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.



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







Kids Clothes Week, Spring Challenge

Ok.  I am going to be real right now.  Why do I do this to myself?  I don’t have time to sew- let alone pose my kids in the outfits I sew and force them to take pictures.  All while I am screaming at them to stop moving as the light is fading and the sun is setting, and why oh why is everything coming out blurry?  Stop moving!  Why do I do this to myself, just to spend hours of my precious evening alone time sewing clothes they probably won’t even wear?  Why do I torture myself like this?  BECAUSE I LOVE IT.


Even though this is a recipe for torture and can be incredibly frustrating something keeps pulling me back in.  Each and every time I say I am going to end this blog, to sew more for myself and less for the girls I can’t stop myself!  So, here I am again joining in on the Kids Clothes Week challenge yet again.  I will not put the pressure on myself to sew every day if I don’t have time.  I will not post every day or visit the site.  I will do what I can and that will be enough.  It seems like these challenges are all that have been motivating me to blog lately.  Oh well, maybe once I am off this summer I will get more inspiration and time to blog again.


Ok, so the first (and hopefully not last!) thing I made are these lightweight denim twirly skirts with stripes of fun ric rac and trim on the edges.  Love them.  I was able to squeak out one for each of the girls with only one yard of fabric, and the various trims I used were in my stash of vintage lace, bias trim and ric rac I have accumulated over the years.  I love how they turned out and they will be perfect for the upcoming warm weather…hopefully it is here to stay!  As you can see in the blurry pics the girls loved to dance in them!






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.





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!



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


‘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!


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!


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!



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.


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.


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.




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.



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!




Playing catch up

I’m back!  Where have I been, has it really been over a month since my last post?  Alot has been happening around here, and unfortunately this blog has been completely neglected.  My daily life has changed drastically, and trying to find that ultimate balance of what I HAVE to do and what I WANT to do has been difficult to manage.  The biggest change is that I started working full time in the beginning of December.  Going from being a part time librarian to a full time one has been a bit of a challenge.  I have worked full time before, but this is the first time I have been full time with two kids- big difference!  This has meant I have had to give something up, and this blog was the obvious choice.

Before I chose to return to work full time I contemplated giving up my career and focusing my energy and time into my crafting by opening up my own shop in town, teaching others to express their creativity by learning to sew and supplying them with the fabric choices I have been unable to find locally.  I really wanted to pursue this dream and would spend hours looking online at retail spaces for rent, exploring wholesale fabric options and imagining the layout and decor of my shop.  This may be a dream I pursue one day but not today.  After considering this at length I started thinking about all of the hours I would have to put in, the financial strain it would incur, and the instability and anxiety it would bring to our family.

Being offered a full time job as a Librarian is a big score- jobs in my field are not easy to come by- especially where I live where there are so many unemployed library graduates.  Being offered a full time job as a librarian with an academic schedule (summers off!) with the possibility of tenure are even more sought after.  So, here I am.  A month with no blog post and still struggling with the balance.  This doesn’t mean I haven’t been creating- I have!  I want to use this post to highlight some of the things I have been working on, hopefully it will inspire me to keep posting, and not give up on what brings me joy- this blog and what I choose to highlight on it.

Ok, so here goes-

First- clothing.  My favorite new book for children’s clothing is Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids: 20 Designs That are Fun and Unique-Just Like Your Kid! that I purchased from Amazon.  A few days before Christmas I decided to whip up matching dresses for the girls and went with pattern  A a dress with frilled shoulders.  The pattern is very similar to Rae’s Geranium dress, which I had been eyeing for a while but have yet to get around to purchasing!  I chose to go with an unconventional print for a Christmas dress, I wanted something bold and colorful and chose this Amy Butler print reminiscent of a bold floral from the 40’s.  I absolutely love how they turned out and am sure once the weather warms up around here my girls will get more wear out of these dresses…and they worked perfectly to bring a little sunshine to this cold, snowy and miserable winter we have been having around here!




Now for me- I purchased  McCall’s pattern 6744 on sale at Joanns over the summer and never got around to making anything with it.  When I purchased my last order of knit fabric from Girl Charlee for the Queen City Market I did last month I stocked up on a few extra yards of this awesome feather fabric to use for this dress.  I picture myself wearing it with leggings and a light cardigan- so comfortable and easy.  The dress was incredibly easy to make, I whipped it up from beginning to end in less than two hours- not bad.  I found the top to be too large though, and may need to shorten the straps at the shoulders to pull the neckline up a bit- but other than that it is perfect!  I believe I used about 2 yards of fabric so this cost less than $15 to make…so of course I have my eye on a number of knit fabrics to make a few more of these babies…I know what I will be wearing this summer!  The pattern also has options for a maxi dress and a pretty cross over bodice version.  I think for my next version (once I choose a fabric) will be the cross over version in a darker print fabric…but we’ll see.



