Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Preschool Sewing Again

What are the best characteristics of preschool clothes?

  • cute and fun to wear
  • comfortable for any activity that may come up
  • functional -for play, for learning, for going potty without needing help
  • modest - when sitting on the floor, or climbing on big toys, or whatever
  • little concern for ruining them with paints and other crafts

Most of these fabrics are knits from Girl Charlee. The stretch lace is from a thrift store top, and so is the FOE elastic on the neckline. Knit is just the most comfortable and practical material. Ever. There may be $5 worth of materials in this outfit, so that covers not caring if they get messy. There are no buttons, snaps, or zippers to make it hard to dress/undress herself. She looks cute, will stay covered and can do anything in this.

The leggings are a copy of Carter's 3T leggings that fit her well, with added length. You can see that I didn't bother hemming anything. I never used to do that, but I must be getting even lazier, because I find myself doing it more often. And I can honestly say that sometimes I really like the rolled up edges better than a hem.

The bodice began as a dolman sleeved top, but I didn't like it and decided it would be easier to layer if I just cut those puppies off and hemmed them. So much cuter this way.

These are basic pieces to mix and match and add or remove layers. We like options around here.

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sewing for Preschool

It's hard to believe that I am sending this little one off to preschool next week. If you know me, you know I'm not big on preschool and that my other kids either didn't go or only went one year. I think it's necessary in this case so that Elena gets to spend more time with kids her age instead of her teenage siblings.

She is definitely looking forward to it. She asks every day if she gets to go to school today. I hope she is still so excited after a couple weeks of actually going.

So the clothes are nothing too exciting, but I have been absent from this blog for a couple of weeks so I wanted you to know that I am still here and sewing (a lot actually).

The pants are from last year, but with the hem let down. You can still see the line, but I'm hoping that will fade with a wash and steaming. I double hemmed them last year, so it was as easy as unpicking the one line. The pattern is a slightly upsized DanaMadeIt Kid pants - the free 2T version. I added patch pockets to the back with some decorative stitching. They have no pockets on the flat front. The fabric is a super soft denim from my thrift store stash.

And yep, that's another Bimaa. I have even made one previously for her friend in this very same fabric. You won't see anymore of this fabric because I used every last inch and had to use some plain white for the bottom band. The cowl is also an inch or so shorter because of the small amount of fabric available. The fabric is from Girl Charlee at least a year ago, probably more. It's pretty lightweight so that makes it nice and drapey and also not too hot for fall.

I think she certainly looks old enough to go to school. Time keeps marching on and I guess I have to roll with it. Today is also a very big day for my son who starts high school. He leaves the comfort of the private school he attended for 10 years (including preschool) to enter a very large, urban, public high school. He is ready for it, but again, am I?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Heidi & Finn Colorblocked Dress

Elena is really into dresses lately, and I am taking full advantage because I know this is a short phase. My older daughter was the same way - nothing but skirts and dresses when she was 3 and 4. Then she turned 5 and didn't want to wear dresses again until she was about 11. Dresses are so great in summer anyway.

This dress is made using Heidi & Finn's Colorblock Dress in a 2T with no modifications at all. The blue top fabric and brown bottom fabric are cottons from my inherited stash. The center floral came from the thrift store 2 weeks ago. I have about 3 more yards of it so I'm sure you'll see more of it. It's so soft and sweet. The scrap of trim was also inherited, as was the white flower button on the back. So this dress cost maybe 30 cents. Love, love, love it. 

 This is a nice simple pattern that gives great results. There is nothing at all complicated, and it takes no time at all to sew it. Probably an hour if you take out the constant interruptions I always have.
She didn't think the daisies smelled very good.
Time to dance.

Thanks for stopping by. I am almost done with the modified Greenpoint Cardigan I mentioned. That should be here tomorrow I hope. I wonder if my little model will be so cooperative again. Fingers crossed.

Monday, July 21, 2014

KCW Days 1 & 2

This post is a 2 for 1. I'm participating (at least to some extent) in Kids Clothes Week and also Skirt Fixation's Knit Sew-Along. I love sewing with knits. I'd say at least 50% of what I sew anymore is knit.

Elena doesn't really need anymore summer clothes so I'm trying to make things that will transition into fall - things that are good for late August into September. So Day 1 (Sunday) was spent prepping patterns, choosing fabric, and cutting. Day 2 (Monday) was sewing. It took a total of 1-1/2 hours with lots of interruptions to make a Hey June Greenpoint Cardigan and Crafterhours' Monkey Bars Skirt.

This little skirt was done in 20 minutes flat. It is made using Doodles interlock from Joann's. I didn't make the undershorts because it will be easier to layer with tights or leggings into fall this way. She can wear separate shorts in the meantime. It's hard to tell the color, but it's shades of gray with a lavender cast to it.

The cardigan combines the Doodles interlock with some ponte also from Joann's this past winter. Based on measurements I made a size 1 because I wanted the snug fit. I did the 3T sleeve length. It just fits. I hope it lasts a couple of months at least. But again, another quick easy pattern (no hemming so yay!) so I plan on making more. It's nice to have lightweight layering pieces for mornings and evenings and our church. Man, it's cold in there!

