Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Kids Clothes Week: Monkeys and Mushrooms

Up next in our Tour d’ Ivy’s Wardrobe is pajamas!

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I used two related patterns for Ivy’s spring pajamas, both from Ottobre 6/2009 issue.  I used patterns #34 and #35 for the Monkey PJs.  It’s a pant and raglan set.

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I shortened the sleeves and added a cuff to them, but other than that, stayed on-pattern.  The fabric is fabulous! It’s a fun knit I picked up at Nuttal’s in American Fork a few months ago with Paul Frank’s Julius Monkey design and hearts all over.  I am tempted to go see if they have more.  The quality is top notch and Ivy and I both love the print.  When Ivy was born, her brothers made her a stuffed monkey at Build-A-Bear to bring to her at the hospital.  These PJs are now her “Banana PJs”, named after her monkey friend.

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They were fast and easy to sew, and they look comfortable. I’m guessing, judging by the fact she insisted on wearing them for most of the day after I made them, that they are, in fact, comfortable.

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The second PJs are actually a nightgown. 

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This is #36 from the 6/2009 issue.  Basically, it’s just #34 (the top from above) extended to dress length.  Again, I shortened the sleeves, but didn’t do cuffs.  Again, super easy to sew.  Even easier than the other set, since it’s just a large tee.  The fabric is from Jo-Ann Stores’ Doodles line, in a retro mushroom print.  I’ve heard that the Doodles knits shrink horribly with each washing.  Ivy got washable markers on these PJs the first night she wore them, before I got pictures.  I washed and dried the dress on high heat, and it did shrink a tiny bit.  I had prewashed the fabric prior to sewing, so this was the second wash/dry.  We’ll see if the fabric continues to shrink.  Hopefully, if it does, it won’t be too much.

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Between the print and the raglan sleeves, this night dress feels very 70s to me, and I love it!  I always had nightgowns as a girl.  My favorite said “Chatterbox” on the front, and I wore it with great pride.  I may have to make Ivy one that says, “Jumping Queen”.

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And maybe a matching set for Bananas.

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Monkey PJs: Ottobre Designs 6/2009 #34 & #35, size 92cm.  Fabric is interlock cotton knit, Julius by Paul Frank, from Nuttal’s
Mushroom Nightdress: Ottobre Designs 6/2009 #36, size 92cm.  Fabric is interlock cotton knit, Doodles line from Jo-Ann Stores

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Kids Clothes Week: Pink Elephants

I’m back from my little sabbatical with a grumpy girl in a jumpsuit.  A Pink Elephant Jumpsuit.
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While I was away, I painted seven rooms and two stairways/hallways in my house, including trim and doors.  I cleaned out about 30 garbage bags of junk, donating most and trashing the rest. I redecorated five rooms and cleaned out four closets.  I sewed curtains and pillows, and even a quilt.  I read almost a dozen books and watched an indulgent amount of TV and movies. It was a much needed break and I feel fantastic.  But I am super excited to get back to sewing and sharing.  I think it’s good to get away from the routine every once in a while and reevaluate and reprioritize.

It’s Kids’ Clothes Week: Spring this week, and the timing is perfect to jump back into garment sewing.  Ivy finally had a growth spurt, and the spring and summer wardrobe she’s been wearing for the past two years is mostly outgrown.  So this week is going to be mostly about outfitting The Girl, starting with a little Pink Elephant jumpsuit.   
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The theme for Kids Clothes Week this round is Wild Thing.  Elephants are wild, right?  The fabric is from Funkalicious Fabrics, by Baby Nay.  I bought some of this fabric from another source years ago, to make cloth diapers for a friend’s baby girl.  I loved it then, and I love it now.  It’s a great quality baby rib, with such a pretty, fun print.  I was super excited when I saw it at Funkalicious.  It was great for the body of the jumpsuit.  But I also used it for the binding, and I don’t feel like it worked as well for that.

