Maya’s Most Favourite Dress: A Twirly 3rd Birthday Rainbow Dress

Earlier this year, when Maya turned 3, (in March) she wanted a “rainbow” themed birthday party.  So of course I had to find the perfect pattern to make the perfect dress for her.  And oh boy, did I find the perfect dress.  It’s the “Rainbow Twirl” by Boo! Designs.


There is some serious twirl in this dress.  And a LOT of gathering!  I think the bottom tier was 172″ long that needed to be gathered.  Though time consuming, the dress itself is really quite simply constructed.  It’s six layers of ruffled fabric all sewn together then sewn up the side.  The shirring was probably my most feared part because it was my first time attempting it.  But the instructions in the pattern were impeccable and the dress came together flawlessly.



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Maya would wear this dress every single minute of every single day if she could.

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I made this one in a size small which is meant to fit children 2-4.  I think she’ll be able to wear it longer if she wears it with leggings.  I think she’ll be wearing a lot of her mommy made dresses longer than she probably should because I will just put leggings underneath.  I am going to have a hard time putting things I’ve made away when they get too small.

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I’m not sure whether to pass them along to family or friends or to keep them stored away in a box somewhere.  There’s a lot of love and work that goes into handmade clothing.  I’m a very sentimental person, so I imagine I’ll just keep them all stored away and when my kids are away at university I’ll go through those boxes and reminisce about all the fun times we had and what they were doing in those clothes.

That is the main purpose of this blog.  To document my children growing up, the sewing is just an excuse for me to actually document it.  I’m getting all teary sitting here typing these words, not in a sad way, but in a “I can’t believe I have such amazing kids”.  I am so lucky.


This little beauty is going to 4 in March.  Where has the time gone?

From then till now: part 7–Summer dresses for Maya

Maya loves dresses.  I should say Maya LOOOOVES dresses.  Getting her to wear shorts, or pants or even a skirt is very difficult.  So she is usually in a dress.  Here are two dresses I made for her this past summer.

The first one is the Hummingbird dress by Rabbit Rabbit Creations.  This is quite possibly one of the simplest dresses I have ever sewn.   There are 3 different skirt options for this dress and they are all adorable.  I chose to make the “everyday” skirt for this dress since I wanted it to be something Maya could just put on to play outside.  I didn’t want anything too big and full for playing at the playground (not that a big dress would stop her from doing anything).  There’s also the “dress up” and “something special” versions included.  The main differences between the three skirts are that the everyday skirt is quite a narrow skirt, not too much twirl factor and thus not much gathering.  The dress up and something special have much fuller skirts and the something special is meant to have an overlay over the main skirt (like chiffon or lace).  The bodice on this dress is unique and beautiful.  I love how it comes to a V in the back.  Overall, a super cute, super simple, very pretty dress.

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I made this in a size 3 with the length of a 4.  It fits her perfectly.  Maya chose the fabric.  To me it looks a little “night gown-ish”, but that’s okay.  She’s 3.  And if she wants to wear it to bed, I’m okay with that, too.  It’s “Rainbows and Unicorns” from Michael Miller.

Just doing a little sweeping on Grandma’s back deck


Ringing the bell in Grandma’s garden.


City girl on the farm

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What can I say about this next dress other than I like it so much, I’ve made three of them.  They weren’t all for Maya, two were gifts, but I really like it.  And there will be more for Maya.  It’s the Bubblegum dress by Candy Castle Patterns.  It’s a wrap dress with bias trim all around (though you can hem it instead if you are so inclined).  I have some really cute bias trim and am thrilled that I now have a pattern to use it on.


I did make a couple of mistakes when I was measuring my bias tape.  I didn’t read ahead (I know, I know) and cut my bias tape when I shouldn’t have.  So it meant I had to sew it back together again, but I don’t think you can really tell.  I love the technique used for the binding on the armhole.  It’s gathered with elastic, but then instead of just leaving it, it has bias trim covering the elastic.  I really liked how simple it was but how nice it looked in the end.


Don’t take my bracelet!

