun and comfortable to ride, unlike my previous bikes where I was stretching to hold the handlebars. My bike's not titanium and I don't wear spandex (thankfully!) while riding, but I love it.
Pattern: My own design that still needs some tweaking.
Fabric: Marcus Fabrics, Al Fresco (from my stash).

Veruca gets some new accesories

It seems that the diva tantrums have subsided, at least temporarily. My last post was not to complain, put down, or label my daughter. I really am trying to handle this new phase with humor. To be truthful, after watching a few bratty grown women on Say Yes to the Dress, I've been a little concerned about how she'll turn out.  Comparing a real person to an over edited, highly scripted, reality TV character isn't completely fair, I'm aware. Still, I wish nothing more than for my daughter to be well grounded, smart, fun, kind and have more substance than just the cost of her wardrobe (or wedding gown). Really, she's a sweet kid and in fairness, we all have our moments. And she's three. So before anyone goes calling DCFS for me comparing my child to a horrible literary character you should know that I love Miss A dearly.
In other fun, I made her some new hair accessories (they were planned before the week of whining and tantrums). I think they would also be cute as an accent on a dress. They were super simple to make too. And cheap. A winning combination in my mind.
I'm glad this new book came out. It could be the solution to my "how to create stuff without overflowing closets/storage space" problem. I'm so glad someone else thought of it.

Keeping it all in balance

I had an experience yesterday that made me wonder if I'm turning Miss A into Veruca Salt. While I love to sew and create things for her to wear, I fear I'm unconsciously over emphasizing appearances. I definitely want my children to be more than the clothes they are wearing.


I'm excited to have accomplished something besides breaking up sibling spats this week. School starts in a few weeks and we've hit the point in the summer where everything but teasing your brother is boring. Someone tell me I'll miss this someday, I dare you ;)
The dress is one of my favorites, and she looks so sweet in it (even if she is hiding her brother's favorite Lego pieces).
Getting a picture of her these days is impossible. What 3 year old wants to pose when there are bubbles to blow, bikes to ride and brothers to make scream? So please excuse the strange pose and washed out colors.
Pattern: Oliver + S Birthday Party Dress. I added 2 inches in length, and it hits at her knees perfectly. I also left the pleats loose to make it more "flowy." I know that's not a word, but I was looking for a soft look and even thought about gathering the front panel instead of pleating it. I chickened out at the last minute so I have some softish pleats. Someday I will get daring, just not with my nice fabric.
Fabric: Liberty Lawn (Lauren in aqua/pink) and Pimatex dot for the front tab.

Giving Credit where Credit is Due

I get really excited about the design process and love finding and putting together great fabrics (which is one explanation for my growing fabric and pattern stash). But then reality hits when the true source of my inspiration comes in the mail and reminds me I'm not a designer, but a design copier. This combo (wool, pattern and lining) was to be Miss A's winter coat. Maybe now I should change it up a bit? Make it less Boden-ish and make me feel like less of a rip off artist?
Rather than beat myself up for lack of original thought, I'm happy there are so many sources of inspiration. I should thank the growing number of catalogs in my mailbox for bringing these ideas forward from my subconscious. Now, if there were a way for all this inspiration to become reality.....

I should be embarassed by the amount of clothing in her closet.....

Apparently, there is no such thing as too many skirts. Especially if those skirts are super twirly and pink. This is Miss A's new favorite thing to wear, and by favorite I mean if it's not in the wash it's on her body.
Fabrics: Riley Blake, Summer Song
Pattern: The Girly Stripwork Skirt by Pink Fig.

Help Me Make a Decision

I'm making a dress for Miss A. Not that the girl needs another dress, but I have just enough fabric to make her one, so I'm justified. I just can't decide which trim to use. You know me, always blogging about the important stuff; doll clothes and dress trims. Yes, I'm shallow. So with the help of these really bad pictures, you can help me decide.
Option #1: A casual look, hot pink with small white dot button tab at the center front. I haven't found a button I like yet, maybe a standard white?

 Option #2: A little more formal, hot pink satin ribbon tied in a bow at the center front.

A magic wand would have been quicker, but my sewing machine will have to do

I know it's really popular (at least in the blogging world) to be a Disney hater, but I'm not- not really. Sure, I roll my eyes or change the words to Miss A's favorite Princess story books but, I'm not a hater.

Pattern: Simplicity 5705. The neck seems wide, but it might just be the doll. I should try it on an AG and see if it has the same issue. Or maybe I goofed while sewing it which is quite possible with all the night time sewing I'm doing. I've made this dress once before (for my niece) and don't remember it being so wide.