The pattern is from Ottobre 3/2015, #14 Passerine Jersey Jumpsuit.  It has no closures; the wearer steps into the jumpsuit through the neckline, and then pulls the entire thing up, in kind of an awkward way.  It’s probably a horrible choice for a three year old, but it’s just so dang cute!  Fashion is sacrifice.  It has some fun design elements, like front and back pleats and hip pockets. (also note my daughter’s beautiful body art.  She’s opening up her own tattoo shop soon)

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And then a sweet drop-back with a band bridging the shoulders.  Ivy measures just less than 92cm in height, the smallest the pattern runs.  But she is also very slight, so the jumpsuit is wide on her.  It also doesn’t help that I used the baby-rib fabric of the main jumpsuit, for the binding as well.  I think if I had used a cuff rib, it would have brought things up and together more.  Next time. 

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And I am planning on a next time.

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Because this thing is freaking adorable on my kid. 

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If I thought I could pull of the baggy-bum, pleated mid-section look, I’d totally make one for myself.

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Jumpsuit:  Ottobre 3/2015, #14 Passerine Jersey Jumpsuit, size 92cm.  Fabric is by Baby Nay from Funkalicious Fabrics
Salt Water Sandals by Hoy Shoe The Original Sandal (affiliate link)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

sew in tune: stolen dance

It’s time for one of my very favorite sewing series ever: Sew in Tune.  Hosted by Melly Sews and Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy, the idea of Sew in Tune is to take music, any music, and sew an outfit inspired by that music.  This is my third year participating (you can see my 90’s Grunge/Nirvana look on Jonas HERE and my Cake Alpha Beta Parking Lot look on Kael HERE). I let Seth, my nine year old take the lead this time.  He chose one of his current favorite songs, Stolen Dance by the German band Milky Chance.

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After quite a bit of back and forth between my newly-tweened son and I, we settled on a look that is muted, moody and self-denyingly cool; like their musical inspiration, and frankly, like my kid.

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Seth is picky, super picky.  My other two boys, I can pretty much convince to wear, and like, almost anything I make for them. But not Seth, ever. If it isn’t his idea, or in his very specific style, he won’t like it, and he certainly won’t wear it.  Every idea I came up with for the look, he quickly shot down.  Finally, after watching the music video for the 100th time and searching through Google images of the band for inspiration, he sighed, pointed to the a picture of the two band members, and asked, “Can’t you just make me clothes like they’re wearing?!”
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Yes.  Yes, son, I can.
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I started with a pair of Paperback Writer Pants from Ottobre 6/2010, in a heavy-weight, khaki-colored denim.  This pattern is my very, very favorite jeans patterns for my boys.  The fit is perfect, the cut is modern and classic at the same time, and I just love every pair I’ve made.  I think I’m up to at least five now.

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Seth needed a comfortable, grey sweater for this look, and the Bimaa pattern by Lou Bee Clothing, with its shawl collar option, was the perfect match.  Unfortunately, I totally forgot that I wanted to attach the shawl collar off-center, like Clemens Rehbein’s (the singer).  Darn it.  It would have been super cool off-center.  Maybe next time.  I did change the pattern just a tiny bit.  I lengthened the body, and widened the cuffs and hem band, all to try to give the sweater a bit more of a bulky feel.   The fabric is a sweater knit from

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From the start, I wanted to make a concert tee for my look.  Even before we’d settled on a song, I knew I wanted to make a graphic, possibly vintage-poster-inspired shirt.  Seth *hated* the idea.  I was sure I could sway him with a cool design, though, and set to hours of work sketching out what I thought was a pretty cool graphic.  I incorporated the guitar the band uses in the video (Baton Rouge with a side cut-out.  I did my research.) and some of the lyrics from the song.  He still hated it.  Like, cringed and physically recoiled when I proudly showed it to him.  This kid.  Heaven help us both in the teen years to come.   Still, I wasn’t ready to give up the graphic tee idea.

And then I found Lumi Photo Printing Kit (affiliate link) at Jo-Ann while fabric shopping, and things fell into place for a tee we both liked.

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In the Stolen Dance music video, the singer sits and plays while[what looks like] old home movies are projected over the top of him and the white wall behind him.  There’s lots of palm tree and highway looking scenes.  None are easy to make out, but that’s the general imagery that I see.