Instead of exact sizes, this dress is sized in pairs because of the wrap nature of it.  It doesn’t have to be an exact fit.  This is a size 4/5 and she will be able to wear it next summer as well (unless she has some crazy abnormal growth spurts in the next year).  The fabric I used was from the Flower Sugar line by Lecien fabrics.  I’m amazed at how soft this fabric is.

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And just because, here is one of the other Bubblegum dresses I made.  This was a gift for our daycare provider’s 5 year old daughter (which she ended up wearing for her first day of school…yay!).  It’s a size 6/7 and I used a polka dot cotton from the “My sunshine” line by Riley Blake.  I just love the crocheted trim on this one.




From then till now: part 6–rompers for Mr. Jacob

Sometimes, A lot of the time, I feel as though my little man is neglected in the mommy-made clothing kind of way.  I find most boy fabric patterns tend to look like jammies no matter what you do with them.  I’m determined to make things for the littlest guy in my life, who isn’t so little anymore.  For this installment of “from then till now” I will share with you a few of the things I’ve made for Jacob.  Hopefully, they don’t look too much like jammies.

This is the Reversible Romper by Scientific Seamstress.  This was one of the simplest, quickest things I have made and I just love it.  Jacob looks so cute!  I made this in an 18-24 month size in the shortest length.  The pattern gives different length options from shorts to pants which I love.  So it can be worn in the summer as a cute short romper or into the fall as pants with a short or long sleeved t-shirt layered underneath.  And since it’s totally lined (and reversible) you could also line it with a warm flannel and it be super cozy for the winter.  It also comes with instructions to add ruffles to make it girly.  I’m not a fan of ruffles, so I will probably never make it for Maya, but it’s really nice that it is included.  All in all, a great, multi-purpose pattern.  Carla’s patterns are so thorough and not lacking in any details whatsoever.  Sometimes I feel like the instructions are too detailed, but I would much rather have too many details than too few.  The fact that the instructions are so detailed means that pretty much anyone can tackle a Scientific Seamstress pattern.


Instead of using real buttons, I got lazy and used snaps instead.  I really wanted to finish it and I didn’t have any buttons that matched.  I used “raccoon in blue” by Ed Emberley for Cloud 9 fabrics for one side and “fox in grey” on the reverse.  These fabrics are just the cutest!


They really do love each other (sometimes anyway)

They really do love each other (sometimes anyway)

I had the pleasure of testing the Sandpit Romper pattern for Rabbit Rabbit Creations a couple of months ago.  It’s the second time I’ve tested a pattern before it was released.  I consider these more to be overalls, but I guess by definition, all rompers are overall-like.  This pattern was super simple to follow and has several different finishing options.  It can be partially or fully lined, and the leg openings can be either left open or cinched with elastic in a hem casing.  I chose mine to be fully lined and left the leg openings wide.  I chose to modify mine slightly and lined it in a combination fabrics.  I used white broadcloth for the majority of the lining, but then I added more rocket fabric at the bottom so I could roll the pants up and have it show.  I chose to make the 2T for Jacob even though he was in the 18 month size range because I wanted it to fit him into the winter.  It’s quite wide on him, but that’s okay.  I’d rather it be slightly big than too small.  I knew the legs were going to be really long because my kiddos have long torsos and short legs.  I like how the rolled up hem looks.  I was lazy again and used snaps instead of buttons.  If I ever make this pattern again I will use pocket pattern pieces from a smaller size.  I thin they are a bit overwhelming, though it is nice to show off an accent fabric.  The fabrics I used were a grey cotton-polyester twill for the main fabric and Rockets in Blue from the “rocket age” line by October Afternoon for Riley Blake for the pockets and lining of the hem.

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Getting photos of this little mover is proving to be super difficult these days.  The only way he would cooperate to get these photos was to let him hold my phone.  Oh well….whatever works.

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From then till now: part 5–an assortment for Maya

Just when I think I’ve posted about all the things I’ve made over the last year, I find more.  So here goes, another installment of “from then till now”.

