Butterfly Blouse and a Swingset Skirt

I haven’t been in a very “bloggy” mood recently.  Mostly because I don’t seem to have time.  Or the energy to do so.  It’s not for lack of sewing though, that’s for sure.

I set out in the later parts of winter to sew much of Maya’s summer wardrobe.  This is just one of those outfits that I’m particularly happy with.  I think I made it back in February or March, but seeing as we didn’t get spring weather till a couple of weeks ago, this is the first time she’s actually worn it.

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The top is the Butterfly blouse by Oliver and S in a Liberty of London Tana Lawn that I purchased in from B and J Fabrics in New York City on a (sort of) recent trip.  It’s a straight up size 5 and fits beautifully.  There are flutter sleeves which I love.  This top is super cute and really quick to put together.  Like usual, I learned something new while sewing yet another Oliver and S pattern.  I hadn’t made a thread chain button loop before.  I was intimidated at the idea, and I actually left the shirt in a bag hanging in my sewing room for about a month before I actually attempted it.  But a little googling and YouTube-ing came to the rescue.  Turns out thread chains are really easy and quick to make.

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The skirt is the Swing Set skirt, also by Oliver and S in a pink Yarn Dyed cotton-linen from Purl Soho (also in New York City).  I could live in that store.  It’s so very, very awesome.  This skirt is a size 5 length and a size 4 width.  This skirt is a quick sew, complete with lining, a drawstring waist as well as elastic.  To make it even quicker, I decided to skip the three rows of casings that would normally house the drawstring and elastics, and instead made it a single casing for a 3/4″ elastic.  Super fast, and still super cute.

Bunny is part of our family. She is very well loved.

Bunny is part of our family. She is very well loved.

 

I’ve made at least 7 of these skirts in the past couple of years.  It’s my go-to pattern for skirts.  It’s such a fantastic pattern for such a great skirt.  It used to only go up to size 5.  I’m so happy that it has been released all the way to size 12 now.  It’s a twirly-girly kind of skirt.  The perfect skirt for my twirly girl.

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Hopefully I’m back again soon.

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Sharing ice cream.

Sharing ice cream.  I just love how much they love each other (usually, anyway).  🙂

 

Nature Walk Pullover for Jacob

I haven’t been blogging nearly as much as I used to.  I blame this on several things.  Firstly, I am seriously lacking time.  I’m lucky if I get sewing time these days, let alone find time to actually blog about what I’ve made.  Secondly, I realized that I don’t really NEED to blog about EVERYTHING I’ve made.

I knew I wanted to make the Nature Walk Pullover by none other than Oliver and S, for Jacob as soon as I saw Gail’s version.  I even sort of copied her fabric choice.  Well, I didn’t “sort of copy”.  I pretty much entirely copied, except for the colour.  It’s Shetland flannel in denim from Robert Kaufman.   This was the first time I’ve sewn with really nice flannel.  I think what I’ve thought of as flannel, has actually been flannelette.  Which is fine for jammies, but THIS is fantastic for garments.   I had no idea!

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I actually made this around five months ago.  Maya and Jacob were having class photos taken and I wanted them each to have Mommy-made clothes on, but I didn’t want them to be matchy matchy.   Maya wore her Jumprope dress and I wanted Jacob to wear this.

It was a really enjoyable sew.  I was even able to use some coveted fabric (Moon Patrol by cloud 9) as subtle details in the facings of the pockets.  Like Gail, I chose to use all one fabric for the pullover.  I like the simplified look of a single fabric sometimes.

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I love the kangaroo pocket on the front, though I do have to remind Jacob that it’s there.  He doesn’t have near the obsession with pockets as Maya has.  🙂

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As much as I love it, it is a little tricky to get on.  It is a woven pullover afterall so I suppose that’s to be expected.  I’m not sure it would work in a knit. If someone has tried it, I would love to hear about it.

These two steal my heart every day.

These two steal my heart every day.

And yes, those are photos taken in line to see Santa Clause…..on Christmas Eve.  We made it in the Nick of time.

I had a sad moment the day I got the proofs back for the kids’ class photos.  Jacob was wearing his fleece jacket on TOP of his awesome shirt!  Now I don’t know if he didn’t want to take it off, or if his teachers thought that his jacket was a sweater.  Either way, he’s super adorable in his photo.  And I can’t very well post Jacob’s school photo and not Maya’s, so here she is, too.  🙂

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This photo was taken on Christmas Eve.  We live in Ottawa, which is ridiculously cold in the winter.  And the kids are eating popsicles.  It was unseasonably warm this year and there was no snow to be seen.  In fact, if I hadn’t put their bikes away for the season a month earlier, they would have been able to bike.  On Christmas Eve, 2015.  Craziness!

