A birthday quilt

My grandmother was a quilter and an amazing lady.  She passed away last spring at the age of 94.

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I love that we have so many of her quilts and it made me want to spend my time not only making clothes but making things that we can (hopefully) use for years to come.  I  decided that it was time for me to finally make E a quilt.  I’ve been considering options and planning this quilt for two years while E patiently uses her crib-sized quilt.

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Making a quilt is such a huge undertaking and I struggled with the number of options.  I considered a rainbow squares quilt, pulled a bunch of yellows to make this picnic blanket, and then finally saw this quilt from Alicia Paulson and decided on simple stripes.  I added some more yellow fabrics from my stash and from my grandmother’s shelves.  In her last few years my grandmother wasn’t able to quilt and encouraged me to use her fabric in my projects.  I love the many pieces from her in this quilt as well as scraps from other projects I’ve made.

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To make the quilt I cut four inch wide strips of varying length.  I sewed the strips into rows and then pieces the rows together at random.  I used a thin cotton batting, machine quilted in the ditch, and then bound the quilt with shot cotton.  I’ve made some small quilts before but this was my biggest undertaking.  I did recall little tips and tricks from my grandmother but I so wish she’d been here to consult on fabric, help me straighten everything out, decide on a backing, and baste the pieces together.   I also wish I hadn’t used so much yellow in the quilt but I’ve learned quite a bit for next time.

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I also made two matching pillows.  These are 20″ pillows from IKEA with a lapped zipper cover.   I used this tutorial from Delia Creates to make the cover.  The main fabric is the same as the quilt binding and hopefully tones down the yellow a bit.

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Far from perfect, but finished in time for E’s birthday.  Finally, a proper big girl bed.

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Happy birthday roller skate

E turned 5 (five!) this weekend and so I made her a dress for the occasion.  She went through my fabrics and eventually settled on a floral fabric from my grandmother.  My grandmother was a quilter so most of her fabrics are small pieces, but she must have intended this one for a quilt backing as she had a few yards.  After a bit of deliberation I decided to give the Oliver+S roller skate dress another try.  I made a tunic version two summers ago.  rollerskate dress : Lizzieville 4 E’s measurements put her at a size 3 for chest/waist and a size 5 for height.  I used the size 4 pattern with some added length and dress width.  I modified the collar facing to be rounded (inspired by Gailhere) because I was concerned that getting an even and orderly v shaped point on the front facing was going to be tricky.  I’m not much for that kind of detail.  I am glad I added the contrasting facing this time and I think it’s my favorite part of this pattern. rollerskate dress : Lizzieville 3 rollerskate dress : Lizzieville 2 I also love that E’s decided to start wearing knee socks, inspired by the fabulous Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows.  Ivy has some great outfits and is often sporting knee socks.  I kind of want to copy as many of Ivy’s outfits as I can for spring. rollerskate dress : Lizzieville 1 This is an easy dress to whip up (although the facing slows things down a bit).  I appreciate only having one button and no buttonholes.  But the fit on this pattern just doesn’t work well for E.  Same as last time, the bodice parts tends to ride up and the fit is funky around the arms.  You can see it pulling up a bit here, although it tends to be much worse than this picture shows.rollerskate dress : Lizzieville 5 She spent the entire day pulling her dress down.  Last time I sort of fixed the problem by loosening the elastic a bunch.  I forgot to do that this time and followed the directions for elastic length.  I’ll have to go back and add a chunk of elastic and see if that helps. [Edited to add:  a went back and added 4 inches to the elastic after all your help advice.  Thank you!]  Anyone else have this problem?  I’m sad that this dress wasn’t as great as I’d hoped for E’s special day.  But it was lovely to celebrate this fabulous girl.  I am so excited to see what five brings for her and us. rollerskate dress : Lizzieville 9 After her party we headed outside to get these pictures.  Of course O wanted in on the action.  He got to wear his art museum vest from Christmas, in reverse, for the festivities. rollerskate dress : Lizzieville 8 rollerskate dress : Lizzieville 7 rollerskate dress : Lizzieville 6 And hooray, it’s spring!  I love that E’s birthday means the flowers are blooming in the front yard.  Hope spring (or fall!) is a welcome addition to your life these days.

Valentine hearts, two ways

Happy (almost) Valentine’s Day!  I have two little felt crafts to share today.  First, I was part of a mom’s group Valentine exchange.  After searching through all of Purl Bee’s wonderful collection of crafts I decided the Sweetheart Charms would be fun and easy enough to make multiple times.  So I used wool felt to stitch up 12 little hearts.  I used baker’s twine for the loops and skipped the stuffing to make these easier to mail.

