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Kids Clothes Week…for real this time!

Ok, I am so out of it lately.  Oops.  Kids Clothes week wasn’t last week- it is this week.  I only realized this after I felt guilty for only sewing up one item last week and then I saw online that it didn’t even start until April 7th.  Yay!  So, I am not so far behind- actually ahead of the game!  woo hoo.

I have sewn up a bunch of stuff this week, it has been very productive.  I haven’t put any pressure on myself to do so, which has made a world of difference.  You will see that all of my pictures are on a mannequin or have my faces cropped.  This is not because the girls were uncooperative (as usual!), but because of privacy concerns.

I will say though that there have been events locally lately that have made me rethink this blog.  Issues and fears of a man trying to lure children into his car in my neighborhood.   My daughters fears of this “man” have kept her up at night and made us all alert and worried.  All of this attention and discussion has had me think about privacy and protecting my girls from such predators.  I have decided to stop publishing pictures of them on this blog.  I know that there is no direct correlation between what happens on this blog, and what happens in my neighborhood.  I have thought about this for a while…started to when random bloggers (not sewers) started following my posts.  I questioned their motives, was it just for them to get more exposure or something more ominous?  Either way it makes me queasy thinking about it.  Although I love reading other sewing blogs and seeing the posts of the kids and their clothes, and reading into the families lives- I am not comfortable putting mine out there as well.  Call me crazy, but for now I am going to retreat back into our little life and not put my girls out there for the world.

So, we will see how much longer I continue this blog given these new feelings, but for now let me brag about what I accomplished this week!

First, a tried and true pattern- Kitschy coo’s Skater dress.  I cut the long sleeve version shorter at the elbow, and did a mock hem with my serger for the arm hem.  Love how this turned out.  You can read about the technique here.  The fabric is a great knit I picked up at Joann’s recently.

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Next is the same pattern, but this time I used Kitschy coo’s tute for a peplum top.  LOVE  IT!  I think I will be making several of these.  So sweet, and paired with this great print from Girl Charlee  it is beautiful.   I did the same sleeve version as above, and even hemmed the neckline in the same way.  Best part- took me less than an hour to make, including cutting out and adapting the peplum pattern.  Sweet.DSCN4525

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Sewing for Isabel: a new favorite pattern

There is nothing more satisfying than sewing multiples of the same pattern.   All of the normal grunt work of preparing the pattern is what I look forward to least- determining the size,  cutting the pattern out pieces out, refolding those tissue paper sheets, the overly complicated directions etc.  Once you have struggled through all of that and sewn up your first item using the pattern it is such a relief!  You know what you are doing, what fits, how to put the pieces together and how it all works.  I always find the second, third, sometimes tenth (skater dress?) try at a pattern goes super quick.  In other words, when i find a pattern that works I get ALOT of use out of it and turn to it again and again.  Is it because I like the pattern, or because I am too lazy to start from the beginning and cut out another style…hmm.

Anways, my new favorite for Isabel is McCalls 6785.  Why all of the McCall’s patterns lately?  A very good sale at Joann’s where they were each like $1 or something- can’t beat that!  Ok…so this is the pattern.  Very versatile- includes two legging styles, and several top/tunic versions including hoods, pockets, ties or a cowl neck.

MC_6785_CCEI bought two copies of the pattern- in a smaller range for eleanor, and a larger range for Isabel.  I started sewing without measuring either one and chose the largest size of the smaller range- a 6 figuring it was bound to fit one of them since it was right in the middle of each of their true sizes.  It fit Isabel…and was actually a bit large on her so I will have to save that larger pattern for a bit!  For this first dress I chose view C, a long sleeve cowl neck dress.  The pink/purple houndstooth is a great substantial knit I picked up on clearance at Joann’s.  It was great to work with, much easier than the lighter weight non-stretch knits I have been purchasing from girl charlee lately.

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Since she loved it so much I made another!  This time I used this fox knit fabric I have been hoarding since i ordered it from girl charlee.  Love the print, but the fabric itself isn’t my favorite- it barely has any stretch and feels like it has alot of poly in it- but Isabel still loves it.  I can see this becoming a real favorite around here…she kept hugging me and dancing around in it.  I have to admit I almost cried, it feels good to see her that happy!

