Category Archives: Sewing

Ode to a Simple Skirt

Over the last 3 years I’ve sewn a lot of things for Miss E.  While she happily wears pretty much anything I make her, there is one pattern that gets worn more than any other.  It’s not really a pattern, it’s Dana’s Simple Skirt tutorial.  Her skirt tutorial is one of my all-time favorites!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I’ve made nine simple skirts for Miss E over the last few years.  She loves them.  They’re comfy, colorful, easy to put on, and given the choice they are what she will wear on any given day.  In the summer she wears them with t-shirts and Salt Water sandals.  In the winter she wears them with leggings, sweaters, or long-sleeved shirts.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey are so easy to make, easy to embellish, and they require very little fabric.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe simplicity of the pattern allows you to add little details and make variations to the basic pattern.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis patchwork version of the Simple Skirt is Miss E’s favorite among favorites.  I made it on a lark at the beginning of the summer.  I had a bunch of scraps leftover from some projects I had completed and I decided to patch them together to make her a skirt.  It ended up being a little shorter than I wanted, so I finished the hem with bias tape.  It was a happy accident because I like the bias tape even better than a plain hemline.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis skirt was washed and worn every week for the entire summer.  It seemed like a good time to make her another.  While I was at it, I thought I would write up a quick tutorial for turning a Simple Skirt into a Patchwork Simple Skirt.

Start by reading Dana’s Simple Skirt tutorial.  She does and excellent job of explaining how to draft a pattern and construct the skirt.  Before you begin, use Dana’s formula to figure out the length and the width of your skirt.  This tutorial will simply show you how to assemble the patchwork part of the skirt.

Next, go through your scrap fabric and choose a handful of fabrics that look good together.  I’m using 14 different fabrics but you can use as few as 7. Using 7 fabrics will mean that you will have to use each type of fabric twice, maybe more depending on the size of the skirt.   As you can see, I chose a wide variety of patterns in green, orange, and purple hues. With one pop of turquoise, because turquoise is always a good idea.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn addition to the fabric you will need a sewing machine (obviously), a cutting mat, with a cutting ruler, a rotary cutter, 3/4 inch elastic, bias tape, and pins.

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Start by ironing all of your fabric.  While this might seem obvious, it’s actually an important step.  When cutting with a mat and rotary blade, it’s important to have smooth, crisp fabric.  Otherwise your lines will be wobbly.  Wobble lines = not good.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALay the fold of your fabric along one of the horizontal lines on your mat.  Using your ruler and rotary blade, trim the edge of the fabric so that it is straight and perpendicular to the folded edge.  You’re just getting a straight edge so you can begin to cut your fabric into 3.5 inch strips.  After you’ve trimmed the vertical edge of your fabric, move your ruler 3.5 inches to the left (line you ruler grid up with the grid of the mat) and cut.  Continue to cut 3.5 inch strips with the rest of your fabric.   We aren’t going to worry about cutting the length of each strip at this point.  Just be sure that each individual strip is several inches longer than you want  your skirt length to be.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you want to know how many pieces you need to cut, just take the waist measurement, double it, then divide that number by 3.  That will give you approximately the number of strips needed for your skirt.

Miss E’s waist is 19 inches, double that and I get 38 inches.  Divide 38 by 3 which (when I round up) means I need to cut 13 strips.

This is what your fabric will look like once you are done cutting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANext I lay them out in the order I want them to be sewn.  Right now we are only working on making the width of the skirt.  I’m not going to cut the length of the skirt, until all of the strips are sewn together.  By waiting to cut the top and bottom edges of the skirt, it will give me a more accurate rectangle.

I begin by sewing the strips from left to right.  I take the two strips that are on the far left, I pin them right sides together, and sew along one edge of the strips using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI use my serger to sew the fabric together.  A regular sewing machine works just fine but be sure to zig-zag the edges of the fabric before you sew them together, to prevent fraying when the skirt is washed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Once the fabric strips are sewn together, press them gently open.  Don’t be too aggressive with your pressing or you will warp you strips.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAContinue to take the next strip to the right and pin (right sides together) to the raw edge of the last strip you sewed.  Be sure to press each strip as it is added before adding another. Keep adding strips until you have reached the length you need for your skirt.  As you can see from the picture, when I pin the strips together I try to keep the top edges of the strips sort of even.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is what it will look like.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom the picture above you can see that the top edge of the strips are sort of even but the bottom edge is very uneven.  That’s okay.  We’re going to straighten out the top and bottom edges next.