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Inside each heart I placed a little note, using the bookmark template here from Sanae Ishida.

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Because of the thickness of the felt and knotted twine I was concerned that they wouldn’t lie flat enough in the envelopes.  So I cut up some old Nikki McClure calendars to make little envelopes.  I love her art so much and always keep her calendars around to repurpose.

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And then I mailed these off to other moms around the country (and world!).

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When it comes to little crafts felt is always my favorite.  Which brings me to my other heart-shaped craft.  Last Valentine’s Day I made a heart garland inspired by the one Gail made (that was in turn based off a tutorial from Made By Rae).

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I was happy to pull these hearts out again.  I love making holiday decorations that you can reuse each year.  It’s mostly been up around the window or mirror but O was happy to play with it while reading his farm book this morning.

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And unrelated, I realized that it’s been two years since my first post here.  What a fun two years they have been.  I’ve learned so much and enjoyed getting to know so many of you. Thanks for being along for the ride!

KCW : corduroy overalls

Kid’s Clothes Week winter edition ends today and I have my second project to share.  It’s a good one to round out O’s winter wardrobe.

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Last summer I made O some poorly fitting overalls and I asked for pattern recommendations.  One suggestion was the adorable spruce suspender shorts that I made for O’s first birthday.  I got another suggestion to try a Citronille pattern which I still hope to do some day.  Nicole was kind enough to look through her pattern stash for overalls that might fit O.  A bit later a lovely little paper package arrived all the way from Australia.  It was so thrilling!  And inside was this pattern for O (Simplicity 9044) and a girls overalls pattern for E that I’m excited to try out soon.

corduroy overalls : Lizzieville  4I haven’t used many vintage patterns so I was a bit cautious.  This turned out to be a straightforward sew and I found that directions to be completely adequate, although without the chatty hints and tips of an independent/Oliver+S pattern.  The main fabric is corduroy from my mother in law, likely 20+ years old.  I didn’t have enough corduroy for the linings so they are quilting cotton.  I’m not sure about my choice of yellow buttons but they’re what I had on hand in the correct size.

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I figured that these were going to be on the snug side for O so I skipped the second set of strap buttons and the side tabs that are intended to tighten things up if the overalls are a bit big.  It turns out that the fit is great with lots of room for O’s toddler belly and big diaper.  The length is perfect now but I wish I’d added a bit more with a cuff now, just to prolong the wear.  I love him in these little overalls.

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O is growing up more than out so this pattern should still fit come spring.  I’d love to make him another pair with the short length option.  Next time I’ll add the little side tabs because I do enjoy those vintagey details.  Thank you Nicole for such a sweet pattern!  O has decided that these are perfect for his favorite activities-  playing in the dirt, picking up rocks, eating rice crackers, and jumping in puddles.

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If you chose to participate in Kid’s Clothes Week I hope that your sewing went well!  I am happy with two projects complete.  Now time to start dreaming big about spring sewing.

 

KCW : bimaa bubble dress

It’s Kid’s Clothes Week, winter edition.  I considered not sewing along since the kids’ winter wardrobes are in good shape and I have so many other things on my sewing list.  But I just couldn’t let the week go by without sewing at all.

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So I decided to spend seven hours sewing and see what I could get made.  Honestly I did most of the sewing last week because sewing, photographing, and writing posts all in one week is too much.  But anyway, for today, a report on my first few hours of sewing…

For hour one I prepped pattern pieces.  I traced the size 5 pattern pieces for a dress bodice and drafted a skirt pattern pieces based off one of E’s dresses. I got completely sucked into figuring out the math needed to lengthen the skirt and keep the same proportions as the original dress.  First hour, gone in a snap.

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In hour two I cut out the dress for E and a pair of overalls for O (to be shared soon I hope).

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To start hour three I forget to pull the thread holder part of my serger up into place before sewing which unthreaded part of the machine.  After battling the threads, the tweezer, and the vague instruction manual I had time left to sew the top of E’s dress

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Hour four, finished a dress for E.