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I’d better get busy sewing something for Eleanor before jealousy sets in…

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Kids Clothes Week…finally

Realistic expectations.  I am too busy now to particpate in an online sewing challenge.  I don’t have it in me; in energy, time or motivation.  I am Ok with that.  Rather than being upset about how little time I had for myself this week to do what I love, I am trying to focus on the chunks of time I WAS able to carve out for sewing over the weekend.  So, even if I wasn’t able to sew for an hour every day this week like the challenge proposes, I was able to sew for 4-5 hours this weekend and knocked out a few tops and a dress for the girls- yay.  The most exciting part is that I finally got to use my Oliver & S Sailboat top pattern I have had printed out for MONTHS.  Woo hoo.  Most of my time was spent learning the pattern, but once I made the first top it was smooth sailing.  There is something really satisfying about assembly line style sewing- when you repeat a pattern it goes so much faster.

For the first top I made a size 6 Sailboat top using an owl print sweatshirt knit and jersey striped facings.  I love how the black and cream striped facings peak out from the neck and bottom…such a nice feature to have a surprise of a contrasting fabric.  I added one large black button at each shoulder.

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For the second top I used a stretchy grey/pink rose sweatshirt fabric, with hot pink jersey facings.  After realizing both of my girls fit into the size 6 I kept the size the same but lengthened the sleeves about an inch to get more wear out of it for Isabel.  So, for now the pink owl print is for Eleanor but they are almost interchangeable.  Isabel picked light pink vintage buttons for the shoulders, and I used 2 per shoulder.  Using a sweatshirt fabric for this top worked out perfectly.  My girs are not sweatshirt kinda girls, neither one has one in their closet and they refuse to wear anything “athletic” or “boy”.  The refined shape with the contrast stitching and button shoulders fits their style, yet still has the cozy and warm feeling of a sweatshirt.  Perfect.

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I don’t know whether to be excited that Isabel likes the top this much, or horrified at how she has started to love to “model”.  Just be glad I didn’t post the pics where she posed at the piano- hilarious.  Both of the sweatshirt fabrics were purchased from girlcharlee.com…but I don’t see that either one are available anymore.  I’ve had them in my stash for a bit since I picked them up for just a few dollars on sale but never knew what to use them for- I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out!

I couldn’t stop at just two tops, and spent time today adapting this pattern into a dress- to be posted later!

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‘Tis the season for knitting hats

Living in WNY for my entire life, I am used to winter temps.  Wind chills, lake effect snow, and inches of accumulation are a regular part of the daily weather forecast around here  this time of year.  But, for some reason this winter seems worse than most.  Being spoiled for the last few years of mild temperatures has made us all weak!  It is 8 degrees out right now, with a wind chill close to zero.  What is there to do when the weather gets this cold?  Stay inside and knit a few hats of course!

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As mentioned in a previous post, I used the Barley pattern from Tin Can Knits...a super simple garter and stockinette stitch hat.  To up the cute factor and give it a bit of a retro vibe I attached a super sized pom pom to the top- I love it!

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The blue hat is made with what seems like a never ending skein of Eco+ yarn I picked up from Purl Soho a few years back, and the red is in a cotton blend (thick and thin) whose name I can’t remember!  Pictured together they bring a nice dose of color to a dreary winter day!  Even if the day is simply spent at home in your pajamas!

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Winter Wonderland Birthday

Someone recently celebrated their 7th birthday!  Wow, can’t believe we have a seven year old in the house.  While I am mourning the end of my “little” girl, I am so proud of the girl she is becoming.  Always inquisitive, curious, observant, sensitive and sweet- that is my Isabel!  This year for her birthday she wanted a simple tea party with a handful of girlfriends at our house.  Didn’t quite turn out that way- we came up with a winter wonderland theme (that became more and more elaborate!) and ended up with over a dozen little girls as guests.  Crazy fun.

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To begin preparing for the decorations the girls and I made dozens of paper snowflakes to decorate the windows, mirrors and walls.  Next came the shopping!  Thinking this would be the easiest part proved me to be foolish- even though winter is in full swing around here trying to find snowflake or winter themed decorations was very difficult- apparently I should have been shopping for this a few months ago…stores are already focused on spring!  We basically bought any snowflake themed item we could find and kept our colors to white and a frosty light blue/silver theme.

