Gift for a friend: Bedtime Bags

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The kids had a party on Saturday and I managed to make some gifts for our sweet friends. It is really hard to make gifts for people, I think. Most of the time you don’t have a lot of notice so not a lot of time to a) come up with an idea, and b) sew it up. These friends are very dear and I wanted their gift to be special, so I agonized a lot over it. In the end, an idea hit me: bedtime bags!

Bedtime gets harder as the kids get older, I find. At this point in the day, they are tired but wired; mine start running all over and shrieking too, which drives me crazy–I’m always scared they will fall and get hurt because they are not very coordinated at that time of day. Enter the bedtime bag.

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It is, basically, a bag where you put goodies that are used during your bedtime routine/allowed only at night, for easy access and to entertain the kiddos while you finish those last few tasks before lights off.

I made mine out of white cotton, using initial printables I found on Heather Ross’ Prints CD and ironed on. I filled it with some goodies my girls enjoy, and made a cute little tag for it. I also made a star stuffie to go with it. Cute!

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I have a tag printable for you, if you wish to try out this idea:

Bedtime Bag Tag

Hawthorn!

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This is Hawthorn! When Sarai introduced the pattern she mentioned that girls trying it on described it as a “dream dress.” It’s true! This dress has such a flattering cut, yet it sits so comfortably on the body, it just makes you want to dance and twirl (I bet it’s that gorgeous circle skirt!)

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Mine is made out of a royal blue Swiss dot from Fabric.com, and underlined with china silk polyester lining, which was a small nightmare to work with, but gave my dress a lot of body. I only underlined the skirt and bodice pieces, and to do this I simply stay stitched them together, then treated them as one piece. Maybe next time I will just sew darts on the main fabric, then use that piece as pattern to cut the lining. The hems are finished by serger, thanks to the knowledge I am getting from Amy Alan’s fantastic Craftsy class, Beginner Serging.

The pattern is beautiful. There are several pieces, but the instructions are so clear that one is never at a loss what to do. One thing I learned from this process, which I had never really done, is to make sure that I really understand and have read the instructions several times. I used to “read while I sewed.” No more! It was so easy to sit down to sew, knowing I knew how to finish. The sewalong posts by Sarai and Rachel were a great help!

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I also learned how to use my buttonhole foot with this tutorial from the Five and Ten Designs blog, as well as a little help from my user manual. And, I learned to cover buttons with fabric, here. I love the look for this dress, because it uses 13 buttons, and I did not want contrasting buttons to compete with the texture of the fabric. I really like how it turned out.

I do have a little tutorial for you. This is how I made the sash to go with the dress:

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This tutorial was my inspiration, but I made a little alteration to cut only the ends of the sash on the bias, rather than the whole length of it, to save fabric but still achieve the same effect.

I loooove my Hawthorn. Thanks, Colette Patterns, for such a gorgeous dress!!

Hawthorn Dress Sewalong

Linking at:

The Train to Crazy

Flip this Pattern: The Roller Skate Dress (and KCWC day 4)

This month, the girls at Frances Suzanne have us all flipping the gorgeous Oliver + S Roller Skate Dress.

It is 9:30 p.m. EST and I am barely making the 11:00 p.m. CST deadline, but I made it!

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This is my 3-year-old (and Rapunzel) modeling size 4T for me. It was a beautiful pattern to work with. The construction was so interesting and fun; it reminded me a lot of the Ice Cream Dress. And, because of this clever construction, I was able to make the dress reversible with a change or two.

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The Fabric: The fabrics are a Black Chambray from Hart’s Fabric and a cotton lawn from Fabric.com.

The Construction: I used DMC silver metallic thread to embroider a Sashiko-inspired design on the neckline of the chambray side, in place of the facing.

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To be able to make it reversible, I opted to have a ribbon closure, instead of a button with a loop.

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Another problem I encountered was the casing. Since both my fabrics were so contrasting, I had a hard time figuring out what color thread to use for the casing. I finally decided to thread my machine with gray thread and sew the casing from the chambray side, while I loaded the bobbin with black thread so that the black would not show on the lawn side.

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Finally, I opted to hem by using a ladder stitch that I learned on my brief foray into toy-making. This stitch seemed perfect because it let me join both seams without having my stitches show anywhere, which was just what I wanted.

It was such a fun project to work with, and I can’t wait to make it again! My five-year-old needs one, too, but that did not stop her modeling this one. I love her props 😉

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Thank you, FrancesSuzanne for the motivation to work with this lovely pattern! Also, thank you Megfor putting together KCWCthat is such an inspiration every time.
And, of course, thank you to Liesl Gibson for such a fantastic pattern!

Flip This Pattern

Hawthorn Sewalong

Hawthorn Dress Sewalong

For the past few weeks, I have been participating in the Hawthorn Sewalong over at Coletterie , and I am having an absolute blast.