You may remember this dress from this post.  Truth is, this Savannah Pleated Party Dress is the original one I made.  Instead of the pleated neckline, I chose the flat neckline and omitted the sash.  I’m not a hug fan of sashes.  I won’t say too much about this dress because I’ve talked about it before.  This is a size 3 and is now getting quite short on Maya.  The fabric is from the Little Red Riding Hood line by Riley Blake, which I believe is now out of print.  I stocked up though, because I just love it.  This is the first time I’ve used a border print and I think this dress looks great with it.

Peek A Boo Pattern Shop-Savannah Pleated Party Dress

Peek A Boo Pattern Shop-Savannah Pleated Party Dress


These next dresses are the Blue Ribbon by Little Lizard King.  Though I am happy enough with the final product (and Maya just loves them), I found the tutorial a little bit confusing.  I found it was jumping all over the place a bit, but I’ve come to expect this with Little Lizard King patterns.  I keep going back to them though because some of them are really cute!  This was the very first time I had sewn with knit and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  I up-cycled two Gap tank tops for these dresses so they are super comfy to wear.  Instead of following the skirt panel measurements, I wanted them to be super twirly for my twirly little girl, so I used the width of fabric for each panel.  Twirl they do.  I wish I had omitted the sashes, because like I mentioned above, I don’t love sashes.  But Maya likes them, so I put them on.

The fabric I used was both from Springs Creative.  The first is called “Fashionable Princess”.  This fabric was selling like hotcakes all over the internet.  I managed to snag some for my princess loving girl.  I’m not a fan of character prints, but seeing as I’m not sewing for myself (at the moment, anyway), I knew Maya would love it.  The second is “My Little Pony”.  Maya has never watched the television show (she’s a Dora and Sofia the First fan) but she has some of the toys.  And it’s purple. Double bonus.

Little Lizard King-Blue Ribbon

Little Lizard King-Blue Ribbon

Here is an Elise Halter Dress and Top.  Again by Little Lizard King.  I have made a few of these over the past 6 months or so.  I really like this dress.  I think it’s perfect for summer.  Maya wore the red flower dress quite often, which makes me very happy because it didn’t start out to be hers, but I’m certainly happy it ended up in her closet.  The first dress is made with Michael Miller’s Worn Poppy in Red from the Cosmos fabric line.  The yellow is a tone on tone yellow I picked up at Joann’s fabrics.  The second one is tunic length with a solid purple I had lying around, Dora the Explorer patterned print from Springs Creative and I believe the pink polka dots were from Robert Kaufman.  For as much as Maya adores Dora the Explorer, I thought she would wear the top all the time.  Not so much.  But that’s okay, she did wear it a couple of times.

Little Lizard King-Elise Halter

Little Lizard King-Elise Halter

Maya and her cousin

Maya and her cousin

Lastly, here is Little Lizard King’s Fly Girl top.  This pattern has known issues, so I won’t go into it here.  I still managed to sew the whole thing in a day (nap time and after bed) so not too shabby.  I made a size 3T.  If I ever make this top again, which I’m leaning on the “no” side, I would lengthen it substantially.  I find it quite short on Maya.  Then again, maybe it’s her long torso coming into play again.  There are several options for the back:  with button closure, tie closure (I opted for this), open back or closed back.  I found the instructions for closing the back somewhat lacking, so I just sort of figured it out on my own.

Little Lizard King-Fly Girl

Little Lizard King-Fly Girl

I think the end result is adorable, but getting there wasn’t the smoothest ride ever.  I love how there is so much fabric gathered into such a tiny bodice (though I was cursing while trying to gather it) that it is super flowy.  Maya looks great in this style of top.  The fabric is the balloon print from Sarah Jane’s fabric line, Children at Play by Michael Miller.  I love this fabric so much.  If you look closely enough, you can see tiny bunnies and little girls hanging from the balloons.  Super cute!!