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The Prince (aka Prince Ferdinand) – a little tutorial

I’m a wee bit late with my Disney posts…but better late than never, right?

You can’t have Snow White without her Prince.  And a handsome prince he is. (If I do say so myself).  I had to google it, but yes, Snow White’s prince’s name is Ferdinand.  But I think in the movie, he is referred to as “The Prince”.

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I had a hard time finding a pattern for his outfit.  In fact, it’s hard to find Disney-esque costumes for boys.  That is why I am forced to come up with my own from patterns that already exist.

The Prince’s top looked sort of art smock-ish, so I started with the “bias-trimmed apron” pattern from Little Things to Sew (by Liesl Gibson of Oliver and S).  I pretty much just winged this costume, but I took some photos as I was going along so I’m going to explain my process as I go.

The Bias-trimmed apron has full sides and a velcro or snap back to make it easy to pull on.  I wanted to make it even simpler, so I used only the front pattern piece and used it for the front and the back.  Because it’s made with woven fabric with no stretch, I cut the front neckline a bit deeper so it would go over Jacob’s head.  I kept trying it on over his head, till I was happy.  In hindsight, I probably should have kept some sort of opening at the back, but as a costume, I think it turned out just fine.

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I didn’t use the instructions for the apron, just the pattern piece.

I started by sewing and serging the shoulder seams.

I wanted it to go over his head and I also wanted it to close with tabs instead of being fully enclosed on the sides.  I knew I was going to be wrapping some sort of gold rope around so I wanted it as open as possible to decrease the bulk when the rope was tied.

To create the tabs, cut out 8 tabs from your fabric.

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Sew 2 of them them wrong sides together  (4 times, to make 4 tabs), and flip them right sides out pushing the rounded edges out with a knitting needle to make a smooth curve.

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Attach  each tab partway up the sides.  There were notches on the pattern piece where the original sides should have been attached; use these for placement.

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Baste the tabs to the wrong side of the smock.

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I bought some gold bias trim by the meter and attached it cheater-style to the outer edge and the neckline.  By cheater style, I just sandwiched the fabric in the bias and edge stitched it in place.

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Lastly was the fun bit.  Not!  I bought some gold cording in the drapery department of Fabricland and hand stitched it to the back neckline, up to the shoulder seam.  By stitching it only at the back, it’s easier to adjust the fit as kids get bigger.  I just sort of wrap it around and tie in the front.

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Now for the cape.  I just sort of winged this one as well.  I found several tutorials online for Prince capes, but in the end I just sort of drew the general shape on my fabric and attached the same gold bias, leaving tails long enough to tie.

So there you have it.  One Prince Ferdinand costume.

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I know I’m biased….but how cute!  Prepare for photo overload.

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Cape and autographs!

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My favourite Oliver and S Pattern

A few things have happened over the past couple of months that prevented me from blogging (and sewing) as I would have liked. I had jaw surgery (I am fine, healing slowly…but at least I can eat solid food again), we took a family vacation (will talk about that in some future posts) and I was writing a post (and sewing) for the Oliver and S blog.   When Rachel asked me to contribute to the “my favorite pattern” series, I was beyond thrilled!  I even sewed 2 more after she asked.

To find out what my favourite pattern is, you’ll have to jump on over to the Oliver and S blog to see. 🙂

Back to School

Well, both kids are back to school.  I realize Jacob is only 2.5, so saying he is in “school” seems like a stretch.  But alas, they are both at school.

This year Jacob moved from the toddler program into Casa.  So he and Maya are actually in the same class.  They were both so excited to be together.  They aren’t actually together the whole day.  They have a work period with the whole class (casa 1, 2 and 3) and then they split up for much of the rest of the day.  Jacob goes to the sleep room in the afternoon for a much needed nap,  and Maya goes to the resting room. I wonder how much “rest” she’s actually getting.

Anyway, onto the clothes.

As you may recall, my husband and I went to New York City for a quick weekend getaway for our 5th wedding anniversary in May whereby I discovered the mecca of all fabric stores:  Mood Fabrics.  You could literally spend a week in that place and not see it all I think.

