Backpacks from Little Things to Sew

Maya started ballet last September.  I had the idea to make her a “ballet bag” since then, but never actually got around to making one for her till now.    

I had the perfect fabric to do so.  It’s a canvas with adorable little ballerinas all over it in Maya’s favourite colour, purple!  This is the first time I’ve sewn with canvas.  It was quite different than I thought, it was really soft.  I guess I expected it to be more like home dec weight or denim or something.  
And since I was already making one backpack, why not make another one for my little man.   I let Jacob choose his fabric.   Both kids are really into the tv show “Dinosaur Train” right now and I had this Lizzie House dinosaur print so I wasn’t surprised when Jacob picked it.

The pattern I used was the “Penguin Backpack” from the book, Little Things to Sew from Oliver and S.  Instead of making it a penguin, I just used the lining piece as the front piece, but kept everything else pretty much the same (minus the penguin bits).

There’s really not much to say about this pattern.  Like usual, instructions are great and the finished product is perfect.  

I decided to hand stitch their names inside.  

 There is a double pocket on the inside that Maya thinks is perfect for her ballet slippers.  I agree!  

I used an unbleached linen I had in my stash for the lining.  I really like how they turned out.

Having my two kids just over a year and a half apart was really hard for the first couple of years, and to be honest, I forget a lot about that blur of time.  But I wouldn’t change it for anything.  They love and adore each other so much.  


Charlie dress


Maya has a dress from H&M that she loves.  It has butterflies on it and is super comfy.  I also paid $5 for it.  I have a problem paying $5 for something.  I basically have trouble with the idea that in order to charge $5 and actually make money on it, you must be paying your workers nothing.  So I am trying to avoid that, now that I have a better knowledge of the garment industry.  But I won’t go into ethics right now.  That is not what this blog is about.

Instead I will focus on the style of the dress.  It is a sleeveless, drop waist dress with a twirly skirt.  It looks almost identical to the Charlie dress by Mingo and Grace.  I sewed the Blake from Mingo and Grace a few months ago and loved it.  So I had no doubt I would also love the Charlie.  I was not wrong.  It may be one of my favourite dresses I have made.


I sewed this dress a couple of months ago.  I have no idea why it has taken me so long to actually post it.  I think part of me thought I already had.  I have photos of Maya wearing this at Ikea, at her grandparents’, in Montreal on a family day trip and en route to Toronto for a weekend getaway.  Needless to say, she really likes this dress.


It’s a pretty straight forward sew.  I love the binding on the neckline and armholes and I love how twirly the skirt is without being over the top ruffles.


In Montreal we found a "balloon lady" who made Maya an Elsa and Jacob a monkey. They were really neat!

In Montreal we found a “balloon lady” who made Maya an Elsa and Jacob a monkey. They were really neat!

My husband is really into photography so when I saw this camera fabric I jumped on it.  I just needed the perfect project.  And this was it!

Maya and her daddy at the old Port in Montreal.

Maya and her daddy at the old Port in Montreal.

The fabric is from the Snapshots line from Riley Blake.

This is when the kids realized there were more flavours of ice cream than just chocolate and vanilla.

This is when the kids realized there were more flavours of ice cream than just chocolate and vanilla.

This is a straight up size 4.  It has a really roomy fit so I’m glad I made the 4 instead of the 5.  I’m in a bit of denial that my little girl is growing up.  Does anyone else get sad when their kids move up a size?

Look! I have bat ears!

Look! I have bat ears! At the Biodome in Montreal.

The best thing about this dress is that Maya loves it (almost) as much as I do.  It’s a dress that I will be making many times.  I wish there was a sleeve option so she could wear it in the fall and winter as well.  Who am I kidding, she will wear it in the fall and winter with leggings and a cardigan on top.  :)



She even wore it for her first day of school.  My big girl is in the equivalent of Junior Kindergarten (she goes to a Montessori school so they don’t call it JK)

My big girl!

My big girl!

As I was going through my photos for this post, I came across this one.  How cute are these two?  I moved Maya’s car seat to be beside Jacob’s a couple of months ago.  The first thing Maya said was, “Now we can hold hands”.  And when they aren’t annoying each other, that’s exactly what they do.


And some more, just because.  I love how much these two love each other.  For now, they are best friends.