I’m going to end this post with quite possibly THE best FREE pattern out there….yes FREE!  It’s the Izzy top from Climbing the Willow.  It’s an awesome pattern and such a sweet end result.  It comes in sizes 18 months to size 12!  I saw these pop up in my Facebook sewing groups and had to try it.  I’ve made a few of them, most weren’t for Maya, but rather as gifts for others.  The instructions are simple to follow and I can easily whip one up over one evening.  This top looks awesome with leggings and you can even add length to make it a dress.

The one I made for Maya is a size 3T I believe.  I have no idea what fabric this is, but I do know it’s a rayon challis.  Sorry about that.  I made it quite a while ago and don’t have any left to go back and check the selvage.

Izzy Top

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From then till now: part 4–an assortment: more sewing for others

So I found some more things that I LOVE that I made for others.  It really made me sad to give these dresses away because they were real labours of love.

The first one is the Savannah Pleated Party Dress from Peek A Boo Pattern Shop.  I have several of Amy’s patterns and so far they have not disappointed me.  This one was made using Poetica by Pat Bravo for Art Gallery fabrics.  It was the first time I sewed with Art Gallery cottons.  All I have to say is, O.M.G.  That stuff is amazing.  There is something about it that just makes me want to wrap myself up in it.  It is so soft and flowy.  This is by far my favourite print from Art Gallery to this day, and maybe even of all the fabrics I have (up to now).  The pattern is quite well written and it was generally easy to follow, however there are no grainlines marked nor any notches anywhere on the pattern.  The tutorial was fairly straight forward so I was able to construct the dress without a hitch.  It has a fully lined bodice and skirt which I love.  It just gives it a little bit more body than it would otherwise have.  This dress is a size 12-18 month and was for a special little birthday girl.  The diaper cover is my old faithful. And the hair clip is a free tutorial from  Oliver and S.  I love this complete ensemble and I was sad to see it leave.  I will definitely be making Maya something with this fabric.  I loved it so much I bought a LOT!


The following dress is the one I worked the hardest on.  It was made with a polyester shantung fabric (looks like raw silk without the raw silk price).  It was for a little girl’s First Communion.  I was honoured that her mother asked me to sew this for her.  I was intimidated because it was for such a special day, but I was also up for the challenge.  I used the Cottage Mama’s free Party Dress pattern.  This is such a well written pattern.  I still can’t believe it is free!  I serged all the raw edges before I began constructing the dress because they were fraying like mad.  I changed the buttons several times till I found the perfect ones in the perfect size.  I hand sewed the sash to the sides so it would stay in place.  I love the simple look of this dress and still can’t believe that I made it!




Big bow

Big bow

From then till now: part 3–an assortment: sewing for others

I have made tons of things for others, whether they were gifts, or things other people have asked me to make.  Here are just a few of some of my more favourite things.  And yes, Maya is wearing the Dora dress.  She wanted to try it on before we gave it away.

This is a dress I made for a friend’s co-worker’s granddaughter.  It is the Catie Halter by Little Lizard King.  It’s a super simple  pillowcase-like dress with an elastic casing at the top and a halter strap.  I just love Maya’s look here.  So innocent and adorable.  She had just turned 3 here.

Dora dress

Dora dress

Here is a diaper cover and tie I made for a little boy turning 1.  I’ve made this diaper cover many times, too many times I have totally lost count.  You can find the free tutorial and pattern pieces here.  It goes up to 24 months, but I have made larger ones easily by tracing around the pattern pieces.  Easy peasy.  I found a tutorial for baby boy ties here, about a year ago and have made hundreds of ties, or so it feels like anyway.  😉

Diaper cover and tie

Diaper cover and tie


Jacob in ties

Jacob in ties

Okay, okay.  This is Jacob in ties I made for him, which is not supposed to be what this post is about.  But look how cute!

There’s something about pillowcase dresses that people seem to love.  You may remember this dress I made for Maya.  I followed this tutorial, which is the same as for the original dress, but has a “tie in front or back”.   I also made my own bias binding for the arm holes which I don’t believe is written into the original tutorial.  I just like the look of it rather than folding the fabric down.  I really love how this turned out.  The fabric collection I used is the same as for the Simply Sweet dress in this post:  Nested Owls by ADORNit Girls.