I bought this shirting fabric there.  It is so soft and drapes so nicely.  And though it’s 100% cotton, I don’t think I could wrinkle it if I tried.  Which is perfect, because I hate ironing finished garments.  (Just ask my husband about his button up shirts).

I think it works just as well for dresses for girls and shirts for boys.

This is the first time I’ve sewn both of these patterns.  Maya’s dress is the “Jumprope Dress” by Oliver and S and Jacob’s shirt is the “Sketchbook Shirt” also by Oliver and S.  Have I mentioned before how much I love Oliver and S?!

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Neither of them were a quick sew.  But I knew that going in.  I’ve seen plenty Jumprope dresses in blog land to know what I was getting myself into.

There’s a collar, button placket, sleeve tabs, belt loops and buttoned pockets.  Nothing necessarily “new” to me, but I haven’t sewn so many of these elements in a single garment before.

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It’s not that the pattern is difficult, it was just time consuming.  Combining the facts that the kids are going to bed later (bye bye 6pm bedtimes), I work full time and I’m trying to keep on top of all things family and home related, I don’t get as much time sewing.  So my hour or two here and there are really precious.  I think this dress took 4 or 5 evenings from start to finish.  But I LOVE it.  Like, really love it!  I kind of want one for myself.

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I may have had to cut the bodice out a couple of times because I forgot to match my plaids the first time around.  But I’m glad I noticed and that I had plenty of fabric to recut the back and match it to the front.  That’s the only problem with plaids…the matching.  But it’s not difficult to do, especially with well marked patterns.  It’s easy just to match the notches on a certain “mark” on the front, find the same repeating “mark” and place the back piece.  I love Oliver and S for that.  It makes matching patterns really easy.  As long as you actually remember to do it and don’t just put your pattern piece down willy nilly.  But enough about that.

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Maya actually likes this dress!  It’s all in the delivery.  I told her it was twirly and had secret pockets and bam! instant love.

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I decided to use pearl snaps instead of buttons.  A bit finicky, but I love the look.

Now onto Jacob’s shirt.  This was my first time making the Sketchbook shirt.  I’ve made the shorts before (here), and I have made button down shirts (here and here).  But this pattern was new to me.

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I chose to do a combination of view A and B.  The collar from A with the short sleeves from B.  I definitely chose well by making it short sleeved for several reasons.  One, it’s chilly in the morning, but still gets quite warm by noon.  Also, the kids’ classroom is quite warm and my kids are furnaces on a cool day.  But mostly because the short sleeves are simple.  A hem and that is all.  I “may” try to make a long sleeved one some day, but all the details that make it super handsome (extra buttons and plackets) are also that details that are still a bit intimidating to me.

Goofy boy

Goofy boy

My collar is definitely not perfect, and I had a bit of trouble attaching everything (seems to be a common occurance based on my research), but I still like it.  It doesn’t help when you start something the day before your child needs to wear it either.  I would recommend giving yourself 2 to 3 evenings to sew this shirt, instead of the afternoon and evening I took.

Jacob button placket and collar

I cut the placket and the back yoke on the bias.  I think it adds a little something extra.

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When I finish something for the kids, it’s always at night when they are sleeping.  I don’t sew when they are awake.  I barely get to see them with school and work getting in the way, so I always wait to sew till they are sleeping.  Because I finish at night, I like to put whatever it is on a stand or mannequin and then put it in their room so they see it when they wake.  It seems to make them really want to wear it.  The morning they saw these was extra special, not only because they had matching outfits (I’ll be sad when they don’t want to match each other anymore), but also because it was Jacob’s first day of Casa and them being in the same class.

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How have my babies grown so much!?  Wasn’t Jacob just born?!

Jacob first day of school blog

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.  

 
  
  

Zebras Galore!

There was a time, not that long ago, when I decided to try my hand at sewing.  I enjoyed it right from the first stitch.  But I couldn’t ever see myself sewing a wardrobe for anyone.  Fast forward a couple of years, and tada! Maya’s closet is more than 50% filled with clothes I have made for her.  I haven’t bought her any summer clothes this year.  She has clothes that still fit from last year and she also has clothes that I bought in previous years “for the future” that now fit her.  I have no intention of making all of her leggings, underwear, undershirts or pajamas.  But dresses, tops and skirts…sign me up!

Off to the park to do some yoga

Off to the park to do some yoga

Onto the goods.  This is the LOL Swing Top by Jennuine Designs.  It’s a really loose and flowy, racer back tank top.  It’s almost a circle top…kinda sorta anyway.  It’s much wider in the back than the front which makes it super swingy.

