Bicycle pajamas

O was in need of some new pajamas so I turned to my favorite combination of Made By Rae flashback skinny tee and Titchy Threads fancy pants leggings.  These patterns are well used around here.

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I had one yard of this Birch print and I knew O would love the bicycles.  The fabric is a lovely thick interlock that was delightful to sew with and is so cozy to wear.  I used kaufman laguna knit jersey for the cuffs, knowing that interlock is not great for ribbing.

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I was able to fit 2T pants and a 3T shirt out of the one yard of fabric.  O is solidly in 2T sizes but the flashback is a slender fit so I sized up.  I also added a band to the shirt instead of hemming.  The shirt happens to be on backwards here as O prefers to dress himself these days (and I also forgot to add a little tag to the back neck post-serging).  O is on the move as always but he’ll stand still for a moment if you ask him to find a bicycle.

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So bicycle pajamas, ready for snoozing.  Now I should get started on some holiday sewing.  I have a few yards of shetland flannel and some corduroy for O and a request from E for a red dress.  Hard to believe it is almost December!

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KCW: bellatrix geranium

At E’s school, each classroom is represented by an animal.  E’s room is the bats and she asked if I’d make her a bat dress.  I ordered some Alexander Henry fabric called Bellatrix the Bat and decided to make another Made By Rae Geranium dress.

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This is my favorite dress pattern and I knew I had to make at least one more in size 5.  For fall and winter wear I wanted to add sleeves, as I saw Rae do here.  I wasn’t sure how best to approach sleeves in a lined bodice so I asked Rae for help and was kindly pointed in the direction of this tutorial.  I used the sleeves from the Oliver+S library dress in size 4, adjusting the armhole openings to match, and it worked perfectly.  I do really hope that Rae puts out an expansion pack for this pattern as she hinted in her recent post.  Sleeves, collars, and closure options for this pattern would be so fun.

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The bodice pieces are a size 5 with 1 inch of length added.  I also added extra length and width to the skirt pieces and used a 2 inch hem which hangs very nicely.  I used almost all of my 1 1/2 yards of fabric and didn’t have enough to match the prints, but oh well.  I know this is a pretty wild dress, but I love the colors in the fabric and E was happy with the results.  She has decided (as of yesterday) to be a bat for Halloween so this dress will be a  good base for her costume.  I’m thinking a headband with bat ears and some quick wings like here will finish off the outfit.  Until then, E thought it was perfect for dancing around and book reading.

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On a side note, we just finished reading Gooseberry Park and its sequel by Cynthia Rylant and Arthur Howard, featuring a lovely cast of quirky animals (including a bat or two).  We thoroughly enjoyed both books, as we do the Mr. Putter and Tabby series from the same duo.  With kindergarten taking up so much of E’s time I’m always happy when we can squeeze in some extra book reading.  And on that totally unrelated to sewing note, I end my KCW.

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Kindergarten backpack

Summer has been very slow on the sewing front.  We’ve spent some time camping and vacationing and without preschool I’ve found my free time to be limited.  But E is starting kindergarten this year and she’d long ago picked out fabric for a new backpack. With a kindergarten orientation camp looming, I got to work.

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E used this backpack for preschool and while it is a darling pattern it is quite small.  So this time around I used the Made By Rae Toddler Backpack pattern.  The main fabric is a lovely canvas from the Acorn Trail Line.  I also used denim, salmon/pinkish shot cotton, navy blue webbing, cream colored piping, and this metal zipper.

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backpack : lizzieville 5I made a few changes to the pattern.  I increased the size (following directions included in the pattern) so it would fit a normal folder.  To add structure I used fusible fleece or interfacing on all exterior pieces.  I also felt the backpack needed pockets, so I added exterior and interior pockets from the Noodlehead Sidekick tote pattern.  I also sewed the lining in by hand.

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With fleece, canvas, denim, and piping to sew through I had to take things slowly in a few places.  But my heavy-duty machine was a champ and made it through.  There wasn’t anything tricky about this pattern but it was a slow project- I spent a couple of late nights trying to get it finished up in time for E’s kindergarten camp this week.  It does feel nice to send her off to a new place with something I made.  Because kindergarten.  I’m kind of in shock.

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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!

A dress to match

You may recall that E requested a dress to match her little brother’s plaid Christmas vest.  I asked for pattern advice and received so many wonderful suggestions. Thank you!  I loved the idea of a denim dress and compared my denim and odd-shaped scrap of plaid fabric to the suggested patterns.  The winner was one of Gail’s suggestions- a geranium dress with piping at the waist.  I’ve made this pattern many times before and it is a winner.  The fit is perfect and there are lots of fun options.

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I made a 4T bodice with a 5T skirt, cap sleeves and the u-shaped cut out.  I used an old dress that was either light denim or heavier chambray for the main fabric and the scraps of plaid for piping and covered buttons.  I have limited experience with piping and Inder was kind enough to give me some advice when I was stuck.  I ended up using some cording from a lacing card game to avoid running to the store for proper cording.  And I’m still not sure how to work the cording on the ends where the dress meets in the back.  What is the best way to do this? I love the look piping adds so I need to learn more about proper usage.