Now you want to fold your skirt in half right along one of the seam lines. Line that seam up with one of the horizontal lines on the cutting mat as shown (at the back) below.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALining up your cutting ruler edge with one of the vertical lines on the mat, trim up the edges, making them even.  Be sure to get all of the edges.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Now your ready to cut the length of the skirt.  Cut the left side of the rectangle to the length of your skirt.  Using Dana’s formula, I know that I want Miss E’s finished skirt to be 13 inches long.  So I add 1.5 inches for the elastic waist band which means that the width of my skirt will be 14.5 inches.  So I measure 14.5 inches to the left, line up my ruler and cut.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is what the finished rectangle will look like.  Use the rest of Dana’s tutorial to assemble the skirt.  Last, add the bias tape around the bottom of the hem.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd here’s the finished product.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMaking the patchwork version is more work, but I think it’s worth it.  Miss E certainly thinks it’s worth the work :)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOf course you could always turn a polka dot into a daisy.  Miss E thought it was a pretty neat addition.

From the Sewing Room

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have been having so much fun in the sewing room lately!  I have picked up, and been giving some really fun fabrics that have inspired a lot of sewing for Miss E.

I’m still on my Geranium Dress kick.  This is Miss E’s fourth Geranium.  She has two dresses and two tunics.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s just a wonderfully versatile pattern with very user-friendly instructions.  Every dress I’ve made from this pattern has had it’s own distinct look.  My Mom surprised me with this citron fabric that I used for the bottom half of the dress (the fabric is Moda, and it’s called 2WENTY-THR3E by Eric & Julie Comstock).  I LOVE the colors of this fabric!  I added the solid colored top and decided it was a bit too plain, so I dressed it up with the ruffle and tiny buttons.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the things I love most about sewing is the freedom I have to personalize her clothing.  I decided to embroider her name onto the dress pocket (although she has informed me numerous times that her name is NOT spelled “all fancy like that!”).

I’m trying to include more pictures of Miss E wearing the clothes that I make, so that you can get a feel for how the pattern fits.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPersonally I really like the way the Geranium pattern fits her!  The little capped sleeves are my favorite.

These days there are more online pattern companies than you can shake a stick at, and while I really love PDF patterns not all pattern companies are equal.  Some children’s pattern companies are only interested in churning out a new pattern every few weeks, instead of really perfecting one good design.  That’s what I love about Rae’s patterns, she takes her time.  She designs clothes that fit well and look professional when finished.  She doesn’t release a pattern until it has been tested many times over and the attention to detail shows!

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This is one of the Geranium tunics I made Miss E about a month ago.  The tunics take very little fabric so it’s a good way to use up smaller pieces of fabric, especially if you mix and match like I did with this one.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a picture of E wearing her tunic with some pants I made her last week.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese little pants are so much fun to make!  They are a really satisfying project that only took an afternoon to finish (I should mention that making these pants in an afternoon meant that dinner did not happen,and my husband kindly suggested that we order pizza).  I used Meg McElwee’s Basic Pocket Pant pattern from her book Growing Up Sew Liberated.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMiss E doesn’t like to wear jeans.  She hates how thick and scratchy they are and how they bunch up around her waist.  So all last winter she wore dresses and leggings or already worn-out thrift store jeans.  This year I decided to make her some.  I used some really soft denim I found on the flat-fold table at my local fabric store.  It was crazy inexpensive, felt nice to the touch, had a cool crosshatch texture, and it was 60 inches wide!  How cool is that?…very!  I made the all denim pants first and used the opposite side of the fabric for the contrasting pockets and cuffs.  I had Miss E try them on and she looked at me with a confused look and said, “But there just pain ol’ pants!”.

So for attempt number two I decided to dress them up a bit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce again I used the opposite side of the denim for the pant legs and a floral and dot fabric for the contrasting cuffs and pockets.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe cuffs look so cute with her little feet peeking out from under them!