So, I googled “70’s California photos” and came across this postcard (that, of course, now I can no longer find the original source.  Sorry!)


I didn’t have the recommended 100% cotton, and it’s my first time using the Lumi kit, so things didn’t turn out perfect.  But I think the tee is still pretty cool, and you get that washed-out, vaguely palm-treey, vintagy feel.  Best of all, when I nervously showed the shirt to Seth, he grinned and said, “That’s really cool!” and ran over to grab it from me.

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Huge sigh of relief.

I used two thrifted tee shirts for my fabric, using the hems of the shirts for the hem and sleeve cuffs of the tee for Seth.  The pattern is the Mickey from Ottobre 6/2010, without the front neck placket.

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The beanie was an afterthought.  I used some leftovers from the Bimaa and the free Slouchy Beanie pattern from Heidi & Finn.  Seth refused to wear it at first, and gave me some serious eye-roll when he saw me grab it for our shoot anyway.  But then he got cold and tried it on.  And he loved it!  He wore it the rest of the night! I won!

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And Seth did, too.  Once again, he proves that he knows best when it comes to his own personal style. 
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His personal style is pretty cool.

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And so is his music of choice.  You can watch the Stolen Dance video below:

And make sure to check out the rest of the Sew In Tune posts from this week!  Click HERE or the links below

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Sweater: Bimaa by Lou Bee Clothing, size 8, lengthened.  Fabric is sweater knit from
Tee: Mickey Shirt from Ottobre 6/2010, size 152, without placket.  Fabric is from thrifted men’s tees. Graphic made with Lumi Photo Printing Kit (affiliate link)
Jeans: Paperback Writer Pants from Ottobre 6/2010, size 134, lengthened.  Fabric is heavy-weight denim from
Nuttal’s in SLC
Hat: Slouchy Beanie pattern from
Heidi & Finn, size 6.  Fabric is sweater knit from
Palladium (affiliate link) 

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Friday, February 6, 2015

Mistakes, and Blog Around the World Hop

I was invited by Melissa of Melly Sews to participate in a Blog Around the World Hop.  It’s basically an ongoing link to all kinds of fun and different bloggers, from all over the world.  The idea is that you read about who invited me, I tell a bit about my creative process, and then I pass you along to the people I invited, who will share about themselves and the people they invited next week.  You get to meet new bloggers, or learn more about old favorites.  Kind of fun. 

First, about Melissa:

Melissa Mora blogs at Melly Sews, where she gets to combine her love of sewing, teaching and writing in one creative place. She sews in the intersection of ruffles and race cars, that sweet spot between her own girly-girl impulses and design for her two rough and tumble boys. Readers love her tutorials that make "hard" sewing skills easy and do-able.

Melissa spent 12 years in the classroom as an award-winning high school theatre teacher before leaving to become a full time blogger and the designer/owner of Blank Slate Patterns, focusing on PDF sewing patterns for modern boys, girls and women. Her customers love that her patterns strive to be a "blank slate" for their own creativity. She has over 30 years of sewing experience (she started young!) and loves to teach others the joys of sewing.

A native Texan, Melissa lives in Austin with her husband and two boys.

Now, let me biograph Melissa from my experience knowing her.  Melissa is incredibly talented and intelligent.  Remember those Bo Knows ads from way back when?  They need to do new ones with Melissa Knows, because I swear the girl knows about and can do anything, from sewing to horseback riding to theater to computer stuff.  Melissa Knows.  And Melissa shares.  She is always so giving with her knowledge and experience.  She is a natural teacher.  Go check her out at Melly Sews.

I wanted to share with you today one of the ah-ha moments in my personal sewing journey. 

It was a little over three years ago.  I had been sewing seriously, using this blog to document my attempts to teach myself to sew, for about two years.  I was routinely frustrated with all my simple, stupid mistakes in my sewing.  I didn’t want to try new things, because I couldn’t even master the techniques I had been practicing for the past couple of years.  I was embarrassed to blog what I had sewn, because then people would see my mistakes.  They would know I wasn’t perfect, that I didn’t know what I was doing and that I had no business being here, in the online sewing world.  I couldn’t even go back and look at old posts because I was so embarrassed, and every comment that would come in, I was sure it would be someone pointing out all I’d done wrong.  Insecure, yes.

