From then till now: part 1–an assortment

I’m still trying to figure this whole “blogging” thing out.  I thought I would write something about everything I made, but I quickly realized that, though I have a story about everything I’ve made, I can’t go back in time and write about all of them.  So I decided to make some collages of things I’ve made, and link to the patterns for them.  So here goes…collage

1.  Pillowcase dress by Little Lizard King, size 3 with rick rack trim on the bottom.  Fabric is Wish by Malori Wells Designs for Free Spirit.

2.  Another pillowcase dress by Little Lizard King, also in size 3.  This time with a contrasting band on the bottom instead of the rick rack.  This is fabric I found at Joann’s.

3.  Simply Sweet dress by Scientific Seamstress, size 3.  Fabric is Nested Owls by ADORNit Girls for AdornIt.

4.  Swirly Skirt by Little Lizard King, size 3.  This is the first thing I used my serger on.  The rolled hem on the bottom isn’t perfect, but it was more for practice than anything else.  The purple floral is fabric I had leftover from this outfit, you may recall.  If you ever make this skirt, which is super cute, make sure you use a fabric pattern with NO direction.  I made one for a friend and I didn’t realize the fabric had an actual direction to it when I selected it.  I ended up needing about 6 yards of it to get the flounces all in the proper direction.  That was a mistake I won’t be making again.

5.  Take 5 skirt by Little Lizard King, size 4.  My first knit project.  I used one of my old t-shirts with 6% spandex for the waistband and a fabric remnant I found in the remnant bin at my local Fabricland.  I didn’t bother hemming the skirt because it is a very lightweight knit (probably not the best to start my knit sewing adventure on) and being a knit, it won’t fray anyway.  Not too shabby for a first attempt.  It’s a knit circle skirt with a knit “yoga” type waistband.  Super comfy.  I will be making more of these.  I think I’ll add a bit of length though, it’s a tad on the short side.

Bedding for Bunny

Bedding for Bunny

Maya’s favourite thing to sleep with is her stuffed bunny, aptly named, Bunny.  Bunny always sleeps in bed with Maya, but I thought that since Bunny does have her own bed, that she also deserved her own bedding.  All I did here was take some fat quarters, measured the little playpen, cut them to approximate size, sewed them right sides together and flipped them right sides out and top stitched around the outside.  The pillow was done the exact same way, just stuffed with a bit of polyfil.  Another easy peasy, off the top of my head, project.


Here’s Maya in here Apple and Pears dress.  Goodness I love this girl.

maya pears

From then till now: a little something for Jacob

Mr. Jacob was born in November, 2012.  That means he will be 2 this year!  Seriously??  It’s hard for me to believe it, but it’s true.  He was born smiling and he is still such a happy little guy.  Most of the things I make are for Maya, and that’s not because I don’t like sewing for Jacob.  And it’s not because there aren’t really cute boy patterns out there.  It’s because I have a really hard time finding fabrics I like for him.

Before he was born, I made him a little tie and suspenders.  Don’t get too excited.  It wasn’t a “real” tie nor “real” suspenders.  Rather it was a “tie” and “suspenders” appliqued onto a diaper shirt.  Regardless, it was so stinking cute on my little “almost” Christmas baby.  He wore it one time, and that was because I had crazy mommy brain after he was born and totally forgot that I had made it for him.  The pattern I used was from winterpeach on etsy.  It was really easy to follow (as far as I can remember anyway) and it turned out to be really sweet.  This was also the very first sewing pattern I purchased online.

How cute and tiny is he?  Hard to believe he's almost 2 now!

How cute and tiny is he? Hard to believe he’s almost 2 now!

A good friend of mine from across the country just had a baby boy.  I think I may get this pattern out and make another one for him.  I forgot how super cute it was!

From then till now: my very first pillowcase dress

When I started to learn how to sew, 2.5 years ago,  I fell in love with fat quarters.  For those who don’t know, a fat quarter is a quarter yard of fabric, but instead of being cut across in the typical 9″ x 44″ quarter-yard cut, it is a quarter yard that measures 18″ x 22″ instead.  The fat quarter bundles I found at Walmart were super cute and didn’t take up much space, and at the time, space was at a premium.  I tried to find different projects I could make with fat quarters.  Turns out, there were plenty of projects (baby boy ties, baby bonnets, stripwork skirts and dresses), so for quite a while I stuck with buying fat quarters whenever I could.  

