9.30.2013

Nom, Nom, Nom!

In case I have you wondering, the blog silence around here is mainly due to classes starting up again.  And yes, it's classes plural this time because apparently I'm glutton for punishment.  So needless to say there hasn't been much sewing around here lately and there will probably be a bit of a drought for the next ten weeks or so (although I am hoping to sew at least one Halloween costume this year - wish me luck!).  Luckily, though, I was able to eek out one super-simple project before the dust started to settle on the sewing machine.


After seeing Rachel's version, I quickly purchased the Sunki leggings pattern (at four bucks it's kind of a steal) and used the last of my Briar Rose jersey to sew a little pair of leggings for C.  They happen to be the perfect fit - which kind of makes me sad because all that means is that they soon won't fit her anymore at the rate that she's currently growing.  I guess I'll just have to enjoy them while I can still squeeze her into them.  So if you'll excuse me I have some baby legs to go gnaw on.

Nom, nom, nom!

PS - I realize that photography is not my strong-suit but I'd just like to go on the record as saying that it's next to impossible to get a good picture of this kid because she never stays still.  For photographic proof, please see exhibit A below.

Exhibit A

9.16.2013

Mrs. Greedy-Pants Makes A Gift (Two Actually)

Call me greedy if you must, but the truth is that I'm generally a pretty selfish sewer.  Ninety-nine percent of the things that I make are either for myself or my children (with a little something sewn for someone else every once in while).  A few years ago, though, things were quite different and I often knit and sewed gifts for other people but the fact is that people who don't make things by hand rarely appreciate the time and effort that goes into handmade gifts.  At one point I was a bit bitter about this but I've come to realize that there are many, many things that I have no appreciation for or any idea of how much time and effort it takes to create.  So to each their own, I say.


So given that I'm generally Mrs. Greedy-Pants when it comes to sewing, I was as surprised as anybody to find myself sewing not one, but TWO baby gifts for co-workers who are currently expecting new little ones.  For the baby-boy-to-be I decided to make a Baby In The Hood jacket from Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings and I settled on a 9-12 months size hoping that the coat will fit the little guy next fall.  The only modifications I made in making the jacket were to make the elastic in the hood a tad bit shorter so that it would be more fitted around the face and I added a little coat hook for easy hanging.  As you can imagine, those were both incredibly difficult modifications to make (that's a joke, people).


It must have been kind of entertaining to watch me at the fabric store as I tried to figure out what a "boy" fabric is.  On the one hand I didn't want anything too traditionally "boy" but on the other hand I know that I'm far more accepting of gender-neutral fabrics than other people and I didn't want to make something only to have them deem it too "girlish."  I also knew, however, that the mom is a lover of bright colors, so in the end I settled on this elephant fabric and some bright orange polka dots for contrast.


I decided to line the inside with flannel to make the coat a little more seasonally appropriate and once again I cut up an old baby blanket for the flannel (which coincidentally also has elephants all over it).  It's almost like it was meant to be.


For the baby-girl-to-be I cut into my Briar Rose jersey and made an Oliver and S Hopscotch Knit Dress (there are few things better than rediscovering a new love for an old pattern).  When both my girls were infants they had a little strawberry outfit that I loved to have them wear so little baby strawberry clothes hold a special place in my heart.  Although I guess this dress isn't particularly infant-ish since it's made to fit a 6-12 month old.  It's still absolutely precious though.  Man, I love this fabric.

9.14.2013

A Butterfly Saltspring


When I bought this fabric a couple weeks ago I immediately knew that I wanted to sew it up into another Saltspring dress.  But then time slipped away (as it usually does) and I eventually made my peace with the fact that I probably wasn’t going to get around to starting this project by the end of the summer.  But then I turned a whole year older the other week and Ben gave me the greatest gift you could give a mother of two – the gift of time.  Time to do some really fantastic things with him and the kids and time to be all by myself.  It was bliss.   And with that perfect gift I had enough time to cut, sew, and finish this dress just in time for the last hurrah of summer around here. 


The fabric is a Valori Wells Cocoon voile  and it is both lovely and vibrant.  I was a little concerned in making the dress that the skirt might be a little too sheer since it's not lined and honestly I’m still a little on the fence about it.  In regular light I think it’s absolutely fine, but I’m worried that in direct sunlight it might be slightly see-through.  I’m thinking that in the name of modesty (and just to be on the safe side) I may go pick up a slip at the store before I wear the dress in polite company.  