It works well all together, and it'll be so useful split up as well. Sorry no pictures of her in it. We've all got summer colds and someone wasn't feeling like getting her picture taken - not even for gummi bears. I'm thinking about making another cardigan for tomorrow so come back to see what else can be done with the Greenpoint Cardigan pattern. Well, if it works out that is.

Edit on 7/24 to include pictures wearing the outfit:

Friday, July 18, 2014

So Much Topstitching & So Many Pieces!


32 Pieces! And I didn't even line it like I was supposed to. 

So much topstitching. My first time doing so much topstitching and with 2 rows, using the triple stitch for added emphasis, and in a contrasting color (aqua)! That's a lot of stress trying to keep it straight and evenly spaced. I learned that evenly spaced is even more important than straight so if that first line veers off a bit, just go with it and make sure the other line follows. The drape of the fabric and the curves of the body will help hide the crookedness, but there is no help for uneven spacing. There is also no way to take it in after the fact so making a muslin would be highly advisable - except I didn't. So God was with me and helped me out a lot because it fits pretty great by some miracle. I did try it on a million and half times along the way too.

The scarf makes me feel a little more covered up and comfortable. Somehow I feel naked in this dress. The waistband really highlights my curves and makes me feel self-conscious. Which made taking pictures 3 times, in front of my neighbors, super extra ridiculously awkward. The sun was just too harsh earlier in the day. I told my neighbors that the problem wasn't the dress, it was my face. Haha.

The pattern is Butterick 6053. There was one major problem with the pattern. The front center skirt piece said to cut 2 on the fold so I did. Once I sewed all 4 skirt front pieces together (but before topstitching), I held it up and it wrapped almost all the way around me. What is going on here I thought? So I went back to the pattern and looked at their layout (which a normal person may have done earlier) and low and behold they didn't cut it on the fold. So that is a major printing error I'd say. I wasted a lot of fabric and a lot of time on that. But here's the bigger problem: I had to cut them down to make the skirt fit the waistband, but I didn't get the bottom quite right so then the hem band was too short by about 4 inches. I was p***ed!! I cut a small piece and added it in because I didn't have enough fabric left to recut completely. Because of the fullness of the skirt, probably no one will ever notice, but I know it's there.


I also had to add several inches of length to the skirt pieces. I had to cut  the pattern pieces and add it at the middle and redraw the side lines so as to keep the bottom circumference the same. That's what made that hem band not fitting even worse. I spent a lot more time redoing those 4 different skirt pieces only to not have that thing match up anyway! Arrrgg.

The fabric is a light brown medium weight denim from the thrift store. Score! It's very soft and feels great. The whole dress is actually super comfortable considering it's a fitted dress. I love the shape of it. I think I'll make it again some day, but probably without the topstitching. I could also use the skirt lining pieces instead to make a slightly easier skirt and eliminate some pieces.  But then I'd have to add the length again, so we'll see. So as with most of these Big 4 patterns, I like the style and I was able to make it work, but it wasn't easy.

And finally, since my little photo-bomber was color-coordinated, I'll include one of her too. She's wearing her September tunic and bubble pocket shorts.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Elena's Incredibles Birthday

Elena loves Disney's Incredibles. She asked for a superhero birthday so I did my best to make her an outfit for the party. How could I say no when she says "super-rero" so dang cute.

I used the CINO Nessie top pattern again, but changed the armhole to a small dolman sleeve to make it even quicker. The neckline is perfect on the Nessie, and the A-line shape and slight hi/low hem makes it just girly enough. I've used it a bunch of times already like here and here and some unblogged and some on Instagram. It's a fave.

For fabric I used another one of those Police Athletic League t-shirts my mom salvaged. I had never done a freezer paper stencil so it was a comfort knowing I wasn't potentially wasting fabric if things didn't go well. But things went great! I was surprised how clean the edges were and how easy it was. I will definitely do that again.

For the shorts, I used a pair of my oldest's outgrown yoga pants and my self-drafted leggings pattern. I went with a 4-1/2 inch inseam and slashed and spread the pattern out at the center and inseam to make a wider leg. The pattern piece looked like this:

They have a casing with elastic at the top and double-needle hems. Quick and easy.

And no superhero is complete without a mask so I drew out a couple shapes and sizes. I had enough black felt on hand to make 2 child sized and 4 adult sized masks. I checked around online and found that the most popular method is to cut 2 layers and slip some elastic between on the sides and stitch around all the edges. Everyone enjoyed wearing those.

Now I know that Edna Mode (in the movie) says, "NO CAPES." but I couldn't resist making one out of some red crushed velvet. I used a Simplicity costume pattern and it looks adorable. The velvet also makes it workable as a royal cape for a princess. I forgot to get any pictures of it. Duh. So maybe this fall/winter it will make an appearance with a princess dress.

Again my OPD (Obsessively Practical Disorder) took over with this project. I couldn't make a "costume". I had to make something wearable and useful. But I still think it's fun and most importantly, Elena really loves it.

Friday, July 11, 2014

What's Growing Friday, July 11, 2014 - Oops

There isn't much change in my home garden this week, so I'm showing you some of the cool things I saw today at the Cleveland City Greenhouse. 

Have a fabulous weekend! I'm going to enjoy a couple more days with my sister before she heads back to Florida.