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And then I convinced her to take a few pictures on a cold and foggy morning.  She also picked the accessories, in case you were curious 🙂

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For this dress I was inspired by a Tea Collection dress E loves.  When I saw the bubble skirt on the dress I realized this would be a way to avoid hemming a skirt and give the skirt a little more body.  For the top I used the bimaa sweater pattern with the shawl option.  The striped fabric is an old maternity shirt, sticking with the upcycle theme of the week.  The shirt is a cotton without much stretch or recovery (I guess you’d say).  It ended up making a top that was much too big on E.  The neckline is indecently low (I pulled the dress up for the pictures but it tends to slide down).  E wore the dress today with a tshirt underneath which doesn’t look great but at least covers her chest a bit better.  I’ve made the hoodie option in a size 4 and it’s getting snug on E so I’m going to blame the fabric on this one, not the sizing or the pattern.  Next time I’ll use a fabric with a bit of spandex and something less floppy for the neckline.

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For the skirt and shawl I used the same gray knit I used on E’s previous bimaa sweater.  It’s quite thin and so I figured it would work best doubled up anyway.  The fabric has little painted dots which were fine to sew with except for the skirt gathering portion, where the thread wouldn’t slide through the dots.  In case you wanted to make a similar skirt, here are my jotted down dimensions:

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This dress definitely didn’t turn out quite as I’d hoped.  The front is too low and open.  The entire dress ended up on the short side despite my attempts at lengthening.  I should have curved the bodice bottom a bit.  I’m not wild about the fabric combination.  But I think it was a good first try and I hope to come back to this idea later.  I’ll probably use a flashback skinny tee for the top since I’m more confident in the fit.  And while I wish this had come out exactly as I’d imagined the first time, I know this is also why I keep sewing.  I just keep trying to get it right.

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Hats, mittens, and a sweater

I’m a bit behind on sharing knitting projects and thought I’d catch up here.  First up, I made E a new hat using the Garter Ear Flap Hat pattern from Purl Bee (Ravelry notes here).  I’d made this hat once before and it’s a fun knit.  I had a partial skein of Madelinetosh yarn leftover from making E mittens last winter.   As you can see, the mittens are well used at preschool.  I loved the idea of making the hat match but wasn’t sure I had enough yarn.

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I finished the hat with only a bit of yarn left.  But then E decided that the hat needed a strap because it tends to slide up.  I think this pattern runs small because I made her the kid size and her head is average.  I used the tiny bit of leftover yarn to add a little button strap.

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O outgrew all his hats from last winter so I made him a little striped hat (notes here).  The pattern called for sock yarn to make a baby size hat.  I using dk and worsted weight yarn and made a few modification to fit his big toddler head.  I’m new to stripes and don’t like the way I changed yarn.  I’ve since learned a better way, but this one is a mess from inside and none too pretty from the back.  Despite being messy it’s held together and it stays on his head nicely.   It was a fun project because the three yarns I used are all from previous knitting projects for O- two vests and his baby sweater.

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I also made him a pair of mittens (notes here) to match.  It hasn’t been very cold this winter and mittens get in the way of his rock collecting and climbing.  But they do make a nice set.

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Finally, I made E an In Threes Cardigan (Ravelry notes here).  I wasn’t able to get any proper modeled shots because she’s not a fan.  But I did love the pattern and the yarn E picked is a pretty color.  It is big enough to fit a while, so maybe this one will see some wear in the future.  I especially love the metal buttons.

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While knitting this cardigan I also developed some upper back and shoulder pain that seems to get worse when knitting.  So I’m taking a knitting break and started in on a cross stitch project instead.  I’ve had this Winterwoods ABC kit for a couple years and it’s been a delight to work on so far.

knits : lizzieville11And now, off to do some KCW preparations.  Both kids are set for winter clothing but I couldn’t resist planning a few projects anyway.

Belated Christmas sewing

I have two little projects to share today.  Both were intended to be Christmas gifts for the kids but I ran out of time before the holidays .  For E, I made a little sleeping bag from the Flossie Teacakes pattern.  I’ve wanted to make this for years, even since seeing them on Gail‘s blog.  Then a friend reminded me about the pattern and it finally moved to the top of my to sew list.  This is the smallest of the three sizes, to fit her little pups.

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It’s a bit of a tight squeeze to fit in both pups so I’m tempted to make another one with different dimensions.  It would be easy to alter the pattern to be extra wide and not as long.  This pattern was so easy and fast that I decided to make another one.  We’ll probably use this one as a gift for one of E’s preschool friends.  I love the Red Riding Hood fabric, leftover from her Red Riding Hood Cape.

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For the record, it is a little tricky to get good pictures of stuffed animals.  Especially given the serious (melancholy? sleepy?) expression on these little pups.  But she loves them so.

sleeping bag : lizzieville4For O, I finally got around to making him another bapron from the Craftiness Is Not Optional pattern.  This is the 18m-3T size.

