Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas PJs 2014

A week until Christmas, which means it’s time to share this 2014’s Cousin Christmas Pajamas!  YAY!

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Every year for the past five years, my mom and I have gotten together and made matching pajamas for all her grandkids.  It is one of my very favorite traditions, and also one that I am super glad we only do once a year!  At last year’s PJ-opening on Christmas Eve (when she gives the kids their PJs, labeled from “PJ Elf”), my sister requested, half-joking, that the next year we should do old-timey-style long johns, complete with bum flap.  So…

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11 pair of old-timey-style bum-flap long john’s were made!

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We actually only have ten kids to wear them right now.  One of my sisters is due with a baby less than two weeks after Christmas, though, so we wanted to be prepared just in case the little one makes an early appearance.  Plus, tiny long johns!
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We used Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop’s Lil’ Long John pattern (affiliate links) for ten of the PJs.  The pattern is fabulous, with a size range of newborn through a child’s 12.  The littlest sizes include crotch snaps, making thing easy for diaper changes.

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And of course, includes the bum flaps! The flaps are just decorative, there is no hole under them, which my mom and I decided was a probably a very good thing.

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For the eleventh pair, for my 15-year old nephew, I drafted a long john pattern using the Peek A Boo pattern as direct inspiration.  I’m super nervous about the fit.  We changed the pattern for all the PJs only slightly.  We extended the front opening, and the placket further down the body of the PJs, to just above the crotch.  We just liked the look better and thought it would make for easier dressing and restroom needs. And I decided I had no desire to sew all the button holes, and then all the buttons, this many PJs would require, so we went with metal ring spring snaps.  I have a KAM snap press, and we ordered the snaps from

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The Christmas PJs always end up being my kids’ favorite PJs, and the previous years’ have all been passed on down from kid to kid.  From past experience, I’ve learned we need to clearly label the PJs, to make laundry and sorting to the right kid easier.  Last year I added tags with the kids’ ages, instead of sizes, and I liked that better for some reason.  So I did it again this year; adding a square of jersey knit stamped with ages in fabric paint at the inside center back.  I really, really, really love the way the tags look.  Like, really.

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The red thermal knit came from  We ordered 16 yards of it, which was fun to unroll and drape all over two rooms of my house while Ivy played Queen-of-the-Red-Carpet one afternoon.  But we have at least three yards leftover.  It was much wider than I had expected (I never remember to check widths when ordering), but better too much than too little, right?

Now to wait for Christmas Eve and to see all the kids in their long johns.  Fingers crossed they fit, especially that really long pair at the far left! 

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You can see all the past years’ PJs HERE

Thank you to Amy at Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop for the Lil’ Long Johns pattern (affiliate links), and for making our dreams of a gaggle of kids in bum-flapped PJs possible!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Elbsegler-German Sailor’s Cap

I love the online sewing community.  Over the past almost-five years of sewing and blogging, I have met some amazing people from all over the world.  I started following and connecting with Monika from Schneidernmeistern through Instagram a couple of years ago.  She’s a master tailor and costume designer in Germany, with some serious pattern-drafting skills.  And she’s just cool.  I love following her and seeing what she sews up for herself and her little boy, along with all the other tidbits of her life she shares.  She recently released one of her patterns in English (had already been released in German), the Hr. Schmidt & Sein Sohn Elbsegler, which is a traditional German sailor’s cap.

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My youngest son is learning German in school, in a dual immersion classroom.  He is loving it, practicing his German whenever he can, and pretty much interested in all things Germany, all the time.  I knew he’d love having a German cap, and I was super excited to sew the elbsegler up for him.  He was so excited, he wore it to school the next day, breaking the No-Hats rule, but apparently his teacher let it slide in favor of cultural appreciation.  However, now, he has informed me his teacher makes him keep it in his backpack while in the classroom, but that he pulls it out for recess.

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Hr. Schmidt & Sein Sohn, according to my rough highschool German, translates to Mr. Smith and his Son (right? I should probably google that…) And the pattern is, in fact, for both.  For the whole family, really, with sizing from baby through adult.  It’s a fully finished cap, with a lining, and interior elastic at the back to help with fit.

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I didn’t have the right kind of interfacing, and made do with what I had, so Jonas’ elbsegler is a bit more floppy than it should be.  And my kid keeps pulling it down as far on his head as he can, so the top looks more muffin-y than it would if he wore it a bit higher. Still, I love the classic look of it.

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I used a grey denim for Jonas’, with some red topstitching.  It came together easily, with clear instructions and well-fitting pattern pieces.  I’d say this is a good afternoon, or even a naptime project.  I’d like to make another in corduroy.

