A Phresh Blazer

Ok ok.  I know I said I was going to sew more for Jacob this year, and I will.  I have them all planned out, but there’s something about all the really sweet little girl patterns that have come out over the past little while and I really can’t resist sewing them for Maya.

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I purchased the Phresh Blazer pattern by Winter Wear Designs as part of the Girls Bundle Up Sale a couple of months ago.  I found this stretch denim at Joann’s the last time I was there that I thought would be perfect for it.  This pattern requires a stretch woven with at least 10-15% stretch.  I didn’t pay much attention to how much stretch the denim had in the store, but when I checked after I got home, it “barely” had 10%.  So, even though Maya measured a perfect size 4, I sized up to a 5 to try to account for the lack of stretch.  I should have made the 6, but I was worried it would be way too big.  The 5 fits her perfectly now, but if she has a growth spurt over the next couple of months, that will be it.

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This was a really fun sew.  It wasn’t overly complicated, but it was challenging enough to keep it interesting.  It isn’t lined, but it has a really nice bias trimmed facing on the inside that I think gives it a really polished look.  The sleeve hems and the bottom hem are also trimmed in bias.  The one thing I will mention is that if you don’t have a serger, the interior finishes won’t look nearly as neat.  It’s definitely still doable, just won’t be as pretty inside.

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I am really proud of the way this jacket turned out.  I just love the ruffles on the back, and so does Maya.

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I think I see more of these in my sewing future.  It’s so cute!  The only problem is, Maya looks so grown up wearing it.  :)  I guess I’m just going to have to accept the fact that my little girl isn’t so little anymore.

Phresh blazer

On Parade in Dress Form

I LOVE this fabric.  I fell in love with it over a year ago when I found it online.  It’s been on my shelf, sitting there, amongst all my other fabrics for a year.  I needed to find the perfect pattern to showcase the adorable-ness of it.  It’s “on parade” which is part of the “Children at Play” collection by Sarah Jane Studios for Michael Miller Fabrics.  I love all of her fabrics.  They are so whimsical and represent childhood innocence so nicely.

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When Hayley of Mouse House Creations/Welcome to the Mouse House, released her most recent pattern, I had to have it.  Though I have several of her patterns, this is the first one I’ve actually sewn and it certainly won’t be my last.  This is the Lillian Pintucked Dress and Top pattern.  It’s rated as an intermediate/advanced pattern and by no means do I consider myself to be advanced, but I didn’t have much trouble at all with it (I will talk about my one struggle a bit later).

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I really enjoyed making the pin tucks.  It was my first time.  I was a little intimidated at first with all the markings and the preciseness of it all.  But honestly, as long as you take your time and mark accurately, you shouldn’t have any trouble at all.

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Now onto why I chose this fabric for this dress.  Basically I wanted something that would showcase the border print, but that wouldn’t look too plain since it’s on solid white.  I love how the plain white of the fabric at the top accentuates the pin tucks.

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I’m worried that the style of dress combined with this fabric, looks a little nightgownish.  Not that it really matters because Maya has already said she is going to wear it for her birthday celebration at preschool in a couple of weeks.  I still love it, though.  Update:  I added a couple of blue buttons down the front and I think it takes it up a notch and isn’t so “nightgownish” anymore.  And if she wears it with a cardigan and leggings, definitely not a nightgown :)

Maya's preschool birthday celebration.  She's 4!  Really?!

Maya’s preschool birthday celebration. She’s 4! Really?!

It’s fully lined, which is a good thing, especially with the white fabric I used.  But I don’t know what was going on when I was trying to attach the lining and flip it all right sides out.  I ended up sewing it 4 times and ripping it out 3 times, all in the exact same way.  You basically sew it together around the keyhole opening in the back.  Easy enough, well it should have been anyway.  For some reason I kept getting it all twisted when I was flipping it that I thought I was doing something terribly wrong.  After stepping away and coming back and going nice and slow, I flipped it properly and all was good again in my little sewing world.