Now that the decorations and theme were set I got to sewing.  Every Snowflake princess/ballerina needs a beautiful skirt right?  I designed and sewed coordinating tutu skirts for the girls, with layers and layers of tulle and a glittery snowflake tulle overlay with a silver satin ribbon at the waist and ties in the back or around to the front.

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With Isabel’s I chose to handpleat each layer of tulle, sew them onto a scrap fabric waist and then sew the ribbon at the waist- very, very time consuming project!  I simplified Eleanor’s (aka learned my lesson and took a shortcut!) and just gathered the tulle layers and sewed them directly to the ribbon.  I think both of them turned out beautifully!  Bonus- the girls have been dancing around the house with them on all week.  The ability to tie the ribbon will also allow them to grow with them, and should fit for years to come.

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Another simple project that seemed to take over my life for a week before the party was the craft- making snowglobes.  I picked up these great plain canning jars at the Dollar Tree, a small container of glycerin (from Joanns), various glitters, distilled water and the figurines.   Any plastic or ceramic figurine would work- but this proved to be the hardest part!  I originally planned on putting in dancing ballerina figures- remember the type that used to be everywhere as cupcake toppers- apparently not sold anywhere anymore?  Ugh…so I had to be creative.  I picked up a few arctic animal toobs from the craft store.  Too small.  When placed in the jar they barely reached the top of the lid.  So, I found myself digging around my basement and came across an old box of light blue ceramic tiles…and I had an idea!   I broke up a number of the tiles with a hammer and glued them to look like ice/snow and glued the figure on the top!  Problem solved.  I prepared ahead and had the figures glued to the stacks, glued to the lids before the party.  I used the most toxic smelling glue- E600, to ensure they would be waterproof and let them set for about 36 hours before the party.

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When we were ready at the party the girls chose what figure they wanted and we poured the distilled water into the jars and added a few drops of glycerin and the girls got to work adding al of their glitter and little snowflake confetti and we screwed on the lids to shake them up.  Plenty of screwing and unscrewing came as girls added more and more glitter!  In the end they turned out great, and who doesn’t like to shake up a glittery snow globe!

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Little lego men!

Busy, busy, busy.  I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth, just this blog.  I don’t even want to check and see when I last blogged.  Way too long.  Coming down with a nasty cold and starting a new full time job has kept me crazy busy.  I have been producing alot for this Saturday’s Queen City Market, but haven’t had time to blog about it.  Oh well, can’t do it all right?  One thing I am in love with and just had to take a few pics of are the crayons I am making- especially the little lego men and blocks!

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How ridiculous are these?  I will be selling them in small packages, possibly with paper- they would make a perfect stocking stuffer.

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I couldn’t resist making more and made these Trees, Snowflakes and Hearts.  Loving the trees.  I am sure they will be as fun to color with as they are to look at!

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Queen City Market- Leggings! Leggings! Finally some clothes…

When I originally started selling handmade goods I focused on girls clothes and a bit of accessories- mainly hats and barrettes.  I have come to change my focus a bit after doing a few of these markets to make and sell more gifts for children (and mom’s!).  I have found it easier to whip up gifts such as banners, bags and home goods since I don’t have to make a large number of sizes and styles.  You know how many dresses and skirts I made for the first market- a ton, and I ended up getting asked for all of the sizes I DIDN”T have- or for boys clothes, or baby stuff.  Although I did pretty well that first year I learned that it is impossible to fit/size everyone- I am not a retail store- so I switched my focus last year to include for kids gift items- more unisex items…and it was great.  I am planning on doing this again this year, but I couldn’t help but make SOME clothes- they are really what I love to sew!

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I am focusing this week on leggings…who doesn’t like a pair of comfy leggings?  My girls wear them pretty much every day and I have been bored by the options out there, so I chose to amp it up a bit and go trendy with my fabric choices.  You can buy a basic pair of leggings anywhere- but where can you find a baby tribal print?  So cute.  I will have a range of sizes- from a few 12months up to 8 years, all sewn and professionally serged and in the most hip and soft knit fabrics.  Prices will range from $12-18 depending on style and size.  I have a feeling the girls are going to claim those grey/cream sweater ruffle leggings above…and I don’t blame them.