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Just some pictures of the pants on E.  I did have to do some alterations to the pattern.  Miss E is four-years-old and usually a 4T fits her perfectly.  I cut out the 4T and was surprised when the pants were a full 3 inches too long!  Fortunately shortening the pant legs and redoing the cuffs was no big deal, and for the second pair I just cut three inches of the bottom right away.

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She was very happy with the second pair I made her!  I can tell that she really likes them because she’s always fishing them out of the dirty clothes hamper.

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Lastly, I made this slip dress one morning a few weeks ago.  The fabric is called Neighborhood Houses by Timeless Treasures.  I found it on Etsy and just fell in love with it!  I made a simple slip dress with bias tape finish.  This is another dress that Miss E seems to favor.  She tried to wear it three days in a row, but on the third day I put my foot down and insisted that the dress must be washed!

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And that’s all the buzz from the sewing room.  I already have more fabric on order and new patterns to try out!  I’m looking forward to tackling some new projects for the littlest member in our family (who is growing out of her cloths every time I turn around!).  So stay tuned… more to come!

~April

PS- as always if you have any questions about the fabric or patterns please feel free to ask!

 

 

All Things Baby Girl

This little post is entirely dedicated to all things baby girl.  I’m finally getting around to snapping a few pictures of the things I’ve been making for her and I decided to just post them all at once.

Last month Miss E helped me drag all her old baby clothes from the shed into the house, so we could sort and wash anything that this new little one might be able to use.  Fortunately, there were lots of sweet little things that could be handed down to baby sister.  E was enthralled and happily helped me make room in their dresser for the baby’s clothes.  I wish I had taken a picture of E standing on her tippy-toes, chin resting on the edge of the drawer, looking fondly at all the little things that will belong to an already most beloved little sister.

Now this beautiful piece of workmanship I had nothing to do with.  This is the baby quilt that my mom pieced and quilted for the baby.  Isn’t it wonderful?!  There are over 50 different pieces of fabric in this quilt that my mom pulled from her fabric stash, a few from my stash, and added a dozen or so new pieces of fabric just for good measure.

I am so delighted with how it turned out!  I gave her very little instruction but somehow she managed to make something even lovelier than I had envisioned.

I made the baby a few new dresses (hand-me-downs are fun but a girl needs a few things of her own)

One again I used Rae’s free Itty Bitty pattern.  I love that pattern!  I’ve probably made close to 10 of these dressed because they are so simple!

I didn’t make this dress.  I bought it at Old Navy and added the flower applique to the bodice.

I like the contrast of the navy stripes with the feminine floral.

This is a little glimpse at her hospital bag.  Just an assortment of things I have made and collected for her stay at the hospital and for her homecoming.

This is her “coming home onesie”.  I know it’s kind of silly, but I like to have something special for the babies to wear when they come home.  This is nothing fancy but it’s fun and comfortable, and I know it will fit her right away.

In her diaper bag I also have a few sets of tiny socks and a couple burp cloths.

I also made this little zipper pouch for keeping pacifiers from floating around in the bottom of the diaper bag.

I used the Little Cutie Pouch tutorial from Noodlehead (sorry I’m being lazy this time and not including links!).  It was a fun project that went together in about 20 minutes.

And of course the bag that holds them all together.  For her diaper bag I used an old favorite pattern, Amy Butler’s Swing Bag pattern.  It’s so simple and it really is the perfect size, not too big, not too little and easy to get into.

And lastly just a few onesies and headbands I put together for her.  It’s summertime and I know this little one is going to practically live in onesies or if I’m honest probably just a diaper :)


Both of these onesies are hand-me-downs that I added the cotton knit rosettes to.   It was a fun and easy way to bring life to something that was looking a little worn.

We are as ready as we are ever going to be and the doctor tells me that baby girl is doing great and can come anytime.  So now we wait…. but if there is one thing I have learned over the years, it’s that babies feel little obligation were due dates are concerned :)

Oh, and off the subject of baby girls for a moment; I’m in the process of setting up a new blog with WordPress.  I have been blogging on Xanga for 6 years now but it’s time for a change.  I hope to be able to keep in contact with you all, and I will be sure to post a link to my new website as soon as it’s up and going!