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Last time I made bibs I struggled a bit to get the bias tape lined up correctly.  So this time I tried Rachel‘s suggestion to finish the binding with a zigzag stitch.  This was quick, has held up well so far, and I like the look on a bib.  Thanks for the suggestion, Rachel!  I’m also hoping to try Shelley‘s suggestion soon, as I was able to find some quilter’s fusible edge.

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My favorite part of this bib is how well it stays put.  O makes no attempts to take it off. The bib itself is a great size and provides good coverage.  The armholes are a bit too large, so for kids on the lower end of the size range it might be worth trying on the bib before applying the bias binding.  I’d also love to make this again with laminated cotton or iron-on vinyl so that it can be wiped off between uses.

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O was happy with it.  Especially when I gave him “more” pears.  I love his little signs.

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2014 year in review

Last year I did a roundup of all my 2013 projects.  This year I thought I’d change things up and share the best (and worst) from the year instead.

MOST WORN- OLIVER

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1.  elusive moose  2. lullaby layette pants  3.  bapron  4. big green pants

I didn’t make many things for O this past year, but those I made were generally worn.  I suppose it helps that he has no opinions about clothing yet.  He’s still wearing his moose shirt and both pairs of lullaby layette pants are in heavy rotation.  He still fits into those big green pants, now with the cuff unrolled.  I wish I’d saved the pattern because they fit so nicely over his diaper.  I definitely want to make more pants for O in 2015 and have quite a few patterns ready to try.  The Little Things to Sew bib didn’t hold up well but the bapron was a winner.  He outgrew this one a while ago and I’ve been meaning to make the bigger size for quite some time.

MOST WORN- E

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1. library dress  2. Anna (nightgown) dress  3.  hopscotch dress  4. LTTS backpack

The green library dress definitely wins the award for most-worn item this year.  She loves that dress.  The pale blue dress I made as a base to her Anna costume has also gotten a lot of wear as a nightgown.  The hopscotch dress was also a favorite, despite the fabric being cheap and clingy.  This pattern runs small so I need to get a size four made up soon.  Finally, not an item of clothing, but E uses her Little Things to Sew backpack for preschool.  It’s held up very well.

MOST SATISFYING

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1. Christmas pajamas 2. art museum vest and geranium dress

3. sunday brunch jacket 4. school days jacket

These items weren’t necessarily most worn, but all were satisfying in some way.  Making the Christmas pajamas was just fun and they’ve seen a lot of wear.  Making O his Christmas vest was technically fun because of the little welt pockets.  Figuring out how to make E her matching dress, given fabric constraints and lack of piping knowledge, also felt like a success.  The two coats I made E fall into this category as well.  I did some pattern alteration with the Sunday brunch coat to add the hood and I quilted the lining for the school days jacket.  Making coats feels like a real accomplishment.  E is set for coats for a while, but hopefully there will be some coats for O in 2015.

LEAST WORN

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1. sew chic kids pants  2. seersucker dungarees 3. pull-over parka

4. roly poly pinafore 5. LTTS cape 6. playtime dress and leggings

7. jump rope dress 8. Japanese pattern apron 9. blue tunic with pockets

And then there were a bunch of things that saw hardly any wear.  The seersucker dungarees I made for O were a disaster, leading me to focus in on the pattern makers I know and trust.  Most of the misses, though, were for E.  I hope to learn from my mistakes this past year and do a better job making things that are her style.  I learned that the fit and style of clothing from Sew Chic Kids doesn’t appeal to E- all three things I made from that book were largely ignored (pants, pull-over parka, and blue tunic).  She also doesn’t like to dress in layers, making the apron and roly poly pinafore big misses.  Sadly she had no interest in the jump rope dress.  I think she would have liked the playtime mermaid dress except that I made it (and the matching leggings) too small.  I was hoping that the Little Things to Sew cape would get some wear during dress up but she far prefers the cape shirt.  From the above pictures it’s clear that E prefers knits.  I knew this, but somehow kept hoping her opinions would change.

Despite the many misses, this was a satisfying year of sewing.  I learned so much.  And when I see my kids wearing things I made it just makes me so happy.

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This picture reminds me that I am quite behind in sharing recent knitting projects.  Maybe I’ll do a knitting roundup later.  As for 2015, my biggest goal is to make things that are actually needed and/or will get use.  I tend to get distracted and not focus in on the things most needed around here.  I have a half-finished quilt for E, some sewing for the house, and a few projects for myself.  I’m hoping to alternate these with more-satisfying kid clothes.