I have also been knitting a bit.  I find knitting to be very meditative, and starting a new job can certainly be stressful.  Using the Barley pattern from Tin Can Knits I knit a red hat for Isabel and am working on a Blue version for Eleanor.  This is a simple but interesting pattern, and would be perfect for beginners.  I am planning to make cute pom poms to put on top of each when I am done with Eleanor’s, although this is not in the original pattern I think the girls will like them!

Next post will show the details of Isabel’s birthday party…or should I call it the winter wonderland princess tea party that I am so glad is over?


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.


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.


Kids Clothes Week – Day 3. Halloween Chevron


Go to leggings pattern, size 5 and 7.  Mini Black Chevron on Coral Cotton Jersey Blend Knit Fabric from Girl Charlee.  Perfect Halloween leggings (got both pairs from just one yard fabric!)

I swear I can take better pictures than these…yikes.  A cell phone pic of a wiggly kid on a dark and rainy evening is not ideal, but you get the idea!  A big reveal next week on this blog will show you what I have been super busy working on, hopefully will provide better conditions for sewing and photos.  Until then, finding time to sew for this challenge on top of everything else isn’t leaving much time for pictures.  Oh well.




Kids Clothes Week- Day 2. Cozy legwarmers

Easy peasy no pattern needed, cozy, warm and simple legwarmers.  Perfect accessory for this cool weather.  When did it become fall?  Wasn’t it in the 70’s just a few days ago, or so it feels.  It is in the 40’s today, we have our heat on, and no matter how much I love Fall it hits me hard when the temps drop.  Brrrr.


We have been walking to ballet without jackets on, with the girls in their leotards.  Now it is freezing out!  I whipped these up in about 20 minutes, just in time for ballet today!  The fabric is a white/black mouse print from girl charlee.  It is Heart Mouse on white cotton jersey sweatshirt knit…totally soft and fuzzy inside, but not much stretch.   I am going strong with this 1/4 yard surprise bargain lot I ordered from there a few weeks ago…so exciting to try out fabrics I wouldn’t normally buy yardage of.

If I could only keep Eleanor still for a moment to snap a picture!


I simply cut (2) 9inch by 14 inch (length of my fabric) pieces for the legwarmer, and (4) 9 inch by 7 inch pieces for the cuffs.  I serged up the seam on the length of my large pieces.  Then serge the ends of the small cuff pieces together, fold them to form the cuff and serge them onto the tops and bottoms of the legwarmers.  Simple.  The girls may be getting a number of these…perfect to use up small pieces of knit fabric I have lying around, and great for keeping those little legs warm at ballet or the bus stop!


Fall Kids Clothes Week- Day 1

Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was posting for the Summer Kids Clothes Week?  How am I not prepared for this?  I just happened to come across another blogs post about today being the first day of KCW and I was like WHAT?  This is the one challenge that keeps me going and sewing clothes for the girls…I had so much fun doing it this summer and can’t believe I didn’t keep track of when the fall challenge begins.  OOPS.  Well, it isn’t too late- I whipped up something tonight!  What did I sew with an hour before bedtime and the goal of having one of the girls model the item/take pictures/ and blog before bed?  Thankfully I had a Skater dress (yes, another one!) already cut and put to the side in my pile of things that I never get to and I was able to sew it up so quickly.  Phew.


Getting a decent picture of it in the dark is clearly impossible but I did my best.  Thankfully, Isabel was agreeable and put it on, posed, and went to bed.  Not too bad!   The sleeves are a navy jersey knit from a Girl Charlee 1/4 yard surprise bundle I bought a few weeks ago and the main body is actually a navy/white striped men’s t-shirt I picked up for $1 at the Salvation Army- woo hoo.  My favorite part is the contrast sleeve cuffs- so cute.   I even used the bottom hem of the shirt to hem the dress=much less work.  I have found hemming knits to be my least favorite thing so this saved me the time and stress.  Love it.


I promise not to make another skater dress this week even though I am already behind, no planning, no cutting, no shopping done but I still think I can whip something up each day to keep my participation in this challenge strong.  I am thinking easy comfy, wearable projects like leggings, legwarmers and pajamas.  We’ll see how much I accomplish.  I am in the middle of painting my sewing room, and I am temporarily sewing in my husband’s office-not the best.  I will be busy finishing the painting, putting together my new sewing room furniture and celebrating my birthday this week (on top of all of the normal work/kids/school stuff).  Yikes.