Thursday, December 10, 2015

Starting School Bookbag

This little one of mine started Kindergarten last month.  The build up to that day was grand, for all of us.  Of course, we got her school supplies, looked through her fall wardrobe and talked and talked about the day.   And it was time for a big girl backpack.  Which I decided I would make.
I think sewing for these momentous occasions is as much for them as it is for me.  It helps me prepare, feel like I’m doing my part and a bit of me is going along with her for the day. 
And, of course, the bag I decided to make was a bit of a stretch on my skill level.  I’ve been obsessed with this bag from the (awesome) movie, Instructions Not Included (if you haven’t seen it, you should).  Since I couldn’t find a pattern, I started with the Oliver + S Little Things to Sew messenger bag and used the Sweet Pod baby carrier pattern for the straps.  

I felt like this was a bit of an unconventional challenge.  I wanted a water resistant fabric but I didn’t want vinyl coating so initially I planned to try to wax my own cotton/linen canvas.  But one day, walking through Target, I veered into the bathroom accessories aisle and landed on the shower curtains, perfect!  After some debate and thinking about what Lucia might like, I chose this colorful hexagon print.  Of course, I didn’t consider how hard matching those hexagons would be until I started cutting!  The lining is the perfect shade of watermelon which I found in the remnants at G Street.   The zippers, webbing and binding all came from Joanns (thank you Dritz) and the clasp at the front was found on Etsy.   I used horsehair for the interfacing and bits of the insulation I use for my French press cozies to pad the back and the straps.  Last I cut up a lingerie bag to use the netting on the water bottle pocket and straps and a fold-over elastic hair band for the top edge of the water bottle pocket.  Whew.  No wonder it took me awhile to finish.  Hah.  

I didn’t make good notes about the modifications I made to the pattern, but here are a few that I can share off the top of my head.
1.        Added 2 inches to the height and depth, the width stayed the same.
2.       The original pattern has you cut one piece for the back and flap, I split these to attach the straps. 
3.       I combined the two side pattern pieces since I wouldn’t be attaching the strap to the sides.
4.       I made a new pattern piece for the top zipper section (with this you could also eliminate the flap).
5.       For the front smaller pocket, I used the same pattern piece, but added gussets to the bottom corners and eliminated the middle welt, then added a new piece for the top zipper portion.

I have to tell you that she didn’t have any faith that I would finish the bag in time for school to start.  She asked me daily about it and was really worried.  I wasn’t sure she would like it and worried it would look homemade, so I was fully prepared to go out and buy her one if I needed to.  But…she loves it.   People would have no idea it’s homemade, except she tells everyone.  I love that, but mostly I love her. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Strawberry Fields

Do you ever make something just because the perfect photo opportunity is coming up? I confess, this was one of those times for me.

The fabric: Heather Ross Briar Rose
The pattern: from  this Japanese pattern book
The shorts: Oliver + S Picnic Shorts in chambray

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Backpacks and baby carriers

These are my fourth and fifth versions of Made by Rae’s Toddler Backpack. Obviously, I love this pattern.  The story behind these began one morning, well after I made Lucia her’s (pictured on far left above).  We were on our way out the door and she wanted to take her baby doll with us.  I decided that before we went out she needed an emergency baby-carrier attached to her bag.  We delayed our departure to make this necessary tweak.  

That day I drafted the bottom portion of this carrier and quickly sewed it to the front of the backpack.  The doll flopped forward and out.  Later, I added the elastic.  

Some months later I was planning two more backpacks, this time for Elena and her cousin "Lucky Ducky", when I had another idea.  What if I attach Oliver + S Little Things to Sew bear carrier to the front of Rae’s Toddler Backpack pattern

Guess what?  It worked! 