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It’s a pretty straight forward, simple sew.  I had a bit of trouble attaching the back yoke to the front.  The way Jenn has you attach them together is clever, but I mixed my left from my right and had to unpick and restitch.  It’s just a matter of paying attention and going slowly for that step.  I’m not always the best at taking my time, especially when I tend to sew late into the night.

I just love the contrast back yoke.

I just love the contrast back yoke.

The pattern calls for single fold narrow bias binding.  I wish I had cut my own binding because I used regular double fold bias and it does look quite thick on the armholes and neckline.

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This top can be made in knit or woven.  This one is woven.  I haven’t tried the knit version yet.  Maybe next year.  The woven version has a button on the shoulder so you can actually put it on.  The knit version is stretchy enough that you don’t need it.  I used a snap that blends in pretty well with the back yoke.

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This fabric is part of the Origami Oasis line by Michael Miller.

Summersault!

Summersault!

Now for the shorts.  Seeing as I have a love affair with Oliver and S, I thought I would try the Puppet Show Shorts.

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This pattern also comes with a cute blouse.  This is one of several patterns released that only go up to a size 5.  If you want to check out the “size 5” project over on the Oliver and S blog, you can find it here.  I decided to “unofficially” take part.  Maya is in a size 4, so I still have a bit of time before she outgrows those patterns, so I plan on making them all (we’ll see if that happens).

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These shorts have a subtle bubble look.  I was worried they might be too tight on Maya’s legs, but they are absolutely perfect.  There’s not much to say about the shorts. They have an elastic waistband, and super cute bubble pockets with trim.  The hem of the shorts is gathered slightly into binding.  They are a simple sew and oh so adorable!

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And now for some photos, just because.

I love how close Maya and Jacob have gotten.  Now that Jacob is a bit older, they really play so nicely together.  Usually.  Of course they still have their trying moments.  But for the most part they are best friends.  I love watching them grow.

PicMonkey Collage 2

Origami Oasis Class Picnic Shorts

I am determined to blog quite a bit over the next couple of weeks. I have made quite a few things over the past couple of months, and haven’t found the time to take photos or write about them. So here goes.

As you may remember from this post, the gauchos I made for Miss Maya were actually too small. I was going to try to alter them in some way to make them fit, but summer came on quickly and the kids were in shorts quite a while ago. So instead of trying to fumble my way through an alteration (which I have never done before), I decided to try a new pattern using the same twill fabric.

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These are the Class Picnic shorts from Oliver and S. They really are adorable.  I made a couple of the Class Picnic blouses a few months ago, but this is my first time sewing the shorts.

It was a really straight forward sew, thanks to the awesome instructions. The only part I found a bit fiddly, was trying to get the accent fabric curve to be perfectly smooth. If you don’t look too closely, I think they look pretty good.

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These have a flat front and an elastic back. I love the clean look of the front, with the ease of elastic for Maya to dress herself.

Flat Front

Flat Front

Elastic Back

Elastic Back

The pattern pieces look intimidating at first, until you start to put them together and it all makes perfect sense.

I decided to use leftover Origami Oasis border fabric from the Grace top for the contrast on the shorts. They didn’t turn out exactly as I had envisioned. The birds are fairly sparse on the fabric so you don’t see as many of them as I would have liked. Oh well. They’re still cute.

These shorts are perfect for all sorts of fun summer activities.  Like:

running

running

swinging

swinging

 

sliding

sliding

running up hills

going up hills

running down hills

running down hills

rolling down hills

rolling down hills

and looking at the sky

and looking up at the sky

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Happy sewing everyone!  I hope you’re having a great summer!

A long overdue Ice Cream Dress (and a pseudo pocket tutorial)

I have had this exact dress on my mind for over a year.  I bought this combination of fabric to specifically make an Oliver and S Ice Cream dress.  I loved Gail’s version here and had to make one.

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This is a super sweet dress.  It’s not structured, so I imagine it’s probably pretty comfy.  Maya wore it all day, even though it doesn’t twirl.  She did twirl in it though and I made a big deal that it “does” in fact, twirl…a little bit.  Well…not really, but if I can convince Maya that it is twirling, she is more likely to actually wear it.

Here she is...mid "twirl".

Here she is…mid “twirl”.

There are different ways to make this dress.  A top or dress, with/without pockets, with/without notch and you can also play with colourblocking.  I chose to do View A with notches.