My first fat quarter project was a strip work pillowcase dress from The Mother Huddle.  It was the first night I stayed up late to sew.  I think it was 11pm when I finished.  A couple of years ago, 11pm was late.  Now, when the clock hits 11pm, I start thinking I should maybe start getting ready for bed.

first pillowcase dress

I think Maya wore the dress once, at my parent’s house.  I wasn’t confident in my ability to tighten the ribbon in the neck casing to be the appropriate length so I didn’t ever sew the ends closed and I wasn’t sure how long to leave the ribbon ties.  I’m okay with my kidlets only wearing something I make once.  I love the process of making something.  It makes me happy to see something come from nothing, and that’s what matters in my mind.  I don’t sew to “save money” on clothing.  I sew because I love it and it keeps me (somewhat)  sane.

Look how tiny my little girl is here.  She’s about 16 months old.  It still amazes me how fast time zips on by.

Look how tiny!

Look how tiny!



Chubby cheeks and drunken toddler walk

first sewingLook at those curls!  She still has them now.  They are hidden most of the time, but they are still there.




She is on a mission!

She is on a mission!


From then till now: my first bonnet

I admit it.  I LOVE bonnets on little girls.  Love, love, love.  I know not everyone shares my love of bonnets, but that’s okay.  There’s just something about their cute little faces peeking out from under the brim that makes me smile.

I think I’ve purchased at least 10 bonnets for Maya in her 3.5 years of life, and made several for her as well.  Here is the first one.  I used this pattern that I found on etsy by little betty designs.  I seriously LOVE this pattern.   Not only is it the sweetest little bonnet, it’s totally REVERSIBLE!  Two hats in one!  The only thing I wish, is that the sizes went higher than 24 months.  I am known to still put Maya in a bonnet now and she’s 3.5 years old.

I was still a beginner when I sewed my first bonnet and I was able to follow it to the tee.  I learned how to sew and turn loops with this bonnet.  Never again will I turn something so teeny tiny!  I now use ribbon for the ties, though it is nice to have the ties that match one of the fabrics.  I’ll have to rethink that the next time I make a bonnet for a new baby.

I have since made slight changes, but nothing crazy.  I now sew my top stitching in one go around the brim and body, but other than that, I’ve kept it pretty much the same.  I have made so many bonnets for family and friends that I have lost count.

Look how sweet…

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From then till now: my first project

The very first things I madeI thought I would start by searching around my house for things I have made my kiddos over the past couple of years.  Turns out I have made quite a bit…more than I originally thought.  So, to kick off my blog I thought I would intersperse past projects with current projects. To start, my very first sewing project.  Maya was just over 1 year old when I started sewing.  I bought sewing books and tried to follow their “learn how to sew” chapters.  Turns out, I don’t like handmade placemats and napkins.  I wasn’t interested in learning on things I didn’t even like.  So I decided to go to our local Fabricland and bought a pattern and some fabric.

I must have looked pretty foolish because I really had no clue what I was doing.  But I got what I needed. I bought an “easy” pattern by McCall’s and sewed a dress, hat and bloomers.  Maya never actually wore the outfit, but it was cute and actually looked (somewhat) like it was supposed to.  Not only was it lined, but it also had buttonholes.  Not too shabby for a first go at it if I do say so myself.  I know the bow isn’t perfect, nor are the button holes at the same level.  But, I was proud of what I accomplished with this pattern.

My first pattern.

My first pattern.

My very first projects IMG_7401

How I Got Here

Here goes nothing!

Welcome to “Not Sew Fast”.  A blog for people like me.  Busy mommies who want to slow things down, take it easy, go with the flow (though difficult with two toddlers), and be creative….and remain sane.  All at the same time!

When I was little, I was crafty.  My mother still puts out the bunny house I painted when I was 13 at Easter.  I knit scarves, though my late grandmother tried to teach me how to knit a sweater once, but she ended up finishing it.  Do you remember those  hideous straw hats with the ribbons and dried flowers glued on them?  I used to make those, too.  Then I stopped when I was about 16.  I forgot all about my crafty side.  I graduated high school, went to university, graduated, went to university again, graduated, then started to work. After that, I decided to take some cake decorating classes.  That was in 2005.  I had so much fun!  I made some pretty kick-a*# cakes back in the day.  Then I stopped a couple years later.  There never seemed to be enough time.