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christmas geranium : lizzieville 3I hadn’t tried the neck cut-outs before and ended up real liking what is added to an otherwise plain dress.  I also had plaid patch pockets all ready to sew on but couldn’t decide on the proper placement and then decided I liked the dress fine without, at least for now.  E was happy to have her matching dress and told me that she didn’t need pockets anyway because she didn’t have anything to put in them.

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I had no intention of making matching Christmas outfits this year until E asked.  But I am glad I jumped at the chance and gave it a try as it turned into a fun challenge.

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Wishing you lots of merriment and good hugs this holiday season!

KCW : elusive moose

I spent most of Kid’s Clothes Week working on O’s Halloween costume and finally got it finished up and photographed to share.

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The theme for this week was “Storybook” so I figured a book-inspired costume would be perfect for O.  One of his current favorites is The Elusive Moose by Joan Gannij and Clare Beaton.  It’s a charming little story and I quite like reading it to both kids.  The illustrations were created with felt and embroidery and little notions and O likes pointing at the different animals.  E loves finding the hidden moose in each picture, and I’ve even shared this book with my 2nd graders and they enjoyed it as well.

elusive moose : Lizzieville 1

I figured I could make something moose-like for O that could be reused beyond Halloween.  And so, my little moose:

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elusive moose : Lizzieville 2

I made a “cozy winter hood” from Little Things to Sew with enlarged ears and added antlers. The outside fabric is one of my old sweaters and the lining is shot cotton.  The antlers are felt and it took some trial and errors to get them to not flop over.  This is a straightforward pattern but I ended up spending quite a bit of time with the seam ripper.  I think the super-stretchy sweater is partly to blame but listening to the Serial podcast while sewing may also have been a factor.

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The sweater is the Oliver+S lullaby layette pattern in size 12-18 months, using the same recycled sweater and shot cotton as the hood.  This is a lovely little pattern, although I really want to try it with an added hood and maybe a reversible zipper or some elbow patches.  It is supposed to close with 3 snaps but I was completely out so I added a sew-in snap below a single button.

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The pants are from the same lullaby layette pattern, size 18-24 months in Kaufman corduroy.  This is my third go at this pattern and I like the fit and the off-center seams in the front.  My only wish is that the waistband piece were a bit wider to make a taller casing.  The elastic is always rolling around, although I did tack it in a few places which helped a bit.

I also made a tee shirt using the Made By Rae Flashback Skinny Tee pattern in a size 18-24 months.  This is an old maternity tee and I intended to reuse the cuffs and bottom hem but then sewed the arms on backwards.  So I chopped the hem off and added cuffs, which ended up working nicely to tie in with an orange neckband.  This moose is my first freezer paper stencil.  I’ve long been intending to try freezer paper stencils but I am a slow mover.  I couldn’t find freezer paper locally and had to order some online.  I had also forgotten to buy fabric paint so I used a fabric marker instead.  I’m curious to see how it will last once washed.  I do love this flashback skinny tee pattern and I’m excited to make more for O.

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And with that, our costumes are complete.  If I can convince O to keep his hood on.

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My little monkey moose boy.

KCW : a kinda-sorta Anna costume

We were seriously late to the Frozen party, but ever since seeing the movie this summer E has been smitten.  Despite some initial talk about being Glinda from The Wizard of Oz, she  eventually decided to be Anna for Halloween.

I had such a hard time getting motivated to make this costume.  Finally I just decided to make something Anna-like, using patterns and fabrics I had and enjoyed.  It may be lacking in authenticity, but E is happy enough.  Which is good because oh my goodness, did this costume ever take a long time!  And technically speaking it was completely before Kid’s Clothes Week, but I’m breaking the rules a bit because my only other project (O’s costume) is also taking a very long time.

Anna costume : Lizzieville6Anyway, the details.  I decided to make a dress and a pinafore for the main costume.  The pale blue dress is the smock dress (pattern E) from Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids.  I like the sleeves and the front detail on this pattern and it also comes with sweet little pockets that I might add later.  It is size 110/4 with the equivalent of an 8 in length.  The main fabric is Kaufman pinpoint shirting with some Kaufman lawn for the bindings.  The shirting is quite lovely and I can see using it for other projects.  I completed this piece first and E thought it looked like a nightgown and wore it to bed for quite a few nights.  I agree that it definitely has a nightgown vibe (which seems common in Japanese patterns).

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The pinafore is a modified Made By Rae Geranium dress using the scallops from the Oliver+S badminton pattern for the skirt trim/facing.   I used ric rac trim (instead of the gold ribbon on the original) because that’s what I had on hand.  I’ve never added trim/piping to anything before and it wasn’t actually that difficult.