And then one day I bought a white polo from Old Navy for my oldest.  I ordered it online.  He needed a new one for church and, at that point, I wasn’t confident enough to be sewing my kids anything other than play clothes.  It came, my kid wore it and I noticed that the collar didn’t lay right.  So I checked it out closely, and this is what I saw.

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Puckers and pulling at the neckline.  I had paid for this shirt.  A store had sold this shirt.  And it wasn’t perfect.  It may seem dumb, but I stared at those puckers and I felt liberated.   This sort of thing would have me swearing and declaring the project an embarrassing reminder of my failures, if I had sewn it.  But I had just paid money for this flawed shirt.  If I didn’t sew, I probably would never have even noticed its imperfection.  Maybe, but not likely. 

Because of those puckers on that shirt, I started to realize that mistakes were part of creating something, part of the construction, part of the process.  And it’s okay.  They happen.  Sometimes a lot.  It doesn’t mean I am lacking as a person, it just means I messed up and I can try to avoid that particular mistake in the future.  I can forgive myself for my mistakes. 

It was after this moment, that I started to try new things in my kid-sewing, like jeans.  And that led to sewing more for myself.  And all of that trying new things, led to me knowing how to do more things, and getting better at old things. And just not being afraid to just go for it.   I still make tons of mistakes.  Tons.  I can’t think of one thing I’ve ever sewn that doesn’t have something about it I can point out to you that I wish I’d done differently.  But I don’t beat myself up over it any more as much as I used to.  I actually think, so many times during my sewing,  about this collar on this shirt.  Mistakes happen.  I don’t have to be afraid to make them.  If anything, the mistakes are proof that I tried.  And they serve as a benchmark for future improvement.  So let’s go make some mistakes!

Make sure to read about Melissa’s creative process HERE.  And next week, you can read some personal thoughts from these two amazing women on their blogs:


Karly from Paisley Roots is mum to 5 silly monsters  and brownie lover for life.  She loves to sew and with her family’s "Lanky" gene's it's very much needed! Karly sews amazing things, gorgeous things. She has such a cool, yet practical style, I always love seeing what she comes up with.  Karly has a pattern shop, with two fantastic dress patterns, that reflect her unique, modern take on kidswear.  She also has a blog where she shows off her creations for herself and her children, like THIS absolutely darling outfit she made her daughter.  I want that top for myself!  Karly is also sweet and funny, and has great legs.  She’s just all around wonderful.  Read Karly HERE on her blog and shop her HERE at her shop.

Ari from Max California is just about the most amazing, coolest, sincere person I have never actually met in real life.  I first saw her blog back when Vincent, her son was a baby.  I browsed around for a bit and quickly came to the conclusion that this person was far more hip, exciting, and just plain awesome than I would ever be.  And then one day she commented on my blog and I was pretty much completely star struck. From there I stalked her until we became online friends.  It took me and embarrassingly long time to figure out she wasn’t actually from California, nor was she named Max.  She lives in Australia with her husband and two absolutely gorgeous children.  Ari’s style is funky and fresh, with just a touch of Geek Chic that just puts her over the top of all things Rad.  Her kids’ stuff is edgy and cool, and like nothing anyone else is sewing, but also totally wearable and fun.  It’s amazing.  And the stuff she sews for herself? So good.  First of all, she’s insanely talented.  Second, she’s a babe.  Proof: THIS DRESS, and so, so much more.  Pretty much everything she touches turns into awesome, as you can see from every single thing on her blog HERE

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Winter Waikiki

Ivy started [indoor] swim lessons this week.  When I pulled out her suits that she wore all summer long, I discovered that the kid grew a little over the past few months, after all.  Who knew!?  None of her suits fit.  Lucky for her, I have a bit of swimsuit knit in my stash, and the Waikiki Swimsuit from Peek A Boo Patterns (affiliate) that I bought 2.5 years ago and had never gotten around to.