I met my amazing husband in 2007, we moved in together, we got married in 2010 and shortly thereafter I got pregnant with our daughter, Maya.


While I was pregnant, I was walking in Michael’s one day and noticed the “cricut” was on sale.  For those who don’t know, the cricut is an awesome tool!  You can cut paper in so many different shapes and characters and fonts, and make boxes and, and, and.  You can do anything and everything with this thing!  I decided I just “had” to have it to make cards.  I’d never even considered buying this thing before, but a good sale speaks to me and sometimes it’s hard to resist.  Because I was buying the cricut I had to buy everything to go with it…card stock galore, cutting mats, scissors, more scissors, blank cards, envelopes, cartridges for the cricut and on and on.  I had a great time making cards for everyone that Christmas. Then Maya was born (March, 2011) and I didn’t look at the cricut again for quite some time.

That’s when my love affair with hair clips started.  A friend of mine introduced me to baby girl no slip hairclips when I was pregnant.  I think I bought about 20 of them that day.  By baby girl had a very well stocked hair clip collection even before she was born.  Then I decided to try to make them myself.  How hard could it be?  Turns out,  not only were they fun and easy, my sister was all gung ho, too.  We started making hairclips by the dozens (if not hundreds).  That’s when our little business, “Pretty Little Monkey” was born.  Named after my little girl because we always called her “monkey”.


I decided to pick up knitting again.  I knit hats, ponchos and sweaters for Maya.  I came a long way from the scarves I knit in my childhood.  I loved picking out the different yarns, needles, books and patterns.

Then enters Pinterest.  I have a love affair with Pinterest.  I used to go to bed super early after I put my daughter to bed just so I could curl up in bed with my iPad and surf Pinterest for hours every night.  That’s when I found sewing blogs.  One word.  Awesome.  There are so many people out there with so many fantastic ideas.  I had never touched a sewing machine in my life, and I  NEVER thought I would want to, let alone be any good at it.  But the projects that I kept coming across were ones I really wanted to try.

So I said to my husband, “I think I would like to try sewing”.  It was our anniversary the following week and in comes bad boy #1.  My  sewing machine.  It was our 2nd wedding anniversary, which is the “cotton” anniversary and he said to me as he gave me my awesome gift, “you can sew two pieces of cotton together”.  I gave him a cotton shirt.

So I went to the local fabric store and bought a bunch of remnants and a pattern for a dress, bloomers and hat for Maya.  I was ambitious.  I think the saleswoman in the store thought I was completely crazy.  Never touched a sewing machine before and thinking I was going to sew a dress and accessories.  Well I did it!  And it turned out pretty well, too!  I was hooked!  I had my sewing machine set up on the kitchen table with fabric strewn about everywhere.  It was a pain to lug it out every time I wanted to make something, but I fell in love with sewing.  And fabric.  And patterns.  (Etsy is my BFF.)

Then I got pregnant again.  And we needed a bigger house.  We bought a new house,  I went back to work, and my sister looked after Maya until she started Montessori school when she was 17 months old.  I set up my craft room/office and spent a lot of my time in there at my sewing machine. We opened up our Facebook page for Pretty Little Monkey and sold our hairclips at a local family expo and craft fairs.  Then Jacob was born in November, 2012.IMG_3059

I took a break from sewing and all things crafty for several months. Then my brother and his wife found out they were having a baby girl.  So I made her a bonnet.  That’s when I realized what I had been missing.  And I started sewing again.  And I haven’t looked back.

For Christmas this year, my wonderful husband gave me bad boy #2.  My serger.  I took an intro class at the store he purchased it.  I am currently enrolled in an “Introduction to Serging”  class with Craftsy.  (Craftsy has become another BFF of mine.)

I have returned to my full time job (sniff) and I don’t see my children much during the week anymore (this breaks my heart) so I am not at my sewing machine as much anymore.  But I can still often be found at my sewing table after the kids go to bed at night and during nap time on weekends.

I was walking around the mall one day when the thought popped in my head that I should be documenting my thoughts, recipes, crafty ideas, and sewing projects somewhere.  And what better place than a blog.  So here I am.

I hope to entertain, educate, learn, have fun, laugh, talk about what I love…basically be me, in blog form.  I will try to post things that interest me, and that I think will interest others as well.  And in all of that I will try to slow myself down, and go “not sew fast”.