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You can grab the Hr. Schmidt & Sein Sohn cap HERE in English and HERE in German.  While there, check out her other patterns, as well. 

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

All Spice!

Today it’s Thanksgiving for me and mine, and I have so very, very much to be thankful for.  And like my fellow Americans everywhere, I have plans to spend the day with family eating comfort food all day long.  As a special fun treat, today’s featured pattern has a culinary link:  The All Spice Dress by Paisley Roots

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If you follow Karly from Paisley Roots, you know her designs are unique and fresh.  The All Spice is right on par with everything Karly does: sweet and sassy, versatile and funky, and just really great. 
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The pattern features a squared neckline, with a fully lined bodice, sweet little pin pleats down the front, and the option of a button-down front or a zip.  A zipper front!  How cool is that?!

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I had to go with the zipper front, since it really sets this pattern apart from the crowd.  You can also choose various sleeve options.  We went with long-sleeved for the winter.

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I used a linen blend with a funky modern print I picked up from (I think) a few years ago.  I had a specific something in mind for myself when I bought it, but I have forgotten what now, and so it seemed time to use it for something else.  The All Spice dress, with its hip and modern elements seemed the perfect pairing.  I used a turquoise zipper down the front to really make things pop.

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And it’s just super cute.

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I really had ironed and pressed it well before the photoshoot.  But then we drove to this awesome building for the pictures, and by the time we got there, the linen was all wrinkly. 

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Also, my daughter is ham.  We first took pictures at this funky wall in the building.  As soon as I pulled out the camera, Ivy started striking poses.  One after the other.  Then she turned around, wagged her bum at me and yelled, “Take a picture of my bum!”, as a crowd started to gather around to watch her and her antics.  It was awesome.  She is awesome. 

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And her new All Spice dress fits her and her awesomeness pretty well, I think!

You can grab the All Spice, or any other Paisley Roots’ pattern, at a special discount through Sunday, the 30th, at 25% off with the code: BLACKFRIDAY2014 at Paisley Roots

And you can win some rad stuff as part of the All Spice Blog Tour!
allspice sew along 2


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I was given the All Spice Dress in exchange for this post.   Pretty good deal!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bacon Bimaa

Two words for you:

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My middle son has long held an affinity for food-themed clothing.  When he was four he asked for “underwear with food on it” for Christmas.  His favorite, most-worn shirts have always been those with food puns.  Especially breakfast foods.  The boy loves clothes and he loves food.  Then I found Beloved Shirts; super realistic graphic prints, many of them food.  Seth sat and scrolled through the site giggling and making his wish list.  A few days later, they had a clearance sale and one of the prints Seth wanted was marked down drastically.  Only catch? It was in men’s sizes.  So we ordered men’s 2XL for my 50lb eight year old.  Of course.

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He wore it to bed as a night shirt for a few weeks, until I stole it from his drawer, hacked it up, and married it with one of my favorite patterns:  Lou Bee Clothing’s Bimaa

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Lou Bee just released the Bimaa in extended sizes, 6/12m-12 years.  I had previously made Bimaas for the younger kids, you can see HERE, and was crazy excited that the pattern now would work for my older boys, too.

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I had wanted to do the hoodie, but there just wasn’t enough fabric, so we went with the shawl collar option.  Seth says he likes it better;  the look of the hoodie in the front, without the bulk in the back. 

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The Bimaa’s fit is awesome.  It runs pretty trim, but on a skinny kid like mine, that’s perfect.  I added a kangaroo pocket to the front, as per my son’s request.

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We barely were able to get all the pieces for the pattern out of the shirt.  I had to do some piecing at the collar, but it isn’t too distracting.  And we used up almost every bit of the original shirt.  I even cut the tag from the collar of the 2XL, and sewed it into the side seam of the Bimaa, as a nod to where we started.

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And Seth now has a new favorite shirt.  Thank you Bimaa, Beloved and bacon!

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Vintage Kate for Christmas

Are you sewing for the holidays?  I always do. It’s one of my favorite things about this time of year, sewing special gifts and decorations.  My mom and I always make all her grandkids pajamas for Christmas Eve, and I also try to sew up new clothes for the kids and myself, if I can find the time.  This year, I’m a little ahead of the game.  At least for Ivy.  I used The Freckled Pear’s Vintage Kate Dress, and I think it turned out absolutely adorable.
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I went with a sleeveless version, because that makes total sense in the winter.  Oh, yeah.  No.  I had planned on sleeves, but as I was sewing the bodice, I just loved the look of the no-sleeves so much, I ditched them.  And now I need to make Ivy a little bolero to wear with it.  But look at those little toddler shoulders and tell me I made the wrong choice! 