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Not Just a Sunsuit Blog Tour: A Hidden Pocket Jumper

sunsuit blog tour photo

I was so thrilled when Ajaire invited me on her “Not Just a Sunsuit” Blog tour.  Ajaire (of Call Ajaire) released the Paneled Sunsuit pattern earlier this summer.  This pattern has so many options (in fact, I think there are 10 different ways you can sew it).  At first I was going to make the maxi skirt version.  But then I quickly remembered that, although Maya LOVES dresses that “go to the floor”, they aren’t the most practical for my dancing, flipping, biking, running all over the place little girl.  So I decided on the jumper.  And I’m glad I did.



Maya LOVES dresses.  Usually, the twirlier the better.  Even though I’m not a huge fan of super twirly dresses, I do realize that Maya is 4.  And I’m sure I liked twirly dresses when I was 4 as well.  So when I can, I try my best to make her dresses twirl.  As you can see, this dress is very streamlined (which I love) so you would think that Maya would refuse to wear it.  But she actually LOVES it….for one very big, important reason.  It has HIDDEN POCKETS.


The truth is, the pockets aren’t really hidden.  They are right there.  But when you use the same fabric as the skirt and CALL them hidden.  They become the most special thing.  And Maya will wear it.


In fact, she’s worn it several times since I’ve made it for her.  But I only just got photos of her the other day.  She’s even worn it on a pony.


Since I’m at the tail end of the blog tour, I’m not going to reiterate how well the pattern is laid out or how great the illustrations are or even how thorough the instructions are.  But I will say that I am thrilled with how this jumper turned out.


One thing I really loved about this pattern is that there are no zips or fasteners.  The straps have elastic in them which makes them scrunch up and there is a casing on the back with elastic.  Makes it pretty easy to put on and take off.


Maya was being bitten alive by mosquitos.  Poor kid.  She has the worst luck.  They just love her.  Needless to say, she did not enjoy this photoshoot very much.

darn mosquitos

darn mosquitos

I used Art Gallery Solid in Festival Fuschia for the top and for the bodice lining.  The skirt and the front panel as well as the straps is from the Floriography line by Chelsea Andersen for Riley Blake.

This is a straight up size 4 with no adjustments made.  In hindsight I wish I had made her a 5.  It’s a bit short, which I’m okay with it because we are heading into autumn here and she can wear it with leggings and a sweater.  Which brings me to the main point of the “Not JUST a Sunsuit” Blog Tour.  This is NOT just a sunsuit.  It’s an “all weather” suit.

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And what’s even better, is that now you can add long sleeves to your sunsuit with the free add on here.  So it will definitely take you into the cooler weather.

So there you have it!  A super cute, all seasons jumper, with two awesome Hidden pockets.



Ajaire is giving away four copies of the Paneled Sunsuit pattern, plus she’s offering 15% off the pattern in her shop through September 4th!  For a chance to win your own copy of the pattern, simply enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out all the awesome versions of the Paneled Sunsuit from the Blog Tour.

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Monday August 24th:Max California | Filles à Maman | Hey June | House of Estrela

Tuesday August 25th:Skirt Fixation | Gracious Threads | Kimmie Sew Crazy | Shaffer Sisters

Wednesday August 26th:Kid Approved | Pinkel | Falafel and the Bee | Once Upon a Sewing Machine

Thursday August 27th:Buzzmills | Pattern Revolution | Sprouting JubeJube | Mandmade Martini

Friday August 28th:That’s Sew Kari | Lulu & Celeste | Paisley Roots | Modern Handmade

Monday August 31st:Sew Cool for the Tween Scene | Kadiddlehopper | Imagine Gnats | Nap Time Creations

Tuesday September 1st:My Sweet Sunshine | Straight Stitch Designs | Handmade Boy | That’s What She Crafted

Wednesday September 2nd:Climbing the Willow | Rebel & Malice | GYCT Designs | Two-Many

Thursday September 3rd:The Crazy Tailor | sewVery | Just Add Fabric | Delia Creates

Friday September 4th:A Jennuine Life | Conversas de Hermanas | Made by Sara | Not Sew Fast


The pattern was provided at no charge to me for the purpose of the tour, however all opinions are my own!