As for the pattern, I lengthened the skirt by about two inches since I found my first version to be the perfect length before hemming and I knew that I was going to have to hem this version.  I decided to sew the hem by hand with a catch stitch and while it felt like it took an eternity to sew it was completely worth it in the end because invisible hems are kind of awesome.  I also used an invisible zipper on the back but that choice was mainly dictated by the fact that that’s all I had laying around the house and I was too lazy to drag myself to the store to buy a regular one.  Given that the back of this dress is quite different than the back of a regular dress I was a bit worried that an invisible zipper wouldn’t work, but in the end it seems to have worked just fine.


I do have to say that the two most frustrating parts of making this dress were making those damn little straps and threading the elastic through the waistband.  I tried to make the thinnest straps possible and even with the help of my nifty fabric turner I just could not get those suckers right-side out so in the end I decided to make the straps a wee bit thicker.  No big deal.  And for some reason I also struggled like hell to get my elastic past the seams when threading it through the waistband.  But after a good half hour of shoving it through the casing I finally showed it who’s boss and got the elastic through.  Victory at last! 


Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to twirl and sashay around town in my new dress.  See ya!

9.05.2013

Why I Sew



Briar Rose Flashback Tee

People often ask, “why do you sew?”

Why when you could buy the same thing for half price…when it’s just going to get ruined…when you should probably be spending your time doing many other things?

Why indeed.

Well the reasons are many.  

Sewing challenges me to learn new things and apply new knowledge.  Sewing allows me to appreciate the beauty of goods, understanding what is a high-quality product and why.  Sewing allows me to have a creative outlet.  Sewing allows me to produce goods for myself and my loved ones that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to find.  But mostly, sewing for my children ensures that when they head out into the world they are clothed in my love.

And as my oldest heads out to school for the first time this week that alone means the world to me. 

And that is why I sew.

Happy first day of school, O!

9.03.2013

Sisters





The big one could say 30 words before she was one year old.
                         The little one still communicates through a series of grunts, pants, and pointing.

The big one didn't start walking until she was almost a year and a half.
                         The little one took off around a year and hasn't looked back.

The big one loves sweet food.
                         The little one loves salty food.

The big one stopped nursing on her own at ten months.
                         I'm a bit worried that the little one will continue to nurse until she's 16 years old if given
                         the chance.

The big one is trouble.
                          The little one is double-trouble.

The big one loves her sister.
                          The little one loves her sister too.

I guess they're not so different after all.

9.02.2013

And The Manic Summer Sewing Continues


When Tasia announced the newest pattern from Sewaholic,  the Saltspring dress, I immediately felt my heart go pitter-patter. 

It. Is.  Gorgeous.  

And I was particularly smitten with the maxi length version of the dress (are you seeing a trend in my sewing lately?).  Despite the fact that I am usually a late-adopter of most popular patterns, I immediately ordered the pattern and purchased some knit fabric to sew it up in.  The fabric is a cotton/lycra blend that I ordered from Girl Charlee and let me tell you, this dress requires a lot of fabric!  I think I ordered something along the lines of four yards and I only had a tiny bit left over.  That’s a whole lot of fabric, ladies!


For the sizing I went with the recommended size based on my bust measurement and I didn’t grade out at the hips like I sometimes do since the skirt on this dress is rather wide and flowy.  The dress was simple enough to put together (especially since I left off the zipper since I made my version with a knit fabric) but considering it that it is rather simple to put together, it has some really nice touches.  Like the blouson top that never needs to be adjusted and the unique way that the back is finished to allow for this. 


My ties, like so many other peoples, came out super-long so I lopped a bit off of each of them after the dress was finished.  I also opted to leave the hem raw since the length was perfect as it was and would have been too short if I had hemmed it (I later found out that this dress is made for someone around 5'4" and I'm 5'6".  Always good to know for future reference).  I also made my length of elastic a bit shorter than was called for but that was mostly because that's all that I had laying around.  I will say that if you’re worried about fitting something perfectly, this is a great dress to make.  First of all, the ties on the top give you a little wiggle room with the length and the general fit of the dress and the elastic waist gives you some definite leeway when it comes to the fit around the waist (plus, it gives you some leeway after you eat a giant piece of cake…not that I would ever do such a thing).  I was originally hoping to make one more version of this dress in voile before the end of the summer but I’m quickly realizing that that might not happen.  Damn you other obligations - like washing dishes and feeding the children!

Sadly, the short-lived manic summer sewing may be coming to an end.

P.S. There's a sewalong on the Sewaholic blog with some great tips if you're interested in making your very own Saltspring dress.
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