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I decided to make Maya a size 5.  Her measurements were bang on 4, but I decided to make the 5 instead.  It’s a cute, short little dress and I wanted it to be a tad long.  Instead of making the 4 and adding length, I decided to just make the 5.  I love this fabric so much I would like Maya to get as much wear out of it as she can.  Even if she does end up wearing it as a nightgown.

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A couple of Class Picnic Blouses

It’s an Oliver and S kind of month around here.  First the 2+2 blouse, now the class picnic blouse.  Why do they call them blouses?  When I think of a blouse, I think of a top from the 80s that is uncomfortable.  These are definitely not in that category at all.  So I’m just going to call them tops.

I originally bought the Class Picnic Blouse and Shorts pattern after seeing all the super cute shorts on the Oliver and S Flickr Pool.  Seeing as it’s not even remotely close to being shorts weather, and with my intent of making a lot of Maya’s spring wardrobe, I decided on the class picnic blouse to be my next sewing project.

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I’ve had the Littlest collection from Art Gallery Fabrics for almost a year now and have only made a handful of things (see here and here).  I just love Art Gallery fabrics.  They are technically quilting cottons, but they drape so nicely you would never guess that.  I really love this print from the collection, it’s Floral Frolic in Apricot.  When Maya saw the completed top she said, “It looks like spring”.  That was the most perfect response I could have gotten.  

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I decided to add a bit of trim in between the yoke and the skirt part of the shirt.  It’s the lace edge of some bias tape I’ve had lying around.  The Class Picnic blouse itself is quite simple in look and construction, which is perfect for my taste.  So the lace gives it the added touch I was looking for.  Nothing too over the top, but pretty and feminine for my super girly girl.

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I always sew when the kids are in bed.  I work full time and the only time I have to sew is in the evenings.  It means my house looks “lived in” most often, but I keep my sanity by escaping for a few hours several times a week.  Some people watch tv, I sew and I love it.  Though tv is good, too.  Anyway, like usual, I digress.  So, because I sew when the kiddos are sleeping, it means I tend to pick out the fabric myself.  When I think of it, I’ll ask Maya what she likes.  This time she picked cupcakes.  You may remember the same fabric from this skirt.

I wasn’t thrilled with her fabric choice, but I did ask her, so I had to follow through.  Turns out, I kind of like it, too.  It looks a bit like a PJ top, but Maya just turned 4, so I think she can get away with it.

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I also added some lace bias trim on this one as well.

Both tops are a size 4 with a couple inches of added length.  I wanted them to fit for a while and to look cute with leggings.  I “may” have been able to make a size 3 in this one.  The 4 is a bit baggy.  But seeing as it’s not fitted, I think it’s perfectly ok.  Maya is really starting to slim down.  It’s makes me sad because she’s losing her “toddler” shape.

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I really like that there are no fasteners of any kind on this top.  It means Maya can dress herself totally independently.  There is elastic in the shoulder casings which makes it really easy to get over her head.

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Till next time.

Tea Party Playsuit

You know those friends who live far away (like in another province, 14 hours away) who you rarely get to see, but when you do, it’s as though time hasn’t passed?  My good friend from my university undergrad days came to visit with her husband and new-to-me baby boy (he’s 6 months old, but I’ve only seen photos before (thank you Facebook)).  They should have arrived 24 hours earlier, but they were snowed in and couldn’t even leave their driveway.  Anyhoo, I really wanted to make their little guy something.

I decided on the Tea Party Playsuit by Oliver and S.  It’s a pattern that’s sort of hidden away.  By looking at the patterns available on the Oliver and S site, you would never know that this darling little romper is included with the Tea Party Sundress.  I saw several versions in the Oliver and S Flickr Pool and decided that’s what I would make.

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I decided to go ahead and make the 6-12 month size, but after I saw their little guy, I probably should have gone with the 12-18 month size.  Hopefully he can wear it at least once or twice when the weather gets nicer, but I’m not holding my breath.

This was a pretty straight forward sew and I love the result.  I always get nervous when I sew button holes, and this was no exception.  Don’t you wish you could sew the button holes right off the bat so that if you mess up, it’s done before you’ve sewn the whole thing together?  My button holes always end up working out, but they still scare me every time.