And that’s all for 2014.  Thank you for reading this past year.  It really makes writing and sharing so much more fun.  I’ve loved getting to know you through your comments.  Thank you and happy new year!

December sewing: floor cushion, madras tote

I did very little sewing for Christmas other than holiday attire.  Once I counted the few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas I pared my list down to two projects, both for December birthdays.

First, a Made By Rae floor cushion for my nephew’s birthday.  I’ve been saving fabric scraps for some time to make this pattern.  This is a big pillow and it takes a lot of scraps (I think I used at least four grocery-size bags).  The scraps give the pillow a nice, sturdy feel but they are also heavy.  So I altered layers of fabric with layers of polyfil for the stuffing.

floor cushion : lizzieville 1floor cushion : lizzieville 4The fabric loop for the sides ended up too long and I had to take it in a few times.  This may have been a measuring error- I didn’t go back and check.  I also had a heck of a time with the piping.  It was my first time using piping with cording.  If it’s your first time I might suggest making the bias tape even wider than the revised recommendations.  Next time I’ll try 1 3/4 inches.  I have enough scraps to make another one for my kids.  I might scale down the size of the pillow so it’ll store easier.  Before wrapping this up my kids had so much fun sitting on this and flopping onto it and climbing around.  Hours of fun, for sure.floor cushion : lizzieville 3

My other project was for my dear college friend’s birthday  She is a cat lover so I knew I wanted to use this Lizzy House catnap fabric.  I considered various Noddlehead patterns (as Anna is the queen of bags) and finally settled on the (free) Madras Tote.

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I didn’t want to use the print on the outside because I figured it would show dirt too easily.  I eventually landed on some denim and plaid, which seemed appropriate given the bag’s name.  The playful cat print is hidden inside.  The pattern calls for cotton canvas as interfacing but I used a cotton/linen blend instead.  I also made handles with the denim fabric rather than use webbing.  I’ve made a couple more complicated bags but I really love this one for its simplicity.  It is very sturdy, takes no special materials, and is an easy sew.madras tote : lizzieville 3

madras tote : lizzieville 4Making this bag reminded me how fun and satisfying bag sewing can be.  Hopefully it will get lots of good use.  And now, off to make some year-end photo collages.

Christmas pajamas (and happy new year!)

I decided that it would be fun to make Christmas pajamas for the kids this year.  I actually got them made before Christmas and even got a few pictures taken but then our computer died.  Ack!

christmas pajamas : Lizzieville 3My husband tried all kinds of strategies to fix it but ultimately we had to buy a new computer. Thankfully he’s great about running multiple backups so nothing was lost.  And now that we’re back in business I have a few 2014 projects left to share before doing a year-end roundup.

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So, the pajamas.  I used the serger so these were pretty fast to whip up.  I’ve found that serging the seams (without first stitching on my normal machine) holds up fine through lots of wear and washes.  Admittedly, it doesn’t look as nice because you can see the stitches when the seam pulls a bit.  If I owned many colors of serger thread and took the time to change between projects I guess this would be less of a problem.  Maybe that will be a 2015 sewing goal.  But given the nature of holiday pajamas and time constraints I was happy to serge away with my white thread.

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For the tops I used the Made By Rae flashback skinny tee in sizes 2T and 5T.  For E I added both length and width (this tutorial was very helpful for adding width properly). For O I added a band to the shirt hem, thus avoiding any top stitching. I left E’s dress unhemmed. She told me she likes how it rolls up and I was happy to avoid pulling out the double needle.  I love the fit on this pattern-  just the right tightness to show off baby bellies and not be too baggy on my girl.

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The pants are both Titchy Threads fancy pants leggings.  I made a shortened 2t for O and straight size 4 for E.  I think this pattern runs long because it is rare that size 4 pants are long enough on E, but these are perfect. I love this pattern. Especially the contrasting back panel.

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I had originally intended to use the red polka dot with green accents for E, and vice versa for O.  But this felt a bit too Christmassy and a bit too matchy.  I finally settled on this gray fabric for the accents and I like how it toned things down and let them match without being over the top (I hope!).  Both these patterns have many pieces, offering endless room for mix and match.  On a side note, the Riley Blake polka dot fabric was the best to work with, and worth the slightly higher cost per yard.

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And so in the end we have two happy kids. I do wish E’s hadn’t looked so much like Minnie Mouse, but there you go. There’s always next year to try it again!