Another pillowcase dress

Another pillowcase dress

A friend of mine contacted me to make a couple of dresses for one of the neighbour’s who was having a baby girl.  She wanted matching dresses for big sister and newborn.  This is what we came up with.


The dresses are the Perfect Peasant Dress from Peek A Boo Pattern Shop.  The newborn whom the little dress is for was super tiny when she was born, so I had to downsize the pattern.  Amy, the pattern designer for Peek A Boo, was fantastic and helped to determine the best way to downsize the pattern to a 0-3 month size since the pattern starts at 3-6 months.  I basically just took the pattern and made it about a cm smaller all around.  The bonnet is the same as you saw here.  The diaper cover is a new pattern I decided to try.  It is lined, and I haven’t decided whether or not I like a lined or unlined diaper cover yet.  It also has the option for ruffles.  The fabric I used is an organic, buttery soft cotton from the Koi collection of  Cloud 9 fabrics by Rashida Coleman Hale.  This one is “The way of the flowers”.  You will be seeing more of this fabric.  I just love it!

So there you have it.  Just a few of the many things I have sewn for others.


From then till now: part 2–an assortment: Christmas edition

Like my previous post, this is a bit of a mish mash of projects I’ve done over the last several years.  I’ve decided to focus this post on some Christmas projects I’ve done.

I started looking for Christmas stockings for our family in August of 2012.  I was pregnant with Jacob and I wanted to have really nice stockings that year since our family would be complete.  Jacob was due at the beginning of December and I knew I would be in no mood to search for stockings in November.   I searched everywhere online, but I couldn’t find any that really spoke to me.  So I decided to make my own.  I really wanted to put everyone’s names on them, but I’m really happy I didn’t because my applique skills were non existent at the time and I believe I probably would have ruined them by trying.  I used this pattern.  They are fully lined (with a red kona cotton) and are really great quality stockings.  They will last us forever.  Of course, I will probably tire of them before forever arrives, so I do see new stockings in our future.  The fabrics are the Jingle collection by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman.  It’s a really sweet collection of fabrics.  You might recognize the blue penguins from this post.

Stockings, 2012

Stockings, 2012



Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013

I must admit, I am not a lover of the pattern I used for the kiddos’ pyjamas last Christmas.  I made Jacob a size 1, which should have been the correct size based on his measurements at the time, but the pants were a mile too long.  I think I took about 6 inches off the bottom.  The nightie for Maya was also ginormous.  It hit the floor.  Maya has grown so tall this past year and the nightie is still quite long on her.  In fact, she wore it to bed last night.  Over the past year, I have discovered how many indie pattern designers are out there.  I haven’t bought a single paper pattern since this one.

Christmas morning with the kiddos, 2013

Christmas morning with the kiddos, 2013


For the blankets, I bought a yard of each fabric, squared them up.  Sewed them right sides together, leaving a space to turn, flipped them right side out and top stitched around the edge.  I also top stitched the layers together by marking the blankets in large rectangles.  That’s it.  Easy peasy Christmas blankies.

Little Mittens

Little Mittens

I have only great things to say about these mittens.  They are from the “Little Things to Sew”  book by Liesl Gibbons for Oliver and S.  You will soon see my love affair with Oliver and S patterns.  These mittens are so simple and super comfy.  I wouldn’t send my children out to build a snowman with these on since they aren’t waterproof, but for going outside to play in the autumn, they are absolutely perfect.  They are also fantastic for getting from the house to the car in the wintertime.  Living in Ottawa, we need heavy duty mittens in the winter.    I sewed the elastic on Jacob’s mittens with a zigzag stitch since I didn’t have any ribbon to coordinate.  Maya’s have a ribbon casing with an elastic inside.  I took a short cut and since fleece doesn’t fray, I just zigzagged the cuffs.  They were “practice” mittens, but being purple (Maya’s favourite colour) she wore them ALL.THE.TIME.

Just writing about them makes me realize that I really need to start on my cooler weather sewing.  It’s not getting any warmer here.

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!