When you open a Colette Pattern, you read “Patterns that Teach,” and it is so true. I have learned so much by following along (Thanks, Rachel and Sarai!) and by trying so hard not to rush with this but to take it as a process, I think I have become a better seamstress.

I am quite an impatient girl–I want results now. Yesterday. However, as with most things in life, in sewing the point is not only the dress but the process, because there is so much learning that goes on there. This has been the most important lesson I have learned so far: Take it as a process. When you first look at your pattern it is very easy to get overwhelmed, but if you take time to plan and schedule yourself, and complete steps one at a time, great things can happen. I have three children under five, one of them a seven-month-old, and finding time to sew has been a challenge; but, following along has been easy because it has been structured this way. I will approach any future project in the same manner!

Are you sewing along too?

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Here’s a little peak at my dress, only pinned in place because we have not done buttons yet–I am scared to make a selection of buttons and ruin the whole look if I choose wrong!!

Make your Getaway Duffle…

… You guessed it: Collegiate Style!

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I have had my eye on this pattern for a long time, back when I first started sewing after having kids and first started following blogs. Jess, from Craftiness is not Optional, had whipped up the most adorable bags for her daughters, and I just fell in love with them and the awesome pattern.

Here is my take on it:

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A couple of months ago we were taking our first trip with our new baby and the week before I realized the baby did not have a suitcase 🙂 So, you can see how quick this bag was to put together that I could do it even with my newborn at home and on a deadline! And, what’s more, I used all things I had at home to do it, so it was a super cheap project.

The fabric was a white twill canvas that I got at my local Hobby Lobby last year when I made the girls Valentine’s Day Drawstring Backpacks . The lining was leftover yellow and white striped cotton from Fabric.com that I had used for these skirts back during Fall KCWC last year. The appliqué was put together from scraps of felt I had around, and the football stamp came from a potato.

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That is what my stamp looked like. Please, ignore the random brown spot on my potato… It was all I had on hand at the time! Anyway, I traced the football shape on to the potato half and carved it out with a knife. Then, I painted onto my fabric pattern piece.

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The other side features a tiger appliqué, with embroidered face and stripes. My husband supervised the colors in the helmet to ensure that our tiger would end up being Mike the Tiger, the LSU mascot, and not a Mizzou Tiger 😉 (sorry, Mizzou fans!)

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I loved loved loved this pattern, and have plans to make one for each of us. It was incredibly easy to make and it is incredibly roomy.

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I made the adult size for the baby because we always have to carry so much for the little ones, and I think it could easily accommodate a well-packed adult for the whole weekend. I pack toiletries and shoes separately, so I think the one bag could hold all my stuff for a week! It is very sturdy and comfortable to hold. The pattern instructions are super easy to follow, and it even includes some troubleshooting tips for issues that can come up while sewing the bag, which were extra helpful to me. This is the second pattern of Gingercake’s that I sew, (I blogged about the first one here ) and I liked it just as much as the first.

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I loved working on this project and would recommend it to anybody looking for a stylish duffle bag to make. Thanks to Virginia from Gingercake Patterns for creating such an awesome pattern!

Linking at:
So you think you’re crafty

Nap Time Crafters

Sew Much Ado

Pattern testing: Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop’s Ringer Tee

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A few months ago, I had the opportunity to test the fabulous Classic Ringer Tee Pattern by Amy from Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop. I had always dreamed of testing out a pattern and it was such a fun opportunity at a time when I was so stressed out by RL, a much needed break 🙂 Thanks, Amy!

Now, this pattern is the perfect blank canvas for any kind of customization you can dream of. I am still getting the hang of sewing for my baby boy, so my ideas immediately ran to football since it is such a big part of our family’s favorite things. We are LSU Tiger fans so I thought a classic LSU tee was in order.

Cherie from You and Mie had given me the inspiration to try and paint some fabric, and I finally got to do it for this project.

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I basically just painted purple stripes, the width of my brush, all over the long sleeve pieces.

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I then dunked the cuffs and neck band in the leftover paint and let it all dry, then constructed the t-shirt per the pattern instructions. It was a breeze!

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Amy had a very clever way of attaching neck bands and cuffs, and the result was very nice–and very easy to make. It came together pretty quickly.

Then, I added a football appliqué with felt, lettering with transfer paper, though my transfer did not work very well with the rib knit fabric I had chosen… You live, you learn, right?

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See? And, half my family got the flu that week. I was on a deadline, however, so I tried to stitch in the dark as I watched them to avoid bothering anyone, thus my stitching is less than even… Thank goodness that baby can’t tell 😉

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And here is a shot of my little guy wearing it. I love how boyish and cute it turned out!

Linking at:
The Train to Crazy

Nap Time Crafters

Minoru Jacket (from the old blog)

This March marked the one year anniversary of my Minoru jacket 🙂 I am so happy I made it, and so in love with it! This was, by far, the most ambitious sewing project I had ever worked on and it built my confidence tremendously. I am reposting it from my old blog as a reminder that challenging yourself every once in a while is well worth it.