These are the modifications I made:
  1. Shorten the bottom of the bear carrier by  1 inch.
  2. Add 1 inch to each of the side pieces and leave them open.  I didn’t have enough fabric, so I just added about an inch of elastic 2 inches for seam allowance on each end.
  3. Cut 2, 3 ½ in squares  for the button, fold in half, sew on three sides and flip it right side out.
  4. Sew the finished carrier piece and two rectangle pieces to the front piece of the backpack before adding the piping and sewing it to the zipper/middle piece.  (Actually, I find it easier to sew the piping to the zipper piece since it is straight, than the curved front and back pieces.)
Another idea I had is to lengthen the two top sections of the carrier (the pieces with the button holes) and put the buttons on the straps.  Elasticizing these pieces somehow would probably work even better.  But these are just theories that I’m throwing out there for someone else to try.  Let us know if you do!

All of the fabric is designed by Heather Ross, from her Far, Far Away and Nursery Versery lines. Can't get enough.

And, because someone asked last time, I used cotton canvas to interline the entire backpack to make it a little sturdier.
Big thanks Rae, Liesl, and Heather for making such inspiring products!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

How the Crane Got Its Crown

First, a little about the dress itself.  It is, of course, the Geranium dress from Made by Rae.  I fell in love with this dress and this fabric when she made it here.  So, when I came across the fabric at Momen+ over Christmas, I had to buy some.  Then, just before Easter, I whipped it up for a little girl who had grown out of all her summer dresses.  I made size 6 because that is what she is wearing in RTW but it was a little long.   Even though she said she liked it long, I decided it needed to be shortened for summer, I needed to take off a good four inches.

So, this weekend, I finally got around to shortening it.   But instead of chopping off the length and adding a new hem, I made two one-inch pleats around the bottom.  In this print it is hard to see it, but I like the effect a lot.  It adds a little volume and detail.

One of the cranes also got a crown, in homage to one of our favorite books, “How the Crane Got its Crown.”  It’s a Ugandan book retelling the legend of how a draught had come to the African Plains and Lion gathers the animals together to find a solution.  First he sends Cheeta for his speed, but he is unsuccessful.  Then he sends Elephant but he also returns unsuccessful.  Finally, as a last ditch effort he sends Crane to find water.  Crane also comes back without any success, but then has an idea.  He gathers all of the cranes together and they go out again and fly out to the clouds where they use their wings to push the clouds out over the parched land and then poke them so it rains.  As a reward for their good work, the Crane is given a golden crown.

The End.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

KCSW: Rhinos, Part 2

 As promised, I made a coordinating dress for the little one.  I couldn’t help myself.  The pattern is the Oliver + S 2+2 top with an additional two inch band around the bottom (does that make it 2+2+2?).  Again, the rhino fabric is from Pink Castle Fabrics and the black linen is from G Street. 

I don’t think I’ve ever made anything for the girls in black before, but I really love this one.  It was perfect for a hot, spring day.  And a birthday party.  Happy 2nd birthday sweet girl.  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

KCW Spring Bubble Skirt

I don't often get to post during Kids Clothes Week, sewing, photographing, and posting are too much.  But today I am throwing caution to the wind and posting a bad cell photo because I really want to be part of this fun group.

So, here it is.  I cut it yesterday and sewed it up tonight.  The pattern is here and the fabric can be found here (I love the mustard color too).

Look out for another post later this week with little sister's coordinating tunic.  I just can't help myself this time.

P.S. In case you haven't checked out my shop lately, there are some new designs available.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Nani Iro Blankets

My obsession with Nani Iro will not go away.  I just can't get enough.  And then, when I saw these blankets from Purl Soho, already knowing how wonderful the Michael Miller Cotton Sherpa feels, I just had to make the girls blankets combining the two.  


The blankets were supposed to be Christmas gifts, but it didn't happen and I just finished them last week.  I guess that's one upside to the LONG winter we've had this year.  And the best part is, there was no competition with other presents and the girls love them. 

The specks:  The Nani Iro brushed cotton came from Superbuzzy and the cotton sherpa from  I followed the Purl Soho instructions more or less.  But, instead of using the machine to make the quilting stitches I hand tied them.  It was faster than I expected and made for a nice couch activity.