Thanks my friends,  April

 

Pinafores and such

Elsie Marley is a sewing blogger who hosts an annual Kids Clothes Week Challenge (KCWC).  Those who participate, spend the week making one kids’ clothing item each day for seven days.  Their creations are shared on their blogs, Flicker, Pinterest, and some are featured on Elsie’s blog.  Half way through the week I was so delighted and inspired by all the kids clothes being made that I had to jump in myself (unofficially).

It started with a simple play pinafore.


I rifled through my fabric and patterns and came up with this Echino print I bought on sale last year and an out of print Simplicity pattern.


I found these simple wooden buttons in my old button stash


and added a vintage looking tag to the back flap.

But I couldn’t stop there.  The pinafore had gone so smoothly but it was a little on the small side.  I made another, but this time I re-traced the pattern and added some inches to the length.

This time I used a natural colored linen blend.  You can see from the pattern piece how ridiculously simple this pinafore is to make.  Just one pattern piece, and two button holes.

I made my own fabric design by stamping butterflies across the length of the fabric.


I used fabric paint and a cheap brush to apply the paint to the stamps.  It was a little time consuming but I really like the way it turned out!


As I was cutting out the pattern I realized I had made the neckline a little too big and I worried that it would fall off E’s shoulders.  I compensated by adding four pin tucks to the neckline.  I’ve never made pin tucks before so they aren’t perfect but they got the job done.  It’s a fun way to dress up a plain tee and jeans.

I also finished another Summer and Polka Dots dress for E.


I kept is simple with a small floral calico and a solid chambray for the main body of the dress.  The chambray hangs so nice and has a subtle texture to it that I like.


I added some small hand made “house” tags for a little extra embellishment.


I was finally able to use one of the vintage jade flower buttons I bought at the quilt show a few years ago!

I have this stack of material on sitting next to the sewing machine.  I have plans for a double layered circle skirt for the girl.  I also promised the boys I would make flannel pjs again for them this winter.  The nights are getting cold and they love to snuggle up in flannel pjs!

If you get a chance you should check out Elsie Marley’s blog.  There is also a KCWC Pinterest board that you can find here.  And if you still haven’t gotten your fill of amazing kids clothes you can check out the KCWC Flicker pool.

Have a great week ~April

Fall Sewing for the Girl

I haven’t had the chance to sew for Miss E all summer.  Now that the boys are in school I have a little extra time on my hands so I made a few things for the girl.

I found this Fan Dress pattern from Anna Maria Horner online.  It’s a free pattern that I downloaded directly to my computer and printed off on my little printer.  You can find the pattern here.


I bought this fun large dot material and thought it would make a darling dress.  Sorry about the quality of the pictures my camera didn’t like focusing on the dot pattern.  I thought it would looks sweet with some tights and a little cardigan.


I added a little vintage lace doily to the waistline but the box pleats ended up covering it up more than I would have liked.


This is what it looks like from the back.  The backside is my favorite!  The two little overlapping buttons and the row of little pleats at the edge… really it’s a great pattern (did I mention it’s free?).


I lined it with some material I had left over from a dress I made her last fall.

When I sew for E, I sometimes feel torn about the style of clothing I made her.  Personally, I love a simple minimalist style.  Plain, muted colors with unique textures offset by some lovely lace or trim.  I wander through the fabric store with those items in my hand, but I always end up putting them back.  That look just isn’t right for my little girl.  She is anything but muted!  She’s playful, and colorful and she loves bright, pretty clothing… so that’s what I make for her :)   Who knows, someday I might squeeze in a “mamma style dress” but I know it will be the one I have to beg her to wear.

I also made another simple skirt.  Once again, I used Dana’s skirt tutorial and made the double layer version.

I trimmed it with some large pink rickrack I had been saving for the right project.  I’m not quite finished with this skirt yet.  I’m planning on crocheting a scalloped trim around the brown layer but I won’t dare attempt it without Stephanie at my side.


If you have been toying with the idea of sewing for your own little girl, this is the pattern for you!  It’s a breeze to make and it turns out darling every.single.time.