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It’s finally finished! And I am so pleased with the results. I have never *ever* worked on such an ambitious project, and I feel so happy I stuck with it and got it done. Thank you, Tasia, for such an awesome pattern and sewalong!

Materials: red wool crepe; lining: print quilting cotton, both from www.fabric.com I got the notions through Amazon, if you can believe it. It was great, I did not have to go anywhere!

Adjustments: The only adjustment I did on it was shorten the sleeves. Oh, and I did not add Velcro to the pockets.

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Notes about the fabric: It was great to sew with these two fabrics. They are both very forgiving when it comes to using your seam-ripper. The wool does not press well, but I was okay with that. Such a lovely color! It is the perfect fall/spring weight.

Difficulties: Stitching in the ditch and the final hem were the hardest for me. They look a bit wonky, but not too bad considering… I was scared to sew in the zippers, but everything turned out great. Tasia’s instructions on the pattern are absolutely fabulous.

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Techniques learned: I am not rembering the proper names for these right now, but I learned so many things! The most important lesson was to take my time preparing to sew– it is so worth it in the end! I also learned neat techniques for attaching lining, new ways of transferring pattern markings, the meaning of stitching in the ditch, a review of slipstitching, among others. It was great!

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Favorite features: I love everything about this jacket but, especially, the raglan sleeves with gathers, and the cinched waist. Gorgeous! My four-year-old asked me if she could get this jacket when she grows up 😉

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Thanks again, Tasia, for such a fun sewalong!

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Finished: Car seat cover

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Remember when I blogged about this project? It has been finished for a while, but I had not been able to snap some nice pictures of it. I finally decided to go ahead and just post the pictures I have and put a check mark next to “done!”

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I love how this one turned out, and it has been so useful for us. The fabrics I used are, for the exterior, Sarah Jane’s Children at Play for Michael Miller from Fabric.con, the name is Making Paper Hats, Aqua and for the interior I used a gorgeous yellow minky from The Minky Boutique. I love the service of these two stores and love my new fabric.

The tutorial came from Make-it-do and, what I loved most about it (beside the awesome instructions) is her suggestion to make rounded corners instead of leaving them square. Works perfectly!

What have you finished and have not blogged about yet?

Making it on Monday

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– Began work on the girls’ birthday outfits, and please wish me luck as they have to be completed by Saturday, on top of other party preparations.

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The pattern is oliver + s Ice Cream Dress which I had never felt like I needed to buy until I saw this and this.

I am making mine of linen shirting (which is already turning out to be too light and flimsy. I am underlining the whole thing) and cotton facings. The colors are pink and orange since it is a Dora party– I thought it would be a nice nod to Dora without it being too Dora-ish.

Wish me luck!

Finally, the Hand-smocked dresses

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I began work on these dresses back in March of last year. Then I got pregnant, and morning sickness hit. It has been such a busy time for us that I had not even been able to take pictures of them, but I finally managed to finish both of them. If not for one year’s Easter, for next year’s, right? 😉

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I had always dreamed of smocking a dress, but with nobody to teach me it seemed like a lost cause. And then I came across a fantastic book by Gail Doane called Sew Cute Couture and I knew that maybe, just maybe, I could have a chance. So I bought it.

The book was a dream. It walks you step by step through many beautiful smocked creations, and I was smitten by many of them. Two problems, however: the bishop dress pattern only came up to three years old, and one of my daughters was already four and way past that size. Problem number two: I did not own a pleater.

What was a girl to do?

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Well, I decided that my eldest did not need to have a bishop, after all. I do like them to match, though, when I make their clothes, so I adapted one of the designs in the book to match the design of my two-year-old’s bishop. Problem solved!

Now, what about the pleating?

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Unable to find anyone locally who would do the pleating for me (and if anybody knows of anyone who does pleat for a fee, please let me know), I set out to pleat on my own. (I will have a separate post on pleating–it deserves its own separate treatment, for sure!)

It was a lot of work–not hard work, just long, especially because I was making two dresses–but I am do happy with the way these turned out! And, the best part, the girls loved them, too.

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The first dress only has pleating on the bodice. The collar features the same buttons as the bishop, with some stitching (this design was supposed to go on the collar of the bishop’s matching jacket that I never made).

This is what the back looks like.

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For a while, when I was in a hurry, I debated whether I should work on that belt detail or just add some ribbon to adjust the dress. Conclusion?: the belt is worth it. It makes this look!

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And here is my darling bishop!

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I love this dress, and I love it on my child. She still looks do much like her playful self in this dress, and it is hilarious to see the traditional/mischievous together.

Here is a look at the back:

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And here are some close up shots of the collar/embroidery of both dresses:

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If you have ever wanted to smock a dress and were daunted before you even began, please consider it again. It is fun and it is not hard; it is just long work, but it is easy if you are shown how. I highly recommend Gail Doane’s book. If I could do it, anyone can do it!

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