Also, because of Miss A's hatred of all things itchy, I didn't use tulle for the petticoat. I made it from white cotton and sewed horsehair braid to the hem to make it poof.

I made glass slippers from the pattern in this book and they're pretty cute, actually the whole book is pretty cute.

Fabric: Scraps from Miss A's dress up. Also, I told Miss A we were going to give the doll an updo for the photo and she said, "No, a down -do is good. Then she can go like this (wildly swinging her head back and forth)." So, a down -do it is.

It must be summer,

because it's lunch time and everyone is still wearing pajamas, even Miss A's doll (who still doesn't have a name).
Pattern: Simplicity 5276
Fabric: Lakehouse Dry Goods (from my stash)

Crazy Doll Lady

I'm scared to sew knit fabric. Why I thought a small, doll leotard would be a good place to start, I'll never know. But the doll likes it, see? She's smiling. So I'll call it a success.
It sort of looks like the doll is wearing Spanx- but it just how the tights are knit. But that would really make me a "crazy doll lady" if they were control top, right? Hee hee.
Pattern: Simplicity 4364
Fabric: Pink stretchy stuff (I should learn to pay attention of bolt ends) and pink "scratchy" stuff (as Miss A calls tulle).

While the boys were gone

playing in the dirt, rocks, and sage brush.......
Miss A and I acquired a new friend*, went shopping at Joann's for 5 for $5 patterns, and began making a dolly wardrobe. So far the mermaid get up is a favorite.
*I am told the Gotz dolls are more play friendly than the AG ones (Gotz are rated ages 3+ and AG 8+). We've had a few knock off 18" dolls, but they never lasted long. We own two 18" AG dolls, but I am reluctant to let my 3 year old really play with them for fear they will look like this. I was assured by the fantastic sales lady at Georgell Doll Shop that I would not be disappointed with a Gotz doll. We got a great deal on the doll so if she accidentally goes swimming (while dressed as a mermaid) it will be okay. She is machine washable too. Her body is trimmer than our AG dolls and she is slightly narrower though the shoulders, but so far the clothes fit both types. Her hair is fabulous, doesn't tangle easily and doesn't fall out when brushed. Her bangs are a little thick for my taste. She sort of looks like my 7th grade class picture, only I wasn't wearing a shell top.

No Amount of Seersucker Could Keep the Snow Away

I made these shorts for G in anticipation of warm weather *Notice the snow in the background*I love the pattern, very cute looking shorts and only a couple hours of sewing. G would not model them, it was too breezy.
Next time I'll use a heavier fabric. This is the look I was attempting. Mine look a little too much like boxer shorts I think. But they were a "test run" since I don't make many things for my boys, so I'm not too disappointed. I plan on a few more before the summer is over, if it ever comes. Maybe I'll omit the button and make a faux tie.

I might sew something for me

This is what I'd like to attempt. I'm thinking view A in an aqua/light blue and view D in a classic navy. If I start now, it could be done by fall. If I'm being realistic I know I will buy all the materials, go to cut it out and either chicken out or have a body image break down. Or find something really similar at Target for a fraction of the price. So for now, I'm just dreaming.

A Little Liberty in my Life

 I love this blouse. I hope that Miss A will be able to wear it for a very long time. She has declared it "fancy" enough for her, but I think she probably just loves the feel of the fabric.

Pattern: Oliver + S Music Class blouse. There is no other pattern company I would trust enough to cut into this fabric. This pattern is definitely Liberty worthy. I'm not in love with the buttons, I can never find buttons I love when I need them.

Fabric: Liberty of London "Tatum." I bought it from Purl Soho. Normally, I wouldn't spend this much on fabric but every once in awhile it's fun to splurge. But now that I've experienced sewing with Liberty, I totally understand why some are obsessed with it.

In Celebration of the Sun Making a Special Appearance

 Miss A is wearing a new Ice Cream dress. I hope it eventually stops snowing so she can get a lot of wear out of it. It's supposed to storm more this week, which is great as long as I can see snippets of sun and blue sky in between storms. Oh, and as long as there is time to take the kids to the park and soccer games without getting pelted with hail.
The fabrics: Barbara Jones for Quilt Soup Simply Sweet white with green dots. The yoke and borders are Heather Bailey's Nicey Jane.
For whatever reason, making this dress reminded me of my Grandma M. I'm not sure if it's because it's similarly styled to the house coats she always wore or because the floral print reminds me of the patio cushions she had on her outdoor furniture (but they were more avocado green and gold -weird that I would remember that after all these years). I think if Miss A wore this with a pair of Isotoners she would look exactly like Grandma. Then maybe she would make me a ham sandwich and we could watch "Murder She Wrote." I miss Grandma!