I’ve made her four of these skirts in the last year.  They get used every single week!  More often than not, when I ask E to go get dressed, she comes out wearing one of these skirts (in some cases two at one time).  I must admit I love seeing her running around playing in the clothes I’ve made her.


She always pairs her little skirts with the funniest shirts and accessories.

I also made her a handful of covered clips.  Aren’t they fun?

E has a lot of fancy flower clips but on a day-to-day basis I reach for simple snap clips to hold her hair out of her face.  Why not make them look cute?  I used this tutorial.  Warning, it does require a fair bit of hand work, so if you have and aversion to needles and thread this might not be the project for you.  I had a great time making them!

Lastly I made this little bear/doll carrier for her.  It’s a pattern from my Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew book.  I’m just crazy about that book! I’ve made several projects from it now and there so many more I would like to try.

I’m realizing that I’m in that perfect, magical window of time with E, where her whole world revolves around pretend play.  One day she’s a butterfly princess, the next a doctor or a mommy… it’s so fun!  I plan on taking full advantage of this sweet time and make her lots of little things to play with.  I know the day is coming when she won’t be so thrilled with all her handmade things but fortunately today is not that day.

Have a great weekend!  April

Iron-on Applique 101

Iron-on applique is a sewing technique I use a lot.  It’s an easy, versatile way to add an extra little touch to just about any sewing project.  I thought I would take a minute to do a quick step-by-step tutorial for iron-on applique.

First, you will need to purchase some iron-on adhesive.  I keep yards of this stuff around at all times.  It’s very reasonably priced.  I like HeatnBond brand the best.  In fact I wouldn’t waste my money on any other brand (Pellon in particular is very difficult to work with).

You will also need some cotton fabric.  I usually stick with fabrics that have medium to large prints with easy to cut shapes.

When you open up your iron-on adhesive you will notice that it has two sides.

A smooth side that feels like parchment paper and a bumpy side that is slightly shiny.  The bumpy, shiny side is the side that has the adhesive on it.  Whatever you do DO NOT let you iron touch the adhesive side!

Next you will want to cut out a piece of the adhesive that just barely covers the shape you wish to use as an applique.  In this case I’m using two little houses.

Turn your iron on to the “wool” setting.  Place the fabric on the ironing board with the right side down.  Place the piece of iron-on adhesive on the fabric with the bumpy (or adhesive) side down.  You want to make sure that you are ironing on the smooth paper side.  I want to be clear about this step, you are melting the adhesive into the wrong side of the fabric with the paper side up.

Slowly glide the iron over the paper.  Make sure to run the iron all the way out to the edge of the adhesive paper.  It should only take about 30 seconds to melt the adhesive into the fabric.

Allow the fabric to cool and cut out your shape.

Once you have the shapes cut out, peel the paper off the back.  It should come off easily.  If it doesn’t, that means the adhesive hasn’t melted all the way and you need to iron it a bit more.


Place the applique onto the clothing, being sure to position it exactly were you want it to go. Once it’s ironed there’s no making adjustments.  Once again you want to slowly glide the iron over the fabric applique being sure to get the edges.

When your fabric applique is secure, move to your sewing machine and carefully stitch around the edge.  The iron-on adhesive will keep the fabric from fraying when it’s washed.  The stitching is to make the applique a little more secure and to add a finished look.


Easy as pie!

Now that you’ve got the applique basics down the sky is the limit! You can use it on so many different projects.  It’s just my personal taste but I find that the simpler the applique the better it looks.  A little bit of embellishment goes a long way.
 

 

Have fun, don’t go crazy (unless you like crazy. the by all means applique everything in sight), and if you have any other questions please feel free to send a message.
~April

 

Gifts for Baby Girls

I have a brand new beautiful niece, and several friends who are expecting baby girls later this summer.
The sewing room has been filled with frilly, feminine goodness.

Here are just a few of the gifts I’ve been making.


Tea dyed onesies with vintage lace, carved mother-of-pearl buttons, and chiffon flowers make a
one-of-a-kind gift.


~Ruffles on the bum~


I like to add a little vintage inspired hair clip.

I also made some baby dresses


This free pattern can be found here


No zippers, no scary buttons holes… just two little ties and a bit of bias tape for the hem.  Brilliant!


