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.  

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Chalk Cloth Portfolio

Do you remember in college seeing the "real artists" walking around with portfolios?  I always wished I was that cool.  My only hope now is that I give my kids the tools to become artists if that's what they want to be. 

Finally a good use for the 200+ embroidery stitches on my sewing machine.

I've been dying to get my hands on some chalk markers and finally got a set.  They're GREAT! 
It's not a full tutorial, but in case you want to make one too, here are the measurements.

Chalk cloth, lining and canvas interlining  21" x 14"
Separating sports zipper, 36" but shortened to approximate 32"
1" Webbing, 2 pieces 12" each

To hold the paper pad:
1" Grosgrain ribbon, 11" long
For the pencil case:
Plastic 8" x 19" (I used a piece from a sheet set packaging)
8" Zipper
2 #16 snaps

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

She's very particular about her clothing.  She likes the clothes that have pictures especially.  So I know she would love this one.  And she does. So much so, she has asked to wear it almost every morning this week and it's too dirty to wear today.  (Picking battles over here.)

I love the mock cover stitch on my machine. 
The pattern is from Ottobre 6/2007.  I converted the jacket pattern to a dress by using the Oliver + S Hopscotch Dress as a guide for the bottom portion, eliminating the opening at the front and using binding at the neckline and wrists instead of a hood and hem.  


Monday, February 10, 2014

Lucia's School Days Jacket

It has taken me way too long to get this post out into the world, but the the jacket itself has been serving her well in this very cold winter.

It's the Oliver + S School Days Coat with quite a few modifications.  The main fabric and toggle buttons came from Britex.  The fabric is a wool tweed in a spring weight that is mostly pink (rose? bubble gum?) with flecks of purple and yellow.  I loved the fabric until I started cutting it out and realized just how much pink I was working with.  But, it goes perfectly with her mini doc martins.  And, now that she's worn it a bit, I really love it.  The lining is Anna Maria Horner's sinister swarm in blueberry.  I bought it for another project, but it was really too perfect for this one that I couldn't resist.  I also interlined it with 157 gram Thinsulate.

So, for the modifications.  First off, I added a zipper like in this beautiful version. And I added hand-knit ribbing at the cuffs and the neckline.  The yarn is Spud & Chloe sweater in grape, my all-time favorite yarn for kids items.

And, I added a vent.  This was something I should not have done.  I've only sewn a vent once before and it is tricky!  I could never get it to sit just right and it still sticks out when she wears it.

And, don't forget the thumb holes in the cuffs!  Can you see them?  Just a bit of fun for a 3-year-old. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Shop update: Mayorga Coffee

A couple of weeks ago I contacted Mayorga Coffee, a local coffee roaster and asked them for their empty coffee sacks.  I was so grateful when they said I could take as many as I needed.  

When I stopped by I got to see a bit of their enterprise, meet some of the players and left with a trunk full of coffee sacks that once held coffee from Peru.  Since then I've learned a bit more about their practices and their mission and am quite impressed.

Since I left with those coffee sacks, I've made a few new french press cozy designs which are now in the shop.  

Valentine's Special, Golden heart

Valentine's Special, Red Heart

Yellow bird print

And, I've had the chance to drink some of the coffee that originated in the bags I brought home after finding it in the grocery store just last week.  Isn't that cool?

Thank you Mayorga!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Deer and Doe: Plantain

This is my entry to the Deer and Doe Plantain Challenge.  I am so excited about this pattern.  I need some new t-shirts and I had just bought a bunch of fabric from Girl Charlee but I didn’t have a pattern.  This one came out just in time, and it’s free!  Merci, Deer and Doe.

I actually made one other version of the shirt first to get the fit just right.  I found that I needed to shift the shoulders slightly to the front—this is a typical change for me, but I didn’t need to adjust the neckline at all (I love the neckline, I think it’s so flattering).

For the dress, I was inspired by the dress below by Boden.  When I saw this dress in their catalogue I fell in love with it and actually bought this fabric to make the dress.  For the dress I kept the neckline the same but shortened the sleeves to elbow length.  I marked the waist and drafted an a-line skirt for the back.  For the front I marked the waist and then marked 2 inches above the waist for about 6 inches in the middle and drafted a soft angle to match the two.   On the front skirt I did the same thing but opposite and added 12 inches in the middle for the gathers.  On the inside I used interfacing strips on the front bodice waistline to strengthen the seam.   I hope that makes sense!
I don't know why it didn't rotate when I uploaded it, but I was in too much of a hurry to fix it.
Elena, the best photobomber in town.
I’m so excited about the dress (I already wore it to work once this week), that I feel like I already won. Thanks for stopping by.  I can’t wait to see what everyone else made.