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.  


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.

elephant carry case

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.

elephants inside

(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.

elephant dresser inside

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).

elephant open bed

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.


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.

jacob elephant

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.

maya elephantd

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.

maya elephant 2 jacob elephant 2

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.

2014 at a glance and some sewing resolutions

I thought I would make a collage of all my sewing from 2014.  Turns out, it wouldn’t fit in one collage.  So I made several.  I tried to combine them in ways that made the most sense.  Some really belonged in 2 groups, but I didn’t want to have to start cross referencing patterns and blog posts, so I did what made the most sense to me.  Hopefully all of the references link to the proper blog post.  If there’s a broken link anywhere, please let me know and I will fix it.

Alrighty, here goes.

First up, Oliver and S.  Of all the designers, I’ve sewn these patterns more than any other single designer.  Not surprising.

oliver and S collage

1.  Bucket hats      2.  Hula Hoop Skirt        3.  Ruffled Halter        4.  Swingset skirt

5.  Hide and Seek Dress   6.  Library Dress      7.  Library Dress     8.  Sailboat Set

9.  Lullaby Layette   10.  Popover Sundress    11.  Music Box Jumper  12.  Hopscotch Dress

rollerskate dress collage

1 and 2.  Rollerskate Dress   3.  another Rollerskate Dress

oliver and s jammies

1.  Bedtime Story Pyjamas  2.  Bedtime Story PJ pants   3, 4, 5.  Sleepover Pyjamas

Next up, Disney!!

disney collage

1.  Cinderella (here and here)  2.  Prince Charming (here and here)  3.  Mike Wazowski

4. Minnie Mouse  5. Sofia the first (here and here) 6. Prince James (here and here)

7.  Star Wars Mulberry Tunic  8. Mickey Mouse  9. Toddler Anna (here and here)

10.  Kristoff (here and here)  11. Elsa and Olaf (here and here)   12.  Mickey Oxford

Various Designers:

other designers collage 2

1.  Fly Girl  2. Savannah Party Dress  3. Izzy Top  4. Party Dress

5.  Elise  6.  Blue Ribbon  7.  Savannah Party Dress

8.  Reversible Romper  9.  Hummingbird  10.  Sandpit Romper

11.  Treasure Hunt Skirt  12.  Penguin Purse  13.  Pillows  14.  Lickety Split Tote

Other designers collage 1

1.  Rainbow Twirl  2.  First Day Dress  3.  Bow Tie

4.  First Day Dress (here and here)  5.  Fawn Lily  6.  Little Mini Shearwater Kaftan

7.  Bubblegum Dress  8.  Cowl Neck Dress  9.  Amelie

Ok…so I guess I sewed quite a bit this year.  This doesn’t even include everything.

Now for my sewing resolutions:

1.  I’m going to attempt to make myself something.  I have a couple of patterns that I hope to try out.  I made myself a skirt last year, but it really didn’t suit me very well so it is still hanging in the closet waiting never to be hemmed.

2.  I am going to sew more for Jacob.  His wardrobe is massive, but is lacking in the mommy-made love

3.  I am going to try to sew with the fabrics I have before I buy more.  I have way too many and not enough time.

4.  I am going to try to plan out my sewing for the upcoming months instead of just deciding on a whim.  Not that there is anything wrong with deciding the minute before I start cutting, but I have so many patterns that I have never even tried so I would like to be a little more organized.  I will still sew on a whim, because I love not knowing what I’m going to sew when I start out, they just won’t all be that way.  Planning can be a good thing.

That’s it for now. :)

Thank you so much for following along.  I hope to gain new readers and keep the faithful ones.  Hopefully this coming year I learn a lot and maybe even teach a thing or two as well.  Happy New Year everyone!!


Holiday Sewing and a letter to Santa

It’s still New Year’s Eve so I haven’t missed my deadline.  We were supposed to go out for dinner and to a party tonight to ring in the New Year, but alas, 3 out of 4 of us are not feeling so great.  Thankfully I’m getting over it, but my husband and my little man just seem to be getting the worst of it.  The joys of winter and sickness.  So anyway, here I am, blogging away.

Christmas was so exciting around our house this year.  Maya was so excited and Jacob followed right along.  This year Maya “wrote” her first letter to Santa and she also “wrote” Jacob’s for him.

santa letter

Yes, Maya thought Jacob should get some bandaids (which they both did, in their stockings) and she was very adamant on the vacuum cleaner.  The thing that kind of surprised me was the penguin purse.  A penguin purse?  Where had she seen a penguin purse before?  Why a penguin?  She’s not a huge lover of all things penguin like she is for bunnies.  So I was on a mission.  I didn’t think I’d find a penguin purse in a store, so I didn’t even bother trying (turns out that when I was in Gymboree a few days before Christmas they had the cutest penguin purse ever!).  Instead I found a pattern on etsy and made my own.


The pattern called for fleece, but I decided to use felt instead.  I just love how it turned out.  The only real time consuming part was hand stitching the lining around the curve of the head.  All in all though, a pretty easy sew.  And pretty cute, too.

I thought I was going to sew so much for Christmas this year.  Turns out, I had very little time, so I didn’t.  I didn’t even make Maya a Christmas dress nor Jacob a Christmas tie.  I did make them jammies, and a few gifts for others.  But that was it.

These pillows were gifts for both my mother and on of my sister in law’s.  I used this tutorial for a one piece envelope pillow.  Super quick and you can just cover pillows you already have.  We don’t have many any throw pillows around our house, well we do, but they are all put away.  But making these has made me excited to start making throw pillows for every occasion/season/holiday/random Friday. So simple and really pretty.



The big pillows are 20″ x 20″ and the smaller ones are 14″ by 14″.  The pillow inserts were all purchased at IKEA.

Another Christmas gift I sewed this year was for my little sister.  This is the Lickety Split bag by Made by Rae.  I used fabric from Art Gallery’s Winged Fabric collection for this bag.  It’s a little bit “springy” for the winter time, but I just love these two fabrics and I think it made a gorgeous tote bag.  Jessica is a teacher so I hope she can get much use out of it.



It’s also reversible, which is always a bonus in my books.  I interfaced the whole thing with lightweight fusible interfacing because Art Gallery fabric is very fine and flow-y and I wanted to give a bit of structure to the bag.  I also only decided to put pockets on one side, even though I had them cut and interfaced for both.  I just really liked the butterflies to stand on their own without the busyness of the coordinating print.

IMG_0022_2 IMG_0020_2