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The Vintage Kate is one of a collection of dresses by The Freckled Pear.  Dana, the owner/designer has an incredible eye and talent for classic little-girl silhouettes and details.  I adore every one of her designs and have plans to make each one for Ivy.  The Vintage Kate caught my eye because of that adorable peter pan collar.  freckled pear vintage kateAnd I also seriously love those elephant appliqués.   In fact, I made two Vintage Kates!  The first one, I did almost exactly like the sample dress on the model, even down to the same colors.  I just loved it so much!  But I was lame, and, as usual, didn’t check Ivy’s measurements agianst the included size chart.  When will I ever learn? 
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So, Ivy now has a perfectly sweet, elephant-appliquéd, short-sleeved Vintage Kate dress waiting for her to grow a couple of inches and a few pounds.  Yay for planning ahead!  heh heh.      

But I enjoyed sewing the dress so much, and was so happy with the overall look, that I wanted to make one for her now.  This time, I used a stiffer plaid for the main fabric, and some black velour for the collar, all fabric from Jo-Ann Stores.  And I made a few easy, but fun changes to fancy the dress up a bit.

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I made a simple sash out of the black velour.  I still struggle with my gathering, and the sash hides my uneven gathers nicely.  Also, I think it just looks pretty fantastic.  Who doesn’t love a big bow in the back?!

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Also, I added a tulle underskirt.  I used three yards of tulle, doubled over twice (so quartered over?).  I gathered the tulle along the top, long edge.  Then I sewed the tulle directly to the skirt/bodice seam along with the skirt itself.  It was really easy.  I kept the tulle out of the zipper in the back by ending the tulle 1/2 inch from the center back on either side.  I had planned on trimming the tulle after sewing it in.  But I really loved how it peeked out below the hem of the dress. 

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I love this pattern, like all The Freckled Pear patterns, because it is sweet, age-appropriate, and classic.  The Freckled Pear dresses are Little Girl patterns.  I love that the Vintage Kate can be an every day dress or a special party dress, just by changing the fabrics, or by adding a few extra touches. 

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You can buy the Vintage Kate HERE, and be sure to check out all the sweet patterns from The Freckled Pear.   And hey!  Why not win a pattern while you’re at it?  The Freckled Pear is offering one of you a free PDF pattern from their shop!
Good luck!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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I was given the
Vintage Kate Dress pattern from The Freckled Pear.  How lucky am I?! 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Betty Skirt Love

I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot lately with little girl sewing patterns.  It couldn’t have happened at a better time.  Ivy has very little cold-weather clothing in her closet, and I’ve been busy sewing her a fall and winter wardrobe.  Today’s pattern is the Betty Skirt by Shaffer Sisters.  And friends, I love this one.

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It’s simple and sweet, classic and fashionable. 

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First, the nitty gritty of the pattern itself.  The Betty Skirt runs in sizes infant through 16.  Huge, HUGE size range. There are four different views you can sew, with full instructions included for each.  The pattern prints nicely, goes together without a hitch, and the instructions are thorough and clear with line-drawing illustrations accompanying more steps. 

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For Ivy’s Betty, I went for the gathered-skirt-with-placket option.  I used a medium-weight denim, wanting to get as much wear out of this skirt, since denim goes with pretty much anything.  I decided to fully embrace the denim, and used gold jean topstitching thread throughout.  I also added an extra row of topstitching to the bottom of the skirt yoke and side seams, just because it seemed the right thing to do.

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The instructions also explain how to do a faux or real placket.  I went with faux.  The elastic waist is more than easy enough to get the skirt on and off without a problem at all.  Because of that elasticized waist, getting a custom fit is so easy.  This is really important for me, since Ivy is so tiny and doesn’t really fit into any standard sizing very well.  Four shiny gold shank buttons finish off the denim Betty.

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I also made the top to go with the skirt.  It’s the Kensington Top by Hey!June Patterns.  So quick and easy to sew up. I screwed up the sleeve gathers, because I’m gathering-challenged.  But I think it pairs perfectly with the Betty Skirt, which, somehow, I did a  really good job gathering.

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You can pick up a copy of the Betty Skirt HERE.  Use code BETTYTOUR for 30% off!

Check out other Betty adorableness being shared around the sewing-blog world


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Top: Kensington Dress & Top Pattern by Hey!June Handmade, size 2.  Fabric is interlock knit from Funkalicious Fabrics
Skirt: Betty Skirt Pattern by Shaffer Sisters, size 18 months.  Fabric is medium-weight denim from
Nuttal’s in SLC.
Tights: Naartjie
Shoes: Squeakers (with squeak removed, because, seriously, those things are annoying!)

I was given the Betty Skirt in exchange for my review.  My review is, I adore this skirt pattern and plan on using it for years and years to come!

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