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The pockets are perfect for my dandelion loving little girl.

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I think Maya will be able to wear this for several years.  I have a love/hate relationship with dresses for Maya.  I LOVE making them, I love making them so much, that when they last for so long, it means I really shouldn’t make so many.  But I still do.

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This was a very straightforward pattern, as is standard with Oliver and S patterns.  For the most part.  I had a feeling I would run into a bit of trouble with the back closure because I had read about it on several occasions.  I don’t really know how to describe the issue, but I feel like if you are SUPER PRECISE when clipping the seam allowance at the closure, you MAY not have an issue.  There is a bit of raw edge peeking through that drives me a little batty, but I tried to stitch over it and I think unless you know it’s there, you would never see it anyway.  But I’m a bit of a perfectionist so it will continue to bother me.

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Despite the closure issue, I really love this dress. And I will most likely make another one.

This is a straight size 4.  No modifications whatsoever.  Both fabrics are from JoAnn’s.

I have never done a “tutorial” before, and I don’t even know if this qualifies as one.  It’s more of a, “hey there’s this really cool technique for adding patch pockets that I read about somewhere and I thought I would show you how I did it” post.

I honestly don’t remember where I saw this.  I wish I did so I could link it.  But it’s brilliant!

Basically it’s this.  Cut the pocket out of the the “pocket placement” guide on the pattern piece before you pin (or iron in my case)  your pattern piece to the RIGHT side of your fabric.  (You can do it afterwards if you’ve forgotten.)  Continue as normal, but leave your pattern piece on the cut fabric.  Prepare your patch pocket and place in the hole of your pattern piece.  Pin it.  Remove pattern piece.  Stitch on.  Tada!  Done!  Easy peasy.  No measuring in so many inches, up so many, trying to use a marker underneath the pattern piece, no more chalk papers and tracing wheels.  Seriously.  Mind blowing and so simple.  Maybe everyone knows this, but I did not, and so I share.

Step 1:  cut the pocket placement markings out on your freezer paper (or whatever you used to transfer your pattern to)

Step 1: cut the pocket placement markings out on your freezer paper (or whatever you used to transfer your pattern to)

Step 2:   make your patch pocket as per instructions.

Step 2: make your patch pocket as per instructions.

Step 3:  place your pocket in the hole and pin into place

Step 3: place your pocket in the hole and pin into place

Step 4:  remove the pattern piece (freezer paper) and sew pockets into the perfect place.

Step 4: remove the pattern piece (freezer paper) and sew pockets into the perfect place.

Happy sewing everyone!

Tiptoeing through the tulips (?) in his sketchbook shorts

Before I looked through Jacob’s dresser for his summer clothes, I decided to make these shorts.  It’s a good thing I made them before I knew he had about a bazillion pairs of shorts, because I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

Look how cute!

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These are the sketchbook shorts from Oliver and S.  Such a fantastic pattern.  Like usual, all the pieces fit together perfectly.  The little details, like the fake fly and the side pockets put these shorts over the cuteness edge.  I even added a button to the front.  There’s an option to do a flat front, and if these were a dressier pair of shorts I would have chosen that.  But seeing as these are pretty casual shorts, I kept it simple and just added elastic throughout.

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Jacob isn’t a very big boy.  He still wears 18-24 month store bought shorts.  2T normally look like capris and fall down when he walks.  That’s the great thing about making clothes yourself.  You are able to adjust the waist and shorten or lengthen the legs among other things.  I decided to still make the 2T in these because based on the pattern pieces, the length looked okay and it is simple enough to shorten the elastic in the waist to ensure they don’t fall down.  Also, this way I’m pretty sure he will be able to wear them next summer as well.

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We went to the Canadian Tulip Festival a few weekends ago.  Turns out, going on the last weekend of the festival means the tulips are pretty much all dead.  In past years we’ve gone  closer to the beginning of May and there are many more tulips in bloom.  The kids still had a blast.  There was a clown, afterall.  And ice cream.

These two love each other so much!

These two love each other so much!

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The fabric I used was Military Plaid from the Military Max line by Riley Blake.  I love the plaid. Originally I bought it to make a button up shirt, but I much prefer them as shorts I think.  I thought it was going to be tricky to match up the plaids, but it turned out to be easier than I thought.  Not too shabby.

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This little guy steals my heart every day.  He is such a happy, sensitive, loving little boy.

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He’s definitely not a baby any more.

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But he sure is handsome!

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