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I’ve made her two Waikikis so far, and I am super tempted to whip up a few more.  The pattern is super adorable, and super fast.  And did I mention super adorable?

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Ivy really loves the bum ruffles.  A lot.  Also, our local pool requires all kids three and under to wear swim diapers, potty trained or not.  So her bum and lower half look a little bulky and…odd, but it’s the diapers.  We took pictures really fast before her lessons, so it just is what it is.

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I made the two suits, but did them just a little bit different. 

The first suit I made was the simple butterfly print. 

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The fabric is all from Jo-Ann stores, with the print in the Red Tag section.  The trim and the lining are both part of the regular stock.  I made this one more as a muslin, to make sure the fit would be okay and that I would actually end up with a functional suit.  I didn’t add any of the pattern’s ruffles, and instead of the halter-style tie at the neck, I crisscrossed the straps and secured them at the back of the suit, then trimmed.

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Here, you can see the coverage of the suit is really great in the back. 

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And you can see, there is a bit of gapping at the back, between the straps.  I ended up making the second suit more narrow, and I also probably should have placed the straps a bit more closely.  And the pattern isn’t for a crisscross back, I just did that.

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I also wish I had made the straps just a bit shorter.  The front dips down a little more than I’d like in the front.  I will probably go back and fix it.  Also, she was in such a funny mood this morning, taking these pictures.  She kept dancing and striking really interesting poses. 

And then she decided to be a bunny.

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And I about died.  She’s pretty much the best. 

Both suits are fully lined, this one in white.  The crotch seams are both enclosed within the lining, so it’s smooth through that area, which is really nice.

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The pattern recommends using a twin needle.  I don’t know why, but I am really intimidated by twin needles and have yet to ever use one.  So I did a zig zag stitch at the legs on this suit.  It worked out pretty well.  Not super clean, but not horrible.

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And the suit works great!  Other than that gaping mentioned earlier, the fit is fantastic.  And if I’d gone with the halter, on pattern, in the first, the gaping would be a nonissue anyway. I went with a size 2T based off Ivy’s measurements, and the length is perfect. 

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The next suit is my favorite.  Like, ever. 

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I stuck completely to pattern on this one.  So you’ve got the ruffles in the front and in the back

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Which Ivy could not stop touching, she loved them so much.  I don’t blame her.
My machine, however did not like the fabric I used on the ruffles.  It is the same as what I lined the suit with, just some basic swim lining from Jo-Ann.  But my machine kept catching and pulling and the thread kept breaking.  GAH!  It was super frustrating, and the ruffles kept shifting and bunching wrong.  But I eventually made it through.  And now I feel maybe I should be-ruffle all the bums!

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As much trouble as the ruffles gave me, the lining fabric worked great as a lining (go figure, right) and the binding.

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I made this suit *right* after making the first, and it was late, and I was tired.  But I wanted to get it done because I was loving the pattern and the fabric.  In my tired stupidity, I decided to skip the step where the pattern says to baste the lining to the main fabric all around before sewing things up.  And I paid for that omission at the leg openings.

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Thing did not end up lining up there, and it’s pretty messy on the inside.  Thankfully, you can’t see any of that mess from the outside.

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Also, I did a stretch stitch at the legs, instead of the zigzag, like on the previous suit.  I’m not sure which I like better.

What I am sure of?  How very, very, very much I love the back of this suit
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Having to tie a halter on a three year old, with her hair falling in the way and catching, isn’t super fun.  By my word! It’s just so cute!

So, I was going to tell you all about the fabulous fabric I used on this Waikiki, the Eiffel Tower print.  I adore it.  I got it at Funkalicious Fabrics on Etsy.  And when I checked yesterday it was even on clearance for super cheap.  But then I shared the info on Instagram, along with the picture of Ivy’s back above.  And it sold out.  If you ever find it, though, grab it because it is just lovely.  The print is so fun, and the fabric is nice and thick with a super soft hand.  So the Eiffel print is gone, but there are other fun swim knits in her shop.
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You can grab the Waikiki Suit from Peek A Boo Patterns HERE
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