I realize that a baby dress might seem a little intimidating, but this is a lovely, breezy little pattern that goes together so quickly.  One hour… tops.  But you don’t have to tell your friends that.  Feel free to let them think you labored away for days to make a dress for their little girl.  I won’t tell.  Mums the word…

If you are looking for more sewing inspiration you can check out my sewing board on Pinterest.  It is filled with all of my favorite tutorials and patterns.

Now go have fun making something lovely for someone you love.  ~April

ps~ I tried to keep the post from being too wordy, but if there was something you wanted to know a little more about, I’d be happy to oblige.  

Show & Tell Wednesday


I love simple patterns.  I love them for a lot of reasons, the main one being, they’re simple (right in my comfort zone).  I’m a fan of clean lines.  Also, they are so easy to adapt.

I’ve made this dress for E several times now.

Using Fig Tree’s Polka Dots & Summer dress pattern.

It’s a fun pattern that I’ve gotten comfortable with.  The last time I made it, I came up with a way to alter the pattern.  Basically I took a simple pattern and made it ridiculously simple.  I took out the yolk and the box pleats and made a summery A-line, slip-over dress.


But I didn’t just make one.  I made three.  Because I’m a little crazy that way.  I know you’ve heard my arguments before.  “Be sure to make a pattern at least twice”, “it builds you sewing skills”, “it’s a more efficient use of your time”…blah, blah, blah.  But it’s true, so I’ll keep saying it.


There are no scary zippers or button holes, just a back slit with an elastic loop and button (I also used a hook and eye).  Don’t you just love this fabric?!!  I’m so smitten with those happy tulips and the bright colors.  I still have a half yard left and I’m trying to decide what to do with it.

The tulip dress was the last one I made, and by the time I had made three of them it was only taking me about 45 minutes per dress.  The green dress with the boarder took longer to make.  Did I mention they only take 3/4 of a yard to make?!  It just keeps getting better ;)


The neck and arm holes are finished with homemade bias tape OR…

…you can really make your life easy and use decorative bias tape.


It’s as simple as sandwiching the raw edges in between the bias tape and sewing all the layers together. You can buy specialty bias tape on Etsy (which is were I purchased the red bias tape) or you can make your own using this great tutorial by No Big Dill.  I’ve noticed that chain fabric stores are starting to carry a small selection of patterned bias tape but they can still be hard to find.


This dress is the closest to the original pattern.  I used the hidden bias facing and kept the coordinating boarder at the bottom.  It’s made out of a green linen blend (meaning it can be washed and dried.)  I added the little pocket and buttons to keep it from looking bottom heavy.

Naturally the pocket is E’s favorite part :)

They’re such sweet little dresses, it’s going to be hard to wait until summer!

If you have any questions about the pattern, fabric, or trim just let me know.  I’ll do my best to answer them :)

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Wednesday!  ~ April

Semi- philosophical side-note that you may ignore if you wish: I hope that when I use words like “simple” and “quick”, you don’t get the idea that I mean “fast” and “sloppy”.  Even the simplest step deserves attention and thoughtfulness.  While cutting smooth lines may seem like kindergarten business, it’s actually very important.  Cutting and sewing straight lines are the foundations that everything else is built on.  If those are wrong, everything that comes after that will be too. Be conscience of how every step effects the project as a whole.  If you are taking the time to do something, do it well.  I think those are skills that translate well to many aspects of life.  Who knew sewing was so deep?

Friday December 2, 2011

The sewing room has been a happening place this last month as well~

I call it a sewing room but it’s so much more than that.  I could call it a studio but that sounds so official  and I’m not sure I could say it with a straight face.  It’s more like my “doing things room”, but that doesn’t seem like a practical name either.  My Grandma Joy used to call room a playroom; that seems like a good name..

I finally finished the crocheted edge on Eliza’s pillow!  It only took… what, three months?

I should have had Justin take pictures of me crocheting.  It’s supposed to be relaxing but the way I crochet feels more like a workout.  I’m usually twisted and contorted; my lips pressed so tight they could crack a walnut.  Right now breathing and crocheting at the same time is all I can manage.  Despite all that, I really enjoyed making this pillow and I’m already planning my next project.