The thing about dresses and the over use of parentheses

Don't mind the popsicle stains (yes, she is holding her 3rd popsicle of the day), wrinkles or any remainder of her lunch that may be on her new dress. It was put to the test today at the playground. Miss A is happy to report that her new duds held up well on the slide, twirled just enough when pretending to be a princess and even served as a tissue to blow her nose when the spring allergies kicked in. Oh, the versatility of a good dress!
Pattern: Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress, my favorite pattern to date! And that's saying something because I love them all!
Fabric: Moda's Hunky Dory , it's a busy print (I bought it two weeks ago during a blizzard- I always by "happy" fabric when the weather is bad), but I really like it. This fabric was originally going to be my test run before cutting into either of the more expensive fabrics I purchased with this dress in mind. But after all the compliments we got at the park today (and watching how hard she played), I think I'll save the shirting and Liberty for another outfit. I think this style would be especially cute in a solid shirting with a "preppy stripe" ribbon for the tie.

Where to buy quiet books

Yes. I've hit the wall. All inspiration and motivation is now gone. Why am I like that with projects that start out being so fun?
Anyway, here's where you can buy a super cute quiet book. We own several of the "paper dolls" and they are so fun. The quiet books are just as cute, and I'm telling you, they are a bargain compared to what you could spend making one.

I know I said never again.....

yet here I am. Making another quiet book. I'm still optimistic. Only 8 more page "blocks" and some assembly left! Wish me luck.
*Added later* This is the pattern I am using. It's pretty good so far. The block designs are really cute, just super labor intensive. I don't plan on ever making another one ever again, which I have said before. It would be the perfect "block of the month" type project. I have plenty of fabric in my scrap bin, so it hasn't been too costly to put together (yet), but if you were buying all the fabrics and supplies without having any of them on hand it could easily cost a ton.
My only complaint (which is user error): I didn't understand how to center the block on the page (the instructions say to draw lines in 3 places and sew it on, which was great until I inserted the interfacing) and completely messed up the one pictured. I could fix it, but I'd have to figure out how to un-fuse Peltex and use a seam ripper. Not worth it. My kids won't even notice....

Spring, Spring, Spring!

Maybe if I keep chanting it will come?!? I can always hope. But if not, at least I can make some spring time basics for Miss A's wardrobe.
Pattern: Oliver + S Sailboat pants
Fabric: White, bottom weight from Joann's. Also, a khaki cotton twill from my stash (not quite finished, but almost).
Now, come on Spring! We need to get these pants dirty with sidewalk chalk, bubbles and sand from the playground!

The Princesses' Prize

 I'm not above bribing my kids to do things. This dress was a bribe and completely designed by Miss A. But it worked like a charm and she is now well on her way to potty time independance. As for the designer's input, I love when 3 year olds say things like, "Yellow, twirly and a white shape in front." It took me days to figure out what she meant by "white shape." She finally pointed to a picture of Dora the Explorer as a princess and said, "like that." I was so relieved to know what she meant that it didn't much bother me that she wanted a dress like Dora's. Still, it's all a little to close to the dresses I wore at her age. It's a lot too early 1970's for me. I'm not in love with it. There was a lot of groaning during the construction process. But she wears it so much, it will be worn out before summer is here. Maybe then she'll let me make her a Jane Austen inspired Regency gown, but probably not.
Pattern: Simplicity 2571 in a size 3. I used the clown hat (ironically) to make a Rapunzel style hat too.
Fabric: Completely from my stash.

My boys have birthdays too,

I just never make anything handmade for their parties to blog about. Sad but true.

This dress has been in the works for a long time. I think I bought the fabric and pattern the week that I saw it here. I'm not much of a smocker. I took a couple of classes before having kids and had grand delusions of smocking all sorts of clothing for my off spring. The fact is, smocking is time consuming. I've only made a couple of smocked things for my kids, but hopefully that makes those outfits all the more special. I'm glad that I was able to finish it the day of her party. And I'm glad that Brent wasn't too upset that I began sewing the buttons on it right about the time that we needed to be leaving for church.

 Just please don't look too closely. The hem is only basted in this picture. I didn't do too hot of a job measuring for the insert, so the bodice seams at the side are slightly off. Also, as is customary before any event involving photography, Miss A has a huge bruise on her forehead. But as you can plainly see, she doesn't care. The dress twirls!

The cake and cupcakes were originally going to be decorated like this. After some whispered cursing and some justification about how "if I had a crew like Martha's" I came up with plan B, and no one really cared.
The favor tags are from Dimpleprints. I love them. They may very well be the only part of her party that turned out exactly how I envisioned.