I am totally in love with these little fawn and feather leggings- so ridiculously cute.  Here they are in a 6-12 month size.  The baby sizes have a cuffed bottom, but larger sizes will not.  They are all professionaly serged and finished on the inside, and even have small seams tags inside!

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Queen City Market- Crayon wallets

What is the one tried and true trick for keeping kids entertained while out at a restaurant, doctors office or long car ride?  Well, besides the iPad or tablet?  Pen, paper, crayons or any other type of drawing equipment for them to scribble their little masterpieces.  I have been so desperate as to hand my girls a pen and a receipt from the bottom of my purse to give them something to do- any parent knows what I am talking about!

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Well, here is something cuter and much more functional!  In the past I have sold crayon rolls, and crayon bags but this year I am making even simpler to grab something on the go…a crayon wallet.  Inside is everything you need to keep them occupied- a few crayons, markers or little pencils, and a small pad of paper all tucked in a little wallet.

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I will be making a few with less kid-like prints as well…so we don’t have to be embarrassed when we pull them out of our purse to use them for ourselves.  I know I will be putting one in my bag for notes/lists.  I NEVER have paper or a pen when I need it.  These will sell for $8 each or I might bundle them for 3/$20-perfect for stocking stuffers (the paper notepad and crayons are included).  I had better get to sewing more,  my girls have already staked their claim on a few!

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Queen City Market- Hot Water Bottles and Covers

I am so excited about this next item I am selling at the Queen City Market this year…hot water bottles and covers.  Might not sound that exciting to you, but if you have ever snuggled up to one  or used one for pain relief or warmth you know just how awesome they are.  They may seem like an antiquated notion- filling a rubber bag with hot water and using it for comfort seems all too basic to really work- but it does!  I purchased my first hot water bottle online a few years ago after not being able to find any nearby and I instantly fell in love.  But a naked hot water bottle isn’t the most attractive thing is it?

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What makes a hot water bottle even better?  A cute cover!  I will be selling my hot water bottles with a soft flannel and fleece cover that is removable, washable and makes your bottle something you want to cozy up with.  I will be selling each hot water bottle with cover for $20.  I also plan on having extra covers for sale for $5 in case you want to change things up or have a spare.

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I have used mine to comfort the girls when they are sick or putting it in their bed under their covers to keep them toasty warm.  They work great for an earache, cramps, neck pain or a toothache.  There have been times where I have been sick with a cold or flu and I instinctively reach for my hot water bottle before anything else.  I swear- you really need to try one!  If for nothing else than to put under your covers (or in the baby’s crib or child’s bed) before bed so that when you climb in your feet are nice and toasty!  Best part they require no electricity, no microwave- just hot water from your tap.  Simple, easy and effective.  Isabel has been sleeping with ours for the past few nights, ever since I made her this special mermaid cover!

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What is cozier than warm fleece and flannel? Winter IS coming…be prepared!

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Kids Clothes Week- Day 4. Bow-jamas

When the temps drop the girls love nothing more than staying indoors in their jammies, with some hot chocolate, popcorn and a movie.  Who could blame them?  Out of everything I have ever made them the handmade pajamas and nightgowns get the most wear.  The dresses and tops I make them don’t always make the cut when getting dressed for school (so sad), but the cozy flannel nightgowns and waffle knit pj’s get chosen again and again.  When I came across this black and white bow print waffle knit at (of course) Girl Charlee I jumped on it and bought a few yards.  You can’t go wrong with the price! You can find it here.

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I don’t think I would sew with this particular fabric again though- I think the bow print gummed up my sewing machine- the serger kept skipping stitches and my sewing machine broke a needle!  Not sure if it was just a bad day for me or if it it was the “paint” used to make the bows (they are a bit raised and imprinted on).  Either way I was so frustrated and they took MUCH longer to make than they should have- but I finished them!   Seeing how much Isabel loved them totally made it worth it!  I self drafted a pattern for the top using the same construction as my Skater dress pattern (but added a banded bottom), and the pants are made from my Go To leggings pattern.