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I used a cotton broadcloth in a pale blue for the bodice and “auto vehicles” by makower uk, for the shorts.

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the back

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I’m definitely making one of these for Mr. Jacob for the summer.  This may be the last summer I can put Jacob in a romper.

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Elephant Parade: A home for one

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that I made these elephants for the kids for Easter.  In the pattern pack I ordered, was also this carry case. I thought, “awesome!  How cute will the kids look toting around their elephants in there.”  Ha!

I’ve managed to finish one of them.  It happens to be Maya’s, only because it was easier to find fabrics for Maya from my fabric stash than for Jacob.  When I started, I had full intentions of making two of these cases.  It’s not going to happen.  It was a very frustrating, not-so-fun sewing experience for me.  It’s not that it was difficult and not that the instructions were “bad”.  It’s just that my work space is not ginormous and the carry case is, especially when it’s open.  Bottom line, I didn’t have fun doing it, so I really don’t want to make another one.

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But onto the specifics.  I used Hollywood Sparkle fabric by Riley Blake in aqua in both medium chevron (for the exterior) and damask (as the “wallpaper” on the interior).  I then used some scrap pieces of fabric I had for the bed, dresser, window and lamp.

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(Yes, I burnt the corners of the dresser flap with the iron.  I was hoping it wouldn’t be super noticeable because I had already sewn everything together when I damaged it, so I left it)

window and lamp

elephant bed

Instead of closing with a button, I added a strip of velcro to close the dresser.

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I love how it turned out, looks wise.  But I really should have picked a (much) stiffer interfacing for the carrying case.  It’s pretty floppy.  But I think it’ll serve it’s purpose.  Elephant will have a cozy place to sleep and a nice dresser to put her clothes (still working on those).

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And where will Jacob’s elephant sleep and store his clothes?  Well, I’m still working on that.  But I think I’ve come up with a pretty good solution.  Stay tuned for more Elephant fun.

Night night Elephant

Night night Elephant

Elephant Parade: A work in progress

I don’t remember how I came across the “Pet Parade” patterns from Ruby Jean’s Closet on Etsy.  But I’m sure glad I did.  Originally I wanted to purchase the bunny pattern, but at the time, the elephant was on sale, so I went with that.  Maya and Jacob love pretty much all animals anyway, so I knew either one would be a fine choice.  And honestly, now that I look back on the bunnies, I think the elephant was the better choice because the bunnies look a tad bit more complex. :)

I have been making a conscious effort to sew with the fabrics I have in my stash.  If you’ve ever seen a picture or been in my sewing room, you’ll know that I have way too many different fabrics.  They are all lovely and I have ideas for each and every one of them, but I know I will probably never get through them all, so the least I can do is try.  So that being said, I needed to find something to make the actual elephants from.  In comes grey flannel.  I originally had purchased it to make Jacob’s Kristoff tunic from, but then realized flannel would be way too warm for Disney World.  Good thing I didn’t use it because it was perfect for the elephants.

elephants

The elephants are made almost entirely out of the grey flannel except for the ears.  I wanted something that would be a little bit neutral because I didn’t want their ears to clash too badly with the outfits I will be making.

Jacob’s elephant is Scribbles in Blue from Ed Emberley’s Picture Pie line by Cloud 9 fabrics.

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And Maya’s is Hearts in Multi from Riley Blake Fabric.  This is the perfect pattern set to use up small pieces and scraps you may have lying around.

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They went together fairly easily.  I didn’t have any problems at all.  The instructions are pretty straight forward.  The only thing I don’t care for was sewing the eyes on.  They are shank buttons and you are meant to sew them on after the elephant is fully stuffed.  I believe the point of this is to try to sink the shank into the head and thereby creating dimension to the elephant’s face.  I don’t know if it’s because I overstuffed my elephants, but I didn’t get the buttons to “sink in” very well into the head.  I still think they turned out really cute, but if you look at them from the sides, you can see the shank of the button.  It’s nothing I’m going to worry about and I’m certainly not going to redo them, but just worth a mention.  I think if you’re into toy making, the button issue I had would be a non issue.