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At this point the costume wasn’t looking much like the movie, especially since I decided to skip the flowers on the bodice and skirt edge because I didn’t feel like dealing with fabric paint.  So I decided to buy some cheap fabric for the cape from Jo-Ann.  I used a bit of a Japanese pattern for the cape but mostly made it up as I went along.  There is a little shot cotton for the trims because that polyester was depressing to work with.

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And there you have it.  One Halloween costume complete!

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Catching up: sewing for E

I have one more catching-up post before Kid’s Clothes Week begins tomorrow.  These are all things made for E over the past few months.  Sorry for the long post, but there were some fun ones (and some good learning experiences) here and I wanted to record my notes.

geranium cape shirt : Lizzieville3Last spring I made E a cape shirt following this tutorial by Tara from Girl Like The Sea.  It is a very easy tutorial to follow and the results are so fun.  I used a flashback skinny tee as the base.  The tshirt fabric is from an old maternity tee (no need to hem- love!) and the rainbow fabric was a very thin knit from Girl Charlee.  This shirt has gotten a lot of use in our dress-up box lately and I’ll definitely be making more of these as gifts and for play.

cape shirt 2: Lizzieville1geranium cape shirt : Lizzieville1

I also made E the wide leg pants from the Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids book last spring, but she didn’t wear them until this fall.

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This is an easy, stylish pattern and I do like the back pockets.  I think these are the size 2 width and size 4 length.  They are already getting short on her and the wide legs are a pain to stick into her boots for preschool.  So, I have some other patterns on my to-make list for E as we move into the rainy season around here.

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I also returned to one of my very first Oliver+S sews, the Class Picnic Blouse.  I decided to try this in a knit fabric to maximize the changes of it actually getting worn.

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This is a french terry, which ended up being a bit too heavy-weight for this pattern but sure was easy to sew.  I also successfully used the double needle on the hems, which felt like a big accomplishment since the double needle broke last project.  I used a size 3 with quite a bit of length added to make a tunic-length shirt.  Knits stretch so much more than wovens, so I should have used a size 2 as a base.   It’s in the too-big box right now as the neck is especially large.  But I do think making this pattern in knits has potential!

class picnic tunic : Lizzieville2

And finally, I made an Oliver+S badminton skort.  E wore skorts constantly this summer so I figured I should really give this pattern a try.  This is a size 4 with one inch of added length.  This pattern never felt full enough to me, so I added width to the skirt piece by comparing the pattern to one of E’s other skorts.  I ended up using almost the entire width of the fabric.

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This is such a practical and cute pattern and I’ll definitely be returning to it next spring.  My fabric choice on this, unfortunately, was not great.  I think normal denim would be fine, but the denim I used (same as her coat here) was quite stiff because of the painted spots.  You can see how the skirt sticks out and the seam connecting the skirt and shorts will not lie flat despite topstitching.  The shorts are french terry and I used a light-weight shirting for the skirt facing:

badminton skort : Lizzieville1

I was going to skip the scallops but E wanted the pattern as shown on the envelope.  I recently introduced her to the Oliver+S paper dolls online.  For whatever reason I didn’t think she’d have much interest in them, but she loved playing with them.  I also printed/copied off the patterns I owned and made her a paper set of clothes and dolls. We’ve had so much fun, and she now asks me to make patterns by name.

paper dolls : Lizzieville1

And now I am finally caught up!  Thank you for reading!

Made For Kids Month : Week 1

When I read about Made for Kids Month from Liesl (Oliver + S) and Rae (Made By Rae) I figured it would be fun to document the handmade things my kids wore in June.  You can read more about the month-long challenge here and here.

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E picks out her own (sometimes wacky) outfits each morning.  I knew that I’d have little luck encouraging her to wear her handmade items but by chance she picked out quite a few this week.  First up, a geranium tunic (from last spring- still fits barely!)

Geranium top :: LizzievilleCircle skirt (too big last year, finally seeing some wear now)
Circle skirt :: LizzievilleArt smock (made two years ago and probably the most-worn item I’ve ever made)
LTTS smock :: Lizzieville
LTTS backpack and Love Your Lunchbox Lunchbox
Backpack and lunchbox :: Lizzieville
Roller skate top (another barely fits from last spring) and circle skirt (again!)
Roller skate top and circle skirt
Oliver+S bedtime story pajama pants (made over the winter and never blogged)
Sleepover pajama pants :: Lizzieville
Circle skirt (yet again- clearly E needs some more skirts!)
Circle skirt 2 :: Lizzieville
Roly-poly pinafore
Roly-poly pinafore :: Lizzieville
My only O picture for the week:

Big green pants :: LizzievilleO had a bunch of knit items, but for spring wear he’s down to a pair of pants and a pair of shoes.  I’ve got some projects in the works for him, though.

If you (and your children) are participating I look forward to enjoying your pictures in the Made for Kids Month Flickr group!