I also made Elia a jumper using this Fig Tree & Co pattern


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This is the Polka Dots + Summer pattern~

This photo really doesn’t do the color of the fabric justice.  It’s a lovely tomato red, mixed with a bright mossy green, brown, and vintage pink.  She’s already gotten lots of use out of it and I’m anxious to make another.  I put a brown shirt under it with polka dot leggings, and a little sweater… I love it!


I made her the 3/4 size, thinking that she would wear it in the summer but it fits her right now.  It seems like the sizes run a little small.

I have several Fig Tree & Co patterns for Eliza and I think they are delightful!

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I also have this Little Picasso Play smock.  It’s supposed to be a smock or art apron but I think it would make a fantastic pinafore style dress.  It’s next on my ever-growing “To Sew list”.

Some Christmas-y things are starting to happen in the sewing room as well.  I think the Christmas boxes are going to get dusted off and brought into the house this weekend.

I’m getting excited about Holidays!  Christmas with little one’s in the house… what a gift :)   Have a lovely weekend friends…

~April

Wednesday July 27, 2011

Show & Tell this week is dedicated to babies.

For the last six years every woman I know has been having babies.  Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but all my friends are in the stage of starting and growing their families.  I’ve gotten in the habit of keeping on hand, a stock of handmade baby basics like bibs, burp clothes, wash cloths, and embellished onesies.

I love sewing for babies!  Making things for my own children was what first got me interested in sewing.  When we brought Jude home from the hospital I quickly realized that fancy baby clothes were fun and all… but what I really needed was a good stash of baby basics that could stand up to a lot of abuse.

I slowly began to include some of my handmade items in gifts for my friends with newborns.  Much to my delight, not only did the moms-to-be love the way they looked, they actually used the gifts I had made.

There have been several babies born this month, with several on the way (including a new niece or nephew for me!) so I thought it was time to stock up on some baby gifts.

Bibs make the perfect gift.  They are easy to sew, good looking, and extremely functional.

I don’t think you can have too many bibs.  Normally I use my own bib pattern but this time I used Amy Butler’s pattern from her book “Little stitches for Little Ones”.  I like the shape, and it has the food catcher pocket at the bottom, which is a handy feature.


Instead of sewing the front and the back right sides together and then turning it, I edged the bib with bias tape.  I love the look of the bias tape but I’ll admit it was tricky.  I had to use narrow bias tape in order to make it around all the curves, without getting puckers in the bias tape.  It took patience and time to make sure all the fabric layers ended up in between that narrow tape.  I had to redo several bibs, but practice makes perfect… or something like that.


I lined the back with a soft plush material.  I used a cream colored “minky” fabric, but you could use flannel as well.  The weight and the feel of the minky is dreamy!

Burp rags are another gift I like to give.

I  use the plain cloth diapers,  dye them with Rite dye, and stitch a panel of material down the center.  I think dying the burp cloths really adds a special touch.  You have to be careful though, be sure to follow the directions on the dye box.  I like to play it safe.  I color set the clothes by washing them in the washer with HOT water; not once but twice.  If you’re interested in trying your hand at dying, Dana from Dana Made It has some excellent tutorials.


For a little extra effort (and half the cost) you have a stack of burp rags that look like they came from an expensive baby boutique.

One of my favorite little gifts to give is a stack of flannel and terrycloth washcloths.

They are ultra soft, fit perfectly in the palm of you hand, and are nice and flexible for scrubbing all those adorable baby creases :)


I always use coordinating fabrics.  When you are making a simple gift  (like a washcloth) the material you chose makes a big difference.  Think outside of the box.  Don’t always go for the fabric with the pink hearts or the blue teddy bears.  Have fun with it, be a little more daring.  Try to take into consideration the mother’s tastes and preferences.  She is more likely to use something if she likes the way it looks.


Normally I line the back of the washcloth with terrycloth but this time I used the minky I had leftover from the bibs.

Take a few burp cloths, bibs, and washcloths; put them in a fun basket or colorful pail, and you have the perfect gift for that sweet little baby.


A fun gift that will get lots and lots of use!

Happy Wednesday to you all  ~ April

*As always, if you are interested in detailed step by step instructions of anything I have made, let me know and I will put together a tutorial.  Or feel free to send me a message if you have any questions.