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One thing I learned in my stuffy making adventure is that I don’t care for making stuffies.  Not really sure why, I just don’t.  I think I’ll stick with clothing.

Stay tuned for the carry case and some super cute elephant wardrobes.

A 2+2 Blouse to (hopefully) bring on spring and a new big girl bed

Do you think it will work?  Bringing on spring, that is.  I’m really hoping that by starting to sew some things for my kiddos spring wardrobes that I will summon spring upon us.  I type this as I look out on our, I don’t know, 17 feet of snow!  Why do I live here again?  😉  (Update:  I typed this blog post up before I had photos of Maya in the top, we in fact, had above zero temperatures this week.  Spring is in sight.  Hopefully.)

I decided a little while ago that I would like to sew most of Maya’s spring and summer wardrobe.  I have so many patterns in my collection that I’ve yet to sew and I figured starting with a spring wardrobe would be the perfect opportunity to make a dent in both my fabric stash as well as my PDF pattern stash.

I decided to start with the Oliver and S 2+2 blouse.  I originally purchased this pattern after I saw Gail‘s 2+2 skirt for her little girl.  I bought the pattern for the skirt and am now in love with the blouse.  I love all the details that come standard with Oliver and S patterns.  By now, if you’ve been reading along with me as I sew, you realize I have a not-so-secret love affair with Oliver and S patterns, and this one is no exception.

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The front yoke is constructed in a way that was new to me.  Liesl has you cut the centre down to a point, sew that together forming a placket/lining (not entirely sure what to call it) on the front bodice.  It’s a really neat little trick.  You get the look of a separate yoke, without it being separate.  You then gather the centre bit and then sew it together to the top bit. Finally you attach the rectangular piece of fabric and tada! a really cute blouse is born.

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Maya is almost 4.  (I can’t believe I am saying that.  Wasn’t she JUST born??)  She is pretty much bang on size 4 in most sewing patterns I make for her.  I wanted this top to be a bit long on her so she can wear it with leggings, since that is about all she will wear besides dresses, so I made it a 4 width with a 5 length.

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The ONLY thing I don’t love about this top are all the buttons down the back.  I didn’t feel like making button holes and I didn’t have any buttons to go with the fabric, but I did have snaps that went perfectly.  Snaps are much simpler anyway.  It’s not such a big deal right now for the buttons to be on the back, even though Maya is a very independent girl and can get dressed (mostly) by herself, she doesn’t mind asking for help when she needs it (usually).   So the buttons are manageable.  I’m not so sure for a bigger girl though, I know I don’t have “go go gadget arms” to reach to the back to do up all those buttons, so I imagine it would be pretty frustrating for a child to be unable to put this top on by herself, no matter how cute it looks.  I would think frustration would win and this top may stay in the closet.  We’ll see how it goes with Maya.  Hopefully I can get a few more in before we reach that phase.

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I used “Fashion Plate” fabric by Barbara Jones of Quilt Soup for Henry Glass Fabrics.  (I think this fabric must be out of print because when I searched for it, I could only find it from a seller on etsy.) When I first saw this fabric I was taken back to a tunic Maya had when she was a baby.  It was a top I bought at the Gap and she looked so stinkin’ cute in it.  I knew I had to make her something with this fabric, it was just a matter of finding the “right” thing.  I think I found it!

She still looks little right?

She still looks little right?

Notice that really pretty bedding that Maya is on.  Yeah…she outgrew her toddler bed.  So we converted it to a double (it was one of those crib to toddler to double beds), had the new mattress delivered, bought some new bedding and bam! she’s a big girl.  Seriously though?!  When did that happen??

I’ll be making more of these tops for Maya.  Hopefully she’ll actually wear it.  She’s really into a “twirly” dress phase right now and really doesn’t like much outside of that category.  Here’s hoping.

Is it spring yet?

Is she 3?  or 13?

Is she 3? or 13?